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Netanyahu on Annexation Plan: Palestinians Will Offer Concession, Not ‘Israel’

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference at the Prime Ministers office in Jerusalem on March 12, 2020. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Al-Manar | May 28, 2020

Benjamin Netanyahu says the Palestinians are the side who will offer concession as the Israeli PM eyes implementing the annexation plan of West Bank and Jordan Valley.

“Only if the Palestinians agree that Israel has security and control throughout the territory, they will receive their own entity that (US President Donald) Trump defines as a state,” Netanyahu told Israel Hayom in an interview.

“We are not urged to offer concessions, but the Palestinians are those who will do so,” the Israeli PM added.

Meanwhile, he said that “attempts to set free Israelis held in Gaza are underway,” but noted that he “will not release Palestinian prisoners who “have blood on their hands.”

May 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

News Stories Avoid Naming Israel

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • May 19, 2020

There are two stories that seem to have been under-reported in the past couple of weeks. The first involves Michael Flynn’s dealings with the Russian United Nations Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And the second describes yet another bit of espionage conducted by a foreign country directed against the United States. Both stories involve the State of Israel.

The bigger story is, of course, the dismissal by Attorney General William Barr of the criminal charges against former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn based on malfeasance by the FBI investigators. The curious aspect of the story as it is being related by the mainstream media is that it repeatedly refers to Flynn as having unauthorized contacts with the Russian Ambassador and then having lied about it. The implication is that there was something decidedly shady about Flynn talking to the Russians and that the Russians were up to something.

In reality, the part left out of the story is that the phone call to Kislyak on December 22, 2016, was made by Flynn at the direction of Jared Kushner, who in turn had been approached by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu had learned that the Obama Administrating was going to abstain on a United Nations vote condemning the Israeli settlements policy, meaning that for the first time in years a U.N. resolution critical of Israel would pass without drawing a U.S. veto. Kushner, acting for Netanyahu, asked Flynn to contact each delegate from the various countries on the Security Council to delay or kill the resolution. Flynn agreed to do so, which included a call to the Russians. Kislyak took the call but did not agree to veto Security Council Resolution 2334, which passed unanimously on December 23rd.

In taking the phone calls from a soon-to-be senior American official who would within weeks be part of a new administration in Washington, the Russians did nothing wrong, but the media is acting like there was some kind of Kremlin conspiracy seeking to undermine U.S. democracy. It would not be inappropriate to have some conversations with an incoming government team and Kislyak also did nothing that might be regarded as particularly responsive to Team Trump overtures since he voted contrary to Flynn’s request.

The phone call made at the request of Israel was neither benign or ethical as the Barack Administration was still in power and managing the nation’s foreign policy. At the time, son-in-law Jared Kushner was Trump’s point man on the Middle East. He and his family have extensive ties both to Israel and to Netanyahu personally, to include Netanyahu’s staying at the Kushner family home in New York. The Kushner Family Foundation has funded some of Israel’s illegal settlements and also a number of conservative political groups in that country. Jared has served as a director of that foundation and it is reported that he failed to disclose the relationship when he filled out his background investigation sheet for a security clearance. All of which suggests that if you are looking for possible foreign government collusion with the incoming Trumpsters, look no further.

And it should be observed that the Israelis were not exactly shy about their disapproval of Obama and their willingness to express their views to the incoming Trump. Kushner went far beyond merely disagreeing over an aspect of foreign policy as he was actively trying to clandestinely subvert and reverse a decision made by his own legally constituted government. His closeness to Netanyahu made him, in intelligence terms, a quite likely Israeli government agent of influence, even if he didn’t quite see himself that way.

Kushner’s actions, as well as those of Flynn, would most certainly have been covered by the Logan Act of 1799, which bars private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on behalf of the United States and also could be construed as a “conspiracy against the United States.” But in spite of all that the investigation went after Flynn instead of Kushner. As Kushner is Jewish and certainly could be accused of dual loyalty in extremis, that part of the story obviously makes many in the U.S. Establishment and media uncomfortable, so it was and continues to be both ignored and expunged from the record as quickly as possible.

The second story, which has basically been made to disappear, relates to spying by Israel against critics in the United States. The revelation that Israel was again using its telecommunications skills to spy on foreigners came from an Oakland California federal court lawsuit initiated by Facebook (FB) against the Israeli surveillance technology company NSO Group. FB claimed that NSO has been using servers located in the United States to infect with spyware hundreds of smartphones being used by attorneys, journalists, human rights activists, critics of Israel and even of government officials. NSO allegedly used WhatsApp, a messaging app owned by FB, to hack into the phones and install malware that would enable the company to monitor what was going on with the devices. It did so by employing networks of remote servers located in California to enter the accounts.

NSO has inevitably claimed that they do indeed provide spyware, but that it is sold to clients who themselves operate it with the “advice and technical support to assist customers in setting up” but it also promotes its products as being “used to stop terrorism, curb violent crime, and save lives.” It also asserts that its software cannot be used against U.S. phone numbers.

Facebook, which did its own extensive research into NSO activity, alleges that NSO rented a Los Angeles-based server from a U.S. company called QuadraNet that it then used to launch 720 hacks on smartphones and other devices. It further claims in the court filing that the company reverse-engineering WhatsApp, using an program that it developed to access WhatsApp’s servers and deploy “its spyware against approximately 1,400 targets” before “…covertly transmit[ting] malicious code through WhatsApp servers and inject[ing]” spyware into telephones without the knowledge of the owners.”

The filing goes on to assert that the “Defendants had no authority to access WhatsApp’s servers with an imposter program, manipulate network settings, and commandeer the servers to attack WhatsApp users. That invasion of WhatsApp’s servers and users’ devices constitutes unlawful computer hacking.”

NSO, which is largely staffed by former (sic) Israeli intelligence officers, had previously been in the news for its proprietary spyware known as Pegasus, which “can gather information about a mobile phone’s location, access its camera, microphone and internal hard drive, and covertly record emails, phone calls and text messages.” Pegasus was reportedly used in the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Adnan Kashoggi in Istanbul last year and it has more recently been suggested as a resource for tracking coronavirus distance violators. Outside experts have accused the company of selling its technology and expertise to countries that have used it to spy on dissidents, journalists and other critics.

Israel routinely exploits the access provided by its telecommunications industry to spy on the host countries where those companies operate. The companies themselves report regularly back to Mossad contacts and the technology they provide routinely has a “backdoor” for secretly accessing the information accessible through the software. In fact, Israel conducts espionage and influence operations both directly and through proxies against the United States more aggressively than any other “friendly” country, which once upon a time included being able to tap into the “secure” White House phones used by Bill Clinton to speak with Monica Lewinsky.

Last September, it was revealed that the placement of technical surveillance devices by Israel in Washington D.C. was clearly intended to target cellphone communications to and from the Trump White House. As the president frequently chats with top aides and friends on non-secure phones, the operation sought to pick up conversations involving Trump with the expectation that the security-averse president would say things off the record that might be considered top secret.

A Politico report detailed how “miniature surveillance devices” referred to as “Stingrays” were used to imitate regular cell phone towers to fool phones being used nearby into providing information on their locations and identities. According to the article, the devices are referred to by technicians as “international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.”

Over one year ago, government security agencies discovered the electronic footprints that indicated the presence of the surveillance devices near the White House. Forensic analysis involved dismantling the devices to let them “tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are.” One source observed afterwards that “It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible.”

So two significant stories currently making the rounds have been bowdlerized and disappeared to make the Israeli role in manipulating and spying against the United States go away. They are only two of many stories framed by a Zionist dominated media to control the narrative in a way favorable to the Jewish state. One would think that having a president of the United States who is the most pro-Israel ever, which is saying a great deal in and of itself, would be enough, but unfortunately when dealing with folks like Benjamin Netanyahu there can never be any restraint when dealing with the “useful idiots” in Washington.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

May 19, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

With apparently fabricated nuclear documents, Netanyahu pushed the US towards war with Iran

By Gareth Porter | The Grayzone | April 29, 2020

President Donald Trump scrapped the nuclear deal with Iran and continued to risk war with Iran based on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim to have proven definitively that Iran was determined to manufacture nuclear weapons. Netanyahu not only spun Trump but much of the corporate media as well, duping them with the public unveiling of what he claimed was the entire secret Iranian “nuclear archive.”

In early April 2018, Netanyahu briefed Trump privately on the supposed Iranian nuclear archive and secured his promise to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). That April 30, Netanyahu took the briefing to the public in a characteristically dramatic live performance in which he claimed Israel’s Mossad intelligence services had stolen Iran’s entire nuclear archive from Tehran. “You may well know that Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons…” Netanyahu declared. “Well, tonight, I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied. Big time.”

However, an investigation of the supposed Iranian nuclear documents by The Grayzone reveals them to be the product of an Israeli disinformation operation that helped trigger the most serious threat of war since the conflict with Iran began nearly four decades ago. This investigation found multiple indications that the story of Mossad’s heist of 50,000 pages of secret nuclear files from Tehran was very likely an elaborate fiction and that the documents were fabricated by the Mossad itself.

According to the official Israeli version of events, the Iranians had gathered the nuclear documents from various locations and moved them to what Netanyahu himself described as “a dilapidated warehouse” in southern Tehran. Even assuming that Iran had secret documents demonstrating the development of nuclear weapons, the claim that top secret documents would be held in a nondescript and unguarded warehouse in Central Tehran is so unlikely that it should have raised immediate alarm bells about the story’s legitimacy.

Even more problematic was the claim by a Mossad official to Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman that Mossad knew not only in what warehouse its commandos would find the documents but precisely which safes to break into with a blowtorch. The official told Bergman the Mossad team had been guided by an intelligence asset to the few safes in the warehouse which contained the binders with the most important documents. Netanyahu bragged publicly that “very few” Iranians knew the location of the archive; the Mossad official told Bergman “only a handful of people” knew.

But two former senior CIA official, both of whom had served as the agency’s top Middle East analyst, dismissed Netanyahu’s claims as lacking credibility in responses to a query from The Grayzone.

According to Paul Pillar, who was National Intelligence Officer for the region from 2001 to 2005, “Any source on the inside of the Iranian national security apparatus would be extremely valuable in Israeli eyes, and Israeli deliberations about the handling of that source’s information presumably would be biased in favor long-term protection of the source.” The Israeli story of how its spies located the documents “does seem fishy,” Pillar said, especially considering Israel’s obvious effort to derive maximum “political-diplomatic mileage” out of the “supposed revelation” of such a well-placed source.

Graham Fuller, a 27-year veteran of the CIA who served as National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia as well as Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, offered a similar assessment of the Israeli claim. “If the Israelis had such a sensitive source in Tehran,” Fuller commented, “they would not want to risk him.” Fuller concluded that the Israelis’ claim that they had accurate knowledge of which safes to crack is “dubious, and the whole thing may be somewhat fabricated.”

No proof of authenticity

Netanyahu’s April 30 slide show presented a series of purported Iranian documents containing sensational revelations that he pointed to as proof of his insistence that Iran had lied about its interest in manufacturing nuclear weapons. The visual aides included a file supposedly dating back to early 2000 or before that detailed various ways to achieve a plan to build five nuclear weapons by mid-2003.

Another document that generated widespread media interest was an alleged report on a discussion among leading Iranian scientists of a purported mid-2003 decision by Iran’s Defense Minister to separate an existing secret nuclear weapons program into overt and covert parts.

Left out of the media coverage of these “nuclear archive” documents was a simple fact that was highly inconvenient to Netanyahu: nothing about them offered a scintilla of evidence that they were genuine. For example, not one contained the official markings of the relevant Iranian agency.

Tariq Rauf, who was head of the Verification and Security Policy Coordination Office at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 2001 to 2011, told The Grayzone that these markings were practically ubiquitous on official Iranian files.

“Iran is a highly bureaucratized system,” Rauf explained. “Hence, one would expect a proper book-keeping system that would record incoming correspondence, with date received, action officer, department, circulation to additional relevant officials, proper letterhead, etc.”

But as Rauf noted, the “nuclear archive” documents that were published by the Washington Post bore no such evidence of Iranian government origin. Nor did they contain other markings to indicate their creation under the auspices of an Iranian government agency.

What those documents do have in common is the mark of a rubber stamp for a filing system showing numbers for a “record”, a “file” and a “ledger binder” — like the black binders that Netanyahu flashed to the cameras during his slideshow. But these could have easily been created by the Mossad and stamped on to the documents along with the appropriate Persian numbers.

Forensic confirmation of the documents’ authenticity would have required access to the original documents. But as Netanyahu noted in his April 30, 2018 slide show, the “original Iranian materials” were kept “in a very safe place” – implying that no one would be allowed to have any such access.

Withholding access to outside experts

In fact, even the most pro-Israeli visitors to Tel Aviv have been denied access to the original documents. David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security and Olli Heinonen of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – both stalwart defenders of the official Israeli line on Iranian nuclear policy – reported in October 2018 that they had been given only a “slide deck” showing reproductions or excerpts of the documents.

When a team of six specialists from Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs visited Israel in January 2019 for briefings on the archive, they too were offered only a cursory browse of the supposedly original documents. Harvard Professor Matthew Bunn recalled in an interview with this writer that the team had been shown one of the binders containing what were said to be original documents relating to Iran’s relations with the IAEA and had “paged through a bit of it.”

But they were shown no documents on Iran nuclear weapons work. As Bunn admitted, “We weren’t attempting to do any forensic analysis of these documents.”

Typically, it would be the job of the U.S. government and the IAEA to authenticate the documents. Oddly, the Belfer Center delegation reported that the U.S. government and the IAEA had each received only copies of the entire archive, not the original files. And the Israelis were in no hurry to provide the genuine articles: the IAEA did not receive a complete set of documents until November 2019, according to Bunn.

By then, Netanyahu had not only already accomplished the demolition of the Iran nuclear deal; he and Trump’s ferociously hawkish CIA-director Mike Pompeo had maneuvered the president into a policy of imminent confrontation with Tehran.

The second coming of fake missile drawings

Among the documents Netanyahu flashed on the screen in his April 30, 2018 slide show was a schematic drawing of the missile reentry vehicle of an Iranian Shahab-3 missile, showing what was obviously supposed to represent a nuclear weapon inside.

Technical drawing from David Albright, Olli Heinonen, and Andrea Stricker’s “Breaking Up and Reorienting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program,” published by the Institute for Science and International Security on October 28, 2018.

This drawing was part of a set of eighteen technical drawings of the Shahab-3 reentry vehicle. These were found in a collection of documents secured over the course of several years between the Bush II and Obama administrations by an Iranian spy working for Germany’s BND intelligence service. Or so the Israeli official story went.

In 2013, however, a former senior German Foreign Office official named Karsten Voigt revealed to this writer that the documents had been initially provided to German intelligence by a member of the Mujaheddin E-Khalq (MEK).

The MEK is an exiled Iranian armed opposition organization that had operated under Saddam Hussein’s regime as a proxy against Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. It went on to cooperate with the Israeli Mossad beginning in the 1990s, and enjoys a close relationship with Saudi Arabia as well. Today, numerous former US officials are on the MEK’s payroll, acting as de facto lobbyists for regime change in Iran.

Voigt recalled how senior BND officials warned him they did not consider the MEK source or the materials he provided to be credible. They were worried that the Bush administration intended to use the dodgy documents to justify an attack on Iran, just as it exploited the tall tales collected from Iraqi defector codenamed “Curveball” to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

As this writer first reported in 2010, the appearance of the “dunce-cap” shape of the Shahab-3 reentry vehicle in the drawings was a tell-tale sign that the documents were fabricated. Whoever drew those schematic images in 2003 was clearly under the false impression that Iran was relying on the Shahab-3 as its main deterrent force. After all, Iran had announced publicly in 2001 that the Shahab-3 was going into “serial production” and in 2003 that it was “operational.”

But those official claims by Iran were a ruse aimed primarily at deceiving Israel, which had threatened air attacks on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. In fact, Iran’s Defense Ministry was aware that the Shahab-3 did not have sufficient range to reach Israel.

According to Michael Elleman, the author of the most definitive account of the Iranian missile program, as early as 2000, Iran’s Defense Ministry had begun developing an improved version of the Shahab-3 with a reentry vehicle boasting a far more aerodynamic “triconic baby bottle” shape – not the “dunce-cap” of the original.

As Elleman told this writer, however, foreign intelligence agencies remained unaware of the new and improved Shahab missile with a very different shape until it took its first flight test in August 2004. Among the agencies kept in the dark about the new design was Israel’s Mossad. That explains why the false documents on redesigning the Shahab-3 – the earliest dates of which were in 2002, according to an unpublished internal IAEA document – showed a reentry vehicle design that Iran had already discarded.

The role of the MEK in passing the massive tranche of supposed secret Iranian nuclear documents to the BND and its hand-in-glove relationship with the Mossad leaves little room for doubt that the documents introduced to Western intelligence 2004 were, in fact, created by the Mossad.

For the Mossad, the MEK was a convenient unit for outsourcing negative press about Iran which it did not want attributed directly to Israeli intelligence. To enhance the MEK’S credibility in the eyes foreign media and intelligence agencies, Mossad passed the coordinates of Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility to the MEK in 2002. Later, it provided to the MEK personal information such as the passport number and home telephone number of Iranian physics professor Mohsen Fakhrizadh, whose name appeared in the nuclear documents, according to the co-authors of a best-selling Israeli book on the Mossad’s covert operations.

By trotting out the same discredited technical drawing depicting the wrong Iranian missile reentry vehicle – a trick he had previously deployed to create the original case for accusing Iran of covert nuclear weapons development – the Israeli prime minister showed how confident he was in his ability to hoodwink Washington and the Western corporate media.

Netanyahu’s multiple levels of deception have been remarkably successful, despite having relied on crude stunts that any diligent news organization should have seen through. Through his manipulation of foreign governments and media, he has been able to maneuver Donald Trump and the United States into a dangerous process of confrontation that has brought the US to the precipice of military conflict with Iran.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy since 2005 and was the recipient of Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2012.  His most recent book is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou, just published in February.

May 1, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Pompeo and Netanyahu paved a path to war with Iran, and they’re pushing Trump again

By Gareth Porter | The Grayzone | March 20, 2020

Though it narrowly averted war with Iran this January, the Trump administration is still pushing for all-out military conflict. The architects of the drive to war, Mike Pompeo and Benjamin Netanyahu, have relied on a series of cynical provocations to force Trump’s hand.

The US may escape the most recent conflict with Iran without war, however, a dangerous escalation is just over the horizon.  And as before, the key factors driving the belligerence are not outraged Iraqi militia leaders or their allies in Iran, but Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long sought to draw the US into a military confrontation with Iran.

Throughout the fall of 2019, Netanyahu ordered a series of Israeli strikes against Iranian allies in Iraq and against Lebanese Hezbollah units. He and Pompeo hoped the attacks would provoke a reaction from their targets that could provide a tripwire to outright war with Iran. As could have been expected, corporate US media missed the story, perhaps because it failed to reinforce the universally accepted narrative of a hyper-aggressive Iran emboldened by Trump’s failure to “deter” it following Iran’s shoot-down of a U.S. drone in June, and an alleged Iranian attack on Saudi oil facility in September.

Pompeo and John Bolton set the stage for the tripwire strategy in May 2019 with a statement by national security adviser John Bolton citing “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” implying an Iranian threat without providing concrete details. That vague language echoed a previous vow by Bolton that “any attack” by Iran or “proxy” forces “on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

Then came a campaign of leaks to major news outlet suggesting that Iran was planning attacks on U.S. military personnel. The day after Bolton’s statement, the Wall Street Journal reported that unnamed U.S. officials cited “U.S. intelligence” showing that Iran “drew up plans to target U.S. forces in Iraq and possibly Syria, to orchestrate attacks in the Bab el-Mandeb strait near Yemen through proxies and in the Persian Gulf with its own armed drones…”

The immediate aim of this campaign was to gain Trump’s approval for contingency plans for a possible war with Iran that included the option of sending as many as 120,000 U.S. troops into region.  Trump balked at such war-planning, however, complaining privately that Bolton and Pompeo were pushing him into a war with Iran. Following Iran’s shoot-down of the U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz on June 20, Pompeo and Bolton suggested the option of killing Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in retaliation. But Trump refused to sign off on the assassination of Iran’s top general unless Iran killed an American first, according to current and former officials.

From that point on, the provocation strategy was focused on trying to trigger an Iranian reaction that would involve a U.S. casualty.  That’s when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu interjected himself and his military as a central player in the drama. From July 19 through August 20, the Israeli army carried out five strikes against Iraqi militias allied with Iran, blowing up four weapons depots and killing as many Shiite militiamen and Iranian offcers, according to press accounts.

The Israeli bombing escalated on August 25, when two strikes on the brigade headquarters of a pro-Iranian militia and on a militia convoy killed the brigade commander and six other militiamen, and a drone strike on Hezbollah’s headquarters in south Beirut blew the windows out of one of Hezbollah’s media offices.

Netanyahu and Pompeo sabotage Trump and Macron’s attempt at diplomacy

Behind those strikes was Netanyahu’s sense of alarm over Trump toying with the idea of seeking negotiations with Iran. Netanyahu had likely learned about Trump’s moves toward detente from Pompeo, who had long been his primary contact in the administration. On August 26, French President Emanuel Macron revealed that he was working to broker a Trump-Rouhani meeting. Netanyahu grumbled about the prospect of U.S.-Iranian talks “several times” with his security cabinet the day before launching the strikes.

Two retired senior Israeli generals, Gen. Amos Yadlin and Gen. Assaf Oron, criticized those strikes for increasing the likelihood of harsh retaliation by Iran or one of its regional partners. The generals complained that Netanyahu’s attacks were “designed to prod [Iran] into a hasty response” and thus end Trump’s flirtation with talking to Iran. That much was obviously true, but Pompeo and Netanyahu also knew that provoking an attack by Iran or one of its allies might cause one or more of the American casualties they sought. And once American blood was spilled, Trump would have no means to resist authorizing a major escalation.

Kataib Hezbollah and other pro-Iran Iraqi militias blamed the United States for the wave of lethal Israeli attacks on their fighters. These militias responded in September by launching a series of rocket attacks on Iraqi government bases where U.S. troops were present. They also struck targets in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy.

The problem for Netanyahu and Pompeo, however, was that none of those strikes killed an American. What’s more, U.S. intelligence officials knew from NSA monitoring of communications between the IRGC and the militias that Iran had explicitly forbidden direct attacks on US personnel.

Netanyahu was growing impatient. For several days in late October and early November, he met with his national security cabinet to discuss a new Israeli attack to precipitate a possible war with Iran, according to reports by former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. Oren hinted at how a war with Iran might start. ‘[P]erhaps Israel miscalculates,” he suggested, “hitting a particularly sensitive target,” which, in his view, could spark “a big war between Israel and Iran.”

But on December 27, before Netanyahu could put such a strategy into action, the situation changed dramatically. A barrage of rockets slammed into an Iraqi base near Kirkuk where U.S. military personnel were stationed, killing a U.S military contractor. Suddenly, Pompeo had the opening he needed. At a meeting the following day, Pompeo led Trump to believe that Iranian “proxies” had attacked the base, and pressed him to “reestablish deterrence” with Iran by carrying out a military response.

In fact, U.S. and Iraqi officials on the spot had reached no such conclusion, and the investigation led by the head of intelligence for the Iraqi federal police at the base was just beginning that same day. But Pompeo and his allies, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark A Milley, were not interested in waiting for its conclusion.

A deception brings the US and Iran to the brink of war

The results of a subsequent Iraqi investigation revealed that the rocket barrage had been launched from a Sunni area of Kirkuk with a strong Islamic State presence, and that IS fighters had carried out three attacks not far from the base on Iraqi forces stationed there in the previous ten days. US signals intercepts found no evidence that Iraqi militias had shifted from their policy of avoiding American casualties at all cost.

Kept in the dark by Pompeo about these crucial facts, Trump agreed to launch five airstrikes against Kataib Hezbollah and another pro-Iran militia at five locations in Iraq and Syria that killed 25 militiamen and wounded 51. He may have also agreed in principle to the killing of Soleimani when the opportunity presented itself.

Iran responded to the attacks on its Iraqi militia allies by approving a violent protest at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad January 31. The demonstrators did not penetrate the embassy building itself and were abruptly halted the same day. But Pompeo managed to persuade Trump to authorize the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s second most powerful figure, presumably by hammering on the theme of “reestablishing deterrence” with Iran.

Soleimani was not only the second most powerful man in Iran and the main figure in its foreign policy; he was idolized by millions of the most strongly nationalist citizens of the country. Killing him in a drone strike was an open invitation to the military confrontation Netanyahu and Pompeo so desperately sought.

During the crucial week from December 28 through January 4, while Pompeo was pressing Trump to retaliate against Iran not just once but twice, it was clear that he was coordinating closely with Netanyahu.  During that single week, he spoke by phone with Netanyahu on three separate occasions.

What Pompeo and Netanyahu could not have anticipated was that Iran’s missile attack on the U.S. sector of Iraq’s sprawling al-Asad airbase in retaliation would be so precise that it scored direct hits on six U.S. targets without killing a single American. (The US service members were saved in part because the rockets were fired after the Iraqi government had passed on a warning from Iran to prepare for it). Because no American was killed in the strike, Trump again decided against further retaliation.

Towards another provocation

Although Pompeo and Netanyahu failed to ignite a military conflict with Iran, there is good reason to believe that they will try again before both are forced to leave their positions or power.

In an article for the Atlantic last November, former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, channeled Netanyahu when he declared it would be “better for conflict [with Iran] to occur during the current [Trump] administration, which can be counted on to provide Israel with the three sources of American assistance it traditionally receives in wartime,” than to “wait until later.”

Oren was not the only Israeli official to suggest that Israeli is likely to go even further in strikes against Iranian and Iranian allies targets in 2020. After listening to Israeli army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi speak in late December, Haaretz military correspondent Amos Harel reported that the Israeli army chief conveyed the clear impression that a “more serious confrontation with Iran in the coming year as an almost unquestionable necessity.” His interviews with Israeli military and political figures further indicated that Israel would “intensity its efforts to hit Iran in the northern area.”

Shockingly, Pompeo has exploited the Coronavirus pandemic to impose even harsher sanctions on Iran while intimidating foreign businesses to prevent urgently needed medical supplies from entering the country. The approaching presidential election gives both Pompeo and Netanyahu a powerful reason to plot another strike, or a series of strikes aimed at drawing the US into a potential Israeli confrontation with Iran.

Activists and members of Congress concerned about keeping the US out of war with Iran must be acutely aware of the danger and ready to respond decisively when the provocation occurs.

March 20, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

US Ambassador sends strong message to Netanyahu: patience, young grasshopper, you’ll annex the West Bank soon

By Sarah Abed | February 11, 2020

On January 28th, United States President Donald Trump accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner unveiled the much anticipated so-called “Deal of the Century” also referred to as the “Mideast Peace Plan”. The deal greenlighted the annexation of Palestinian land, subjugation of Palestinians, and apartheid in Israel. Israeli politicians couldn’t wait to pounce on the opportunity to steal vast areas of occupied land along the Jordan valley. They did little to hide their enthusiasm as they announced that a vote on annexation would take place a few days later.

What became clear even before the ink had dried is that behind the scam of the century was the normalization of Israel’s apartheid in Palestine. The deal was praised by Israel as the opportunity of a lifetime and outright rejected by Palestinian politicians including President Mahmoud Abbas.

Just days after the deal was announced, plans were made to vote on annexing parts of the West Bank, which are sites of Israeli settlements, and seen by a number of countries as illegal Israeli occupation that defies international law and United Nations Charters, but then that vote was postponed. Almost two weeks later as word spread that another vote might be on the horizon ahead of the March 2nd election, Washington decided to halt Netanyahu’s progress just temporarily causing him to backtrack on his plan for immediate annexation of the West bank. Netanyahu mentioned on Saturday that mapping of the region was underway.

David Friedman, the Trump administration’s Ambassador to Israel is not only one of the masterminds behind the annexation plan but has historically supported illegal colonial settlements. On Sunday, he tweeted warning Israeli politicians against taking any unilateral steps which could endanger the Plan and American recognition. Of course, Israeli Prime Minister took the cue very seriously and knowing that the US’s blessing is of utmost importance stressed to both his fans and critics that they have waited for this opportunity since 1967 and won’t jeopardize things by being impatient.

Friedman tweeted the following on Sunday February 9th, “President Trump’s Vision for Peace is the product of more than three years of close consultations among the President, PM Netanyahu and their respective senior staff. As we have stated, the application of Israeli law to the territory which the Plan provides to be part of Israel is subject to the completion of a mapping process by a joint Israeli-American committee.” He added “Any unilateral action in advance of the completion of the committee process endangers the Plan & American recognition.”

As if it wasn’t already crystal-clear that the steal of the century was never ever a legitimate deal between Israeli’s and Palestinians nor a deal that Palestinians would ever be able to consider let alone agree to, Friedman’s tweet drives home the message loud and clear. Palestinians were neither consulted, nor will they be part of the mapping process.

Amidst widespread condemnation and what many countries consider a violation of international law, steps are being taken to pave the way for the annexation of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land captured during the 1967 war. Netanyahu’s focus right now is on winning a fourth consecutive term in office and taking drastic measures could help win him the election. It’s probably also a good distraction from the series of corruption charges he is facing.

Palestinian authorities have adamantly rejected Washington’s supposed peace plan and are against any unilateral steps being taken whether it’s now or after the election that violate the 1967 Palestinian map borders. Israel tries to appeal to the masses by citing security, biblical, and historic ties to the land on which their settlements are built and Palestinians refuse to accept the theft of more of their ancestral lands.

Many Israeli’s on Twitter didn’t appreciate Friedman’s tweets; some were saying that the United States shouldn’t interfere in Israel’s internal affairs. The irony of how Israel has hijacked US Middle Eastern policies seems to go over their heads. They certainly appreciate how Trump and Kushner’s biased pro-Israeli “Deal of the Century” greenlights the subjugation of Palestinians and the illegal annexation of Palestinian-claimed land but they don’t want Washington involved in implementation or to set any guidelines on how quickly they can expand their reign of terror over Palestinians and their land.

The only reason why Israel is able to continue to override international law and make unilateral declarations of statehood and persist with its terror campaigns at the hands of its Jewish militias, all while ethnically cleansing and massacring countless Palestinians is because of its relationship with Washington and many nations around the world turning a blind eye. Due to a lack of defined borders and the absence of accountability, Israel plans to annex East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights of Syria, and soon swathes of land in the West Bank.

The bottom line is peace cannot be achieved without justice and the recognition of Palestinian human and political rights, solely by Israeli authorities and political figures. Mutual recognition, Palestinian freedom of movement and Palestinian right of return, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem are all part of the decades long conflict. A democratic state can only exist in historical Palestine if Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. live in harmony with equal rights.

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinians in Israel are the next target for the deal of the century

Women in Gaza come together to protest against Trump's 'peace deal' on 5 February 2020 [Mohammad Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Women in Gaza come together to protest against Trump’s ‘peace deal’ on 5 February 2020 [Mohammad Asad/Middle East Monitor]
MEMO | February 6, 2020

Israelis of all political persuasions welcomed the Trump “peace plan”, but the Palestinian citizens of the self-styled Jewish state are angry because the deal refers to land and population swaps between Israel and Palestinian Authority territory. This confirms that Israel wants to displace them, fulfilling right wing aspirations.

Arab members of the Israeli parliament have said that they will not agree to the deal of the century and its explicit annexation proposal. Nevertheless, the right-wing Israeli government now has a green light to strip citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in the “Triangle” in northern Israel.

It is clear that Trump’s plan is not just about taking more of the Palestinian land occupied in 1967, but that it also wants to “transfer” Palestinians from the areas occupied in 1948. Israel wants to “swap” the area with the PA; protests against this are not, therefore, simply in solidarity with the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the refugees in the diaspora. There is also a conspiracy against their existence in Israel.

The Palestinians in Israel have held crisis talks about the implications of the deal, especially for those in the Triangle, which is a predominantly Arab area in Israel, near the West Bank, divided into the Northern Triangle and the towns of Kafr Qara, Ar’ara, Baqa Al-Gharbiyye and Umm Al-Fahm, and the Southern Triangle, which includes Qalansawe, Tayibe, Kafr Qasim, Tira, Kafr Bara and Jaljulia. It is a stronghold of the Islamic movement in Israel, led by Sheikh Raed Salah.

The part of the Triangle mentioned in the Trump plan covers 350 square kilometres. The area threatened by the swap proposal covers more than 42,000 acres, inhabited by 300,000 Palestinians, who make up 20 per cent of the total Palestinian population inside Israel and have Israeli citizenship. These villages are thus a source of demographic concern for Israel due to the steadily increasing population, which is expected to reach 500,000 in the next five years, tipping the demographic balance in favour of the Palestinian Arabs.

The Triangle is more conservative in nature than the more integrated Arab regions in Israel. Swapping the land and population out of Israel will see the loss of those who best preserve traditional Palestinian identity. Local political groups believe that the land and population swap is an extension of previous efforts by Israel to liquidate the Palestinian issue; Israel wants more land but without the people of Palestine on it. It is not the first time that the Israelis have sought to transfer the largest number of Triangle residents and the least amount of land. Such a move will not only hit the Palestinians directly involved, but also their extended families and social connections, many of which will be severed.

Efforts to Judaise the Triangle areas to provide Israel with some strategic depth have included a belt of settlements on the outskirts of the Arab towns. This has caused anxiety among the Palestinians, with almost daily attacks by settlers against them and their properties. There is also a fear that another massacre like that at Kafr Qasem in 1956 is on the cards in order to make the local population leave of their own accord.

A plan developed by the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, called the “Seven Stars” project, tried to change the demographic nature of the Triangle. A Jewish majority was to be created by establishing religious centres, hemming-in Umm Al-Fahm so that it could not be developed further, and linking the area to settlements in the West Bank. This would also have seen the removal of the so-called Green “Armistice” Line of 1949 dividing the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 from those occupied in 1967. The latter were supposed to form the “State of Palestine” according to the international consensus. Sharon’s project did not get beyond the discussion stage.

It is clear that Israel is seeking to buy enough time to impose a fait accompli on the ground by getting Knesset approval for the deal. Although the Arab MKs have the third largest coalition with 12 seats, their chances of thwarting the vote on the plan are almost non-existent in light of the general agreement within Israel to implement Trump’s plan.

Israelis have declared the Palestinian-Israeli population growth as a “demographic time bomb”. With a falling birth rate among Israeli Jews, the fear is that Palestinians will outnumber them across historic Palestine within the next ten years.

Land swaps to defuse this “threat” to the “Jewishness” of the state of Israel have been mooted before, of course. Post-1967, Israel’s policies in the newly-occupied territories have included the annexation of Jerusalem, still unrecognised by most countries in the world; land confiscation; house demolitions and the removal of residency rights.

In 1982 a secret document called for the Interior Ministry to crack down on the Palestinians and push them to leave their land. This was picked up by the racist General Rehavam Ze’evi in 1988, and notorious Rabbi Meir Kahane, who called for Umm Al-Fahm to be attacked as a means of provoking its residents.

By 2004, former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman was proposing the swap of minor Israeli settlements in the West Bank with Arab villages and towns in the Triangle, based on similar agreements made post-World War Two in different parts of the world. Donald Trump’s “peace plan” is in many ways simply a US-endorsed Judaisation project giving Israel everything that it wants, for now. Its aims and objectives mirror those of earlier schemes.

Israeli security agencies are also concerned about the growing influence and activities of the Islamic movement within the “Jewish state”, particularly in the Triangle, as its ideas are similar to those of the Muslim Brotherhood. The movement also mobilises volunteers against Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque. The fear is that the conflict will spill over into serious clashes between Palestinian Muslims and religious Jews.

The timing of the release of the deal of the century helped Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces yet another general election next month — the third in less than a year — as well as indictments for corruption. The deal is a bit of a lifeline for the Israeli Prime Minister. Nevertheless, approval and implementation of its terms may be postponed until after the election, giving the Arab MKs time to try to prevent the displacement of citizens from the Triangle.

Palestinians within Israel believe that the Trump “peace plan” is anything but peaceful, and will lead to violence. In fulfilling the aims and aspirations of the Israeli far-right, it looks set to entrench even further Israel’s status as an apartheid state, with the indigenous people facing ever more discriminatory legislation and displacement. It remains to be seen if they can prevent the implementation of the plan, at least the land swap clause, which seeks to rob so many people of their citizenship and transfer them against their will.

READ ALSO:

The PA will opt for losing Palestine if it means keeping its ‘authority’

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

VIPS MEMO: Doubling Down Into Yet Another ‘March of Folly,’ This Time on Iran

January 3, 2020

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Doubling Down Into Another “March of Folly”?

The drone assassination in Iraq of Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani evokes memory of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914, which led to World War I. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to warn of “severe revenge.” That Iran will retaliate at a time and place of its choosing is a near certainty. And escalation into World War III is no longer just a remote possibility, particularly given the multitude of vulnerable targets offered by our large military footprint in the region and in nearby waters.

What your advisers may have avoided telling you is that Iran has not been isolated. Quite the contrary. One short week ago, for example, Iran launched its first joint naval exercises with Russia and China in the Gulf of Oman, in an unprecedented challenge to the U.S. in the region.

Cui Bono?

It is time to call a spade a spade. The country expecting to benefit most from hostilities between Iran and the U.S. is Israel (with Saudi Arabia in second place). As you no doubt are aware, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political life. He continues to await from you the kind of gift that keeps giving. Likewise, it appears that you, your son-in-law, and other myopic pro-Israel advisers are as susceptible to the influence of Israeli prime ministers as was former President George W. Bush. Some commentators are citing your taking personal responsibility for providing Iran with a casus belli as unfathomable. Looking back just a decade or so, we see a readily distinguishable pattern.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon played a huge role in getting George W. Bush to destroy Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Usually taciturn, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, warned in August 2002 that “U.S. action against Iraq … could turn the whole region into a cauldron.” Bush paid no heed, prompting Scowcroft to explain in Oct. 2004 to The Financial Times that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had George W. Bush “mesmerized”; that Sharon has him “wrapped around his little finger.” (Scowcroft was promptly relieved of his duties as chair of the prestigious President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.)

In Sept. 2002, well before the attack on Iraq, Philip Zelikow, who was Executive Secretary of the 9/11 Commission, stated publicly in a moment of unusual candor, “The ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The unstated threat was the threat against Israel.” Zelikow did not explain how Iraq (or Iran), with zero nuclear weapons, would not be deterred from attacking Israel, which had a couple of hundred such weapons.

Zombie Generals

When a docile, Peter-principle, “we-are-still-winning-in-Afghanistan” U.S. military leadership sends more troops (mostly from a poverty draft) to be wounded and killed in hostilities with Iran, Americans are likely, this time, to look beneath the equally docile media for answers as to why. Was it for Netanyahu and the oppressive regime in Israel? Many Americans will wake up, and serious backlash is likely.

Events might bring a rise in the kind of anti-Semitism already responsible for domestic terrorist attacks. And when body bags arrive from abroad, there may be for families and for thinking Americans, a limit to how much longer the pro-Israel mainstream media will be able to pull the wool over their eyes.

Those who may prefer to think that Gen. Scowcroft got up on the wrong side of the bed on Oct. 13, 2004, the day he gave the interview to The Financial Times may profit from words straight from Netanyahu’s mouth. On Aug. 3, 2010, in a formal VIPS Memorandum for your predecessor, we provided some “Netanyahu in his own words.” We include an excerpt here for historical context:

“Netanyahu’s Calculations

Netanyahu believes he holds the high cards, largely because of the strong support he enjoys in our Congress and our strongly pro-Israel media. He reads your [Obama’s] reluctance even to mention controversial bilateral issues publicly during his recent visit as affirmation that he is in the catbird seat in the relationship.

During election years in the U.S. (including mid-terms), Israeli leaders are particularly confident of the power they and the Likud Lobby enjoy on the American political scene.

Netanyahu’s attitude comes through in a video taped nine years ago and shown on Israeli TV, in which he bragged about how he deceived President Clinton into believing he (Netanyahu) was helping implement the Oslo accords when he was actually destroying them.

The tape displays a contemptuous attitude toward — and wonderment at — an America so easily influenced by Israel.  Netanyahu says:

“America is something that can be easily moved. Moved in the right direction. … They won’t get in our way … Eighty percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

Israeli columnist Gideon Levy wrote that the video shows Netanyahu to be “a con artist … who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes,” adding that such behavior “does not change over the years.”

Recommendation

We ended VIPS’ first Memorandum For the President (George W. Bush) with this critique of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s address at the UN earlier that day:

“No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is “irrefutable or undeniable” [as Powell claimed his was]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

We are all in a liminal moment. We write with a sense of urgency suggesting you avoid doubling down on catastrophe.

For the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer and Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (ret.)

Daniel Ellsberg, (Associate VIPS)

Graham Fuller, former vice-chairman, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Robert Furukawa, Capt, Civil Engineer Corps, USN-R, (ret.)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC Iraq; Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist and Technical Director (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Sarah Wilton, Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve (ret.) and Defense Intelligence Agency (ret.)

Robert Wing, former U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Officer (Associate VIPS)

January 4, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Preparing the Stage: A Flawed Prospectus for War, This Time With Iran

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | December 9, 2019

“This is a historic opportunity”, whispered one of Netanyahu’s insiders into Ben Caspit (a leading Israeli journalist)’s ear this week: “You have no idea what we can wheedle from the Americans now, what a golden opportunity we face when the US is about to enter an election year”.

“Bunker busters”, he mutters to Caspit, who elaborates that: “According to members of Netanyahu’s inner circle, these bombs will be given to Israel once it signs the mutual defence agreement that Netanyahu has been working on.” And though Israel’s security establishment historically have opposed a full pact, Caspit explains that the PM’s associates “are referring to a ‘partial’ defence pact focused on Iran alone.” Netanyahu’s associates insist that “the prime minister wants to make history in the next half year.”

What sort of history might that be? Why six months? Well, Caspit points up: “Netanyahu’s people, headed by minister Yuval Steinitz clearly state that a widespread war is likely to erupt in the next six months between Iran and its adversaries in the region, including Israel”. And the new Defence Minister, Bennett, threatens Iran on an almost daily basis.

“Perhaps Netanyahu simply needs a war with Iran in order to survive politically,” one of the Blue and White leaders told Caspit: “That is scary and dangerous …” .

Yet precisely such an Iran-focussed treaty was to be a key issue on the agenda of hurriedly-arranged talks with Secretary Pompeo, in Lisbon this week – a ‘summit’ that followed in the wake of a notable flock of very high-level, US Defence officials visiting Israel in recent days. In Lisbon, Netanyahu said that his talks with Pompeo had focused on: 1. Iran; 2. Iran, and number 3: Iran.

And in Washington? The Defence establishment is not echoing the Israeli call to early action (with Iran and its allies allegedly mired in wide protest), but they are fretting that Iran is not being sufficiently “deterred”.

And the US Defence Establishment is adding to the Iran hype coming from Netanyahu: “We continue to see indications … that potential Iranian aggression could occur,” John Rood, the Pentagon’s number-three official, said in the wake of a Defense Intelligence Agency report that warned that Tehran is producing “increasingly capable ballistic and cruise missiles” with better accuracy, lethality and range.

Is all this hyped ‘threat’ for real? Iran has been very explicit in saying the purpose to its calibrated push-back is ‘pressure’: i.e. a counter-pressure to force the US to re-think its economic siege policy. That is perfectly understandable, is it not? Or, is this hype just Netanyahu politicking in the lead-up to a possible third round of elections in Israel in the New Year that could see him ousted from power and heading to gaol?

The latter explanation is possible, but events suggest that Netanyahu truly does want to seal his legacy by persuading the US to join with Israel in an attack on Iran. That is a real risk, too.

And if so, again (as in 2003), such an event again will be sold to the US and European public on an entirely false prospectus.

And what is that? Well, here it is: “For a long time it looked like the spread of Iranian influence across the Middle East was unstoppable. Now, the entire Iran-hegemony enterprise is at risk. Protests have been going on in Iraq and Lebanon for weeks, bringing their economies to a near standstill, and forcing their Iran-approved prime ministers to step down. There’s no end in sight to the protests …”.

And hence, the Israeli push – led by the newly-appointed Defence Minister, Bennet, that now – precisely – is the moment for the US to act against Iran. This is the narrative for war.

Certainly, a stage is being set around this narrative: the US is engaged in an epic arm-wrestle with Iran over whom will have the primacy of influence in Iraq. The US and its European allies, too, are holding Lebanon’s economy hostage to a resolution of a financial crisis (aggravated by the deliberate draining of US dollar liquidity from Lebanon to New York), against a US demand for a scission between President Aoun’s Christian party and Hizbullah – an alliance which effectively controls parliament in Beirut, and additionally, that demand that Lebanon concede its position over the East Mediterranean oil and gas demarcation – to Israel.

And, in Syria, US forces are trying to use the Syrian Kurds to block connective links between Iran and Iraq [Lebanon], whilst Israel attacks Iranian infrastructure there, from the air.

In short, we are dealing with New Generation warfare: maximum economic pressure (and siege), to trigger popular protest, and then to leverage these genuine economic grievances suffered by the ordinary populace, through inserting small, trained elements to seed ‘messages’ – and to resort to calibrated violence against symbols of the state (in order to seize media attention) – should popular protests flag, and require reviving.

On the other hand – in what may also be understood as an ‘other’ aspect to a ‘preparing of the stage’, Israel is at work to pacify Gaza (with Gulf cash); and the US is active with the Houthis in trying to tamp down the war with Saudi Arabia: i.e. de-conflicting other potential war fronts.

The economic and governance problems in Iraq and Lebanon are real (and profound) – and they do, to a degree, impinge on Iran’s room for manoeuvre. So, what then, is the ‘false prospectus’?

It lies with the protests in Iran – and the ‘message’ being promoted by the main-stream media which has the “regime” teetering at the brink of collapse, and obliged to use unprecedented violence to quell mass unarmed protests, in the wake of an extraordinarily ineptly managed, fuel-price hike.

What is wrong with this version? Well, what is right is that the hike triggered protests across 100 cities on the Friday, 15 November. The protests were widespread, and the poorer segments of the population (traditional supporters of the state) were heavily represented. But they were not violent.

The rest of the narrative is wrong.

On the day of the truly mass protests against the fuel hike, no one was killed. And, on the following day, the protestors almost wholly vanished from the streets. Instead, small groups of pre-prepared, armed and violent activists – not protestors – attacked the strategic hubs of state infrastructure: banks, petro-chemical plants, the gas network, and fuel storage. These hubs were attacked using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and sub-machine guns. Other groups took out banks (100s of them), armed with guns, swords and iron bars. (One of these latter groups attacked six banks in the space of just one hour.) Nothing here was spontaneous or ‘populist’.

The security forces reacted militarily – arresting and killing many insurgents. And yes – the internet was shut down. But, not the internal Iranian internet – only the global internet. So, the Iranian equivalent of WhatsApp and Telegraph, and Iranian news channels were still accessible – though the global internet was not. The overseas anger at the external internet shut-down possibly reflected surprise and irritation that Iran had this capability. Likely, it was not a capacity that Iran was thought to possess.

So what was going on? The Iranian government, it seems, had prior knowledge of plans to stage attacks by ‘activists’, as a part of an (externally formulated and resourced) disruption plan. But that original plan indicated that the start of these actions would take place early next year.

What seems to have happened is that when the fuel hike protests began, these ‘activists’ were given the go-ahead to ‘seize the moment’. In other words, they activated all their pre-prepared plans prematurely. This was exactly what the Iranian security forces wanted, and had sought. It enabled them to ‘smoke out’ the plot, and to arrest, or kill the ring-leaders.

In other words, the Iranian government is not teetering at any ‘brink’ – and later internal Iranian polling shows popular anger directed principally towards the violent gangs, and to a lesser extent, towards the Rouhani Administration, for its mis-handling of the fuel-price hike – but not against the state, per se. The latter result is not so surprising as older Iranians will remember how the CIA used similar tactics – violent attacks on shops – to escalate the protests in the 1953 overthrow of PM Mosaddegh, in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of the Shah.

Here is the question: Have the various instigators of these deliberate, violent attacks, ‘come clean’ about the failure of their plan – and of the unravelling (the arrests and disruption) of their Iranian ‘networks’ to President Trump? Or, is he being presented only with the Netanyahu ‘narrative’ of an Iran cornered ‘and at the brink’?

Iran is not at the brink; its economy is not imploding, and it has not – at least not yet – been cornered in the region. The arm-wrestling between the US and Iran in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon is engaged, but not over. It is not the moment for Israel ‘to count its chickens’ with respect to an imploding Iran.

The other question then, is with all this swelling max-pressure, financialised ‘war’ operations mounted by the US, Israel, and certain Gulf States, across the Middle East, is there a way out? Or, is it likely to end in war? The momentum, as matters stand, must be towards escalation. To avoid that disaster, one or other of the parties must row back.

One ‘off-ramp’ might be that whilst Trump (ignominiously) might be ready to contemplate the disruption, the distress and hardship being administered to the people of Lebanon, Iraq and Syria in the interests of weakening Iran, he may not want to proceed to that ultimate step of war.

US polls show no popular appetite for war with Iran. Yet climbing down from his Iran ‘tree’ for Trump, will not be easy. The other off-ramp might be that Netanyahu does not remain as PM for these vital, coming six months to ‘write history’ and seal his legacy. It would be both “scary and dangerous”, for sure, were Netanyahu (and close associates) to conclude that Netanyahu needs such a war to survive – as Ben Caspit was so clearly warned.

But what is not so likely, is that Iran buckles or implodes.

December 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Say No To The US-Israel Mutual Defense Pact

By Eric Striker | National Justice | December 3, 2019

Last September, Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that they were working on a mutual defense pact. Such a treaty, if signed, would officially and permanently mandate an American military intervention if Israel were to ever start a conflict with its neighbors.

The Trump administration is desperate to get this done, but Netanyahu is having trouble selling the idea to his rival Benny Gantz. The Likud party has so far been unable to form a government and Netanyahu is battling corruption charges. As a side note, two major GOP donors, Sheldon Adelson and Larry Ellison, are defense witnesses in Bibi’s case.

The major reason why some sectors of the Israeli state want Netanyahu gone is that they believe his government’s belligerence is responsible for Iran’s stunning rise. Netanyahu has chosen Israel-above-all unilateralism using Zion’s cats-paws in Washington to try and bully Tehran, but have walked all over Chinese and Russian interests in the process.

Two years into the Trump/Israel “maximum pressure” campaign, Iran is not only more powerful than before, it is participating in joint war games with China and Russia. This has angered competing Jewish factions inside Israel, who preferred the Obama method of passively subverting Iran through its countries pro-US/pro-Europe “moderate” liberal reformists. Hassan Rouhani, who they saw as the Persian “Gorbachev,” has now been fully discredited in the eyes of his people thanks to Trump and Netanyahu.

While all segments of Israeli society are having a public debate on the pros and cons of a military pact for their country, here in the US nobody has consulted with the 1.3 million active-duty American servicemen who will die in a world war to expand Israel’s borders.

JINSA’s Plan 

Lindsay Graham has told Jews at private events that he is working on this bill and is confident it will be ratified in the Senate. So far, the only people within US borders participating in this conversation are the Republican Jewish Coalition and JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security of America). The latter fifth column is writing the terms of the treaty.

Last July, JINSA released details of the pact they want Graham to push through, titled “For a Narrow US-Israel Defense Pact,” which can be obtained online (I will not link to downloads on JINSA’s website for security reasons).

The policy paper demands that Israel be granted special access to intelligence collected by the “Five Eyes Alliance” (Australia, UK, New Zealand, Canada and the US), officially turning the entire Anglo-Saxon world into a global Jewish spy network (which is already unofficially true).

Furthermore, it calls on the war clause be triggered if any country “threatens” to use chemical or nuclear weapons against the Jewish state or physically undermines Israel’s economic activities. This is very open-ended.

The most ludicrous part of the Graham/JINSA treaty is section 3.4, where Israel is under no obligation to notify or seek approval from the United States when it decides to engage in a military attack against another party.

In other words, if Israel decides to start a war with Iran (or China, or Russia, or all of them), it doesn’t have to discuss this with its “ally” first. Israel reserves its right to act unilaterally and America must go along for the ride whether we want to or not.

America gets absolutely nothing from joining such an agreement, except the possibility of a catastrophic world war that can be started by unstable psychopaths like Benjamin Netanyahu without warning, whenever they please.

The US has not signed a mutual defense treaty since 1962.

It’s time the 98% start demanding Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham include us in this debate, and prepare to protest as soon as this bill hits the Senate floor.

December 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Finally Charged and Lacking a Mandate to Govern, Netanyahu’s Days are Numbered

By Jonathan Cook – The National – November 25, 2019

The decision to indict Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on three separate criminal counts pushes the country’s already unprecedented electoral stalemate into the entirely uncharted territory of a constitutional crisis.

There is no legal precedent for a sitting prime minister facing a trial – in Netanyahu’s case, for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was charged with corruption in 2009 but only after he had resigned from office.

Israeli commentators are already warning of the possibility of civil war if, as seems likely, Netanyahu decides to whip up his far-right supporters into a frenzy of outrage. After a decade in power, he has developed an almost cult-like status among sections of the public.

The honorable thing would be for Netanyahu to step down quickly, given that the two elections he fought this year ended in deadlock. Both were seen primarily as plebiscites on his continuing rule.

He is now the country’s caretaker prime minister, in place until either a new government can be formed or an unprecedented third election is held.

His departure would end months of governmental near-paralysis. The path would then be clear for a successor from his Likud party to negotiate a deal on a right-wing unity government with rival Benny Gantz, a former army general.

Gantz’s Blue and White party has made it a point of principle not to forge an alliance with Netanyahu.

Previous experience, however, suggests that Netanyahu might prefer to tear the house down rather than go quietly. If he is allowed to press ahead with another election in March, he is likely to stoke new levels of incitement against his supposed enemies.

Until now, the main target of his venom has been a predictable one.

During the April and September campaigns, he railed relentlessly against the fifth of Israel’s citizenry who are Palestinian as well as their elected representatives in the Joint List, the third largest faction in the Knesset.

Shortly before last Thursday’s indictment was announced, Netanyahu was at it again, holding an “emergency conference”. He told supporters that a minority government led by Gantz and propped up from outside by the Joint List would be a “historic national attack on Israel”. The Palestinian minority’s MPs, he said, “want to destroy the country”.

Such a government, he added, would be an outcome “they will celebrate in Tehran, in Ramallah and in Gaza, as they do after every terror attack”.

This repeated scaremongering had an obvious goal: rallying the Jewish public to vote for his far-right, now overtly anti-Arab coalition. The hope was that he would win an outright majority and could then force through legislation conferring on him immunity from prosecution.

Now he appears to have run out of time. After three years of investigations and much foot-dragging, the attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, has finally charged him.

According to the Israeli media, Netanyahu turned down opportunities for a plea bargain that would have seen him resign in return for avoiding jail time.

According to the most serious allegation, he is accused of granting media tycoon Shaul Elovich benefits worth $500 million in exchange for favourable coverage.

Weighed against the crimes he and other Israeli leaders have perpetrated over many decades against the Palestinians in the occupied territories, the offences he is indicted for seem relatively minor.

Nonetheless, if found guilty, Netanyahu faces a substantial prison sentence of up to 10 years. That makes the stakes high.

All the signs now are that he will switch his main target from Israel’s Palestinian minority to the legal authorities pursuing him.

His first response to the indictment was to accuse the police and state prosecutors of an “attempted coup”, claiming they had fabricated the evidence to “frame” him. “The time has come to investigate the investigators,” he urged.

As one Blue and White official told the veteran Israeli reporter Ben Caspit: “Netanyahu will not hesitate to sic [unleash] his supporters on those institutions of government that represent the rule of law. He has no inhibitions.”

Technically the law allows a prime minister to continue serving while under indictment and before a trial, which is still many months away. Assuming Netanyahu refuses to resign, the courts will have to rule on whether this privilege extends to a caretaker leader unable to form a new government.

Netanyahu is therefore likely to focus his attention on intimidating the supreme court, already cowed by a decade of tongue-lashing from the Israeli right. Critics unfairly accuse the court of being a bastion of liberalism.

But bigger dangers may lie ahead. Netanyahu needs to keep his own Likud party in line. If its members sense he is finished, there could be a rapid collapse of support and moves towards an attempt to overthrow him.

The first hints of trouble emerged on Saturday when Gideon Saar, Netanyahu’s most likely challenger in Likud, accused him of “creating an atmosphere of chaos” by denigrating the legal authorities.

After the failure by both Gantz and Netanyahu to put together a coalition, the task was passed last week to parliament. Its members have just over a fortnight left to see whether one of their number can rally a majority of MPs.

This brief window could provide an opportunity for Saar to move against Netanyahu. On Sunday he submitted an official request for the Likud party to hold a snap leadership race.

Observers fear that to allay this danger, Netanyahu might consider not only inflaming his base but also setting the region alight with a conflict to rally the rest of the public to his side and make his removal impossible.

In fact, the Israeli media reported that shortly before September’s election, he had tried to pull precisely such a stunt, preparing a war on Gaza to justify postponing the ballot.

He was stopped at the last minute by Mandelblit, who realised that the cabinet had been misled into approving military action. Netanyahu had allegedly concealed from them the fact that the military command was opposed.

In recent weeks, Netanyahu has stoked severe tensions with Gaza by assassinating Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu Al Atta. Last week he launched airstrikes on Iranian positions in Syria.

When Olmert was being investigated for corruption in 2008, Netanyahu sagely warned of the dangerous confusion of interests that might result. “He will make decisions based on his own interests of political survivability rather than the national interest,” he said.

And that is precisely the reason why many in Israel are keen to see the back of Netanyahu – in case his instinct for political survival trumps the interests of stability in the region.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 3 Comments

Why Israel is Struggling to Find a Way Out of its Political Deadlock

Likud, the Blue and White party and Yisrael Beiteinu are ideological bedfellows – but other fears have prompted a stalemate

By Jonathan Cook – The National – September 30, 2019

It would be a grave mistake to assume that the continuing political deadlock in Israel – with neither incumbent prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his main rival Benny Gantz seemingly able to cobble together a coalition government – is evidence of a deep ideological divide.

In political terms, there is nothing divided about Israel. In this month’s general election, 90 per cent of Israeli Jews voted for parties that identify as being either on the militaristic, anti-Arab right or on the religious, anti-Arab far-right.

The two parties claiming to represent the centre-left – the rebranded versions of Labour and Meretz – won only 11 seats in the 120-member parliament.

Stranger still, the three parties that say they want to form a “broad unity government” won about 60 per cent of the vote.

Mr Netanyahu’s Likud, Mr Gantz’s Blue and White party led by former generals, and ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu secured between them 73 seats – well over the 61 seats needed for a majority.

All three support the entrenchment of the occupation and annexation of parts of the West Bank; all three think the settlements are justified and necessary; and all demand that the siege of Gaza continue, view the Palestinian leadership as untrustworthy and want neighbouring Arab states cowering in fear.

Moshe Yaalon, Mr Gantz’s fellow general in the Blue and White party, was formerly a pivotal figure in Likud alongside Mr Netanyahu. And Mr Lieberman, before he created his own party, was the director of Mr Netanyahu’s office. These are not political enemies; they are ideological bedfellows.

There is one significant but hardly insumountable difference. Mr Gantz thinks it is important to maintain bipartisan US support for Israel’s belligerent occupation while Mr Netanyahu has preferred to throw Israel’s hand in with Donald Trump and the Christian religious right.

Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s president, has pressed the three parties to work together. He has suggested that Mr Netanyahu and Mr Gantz rotate the role of prime minister between them, a mechanism used in Israel’s past.

But after Mr Gantz refused last week, the president assigned Mr Netanyahu the task of trying to form a government, although most observers think the effort will prove futile. After indecisive elections in April and September, Israel therefore looks to be heading for a third round of elections.

But if the deadlock is not ideological, then what is causing it?

In truth, the paralysis has been caused by two fears – one in Likud, the other in Blue and White.

Mr Gantz is happy to sit in a unity government with the Likud party. His objection is to allying with Mr Netanyahu, who is days away from hearings with the attorney general on multiple counts of fraud and breach of trust. Mr Netanyahu wants to be in power to force through a law guaranteeing himself immunity from prosecution.

Blue and White was created to oust Mr Netayahu on the basis that he is corrupt and actively destroying what is left of Israel’s democratic institutions, including by trying to vilify state prosecutors investigating him.

For Blue and White to now prop Mr Netanyahu up in a unity government would be a betrayal of its voters.

The solution for Likud, then, should be obvious: remove Mr Netanyahu and share power with Blue and White.

But the problem is that Likud’s members are in absolute thrall to their leader. The thought of losing him terrifies them. Likud now looks more like a one-man cult than a political party.

Mr Gantz, meanwhile, is gripped by fear of a different kind.

Without Likud, the only solution for Mr Gantz is to turn elsewhere for support. But that would make him reliant on the 13 seats of the Joint List, a coalition of parties representing Israel’s large minority of Palestinian citizens.

And there’s the rub. Blue and White is a deeply Arab-phobic party, just like Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu. Its only civilian leader, Yair Lapid, notoriously refused to work with Palestinian parties after the 2013 election – before Mr Netanyahu had made racist incitement his campaign trademark.

Mr Lapid said: “I’ll never sit with the Zoabis” – a reference to the most prominent of the Palestinian legislators at the time, Haneen Zoabi.

Similarly, Mr Gantz has repeatedly stressed his opposition to sitting with the Joint List.

Nonetheless, the Joint List’s leader Ayman Odeh made an unprecedented gesture last week, throwing the weight of most of his faction behind Mr Gantz.

That was no easy concession, given Mr Gantz’s positions and his role as army chief in 2014 overseeing the destruction of Gaza. The move angered many Palestinians in the occupied territories.

But Mr Odeh saw the Palestinian minority’s turn-out in September leap by 10 percentage points compared to April’s election, so desperate were his voters to see the back of Mr Netanyahu.

Surveys also indicate a growing frustration among Palestinian citizens at their lack of political influence. Although peace talks are off Israel’s agenda, some in the minority hope it might be possible to win a little relief for their communities after decades of harsh, institutional discrimination.

In a New York Times op-ed last week, Mr Odeh justified his support for Mr Gantz. It was intended to send “a clear message that the only future for this country is a shared future, and there is no shared future without the full and equal participation of Arab Palestinian citizens”.

Mr Gantz seems unimpressed. According to an investigation by the Israeli media, Mr Netahyahu only got first crack at forming a government because Mr Gantz blanched at the prospect.

He was worried Mr Netanyahu would again smear him – and damage him in the eyes of voters – if he was seen to be negotiating with the Joint List.

Mr Netanyahu has already painted the alternatives in stark terms: either a unity government with him at its heart, or a Blue and White government backed by those who “praise terrorists”.

The Likud leader might yet pull a rabbit out of his battered hat. Mr Gantz or Mr Lieberman could cave, faced with taunts that otherwise “the Arabs” will get a foot in the door. Or Mr Netanyahu could trigger a national emergency, even a war, to bully his rivals into backing him.

But should it come to a third election, Mr Netanyahu will have a pressing reason to ensure he succeeds this time. And that will doubtless require stepping up incitement another dangerous gear against the Palestinian minority.

The reality is that there is strong unity in Israel – over shared, deeply ugly attitudes towards Palestinians, whether citizens or those under occupation. Paradoxically, the only obstacle to realising that unity is Mr Netanyahu’s efforts to cling to power.

October 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments