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America’s Limited Wars – Are They Good for Israel?

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | July 1, 2019

When is a war not a war? Apparently in the minds of some folks in Washington if it is a “single strike” or a “limited attack” it is really okay, with or without the consent of Congress as required by Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States. The Founders had wanted to take away from the chief executive the ability to go to war, a power which the kings in Europe had abused, but the current rulers of America have chosen to ignore the wisdom of the framers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They have done so by wordsmithing what they are doing and somehow attacking another country has become generally regarded as not really war at all, just a reminder to bad guys of what Washington might be capable of if it really gets angry.

Even accepting that under the War Powers Act the president has the authority to respond to an imminent threat, the U.S. was hardly threatened by the Syrians on the two occasions when Trump has ordered drone strikes. Nor was Iran a threat two weeks ago when an attack on Iranian military installations was called off within minutes of being launched.

Laws or rules of war are, in reality, pretty much a fiction. Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War includes the observation that “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” The recent Iranian shoot-down of a U.S. navy reconnaissance drone brought out the worst in all-American chest thumping chauvinism. The New York Times’ leading Zionist columnist Bret Stephens called for an attack by U.S. forces to sink the Iranian navy. Senator Tom Cotton, a Trump ally, urged a “retaliatory military strike,” while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that any killing of an American soldier or sailor in Syria or Iraq will be blamed on Iran and a U.S. military response will follow.

Bernie Sanders, in an interview with Margaret Brennan of CBS’s Face the Nation, had an interesting confrontation with Brennan over the language used to describe the aborted Iran attack. When Sanders correctly described the planned action as “war” Brennan objected, leading to the following exchange:

MARGARET BRENNAN: He was just doing a limited strike.

SEN. SANDERS: Oh, just a limited strike – well, I’m sor-ry. I just didn’t know that it’s okay to simply attack another country with bombs with just a limited strike – that’s an act of warfare.

On the day after the attack was called off, Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke with Jake Tapper of CNN saying:

JAKE TAPPER: “You think the President needs to come to Congress to get the authority to strike Iran if he wants to?”

ELIOT ENGEL: “Oh, absolutely. I think the President needs to come to Congress if … going to war with Iran. I mean, individual strike, we don’t want to tie the President’s hands. But in terms of going to war, we’re a co-equal branch of government, it’s very important that Congress have a say in it.”

Engel’s ignorance of the Constitution of the United States and the War Powers Act is profound. He is saying that an “individual strike” using the military is not war while also conceding that the president can start an armed conflict just because he got up on the wrong side of bed one morning. Eliot would not want to tie the president’s hands, perhaps recalling the heroic exploits of his own president Barack Obama, who destroyed Libya just because he felt it was the right thing to do.

Engel is, perhaps not coincidentally, a hard-core Zionist who tends to look at the Middle East through an Israeli prism. In opposition to most other Democratic congressmen, he voted for the Iraq war and against Obama’s Iran deal, both of which votes were in line with the Israeli government’s lobbying of Congress. For Engel, the first question is always “Is it good for Israel?”

And when it comes to going to war against the Muslim world, there is no one more up front than former Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Joe was interviewed by Israeli Army radio on the day after Trump canceled the Iran attack. He was troubled by Trump’s backing off from hitting Iran and advocated striking targets in the country that are both “visible and public.” He also expressed his hope that Donald Trump would quickly return to his policy of maintaining a hard line with Iran. Joe was not at all troubled about a retaliatory attack killing an estimated 150 people on the ground because “in war unfortunately people are killed, that’s just the way of the world.” Joe would, of course, prefer that non-Jews do the dying.

Perhaps the most bizarre summation of the case for America’s right to initiate what amounts to perpetual warfare came from James Jeffrey, the noticeably demented U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition. Viewing with disdain some of the Democratic presidential candidates’ calls for moving away from “endless wars,” he pounded the table while declaring “I get terribly worried. Because this shows total ignorance of what’s going on in the world today.”

He went on to opine in an interview with Defense One : “All of those candidates, in fact to a degree even more than most presidential candidates, embrace American values such as democracy, rule of law, divided government, free press, all of these great things. But let me tell you what I’ve learned in 50 years of experience. All those democratic values that we have done a great deal as a country to promote and to support around the world – and that’s a good thing, was a good thing – rest on a foundation. That foundation is an American-led global collective security system to fend off the predators that want to tear the system apart. Not just the military coalition, but the values that stand behind it.”

Jeffrey is perhaps a student of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is uniquely convinced that the U.S. has been a force for good over the past twenty years. By that logic, the United States must accept the burden of being the global policeman to maintain wonderful democratic values. Interestingly, Jeffrey cites “rule of law” and “democracy” which are, of course, the first victims in any nation that believes itself to have a right to start a war whenever it sees fit.

What is more disturbing than Jeffrey, however, is the casualness displayed by media stars and politicians alike regarding what constitutes war by virtue of the broad acceptance of euphemisms like “limited attack” or “individual strike.” One recalls the euphemism frequently cited by the Pentagon during the Vietnam War when American bombers were blowing up villages, that the U.S. was invariably “exercising the inherent right of self-defense.” Rather than citing self-defense, it would be far better seeing Washington exercising some self-restraint for a change.

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

Pandering to Israel

Time to cut the tie that binds

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 16, 2018

The ability of Israel and its powerful Lobby to control many aspects of American government while also sustaining an essentially false narrative about the alleged virtues of the Jewish State is remarkable. Politicians and journalists learned long ago that it was better to cultivate Israel’s friends than it was to support actual American interests. They also discovered to speak the truth about the Jewish State often would prove to be a death sentence career-wise, witness the experiences of Cynthia McKinney, Paul Findlay, William Fulbright, Chuck Percy, James Traficant, Pete McCloskey and Rick Sanchez.

More recently, we have seen the ascent to real political power on the part of a number of politicians whose pandering to Israel has been notorious, indicating that the path to the White House goes through Tel Aviv and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) offices on H Street in the District of Columbia. Nikki Haley, who recently resigned as United Nations Ambassador, gained national attention when she became the first state governor to sign off on laws that would punish supporters of the non-violent BDS movement. Subsequently, as ambassador, she became noted for her impassioned defense of Israel, to include complaining that “nowhere has the U.N.’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel.” She vowed that the “days of Israel bashing are over” and is now being groomed by the neocons as a possible presidential candidate for 2020. Whichever way it goes, she will be showered with money by Israel supporters as she finds her perch in the private sector, like others before her doing “work” that she does not understand while also making speeches about the importance of the Israeli relationship.

All of that said, one of the truly odd aspects of the Israeli/Jewish dominance is its ability to change the United States. Normally, a tiny client state attached to a great power would conform to its patron, but in the U.S.-Israel relationship the reverse has happened. When 9/11 occurred Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pleased, commenting that the attack would tie the United States more closely to Israel in its war against “terrorism,” which to him meant his Islamic neighbors in the Middle East. Since that time, the bilateral “special” relationship has conformed to what Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer observed in their groundbreaking book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” namely that the United States does things in the Middle East that cannot be attributed to national interest. Rather, Washington behaves in a certain way due to the power of Israel and its lobby. There is no other way to explain it.

The emergence of Israeli practices as models to be adopted by U.S. agencies has occurred, to be sure, to include Israeli training of American policemen and soldiers in their “methods,” but the odd thing is that as Israel has lurched to the right and embraced political extremism under Netanyahu, the United States has done the same thing, curtailing civil liberties with the Patriot Acts, the Military Commissions Act, and various updates of the Authorization to Use Military Force. Indefinite detention without trial and assassination of citizens overseas is now acceptable in America and criticizing Israel could soon become a criminal offense in spite of the First Amendment. In short, the United States of America has become more like Israel rather than vice versa.

With one or two exceptions, there is no one in the United States government, elected or civil service, who has anything that is not wonderful to say about Israel in spite of the numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by Netanyahu nearly daily, the unfunded costs of the wars fought in part on behalf of Israel, and the thousands of dead American soldiers plus the hundreds of thousands of dead foreigners, nearly all Muslims. Indeed, Netanyahu is treated like a conquering hero, having received 23 standing ovations from Congress in 2015 when he was in the United States complaining about an agreement with Iran made by President Barack Obama. This inside the beltway approval of Israel contrasts sharply with the general view of the rest of the world, which sees both the U.S. and Israel negatively as the two nations most likely to start a new war.

There are several recent articles that demonstrate pretty clearly the danger in allowing Israel and its friends to have the power and access that they currently enjoy purely because government and the media make no effort to tell them “no” and rein them in. One comes from New Zealand where two women wrote a letter to the pop singer Lorde, urging her to cancel an appearance in Israel due to the treatment of the Palestinians. Lorde posted the letter on twitter, agreed and the trip was canceled.

The tale would have ended there but for the fact that Israel’s parliament the Knesset has passed a law now making it illegal to support a boycott of Israel ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD [my emphasis]. Enter the group called Shurat HaDin, which is an Israeli government supported lawfare instrument, that seeks to find and sue the perceived enemies of the Jewish state, punishing them through court costs and potentially bankruptcy.

The lawsuit argued that Lorde’s response on twitter after receiving the letter showed her decision was directly influenced by the New Zealand women’s plea. Three Israeli ticket holders filed the suit, claiming the cancellation had caused emotional distress. The Israeli court awarded damages of $12,000 dollars and their lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin, boasted that the verdict was “precedent-setting,” sending a message that “no one can boycott Israel without paying for it.” Israeli government agents in New Zealand are taking steps to obtain the money, even though it remains unclear whether the plaintiffs will be able to collect the cash. Darshan-Leitner explained that she will seek to enforce the judgment through “international treaties” and go after the women’s bank accounts, either in New Zealand or if they try to travel abroad. Even if she is unsuccessful, the lawsuits will have a chilling effect on any individual or group seeking to criticize Israel’s brutal behavior by endorsing what once were perfectly legal boycotts.

A second story is possibly even more bizarre. On October 10th, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “Israel is everything we want the entire Middle East to look like going forward” while asserting that the bilateral relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv is “stronger than ever.” Pompeo was keynote speaker at an award ceremony hosted by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America in Washington D.C. He also hailed Israel as “democratic and prosperous,” adding “it desires peace, it is a home to a free press and a thriving economy.”

Pompeo also mentioned Iran, condemning the latter’s “corrupt leaders [who] assault the human rights of their own people and finance terrorism in every corner of the Middle East”. He also announced to a cheering audience that he had that same day denied a $165 million transfer of aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) because of the PA’s “funding of terror.” Pompeo was referring to the PA’s refusal to comply with Washington’s demands that it end the so-called “martyr payments” to the families of those killed or imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces.

Pompeo, together with National Security Advisor John Bolton, has been the driving force behind punishing the Iranians and Palestinians. Like others in Washington, he understands that success inside the beltway is best guaranteed by binding oneself as closely to Israel as possible. Pompeo certainly knows that Israel is not democratic, does not desire peace and is itself a major source of terrorism. Its government is corrupt, witness the current trial of Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife as well as the charges pending against the prime minister himself. A number of Israeli leaders have wound up in jail in the past few years. To describe Israel as a model for the entire Middle East is absurd, but, then again, Pompeo was speaking in front of the Jewish Institute for National Security and presumably intended to suck up to his wealthy and politically powerful audience.

How does Israel maintain its control over American politicians? First of all, no politician who wants to get reelected can risk even the mildest criticism of the Jewish state. Anyone who does so will be pilloried in the media before finding him or herself confronted by an extremely well-funded opponent who will oust them from office. And anyone who even suggests that the Palestinians are human beings that are being severely punished by a powerful Israel had best watch his or her back. On October 8th Congressman Eliot Engel of New York spoke regarding liberal Democrat rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other liberals seeking congressional seats next month, all of whom have expressed sympathy for the Palestinians while also criticizing Israel’s heavy handed repression.

Engel told a New York synagogue gathering that had been organized and promoted by AIPAC that all Democrats “need to be educated” in support of Israel. “We are going to continue to work in Congress to make sure that we have overwhelming support for Israel on both sides of the aisle… I am certainly cognizant of the fact that people who are coming in as far as I’m concerned on the Democratic side, will be educated and need to be educated. But we have overwhelming support for Israel in the Congress. And… it will continue that way. We will maintain it that way.”

So, maintaining “overwhelming support” for Israel requires doing whatever is necessary, be it fair or foul, and many Jews and Jewish organizations worldwide, like Engel, are prepared to place alleged Israeli interests ahead of those of the countries where they actually reside. In America, Jewish groups and individuals have succeeded in buying politicians and using their money and control over much of the media to corrupt the entire political system to benefit Israel.

Israel should be judged by how it behaves, not by how well it buys favor among morally challenged politicians and media shills. Nor should it be seen favorably as it engages, threatens and destroys critics. When private citizens cannot write a letter to an entertainer without risk of being sued, deference to perpetual Israeli victimhood has gone way too far. When an intelligent man like Mike Pompeo finds it in his interest to say something transparently stupid in praise of Israel, something which he knows to be the reverse of the truth, the corruption of our elites becomes clear even to those who choose to remain blind to it. When a candidate for national office has to be “educated” by Jewish politicians to say the right things about Israel it smacks of Stalinism.

We Americans don’t need any more of this nonsense, which is inter alia destroying our liberties. It is largely driven by the guilt laden “holocaust hucksterism,” as Norman Finkelstein has termed it, that has been giving Israel a free pass for seventy years. It is time for a change in thinking about how we view our “good friend and ally” Israel, a country that is neither. It is time for government to do what is best for Americans, not for Israelis.

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

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Destroying Syria

Why does Washington hate Bashar al-Assad?

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • January 23, 2018

The Donald Trump administration is planning to install a 30,000 strong armed “security force” in northern Syria along the borders with Turkey and Iraq. This presumably will tie together and support the remaining rag-tags of allegedly pro-democracy rebels and will fit in with existing and proposed U.S. bases. The maneuver is part of a broader plan to restructure Syria to suit the usual crop of neocon geniuses in Washington that have slithered their way back into the White House and National Security Council, to include renewed demands that the country’s President Bashar al-Assad “must go,” reiterated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last Wednesday. He said “But let us be clear: The United States will maintain a military presence in Syria, focused on ensuring ISIS cannot re-emerge.” Tillerson also claimed that remaining in Syria would prevent Iran from “reinforcing” its position inside Syria and would enable the eventual ouster of al-Assad, but he has also denied that Washington was creating a border force at all, yet another indication of the dysfunction in the White House.

A plan pulled together in Washington by people who should know better but seemingly don’t is hardly a blueprint for success, particularly as there is no path to anything approximating “victory” and no exit strategy. The Syrians have not been asked if they approve of an arrangement that will be put in place in their sovereign territory and the Turks have already bombed targets and sent troops and allied militias into the Afrin region, also a U.S. supported Kurdish enclave on the border. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated clearly that Ankara will disrupt any U.S. devised border arrangement. From the Turkish point of view the border security force, which reportedly will largely consist of Kurdish militiamen, will inevitably work in cooperation with the Kurdish terrorist group PKK which is active on the Turkish side of the border, in seeking to create an autonomous Kurdish state, which Turkey reasonably enough regards as an existential threat.

And then there is one other little complication, which is that the United States presence in Syria is completely illegal both under international law and under the U.S. government’s War Powers Act. Syria is a sovereign state with a recognized government and there is no U.N. or Congressional mandate that permits Washington to station its soldiers, Marines and airmen within the country’s borders. The argument that the recent Authorizations to Use Military Force (AUMF) permitted the activity because groups linked to al-Qaeda were active there and the local government was unable to expel them is only thinly credible as the U.S. has also attacked Syrian Army forces and the militiamen linked to Syria’s ally Iran. That constitutes a war crime.

Trump can under the War Powers Act take military action to counter an imminent threat, which was never the case from Syria in any event, but after 60 days he has to cease or desist or go to Congress for authorization up to and possibly including a declaration of war. The military offensive against Syria began under President Barack Obama and it is far beyond that two-month window already, so egregiously in violation that some Congressmen are actually beginning to take notice. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia has demanded that no military initiatives in Syria be undertaken without a Senate vote. He said on Thursday that“I am deeply alarmed that yet again, the Trump administration continues to raise the risk of unnecessary war, disconnected from any firm policy objectives and core national security interests. To be clear, neither the 2001 or 2002 AUMFs provide authority to target Assad or Iranian proxies in Syria, and it is unacceptable for this action to be taken absent a vote and approval of Congress.”

The animus against Syria runs deep, to include questionable claims from generally hostile sources that al-Assad has deliberately massacred hundreds of thousands of his own people as well as dubious assertations about the use of chemical weapons that led to a U.S. cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase in Shayrat. A perfect example of how brain dead the western media is over the issue was provided by last week’s article by David Brunnstrom of Reuters on the Tillerson speech, where he wrote “U.S. forces in Syria have already faced direct threats from Syrian and Iranian-backed forces, leading to the shoot-down of Iranian drones and a Syrian jet last year, as well as to tensions with Russia.” The uninformed reader would assume that Americans were the victims of an attack and aggression by Moscow whereas the reality is quite different. Iran and Russia are allies of the legitimate Syrian government that are in the country by invitation to help in its fight against groups that everyone acknowledges to be terrorists. The United States is there illegally and is as often as not using its proxies to fight the Syrian Army.

Syria-phobia goes back to the George W. Bush Administration in December 2003, when Congress passed the Syria Accountability Act, House Resolution 1828. Syria at that time was already in the cross-hairs of two principal American so-called allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Both were actively working to destabilize the regime, though for different reasons. The Saudis were fearful of Iranian influence over Damascus but also had a religious agenda in that the secular Syrian regime was protective of religious minorities and was itself an offshoot of Shi’a Islam referred to as Alawites. The Saudis considered them to be heretics.

The Israelis for their part were enamored of the Yinon Plan of 1982 and the Clean Break proposals made in 1996 by a team of Jewish American neocons. Their intention was to transform most of Israel’s neighboring Arab states into warring tribes and ethnicities so they would no longer be a threat. Israeli leaders have stated openly that they would prefer continued chaos in Syria, which remains a prime target. Israel is, in fact, currently bombing Syrian Army positions, most recently near Damascus, while also supporting the ISIS and al-Nusra Front remnants.

The Syrian Accountability Act does indeed read at times like the completely bogus indictment of Saddam Hussein that had led to the invasion of Iraq earlier in 2003. It cites development of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, but its main focus is related to the alleged support of terrorist groups by Damascus. It “Declares the sense of Congress that the Government of Syria should immediately and unconditionally halt support for terrorism, permanently and openly declare its total renunciation of all forms of terrorism, and close all terrorist offices and facilities in Syria, including the offices of Hamas, Hizballah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.”

One might note that the groups cited by name are not identified as being a threat to the United States. Rather, they are organizations hostile to Israel, which suggests that the motivation for the bill was the usual dominant pro-Israeli sentiment in Congress. The bill’s sponsor was Eliot Engel of New York, a passionately pro-Israeli legislator.

Be that as it may, the drive to “get” Syria has remained a constant in American Foreign Policy to this day. When the U.S. still had an Embassy in Damascus, in December 2010 President Barack Obama maladroitly sent as Ambassador Robert Ford. Ford actively supported the large demonstrations by anti-regime Syrians inspired by the Arab Spring who were opposed to the al-Assad government and he might even have openly advocated an armed uprising, a bizarre interpretation of what Ambassadors are supposed to do in a foreign country. He once stated absurdly that if the U.S. had armed opponents of the regime, al-Qaeda groups would have been “unable to compete.” Ford was recalled a year later, after being pelted by tomatoes and eggs, over concerns that his remaining in country might not be safe, but the damage had been done and normal diplomatic relations between Damascus and Washington have never been restored.

The desire to bring about regime change in Damascus gathered considerable steam in 2011. Harsh government efforts to repress the demonstrations that did take place inevitably led to violence in both directions and the United States, Saudis and the Gulf States subsequently began to arm the rebels and support the formation of the Free Syrian Army, which Washington assured the American public consisted of only good people who wanted democracy and fundamental rights. To no one’s surprise many of the fledgling democrats accepted U.S. training and weapons before defecting to the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front or to ISIS.

Currently, the reconstruction of Syria is proceeding. The Syrian Arab Army is wiping out the last few enclaves controlled by ISIS in Idlib Province and the so-called Syrian Civil War will soon be over but for the mopping up. Many internal refugees have returned to their homes after the government reasserted control and also thousands who fled overseas have reportedly come back. Note that they are returning to areas where the al-Assad government is firmly in charge, perhaps suggesting that, while there were legitimate grievances among the Syrian people, the propaganda insisting that most Syrians were opposed to the regime was grossly overstated. There is considerable evidence that Bashar al-Assad is actually supported by a large majority of the Syrian people, even among those who would welcome more democracy, because they know the alternative to him is chaos.

One would like to think that Syria might again be Syria but Washington is baying for blood and clearly would like to see a solution that involves a fragmentation of the state enabling containment and rollback of Iranian influence there while also satisfying both its clients Israel and the Saudis as well as creating a possible mini-state for the Kurds. The destruction of Syria and the Syrian people will just be regarded as collateral damage while building a new Middle East. Hopefully the Syrians, backed by Iran, Russia and China will prevent that from happening and as the U.S. did not directly engage in much of the hard fighting that destroyed ISIS, it thankfully has little leverage over what comes next.

Whether it is Riyadh or Tel Aviv leading Washington by the nose is somehow irrelevant as the blame for what is taking place is squarely on the White House. The United States has no coherent policy, nor any actual national interest in remaining in Syria, but the strange political alignments that appear to be playing out in and around the Oval Office have generated a desire to destroy a country and people that in no way threaten the U.S. Someone should remind the president that similar scenarios did not turn out very well in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. No one should expect that Syria will be any different.

January 23, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

‘Doing Nothing is Not an Option:’ Congress Demands Anti-Russian Propaganda Plan

Sputnik – 07.08.2017

Posing an ultimatum to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US lawmakers are hinting that Congress will create a specific strategy to combat “Russian propaganda campaigns” if the State Department fails to do so.

“I urge you to come up with a strategy and work with Congress to implement it at once,” New York Representative Eliot Engel, ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to Tillerson. “Otherwise, the House and Senate will look for legislative alternatives to direct the administration to treat the threats of Russia and [Daesh] with the seriousness they deserve.”

​Sent on Friday but revealed to the public Monday, Engel’s letter was prompted by reports that Tillerson was uneasy about using the nearly $80 million Congress has allocated to fight alleged misinformation from Moscow, instead opting to make amends.

Currently, $60 million earmarked for the State Department’s Global Engagement Center is at the Pentagon and another $19.8 million has been left untouched at the State Department, Politico reports. The Global Engagement Center is a unit that replaced the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication in 2016, and is “charged with coordinating US counterterrorism messaging to foreign audiences,” according to its site. Though Tillerson’s team has indicated they want to avoid spending money wastefully, the $60 million will be reabsorbed on September 30 if it isn’t transferred, officials told Politico.

“It seems again that this Administration just isn’t getting the message about Russia, so let me put it plainly: Russia is not America’s friend,” Engel stressed. “President Putin attacked American democracy.”

“Doing nothing is not an option,” the congressman warned.

If Tillerson fails to respond, lawmakers may once again take it upon themselves to tie US President Donald Trump’s hands on foreign policy, according to reports, as they did with the most recent sanctions bill, which put restrictions on the president’s ability to modify sanctions against Russia.

“While we, too, would ultimately like to see better relations with Russia, the Kremlin’s actions simply do not permit such improvement,” Engel noted.

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia teams up with Israel in anti-Qatar lobbying in the US Congress

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali – Journal of America – June 10, 2017

US proposed  legislation – Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017 – threatening to sanction Qatar for its support of the so-called “Palestinian terror” was sponsored by 10 lawmakers who received more than $1m over the last 18 months from lobbyists and groups linked to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, Al Jazeera reported Friday.

The HR 2712 bill was introduced to the US House of Representatives on May 25, but the text wasn’t available until Friday morning, hours after Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt put 59 people and 12 institutions linked to Qatar on a “terror list”, Al Jazeera said.

HR 2712’s sponsors received donations totaling $1,009,796 from pro-Israel individuals and groups for the 2016 election cycle alone, according data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent research group tracking money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy, and then compiled by Al Jazeera.

Sponsors of the bill are: Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-18), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39) and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (NY-16). The bill is co-sponsored by Congressmen Brad Sherman (CA-30), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Ted Poe (TX-2), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Thomas Suozzi (NY-3).

Al Jazeera reported that Royce received $242,143 from pro-Israel sources for the 2016 election cycle, $190,150 went to Engel. Mast, who volunteered with the Israeli military after he finished serving in the US Army, received $90,178.

“Following my service in the U.S. Army, I chose to volunteer alongside the Israeli Defense Forces because our countries share the common ideals of freedom, democracy and mutual respect for all people. Hamas preaches destruction to Israel and death to the values we hold dear in the United States. They have murdered more than 400 Israelis and at least 25 American citizens.” Rep. Mast was quoted as saying.

According to Trita Parsi, the founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a nonprofit that aims to strengthen the voice of US citizens of Iranian descent, there are similarities between the US-allied Arab nations’ “terror list” and HR 2712 show[ing] growing cooperation between Gulf Arab states and Israel.

“The coordination between hawkish pro-Israel groups and UAE and Saudi Arabia has been going on for quite some time,” Parsi told Al Jazeera. What is new, he continued, is pro-Israel groups such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies “coming out with pro-Saudi [articles] and lobbying for them on Capitol Hill”.

Parsi was quoted as saying that the sponsors of the bill are traditional pro-Saudi lawmakers, however they are in the pro-Likud camp. Likud  is the party of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

President is required

The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act requires the President to submit to Congress an annual report for the next three years identifying foreign persons, agencies or instrumentalities of a foreign state who knowingly and materially assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or an affiliate or successor of one of those organizations.

After identifying the organizations, the President must impose two or more sanctions, including denying

a) Export-Import guarantees,
b) defense support under the Arms Export Control Act,
c) export of munitions to any agreement to which a person identified is a part,
d) export of goods or technology controlled for national security reasons,
e) loans more than $10 million, or
f) seizure of property held within the United States.

The bill also requires the President to report to Congress on each government that provides support for acts of terrorism and provides material support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor organization, or the President determines to have engaged in a significant transaction to knowingly and materially provide support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any affiliate or successor organization.

After identifying the governments, the President must suspend U.S. assistance to that government for one year, instruct the executive directors of each international finance institution to vote against any loan or technical assistance to that government and prohibit any munitions export to that government for one year.

Additionally, the President must prohibit that government’s transactions in foreign exchanges that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and prevent that government’s transfers of credits or payments between financial institutions subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Important Sections of the HR 2712 Bill

Section 2: Findings and Statement of Policy

Subsections (a)(3) and (4) state that “Hamas has received significant financial and military support” from Qatar and that the Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence confirmed that “Qatar, a longtime US ally has for many years openly financed Hamas.” The bill also finds that Qatar hosts a number of high-ranking Hamas officials, including Khaled Mashal.

Subsections (a)(5) through (7) outline Iran’s material and financial support and subsections (8) through (10) detail Iranian support to the PIJ.

Section 3: Imposition of Sanctions with Respect to Foreign Persons and Agencies and Instrumentalities of Foreign States Supporting Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Affiliate or Successor Group

No later than 120 days after H.R. 2712 is enacted—then once a year for no more than three years—the president must report to Congress the foreign persons, agencies, and instrumentalities of foreign states that provide support to the aforementioned groups. Two exceptions are reserved for the president, however. If the president notifies Congress 15 days prior to completing a “significant transaction” with a foreign entity or agency that is in the “national interest” of the United States, the foreign entity or agency may be exempt from sanctions. The other exception is reserved for the president to issue waivers that would exempt a foreign entity or agency from sanctions for 120 days, as long as Congress is notified seven days prior.

Set forth in this bill are sanctions on the following:

  • Banking and financing (e.g., extensions of credit, guarantees, insurance, etc.)
  • Defense-related sales (including munitions, defense services, and construction services)
  • Goods and technologies regulated through the Export Administration or included in the US Munitions List
  • Medical, agricultural, and humanitarian goods and services are not included among sanctioned items.

Section 4: Imposition of Sanctions with Respect to Foreign Governments That Provide Material Support to Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Affiliate or Successor Thereof

Much like Section 3, Section 4 sets a 120-day deadline after enactment for the president to report to Congress any governments the Secretary of State has determined “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” This report must be resubmitted, with relevant information, every 180 days.

The sanctions set forth in this section include the prohibition or suspension of the following for one year:

  • US aid to the foreign government
  • Extension of loans and financial or technical services
  • Export of items on the US Munitions List or Commerce Control List
  • Transactions in foreign exchanges in which the United States has jurisdiction
  • Transfers of credit or payments between one or more financial institutions subject to US jurisdiction
  • Should the president determine it is in US security interests and notify Congress seven days in advance, he can waive any foreign government sanctions for 180 days.

Section 5: Report on Activities of Foreign Countries to Disrupt Global Fundraising, Financing, and Money Laundering Activities of Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Successor or Affiliate Thereof

This bill outlines a reporting requirement for the president, no later than 180 days after the bill’s enactment. The president must report a list of foreign countries providing support for the aforementioned organizations and further assessments including:

  • Steps the foreign government is taking to freeze assets of these groups
  • Any reasons the government is not taking adequate steps to freeze assets
  • Measures taken by the United States to freeze assets
  • List of countries where the aforementioned groups fundraise and steps those countries are taking to disrupt the fundraising efforts
  • List of countries from which the groups receive surveillance equipment and what measures are being taken to disrupt the acquisition.

To borrow from Marcus Montgomery, an Analyst at the Washington DC-based Arab Center, the language of HR 2712 is interesting since it introduces sanctions for actions likely already covered under existing legislation. Hamas and the PIJ are both designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) by the State and Treasury Departments, respectively. With that in mind, it is already illegal for US entities or institutions to support such groups. Thus, the sanctions proposed in this bill that pertain to US jurisdiction are redundant.

Formally targeting Iran is redundant as well because Tehran has been declared a state sponsor of terror by the State Department and prohibitions against exports of arms, financial and technical services, and US aid to Iran are already in place.

For Marcus Montgomery, Qatar would be the truly new target under this legislation, but as an ally with which the United States has economic and military ties, it is tough to see many in the Senate agreeing to label Qatar a de facto state sponsor of terror.

Erdogan vows to stand by ‘Qatari brothers’

Interestingly, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Friday called for full removal of a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar after approving the deployment of Turkish troops there, saying Riyadh needed to put brotherhood ahead of animosity.

Erdogan said isolating Qatar would not resolve any regional problems and vowed to do everything in his power to help end the regional crisis. “We will not abandon our Qatari brothers,” Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party at a fast-breaking meal on Friday in Istanbul during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“I also have a special request from the Saudi administration. You are the largest and most powerful state in the Gulf. We call you the Custodian of the Holy Places. You especially should work for brotherhood, not animosity. You have to work for bringing brothers together. This is what we expect from Saudi, the Custodian of the Holy Mosques,” Erdogan was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.

“I say it should be lifted completely,” Erdogan said of the embargo.

Turkey, which has maintained good relations with Qatar, as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbors, offered food and water supplies to stave off possible shortages. “There are those who are uncomfortable with us standing by our Qatari brothers, providing them with food. I’m sorry, we will continue to give Qatar every kind of support,” Erdogan said, adding that he had never witnessed Doha supporting “terrorism”.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s parliament ratified two deals on deploying troops to Qatar and training the Gulf nation’s security forces. The deal to send Turkish soldiers in Qatar, aimed at improving the country’s army and boosting military cooperation, was signed in April 2016 in Doha.

After an initial deployment of Turkish soldiers at a base in Doha, Turkish fighter jets and ships will also be sent, the mass-circulation Hurriyet newspaper said on its website on Friday.

“The number of Turkish warplanes and Turkish warships going to the base will become clear after the preparation of a report based on an initial assessment at the base,” Hurriyet said.

A Turkish delegation will go to Qatar in the coming days to assess the situation at the base, where about 90 Turkish soldiers are currently based, Hurriyet said adding: there were plans send some 200 to 250 soldiers within two months in the initial stage.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Caesar photo fraud that undermined Syrian negotiations

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By Rick Sterling | American Herald Tribune | March 4, 2016

A 30 page investigative report on the “Caesar Torture Photos” has been released and is available online here. The following is a condensed version of the report. Readers who are especially interested are advised to get the full report which includes additional details, photographs, sources and recommendations. 

Introduction

There is a pattern of sensational but untrue reports that lead to public acceptance of US and Western military intervention in countries around the world:

* In Gulf War 1, there were reports of Iraqi troops stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. Relying on the testimony of a Red Crescent doctor, Amnesty Interenational ‘verified’ the false claims.

* Ten years later, there were reports of yellow cake uranium going to Iraq for development of weapons of mass destruction.

* One decade later, there were reports of Libyan soldiers drugged on viagra and raping women as they advanced.

* In 2012, NBC broadcaster Richard Engel was supposedly kidnapped by pro-Assad Syrian militia but luckily freed by Syrian opposition fighters, the “Free Syrian Army”.

All these reports were later confirmed to be fabrications and lies. They all had the goal of manipulating public opinion and they all succeeded in one way or another. Despite the consequences, which were often disastrous, none of the perpetrators were punished or paid any price.

It has been famously said “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” This report is a critical review of the “Caesar Torture Photos” story. As will be shown, there is strong evidence the accusations are entirely or substantially false.

Overview of ‘Caesar Torture Photos’

On 20 January 2014, two days before negotiations about the Syrian conflict were scheduled to begin in Switzerland, a sensational report burst onto television and front pages around the world. The story was that a former Syrian army photographer had 55,000 photographs documenting the torture and killing of 11,000 detainees by the Syrian security establishment.

The Syrian photographer was given the code-name ‘Caesar’. The story became known as the “Caesar Torture Photos”. A team of lawyers plus digital and forensic experts were hired by the Carter-Ruck law firm, on contract to Qatar,  to go to the Middle East and check the veracity of “Caesar” and his story. They concluded that “Caesar” was truthful and the photographs indicated “industrial scale killing”. CNN, London’s Guardian and LeMonde broke the story which was subsequently broadcast in news reports around the world. The Caesar photo accusations were announced as negotiations began in Switzerland. With the opposition demanding the resignation of the Syrian government, negotiations quickly broke down.

For the past two years the story has been preserved with occasional bursts of publicity and supposedly corroborating reports. Most recently, in December 2015 Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report titled “If the Dead Could Speak” with significant focus on the Caesar accusations.

Following are 12 significant problems with the ‘Caesar torture photos’ story.

1. Almost half the photos show the opposite of the allegations.

The Carter Ruck Inquiry Team claimed there were about 55,000 photos total with about half of them taken by  ‘Caesar’ and the other half by other photographers. The Carter Ruck team claimed the photos were all ‘similar’. Together they are all known as ‘Caesar’s Torture Photos’.

The photographs are in the custody of an opposition organization called the Syrian Association for Missing and Conscience Detainees (SAFMCD). In 2015, they allowed Human Rights Watch (HRW) to study all the photographs which have otherwise been secret. In December 2015, HRW released their report titled “If the Dead Could Speak”. The biggest revelation is that over 46% of the photographs (24,568) do not show people ‘tortured to death” by the Syrian government.  On the contrary, they show dead Syrian soldiers and victims of car bombs and other violence (HRW pp2-3). Thus, nearly half the photos show the opposite of what was alleged. These photos, never revealed to the public, confirm that the opposition is violent and has killed large numbers of Syrian security forces and civilians.

2. The claim that other photos only show ‘tortured detainees’ is exaggerated or false.

The Carter Ruck report says ‘Caesar’ only photographed bodies brought from Syrian government detention centers. In their December 2015 report, HRW said, “The largest category of photographs, 28,707 images, are photographs Human Rights Watch understands to have died in government custody, either in one of several detention facilities or after being transferred to a military hospital.” They estimate 6,786 dead individuals in the set.

The photos and the deceased are real, but how they died and the circumstances are unclear. There is strong evidence some died in conflict. Others died in the hospital. Others died and their bodies were decomposing before they were picked up. These photographs seem to document a war time situation where many combatants and civilians are killed. It seems the military hospital was doing what it had always done: maintaining a photographic and documentary record of the deceased. Bodies were picked up by different military or intelligence branches. While some may have died in detention; the great majority probably died in the conflict zones. The accusations by ‘Caesar’, the Carter Ruck report and HRW that these are all victims of “death in detention” or “death by torture” or death in ‘government custody” are almost certainly false.

3. The true identity of “Caesar” is probably not as claimed.

The Carter Ruck Report says “This witness who defected from Syria and who had been working for the Syrian government was given the code-name ‘Caesar’ by the inquiry team to protect the witness and members of his family.” (CRR p12) However if his story is true, it would be easy for the Syrian government to determine who he really is. After all, how many military photographers took photos at Tishreen and Military 601 Hospitals during those years and then disappeared? According to the Carter Ruck report, Caesar’s family left Syria around the same time. Considering this, why is “Caesar” keeping his identity secret from the western audience? Why does “Caesar” refuse to meet even with highly sympathetic journalists or researchers?

The fact that 46% of the total photographic set is substantially the opposite of what was claimed indicates two possibilities:

* Caesar and his promoters knew the contents but lied about them expecting nobody to look.

* Caesar and his promoters did not know the contents and falsely assumed they were like the others.

The latter seems more likely which supports the theory that Caesar is not who he claims to be.

4. The Carter Ruck Inquiry was faulty, rushed and politically biased.

The credibility of the “Caesar” story has been substantially based on the Carter-Ruck Inquiry Team which “verified” the defecting photographer and his photographs. The following facts suggest the team was biased with a political motive:

* the investigation was financed by the government of Qatar which is a major supporter of the armed opposition.

* the contracted law firm, Carter Ruck and Co, has previously represented Turkey’s President Erdogan, also known for his avid support of the armed opposition.

* the American on the legal inquiry team, Prof David M. Crane, has a long history working for U.S. Dept of Defense and Defense Intelligence Agency. The U.S. Government has been deeply involved in the attempt at ‘regime change’ with demands that ‘Assad must go’ beginning in summer 2011 and continuing until recently.

* Prof Crane is personally partisan in the conflict. He has campaigned for a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal and testified before Congress in October 2013, three months before the Caesar revelations.

* by their own admission, the inquiry team was under “time constraints” (CRR, p11).

* by their own admission, the inquiry team did not even survey most of the photographs

* the inquiry team was either ignorant of the content or intentionally lied about the 46% showing dead Syrian soldiers and attack victims.

* the inquiry team did their last interview with “Caesar” on January 18, quickly finalized a report and rushed it into the media on January 20, two days prior to the start of UN sponsored negotiations.

The self-proclaimed “rigor” of the Carter Ruck investigation is without foundation. The claims to a ‘scientific’ investigation are similarly without substance and verging on the ludicrous.

5.  The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is involved.

In an interview on France24, Prof. David Crane of the inquiry team describes how ‘Caesar’ was brought to meet them by “his handler, his case officer”. The expression ‘case officer’ usually refers to the CIA. This would be a common expression for Prof. Crane who previously worked in the Defense Intelligence Agency.  The involvement of the CIA additionally makes sense since there was a CIA budget of $1Billion for Syria operations in 2013.

Prof. Crane’s “Syria Accountability Project” is based at Syracuse University where the CIA actively recruits new officers despite student resistance.

Why does it matter if the CIA is connected to the ‘Caesar’ story? Because the CIA has a long history of disinformation campaigns. In 2011, false reports of viagra fueled rape by Libyan soldiers were widely broadcast in western media as the U.S. pushed for a military mandate. Decades earlier, the world was shocked to hear about Cuban troops fighting in Angola raping Angolan women. The CIA chief of station for Angola, John Stockwell, later described how they invented the false report and spread it round the world.  The CIA was very proud of that disinformation achievement. Stockwell’s book, “In Search of Enemies” is still relevant.

6. The prosecutors portray simple administrative procedures as mysterious and sinister.

The Carter Ruck inquiry team falsely claimed there were about 11,000 tortured and killed detainees. They then posed the question: Why would the Syrian government photograph and document the people they just killed? The Carter Ruck Report speculates that the military hospital photographed the dead to prove that the “orders to kill” had been followed. The “orders to kill” are assumed.

A more logical explanation is that dead bodies were photographed as part of normal hospital / morgue procedure to maintain a file of the deceased who were received or treated at the hospital.

The same applies to the body labeling / numbering system. The Carter Ruck report suggests there is something mysterious and possibly sinister in the coded tagging system. But all morgues need to have a tagging and identification system.

7. The photos have been manipulated.

Many of the photos at the SAFMCD website have been manipulated. The information card and tape identity are covered over and sections of documents are obscured. It must have been very time consuming to do this for thousands of photos. The explanation that they are doing this to ‘protect identity’ is not credible since the faces of victims are visible. What are they hiding?

8. The Photo Catalog has duplicates and other errors.

There are numerous errors and anomalies in the photo catalog as presented at the SAFMCD website.

For example, some deceased persons are shown twice with different case numbers and dates.

There are other errors where different individuals are given the same identity number.

Researcher Adam Larson at A Closer Look at Syria website has done detailed investigation which reveals more errors and curious error patterns in the SAFMCD photo catalog.

9. With few exceptions, Western media uncritically accepted and promoted the story.

The Carter Ruck report was labeled “Confidential” but distributed to CNN, the Guardian and LeMonde.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour gushed the story as she interviewed three of the inquiry team under the headline “EXCLUSIVE: Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime”. Critical journalism was replaced by leading questions and affirmation. David Crane said “This is a smoking gun”.  Desmond de Silva “likened the images to those of holocaust survivors”.

The Guardian report was titled “Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of ‘industrial scale’ killing of detainees” with subtitle “Senior war crimes prosecutors say photographs and documents provide ‘clear evidence’ of systematic killing of 11,000 detainees”

One of the very few skeptical reports was by Dan Murphy in the Christian Science Monitor.  Murphy echoed standard accusations about Syria but went on to say incisively, “the report itself is nowhere near as credible as it makes out and should be viewed for what it is: A well-timed propaganda exercise funded by Qatar, a regime opponent who has funded rebels fighting Assad who have committed war crimes of their own.”

Unfortunately that was one of very few critical reports in the mainstream media.

In 2012, foreign affairs journalist Jonathan Steele wrote an article describing the overall media bias on Syria.. His article was titled “Most Syrians back Assad but you’d never know from western media”. The media campaign and propaganda has continued without stop. It was in this context that the Carter Ruck Report was delivered and widely accepted without question.

10. Politicians have used the Caesar story to push for more US/NATO aggression. 

Politicians seeking direct US intervention for ‘regime change’ in Syria were quick to accept and broadcast the ‘Caesar’ story. They used it to demonize the Assad government and argue that the US must act so as to prevent “another holocaust’, ‘another Rwanda’, ‘another Cambodia’.

When Caesar’s photos were displayed at the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress, Chairman Ed Royce said “It is far past time that the world act…. It is far past time for the United States to say there is going to be a safe zone across this area in northern Syria.”

The top ranking Democrat in the House Foreign Affairs Committee is Eliot Engel. In November 2015 he said “We’re reminded of the photographer, known as Caesar, who sat in this room a year ago, showing us in searing, graphic detail what Assad has done to his own people.” Engel went on to advocate for a new authorization for the use of military force.

Rep Adam Kinzinger is another advocate for aggression against Syria. At an event at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in July 2015 he said, “If we want to destroy ISIS we have to destroy the incubator of ISIS, Bashar al-Assad.”

The irony and hypocrisy is doubly profound since Rep Kinzinger has met and coordinated with opposition leader Okaidi who is a confirmed ally of ISIS. In contrast with Kinzinger’s false claims, it is widely known that ISIS ideology and initial funding came from Saudi Arabia and much of its recent wealth from oil sales via Turkey.  The Syrian Army has fought huge battles against ISIS, winning some but losing others with horrific scenes of mass beheading.  

11. The Human Rights Watch assessment is biased.

HRW has been very active around Syria. After the chemical attacks in greater Damascus on August 21, 2013, HRW rushed a report which concluded that, based on a vector analysis of incoming projectiles, the source of the sarin carrying rockets must have been Syrian government territory. This analysis was later debunked as a “junk heap of bad evidence” by highly respected investigative journalist Robert Parry. HRW’s assumption about the chemical weapon rocket flight distance was faulty. Additionally it was unrealistic to think you could determine rocket trajectory with 1% accuracy from a canister on the ground.  To think you could determine flight trajectory from a canister on the ground that had deflected off a building wall was preposterous.

In spite of this, HRW stuck by its analysis which blamed the Assad government. HRW Director Ken Roth publicly indicated dissatisfaction when an agreement to remove Syrian chemical weapons was reached. Mr. Roth wanted more than a ‘symbolic’ attack.

In light of the preceding, we note the December 2015 HRW report addressing the claims of Caesar.

HRW seems to be the only non-governmental organization to receive the full set of photo files from the custodian. To its credit, HRW acknowledged that nearly half the photos do not show what has been claimed for two years: they show dead Syrian soldiers and militia along with scenes from crime scenes, car bombings, etc…

But HRW’s bias is clearly shown in how they handle this huge contradiction. Amazingly, they suggest the incorrectly identified photographs support the overall claim. They say, “This report focuses on deaths in detention. However other types of photographs are also important. From an evidentiary perspective, they reinforce the credibility of the claims of Caesar about his role as a forensic photographer of the Syrian security forces or at least with someone who has access to their photographs.” (HRW, p31) This seems like saying if someone lies to you half the time that proves they are truthful.

The files disprove the assertion that the files all show tortured and killed. The photographs show a wide range of deceased persons, from Syrian soldiers to Syrian militia members to opposition fighters to civilians trapped in conflict zones to regular deaths in the military hospital. There may be some photos of detainees who died in custody after being tortured, or who were simply executed. We know that this happened in Iraqi detention centers under U.S. occupation. Ugly and brutal things happen in war times. But the facts strongly suggest that the ‘Caesar’ account is basically untrue or a gross exaggeration.

It is striking that the HRW report has no acknowledgment of the war conditions and circumstances in Syria. There is no acknowledgment that the government and Syrian Arab Army have been under attack by tens of thousands of weaponized fighters openly funded and supported by many of the wealthiest countries in the world.

There is no hint at the huge loss of life suffered by the Syrian army and supporters defending their country. The current estimates indicate from eighty to one hundred and twenty thousand Syrian soldiers, militia and allies having died in the conflict. During the three years 2011 – 2013, including the period covered by Caesar photos, it is estimated that over 52,000 Syrian soldiers and civilian militia died versus 29,000 anti-government forces.

HRW had access to the full set of photographs including the Syrian army and civilian militia members killed in the conflict. Why did they not list the number of Syrian soldiers and security forces they identified? Why did they not show a single image of those victims?

HRW goes beyond endorsing the falsehoods in the ‘Caesar’ story; they suggest it is a partial listing. On page 5 the report says, “Therefore, the number of bodies from detention facilities that appear in the Caesar photographs represent only a part of those who died in detention in Damascus.”

On the contrary, the Caesar photographs seem to mostly show victims who died in a variety of ways in the armed conflict. The HRW assertions seem to be biased and inaccurate.

12. The legal accusations are biased and ignore the supreme crime of aggression.

The Christian Science Monitor journalist Dan Murphy gave an apt warning in his article on the Carter Ruck report about ‘Caesar’. While many journalists treated the prosecutors with uncritical deference, he said, “Association with war crime prosecutions is no guarantor of credibility – far from it. Just consider Luis Moreno Ocampo’s absurd claims about Viagra and mass rape in Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya in 2011. War crimes prosecutors have, unsurprisingly, a bias towards wanting to bolster cases against people they consider war criminals (like Assad or Qaddafi) and so should be treated with caution. They also frequently favor, as a class, humanitarian interventions.”

The Carter Ruck legal team demonstrated how accurate those cautions were. They were eager to accuse the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity” but the evidence of “industrial killing”, “mass killing”, “torturing to kill” is dubious and much of the hard evidence shows something else.

In contrast, there is clear and solid evidence that a “Crime against Peace” is being committed against Syria. It is public knowledge that the “armed opposition” in Syria has been funded, supplied and supported in myriad ways by various outside governments. Most of the fighters, both Syrian and foreign, receive salaries from one or another outside power. Their supplies, weapons and necessary equipment are all supplied to them. Like the “Contras” in Nicaragua in the 1980’s, the use of such proxy armies is a violation of customary international law.

It is also a violation of the UN Charter which says “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any  other matter inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”.

The government of Qatar has been a major supporter of the mercenaries and fanatics attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Given that fact, isn’t it hugely ironic to hear the legal contractors for Qatar accusing the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity”?

Isn’t it time for the United Nations to make reforms so that it can start living up to its purposes? That will require demanding and enforcing compliance with the UN Charter and International Law.

March 4, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Conference of 52 Presidents of the Major American (sic) Jewish Organizations and the US-Iran Nuclear Agreement: The Centerpiece of US Foreign Policy Struggle

By James Petras :: 08.11.2015

Prologue: In the village of Duma, an 18 month old Palestinian baby died following the fire-bombing of his family’s home by Israeli settlers. The father of the child died of burns a week later and the surviving mother and young sibling are barely alive – covered with burns from racist Jewish arson.

The United Nations Special Committee to investigate Israel’s practices toward Palestinians in Israeli occupied territory have revealed that the ‘root cause’ of the escalating violence is the ‘continuous policy of Jewish settlement expansion (financed and defended by the Netanyahu regime) and the climate of impunity relating to the activities of the settlers (financed and defended by the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations). (UN News Centre, Aug. 10, 2015).

Introduction

The recent US-Iran nuclear agreement, entitled Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, has implications far beyond the ending of nearly 40 years of regional confrontation.

Several fundamental issues concerning the nature of US policymaking, the power of a foreign regime (Israel) in deciding questions of war and peace and the role organized power configurations with overseas loyalties play in making and breaking executive and legislative authorities.

To investigate these fundamental issues it is important to discuss the historical context leading up to the rise of this paradoxical situation: Where a ‘global power’ is subject to the dictates of a second-rate state through the strategic penetration and influence by domestic organizations composed of ‘nominal citizens’ of the subject state with ‘divided (to put it politely) loyalties’.

The Centrality of Israel’s Unchallenged Regional Supremacy

The motor force of Israeli foreign and domestic policy is their drive for unchallenged regional supremacy: Military dominance through wars, territorial occupation, brutal armed interventions, extra territorial political assassinations of opponents and favorable one-sided treaties. To ensure its unquestioned dominance Israel has developed the only nuclear weapons arsenal and largest missile launch capacity in the region and has openly declared its willingness to use nuclear weapons against regional rivals.

Israel’s repeated mantra that it faces an ‘existential threat’ from its Arab neighbors and subjugated Palestinians has no factual basis. On the contrary, history has taught the world that Israel, directly and indirectly, has engaged a series of aggressive wars devastating its Arab and Muslim neighbors. Israel has bombed and/or invaded Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Sudan. Israel has assassinated scientists in Iran and Palestinian political leaders as well as intellectuals, writers and poets in the Gulf, Jordan and Europe. Even family members have not been spared Israeli terror.

Israel can brutalize its neighbors with total impunity because of its vast military superiority, but its real power is found in its overseas proxies, the Tel Aviv-dominated Zionist power configurations, especially in North America and Europe. The most important proxy organizations and individuals operate in the United States. Thanks to them Israel has received over $150 billion dollars in economic and military grants and loans from US taxpayers in the past half-century. Each year Israel rakes in billions in tribute, billions in tax-free donations from billionaire Israel loyalists with dual US citizenship, who extract their wealth from American workers, investors and gamblers, and hundreds of billions via unrestricted investments, privileged market access and technology transfers.

The economic and military transfers to Israel result from the cumulative build-up of political power among powerful US Zionists. No one disputes today that what is dubbed as the ‘pro-Israel lobby’ is the most powerful configuration inside Washington DC today. Focusing primarily on the ‘Israel lobby’ overlooks the powerful role that influential, Zionist political officials have played in deciding issues prioritized by the Israeli leadership.

Israeli power over the making and implementing of US Middle East policy has led to the US invasions of Iraq, Syria and Libya; the current economic boycott and blockade of Iran; the breakup of Sudan; and the bombing of Somalia.

Israeli power in the US operates through various political instruments in different institutional settings. The pro-Israel mass media moguls at the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and all the TV networks unconditionally defend Israel’s bombing, dispossession and repression of Palestinians while demonizing any Arab or Muslim states which has opposed its brutality – frequently calling for the US to impose sanctions and/or to launch armed attacks against Israel’s critics.

The US military campaign known as the ‘Global War on Terror’, a series of brutal invasions and ‘regime changes’, launched after the attacks of September 11, 2001 was formulated and promoted by fanatical Israeli proxies in strategic positions within the Bush government, especially Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, ‘Scooter’ Libby, Elliott Abrams and Richard Perle. The boycott of Iran was designed and implemented by US Treasury officials Levey and Cohen. The drumbeat for war in Iraq and the phony ‘intelligence’ about ‘weapons of mass destruction’ was propagated by New York Times scribe Judith Miller, designed by Wolfowitz and Feith, backed by the 52 President of Major American Jewish Organizations and ultimately paid for with the lives of over five thousand Americans and well over a million Iraqi civilians. The destruction and breakup of Iraq, a long-time supporter of Palestinian national rights, was accomplished without the loss of a single Israeli life – despite the enormous benefit the Jewish state has enjoyed from the war! The extraordinary success of this highest Israeli military priority was due entirely to the machinations of Israel’s highly placed US proxies.

Yet the cost of the war has been very high for the American people (and unimaginably high for Iraqis): Over a quarter million physical and mental casualties among US troops; two trillion dollars and counting in military expenditures crippling the US economy and a vast and growing army of Islamist and nationalist rebels opposing US interests throughout the region.

The Israeli power configuration within the US led the US into a war, which enhanced Israel’s dominance of the Middle East region and accelerated its annexation of Palestinian land. But Israeli ambition for total regional power is not complete. It still faces a formidable opponent to its conquest of the Middle East: Iran remains a staunch supporter of the people and national sovereignty of Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

The regime of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, backed by the entire Israeli political opposition and the majority of the Jewish electorate, has been aggressively pushing for a US confrontation with Iran – through economic and eventually military warfare.

There have been scores of public and private meetings in the US and elsewhere, where Netanyahu’s regime “informed” (or rather dictated to) the entire Zionist power configuration to launch an economic and military attack against Iran with the open aim of ‘regime change’ and the ultimate aim of breaking up and destroying the Islamic republic – similar to the destruction of Iraq, Libya and now Syria.

Israel’s Proxies and the Obama – Iran Nuclear Accord

All the major US spy agencies, including the CIA, long concluded that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program. Its nuclear program has been proven to be limited to legal, internationally sanctioned peaceful civilian use. When the US intelligence establishment went ‘off-script’ and cleared Iran of a nuclear weapons program, Israel responded by brazenly assassinating five Iranian scientists and engineers, leaking faked evidence of a nuclear weapon program and directing its US proxies to push the US toward greater economic sanctions. They escalated their media campaign demonizing Iran, pushing for an economic and military blockade of Iran using the US naval forces in the Persian Gulf and its military bases in adjoining countries. Israeli officials want yet another US war for Israel along the lines of the Iraq invasion.

With the recent change in the Iranian government leadership via democratic elections there have been serious expressions of greater flexibility with regard to inspections of its nuclear programs and facilities. At the same time Washington has been confronted with multiple escalating insurgent wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan. This provides the context for President Obama’s ‘pivot’ toward negotiations and diplomacy to secure an agreement with Iran and away from military confrontation.

This has infuriated the Netanyahu regime. Its government leaders and agents met with the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations, leading Zionist Washington insiders like (Dennis Ross), super-rich Zionist billionaires and multiple delegations of notables and told them to launch an all-out campaign to sabotage the Iran-US- England- France-Russia-China, and Germany (‘P5+1’) nuclear agreement.

The entire Zionist political apparatus immediately organized a multi-prong, multi-million dollar campaign blitz to undermine the US President. The American (sic) Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) mobilized hundreds of its full-time functionaries, invading the US Congress with offers of all expense-paid junkets to Israel, political threats, campaign ‘donation’ enticements and outright blackmail.

Influential US Zionist Congress people joined the onslaught with their ‘leader’ the ‘Senator from Tel Aviv’ Charles Schumer, accompanied by his fellow Zionist one-hundred percenters, Congress people like Steve Israel, Ted Deutsch, Eliot Engel and Nita Lowery. They have openly chosen to follow the dictates of the Israeli Prime Minister against their fellow Democrat US President Obama. Schumer, who frequently boasts that his name derives from ‘shomer Yisrael’ (Israel’s Guardian), flaunts his ‘role in Washington’ to serve Israel’s interest. The unannounced (or undenounced) ‘elephant in the room’ is their primary loyalty to Israel over the US. The Democratic Congressional Zionists have joined hands with the Republican war mongers – both in tow to militarist, Zionist billionaires and media moguls. The 52 organizations brazenly announced a $40 million budget to fund an Israeli front group “Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran” to undermine President Obama’s (and the other members of the P5+1) push for diplomacy.

Netanyahu’s ‘megaphones’ in the US mass media spread his message in their daily reports and editorial pages. The Zionist power configuration ran roughshod over dissident Jewish voters and Congress people who dared to support Obama’s Iran agreement – an agreement which has majority support of the war-weary US public and strong support from US scientists and Nobel Prize recipients.

President Obama has finally counter-attacked this campaign to undermine the agreement, calling attention to the fact that “the same people who led us into the Iraq war are pushing us into war with Iran”. The President discreetly omitted identifying the Israeli links of the “same people”.

Obama understands that the alternative to the peace accord opposed by Israel and the Zionist-led US Congress members will be a devastating regional war, costing trillions of dollars in losses to the US economy, thousands of US lives and hundreds of thousands of wounded soldiers – not to speak of millions of Iranian casualties – and an environmental holocaust! While the Zionist power configuration saturates the airwaves with its unending lies and fear mongering, each and every major city and community Jewish Confederation have sent their activists to plant stories and twist arms to sabotage the agreement.

While many US intellectuals, liberals, progressives and leftists support the US-Iran agreement (see the Scientists’ Letter to Obama on Iran Nuclear Deal, Aug. 8, 2015 with 29 top scholars and Nobel laureates support diplomacy), few would dare to identify and attack Israel’s US proxies as they promote Tel Aviv’s agenda pushing the US to war with Iran. A brief glance through the sectarian left press, for example, The Socialist Register, New Politics, New Left Review, finds no discussion of the powerful, well-financed, highly organized, elite-driven Israeli proxies and their role in determining US wars in the Middle East, and more specifically the war agenda toward Iran.

Conclusion

The success or failure of the US-Iran nuclear agreement will have momentous, world-historic consequences that go far beyond the Middle East. Obama is absolutely right to pose the question as one between a diplomatic accord or a large scale, long-term devastating war. But war is what Israel, its leaders, its majority and its opposition parties are demanding and what its US proxies are pursuing.

The basic question for all Americans is whether we will act as an independent, sovereign country pursuing peace through diplomacy, as we currently see unfolding with Iran and Cuba, or a submissive military instrument, directed by Israel’s proxies hell-bent on destroying America for Israel.

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boycott of Israeli universities angers NY lawmakers

Press TV – December 31, 2013

Two New York legislators say they will introduce a bill to strip state aid from universities that take part in a recent movement to boycott Israeli academic centers.

State Sen. Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat who is also a former member of the Jewish Defense League that was classified as a “terrorist group” by the FBI in 2001, say they want to cut off state aid to universities affiliated with the American Studies Association’s movement to boycott Israeli institutions.

Earlier this month, members of the ASA overwhelmingly voted to ban Israeli universities from collaborations with their campuses.

The organization said the reason behind its decision was that the Israeli institutions were “a party” to policies “that violate human rights” as Israel’s “violation of international law and UN resolutions” continues and the “impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students” is well-documented.

“The American Studies Association is carrying on a long and proud tradition of American academics by engaging in an academic boycott much like many professors did during apartheid South Africa,” Michael Shallcross, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine at Temple University in Philadelphia, told Press TV.

However, the move, which is part of a larger international effort to win boycotts of Israeli institutions, angered some US politicians both at state and federal level.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York) has urged the ASA to end the boycott, saying he was surprised by the organization’s decision.

And now, two pro-Israel Democrats in New York’s state legislature, Klein and Hikind, are trying to cut state aid to universities affiliated with the movement.

“[It] is a shameless attempt at censorship by powerful Zionist politicians in New York State by cutting off economic life lines that make higher education possible,” Shallcross said.

The ASA is the largest and oldest association involved in interdisciplinary studies of American culture and history.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Video | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Congress warns oil firms against Iran business

Press TV – December 8, 2013

US Congress has threatened giant oil companies with “severe financial penalties” should they resume business with Iran following an interim nuclear agreement.

In interviews with Foreign Policy Magazine, several American officials expressed concerns about the international firms’ interest to enter the Iranian oil market in the next six months.

Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Michael McCaul said that companies examining their options for “resuming business relationships” with Iran are “acting prematurely at best.”

Hawkish anti-Iran Senator Mark Kirk also warned foreign firms that they “must be on notice that sanctions are coming back stronger than ever” if the nuclear deal does not lead to a comprehensive resolution.

“It is far too premature for any international energy company to contemplate re-entering the Iranian market,” said a spokesman for Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The warning came after Royal Dutch Shell, Italian company Eni, and Austrian oil and gas company OMV said they were looking for the possibility of renewing their operations in Iran.

Under the six-month accord reached in Geneva last month, Tehran has agreed to limit some aspects of its nuclear energy program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions against the country. However, oil sanctions are still in place.

Earlier this week, some international oil companies began talks with Iranian counterparts on the sidelines of an OPEC meeting in Vienna in order to restart their cooperation.

Eni Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni confirmed the negotiations, saying the two sides “discussed specific projects that we had been looking at for many years before sanctions were imposed.”

“We plan to continue to be in Iran and possibly increase our activity as long as the sanctions regime is lifted,” Scaroni said. “There are so many opportunities in Iran both in oil and gas that we will certainly find a common area of interest.”

Former US State Department official Suzanne Maloney said the process is not surprising.

“It’s not surprising that we’re seeing this from the companies that have some experience in Iran like Eni and Total,” she said.

December 8, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US cannot afford to wait for UN to attack Syria: Officials

Press TV – August 26, 2013

Rep. Eliot Engel (NY)*, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has said “this is time for us” to launch cruise missile strikes on Syria, and that the US government cannot afford to wait for the United Nations.

“The world is a better place when the United States takes leadership; this is time for us to do this. I hope we’ll do it soon,” the American lawmaker said on Fox News Sunday.

A growing number of Republicans and Democrats in Congress are urging the administration of President Barack Obama to approve military action against Syria after reports of a deadly chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus emerged last week.

Engel said that the United States had to respond quickly and could not afford to wait for the United Nations.

“We could even destroy the Syrian Air Force if we wanted to… We have to move and we have to move quickly.”

Other senior US officials have also indicated that instead of seeking a UN approval for military action, Washington could work with its partners such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the Arab League.

“We’ll consult with the UN. They’re an important avenue. But they’re not the only avenue,” a senior administration official said.

The Syrian government has allowed UN inspectors to visit a site that allegedly came under chemical attack on Wednesday. Obama administration officials, however, have dismissed as too late the Syrian offer.

Although there is still no evidence to blame the chemical attack on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a senior administration official said there was “very little doubt” that Damascus was behind the attack.

“Based on the reported number of victims, reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, witness accounts and other facts gathered by open sources, the US intelligence community, and international partners, there is very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians in this incident,” the unnamed official said in a written statement on Sunday, as reported by the New York Times.

The Syrian government and the army categorically denied any role in Wednesday’s chemical attack which killed hundreds of people. Russia, a key ally of Syria, insists that the attack was “clearly provocative in nature,” and that it was staged by foreign-backed militant groups to incriminate the Assad government.

In recent days, the Pentagon has moved more warships into place in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and American war planners have updated strike targets that include government and military installations inside Syria, officials said.

President Obama met with his national security advisers at the White House over the weekend to discuss “a range of options” for Syria, but officials said late Sunday that the president had yet to decide how to proceed.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reiterated Sunday that the Pentagon had prepared “options for all contingencies” is ready to use force if the president gives the green-light.

Meanwhile, the US top military leader is in Jordan to discuss possible strikes on neighboring Syria.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey was set to meet with his Jordanian counterpart and other regional defense chiefs during his visit.

“The exchange is designed to increase the collective understanding of the impact of regional conflicts on nations, foster ongoing dialogue and improve security relationships,” Defense Department spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson said.

Obama said last year that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would “cross a red line,” provoking a military response.

~~~

* Eliot Engel:

During my time in Congress, I have traveled to Israel many times, including the recent trip with President Obama, and I remain committed to the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel. Not only are the U.S. and Israel close strategic allies in the dangerous Middle East, but we have a great deal in common. We are democracies and nations of immigrants from all corners of the globe. We are proud to embrace the highest ideals in our laws and policies, while generating an extraordinary caliber of science and culture, benefiting not only our two countries, but the entire world.

I firmly believe that we must stand with our ally, Israel, as it faces a variety of threats and challenges. Today, the most serious danger Israel must confront emanates from Iran. It is simply unacceptable that a country with a history of supporting terrorism and calling for the destruction of Israel could have a nuclear weapon. The Obama Administration has led the international community in imposing crippling sanctions on Teheran, and this process must continue in Congress and around the world until the Iranian regime reverses its nuclear program. While we must not take any actions off the table when it comes to the Iranian nuclear program, we must continue to show the mullah-led regime that continuing its program to build nuclear weapons will only lead to greater isolation.

Further, I am deeply concerned by the dangers of terrorism from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel should not have to live under the constant menace that thousands of unguided rockets could again rain down on the Jewish state. That is why I was the lead Democratic sponsor of a resolution condemning Hamas rocket attacks on Israel and why I have strongly supported American assistance to Israel to expand the effective Iron Dome and other missile defense systems.

Finally, I have long advocated a tougher policy toward Syria. As the author of the Syria Accountability Act, which imposed sanctions on Syria in 2003, I believe we must stand up against the Assad regime’s massacres of its own people. I believe that the time has come for the international community to impose serious sanctions on Syria and to begin supporting the opposition Free Syrian Army. I am aware that this strategy has risks and we must take concerns about widening the conflict seriously. But, today, the Iranians and Russians are openly supporting Assad’s massacre squads. The victims deserve a chance to fight back. Moreover, the collapse of Bashar’s government in Damascus would be a body blow to Iran and to Hezbollah, which gets its largess from Teheran through Syria. Syria has supported terror for too long. I think we need to stand against repression and support the rebels.

Israel Allies Foundation:

Congressman Eliot Engel serves as the Democratic co-chair for the Israel Allies Caucus.

Rep. Engel serves on numerous committees, notably the Foreign Affairs Committee and is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, as well as serving on the Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, and the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment. In addition he serves as Vice Chair of the Democratic Task Force on Homeland Security.

Wikipedia:

Iraq War

In 2002, Engel joined the two Senators from New York, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, and almost 300 members of the United States House of Representatives in voting for the resolution granting President Bush the authority to use force in Iraq.[56]

International affairs

Engel is a supporter of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Energy

In 2005, Engel introduced with Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) the Fuel Choices for American Security Act (H.R. 4409), later modified and reintroduced in 2007 as the DRIVE Act (H.R. 670) – the Dependence Reduction through Innovation in Vehicles and Energy Act – with more than 80 bi-partisan co-sponsors. It was designed to promote America’s national security and economic stability by reducing dependence on foreign oil through the use of clean alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. It also called for increased tire efficiency – to increase a vehicle’s gas miles.[24]

Many provisions of the DRIVE Act were included in the Energy Independence and Security Act, which was signed into law on December 19, 2007, and became Public Law No. 110-140. This law mandates increased fuel efficiency standards from 25 miles per gallon to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The law also requires improved energy efficiency standards for appliances, lighting and buildings, and the development of American-grown biofuels like cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel and biobutanol.

On July 22, 2008, Engel introduced with Congressmen Kingston, Steve Israel (D-NY) and Bob Inglis (R-SC) the Open Fuel Standards Act.[25] This bill requires 50 percent of new cars sold in the United States by 2012 (and 80 percent of new cars sold by 2015) to be flexible-fuel vehicles capable of running on any combination of ethanol, methanol or gasoline. Flex fuel vehicles cost about $100 more than the same vehicle in a gasoline-only version. This bill was resubmitted in the 111th United States Congress by Rep. Engel, Inglis, Israel and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD). It was re-introduced in the 112th Congress with Rep. John Shimkus as the lead Republican. It will likely be re-introduced in the 113th Congress.

Controversies

Engel was criticized[67] for choosing to attend a July 2008 event hosted by the controversial pastor John Hagee, who has suggested that God sent Adolf Hitler to bring the Jews to Israel.[68]

August 26, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment