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Madonna’s Fake Revolution: Eurovision, Cultural Hegemony and Resistance

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | May 21, 2019

Rim Banna, a famous Palestinian singer who translated Palestine’s most moving poetry to song, passed away on March 24, 2018, at the age of 51. Rim captured the struggle for Palestinian freedom in the most dignified and melodious ways. If we could imagine angels singing, they would sound like Rim.

When Rim died, all Palestinians mourned her death. Although a few international outlets carried the news of her passing at a relatively young age, her succumbing to cancer did not receive much coverage or discussion. Sadly, a Palestinian icon of cultural resistance who had inspired a whole generation, starting with the First Palestinian Intifada in 1987, hardly registered as an event worthy of remembrance and reflection, even among those who purport to champion the Palestinian cause.

Compare Rim to Madonna, an ‘artiste’ who has stood for self-aggrandising personal fame and money-making. She has championed the most debased moral values, utilising cheap entertainment while catering to the lowest common denominator to remain relevant in the music world for as long as possible.

While Rim had a cause, Madonna has none. And while Rim symbolised cultural resistance, Madonna symbolises globalised cultural hegemony – in this case, the imposition of consumerist western cultures on the rest of the world.

Cultural hegemony defines the US and other Western cultures’ relationship to the rest of the world. It is not culture as in the collective intellectual and artistic achievements of these societies, but as a set of ideological and cultural tools used by ruling classes to maintain domination over the disadvantaged, colonised and oppressed.

Madonna, along with Michael Jordan, the Beatles and Coca Cola represent far more than mere performers and fizzy drinks, but also serve as tools used to secure cultural, thus economic and political dominance, as well. The fact that in some cities around the world, especially in the Southern hemisphere, Coca Cola “flows more freely than water” speaks volumes about the economic toll and political dimension of cultural hegemony.

This issue becomes critical when a pro-Israel Madonna decides to perform in Israel, as she has done repeatedly in the past, as part of the Eurovision contest. Knowing who she is and what she stands for, her decision should not come as a surprise; after all, in her September 2009 Tel Aviv concert, she sang while wrapped in an Israeli flag.

Of course, it is essential that artists of her calibre and the contestants representing 41 different countries are reminded of their moral responsibilities towards occupied and oppressed Palestinians. It is also important that Israel is confronted regarding its unrelenting efforts to mask its apartheid and war crimes in Palestine.

Indeed, the whitewashing of Israeli human rights violations using art – also known as “art washing” – should not be allowed to continue when Gaza is under siege, where Palestinian children are shot and killed daily without remorse and the least legal accountability.

This is why such artistic events are essential for the Israeli government and society. Israel has used Eurovision as a distraction from the blood and gore that has been taking place not far from that venue. Those who laboured to ensure the success of the event, knowing fully how Israel is using the brand as an opportunity to normalise its war against Palestinians, should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

But, on the other hand, should we be the least surprised? Aren’t such global music events, as Eurovision, at the heart of the western-centric globalisation scheme of cultural hegemony, which sole purpose is to enforce a capitalist view of the world, where western culture is consumed as a commodity, no different from a McDonald’s sandwich or a pair of Levi jeans?

Calling on 60-year-old Madonna to refrain from entertaining apartheid Israel can be considered beneficial as a media strategy, for it helped highlight, although momentarily, an issue that would have been otherwise absent from news headlines. However, by placing so much focus on Madonna, and whatever human rights’ values she supposedly stands for, we also take the risk of inadvertently validating her and the consumerist values she represents. More, in this Madonna-driven trajectory, we are also neglecting Palestine’s cultural resistance, the core driver behind Palestinian ‘somoud’ – steadfastness – over a century.

In response to her critics, Madonna answered, “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be.” In the eyes of many who are ignorant of the facts, such an answer may appear as if an ‘empowered’ response to those who are trying to sway a genuine, pure artiste from following her calling.

Madonna is an expert in appearing as if morally-guided, yet never translating such morality to anything meaningful in reality. In a speech described as “powerful” by Rolling Stone Magazine, Madonna declared during a Women’s March in Washington D.C. in 2017 “to the rebellion, to our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny. Where not just women are in danger, but all marginalised people.”

Of course, Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian women – who have paid a heavy price for Israeli Occupation, war and marginalisation – are not to be included in Madonna’s false revolution. And the chances are, shortly after she sings and dances in a jubilant, apartheid Israel, she will once more take on many platforms as if the Rosa Parks of revolutionary art.

While it is essential that we keep the pressure on those who engage and validate Israel politically, economically and culturally, these efforts should come secondary to embracing Palestine’s culture of resistance. Behaving as if Madonna’s stage shenanigans represent right culture while ignoring Palestinian culture altogether, is similar to academics addressing decolonisation from the point of view of the coloniser, not the colonised. The truth is, nations cannot truly rid themselves from the colonial mindset without having their narratives take the centre-stage of politics, culture and every other aspect of knowledge.

“The intellectual’s error consists in believing that one can know without understanding and, even more, without feeling and being impassioned,” wrote Italian anti-fascist intellectual, Antonio Gramsci. This entails the intellectual and the artist to feel “the elementary passions of the people, understanding them and, therefore, explaining and justifying them.”

The truth is that appealing to Madonna’s moral sense without immersing ourselves passionately in the art of Rim Banna will, in the long run, do Palestinians no good. Only embracing Palestine’s culture of resistance will, ultimately, keep the self-serving, hegemonic and cheap cultural messages of the Madonnas of this world at bay.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s War Criminals In Their Own Words

Shooting unarmed Palestinian demonstrators “preserves Israeli values”

By Philip Giraldi | Unz Review | May 21, 2019

Israel’s public face, sustained and propagated by a wealthy and powerful diaspora that has significant control over the media, insists that the country is the Middle East’s only true democracy, that it operates under a rule of law for all its citizens and that its army is the “most moral in the world.” All of those assertions are false. Israel’s government favors its Jewish citizens through laws and regulations that are defined by religion. It in fact now identifies itself legally as a Jewish state with Christians and Muslim citizens having second class status. Israel’s army, meanwhile, has committed numerous war crimes against largely unarmed civilian populations in the past seventy years, both in Lebanon and directed against the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza.

In response to the past year’s Great March of Return protests staged by Gazans along the fence line that separates them from Israel, Israeli army snipers have shot dead 293 Palestinians and wounded seven thousand more. Twenty-thousand other Gazans have been harmed by other weapons used by the Israelis, to include canisters from the volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets. The numbers include hundreds of children and medical personnel trying to help the wounded, which reportedly have been particularly targeted.

The United Nations has reported that many of the wounded have been shot in their legs, which the Israeli army regards as “restraint” on its part. Many of those injured will likely need to have limbs amputated because Gaza lacks the medical facilities required to properly treat their wounds. Israel has bombed hospitals and blocked the importation of medical supplies into Gaza while also not allowing Gazans to leave the enclave for medical treatment elsewhere in the Middle East.

One hundred and twenty amputations have already been performed this year. Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Territories explained “You’ve got 1,700 people who are in need of serious, complicated surgeries for them to be able to walk again… [requiring] very, very serious and complex bone reconstruction surgery over a two-year period before they start to rehabilitate themselves.”

The U.N. would like to provide $20 million in assistance to enable medical treatment rather than amputations but the United States has refused to support emergency funding for the Palestinians through the Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), a step presumably taken to benefit Israel by punishing the Palestinian people.

Interestingly, a document has recent re-surfaced describing in chilling terms the Israel Army’s viewpoint on shooting protesting Arabs. One year ago former British diplomat Craig Murray posted on his blog, “Condemned By Their Own Words”, which provided a translated from Hebrew-to-English transcript of an Israeli radio broadcast that had taken place on April 21st. An Israeli Brigadier-General, named Zvika Fogel, was responding to reports of the killing by soldiers of an unarmed fourteen year-old boy. He explained in some detail why his soldiers are absolutely doing the right thing to shoot to kill Palestinians who approach the barrier separating Gaza from Israel.

General Fogel’s comments are reflective of the Israeli government view of how to control the “Palestinian problem.” Only the rights, including the right to life, of Israeli Jews are legitimate and Arabs should be grateful for what the Jewish state allows them to have.

Fogel responded to interviewer Ron Nesiel’s first question “Should the IDF [Israeli army] rethink its use of snipers?” by saying that “Any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation. If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order to hide an explosive device or check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …”

Nesiel: “Then, then his punishment is death?”

Fogel: “His punishment is death. As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs. It is clear to you that if one such person will manage to cross the fence or hide an explosive device there …”

Nesiel: “But we were taught that live fire is only used when the soldiers face immediate danger. … It does not do all that well for us, those pictures that are distributed around the world.”

Fogel: “I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual. And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder it goes even higher. The picture is not a pretty picture. But if that’s the price that we have to pay to preserve the safety and quality of life of the residents of the State of Israel, then that’s the price.

“[And] look, Ron, we’re even terrible at it [at suppressing those pictures]. There’s nothing to be done, David always looks better against Goliath. And in this case, we are the Goliath. Not the David. That is entirely clear to me. … It will drag us into a war. I do not want to be on the side that gets dragged. I want to be on the side that initiates things. I do not want to wait for the moment where it finds a weak spot and attacks me there. If tomorrow morning it gets into a military base or a kibbutz and kills people there and takes prisoners of war or hostages, call it as you like, we’re in a whole new script. I want the leaders of Hamas to wake up tomorrow morning and for the last time in their life see the smiling faces of the IDF. That’s what I want to have happen. But we are dragged along. So we’re putting snipers up because we want to preserve the values we were educated by. We can’t always take a single picture and put it before the whole world. We have soldiers there, our children, who were sent out and receive very accurate instructions about whom to shoot to protect us. Let’s back them up.”

One might reasonably suggest that Fogel’s comments reflect a consensus among Israelis on how to deal with the Arabs. And the United States is fully complicit in the slaughter. American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has repeatedly praised the restraint of the Israeli armed forces and has blamed the Gazans for their plight. The United States continues to subsidize illegal Israeli settlements that fuel the conflict and is putting the final touches on an Israeli approved peace plan that will now and forever make the Palestinians a non-people, without a nation of their own and without any hopes for the future. Meanwhile, they are target practice for Israeli snipers. The world should be mortified by Israeli arrogance and behavior and the United States should bow its head in shame each time a pandering American politician comes out with the line “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

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

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Palestinian cabinet not consulted on US-led Bahrain summit, PM says

Press TV – May 20, 2019

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh says his government has not been consulted about an economic conference that the United States will hold in Bahrain next month.

The White House announced on Sunday that the first part of President Donald Trump’s so-called “peace plan,” which is spearheaded by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, will be unveiled in Bahrain’s capital, Manama.

The US will host the economic conference on June 25 and 26 to purportedly encourage investment in the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

“The cabinet wasn’t consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome, nor timing,” Shtayyed told Palestinian ministers in the presence of reporters on Monday.

Relations between the Palestinian Authority and the US took an unprecedented dip in late 2017, when Washington recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

The Trump administration has said that its secret plan, which has been dismissed by Palestinian authorities even before being unveiled, would require compromise by both sides.

‘We don’t trade our political rights’

The Palestinian Authority is facing steep aid cuts. Since being shunned by Palestinians, Trump’s administration has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars to humanitarian organizations.

“The financial crisis the Palestinian Authority is living through today is a result of the financial war that is being launched against us in order to win political concessions,” Shtayyeh said.

“We do not submit to blackmail and we don’t trade our political rights for money,” he added.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. However, Israel insist on maintaining the occupation of Palestinian territories.

‘High treason’

Also reacting to news of the upcoming conference, Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has described the US “deal of the century” as a plan to sell Jerusalem al-Quds and Palestine, slamming it as “high treason,” the Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.

The group criticized the ruling Al Khalifah regime for hosting the conference, saying that is a departure from all national, Islamic and humanitarian principles.

Al-Wefaq further said the Bahraini people are opposed to the “desecration” of their country and efforts for converting it into a “station” to sign a new version of the Balfour Declaration – the document that led to Israel’s creation.

The group noted that the Al Khalifah regime’s move to host the “disastrous project” is no surprise, adding Manama’s recent rapprochement with the Israeli regime comes as it “lacks popular legitimacy” and seeks international support in an attempt to sustain its legitimacy.

Al-Wefaq called on all Bahrains and “free governments” to reject the initiative and stop the “dangerous development” from proceeding.

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Mossad Psychic Friends Network Strikes Again

By Helen Buyniski | Aletho News | May 20, 2019

The Trump administration’s war hawks couldn’t have asked for a more docile casus belli than the Katyusha rocket that landed a mile outside the US embassy in Baghdad’s American-occupied Green Zone on Sunday night, sparing persons, property, and the pride of a president who must have begun to doubt whether the mounting tensions between the US and Iran had any basis in reality at all – or whether the deliberately vague “credible intelligence” on the Iranian “threat” supplied by the Mossad was not a trick to convince the US to take out Israel’s last regional rival.

The plucky little rocket injured no one, and the launcher that fired it was immediately recovered by Iraqi security services in a canal in East Baghdad, which Israeli media breathlessly reported is “home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.” Authorities found no clues as to who had fired the rocket, but a narrative trap was clearly being laid. “Non-emergency” US government personnel had been safely bundled out of the Iraqi embassy by the State Department last Wednesday, supposedly due to an “imminent threat” from Iran, and even Exxon-Mobil had interrupted its plunder of Iraq’s resources, pulling 30 engineers off a Basra oil field as a “temporary precautionary measure.”

Despite its apparent futility as an offensive measure, the lonely rocket fulfills the purposefully broad criteria set forth by “Rapture Mike” Pompeo earlier this month when he warned that any attacks on “US interests or citizens” by “Iran or its proxies” would be met with a “swift and decisive” response. In a “coincidence” that should surprise no one, the malignant manatee followed those remarks with a statement celebrating Israel’s National Day and promising to “work toward a safer, more stable, and more prosperous” – and presumably depopulated of all those pesky Persians – “Middle East.”

Trump met with Bolton and other members of his cabinet on Sunday night to discuss the strike. While the State Department made ominous noises, its statement officially found no responsibility as yet; the president, however, had apparently made up his mind who to blame, and Bolton made up his mind decades ago.

It’s unlikely this will be the last provocation. Despite an “emergency” visit from Pompeo to Baghdad earlier this month in which he paid lip service to Iraqi “independence” while warning “any attack by Iran or its proxies on American forces in Iraq would affect the Iraqi government too,” Iraqi ambassador to Russia Haidar Mansour Hadi has said in no uncertain terms that Iraq will not allow the US to use it as a staging ground for an invasion of Iran. A few people would presumably have to die or be kidnapped before the Iraqis permit their country to be used as a launchpad for World War III by someone whose idea of international diplomacy is basically “that’s a nice sovereign nation you got there – sure would be a shame if we had to invade it a third time.” Though with 5,000 American troops still stationed in Iraq nearly a decade after Obama supposedly ended that war, the second invasion never really finished.

Unwilling to allow Mossad to hog the credit for predicting “Iran”‘s curiously self-defeating act of amateur rocketry, the State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory on Wednesday, warning US citizens in Iraq that they are at “high risk for violence and kidnapping” from “numerous terrorist and insurgent groups” as well as “anti-US sectarian militias” – who also threaten “western companies.” That warning followed a similar notice from the US Maritime Administration cautioning ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz to give the US a few days notice, the better to attack them and blame Iran – er, protect them.

The Baghdad rocket attack, almost a carbon copy of the pointless “Hamas rocket strikes” Israel stages whenever it wants to derail peace talks or just flatten a few blocks in Gaza, comes almost exactly a week after four oil tankers mysteriously sprouted holes in their sides just below the water line, large enough to attract attention but small enough not to spill a single drop of precious oil or risk sinking the vessels. An anonymous US military source was breathlessly quoted blaming the “sabotage” on Iran the day after the “attack,” as if Americans had learned nothing in Syria other than that rushing into war without all the facts is a great way to cheer up Lockheed Martin stockholders.

Given the newly-leaked OPCW report confirming that last year’s “chemical attack” in Douma, which was immediately pinned on Bashar al-Assad without a shred of evidence based on the word of Oscar-winning terrorist head-choppers the White Helmets, was instead the work of anti-government rebels, the US should be doubly cautious about retaliating against any perceived attack. But Bolton and Pompeo have been baying for Iranian blood for over a decade now, and even the most transparently absurd excuse will do (the Onion’s headline “Bleeding John Bolton stumbles into Capitol Building claiming that Iran shot him” barely counts as satire).

Even if Iran, which has repeatedly said it does not want war with the US, suddenly developed a death wish, it wouldn’t waste its critical first strike on an abandoned building a mile from the American embassy – not when there’s billions of dollars worth of juicy American aircraft carrier sitting in the Gulf, one well-placed missile away from Davy Jones’ locker.

Like the Douma “chemical attack,” this rocket strike does not benefit the government in any way. Iran has nothing to gain by bringing down the full force of the American regime-change machine on its head by crossing Pompeo’s ridiculously vague red line (more of a red blob, really), even if, per the Pentagon’s own 2002 ‘war-gaming’ of the conflict, the US is unlikely to win the resulting war. Just as Nikki Haley’s warning that Assad would be blamed for all chemical attacks was a green light to rebel groups to stage false flag events and pin them on the government, so the Trump administration has essentially issued an open invitation to all Iran’s enemies to attack something – anything – in the CENTCOM region and point to Tehran as the culprit.

As usual, the only winner in this scenario is Israel, whose PM Benjamin Netanyahu actually had the chutzpah to tell US officials that his country wasn’t interested in direct participation in the war he’s been trying to start for the better part of three decades – even as his military official was in the New York Times trying to goad Trump into firing the first shot.

“If the Americans now act like nothing happened – ‘Iran didn’t spit on us, it’s only rain’ – it’s catastrophic, because it’s saying to the Iranians, ‘We won’t interfere.’ What kind of Middle East will we face when it’ll be clear to other countries that Americans are not ready to fulfill what people expect them to do?” Israeli military intelligence officer Yaakov Amidror asked, horrified by a world in which Israel is not able to run around throwing sand in the faces of the bigger kids on the geopolitical playground, safe in the knowledge that Big Daddy ‘Murica will come to its rescue, guns blazing. Saudi Arabia, too, has also claimed it wants no part of this war, even as it joins the US in blaming Iran for the holes in its ships and continues to blame Iran for the Houthis’ refusal to lay down and die in Yemen.

Nor have the US’ usual partners in war crime taken the bait. British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, deputy commander of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, told reporters on Tuesday there was “no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” triggering a sharp rebuke from the Pentagon, and Spain actually withdrew its ship from the US-led carrier strike group dispatched last month to the Gulf, determined to avoid getting roped into an extremely unattractive conflict.

I’ve already commented on the curiously threadbare quality of the US’ anti-Iran propaganda – for some reason, the American people aren’t being fed the usual Manichaean dramas starring “animal Assad” or Gaddafi-the-rapist. It’s unsettling how little effort is being expended to sell us what will certainly be the most ruinous war we’ve faced in a lifetime: recycled physics-defying threats about missiles fired from small boats, warnings of sleeper-cell militias Tehran can activate with a word, and the constantly-repeated-but-still-untrue line that Iran is the world’s top sponsor of terror are hardly sufficient to convince a country to act against its interests. Perhaps after the utter failure of the latest regime-change operation in Venezuela, the ruling class has realized that their persuasion skills have gotten soft. Meanwhile, instead of creating and amplifying western propaganda, they’ve merely silenced Iranian media, knocking out PressTV’s YouTube channel.

Americans are familiar with the tragedy of how shortsighted greed destroyed the country’s industrial base in the latter half of the twentieth century. But can we no longer even manufacture consent? Or have the powers that be realized they no longer need the consent of the governed to wage war in the service of empire?

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Netanyahu to blame for US warmongering against Iran: American officials

Press TV – May 19, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is behind the US administration’s continued hostility towards Iran and the recent flare-up in tensions between the two sides, according to a number of American political figures and analysts.

Ben Rhodes, an advisor to the administration of former US president Barack Obama, was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post that “Bibi” was one of those “pushing to confront Iran.”

Last week, US Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard also blasted “Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu [and] al-Qaeda” for promoting war with the Islamic Republic.

The report pointed to a 2006 essay on “The Israel Lobby” by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, which later became a book. The authors argued back then that Israel and pro-Israel groups worked to shape the US administration’s policy towards Iran as part of a “grand scheme for reordering the Middle East.”

Moreover, the far-left and far-right parties view Israel as the shadowy manipulator of Washington’s policies towards Tehran.

“Who wants this war with Iran?” American political commentator Patrick Buchanan’s official website asked on Friday. “Answer: [US Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and [National Security adviser John] Bolton, Bibi Netanyahu, [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

The US far-right has also blamed Israel for Trump’s policies, with one website claiming that “Bibi Satanyahoo” is pushing for a war with Iran.

On the far-left, the website Mondoweiss has a headline that says, “Israel wants the Trump administration to attack Iran, but US mainstream media ignores Netanyahu’s instigating.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently pointed out that the US administration in Washington was taken over by “Netanyahu firsters”, according to the post.

Zarif blamed Israel and what he called the “B-team” for the US foreign policy decisions.

The hawkish “B-team” is comprised of US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Tensions mounted between Tehran and Washington last May, when President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and re-imposed harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism.

The tensions saw a sharp rise on the first anniversary of Washington’s exit from the deal as the US moved to ratchet up the pressure on Iran by tightening its oil sanctions and sending military reinforcements, including an aircraft carrier strike group, a squadron of B-52 bombers, and a battery of patriot missiles, to the Middle East.

On May 5, US National Security Advisor John Bolton — an ardent Iran hawk — said the deployment was in response to a “troubling and escalatory indications” of Iranian activity in the region, without giving details or evidence to support the claims.

Trump, however, later ordered his administration to avoid a military confrontation with Iran, The New York Times and Reuters reported.

Netanyahu’s influence with Trump is nothing short of conspicuous when it comes to regional issues in the Middle East.

Apart from relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds and declaring the historical city as the “capital” of Israel, the American head of state has suspended aid to Palestinian groups and also recognized the Syria’s Golan Heights as being Israeli territory.

See also :

Iran says US officials pawns in Netanyahu’s game

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

America’s Most Pro-Israel Governor: Ron DeSantis Will Send More Florida Money to Israel

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Actions to Affirm Florida’s Support of Israel. Credit: flgov.com
By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | May 18, 2019

Ron DeSantis, Florida’s new governor, should be really proud of himself. He recently recalled that when he ran for governor “… [he] promised to be the most pro-Israel governor in America and that the first delegation [he] would lead would be to the state of Israel.” When he confirmed that he would be taking his entire cabinet with him as part of a 75-person delegation scheduled to leave for Israel on May 25th, he boasted that “Today I’m pleased to report that I’m keeping that promise. Our delegation will bring business, academic and political leaders to help strengthen the bond between Florida and Israel.” DeSantis has promised to hold a meeting of his Cabinet in the American Embassy in Jerusalem during his visit, the first time that such a meeting has ever been held by a state government on foreign soil. During the meeting he will ostentatiously sign a legislative bill “combating anti-Semitism.”

DeSantis has been playing the Israel and anti-Semitism cards throughout his political career. Last year, as a Congressman running for governor, he attacked his opponent Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum during their gubernatorial race as not being a “friend of Israel.” He based his charge on reports that Gillum had received support from the Dream Defenders, a group favoring Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, as well as once having given a speech welcoming members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to his city. DeSantis claimed in a video clip that “I can find anti-Semites around him, but it’s almost like ‘we don’t want to discuss that.’”

As a Congressman, DeSantis sponsored in 2013 the Palestinian Accountability Act which called for the withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority until it recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. In 2017, he co-founded the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus, saying “Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East, as we share common national interests and possess similar national values. Israel is not the problem in the Middle East; it is the solution to many of the problems that bedevil the region. American policy must ensure that Israel emerges victorious against those who deny or threaten her existence.” Earlier this year, DeSantis drafted a proposal calling on the U.S. to recognize Syria’s Golan Heights as an ‘integral part’ of the State of Israel.

DeSantis boasted about his presence in Jerusalem when the U.S. Embassy was moved to that city one year ago and has promised that on his upcoming trip he will visit Israel’s illegal settlements on the West Bank, which he refers to by the preferred Israeli usage as “Judea and Samaria.” He has threatened critics that “If you boycott Israel, the state of Florida will boycott you” and threatened to “sanction” the holiday rental company Airbnb when it refused to offer properties located in the illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank. DeSantis was also the driving force behind recently enacted legislation in his state to punish BDS supporters. The legislation is regarded as the most extreme among U.S. states, including explicit equation of criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. Another bill pending in Florida will enable citizens to sue teachers or government employees who in any way criticize Israel.

DeSantis, a former U.S. Navy lawyer, has demonstrated that he reveres Israel even more than his former comrades in arms. In his congressional district there were a number of survivors of the U.S.S. Liberty, which was attacked in international waters by Israel on June 8, 1967, killing 34 crewmen and injuring 171 more. They report that DeSantis has been completely unsympathetic to their requests that a commission of inquiry finally be convened to determine what actually happened on that day.

Regarding the upcoming visit, a local Florida radio station conducted an interview with Israeli Consul General in Miami Lior Haiat, who emphasized the economic benefits to be derived from the strong bilateral relationship, who said “The fact that the huge delegation is going from Florida to Israel is just a symbol that the outcome of this delegation will be seen in the relationship between Israel and Florida for years to come. Because this is just the beginning. We’re signing over 10 memorandums of understandings and agreements between Israeli companies and universities and the Floridian companies and universities. This is a huge bridge that Gov. DeSantis is building. We are happy to be part of it.”

Consul General Haiat also noted that “There is a lot of new technology based in Israel that is very relevant to Florida both on the red tide and algae, and we are already connecting Israeli companies with local authorities in able to find what is the most useful technology for that part.  But it’s also for the greening of oranges. This is a huge problem here. I think that the connection between Israel and Florida has a lot of potential since Israel has a lot of agricultural technology based on knowledge, and Florida has a huge sector of agriculture that can use that technology.”

The six days De Santis led boondoggle in Israel is funded by taxpayers. A public records request filed by a local newspaper seeking information on how much the trip would cost has not been responded to by the governor’s office. And the idea that the state of Florida and its citizens will benefit materially from the trip is largely an illusion. This mixing of politics and business interests is essentially corrupt and inevitably leads to abuses that do not serve the public interest, particularly as American citizens who stand to benefit both, directly and indirectly, are quite openly promoting the interests of a foreign nation.

The Florida trip is a perfect example of how Israel’s friends go about setting up mechanisms that will benefit the Jewish state. Israel will be selling its products and services to Florida, enabled by a government in place that is promoting the process and will steer contracts in its direction. In return, Florida will get little or nothing as Israel is a tiny market and has no particular need of anything that the Sunshine State produces.

All such trade agreements are designed to enrich Israel. The 1985 United States free trade agreement with Israel has benefitted the Jewish state by $144 billion, which is the U.S. deficit on the trade between 1985 and 2015. An interesting example of how this works at the state level and the abuse that it can produce has recently surfaced in Virginia, where a so-called Virginia-Israel Advisory Board (VIAB) has actually been funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia taxpayers to promote and even subsidize Israeli business in the state, business that currently runs an estimated $500 million per annum in favor of Israel. Grant Smith’s Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRMEP) has done considerable digging into the affairs of VIAB, which was ostensibly “created to foster closer economic integration between the United States and Israel while supporting the Israeli government’s policy agenda” with a charter defining its role as “advis[ing] the Governor on ways to improve economic and cultural links between the Commonwealth and the State of Israel, with a focus on the areas of commerce and trade, art and education, and general government.” Smith has observed that “VIAB is a pilot for how Israel can quietly obtain taxpayer funding and official status for networked entities that advance Israel from within key state governments.”

Florida does not yet have an equivalent of Virginia’s VIAB, but it probably does not need one as the pandering to Israel will be run right out of the governor’s office. So if you want to create jobs and exports for a foreign country at a cost to your own citizens, by all means, follow the DeSantis Florida model and send an expensive trade mission over to Jerusalem to sing the praises of Benjamin Netanyahu and his band of war criminals while also promoting “buy Israel.” But just maybe it would be a better idea to stop shilling for a foreign country. Floridians should insist on keeping the travel money here at home where it might actually do some good while also putting a little pressure on DeSantis, who was elected to serve the people of his state, to stop his unseemly boasting about being the “most pro-Israel governor in America.”

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 3 Comments

Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | May 17, 2019

NEW YORK — For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrests made in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other. At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack. The story received coverage in U.S. mainstream media at the time but has since been largely forgotten.

The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”

For years, the official story has been that these individuals, while they had engaged in “immature” behavior by celebrating and being “visibly happy” in their documenting of the attacks, had no prior knowledge of the attack. However, newly released FBI copies of the photos taken by the five Israelis strongly suggest that these individuals had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The copies of the photos were obtained via a FOIA request made by a private citizen.

A high-quality photo, top, shows the area the dancing Israelis were staged. Credit | Panamza

According to a former high-ranking American intelligence official who spoke to the Jewish Daily Forward in 2002, the FBI concluded in its investigation that the five Israelis arrested “were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ, served as a front.” At least two of the men arrested were determined to have direct links to the Mossad after their names appeared in a CIA-FBI database of foreign intelligence operatives. According to one of their lawyers, one of the men, Paul Kurzberg, had previously worked for the Mossad in another country prior to arriving in the United States. Another of those arrested, Oded Ellner, subsequently stated on Israeli TV that the five Israelis had been in New York at the time “to document the event,” meaning the attack on the World Trade Center.

The FOIA release of the photos is notable because responses to prior FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, had previously claimed that all of the photos taken by the Israeli nationals had been destroyed in January 2014. The photos themselves are heavily redacted, making it impossible to see the Israelis’ facial expressions. However, previously declassified yet heavily redacted FBI reports state that the Israelis are “visibly happy” in nearly every photo, even when the burning towers are in the background. The photos released are also not original copies and instead appear to be photocopies of photocopies of the original pictures. In addition, of the original 76 pictures developed by authorities from the camera in the Israelis’ possession, only 14 were released.

However, three of these photos — despite the heavy redaction and poor quality — are damning. Since 2001, even though the photos were never released until now, it had been known that one of the Israelis arrested — Sivan Kurzberg — was seen in a photo “holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the smoldering wreckage [of the twin towers] in the background,” according to Steven Noah Gordon, then-lawyer for the five Israelis, as cited in a New York Timesreport from November 2001.

The picture of Kurzberg with the lit lighter appears to be photo #5 in the new FOIA release. Yet, the picture released includes a visible date of September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, as do two other photos — images #7 and #8 in the collection — whereas all other photos with dates show only the month and the year (9 ‘01). The FOIA release did not provide any information as to the apparent discrepancy in dates.

While this could be explained away as the camera in question being programmed with a slightly inaccurate date, that doesn’t seem to be the case for two reasons. First, only two out of the 14 pictures carry that date and, second, previously declassified FBI reports report an eyewitness adamantly stating that Sivan Kurzberg had visited the Doric Apartments on September 10, 2001 at around 3 p.m. with at least one other man, with whom he was conversing in a foreign language, and had identified himself as a “construction worker” to a tenant (page 61 of declassified FBI report).

Sivan Kurzberg holds a lit lighter with the Manhattan skyline in the background. The date September 10, 2001 visible in the bottom right corner | Photo #5

In addition, the FBI report noted that a van from Urban Moving Systems, the company that employed the five Israelis at the time of their arrest, was present and was involved in moving a tenant out of the complex on September 10 and that the movers all had foreign accents. Thus, images 5, 7 and 8 strongly appear to have been taken at the same complex a day before the attacks. Kurzberg is seen in both images that display the visible date of September 10, 2001.

This raises two possibilities. First, that there are two images of Kurzberg with a lit lighter in front of the towers, one taken before the attack and one taken at the time of the attack, and that the FBI released only one of them. Second, that Kurzberg took the picture with the lighter only the day before the attack and his lawyer misrepresented the contents of the photo to the New York Times. Given that the background of the photo — particularly the state of the towers — is indiscernible in the recently released photo, it is difficult to determine which is the case.

One of the Israelis points to what is presumably the World Trade Center, in Manhattan on September 11, 2001 | Photo #2

Yet, in either scenario, Kurzberg had simulated the burning of the World Trade Center the day before the attacks took place. That the FBI concluded that Kurzberg was party to a Mossad surveillance operation at the time of his arrest would then suggest that Israeli intelligence also had foreknowledge of the attacks.

Notably, the relevant section of the FBI report that asks “1. Did the Israeli nationals have foreknowledge of the events at WTC and were they filming the events prior to and in anticipation of the explosion?” is redacted in its entirety, suggesting that the FBI did not determine the answer to that question to be an emphatic “no.”

One of the 9/11 loose-ends coverups?

If images 5 and 7 were indeed taken the day prior to the attack, the question then becomes why the FBI officially concluded that the arrested Israelis had no prior knowledge of the attacks? One report from ABC News dated June 2002 suggests that the Bush administration intervened in the investigation. That report states that “Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal — and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home [to Israel].” If the Bush administration had cut a deal with Israel’s government to cover up the incident, it certainly would not have been the first time a U.S. presidential administration had done so on Israel’s behalf.

Further evidence that higher-ups in the administration intervened is the fact that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft personally signed off on the detainees’ release. Upon his entering the private sector as a lobbyist and consultant in 2005, the Israeli government became one of Ashcroft’s first clients.

A cover-up certainly seems to have happened to some extent, between the destruction of records of the investigation and the fact that official conclusions of the investigation do not add up. In the latter case, the FBI  — in a file dated September 24, 2001– officially stated that they “determined that none of the Israelis were actively engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.” However, that conclusion was directly contradicted by U.S. officials a year later and by the fact that Israel’s own government subsequently acknowledged that the five Israelis had indeed been involved in “clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.”

In addition, the new FOIA release of the photos suggests that another FBI conclusion — that “none of the pictures developed from the film found inside the 35-mm camera depicted the twin towers prior to the attack” — was inaccurate. This may explain why the images released via the recent FOIA request were heavily edited leaving details in the background greatly obscured, making it impossible to determine whether the photos were taken prior to or during the attacks based solely on the state of the towers.

“Tourists” with cash-stuffed socks, box cutters, and explosives?

Beyond the photos and observed activities of the so-called “Dancing Israelis,” it is worth revisiting several other suspicious circumstances linked to their arrest that clearly show that the men in question were hardly the “tourists” they had claimed to be. One often cited example is the fact that one of the men, Oded Ellner, had a “white sock-like sack filled with $4,700 in cash,” as well as maps of the city with certain places highlighted, and box cutters. In addition, the van in which the Israelis were arrested was “oddly” lacking “equipment typically used in a moving company’s daily duties,” according to the FBI, and residue of explosives was found in the van.

Of the explosive residue, the declassified FBI report states:

A search of the van and individuals was conducted at the time of the vehicle stop. The vehicle was also searched by a trained bomb-sniffing dog which yielded a positive result for the presence of explosive traces. Swabs of the vehicle’s interior were taken, and those samples were sent to the FBI laboratory for further analysis. Final results are still pending.”

In total, the FBI reported that four items related to explosives were found in the ban and are labeled in the report as “Fabric Sample (Explosive Residue),” “Control Swabs – SA [ – ] Gloves,” “Control Swabs – (Bomb Suits),” and “Blanket Samples For Explosive Residue.” In addition, a VHS tape and some still photographs found in the van “were sent to Laboratory Examiner [ redacted ] (Explosives Unit).”

In addition to the strange nature of some of the Israelis’ possessions in the van and on their person, the company that employed them — Urban Moving Systems — was of special interest to the FBI, which concluded that the company was likely a “fraudulent operation.” Upon a search of the company’s premises, the FBI noted that “little evidence of a legitimate business operation was found.” The FBI report also noted that there were an “unusually large number of computers relative to the number of employees for such a fairly small business” and that “further investigation identified several pseudo-names or aliases associated with Urban Moving Systems and its operations.”

The FBI presence at the Urban Moving Systems search site drew the attention of the local media and was later reported on both television and in the local press. A former Urban Moving Systems employee later contacted the Newark Division with information indicating that he had quit his employment with Urban Moving Systems as a result of the high amount of anti-American sentiment present among Urban’s employees. The former employee stated that an Israeli employee of Urban had even once remarked, “Give us twenty years and we’ll take over your media and destroy your country” (page 37 of the FBI report).

The FBI returned to search the premises of Urban Moving Systems a month later, but by that time found:

The building and all of its contents had been abandoned by… the owner of Urban Moving Systems. This [was] apparently being done to avoid criminal prosecution after the 09/11/2001 arrest of five of his employees and subsequent seizure of his office computer systems by members of the FBI-NK on or around 09/13/2001.”

The company’s owner — Dominik Otto Suter, an Israeli citizen — had fled to Israel on September 14, 2001, two days after he had been questioned by the FBI. The FBI told ABC News that “Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation.” Surprisingly, since at least 2016, Suter has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works for a contractor for major tech companies like Google and Microsoft. According to the public records database Intelius, in 2006 and 2007 Suter also worked for a telecommunications company — Granite Telecommunications — that works for the U.S. military and several other U.S. government agencies.

In addition to Urban Moving Systems, another moving company, Classic International Movers, became of interest in connection with the investigation into the “Dancing Israelis,” which led to the arrest and detention of four Israeli nationals who worked for this separate moving company. The FBI’s Miami Division had alerted the Newark Division that Classic International Movers was believed to have been used by one of the 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers before the attack, and one of the “Dancing Israelis” had the number for Classic International Movers written in a notebook that was seized at the time of his arrest. The report further states that one of the Israelis of Classic International Movers who was arrested “was visibly disturbed by the Agents’ questioning regarding his personal email account.”

A crowded dance floor

While the case of the “Dancing Israelis” has long been treated as an outlier in the aftermath of September 11, what is often overlooked is the fact that hundreds of Israeli nationals were arrested in the aftermath of the attacks.

According to a FOX News report from December 2001, 60 Israelis were apprehended or detained after September 11, with most deported, and a total of 140 Israelis were arrested and detained in all of 2001 by federal authorities. That report claimed that the arrests, ostensibly including the “Dancing Israelis,” were in relation to an investigation of “an organized [Israeli] intelligence gathering operation designed to ‘penetrate government facilities.’”

The report also added that most of those arrested, in addition to having served in the IDF, had “intelligence expertise” and worked for Israeli companies that specialized in wiretapping. Some of those detained were also active members of the Israeli military; and several detainees, including the “Dancing Israelis,” had failed polygraph tests when asked if they had been surveilling the U.S. government.

Watch | FOX News December 2001 report on Mossad spying prior to 9/11

A key aspect of that report, compiled by journalist Carl Cameron, also states that federal investigators widely suspected that Israeli intelligence had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks. In the report, Cameron stated:

The Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins’ but when asked for details he flatly refused to describe them saying: ‘Evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about the evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information.’”

One exchange between Cameron and host Brit Hume included in the report is particularly telling:

HUME: “Carl, what about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?”

CAMERON: “Well it’s very explosive information obviously and there is a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected. None of it necessarily conclusive. It’s more when they put it all together a big question they say is, ‘How could they have not known?’ — almost a direct quote, Brit.”

9/11 as a big — and acknowledged — Israeli win

If the “Dancing Israelis”, and more broadly the Mossad and the Israeli government, had foreknowledge of September 11, why would they remain silent and not attempt to warn the American government or public of the coming attacks? In the case of the “Dancing Israelis,” why would Israelis celebrate such an attack?

One of the detained “Dancing Israelis,” Omer Marmari, told police the following about why he viewed the September 11 attacks in a positive light:

Israel now has hope that the world will now understand us. Americans are naïve and America is easy to get inside. There are not a lot of checks in America. And now America will be tougher about who gets into their country.”

While Marmari’s statement may suggest one reason some of the “Dancing Israelis” were so “visibly happy” in their photographs, there are also other statements made by top Israeli politicians that suggest why the Israeli government and its intelligence agency declined to act on apparent foreknowledge of the attack.

When asked, on the day of the 9/11 attacks, how the attacks would affect American-Israeli relations, Benjamin Netanyahu — the current Israeli prime minister — told the New York Times that “It’s very good,” before quickly adding “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He then predicted, much as Marmari had, that the attacks would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

Netanyahu, in a candid conversation recorded in 2001, also echoed Marmari’s claim that Americans are naïve. In that recording, Netanyahu said:

I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved to the right direction. … They won’t get in our way. They won’t get in our way… 80 percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

In addition, also on the day of the September 11 attacks, Netanyahu — who at the time was not in political office — held a press conference in which he claimed that he had predicted the attacks on the World Trade Center by “militant Islam” in his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism. In that book, Netanyahu had posited that Iranian-linked “militants” would set off a nuclear bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center.

During his press conference on the day of the attacks, Netanyahu also asserted that the 9/11 attacks would be a turning point for America and compared them to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Netanyahu’s statement echoes the infamous line from the “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” document authored by the neoconservative think tank, the Project for a New Ameican Century (PNAC). That line reads. “Further, the process of transformation [towards a neo-Reaganite foreign policy and hyper-militarism], even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Then again, years later In 2008, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that Netanyahu had stated that the September 11 attacks had greatly benefited Israel. He was quoted as saying: “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.”

Indeed, it goes without saying that the aftermath of 9/11 — which involved the U.S. leading a destructive effort throughout the Middle East — has indeed benefited Israel. Many of the U.S.’ post-9/11 “nation-building” efforts have notably mirrored the policy paper “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which was authored by American neoconservatives — PNAC members among them — for Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister.

That document calls for the creation of a “New Middle East” by, among other things, “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria” and “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.” As is known now, both of those main objectives have since come to pass, each with strong Israeli involvement.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

May 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Pompeo Bolton Tag Team from Hell

By Renee Parsons – Global Research – May 17, 2019

There was little pretense that when former UN Ambassador John Bolton became President Trump’s National Security Adviser and former Rep. Mike Pompeo moved into the Secretary of State position, that either would bring a professionally credible and respectable presence to  world diplomacy or foreign affairs.

It is fair to say that both have surpassed any of the bleak expectations and proven to be more extreme in their ideology, more personally amoral and malevolent than previously feared. What we are seeing now is as if all constraints have been removed with free rein to fulfill their zio-neocon agendas specifically against Venezuela and Iran.

  • While speaking to a student audience recently at Texas A&M University, Pompeo revealed his utter contempt for a democratic government based on the rule of law when he bragged about “lying, cheating and stealing” as CIA Director. To an audience of undergraduates which clapped and laughed throughout, Pompeo offered:

“What’s the cadet motto at West Point? You will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do. I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. (laughing as if he had said something humorous) We had entire training courses. (Audience applause and cheers) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.” (emphasis added)

First in his class at West Point and a graduate of Harvard Law School, Pompeo prides himself on having “come to an understanding of Jesus that fundamentally changed“ his life as a cadet and today claims to  be a “man of faith.”  It is not clear who Pompeo thinks he is kidding with the religious fervor schtick but for sure it is not any divine deity which will one day sit in Judgment on his character and integrity. The Texas A&M exchange reveals an unscrupulous bully who knows no limit to his omnipotence and a willingness to condone war crimes on behalf of the disreputable Empire he serves.

  • Keynote speaker at AIPAC’s 2019 conference, Pompeo proved where his fidelity lies when he declared “Let me go on record: Anti-zionism is anti-semitism” which has become the new rallying cry for the poor, beleaguered state of Israel.
  • As the State Department is now defining the term ‘anti Zionism,’ Pompeo appointed Elan Carr as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism with the ultimate goal to intimidate and criminalize critics of Israel’s foreign policy objectives.

In describing his responsibilities, Carr’s stated priorities will be to “reduce the feelings of insecurity”, review “indoctrination of anti semitic textbooks” and “focus relentlessly on eradicating this false distinction between anti Zionism and anti-semitism.” It takes living in a simulated reality to not grasp the distinction between criticism of Israel’s apartheid policy toward the Palestinians and its belligerent foreign policy in the Middle East and a genuine prejudice or discrimination based on one’s religious preference or ethnic differences.

At his press briefing, Carr was immediately in the weeds and lost total control of the narrative before being shut down by the State Department official spokesman.

As a one dimensional thinker,  Mr. Carr never described who or how anti-semitism will be identified. Will the State Department issue a weekly list of anti-Semitic offenders and what will  be the penalty?  Will State provide a list of forbidden anti-semitic words? How will deliberate intent be determined?   If a non-jew utters words like apartheid, yenta, yarmulke or illegal settlements, will they be considered proof of anti-Semitic? Will the Nazis still be permitted to march in Skokie?  Will the tech giants rewrite their algorithms to search for ‘banned’ words?

  • On April 10th, Omar Barghouti (image on the right), a prominent Palestinian human rights defender and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement was denied entry by the US Consulate before departing Ben Gurion Airport despite having valid travel documents and having visited the US previously. Barghouti responded that:

Supporters of Israeli apartheid in the US are desperately trying to deny US lawmakers, media, diverse audiences at universities, a bookstore and a synagogue, their right to listen, first-hand, to a Palestinian human rights advocate calling for ending US complicity in Israel’s crimes against our people.”

  • In a 2016 report, the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda initiated an investigation into possible war crimes in Afghanistan involving the torture of 61 prisoners committed by the US Army and the torture and rape of 27 prisoners committed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at CIA prison sites in Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

In response to the ICC inquiry in 2018, Bolton warned:

“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans,”

In March 2019, Pompeo repeated the ICC threats with no apology in a straight forward defense of torture and war criminals.

“Since 1998, the US has declined to join the ICC because of its broad unaccountable prosecutorial powers and the threat it poses to American national sovereignty.  We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation. I’m announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel. These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis without allies consent. These visa restrictions will not be the end of our efforts.We are prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions, if the ICC does not change course,”

After the Court responded that it would continue its investigation with “war crimes and crimes against humanitywere, and continue to be, committed by foreign government forces in Afghanistan,”  Reference to ‘allied” personnel and Israeli involvement in US war crimes remains impenetrable.  True to his word, in early April Pompeo revoked the visa for Bensouda (image on the left).

In a devastating setback for the ICC, its pre-trial chamber recently refused to approve the investigation from moving forward citing a lack of US cooperation.  Certainly the Pompeo – Bolton threat to criminally prosecute and personally sanction the Court’s judges or that the US would ‘use any means necessary ” had nothing to do with that decision.  Bensouda says she will appeal the chamber’s decision.

  • After the January meeting with North Korea ended in failure, NK’s Deputy Defense Minister, who took part in the meeting, revealed that while Trump had shown a willingness to lift some sanctions based on NK’s moratorium on missile tests, he was later overridden by Pompeo and Bolton who brought “an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust” to the table with their “gangster like behavior.”

As the zio-neocons continue to move on Venezuela and/or Iran as uncontrollable malevolent fiends, loose cannons with no concept of international law or the need for global harmony, men of no conscience and no morality, it is only a matter of time before cosmic law balances the scale.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

May 17, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Stories from the Homeland – A Palestinian Film by Zarefah Baroud

Stories of the Homeland from Zarefah Baroud on Vimeo.

Palestinian-American young filmmaker, Zarefah Baroud talks to her aunt in Gaza, Dr. Suma Baroud and her father, Palestinian author and journalist, Dr. Ramzy Baroud about the Nakba, growing up in a refugee camp and their hope for the future.

The two siblings, one in exile and the other under siege in Gaza convey a moving personal account of their lives in the context of the larger Palestinian narrative, that of war, military occupation, resistance and sumoud.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes, Video, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Pretexts for an Attack on Iran

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – May 15, 2019

An Iraq-War redux is now in full play, with leading roles played by some of the same protagonists — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, who says he still thinks attacking Iraq was a good idea. Co-starring is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The New York Times on Tuesday played its accustomed role in stoking the fires, front-paging a report that, at Bolton’s request, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has come up with an updated plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The Times headline writer, at least, thought it appropriate to point to echoes from the past: “White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War.”

By midday, Trump had denied the Times report, branding it “fake news.” Keep them guessing, seems to be the name of the game.

Following the Iraq playbook, Bolton and Pompeo are conjuring up dubious intelligence from Israel to “justify” attacking — this time — Iran. (For belligerent Bolton, this was entirely predictable.) All this is clear.

What is not clear, to Americans and foreigners alike, is why Trump would allow Bolton and Pompeo to use the same specious charges — terrorism and nuclear weapons — to provoke war with a country that poses just as much strategic threat to the U.S. as Iraq did — that is to say, none. The corporate media, with a two-decade memory-loss and a distinct pro-Israel bias, offers little help toward understanding.

Before discussing the main, but unspoken-in-polite-circles, impulse behind the present step-up in threats to Iran, let’s clear some underbrush by addressing the two limping-but-still-preferred, ostensible rationales, neither of which can bear close scrutiny:

No. 1: It isn’t because Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. We of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity shot down that canard a year and a half ago. In a Memorandum for President Trump, we said:

“The depiction of Iran as ‘the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism’ is not supported by the facts. While Iran is guilty of having used terrorism as a national policy tool in the past, the Iran of 2017 is not the Iran of 1981. In the early days of the Islamic Republic, Iranian operatives routinely carried out car bombings, kidnappings and assassinations of dissidents and of American citizens. That has not been the case for many years.”

No. 2. It isn’t because Iran is building a nuclear weapon. A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate concluded unanimously that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003 and had not resumed any such work. That judgment has been re-affirmed by the Intelligence Community annually since then.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, imposed strict, new, verifiable restrictions on Iranian nuclear-related activities and was agreed to in July 2015 by Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, France, the U.K., Germany and the European Union.

Even the Trump administration has acknowledged that Iran has been abiding by the agreement’s provisions. Nevertheless, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, 2018, four weeks after John Bolton became his national security adviser.

‘We Prefer No Outcome’

Fair WarningWhat follows may come as a shock to those malnourished on the drivel in mainstream media: The “WHY,” quite simply, is Israel. It is impossible to understand U.S. Middle East policy without realizing the overwhelming influence of Israel on it and on opinion makers. (A personal experience drove home how strong the public appetite is for the straight story, after I gave a half-hour video interview to independent videographer Regis Tremblay three years ago. He titled it “The Inside Scoop on the Middle East & Israel,” put it on YouTube and it got an unusually high number of views.)

Syria is an illustrative case in point, since Israel has always sought to secure its position in the Middle East by enlisting U.S. support to curb and dominate its neighbors. An episode I recounted in that interview speaks volumes about Israeli objectives in the region as a whole, not only in Syria. And it includes an uncommonly frank admission/exposition of Israeli objectives straight from the mouths of senior Israeli officials. It is the kind of case-study, empirical approach much to be preferred to indulging in ponderous pronouncements or, worse still, so-called “intelligence assessments.”

It has long been clear that Israeli leaders have powerful incentives to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. This Israeli priority has become crystal clear in many ways. Reporter Jodi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem, had an important article in TheNew York Times on Sept. 6, 2013, in which she addressed Israel’s motivation in a particularly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike against Syria,” noted that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.

Rudoren wrote:

Jodi Rudoren. (Twitter)

“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”

If this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the carnage in Syria, they seem to believe that deeper U.S. involvement, including military action, is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict especially when Syrian government forces seem to be getting the upper hand. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates it will be.

The fact that Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. And since Iranian military support has not been enough to destroy those challenging Bashar al-Assad, Israel can highlight that in an attempt to humiliate Iran as an ally.

Today the geography has shifted from Syria to Iran: What’s playing out in the Persian Gulf area is a function of the politically-dictated obsequiousness of American presidents to the policies and actions of Israel’s leaders. This bipartisan phenomenon was obvious enough under recent presidents like Clinton and Obama; but under Bush II and Trump, it went on steroids, including a born-again, fundamentalist religious aspect.

One need hardly mention the political power of the Israel lobby and the lucrative campaign donations from the likes of Sheldon Adelson. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is riding high, at least for the now, Israeli influence is particularly strong in the lead-up to U.S. elections, and Trump has been acquitted of colluding with Russia.

The stars seem aligned for very strong “retaliatory strikes” for terrorist acts blamed on Iran.

Tonkin — er, I Mean Persian Gulf

Over the weekend, four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged near the Strait of Hormuz. Last evening The Wall Street Journal was the first to report an “initial U.S. assessment” that Iran likely was behind the attacks, and quoted a “U.S. official” to the effect that if confirmed, this would inflame military tensions in the Persian Gulf.The attacks came as the U.S. deploys an aircraft carrier, bombers and an antimissile battery to the Gulf — supposedly to deter what the Trump administration said is the possibility of Iranian aggression.

On Tuesday, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, with whom Saudi Arabia has been fighting a bloody war for the past four years, launched a drone attack on a Saudi east-west pipeline that carries crude to the Red Sea. This is not the first such attack; a Houthi spokesman said the attack was a response to Saudi “aggression” and “genocide” in Yemen. The Saudis shut down the pipeline for repair.

Thus the dangers in and around the Strait of Hormuz increase apace with U.S.-Iran recriminations. This, too, is not new.

Tension in the Strait was very much on Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen’s mind as he prepared to retire on Sept. 30, 2011. Ten days before, he told the Armed Force Press Service of his deep concern over the fact that the U.S. and Iran have had no formal communications since 1979:

“Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union. We are not talking to Iran. So we don’t understand each other. If something happens, it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right, that there will be miscalculations.”

Now the potential for an incident has increased markedly. Adm. Mullen was primarily concerned about the various sides — Iran, the U.S., Israel — making hurried decisions with, you guessed it, “unintended consequences.”

With Pompeo and Bolton on the loose, the world may be well advised to worry even more about “intended consequences” from a false flag attack. The Israelis are masters at this. The tactic has been in the U.S. clandestine toolkit for a long time, as well. In recent days, the Pentagon has reported tracking “anomalous naval activity” in the Persian Gulf, including loading small sailing vessels with missiles and other military hardware.

Cheney: Down to the Sea in Boats

In July 2008, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that Bush administration officials had held a meeting in the vice president’s office in the wake of a January 2008 incident between Iranian patrol boats and U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. The reported purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to provoke war with Iran.

Hersh wrote:

“There were a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build in our shipyard four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives.

“And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of, that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation.

“Silly? Maybe. But potentially very lethal. Because one of the things they learned in the [January 2008] incident was the American public, if you get the right incident, the American public will support bang-bang-kiss-kiss. Youknow, we’re into it.”

Preparing the (Propaganda) Battlefield

One of Washington’s favorite ways to blacken Iran and its leaders is to blame it for killing U.S. troops in Iraq. Iran was accused, inter alia, of supplying the most lethal improvised explosive devices, but sycophants like Gen. David Petraeus wanted to score points by blaming the Iranians for still more actions.

On April 25, 2008, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters that Gen. David Petraeus would be giving a briefing “in the next couple of weeks” that would provide detailed evidence of “just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability.”

Petraeus’s staff alerted U.S. media to a major news event in which captured Iranian arms in Karbala, Iraq, would be displayed and then destroyed. But there was a small problem. When American munitions experts went to Karbala to inspect the alleged cache of Iranian weapons, they found nothing that could be credibly linked to Iran.

This embarrassing episode went virtually unreported in Western media – like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no corporate media to hear it crash. A fiasco is only a fiasco if folks find out about it. The Iraqis did announce that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had formed his own Cabinet committee to investigate U.S. claims and attempt to “find tangible information and not information based on speculation.”

With his windsock full of neoconservative anti-Iran rhetoric, Petreaus, as CIA director, nevertheless persisted — and came up with even more imaginative allegations of Iranian perfidy. Think back, for example, to October 2011 and the outlandish White House spy feature at the time: the Iranian-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. And hold your nose.

More recently, the Pentagon announced it has upped its estimate of how many U.S. troops Iran killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. The revised death tally would mean that Iran is responsible for 17 percent of all U.S. troops killed in Iraq.

Who Will Restrain the ‘Crazies’?

Pompeo stopped off in Brussels on Monday to discuss Iran with EU leaders, skipping what would have been the first day of a two-day trip to Russia. Pompeo did not speak to the news media in Brussels, but European foreign ministers said that they had urged “restraint.”

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt told reporters: “We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended, really on either side.” British Army Major General Christopher Ghika was rebuked by U.S. Central Command for saying Tuesday: “There has been no increased threat from Iranian backed forces in Iraq and Syria.” Central Command spokesperson Captain Bill Urban said Ghika’s remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region.”

Although there is growing resentment at the many serious problems tied to Trump’s pulling the U.S. out of the Iran deal, and there is the EU’s growing pique at heavyweights like Pompeo crashing their gatherings uninvited, I agree with Pepe Escobar’s bottom line, that “it’s politically naïve to believe the Europeans will suddenly grow a backbone.”

There remains a fleeting hope that cooler heads in the U.S. military might summon the courage to talk some sense into Trump, in the process making it clear that they will take orders from neither Pompeo nor from National Security Advisor John Bolton. But the generals and admirals of today are far more likely in the end to salute and “follow orders.”

There is a somewhat less forlorn hope that Russia will give Pompeo a strong warning in Sochi — a shot across the bow, so to speak. The last thing Russia, China, Turkey and other countries want is an attack on Iran. Strategic realities have greatly changed since the two wars on Iraq.

In 1992, still in the afterglow of Desert Storm (the first Gulf War), former Gen. Wesley Clark asked then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz about major lessons to be drawn from the Desert Storm attack on Iraq in 1991. Without hesitation, Wolfowitz answered, “We can do these things and the Russians won’t stop us.” That was still true for the second attack on Iraq in 2003.

But much has changed since then: In 2014, the Russians stopped NATO expansion to include Ukraine, after the Western-sponsored coup in Kiev; and in the years that followed, Moscow thwarted attempts by the U.S., Israel, and others to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

No doubt Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to “stop us” before the Bolton/Pompeo team finds an “Iranian” casus belli. Initial reporting from Sochi, where Pompeo met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday indicates there was no meeting of the minds on Iran. Both Pompeo and Lavrov described their talks as “frank” — diplomat-speak for acrimonious.

Pompeo was probably treated to much stronger warnings in private during the Sochi talks with Lavrov and Putin. Either or both may even have put into play the potent China card, now that Russia and China have a relationship just short of a military alliance — a momentous alteration of what the Soviets used to call the “correlation of forces.”

In my mind’s eye, I can even see Putin warning, “If you attack Iran, you may wish to be prepared for trouble elsewhere, including in the South China Sea. Besides, the strategic balance is quite different from conditions existing each time you attacked Iraq. We strongly advise you not to start hostilities with Iran — under any pretext. If you do, we are ready this time.”

And, of course, Putin could also pick up the phone and simply call Trump.

There is no guarantee, however, that tough talk from Russia could stick an iron rod into the wheels of the juggernaut now rolling downhill to war on Iran. But, failing that kind of strong intervention and disincentive, an attack on Iran seems all but assured. Were we to be advising President Trump today, we VIPS would not alter a word in the recommendation at the very end of the Memorandum for President George W. Bush we sent him on the afternoon of Feb. 5, 2003, after Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council earlier that day:

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

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner city Washington. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and presidential briefer and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who Wants This War with Iran?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • May 17, 2019

Speaking on state TV of the prospect of a war in the Gulf, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei seemed to dismiss the idea.

“There won’t be any war. … We don’t seek a war, and (the Americans) don’t either. They know it’s not in their interests.”

The ayatollah’s analysis — a war is in neither nation’s interest — is correct. Consider the consequences of a war with the United States for his own country.

Iran’s hundreds of swift boats and handful of submarines would be sunk. Its ports would be mined or blockaded. Oil exports and oil revenue would halt. Air fields and missile bases would be bombed. The Iranian economy would crash. Iran would need years to recover.

And though Iran’s nuclear sites are under constant observation and regular inspection, they would be destroyed.

Tehran knows this, which is why, despite 40 years of hostility, Iran has never sought war with the “Great Satan” and does not want this war to which we seem to be edging closer every day.

What would such a war mean for the United States?

It would not bring about “regime change” or bring down Iran’s government that survived eight years of ground war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

If we wish to impose a regime more to our liking in Tehran, we will have to do it the way we did it with Germany and Japan after 1945, or with Iraq in 2003. We would have to invade and occupy Iran.

But in World War II, we had 12 million men under arms. And unlike Iraq in 2003, which is one-third the size and population of Iran, we do not have the hundreds of thousands of troops to call up and send to the Gulf.

Nor would Americans support such an invasion, as President Donald Trump knows from his 2016 campaign. Outside a few precincts, America has no enthusiasm for a new Mideast war, no stomach for any occupation of Iran.

Moreover, war with Iran would involve firefights in the Gulf that would cause at least a temporary shutdown in oil traffic through the Strait of Hormuz — and a worldwide recession.

How would that help the world? Or Trump in 2020?

How many allies would we have in such a war?

Spain has pulled its lone frigate out of John Bolton’s flotilla headed for the Gulf. Britain, France and Germany are staying with the nuclear pact, continuing to trade with Iran, throwing ice water on our intelligence reports that Iran is preparing to attack us.

Turkey regards Iran as a cultural and economic partner. Russia was a de facto ally in Syria’s civil war. China continues to buy Iranian oil. India just hosted Iran’s foreign minister.

So, again, Cicero’s question: “Cui bono?”

Who really wants this war? How did we reach this precipice?

A year ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a MacArthurian ultimatum, making 12 demands on the Tehran regime.

Iran must abandon all its allies in the Middle East — Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, Hamas in Gaza — pull all forces under Iranian command out of Syria, and then disarm all its Shiite militia in Iraq.

Iran must halt all enrichment of uranium, swear never to produce plutonium, shut down its heavy water reactor, open up its military bases to inspection to prove it never had a secret nuclear program and stop testing missiles. And unless she submits, Iran will be strangled with sanctions.

Pompeo’s speech at the Heritage Foundation read like the terms of some conquering Caesar dictating to some defeated tribe in Gaul, though we had yet to fight and win the war, usually a precondition for dictating terms.

Iran’s response was to disregard Pompeo’s demands.

And crushing U.S. sanctions were imposed, to brutal effect.

Yet, as one looks again at the places where Pompeo ordered Iran out — Lebanon, Yemen, Gaza, Syria, Iraq — no vital interest of ours was imperiled by any Iranian presence.

The people who have a problem with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon are the Israelis whose occupations spawned those movements.

As for Yemen, the Houthis overthrew a Saudi puppet.

Syria’s Bashar Assad never threatened us, though we armed rebels to overthrow him. In Iraq, Iranian-backed Shiite militia helped us to defend Baghdad from the southerly advance of ISIS, which had taken Mosul.

Who wants us to plunge back into the Middle East, to fight a new and wider war than the ones we fought already this century in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen?

Answer: Pompeo and Bolton, Bibi Netanyahu, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Sunni kings, princes, emirs, sultans and the other assorted Jeffersonian democrats on the south shore of the Persian Gulf.

And lest we forget, the never-Trumpers and neocons in exile nursing their bruised egos, whose idea of sweet revenge is a U.S. return to the Mideast in a war with Iran, which then brings an end to the Trump presidency.

Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 5 Comments

Israel lost $16.8m due to halt of gas production during Gaza offensive

MEMO | May 15, 2019

Israel lost 60 million shekels ($16.8 million) from gas exports as a result of the two-day assault launched against the Gaza Strip earlier this month, a member of  the Knesset revealed yesterday.

Al-Wattan Voice reported the Hebrew newspaper Maariv saying that the loses were a result of Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz’s decision to halt gas production at the from Tamar gas field during the attack on Gaza on 4-5 May.

Israeli Member of the Knesset Orit Farkash-Hacohen revealed that 60 million shekels ($16.8 million) had been lost as a result and this would be recouped from tax funds.

Twenty-seven Palestinians were killed during Israel’s attack on the besieged Gaza Strip, including two toddlers, two expectant mothers and one minor. Four Israelis were also killed.

Experts have said the attack was halted because Israel is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest and it did not want news of the attacks to overshadow the global music event, or to deter participants and concert goers from attending.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments