Trump Blacklists ex-CIA chief Brennan

 

Local Editor

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, and warned several other prominent critics they too risk being blacklisted.

In a highly unusually directive, Trump claimed that Brennan — a former station chief in Riyadh who rose to lead the formidable spy agency — had become “erratic.”

Brennan is a frequent Trump critic. Just hours before Trump issued the edict, the former CIA chief had accused the Republican leader of failing “to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity.”

And after Trump’s surprise decision was made public at a White House briefing, Brennan quickly hit back, accusing the president of trying to curb free speech in a “politically motivated” action that he said should “gravely worry all Americans.”

In his statement, Trump suggested the ex-spy chief had tossed around “unfounded and outrageous allegations — wild outbursts on the internet and television — about this administration” and engaged in “increasingly frenzied commentary.”

Brennan, who has briefed Republican and Democratic presidents, could now lose access to classified information — a courtesy usually afforded to former senior officials of all political stripes.

The White House has been besieged by a scandal over a former aide’s tell-all memoir in recent days and often tries to defuse crises by stoking new controversy.

It said that eight other officials could also lose their clearances, including former director of national intelligence James Clapper, former CIA director and four-star general Michael Hayden and ex-FBI director James Comey.

The individuals were accused — without details — of politicizing and monetizing their public service and security clearances.

“Historically, former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their government service so that they can consult with their successors,” Trump’s statement read.

“At this point in my administration, any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with Brennan are now outweighed by the risk posed by his erratic conduct and behavior.”

He later tweeted “John Brennan is a stain on the Country, we deserve better than this,” quoting the author of a new book that claims Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama attempted to sabotage his presidential campaign.

Following the president’s summit last month with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Brennan – who headed the CIA under Obama – described Trump’s behavior as “nothing short of treasonous.”

The move to pull his security clearance prompted immediate outrage, including from Brennan himself.

“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics,” Brennan fired back.

“It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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Zionists Say S. Nasrallah is Right: Israeli Army Turned Fat & Foolish

August 16, 2018

Israeli soldiers

Although the Zionist official circles have not reacted to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s speech in which his eminence stressed the party was stronger than the Israeli army, the Israeli media outlets highlighted the strategic remarks of the Resistance leader.

The Zionists reacted to the media outlets coverage, via social media websites, highlighting Sayyed Nasrallah’s honesty and considering that his eminence’s power superiority assertion is right due to Hezbollah mounting military capabilities.

“Nasrallah is smart. Every word he says is valuable. Unfortunately, we are afraid of our own shadow,” one Zionist commented.

“Hezbollah has enough rockets to destroy the Israeli runways during the upcoming war, and our army cannot manage without the air force,” another settler said.

“The decision makers in ‘Israel’ are coward and hesitant. Remind me of any battle in which the Israeli army defeated Hezbollah!”

The Zionist comments also stressed that the Israeli army turned to be fat and foolish, unlike the “trained and professional” Hezbollah fighters.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah had stressed on the twelfth anniversary of 2006 Divine Victory over the Zionist army that Hezbollah had turned stronger than the Israeli military, adding several remarks which highlight the enemy’s weakness in this regard.

Source: Al-Manar Website

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Turkey’s Economic Crisis: Limited Options

Image result for erdogan economic trajectory

August 15, 2018

by Gary Littlejohn for The Saker BlogTurkey’s Economic Crisis: Limited Options

It is said that when Groucho Marx was asked how he went bankrupt, he replied “Slowly at first, and then much more quickly”. The Turkish Lira had started to slide slowly and then last week it went down much more quickly. The context for this was made clear by the Moon of Alabama on 10th August, on the very same day that the decline of the Lira reached the tipping point into an urgent crisis level.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/08/how-turkeys-currency-crisis-came-to-pass.html#more

The fact that he could analyse it so quickly indicates that the crisis had been developing for quite a while, and so he had already digested the implications of Turkey’s political and economic trajectory. Given that Greece has recently received what is claimed to be the last tranche of its bailout funding from the European Central Bank [ECB] one has to wonder why Turkey apparently learned no lessons from Greece’s long-run debt crisis, or even from the much smaller and shorter financial crisis in Cyprus. Both showed that when the financial crunch arrives, events move very quickly. Even though in Greece the Syriza government had a plan to exit from the Euro and return to the Drachma, when it was ready to do that, it found that the funds had already disappeared from Greek banks. A rapid bank run had meant that funds had disappeared abroad. In the case of Cyprus, only quick-witted wealthy Russians managed to get their funds out quickly enough, by using a bank that also had a branch in London, which was a loophole that the authorities had not thought to close when capital controls were imposed and banks were closed temporarily.

There is no sign that Erdogan or his advisers fully understand the speed with which a financial crisis can develop, despite all the evidence of the last 10 years, or the Asian financial crisis of 1997-8, a crisis from which Russia evidently learned to avoid being so vulnerable again. So what can the Erdogan government do in such difficult circumstances? Until today (15 August 2018) all that had been seen was rhetoric and blaming others, but as the Moon of Alabama pointed out, the economic leverage now available to those hostile to Turkey was provided by Turkey’s own economic policies.

Now that debt in US dollars and Euros probably exceeds 50 per cent of the total debt owed by Turkish financial institutions, and the Lira had accelerated its fall over the 5 days to the 14th August, repaying such debts quickly is impossible. Nor would trade retaliations have a sufficiently large effect to hurt the USA. [The Turkish economy is only about 8 per cent of the size of the EU economy.]

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/14/erdogan-turkey-boycott-us-Lira-trump-pastor-brunson

While Erdogan’s supporters helped him to withstand the recent coup attempt, they are not wealthy enough to finance such debts by selling their gold or other assets. It has already been calculated that Turkish commercial bank reserves have effectively been liquidated by the decline in the exchange value of the Lira. Total Turkish government reserves are about $131 billion.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/13/how-serious-is-turkeys-Lira-crisis-and-what-are-the-implications

Turkish institutions have borrowed about $150 billion, and it would now take about double the pre-crisis amount of Lira to repay this. This far too big for, say, Russia to support and Erdogan has stated that he did not seek Russian financial aid in his recent phone call with Putin.

http://tass.com/economy/1017031

Russia has simply declared that bilateral projects such as the Turk Stream gas pipeline and the atomic power plant are not in jeopardy, but then Russia is financing most of these costs and the clear implication is that no further financial aid will be forthcoming. This is hardly surprising when Russia’s reserves amount to $458 billion, only about 3.5 times more than Turkey’s reserves, and Russia too faces sanctions. So it is likely that Erdogan’s denial that he asked for aid is a face saver.

Nor is it likely that China would feel able to come to Turkey’s aid, for two main reasons. Firstly, it has just taken an 80 per cent stake in Iran’s natural gas project, based on the largest single reservoir of natural gas in the world, and it has longer-term plans to build a rail link from Central Asia to Iran. Secondly, with today’s announcement by Turkey of what is called a ‘soft capital control’, the Lira has bounced back today and the financial pressure from investors has suddenly switched to China.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-15/futures-slide-dollar-surges-tencent-yuan-chinese-stocks-tumble

According to the link above, the phrase ‘soft capital control’ refers to a newly announced requirement by the local banking regulator “that the total amount of foreign currency and Lira swap and swap-like transactions can’t exceed 25% of banks’ legal shareholder equity (which followed a similar determination at 50% just two days earlier). The logic behind the move, taken straight out of the PBOC’s [People’s Bank of China] playbook: to ‘kill offshore Lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the Lira’….” So foreign speculators are not going to find it easy to buy Lira in order to bet against the Turkish currency.

This is the first sign that Turkey is using what international investors would recognise as credible financial measures to deal with the crisis. Meanwhile, the Lira crisis has made global financial markets more nervous and carries the danger of a global crisis. This now-panicky mood partly explains why China has suddenly attracted negative attention.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/aug/13/turkish-Lira-record-low-ripples-through-global-currency-markets

Yet the danger of ‘contagion’ within the EU is not over, even though the weak French, Italian and Spanish banks most exposed to Turkish debts are considered to have sufficient reserves to withstand bad Turkish debts. While Turkish debts are not considered to be an existential threat to such banks, the fact is that any additional destabilisation of EU banks, such as a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ by the UK, could destabilise the EU banking system. The ECB is already finding it difficult to buy EU government bonds as a way of pursuing its policy of ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE, effectively printing money electronically) without causing high levels of inflation, and so QE may be coming to an end as a policy fairly soon. Since this is happening at a time when the US Federal Reserve has made it clear that it wishes to raise interest rates, and the Bank of England has just done so, the nervousness on global markets that the last 10 years of cheap credit might be coming to an end is understandable. So the Turkish Lira crisis may be seen as a possible precursor of a much wider financial crisis, whose likelihood is increased by Trump’s trade war measures.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-14/current-state-global-trade-war-one-infographic

The actual point of origin of any such global crisis can only be guessed at, and while many might expect it to start in the USA as it did in 2007-8, it could well happen within the EU, where many banks are comparatively over-stretched dealing with what are politely called ‘non-performing loans’. These problems are exacerbated within the EU by the large flows of funds from southern EU countries to northern ones.

Geopolitical Implications

The Moon of Alabama pointed to the sort of political price that various countries might extract from Turkey now that it is suddenly in a much weaker position. Readers of the South Front website could readily outline the probable implications for the Syrian conflict. Neo-Ottoman dreams of a buffer zone between Turkey and any Kurdish groups seem far from being viable.

With regard to the recent BRICS conference in South Africa, where Turkey suggested that it might join BRICS, that will inevitably be shelved at best. I am not aware of Turkey having engaged in any of the currency swap arrangements signed in recent years by Russia and China with various partners, and so Turkey’s references to reorienting by turning to new allies and markets carries little credibility in the short run. Yet I expect Erdogan to resist calling in the IMF since that will be seen in many quarters as a public surrender to the USA. That may scare off Western tourists (and the share price of the large German travel firm Tui has declined in recent days) but Russian tourists might still take their holidays in Turkey. The alternative to the IMF is probably stronger capital controls, rising goods shortages as international trading becomes more difficult, and fairly high inflation. In the longer term of such a scenario, food rationing cannot be ruled out.

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The Essential Saker II: Civilizational Choices and Geopolitics / The Russian challenge to the hegemony of the AngloZionist Empire
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israel (apartheid state) Again Tests Chemical Weapons on Gaza Protesters

Israel Again Tests Chemical Weapons on Gaza Protesters

by Ariyana Love

The Israeli Occupation is once again testing a strange new and unknown weapons on civilians protesting the illegal siege on Gaza, at the separation barrier fence last Friday.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fyounes.arar%2Fposts%2F10157718171000760&width=500

Below is video footage of this new weapon technology. Have you seen anything like this before?

Also on Friday, a 14-year-old child inhaled an unknown neurotoxin that has left him in a coma.

The child’s father released this statement August 14th:

“I received a shocking call by the youth on Gaza borders, that my son was injured last Friday and it’s the third time that my son got injured during the Great Return March demonstrations on Gaza borders, but this time he has a very critical injury. My son inhaled a killer gas emitted from gas bombs, on the demonstrators and this gas was filled with a severe chemical which affected all my sons nervous system, leading him to convulse horrifically every 5 minutes. As you see my son is on the bed of the hospital and he has been convulsing violently with shock, since 4 days ago. All the Physician’s and Doctors tried their best to do analysis and diagnosis. But they can’t treat him because the Israel Occupation cut the supply of medications for my sons case (neurotoxin) and it’s going terribly uncontrolled. Doctors told me that my sons treatment as well as medications are available only in Israel or out of Gaza and I am wondering why Israel kills our kids and prevents us to treat them? Therefore, I ask all the humanitarian foundations around the world, all World governments, the PA president as well as Ismail Haniyeh and everyone with s soft heart to help my son get treatment out of Gaza urgently and to recover soon!”

Today, I received word from the child’s father that his son is still in a semi-coma, going in and out of consciousness, but mostly remaining comatose. He still convulses every 5 minutes.

The Great Return March demonstrations began on March 30th. There is documented footage of the Occupation’s used Chemical Weapons on protesters since April, yet no world government or international body has taken any action or sent a delegation to Gaza to investigate.

Arms manufacturers, primarily the US Israel and the UK, are using the Occupation’s Massacres in Gaza to test new technology.

More footage of the Occupation’s illegal testing of Chemical Weapons was also released in May. Gaza Doctors have reported the symptoms are caused by a neurotoxin, an unknown chemical nerve agent in the form of gas, which targets the entire nervous system of the victims resulting in violent convulsions, extreme suffocation, coma and in some cases death.

The treatment for this child and other civilian victims of Chemical Warfare, is a simple medicine which Israel is now preventing from entering Gaza.

Already at the end of April, the ICSPR informed me that the Ministry of Health had reported that Gaza hospitals are completely depleted, having no supplies left to treat the injured. They are absent of absolutely everything and due to this, the hospitals are empty. Patients are being sent home, even with severe injuries, to await their fate because “we can do nothing to help them.”

The ICSPR also reported that 50 of Gaza’s top Doctors left the end of July, because they are unable to save lives in these conditions. It has also become impossible for the Ministry of Health to track the recovery process of wounded victims.

We must demand an investigation into Israel’s illegal use of chemical and banned weapons on civilians. We must demand that the borders to Gaza remain open for all necessary humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.

Below are the latest statistics of casualties and wounded during the Great Return March.

Ariyana Love

Ariyana Love is Founder of Occupy Palestine TV, TLB Director of Middle East Rising and Goodwill Ambassador to Palestine (ICSPR, Gaza). Ariyana is Chairwoman of Meta Nutrients Trust, a Human Rights Defender and Activist.

Islamic Jihad Leader to al-Ahed: The July Victory Broke «Israel»

Local Editor

Twelve years have passed since the defeat of the “Israeli” entity in the Second Lebanon War – as referred to by the Zionists. The repercussions of the defeat still resonate with the enemy as it comes to terms with them. How can it not recognize them when these repercussions paved the way for a repeat of victories by the resistance in the Gaza Strip, where the fighters kept their pledge to their comrades in arms and gave martyrs on the road to al-Quds. There are still more.

In the spirit of the commemoration of this divine victory, a member of the political leadership of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, Ibrahim al-Najjar, asserted that the July 2006 victory is an important milestone in the history of the Arab-Zionist conflict.

“This blessed victory provided all members of the resistance with great morale, especially throughout the occupied territory. It doubled their hopes of salvation from the usurping entity,” Al-Najjar told Al-Ahed.

“No one can deny the obvious truth of this battle. The “Israeli” slogan, long since repeated by the enemy, that the occupation army is invincible has been broken and no longer has a place,” he added.

The Islamic Jihad leader went on to explain that “the 33 day battle offered a lot in the way of evidence that the Zionist army has been humiliated. It also proved the transformation of the battle into a historical icon full of hope for the resistance in general, and the Palestinians and Mujahideen in Gaza in particular.”

Al-Najjar considers that what happened in July twelve years ago was a triumphant triumph of Islam as a whole, pointing out that it is worth immortalizing and celebrating with the whole nation.

Al-Najjar calls for an extensive celebration of this qualitative achievement by the heroic resistance. He says that there is an urgent need to remind the future generations of it every year – as is the case with the battles of the first Muslims – noting that it is a lever for steadfastness and challenges.

“Our enemy is striving to obliterate these glaring milestones. So it is our responsibility to deliver the message of victory to the younger generation that was not present in that battle and to instill in them the enthusiasm, the courage and valor,” he concluded.

Source: Al-Ahed News – Palestine

التفوق بالزمن الاستراتيجي وتوهُّج الروح

أغسطس 15, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– في يوم النصر الذي انتهت معه جولة من جولات المواجهة التاريخية المفتوحة بين المقاومة وكيان الاحتلال فرصة للقراءة والتقييم وتسجيل العبر، خصوصاً مع النتائج التي تبدو محسومة لحاصل أضخم حروب القرن التي دارت في سورية وعليها وحولها، وكانت المقاومة في قلبها، كهدف ودور ومصير، ولا بدّ أن تُعتبر واحدة من جولات هذه المواجهة التي لم تنته في 14 آب 2006. ويصحّ معها القول إن حرب سورية كانت جولتها اللاحقة الأشد ضراوة، والتي حاولت استيعاب دروس حرب تموز بعد خمس سنوات من توقفها بهزيمة تاريخية لكيان الاحتلال، وكان أول الاستيعاب هو الاستعداد لحرب تدوم لسنوات دون أن يكون كيان الاحتلال في قلب الاستنزاف. وثاني الاستيعاب هو أن يتقابل مع المقاومة في الميدان جيش رديف لجيش الاحتلال يضاهي المقاومة في القدرة على تحمّل بذل الدماء هو تنظيم القاعدة بكل متفرّعاته. وثالث الاستيعاب هو حشد دول الغرب كله في هذه الحرب وربطها بتكريس معادلات دولية استراتيجية لحساب مشروع الهيمنة الغربية وترميمه بعد حروبه الفاشلة التي سبقت، وجعل الهدف سورية أي القلعة التي تستند إليها المقاومة والظهر الذي يسندها، ورابع الاستيعاب هو توزيع حصص الكعكة السورية على المشاركين الإقليميين من السعودية إلى تركيا وقطر وكيان الاحتلال الرابح الأول سواء سارت الحرب نحو بناء حكم تابع للغرب وجماعاته في سورية أو نحو التقسيم وولادة مجموعة كيانات تابعة أو على الأقل متناحرة.

– الحصيلة التي تنتهي إليها الحرب على سورية تقول بلسان كيان الاحتلال وقادته ومفكرية شيئاً يشبه ما قالوه بعد حرب تموز، وعنوانه الإخفاق والفشل. رغم كل محاولات احتواء هذا الإخفاق وتجميل ذاك الفشل، بالتأقلم مع جوانب من نصر سورية ومحاولة تعديل جوانب أخرى فيها، ويبدو ذلك كله عبثاً من نوع الرهانات التي رافقت نهاية حرب تموز 2006 حول الجيش اللبناني والقرار 1701، وأوهام نشر المراقبين الأمميين على الحدود اللبنانية السورية، ولن يكون بيد كيان الاحتلال تفادي حقيقة أنه تلقى في سورية هزيمته الاستراتيجية التي حاول إنكار وقوعها في حرب تموز 2006، ولذلك يتفادى تشكيل لجنة تحقيق من نوع لجنة فينوغراد، لأن النتيجة ستكون كارثية إذا اعترف بأن الحرب حربه وأنه خسرها بصورة مدوية.

– في الحصيلة خابت رهانات كيان الاحتلال على ضعضعة صفوف المقاومة في جبهتها الرئيسية عبر جنوب لبنان، وخاب رهان استنزاف المقاومة في سورية، كما خاب رهان بناء حزام أمني على حدود الجولان، ورهان إسقاط سورية كقلعة للمقاومة أو تقسيمها وتقاسمها، أو تحويلها مستنقعاً للفتنة المذهبية التي حلمت بها «إسرائيل» ذات يوم، وها هي المقاومة المنتصرة مع سورية وفيها، تقطف ثمار التحولات الكبرى التي رافقت تبلور ملامح النصر، بحلف مع روسيا لم يكن موجوداً قبل الحرب السورية، وتوازنات إقليمية ودولية تتبلور تداعياتها بصورة تدريجية، ومعها معادلات لبنانية جديدة لن تسقطها مناورات تشكيل الحكومة الجديدة، بعدما حسمتها انتخابات رئيس الجمهورية والانتخابات النيابية.

– الحقيقتان اللتان تقولهما تجربة كيان الاحتلال مع المقاومة، لجهة مفهوم الاستعداد للحرب المقبلة، هما أن الفارق الجوهري بين المقاومة والكيان يقوم أولاً بكون الكيان المحتل يستعدّ للحرب المقبلة من وحي ما كانت عليه الحرب التي انقضت، وإذ به يفاجئ بأن المقاومة التي يواجهها ليست هي تلك التي كانت في تلك الحرب التي اتخذها مدرسة للاستعداد، بينما المقاومة تتسعد للحرب المقبلة بمقياس ما سيكون عليه الاحتلال بأفضل الفرضيات لصالحه لو أتم الاستعداد فتكتشف أنه دون مستوى ما أعدّت للحرب. وهذا هو مفهوم التفوق بالزمن الاستراتيجي، وثانياً بكون كيان الاحتلال في كل هزيمة يفقد بعضاً من روحه، بينما تكتسب المقاومة المزيد من الثقة والقوة لروحها، وتأتي الجولة اللاحقة بروحين متفاوتتين وتزدادان تفاوتاً في قلب المواجهة وبعدها، ويثبت أن ما تفقده الروح لا يستردّ وأن ما تكتسبه الروح المقابلة يتصاعد قيمة وتوهجاً في الحرب التي تلي، وهذا هو مفهوم التفوق بتوهّج الروح.

– إن أي عقل استراتيجي يريد تسجيل العبر ورسم الخط البياني لمحطات المواجهة الممتدة خلال أكثر من ثلاثة عقود بين المقاومة وكيان الاحتلال، تغيّر فيها كل شيء من الموارد والظروف وساحات المواجهة وأدوات الحرب والمناخات الدولية والإقليمية والمحلية، وبقي فيها ثابت وحيد، هو قدرة هذه المقاومة على الخروج من نصر إلى آخر، سيقول لقادة الاحتلال عبثاً تحاولون فأنتم تواجهون قوماً يستعدون لحرب قرن مقبل بعقل القرن المقبل وأدوات القرن المقبل، بينما أنتم تفكرون وتعدّون وتستعدون لحرب القرن الذي مضى، وأنتم تملكون روحاً تتلاشى من جولة إلى جولة ومن تقابلونهم يملكون روحاً تزداد توهجاً من جولة إلى أخرى، فتدبّروا لأنفسكم مخارج أمان غير الحرب مهما بدت مؤلمة ومكلفة فهي أقل إيلاماً وكلفة مما ستجلبه الحرب المقبلة.

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Why Confronting israel (apartheid state) Is Important

Why Confronting Israel Is Important

The Jewish state is no friend

The author is a retired CIA officer who spent 20 years on assignment in Europe and the Middle East. He is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group which seeks to change the Israeli-centric nature of US foreign policy in the Middle East.

Giraldi has emerged as one of the most outspoken and influential critics of Jewish and Israel influence on American foreign policy, an influence which he believes is pernicious. He publishes at the Unz Review. Here is the archive of his excellent articles published on RI.


I am often asked why I have this “thing” about Israel, with friends suggesting that I would be much more respected as a pundit if I were to instead concentrate on national security and political corruption. The problem with that formulation is that the so-called “special relationship” with Israel is itself the result of terrible national security and foreign policy choices that is sustained by pervasive political and media corruption, so any honest attempt to examine the one inevitably leads to the other. Most talking heads in the media avoid that dilemma by choosing to completely ignore the dark side of Israel.

Israel – not Russia – is the one foreign country that can interfere with impunity with the political processes in the United States yet it is immune from criticism. It is also the single most significant threat to genuine national security as it and its powerful domestic lobby have been major advocates for the continuation of America’s interventionist warfare state.

The decision to go to war on false pretenses against Iraq, largely promoted by a cabal of prominent American Jews in the Pentagon and in the media, killed 4,424 Americans as well as hundreds of thousands Iraqis and will wind up costing the American taxpayer $7 trillion dollars when all the bills are paid. That same group of mostly Jewish neocons more-or-less is now agitating to go to war with Iran using a game plan for escalation prepared by Israel which will, if anything, prove even more catastrophic.

And I can go on from there. According to the FBI, Israel runs the most aggressive spying operations against the U.S. among ostensibly “friendly” nations, frequently stealing our military technology for resale by its own arms merchants. Its notable successes in espionage have included the most devastating spy in U.S. history Jonathan Pollard, while it has also penetrated American communications systems and illegally obtained both the fuel and the triggers for its own secret nuclear weapons arsenal.

Israel cares little for American sovereignty. It’s prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu have both boasted how they control the United States. In 2001, Israel was running a massive secret spying operation directed against Arabs in the U.S. Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington.

There was the spectacle of the “dancing Shlomos,” Israeli “movers” from a company in New Jersey who apparently had advanced knowledge of the terrorist attack and danced and celebrated as they watched the Twin Towers go down.

Israel has also obtained carte blanche political protection from the U.S. in fora like the United Nations, which is damaging to America’s reputation and its actual interests. This protection now extends to the basing of U.S. troops in Israel to serve as a tripwire, guaranteeing that Washington will become involved if Israel is ever attacked or even if Israel itself starts a war.

The current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is little more than a shill for Israel while America’s Ambassador in Israel David Friedman is an open supporter of Israel’s illegal settlements, which the U.S. opposes, who spends much of his time defending Israeli war crimes.

And here on the home front Israel is doing damage that might be viewed as even more grave in Senator Ben Cardin’s attempt to destroy First Amendment rights by making any criticism of Israel illegal. The non-violent Israel Boycott movement (BDS) has already been sanctioned in many states, the result of intensive and successful lobbying by the Israeli government and its powerful friends.

So if there is a real enemy of the United States in terms of the actual damage being inflicted by a foreign power, it is Israel. In the recent Russiagate investigations it was revealed that it was Israel, not Russia, that sought favors from Michael Flynn and the incoming Trump Administration yet Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidently not chosen to go down that road with his investigations, which should surprise no one.

Noam Chomsky, iconic progressive intellectual, has finally come around on the issue of Israel and what it means. He has always argued somewhat incoherently that Israeli misbehavior has been due to its role as a tool of American imperialism and capitalism. At age 89, he has finally figured out that it is actually all about what a parasitic Israel wants without any regard for its American host, observing on “Democracy Now” that

..take, say, the huge issue of interference in our pristine elections. Did the Russians interfere in our elections? An issue of overwhelming concern in the media. I mean, in most of the world, that’s almost a joke. First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done… I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies – what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015….

Politicians are terrified of crossing the Jewish lobby by saying anything negative about Israel, which means that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu always gets a pass from the American government, even when he starves civilians and bombs hospitals and schools. Netanyahu uses snipers to shoot dead scores of unarmed demonstrators and the snipers themselves joke about their kills without a peep from Washington, which styles itself the “leader of the free world.”

Just recently, Israel has declared itself a Jewish State with all that implies. To be sure, Israeli Christians and Muslims were already subject to a battery of laws and regulations that empowered Jews at their expense but now it is the guiding principle that Israel will be run for the benefit of Jews and Jews alone. And it still likes to call itself a “democracy.”

A recent television program illustrates just how far the subjugation of America’s elected leaders by Israel has gone. British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is featured on a new show called “Who is America?” in which he uses disguises and aliases to engage politicians and other luminaries in unscripted interviews that reveal just how ignorant or mendacious they actually are.

Several recent episodes remind one of a February 2013 Saturday Night Live skit on the impending confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. A Senator asks Hagel. “It is vital to Israel’s security for you to go on national television and perform oral sex on a donkey… Would you do THAT for Israel?” A “yes” answer was, of course, expected from Hagel. The skit was never aired after objections from the usual suspects

Baron Cohen, who confronted several GOP notables in the guise of Colonel Erran Morad, an Israeli security specialist, provided a number of clues that his interview was a sham but none of the victims were smart enough to pick up on them. Cohen, wearing an Israeli military uniform and calling himself a colonel, clearly displayed sergeant’s stripes. Hinting that he might actually be a Mossad agent, Cohen also sported a T-shirt on which the Hebrew text was printed backwards and he claimed that the Israeli spy agency’s motto was “if you want to win, show some skin.”

Cohen set up Dick Cheney by complimenting him on being the “the king of terrorist killers” before commenting that “my neighbor in Tel Aviv is in jail for murder, or, as we call it, enhanced tickling.” Morad went on to tell Cheney that he once waterboarded his wife to check for infidelity and then convinced the former Vice President to sign a “waterboarding kit” that “already had” the signatures of Benjamin Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and Demi Lovato.

Another more spectacular sketch included a Georgia state senator Jason Spencer who was convinced to shout out the n-word as part of an alleged video being made to fight terrorism. After Cohen told Spencer that it was necessary to incite fear in homophobic jihadists, Spencer dropped his pants and underwear, before backing up with his exposed rear end while shouting “USA!” and “America!” Spencer also spoke with a phony Asian accent while simulating using a selfie-stick to secretly insert a camera phone inside a Muslim woman’s burqa.

In another series of encounters, Cohen as Morad managed to convince current and ex-Republican members of Congress — to include former Senate majority leader Trent Lott — to endorse a fictional Israeli program to arm grade school children for self-defense.

Cohen’s footage included a former Illinois congressman and talk radio host named Joe Walsh saying: “The intensive three-week ‘Kinderguardian’ course introduces specially selected children from 12 to 4 years old to pistols, rifles, semiautomatics and a rudimentary knowledge of mortars. In less than a month — less than a month — a first-grader can become a first grenade-er.”

Both controversial Alabama judge Roy Moore and Walsh were fooled into meeting Cohen to attend a non-existent pro-Israel conference to accept an award for “significant contributions to the state of Israel.” Representative Dana Rohrabacher, meanwhile, also was interviewed and he commented that, “Maybe having young people trained and understand how to defend themselves and their school might actually make us safer here.” And Congressman Joe Wilson observed that “A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a ‘Hello Kitty’ pencil case at it.”

Cohen’s performance is instructive. A man shows up in Israeli uniform, claims to be a terrorism expert or even a Mossad agent, and he gains access to powerful Americans who are willing to do anything he says. How Cohen did it says a lot about the reflexive and completely uncritical support for Israel that many American politicians — particularly Republicans — now embrace.

This, in a nutshell, is the damage that Israel and its Lobby have done to the United States. Israel is always right for many policymakers and even palpably phony Jews like Colonel Morad are instantly perceived as smarter than the rest of us so we’d better do what they say. That kind of thinking has brought us Iraq, Libya, Syria and the possibility of something far worse with Iran.

Israel routinely interferes in American politics and corrupts our institutions without any cost to itself and that is why I write and speak frequently regarding the danger to our Republic that it poses. It is past time to change the essentially phony narrative. Israel is nothing but trouble. It has the right to defend itself and protect its interests but that should not involve the United States.

One can only hope that eventually a majority of my fellow American citizens will also figure things out. It might take a while, but the ruthless way Israel openly operates with no concern for anyone but itself provides a measure of optimism that that day is surely coming.

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