Live Stream: The Israel Lobby and American Policy

Posted on March 24, 2017

The conference is taking place today in Washington. It’s aim is It is to draw attention to “massive, automatic and unconditional U.S. support for Israel,” and it is being held two days before the start of the annual AIPAC conference. You can go here to visit the conference website and to see a list of scheduled speakers.

What a Racket! $10 Trillion Missing from Pentagon and No One, Not Even the DoD, Knows Where It Is

$10 Trillion Missing from Pentagon and No One — Not Even the DoD — Knows Where It Is

Source: Claire Bernish

Over a mere two decades, the Pentagon lost track of a mind-numbing $10 trillion — that’s trillion, with a fat, taxpayer-funded “T” — and no one, not even the Department of Defense, really knows where it went or on what it was spent.

Even though audits of all federal agencies became mandatory in 1996, the Pentagon has apparently made itself an exception, and — fully 20 years later — stands obstinately orotund in never having complied.

Because, as defense officials insist — summoning their best impudent adolescent — an audit would take too long and, unironically, cost too much.

“Over the last 20 years, the Pentagon has broken every promise to Congress about when an audit would be completed,” Rafael DeGennaro, director of Audit the Pentagon, told the Guardian recently. “Meanwhile, Congress has more than doubled the Pentagon’s budget.”

Worse, President Trump’s newly-proposed budget seeks to toss an additional $54 billion into the evidently bottomless pit that is the U.S. military  — more for interventionist policy, more for resource-plundering, more for proxy fighting, and, of course, more for jets and drones to drop more bombs suspiciously often on civilians.

Maybe.

Because, without the mandated audit, the DoD could be purchasing damned near anything, at any cost, and use, or give, it — to anyone, for any reason.

Officials with the Government Accountability Office and Office of the Inspector General have catalogued egregious financial disparities at the Pentagon for years — yet the Defense Department grouses the cost and energy necessary to perform an audit in compliance with the law makes it untenable.

Astonishingly, the Pentagon’s own watchdog tacitly approves this technically-illegal workaround — and the legally-gray and, yes, literally, on-the-books-corrupt practices in tandem — to what would incontrovertibly be a most unpleasant audit, indeed.

Take the following of myriad examples, called “plugging,” for which Pentagon bookkeepers are not only encouraged to conjure figures from thin air, but, in many cases, they would be physically and administratively incapable of performing the job without doing so — without ever having faced consequences for this brazen cooking of books.

To wit, Reuters reported the results of an investigation into Defense’s magical number-crunching — well over three years ago, on November 18, 2013 — detailing the illicit tasks of 15-year employee, “Linda Woodford [who] spent the last 15 years of her career inserting phony numbers in the U.S. Department of Defense’s accounts.”

Woodford, who has since retired, and others like her, act as individual pieces in the amassing chewed gum only appearing to plug a damning mishandling of funds pilfered from the American people to fund wars overseas for resources in the name of U.S. defense.

“Every month until she retired in 2011,” Scot J. Paltrow wrote for Reuters, “she says, the day came when the Navy would start dumping numbers on the Cleveland, Ohio, office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s main accounting agency. Using the data they received, Woodford and her fellow DFAS accountants there set about preparing monthly reports to square the Navy’s books with the U.S. Treasury’s – a balancing-the-checkbook maneuver required of all the military services and other Pentagon agencies.

“And every month, they encountered the same problem. Numbers were missing. Numbers were clearly wrong. Numbers came with no explanation of how the money had been spent or which congressional appropriation it came from. ‘A lot of times there were issues of numbers being inaccurate,’ Woodford says. ‘We didn’t have the detail … for a lot of it.’”

Where a number of disparities could be corrected through hurried communications, a great deal — thousands each month, for each person on the task — required fictitious figures. Murkily deemed, “unsubstantiated change actions” — tersely termed, “plugs” — this artificial fix forcing records into an unnatural alignment is common practice at the Pentagon.

Beyond bogus books, the Pentagon likely flushed that $10 trillion in taxes down the toilet of inanity that is unchecked purchasing by inept staff who must be devoid of prior experience in the field of defense.

This tax robbery would eclipse the palatability of blood money — if it weren’t also being wasted on items such as the 7,437 extraneous Humvee front suspensions — purchased in surplus over the inexplicable 14-year supply of 15,000 unnecessary Humvee front suspensions already gathering warehouse-shelf dust.

And there are three items of note on this particular example, of many:

One, the U.S. Department of Defense considers inventory surpassing a three-year supply, “excessive.”

Two, the stupefying additional seven-thousand-something front suspensions arrived, as ordered, during a period of demand reduced by half.

Three, scores of additional items — mostly unaccounted for in inventory — sit untouched and aging in storage, growing not only incapable of being used, but too dangerous to be properly disposed of safely.

Worse, contractors greedily sink hands into lucrative contracts — with all the same supply-based waste at every level, from the abject disaster that is the $1 trillion F-35 fighter program, to the $8,123.50 shelled out for Bell Helicopter Textron helicopter gears with a price tag of $445.06, to the DoD settlement with Boeing for overcharges of a whopping $13.7 million.

The latter included a charge to the Pentagon of $2,286 — spent for an aluminium pin ordinarily costing just $10 — the irony of whose 228.6 percent markup cannot be overstated.

Considering all the cooking of numbers apparently fueled with burning money stateside, you would think Defense channeled its efforts into becoming a paragon of economic efficiency when the military defends the United States. Overseas. From terrorism. And from terrorists. And terrorist-supporting nations.

But this is the Pentagon — and a trickle of telling headlines regularly grace the news, each evincing yet another missing shipment of weapons, unknown allocation of funds, or retrieval of various U.S.-made arms and munitions by some terrorist group deemed politically less acceptable than others by officials naming pawns.

In fact, so many American weapons and supplies lost by the DoD and CIA become the property of actual terrorists — who then use them sadistically against civilians and strategically against our proxies and theirs — it would be negligent not to describe the phenomenon as pattern, whether or not intent exists behind it.

Since practically the moment of nationalist President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the ceaselessly belligerent of the military-industrial machine have been granted a new head cheerleader with a bullhorn so powerful as to render calls to apply the brakes effectively, if not unpatriotically, moot.

Sans any optimistic indication thus far lacking from the Trump administration it would reverse course and move toward, rather than against, transparency, the painstaking audit imperative to DoD accountability remains only a theory — while the Pentagon’s $10 trillion sits as the world’s largest elephant in apathetic America’s living room.

For now, we know generally where our money is going: war. Which aspect of war — compared to the power of your outrage about its callous and reckless execution in your name — matters little

Trump = Obama = Bush = Clinton On 4 Core Issues

Trump = Obama = Bush = Clinton On 4 Core Issues

Source: Washington’s Blog

On a superficial level, Trump and Bush couldn’t be more different from Clinton and Obama.  Indeed, pollsters say that many people voted for Trump because they wanted change … Just like they voted for Obama because he promised “hope and change” from Bush-era policies.

But beneath the surface, Trump, Obama, Bush and Clinton are all very similar on 4 core issues.

More War

Bush intentionally lied us into the Iraq war … a war which had no relation with U.S. security or defense.

Clinton and Obama intentionally lied us into various “humanitarian wars” … which had nothing to do with our security or defense.

And the same idiots who lied us into the Iraq war are now trying to lie us into a cold (or maybe even hot) war with Russia.

And what about Trump?

He campaigned on peace and non-interventionism …

But he’s already ramped up the war in Syria.

And the war in Yemen. … where the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are committing war crimes.

And he’s already increased drone strikes by 432%.

And Trump’s top advisor is predicting war with China and Russia. He said:

We’re going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt

So it doesn’t look like peace is going to break out any time soon.

And sadly, top experts say the geopolitical policies pursued by Trump – which are very similar to those pursued by Obama, Bush and Clinton – will lead to more terrorism.

Lap Dogs for Wall Street … Making the Rich Richer

Obama, Bush and Clinton all pushed economic policies which made the rich richer, and the poor poorer.

Bush and Obama bailed out the big banks, threw fistfuls of money at the banksters, and otherwise rewarded Wall Street and penalized Main Street.

Clinton repealed the Depression-era law which separated regular deposit banking and speculation (Glass-Steagall), allowed the giant banks to grow into mega-banks, and acted as a cheerleader for unregulated derivatives. And Clinton – like Bush and Obama – decided that white collar financial fraud didn’t exist, or at least shouldn’t be prosecuted.

What’s the effect of these policies?

Rick Baum notes, using official U.S. governments statistics, that inequality steadily increased under all 3 presidents:

 

Inequality Clinton Bush Obama

 

Real wages plummeted through the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

What about Trump?

He’s appointed the same old bankster cronies.  Nothing will change. (And unfortunately, it’s not too early to criticize a new president.)

Spying On Americans

The NSA’s mass surveillance on Americans started by 1999 or earlier … under the Clinton administration.

3 months before 9/11, the head of the NSA admitted that the NSA was collecting so much information from spying that it was drowning in too much data.

Mass surveillance expanded under Bush … and then even more under Obama.

It’s gotten to the point that the government is spying on virtually all of our electronic communications and transactions.

And Trump?

Given that he’s called for whistleblowers like Snowden and Assange to be executed for treason, and quickly implemented gag orders as soon as he took office, he is almost certain to continue the expansion of mass surveillance on the American people.

In other words, a president who severely punishes anyone trying to reveal the extent of spying on Americans probably has no intention of reigning it in.

Supporting Dictators Who Support Terrorism

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest sponsor of radical Islamic terrorists. The Saudis have backed ISIS and many other brutal terrorist groups. And the most pro-ISIS tweets allegedly come from Saudi Arabia.

According to sworn declarations from a 9/11 Commissioner and the Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11, the Saudi government backed the 9/11 hijackers (see section VII for details). And declassified documents only amplify those connections. And the new Saudi king has ties to Al Qaeda, Bin Laden and Islamic terrorism.

Saudi Arabia is the hotbed of the most radical Muslim terrorists in the world: the Salafis (both ISIS and Al Qaeda are Salafis).

And the Saudis – with U.S. support – back the radical “madrassas” in which Islamic radicalism was spread.

And yet the U.S. has been supporting the Saudis militarily, with NSA intelligence and in every other way possible through the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

Trump?

He’s selling them massive amounts of arms, keeping them off of the list of restricted countries for immigration, and supporting Saudi war crimes in Yemen.

It appears that the voters have been played … again.

Postscript:  If you think that the presidents are more different than we’re giving them credit for, then you must conclude that they have been overridden by other forces. In that case, you may wish to consider consider whether the Deep State and big banks have more power than democratically-elected officials

Moral Failure at the United Nations

By Lawrence Davidson

March 24, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  On 15 March 2017 the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report on Israeli practices and policies toward the Palestinians. Using international law as its comparative criterion, the report came to a “definitive conclusion” that “Israel is guilty of Apartheid practices.” The term Apartheid was not used in the report merely in a “pejorative” way. It was used as a descriptor of fact based on the evidence and the accepted legal meaning of the term.

Such was the immediate uproar from the United States and Israel that U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in a moment of moral failure, ordered the report’s withdrawal. The head of ESCWA, the Jordanian diplomat Rima Khalaf, decided that she could not, in good conscience, do so and so tendered her resigation.

Reportage

The initial New York Times coverage of the incident paid little attention to the accuracy of the report, an approach which, if pursued, would have at least educated the Times’ readers as to the real conditions of Palestinians under Israeli domination. Instead it called the report, and those involved in producing it, into question. For instance, the NYT told us that “the report provoked outrage from Israel and the United States.” The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, was quoted as declaring that, “when someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the U.N. it is appropriate that the person resign.” At no point in the NYT story was it noted that Ms Haley’s charge that the report was false, was itself false. Other coverage by the NYT improved only slightly.

The NYT did pay attention to the fact that, among the authors of the report, was former U.N. human rights investigator Richard Falk. Falk served six years as U.N. Spacial Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories. According to the NYT, his presence had to “gall[ed] many Israeli supporters who regard him as an anti-Semite.” There is something troubling about a newspaper that claims to represent the epitome of professional journalism reporting such slurs without properly evaluating them. Richard Falk, who is Jewish, has an impeccable record of both academic achievement and public service. His reputation for honesty and dedication to the cause of human rights exemplifies the best practice of Jewish values. Thus, he has every right to say that “I have been smeared in this effort to discredit the report” – a study which “tries its best to look at the evidence and analyze the applicable law in a professional manner.”

Israel’s Behavior

An objective consideration of Israel’s behavior makes it hard to escape the brutal reality of its officially condoned practices.

On 17 March 2017, at the same time as the forced withdrawal of the ESCWA report, the U.S. State Department released a report on “grave violations against Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation.” This was part of the department’s annual “country reports on human rights practices.” Among the problems cited were Israel’s practice of unlawful detention, coerced confessions and excessive use of force, including torture and killings.

Usually these annual human rights reports are made public by the Secretary of State. This year Rex Tillerson, who presently holds the office, was nowhere in sight. And, of course, President Trump failed to issue any of his characteristic tweets in reference to the Israel’s barbaric behavior.

Earlier, on 8 February 2017, it was reported that “Israel has banned anesthesia gas from entering the Gaza Strip.” There is a current backlog of some 200 patients in Gaza requiring surgical care, and some will die due to Israel’s ban.

A week later, on 14 February 2017, it was reported that Israeli officials were blackmailing Palestinian patients seeking permission to enter Israel for necessary medical treatment. A 17-year-old Gazan boy who suffered from congenital heart disease and needed a heart valve replacement “was explicitly told that in order to [leave the Gaza Strip and] have his operation, he would have to cooperate with the security forces and spy for Israel.” He refused and subsequently died. This is not a new or unusual tactic for the Israelis.

Blackmail All Around

The moral failure at the U.N., represented by the withdrawal of the ESCWA report, is the result of Secretary General Guterres’s decision to acquiesce in a denial of reality – the reality of Israel’s practice of Apartheid.

On the other hand, it probably also stems from Guterres’s acceptance of the reality of U.S. financial leverage along with the apparent threat to bankrupt the United Nations. This is, of course, a form of blackmail. Significantly, U.S. use of its financial clout at the U.N. mimics the same practice by the Zionist lobby in the halls of Congress.

Obviously the United Nations, to say nothing of U.S. politicians, needs alternate sources of income. My wife Janet once suggested that the UN be awarded the right to exploit and profit from all undersea resources. Not a bad idea. Likewise, U.S. politicians should agree to, or be forced to rely upon, government-based campaign funding rather than be pressed into putting themselves up for sale.

However, such changes do not appear imminent. As it stands now, reality in Palestine is what the Americans and Israelis say it is because politicians and international leaders literally can’t afford to challenge their corrupted views.

Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history. http://www.tothepointanalyses.com

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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UN Special Coordinator: All Israeli Settlement Activities Are Illegal

Source

 On Saturday, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, expressed that the United Nations’ view on Israeli settlements activities is that they are, in fact, illegal and the growing number of settlements is concerning.

During a briefing, Mladenov said, according to the PNN, that the continued breach of resolution #2334, adopted by the UNSC in December of 2016, pronouncing the illegality of continued settlement building, is concerning and that it should be stopped immediately.

Furthermore, Mladenov condemns the constant Israeli disregard to international law by demolishing Palestinian homes over the West Bank and Jerusalem, in order to build new settlement units. He pointed out that 5,500 settlements units were announced to be built in January 2017, and that 145 houses were demolished in Area C, in addition to 48 other demolitions in East Jerusalem.

03/19/17 The UN Report Israel Does Not Want You To Read

Who owns the planes and the ships that transport 90% percent of the world’s heroin from Afghanistan?

Heroin, a major factor in the USA’s continued occupation of Afghanistan

A Conspiracy Theory that became a “Conspiracy Fact”: The CIA, Afghanistan’s Poppy Fields and America’s Growing Heroin Epidemic

CIA-US-MILITARY-HEROIN

First published by Global Research in July 2016

The heroin epidemic resembles the days when “Crack cocaine” became the major drug that destroyed communities across the United States and other parts of the world including the Caribbean that began in the early 1980’s. The Crack epidemic coincidently began around the same time when the Iran-Contra Scandal was being exposed. U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York City experienced a rise in crime and disease. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported back in 2015 that “heroin use in the United States increased 63% from 2002 through 2013.” Fast forward to 2016, heroin is sweeping across the United States at unprecedented levels.

According to an NBC affiliate  reported that state officials were set to declare a “public health emergency” in New Haven, Connecticut over the rise of heroin use which has resulted in two deaths:

Officials in New Haven on Friday were set to address a public health emergency declaration brought on by a rash of heroin overdoses in the city beginning Thursday. New Haven police said emergency responders saw at least 15 overdoses since Thursday afternoon, and possibly up to 22. At least two people have died. The city is warning residents that there is a batch of tainted, life-threatening heroin on the streets

In the suburbs of Long Island, NY, heroin use is an increasing problem. According to www.suburbanheroin.com a website devoted to the heroin epidemic on Long Island states that in 2012 – 2013 more than 242 people died from heroin use. Long Island is home to some of the wealthiest communities in New York State which goes to show that heroin is affecting all neighborhoods rich and poor. The NBC news report said that the CDC admitted that heroin has become an epidemic since 2002 

“The CDC reports that between 2002 and 2014 the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths more than quadrupled and more than 10,500 died nationwide in 2014.”

Now the question is why heroin use has dramatically increased since 2002? Maybe the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 after the September 11th attacks under the Bush regime had something to do with it? The main-stream media (MSM) establishment mouthpiece The Washington Post admitted in 2006 that heroin production in Afghanistan “broke all records” while under U.S. occupation:

Opium production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin, broke all records in 2006, reaching a historic high despite ongoing U.S.-sponsored eradication efforts, the Bush administration reported yesterday.

In addition to a 26 percent production increase over past year — for a total of 5,644 metric tons — the amount of land under cultivation in opium poppies grew by 61 percent. Cultivation in the two main production provinces, Helmand in the southwest and Oruzgan in central Afghanistan, was up by 132 percent

Washington claims that Mexico is the source of the heroin that is flooding U.S. streets “with 10,500 hectares under poppy cultivation in 2012” while Afghanistan had “224,000 hectares” according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in a 2014 report but the numbers tell a different story. Mexico’s heroin trade is small in comparison although it has been increasing its production capabilities.

However, not only heroin from Afghanistan is the major source for U.S. citizens, “BigPharma”, or the ‘corporate drug dealers’ who sell “legal drugs” also have a hand in the epidemic because they produce and sell ‘Opioids’ such asOxyContin and Percocet which is similar to heroin. Opioid medications are normally used as painkillers for broken bones, lacerations or post-surgery pain. However, abusing Opioids can also lead to heroin use.

The online news source The Huffington Post published an article titled ‘Ron Paul Had Accurate Conspiracy Theory: CIA Was Tied To Drug Traffickers’ highlights what the former Libertarian Presidential nominee Dr. Ron Paul said on the involvement of the CIA in the drug trade which was not a “Conspiracy Theory” but a fact when taking into consideration the Iran-Contra Scandal:

In 1988, while running for president on the Libertarian Party ticket, he highlighted yet another conspiracy theory, and this one doesn’t collapse under investigation: The CIA, Paul told a gathering of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was involved in trafficking drugs as part of the Iran-Contra debacle.

Drug trafficking is “a gold mine for people who want to raise money in the underground government in order to finance projects that they can’t get legitimately. It is very clear that the CIA has been very much involved with drug dealings,” Paul said. “The CIA was very much involved in the Iran-Contra scandals. I’m not making up the stories; we saw it on television. They were hauling down weapons and drugs back. And the CIA and government officials were closing their eyes, fighting a war that was technically illegal”

The Taliban banned the production of opium in 2000. The War in Afghanistan was mainly about producing opium which did end up in the streets of Iran, Russia and China. According to a Pravda report in 2015 by William Edstrom titled ‘Heroin Dealer in Chief. Afghanistan, Source of 90% of The World’s Heroin’ stated the impact of Afghanistan’s opium production on neighboring countries:

Afghanistan, source of 90% of Earth’s heroin, ended 90% of Earth’s heroin problems when Taliban outlawed opium in 2000. The reason for War in Afghanistan was because Taliban outlawed opium growing which ended economic wars (opium wars) against Iran, Russia and China

The heroin epidemic is now affecting cities and towns across the U.S. Edstrom estimates that 165,000 American’s will die from the heroin epidemic in the next 10 years:

The War in Afghanistan began as an opium war against Iran, Russia and China, the tables are turning into an opium war against Americans on track to kill 165,000 Americans (2016-2026). Americans, 5% of Earth’s population, take 60% of painkillers on Earth

The death rate could go much higher considering the increasing level of poverty in the U.S. especially in the inner cities where the highest unemployment rates is among the 18-34 year olds. Many young adults will unfortunately turn to the drug trade whether they sell or use as hope fades for the lack of jobs or opportunities.

Fox News had a segment with Geraldo Rivera that shows how the U.S. government (in this case, the U.S. Marines) is involved in Afghanistan’s heroin production with Washington’s approval of course. Watch Video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgKmJESBFsw

Heroin is a valuable commodity as long as the War on Drugs remains in effect, that’s why Obama extended the Afghan mission until 2017, for the next U.S. elected president to occupy the White House. If it’s Hillary Clinton, U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan indefinitely. Trump might do the same, but that still remains to be seen. On July 7th, 2015 NBC reported on Afghanistan’s opium production and where they stand in terms of world supply

“According to the United Nations, the war-torn nation provides 90 percent of the world’s supply of opium poppy, the bright, flowery crop that transforms into one of the most addictive drugs in existence.”NBC also quoted John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction who did say that “Afghanistan has roughly 500,000 acres, or about 780 square miles, devoted to growing opium poppy. That’s equivalent to more than 400,000 U.S. football fields — including the end zones.”

That’s a large amount of land devoted to opium production which provides an opportunity for the CIA to cash in on the illegal drug trade for their secret covert operations (which avoids public scrutiny) and re-establish a drug trade route to target the populations of China, Iran and Russia.

The heroin crisis then and now is a direct consequence of the Military-Industrial Complex. During the 1970’s, around the same time during the Vietnam War, heroin made its way to the United States from the Golden Triangle which became an epidemic. It was estimated that more than 200,000 people in New York City alone were using heroin. At one point in time, you were able to find used syringes on public playgrounds. Now, heroin from Afghanistan has made its way back to the U.S. Heroin is profitable as much as it is strategic; it is also used as a weapon against Chinese, Iranian and Russian populations which has led to addiction, crime and helped spread diseases such as AIDS. Heroin is now affecting the United States, the CIA’s very own territory. Not that the CIA really cares who it effects when you closely examine their history of drug trafficking with the Iran-Contra Scandal or the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam War as author and activist William Blum noted in his book Rogue State,

 “The CIA flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia, to sites where the opium was processed into heroin, and to trans-shipment points on the route to Western customers.”

As long as the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan continues under the guise of establishing a democratic government, the flow of heroin will continue unabated. One question we should ask is “who owns the planes and the ships that transport 90% percent of the world’s heroin from Afghanistan to the rest of the world in the first place? It sure isn’t the Taliban.

Empire Files: Israeli Army Vet’s Exposé – “I Was the Terrorist”

 

 

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