Has Washington Joined the List of Israeli Occupied Territories?

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Elias Samo
August 4, 2019

Relations between Washington and Damascus have never been cordial, particularly after the creation of Israel in 1948 and Washington’s blanket support of the newly established state. With the election of Obama in 2008, there was a glimmer of hope for improved relations between the two capitals. Although the high expectations of improved Washington-Damascus relations did not materialize noticeably, the Obama period could be viewed as the ‘good old days’ compared to the Trump presidency. Unfortunately, the animosity in Washington towards Syria is not exclusive to the White House, but it includes Congress and Foggy Bottom, and it is counterproductive to the interests of both nations.

UK ambassador Sir Kim Darroch’s “clumsy and inept” characterization of Trump’s administration aside, it is sufficient to refer to Trump’s own characterization of Syria: “We’re not talking about vast wealth. We’re talking about sand and death”. It is beyond belief that a sitting US President labeled the home of the historic Fertile Crescent and Mesopotamia, a land very rich in soil, an abundance of rainfall and rivers including the Euphrates and Tigris, as “sand and death”. Syria is also the cradle of civilizations, the home of the three monotheistic religions and home of three of the five oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

Irrespective of Trump’s ignorant comments on Syria, his actions prove he is a dummy for ventriloquist Netanyahu. East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan were occupied in the ‘67 War. From 1967 to the Trump administration, the US went through nine administrations. Many of the presidential candidates publicly spoke of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but not once in the White House did any administration see the wisdom of doing so. Along came Trump and moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan.

Congress, the second center of power and decision making in Washington, has long been considered Israeli-occupied territory. In an article titled “The Only Strategic Rationale for America’s Involvement in Syria Finally Revealed,” I wrote that nearly four hundred congressmen; roughly seventy five percent of the total number of congressmen from both chambers and both parties, had written a letter to Trump. The irony, as I noted in the article, is the fact that “four hundred congressmen, who are elected by Americans to serve American interests, at a time when the US is bogged down in the Arab region, sign and submit a letter to the US President concerned almost exclusively with Israeli Security” I conclude noting: “These congressmen had an opportunity to make a coherent recommendation on US policy in the Arab region in the interest of American National Interest, but instead chose to make recommendations to safeguard the wellbeing and security of a foreign state: Israel.” More recently, also nearly four hundred House of Representatives members chose to violate the freedom of speech protected in the First Amendment of the US Constitution and vote for a resolution that rejects the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions- BDS- campaign against Israel. Thus, the notion that US Congress is Israeli occupied territory is no exaggeration.

In Foggy Bottom, a few decades ago, there was always a group of Arabists, mostly American diplomats who had served in Arab states. They had realized that Israel is a burden on American taxpayers and American excessive support of Israel is not in the best American interest, while American interest would be better served with friendly and improved relations with the Arab states. The Arabists are no more, only Zionists; if any are left, they are reluctant to be vocal out of fear of anti-Semitic charges. Not only the Arabists have disappeared, but to top it off, now there is Mike Pompeo, an Evangelical Christian Zionist, heading the State Department. Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador in Washington, in welcoming the guest of honor, Secretary Pompeo, during Israel’s 71st Independence Day celebrations, said: “I can honestly say that Israel has never had a better friend in Foggy Bottom than you.” On another occasion, Pompeo noted that “the work our administration’s done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state remains. I am confident that the Lord is at work here.” So, God is at it again; having originally granted the land to the Jews, now he is guarding Israel. To top it off, in a speech at the most recent AIPAC annual conference, Pompeo said, “As Secretary of State and as a Christian, I am proud to lead American diplomacy to support Israel’s right to defend itself.” Israel, God’s gift to the Jewish people and her guardian, as per Pompeo, and the only regional nuclear superpower, which has boots on sovereign grounds but no foreign boots on its grounds and a very close ally of an international superpower, would need help defending itself.

I recall a conversation I had years ago with Dr. Dori Gold, who was a close associate of Netanyahu. During the conversation, he said we are afraid of you; referring to Syria. I said Dori, you are not serious, your Air Force roams all over Syria unhindered with impunity. He said thousands of Syrian tanks with mounted guns aimed at Israel, prevent us from sleeping restfully. On another occasion, Israelis expressed a desire to eat hummus, a traditional Syrian Lebanese chickpeas appetizer, in Damascus, a significant gesture; reflecting Israel’s schizophrenia towards Syria.

At present, a central issue is the safe zone in northern Syria and Turkish, Kurdish, Syrian and Israeli configuration regarding the zone. Israel, in particular, will covertly have an important role. The zone runs several hundred kilometers east of the Euphrates to the Iraqi border and south of the Turkish-Syrian Orient Express rail track border to a depth yet to be agreed on which could run  between twenty to fourty kilometers. Israel has occupied and subsequently annexed the Golan and recently Trump recognized Israel’s sovereignty of the Golan. Israel will maintain a military presence in the Golan in southern Syria, not too far from Damascus, as it has for half a century, in violation of Syrian territorial integrity and a threat to its national security. As to Syrian northern border, a Turkish occupied zone in northern Syria, a la Northern Cyprus, would also be a violation of Syrian territorial integrity and a threat to its national security. Syria caught between the hammer and the anvil; a dream come true for Israel and it will do its best to see the dream is fullfilled. The sacrificial lamb will be the Kurds; but then who cares about the Kurds other than using them as pawns in great power conflicts when needed.

Syria, Israel’s archenemy, would be surrounded on its northern and southern borders by two hostile and powerful enemies occupying Syrian land and would consider further occupation, violating Syrian territorial integrity and permanently threatening Syrian national security. However, take heed, Syria is not a pushover, nor is it alone.

The Democratic Party’s AIPAC Candidates

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

The Democratic Party’s AIPAC Candidates

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris might as well be Israelis, though they’re both running for the Presidency of America.

The PAC (officially a “lobbying organization”) called AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee, instead of “American Israel Political Action Committee”) represents some American Jews and Christian evangelicals — it represents the ones who place Israel’s Government above America’s Government, and who therefore lobby in the U.S. Congress for continuation of the $3.8 billion per year that America’s taxpayers, of all faiths and beliefs, must continue to pay to fund Israel’s annual purchases of weaponry from Lockheed Martin and other U.S. weapons-makers, a welfare program for America’s armaments-firms and for the billionaires who own them. And it’s welfare also for the taxpayers of Israel, who don’t have to pay that $3.8 billion per year to fund those purchases, of American weapons, to use against Palestinians, and against Syrians, and against Iranians — against Israel’s enemies, perhaps, but certainly not against America’s enemies. It’s instead for this particular enemy of America, an enemy not only because Israel is an apartheid state (which is supposed to be unAmerican), and not only because this apartheid state sucks $3.8 billion each year out of America’s taxpayers, but also because Israel is militarily an enemy of Americans — see this, for example; and also because the hostility that America’s subservience to Israel produces, throughout the Islamic world, is an even bigger loss for the American people, though America’s billionaires don’t lose anything, at all, from it — and the ones who invest in firms such as Lockheed Martin and ExxonMobil gain considerably from it. But are those  corporations America?

America’s public suffers from AIPAC, but Israel’s Jews in that supremacist-Jewish apartheid land gain greatly from it, at Palestinians’ expense. America has many Jewish and other pro-Israeli billionaires (they buy ‘our’ political winners), but no billionaires that are Palestinian or even pro-Palestinian. However, the American Christian billionaire Tom Gores, who was born in Israel and whose family moved to the U.S. “when he was still a toddler”, is sometimes listed as being an “Arab” from “Palestine”, because he’s not a Jew and because some wealthy Arabs want to call him an “Arab” from “Palestine,” and not an American Catholic who had been born in Israel. Mr. Gores is non-political, but some of his extended family are pro-Palestinian and some are pro-Israel. Seven years after Tom bought his Republican uncle’s newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, it endorsed Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump.

Obviously, America’s super-rich are virtually 100% against Palestinians, and the very idea of America brokering a ‘deal’ for ‘peace’ in the Middle East is absurd, really stupid, but ‘our’ billionaires’ politicians constantly promise it. And Joe Biden and Kamala Harris especially do, just as does ‘our’ current billionaire President, Donald Trump.

Here are three recent years’ speakers-lists for AIPAC’s recent annual conferences:

http://www.policyconference. (2019)

http://www.policyconference.

http://www.policyconference.

All of those speakers are neoconservatives, and they were highly supportive of America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, and want the same now for Iran. After all: America does Israel’s bidding. Anyone who wants more of the same is in agreement with them.

And here is what Joe Biden told them at the 2016 AIPAC conference (along with his windbag platitudes):

No matter what legitimate disagreements the Palestinian people may have with Israel, there is no excuse for killing innocents or remaining silent in the face of terrorism [he meant only killings by Palestinians and never by Israelis]. … The only way, in my view, to guarantee Israelis’ future and security [and what about Palestinians’ security?], its identity as a Jewish [but the Palestinians aren’t Jews] and Democratic [How is apartheid democratic?] state is with a two-state solution.

But given the way that Israel has been treating Palestinians recently, no Palestinian leader would survive who would meet with an Israeli leader under such one-sided conditions — it  would be perceived as surrender to tyrants. And Biden offered no reason why Palestinians should want to continue their grinding oppression by Israel’s Jewish Government — Biden doesn’t care, at all, about those people. He’s not looking for their votes. He just wants to sucker whatever Democrats he can get to vote him to become ‘their’ nominee.

And here is what Kamala Harris told AIPAC at the 2017 conference:

I believe that the only viable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is two states for two people living side by side in peace and security. I believe that a resolution to this conflict cannot be imposed. It must be agreed upon by the parties themselves. Peace can only come through a reconciliation of differences, and that can only happen at the negotiating table. …

But negotiations are impossible if only one side has all the power. For the other side, that’s surrender, no negotiation. Kamala Harris lies in order to get Israeli money — the donations like Trump has, from billionaire agents for Israel.

Is this okay? BOTH Parties being neocon  — is that okay? Anyone who votes for Biden or Harris thinks it’s okay, or else doesn’t care.

These candidates are pitching, of course, to a lobbying organization. But it’s also PACs. Wikipedia’s article on AIPAC says: “The Washington Post described the perceived differences between AIPAC and J Street: ‘While both groups call themselves bipartisan, AIPAC has won support from an overwhelming majority of Republican Jews, while J Street is presenting itself as an alternative for Democrats who have grown uncomfortable with both Netanyahu’s policies and the conservatives’ flocking to AIPAC.’[10]” So: Biden and Harris are pitching to Republican billionaires there. Is this what Democratic Party voters find attractive? Do they know that this is the situation? Do they even care that it is?

J Street says that “a new direction in American policy will advance U.S. interests in the Middle East and promote real peace and security for Israel and the region.” Biden at the 2016 J Street Gala, on 19 April 2016, said “We are Israel’s maybe not-only friend, but only absolutely certain friend.” But it’s the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who have been abandoned. They really need friends in American politics. Could Biden credibly assert the same to them that he asserts to Israel’s lobbyists? Obviously not, but he doesn’t even care about Palestinians, because none of his donors are Palestinians, and none will be voting for him.

Anybody who cares about basic decency in a candidate should just cross both Biden and Harris off their list for consideration. The only differences they have from Trump regarding Israel are the atmospherics of their rhetoric. Clearly, if “a new direction in American policy will advance U.S. interests in the Middle East and promote real peace and security for Israel and the region,” it won’t come from any of these politicians.
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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Our Reality Can Beat Up Your Reality. Spreading False News Stories on Iran

Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda for Trolls, by Trolls

Global Research, June 17, 2019

Twitter has declared victory over disinformation, deplatforming thousands of pro-Iranian Twitter accounts this week to coincide with US Secretary of State “Rapture Mike” Pompeo’s evidence-free declaration that Iran had attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. But the mass deletion is merely an effort to distract from the implosion of two anti-Iran troll campaigns dedicated to smearing pro-peace Americans, both tacitly Twitter-approved. And there’s plenty more where those came from. As US media and politicians continues to hyperventilate about Russian bots, who’s the real troll-master?

Pompeo was out front with the blame hours after the attack, absent a shred of proof beyond unspecified “intelligence” and a few other dubious incidents in the Middle East that the US has previously pinned on Iran (also absent a shred of proof). But even mainstream media has initially been reluctant to take his word for it, mostly because the narrative is so improbable – Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe was in Tehran when it happened, promising to make the “utmost effort” to de-escalate tensions, when, as if on cue, one Japanese ship and another carrying Japanese cargo were hit? What are the odds?

When even CNN acknowledged that the attack “doesn’t appear to benefit any of the protagonists in the region,” and Bloomberg admitted “Iran has little to gain” from blowing up the ships of its esteemed guest, Pompeo clearly understood another route of influence was required. Who better to call in for reinforcements than Twitter, which has demonstrated time and again its willingness to serve the US’ preferred narrative with mass deplatformings? 4,779 accounts believed to be “associated or backed by Iran” were removed – less than an hour after Pompeo’s declaration of Iranian guilt – for nothing more than tweeting “global news content, often with an angle that benefited the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the Iranian state.” This was deemed “platform manipulation,” and therefore unacceptable.

One troll down, thousands more to go

Tweeting with an angle that benefits the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the American state, however, is perfectly acceptable – at least, it wasn’t Twitter that brought the “Iran Disinformation Project” crashing to a halt earlier this month. The State Department officially ended its @IranDisinfo influence operation after the social media initiative, ostensibly created to “counter Iranian propaganda,” went rogue, smearing any and all critics of Trump’s hawkish Iran policy as paid operatives of the Iranian government. Human rights activists, students, journalists, academics, even insufficiently-militant American propagandists at RFE/RL, Voice of America and other US-funded outlets were attacked by @IranDisinfo – all on the US taxpayer’s dime.

Congress only learned of the project in a closed-door hearing on Monday, when the State Department confessed the troll campaign had taken $1.5 million in taxpayers’ money to attack those same taxpayers – all in the name of promoting “freedom of expression and free access to information.” The group contracted to operate Iran Disinfo, E-Collaborative for Civic Education, is run by an Iranian immigrant and claims to focus on strengthening “civil society” and “democracy” back home, though its work is almost exclusively US-focused and its connections with pro-war think tanks like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies have alarmed congressional staffers.

“What rules are in place to prevent state-funded organization from smearing American citizens? If there wasn’t public outcry, would the Administration have suspended funding for Iran Disinfo?” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) tweeted after the mea culpa meeting. While the State Department was long barred from directing government-funded propaganda at its own citizens, that rule was quietly repealed in 2013 with the passage of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, which gave its narrative-spinners free reign to run influence operations at home. And while the Pentagon is technically forbidden from running psychological operations (“psy-ops”) against American citizens, that rule goes out the window in case of “domestic emergencies” – and the domestic emergency declared by then-President George W. Bush days after the September 11 terror attacks remains in effect, 18 years later.

Trump’s favorite anti-Iran troll

Nor was the State Department’s trolling operation the only anti-Iran psy-op to be unmasked in recent weeks. Heshmat Alavi, an anti-Iranian columnist promoted by the Trump administration and published in Forbes, the Hill, and several other outlets, was exposed by the Intercept as a propaganda construct operated by the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a controversial Iranian exile group often called a cult that has only recently lobbied its way off the US’ terror list. The MEK is notorious for buying the endorsement of American political figures, and national security adviser John Bolton, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are among those who have spoken at its events.

Heshmat Alavi’s stories were used to sell Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal to the Washington Post and other more reputable outlets, as well as to promote the MEK as a “main Iranian opposition group” and viable option for post-regime-change leadership of Iran – even though it is very much fringe and hated by the majority of Iranians for fighting on the side of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Indeed, Alavi’s relentless advocacy for the MEK may have scared off a few of the sites that initially published his work.

None of the editors who’d published Alavi’s work had ever spoken to him and none could provide the Intercept with any evidence that he was not, in fact, “a persona run by a team of people from the political wing of the MEK.” Defectors confirmed that Alavi is a small part of a massive US-directed propaganda campaign.

“We were always active in making false news stories to spread to the foreign press and in Iran,” a Canadian MEK defector told the Intercept, describing a comprehensive online propaganda operation run out of the group’s former base in Iraq that sought to control the narrative about Iran on Facebook and Twitter. Alavi may be gone, his account quietly suspended by Twitter in the wake of the Intercept’s unmasking and his stories pulled from Forbes and the Diplomat, but there are more where he came from. The Intercept delivered Twitter all the evidence they needed to take down the MEK’s trolling network, a swamp of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” in which Alavi was a prominent node, but the social network sat on its hands.

Friends funding fiends

Add to this toxic US-approved stew the Israeli astroturf operation Act.IL, which in 2018 took $1.1 million from Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs to troll Americans critical of Israeli policies, including its hostility toward Iran. Initially founded to combat the Iran nuclear deal, the Ministry’s mission has pivoted to combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, for which it receives significant US funding (Israeli Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi admitted in 2012 that American taxpayers contribute more to the country’s defense budget than Israeli taxpayers). Act.IL boasts it has gotten Americans fired from their jobs, and the app encourages users to accuse American students and journalists who support BDS of antisemitism, mass-report their posts, and otherwise engage in what would be called “coordinated inauthentic behavior” if any other country did it.

Act.IL is by no means the only Israeli trolling campaign aimed at American eyeballs, either. Psy-Group, the Israeli private intelligence company that infamously pitched a social media influence operation to the Trump campaign, ran a multi-pronged online smear operation to influence a local election in California in 2017 and has pitched dozens more. The Israel on Campus Coalition attacks pro-Palestinian student activists and professors through coordinated social media campaigns, while The Israel Project operates a network of Facebook groups whose admitted purpose is to smuggle pro-Israeli propaganda into users’ newsfeeds by concealing it among bland inspirational messages.

Such clear-cut deception by state-sponsored actors is a blatant violation of Facebook’s policies as they’ve been applied to other users, but the site claims the Israeli groups are kosher. Yet of the pro-Iran accounts deleted by Twitter, one “set” included 248 accounts “engaged with discussions related to Israel specifically” – these were shut down for nothing more than their country of origin, even as inauthentic accounts run by Israel were given carte-blanche to spew propaganda. Twitter and Facebook don’t mind being weaponized in the propaganda wars, as long as they’re working for the “right” side.

As 21st century wars are fought more and more in the informational sphere, the brightly-colored propaganda posters of the previous century have been replaced with relatively sophisticated social media influence operations. What Pompeo can’t accomplish by lying to the American public, the State Department will attempt to achieve through the slow and steady drip of disinformation.

US politicians, meanwhile, remain so fixated on the “Russian trolls stole the election!” narrative they’ve been flogging for the last three years that the Senate last week unanimously passed a bill to restrict entry to any foreign national convicted of “election meddling,” a toothless piece of legislative virtue-signaling that reveals their utter disconnection from reality. It’s more than a little ironic that they’d embrace and even pay for foreign meddling as long as they believe the trolls are working for them.

As Friedrich Nietzsche said,

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” Or a troll.

*

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This article was originally published in abbreviated form on RT.

Helen Buyniski‘s work has been published at RT, Ghion Journal, Progressive Radio Network, and Veterans Today, among other outlets. A journalist and photographer based in New York City, Helen has a BA in Journalism from New School University and also studied at Columbia University and New York University. Find more of her work at http://www.helenofdestroy.com and http://medium.com/@helen.buyniski, or follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from the author

Towards a Culture of World Peace

Global Research, May 16, 2019

The following text was presented at the closing session of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations, programme organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing, May 15-16, 2019

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The World is at a dangerous crossroads. A culture of war and military conquest is upheld. War is presented to public opinion as a US-NATO peace-making endeavor which will ultimately result in the spread of Western democracy.

Military intervention not to mention “economic warfare” (including sanctions) are routinely upheld as part of a humanitarian campaign.  War has been granted a humanitarian mandate under NATO’s “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).

Culture which is the theme of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations (Beijing, May 15-16, 2019) is of utmost importance in resolving conflicts within and between nations. Culture defines perceptions and understanding as well as dialogue and diplomacy.

In this regard, “Towards a Culture of World Peace” constitutes a commitment to Human Livelihood. It is  an initiative  which consists in confronting the discourse in support of  war and military intervention emanating from NATO and the Pentagon. It requires reviving a Worldwide anti-war movement, nationally and internationally as well as establishing a resolve by the governments of sovereign nation states to reject this Worldwide process of militarization.  

The contemporary US-NATO “culture of war” (which has its roots in European colonial history) constitutes an obvious obstacle and impediment to the Dialogue of Civilizations and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013. 

The culture of peace is universal. It is shared by people and nations Worldwide. Today’s “culture of war” is a US hegemonic project predicated on the creation of conflict and divisions within and between countries. It is this (unilateral) project of global warfare which is intent upon destroying civilization.

“The culture of peace” which was addressed by President Xi Jinping in his opening address of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, constitutes an important instrument which has a bearing on broad geopolitical, economic and strategic relations. The procedure consists in ultimately confronting and dismantling “the culture of war”  which has a pervasive impact on the human mindset. 

This endeavour will not succeed through political rhetoric or a “war of words”.

It requires:

  • Translating the “culture of peace” into concrete actions at the geopolitical and diplomatic levels
  • Confronting media disinformation and war propaganda
  •  A cohesive anti-war movement at the grassroots of society (nationally and internationally)
  • An endorsement by the governments of sovereign countries, member states of the United Nations, namely a decisive inter-governmental rejection of the US-NATO “culture of war”, which is in blatant violation of the UN Charter.
  • The disbandment of military alliances, including NATO, which are supportive of global warfare.
  • The withdrawal of NATO member states and NATO partner member states from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • The adoption of a coherent and Worldwide disarmament programme coupled with major reductions in military spending.
  • The closing down of all military bases, some 800 US military bases in about 80 countries
  • The curtailment in the international trade of weapons
  • The restructuring of national economies with a view to downgrading and eventually closing down the war economy,
  • The reallocation of financial resources and tax revenues towards the civilian economy including social services.

So-called “Humanitarian Warfare”

The victims of U.S. led wars are routinely presented by the Western media as the perpetrators of war.

Realities are turned upside down. “War is Peace” said George Orwell. The Western media in chorus upholds war as a humanitarian endeavor. “Wars make us safer and richer” says the Washington Post.

When war becomes peace, the world is turned upside down. Conceptualization is no longer possible. The consensus is to wage war.

The building of this diabolical consensus consists in the militarization of the “cultural industries”. The latter are supported by the US Department of Defense which allocates a large share of its budget to upholding the “culture of war”.

[T]he ideology of militarism pervades society, glorifying the US state’s use of violence not diplomacy to achieve security in a world divided between a righteous American “us” and an evil and threatening “them,” representing war as the first and most appropriate solution to every problem that vexes America, and reducing patriotism to unquestioning support for each and every incursion. (Tanner Mirrlees, The DoD’s Cultural Policy: Militarizing the Cultural Industries, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, October 2017)

In turn Hollywood in liaison with the Pentagon has endorsed the culture of war and violence:

“[The] Hollywood–Pentagon connection represents a key dimension of the military–entertainment–industrial complex, where a film is simultaneously being used as a tool for recruitment, military public relations, and commercial profit.

According to Tom Secker and Matthew Alford, “A similar influence is exerted over military-supported TV”.

Meanwhile, the balance sheet of death and destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria is casually ignored. Civilians in war torn countries are “responsible for their own deaths”. This narrative pervades the Western media:  233,000 estimated deaths in Yemen since 2015, according to a recent United Nations report. 140,000 children killed. The media is silent: who are the war criminals?

Global Warfare

In September 2000, a few months before the accession of George W. Bush to the White House, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) published its blueprint for global domination under the title: “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”. This document which has a direct bearing on US foreign policy refers to America’s “Long War”

  • defend the American homeland;
  • fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;
  • perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;
  • transform U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs;”

“The revolution in military affairs” consists in developing advanced weapons systems as well as a new generation of nuclear weapons.

War Culture and Nuclear Weapons

The culture of war is marked by a radical shift in US nuclear doctrine. Starting in 2001, tactical nuclear weapons are heralded as “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”.  A new generation of  “more usable”, “low yield” tactical nuclear weapons (mini-nukes) was put forth. They are heralded as peace-making bombs.

The doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) which prevailed during the Cold War era has been scrapped. Under Bush’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) (endorsed by the US Senate in 2002), nuclear weapons are to be used on a “first strike” “pre-emptive basis”, as a means of “self-defense” against both nuclear and non-nuclear states.

This is an absurd and diabolical proposition which can only be sustained by misleading public opinion, i.e. by obfuscating the deadly impacts of  nuclear weapons. Moreover, while the US has waged countless wars in what is euphemistically described as “the post war era” (1945- present), the issue of “self defense” is erroneous: the national security of the United States of America has never been threatened.

While the US and its NATO allies have launched a military adventure which is sustained by the “culture of war”, the public is largely unaware that the use of these “more usable” nuclear weapons (with a variable explosive capacity between one third to twelve times a Hiroshima bomb) threatens the future of humanity.

There are powerful economic interests behind the culture of war: the oil industry, the military industrial complex, Wall Street. In turn, there are powerful lobby groups which influence US foreign policy. Dialogue and debate are required: It is important that these economic actors, including the weapons producers, be made aware of the inherent dangers of global warfare.

Financing the Culture of War

Trump’s 1.2 trillion dollar nuclear weapons program constitutes a financial bonanza for the defense contractors. US media reports suggest that the nuclear weapons program “makes the World safer”.

The “culture of war” sustains a unilateral build up of the weapons industry funded by US tax payers.  The culture of war has triggered mounting military expenditures to the detriment of the civilian economy. Total military spending worldwide was of the order of 1.8 trillion dollars in 2018. US defense expenditure was of the order of 649 billion, which represents 36% of Worldwide military expenditure (all countries) (SIPRI).

The Trump administration has supported a significant hike in defense, war and related “National Security” expenditures. The defense budget presented by the presidency to the US Congress for 2020 is of the order of  750 billion dollars, of which 718 billion will go to the Pentagon.

But this figure of 740 billion is in some regards misleading: Accounting for a massive US intelligence budget, Homeland Security, and related war expenses, the requested annual US National Security (War) Budget for 2020 is estimated to be in excess of 1.2 trillion dollars.

“There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought”  (See, William D. Hartung, Mandy SmithbergerBoondoggle, Inc.: Making Sense of the $1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget  May 10, 2019).

Compare the figures: The total individual tax revenues for 2020 are of the order of $1.82 billion. Total defense, national security, intelligence, “to make the World safer”, etc is of the order of $1.25 trillion (68.7% of the individual income taxes paid by Americans)

While the weapons industry is booming, the civilian economy is in crisis, civilian infrastructure and social services including medicare are collapsing. Eventually what is required are policy mechanisms for the phasing out of the war economy and the national security apparatus, while channeling resources into rebuilding the civilian economy. No easy task.

The cultural dimension is crucial. US policy-makers believe in their own propaganda. The “culture of war” often combined with twisted ideological and/or religious undertones, influences government officials involved in acts of war.

In 1945, President Truman intimated in the immediate wake of  the bombing of Hiroshima, that God stands on the side of “Us Americans” with regards to the use of nuclear weapons. “We pray that He [God] may guide us to use it [nuclear weapons] in His ways and for His purposes” (August 9, 1945).

Hiroshima was designated as a “military base” in Truman’s historic speech on August 9, 1945. The stated objective of the Harry Truman was to “save the lives of innocent civilians”.

In the contemporary context, diplomatic relations and dialogue are at an all time low. At no time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis has the World been closer to the unthinkable: a global military conflict involving the use of nuclear weapons.

In this regard, what should be acknowledged is that US government officials in high office who decide upon the deployment and use of nuclear weapons do not have a full understanding of the consequences of their acts.

The Legacy of  History

The contemporary US-NATO “culture of war” has its roots in European colonial history. Starting in the late 15th Century, European colonization was invariably supported by military conquest, violence and political subordination. A colonial economy was established. “Western cultural values” and the language of the colonizers were imposed, civilizations were undermined or destroyed. The colonial system ultimately led to the establishment of hegemonic relations, leading up to the consolidation of the British empire in the 18th and 19th centuries, followed by US neo-colonial expansionism in the late 19th century and in the wake of World War I.

What is significant is that this culture of colonial violence inherited from the British empire has a bearing on the nature of  contemporary US foreign policy, which in large part is predicated on militarization at a global level. The US has currently more than 800 military bases in 80 foreign countries.

Many Asian countries which were the victims of US-led war, not only have military cooperation agreement with the US, they also host US military bases on their territory.

In South and Southeast Asia, European colonialism was marked by conquest coupled with the displacement of the pre-existing silk road trade relations.

Historically, China’s trading relations under the land and maritime silk roads were marked by dialogue and the extensive exchange of culture. China’s trade relations during the Antiquity and Middle Age extended into South and South East Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia, East Africa and Western Europe. Starting during the Han Dynasty (207 BC- 220 AD), the land and maritime silk road played a key role not only in economic exchange between civilizations but also in the spread of social and cultural values.

In contrast to European colonialism, these relations largely respected the sovereignty, independence and identity of the countries with which China was trading with. The silk road  trade did not  seek to impose or develop a dependent colonial relationship. The language of diplomacy was marked by the benefits of bilateral exchange.

Asian Culture and China’s Belt and Road

The mindset in Asian societies, which historically have been the victims of colonialism and US led wars is in marked contrast to the dominant “culture of war”.

The legacy of history prevails. While the “culture of war” characterizes America’s hegemonic ambitions modelled on the legacy of the British empire, China’s contemporary Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)which consists in developing trade relations with a large number of partner Nations states, is largely committed to a “Culture of Peace”.

Most Asian countries have been the victims of Western colonialism starting in the 15th Century, the impacts of which have led to the destruction of the pre-existing maritime and land trade routes as well as the demise of cultural exchange.

And numerous countries in Asia and the Middle East extending from the Mediterranean to the Korean Peninsula have been the victims of US led-wars in the course of what is euphemistically called “the post war era”. Today most of these countries are partners of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

As we speak, the US is threatening Iran. Washington has announced the deployment of 120,000 US troops to be dispatched to Persian Gulf . Secretary of State of Mike Pompeo (who has little understanding of history and geography) has justified this deployment, while casually  referring to the “clash of civilizations”.

US led wars are intent upon destroying civilizations as well dialogue between sovereign nation states.

As we conclude this closing session of  the Conference on the Dialogue of Asians Civilizations in Beijing, let us endorse “the Culture of Peace” as a means to ultimately abolishing all wars.

*

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO’s war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at crgeditor@yahoo.com

Wealthy Immigrants, Netanyahu and the Movie Tycoon

April 12, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Eve Mykytyn April 11, 2019

What connects wealthy immigrants to Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Arnon Milchan, (Israeli operative and producer of 145 movies including 12 Years a Slave and Pretty Woman)? They are all supporters of an Israeli tax exemption that is designed to encourage Jewish billionaires to move to Israel.

Since 1950, Israel’s Law of Return has offered automatic citizenship to any­one with one Jewish grandparent who resides in Israel for 90 days. Despite some tensions, immigration has overall been profitable for Israel. Ostensively to encourage immigration, during the 2008 global financial slowdown, Israel enacted Amendment 168 to its tax code exempting from both tax and reporting all foreign source income (income earned outside of Israel) of new or returning residents. By so exempting newcomers, Israel made itself into a tax haven.

Amendment 168 was called the Milchan Law in honor of the man who lobbied for the amendment and, in 2009, the Tablet announced that the “fertilizer company scion-turned-movie mogul Arnon Milchan is taking advantage of the generous benefits and moving back to Israel.”

In response to the law, in 2009-2010 many an expatriate Israeli billionaire decided to return to his homeland and in 2018 Russian Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich became an Israeli citizen and instantly became the country’s wealthiest citizen with a net worth, according to Forbes, of $11.5 billion.

The provision may be a factor in the outsized number of millionaire immigrants to Israel. In 2015 over 4000 millionaires moved to Israel, more than 10% of that year’s 31,013 immigrants. In fact, Israel was fourth in millionaire inflow — after Australia, the United States and Canada, in that order.

Haaretz called for a repeal to the exemption noting that it provides a “clear benefit to the billionaires who save on taxes for 10 years… [and] enjoy the fog of not having to report for 10 years – a fog that gives them time to conceal their assets and profits.” This benefit is paid for “by the citizens of countries where billionaires no longer have to pay taxes, and the citizens of Israel, who don’t benefit from a tax on the billionaires’ income.”

Israel’s Tax Authority Director, General Moshe Asher, said Milchan’s law made Israel into one of the world’s “most generous tax havens.”  Asher defined a  tax haven as a place that a) one doesn’t pay taxes and b) there is an exemption from reporting one’s income. And, Asher pointed out: “In Israel we have something extra. We have an expansive network of tax treaties with developed countries that a typical offshore tax haven does not have. [This means that the immigrant] would pay no taxes abroad because of the tax treaty with Israel, and no taxes in Israel because of the law here.”

Israel’s state comptroller worried that the Amendment gave immigrants an incentive to launder money or to use money that was laundered abroad, “activities which may encourage crime and damage the integrity of Israeli society and the economy.”  In 2014, an audit of 600 bank accounts belonging to recent immigrants found one hundred accounts to have irregular activity that caused the bank to flag them for suspected money laundering.

The reporting exemption also prevents Israel from honoring its 2013 commitment to follow OECD rules and share tax information with other countries. But each year since 2014, a provision canceling the reporting exemption has been included in legislation and each year it has been removed before the legislation was even voted on.

Despite these issues, Netanyahu attempted to increase the exemption period to 20 years in a move that would have helped Milchan but was rejected by the Finance Ministry. The Attorney General has accused Netanyahu of seeking the extension on Milchan’s behalf.

Milchan‘s biography is novelistic. While running businesses in dozens of countries and producing hit Hollywood movies,  Milchan secretly worked for Israel’s intelligence service, acquiring technology and weapons. His efforts included helping Israel develop its nuclear weapons by sourcing uranium from South Africa.

Netanyahu and Milchan’s difficulties began in 2013, when Milchan gave an interview to the Israeli news program Uvda. In the interview Milchan detailed his secret spy work. His revelations led the U.S. to deny Milchan an extension of his ten-year residence visa, jeopardizing his Hollywood career. Netanyahu intervened on Milchan’s behalf with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Milchan was granted an extension.

Then, also in 2013, Milchan began expressing his gratitude by providing luxuries and cash that Netanyahu claims were just gifts from a friend. Under repeated questioning by Israel’s Attorney General Mandelblit, Milchan admitted that what Netanyahu and his wife received were not ‘gifts between friends’ but rather responses to demands made by the Netanyahus.

Mandelblit has announced that after Israel’s election he intends to charge Netanyahu with taking bribes to gain influence and political favors. (The charges resulting from his relationship with Milchan are not the only charges.) Borrowing a page from his friend Donald Trump, Netanyahu has dismissed the investigation as a political witch hunt.  In another echo of Trump, polls show it wouldn’t cost Likud any seats in the Knesset if he were to face charges.


My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

“The Media Coverage on Syria is the Biggest Media Lie of our Time”: Interview with Flemish Priest in Syria

Source

By Père Daniel Maes,

First published by Global Research on January 24, 2017

Flemish Father Daniël Maes (78) lives in Syria in the sixth-century-old Mar Yakub monastery in the city of Qara, 90 kilometers north of the capital Damascus. Father Daniel has been a witness to the “civil war” and according to him, Western reports on the conflict in Syria are very misleading. In short: “the Americans and their allies want to completely ruin the country.”

Interviewer: You are very critical of the media coverage on Syria. What is bothering you?

Father Daniel: “The idea that a popular uprising took place against President Assad is completely false. I’ve been in Qara since 2010 and I have seen with my own eyes how agitators from outside Syria organized protests against the government and recruited young people. That was filmed and aired by Al Jazeera to give the impression that a rebellion was taking place. Murders were committed by foreign terrorists, against the Sunni and Christian communities, in an effort to sow religious and ethnic discord among the Syrian people. While in my experience, the Syrian people were actually very united.

Before the war, this was a harmonious country: a secular state in which different religious communities lived side by side peacefully. There was hardly any poverty, education was free, and health care was good. It was only not possible to freely express your political views. But most people did not care about that.”

Interviewer: Mother Agnès-Mariam, of your Mar Yakub (“Saint Jacob”) monastery, is accused of siding with the regime. She has friends at the highest level.

Father Daniel: “mother Agnès-Mariam helps the population: she has recently opened a soup kitchen in Aleppo, where 25,000 meals are prepared five times a week. Look, it is miraculous that we are still alive. We owe that to the army of Assad’s government and to Vladimir Putin, because he decided to intervene when the rebels threatened to take power.

When thousands of terrorists settled in Qara, we became afraid for our lives. They came from the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Turkey, Libya, there were many Chechens. They formed a foreign occupation force, all allied to al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Armed to the teeth by the West and their allies with the intention to act against us, they literally said: “This country belongs to us now.” Often, they were drugged, they fought each other, in the evening they fired randomly. We had to hide in the crypts of the monastery for a long time. When the Syrian army chased them away, everybody was happy: the Syrian citizens because they hate the foreign rebels, and we because peace had returned.”

Interviewer: You say that the Syrian Army protects civilians, yet there are all sorts of reports about war crimes committed by Assad’s forces, such as the bombardments with barrel bombs.

Father Daniel: “Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time? They have sold pure nonsense about Assad: It was actually the rebels who plundered and killed. Do you think that the Syrian people are stupid?Do you think those people were forced to cheer for Assad and Putin? It is the Americans who have a hand in all of this, for pipelines and natural resources in this region and to thwart Putin.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar want to establish a Sunni state in Syria, without religious freedom. Therefore, Assad must go. You know, when the Syrian army was preparing for the battle in Aleppo, Muslim soldiers came to me to be blessed. Between ordinary Muslims and Christians, there is no problem. It is those radical Islamic, Western-backed rebels who want to massacre us. They are all al Qaeda and IS. There are not any moderate fighters anymore.”

Interviewer: You once mentioned Hillary Clinton to be a ‘devil in holy water’, because as foreign minister, she deliberately worsened the conflict.

Father Daniel: “I am happy with Trump. He sees what every normal person understands: That the United States should stop undermining countries which possess natural resources. The Americans’ attempt to impose a unipolar world is the biggest problem. Trump understands that radical Islam is a bigger threat than Russia.

What do I care whether he occasionally takes off his pants? If Trump practices geopolitics the way he has promised to do so, then the future looks bright. Then it will become similar to Putin’s approach. And hopefully then, there will be a solution for Syria, and peace will return.”

Interviewer: You understand that your analysis is controversial and will encounter much criticism?

Father Daniel: “I speak from personal observation. And no one has to believe me, right? But I know one thing: The media can either contribute to the massacre of the Syrian people or help the Syrian people, with their media coverage. Unfortunately, there are too many followers and cowards among journalists.”

HIGHLIGHTING THE PEACE DAMASCUS MISSED FOR YEARS WHEN UNDER TERRORISTS’ MORTARS

In Gaza

As I mentioned at the beginning of this clip, when in Syria as a journalist it usually takes 3 or so days to acquire the necessary permissions to go to areas outside Damascus (or rather, areas outside of Damascus where there is a risk due to presence of terrorists, terrorists bombings, or their landmines).

During this time, instead of loitering I try to interview average Syrian civilians, sometimes artisans, and otherwise love walking alone in the meandering back lanes, absorbing the atmosphere–whether daytime or evening.

People ask me about safety: I feel completely safe walking alone in these lanes. In contrast from my first visit in 2014 to the liberation of eastern Ghouta in 2018, I did not feel safe, nor did Syrian civilians, because at any moment a terrorist-fired mortar might strike, as they did incessantly over the years.

As I noted a few weeks ago when I was here, the mood on the streets is completely difference than in previous years. Yes, people remained steadfast and defiant in the face of the terrorism, but now streets are busier than before, late into the night. That doesn’t make a good “story”, so Western media are not, to my knowledge, reporting on this. Instead, I see new stories invented to yet again attempt to demonize Syria or Russia, instead of just allowing Syrians to get back to life. It’s for the hell Syrians have endured and the silence of the media on this hell that I continue to post positive updates while in Damascus.

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Yemen, Poisoned Water, and a Green New Deal

Yemen, Poisoned Water, and a Green New Deal

by DavidSwanson

While U.N. figures suggest that it would take 1% of U.S. military spending to provide the world with clean drinking water, the United States could end the worst cholera epidemic in recorded history (in Yemen) for far less than that and far less than what it is spending to create the epidemic through the U.S.-Saudi war on Yemen. And what may turn out to be the most widespread poisoning of water sources around the globe ever is the use of chemicals on U.S. military bases — chemicals that are not needed, used on bases that are worse than not needed.

Yemen

Many of us have been trying to halt senseless counterproductive mass-murder in Yemen since it was a “Constitutional scholar” president doing it with robotic airplanes. The legislation currently in play in Congress leaves a loophole you could fly a thousand drones through. But, as a step, it is well worth taking. Already having moved from 55 to 37 senators voting for endless, unquestioned, and undebated genocide was a step worth taking between last March and last week. When public pressure and Congress blocked Obama from a massive bombing campaign on Syria five years ago, that too was a step worth taking. But refusing to bring something to a vote because it would fail (as with Syria) doesn’t have the same precedent-setting ring to it as passing legislation to end a crime long underway. That’s what may be possible now on Yemen.

The shortcomings of the current Congressional action must be known if we are to build on it. The Senate still must vote on cloture, on — likely both good and terrible — amendments, and on final passage. And then there’s the House, and then there’s the threatened veto, and then there’s the question of expecting compliance from a president explicitly granted immunity from impeachment by Nancy Pelosi, by preemptive strike as it were. And then there’s that loophole that allows any war to roll on that claims to be against Al Qaeda. The fact that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have been partnering with Al Qaeda on the destruction of Yemen is absolutely no reason the White House won’t claim the war is against Al Qaeda.

Understanding all of that should make clear to us that a long-term and relentless public education and mobilization campaign is needed locally and globally, and that the notion of a “good war” must be disallowed and defunded along with the murdering of Yemeni families. We must encourage Congress to get a move on with each step it takes, even while condemning legislation that violates the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact by claiming to allow certain varieties of the crime of war. The notion that Saudi Arabia should not be helped out in the murder of tens of thousands and potentially millions of people because it murdered one particular person (Jamal Khashoggi) must be permitted to accomplish whatever good it can, even while we work to help people see through the idea that selling bombs only to nations that don’t “violate human rights” is a piece of grotesque nonsense, as there is no use of bombs that respects human rights. Banning weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, for whatever reasons, is a step that must be taken in addition to — and if possible by amendment to — the legislation that would cut off U.S. military participation in the slaughter.

All of that being grasped, the fact remains that there is a reason that Trump has threatened a veto, and a reason that he sent Pompeo and Mattis scurrying over to the Senate to beg and plead for genocide, even though they apparently had nothing whatsoever to use to persuade even some of the most bloodthirsty senators ever to have lived. The White House and Pentagon and State Department are horrified at the prospect of the Congress, after a couple of centuries of ever increasing slumber, waking up and doing its job and stopping a war. Imagine if this were to really happen. What would prevent some Congress member’s brain from stumbling across the thought that if one war could be ended, another might be as well? What would prevent ending a half dozen of the ghastly horrors? What would prevent Congress members from hearing people’s screams immediately upon the start of each new war and voting immediately to block any war? This is the nightmare that keeps weapons profiteers tossing and turning in their gold-plated beds.

Why were 55 Senators for Genocide reduced to 37? Three reasons: public pressure, the murder of Khashoggi, and the fact that the Pentagon told a bunch of simplistic lies and made a bunch of baseless promises eight months ago and didn’t think up anything new to explain them away this time around. Each of these three reasons is encouraging and worth building on.

1. The relentless lie that the corruption is complete and that the public cannot have any influence has to be torn down as many times as it takes. If people were aware that public pressure was a big influence on last week’s vote, there would be a 100-fold increase in public pressure.

2. While it seems ridiculous to turn against the murder of thousands of people because of the murder of one person, that very sort of nonsense has always been available in every war. U.S. war efforts and those of their allies are always accompanied by vicious outrages outside of the framework typically thought of as the war. Saudi Arabia publicly murders or whips people in small numbers all the time. Ukrainian Nazis are no better. (An anniversary of the Odessa Massacre is coming up.) Allies in Afghanistan and Iraq make the Mafia look like a peace and justice club. Allies being courted for a hoped-for war on Iran make Ukrainian Nazis look like a pink pussy-hat march. More study is needed of how a particular atrocity can be forced into the U.S. corporate media.

3. When a White House loses credibility even with U.S. Senators, something else is going on that needs to be encouraged and promoted. The U.S. public may not have rushed into the streets when Obama’s wars became Trump’s, but certain parts of the corporate elite and the silent middle-class and even of the U.S. government have lost their faith in the redemptive power of genocide. Any wedge that can now be placed between Congress and the White House that could lead to Congress actually doing its job might work wonders.

Bases

The war on Yemen is killing directly through violence, but more so through the cut-off of supplies and through environmental destruction and the destruction of public resources — results that lead to starvation and disease. People don’t have food. People don’t have clean water. People are afraid to leave their houses. In comparison with this state of affairs, fairy tales about Muslim Mexicans stealing your job seem downright charming.

A Congress that actually did its job would be subpoenaing and making public U.S. military plans for major permanent U.S. bases in the aftermath of Yemen, which I’d bet you a MAGA hat do exist. Most of the rest of the world has been coated with U.S. bases. A major global conference was just held in Ireland on the topic of how to close U.S. bases. A U.S. coalition just announced a proposal on Capitol Hill. The struggles against U.S. bases in Japan and many other places are at fever pitch.

Foreign bases are not just provokers and instigators of war. They’re not just tools for propping up brutal dictatorships. They’re not just the secrets to be hushed up during each future chorus of “But why do they hate us?” They’re not just zones of rape and drunkenness and resentment. They’re not just carcinogenic chemical leaks living under legal immunity. They’re not just would-have-been EPA Superfund Sites to never benefit from any minor pretense of a cleanup because they’re not in the United States. They’re also this: a threat to global water supplies. Pat Elder has summarized this latest toxic development:

“The water in thousands of wells in and around U.S. military installations across the globe have been tested and have been shown to contain harmful levels of PFOS and PFOA. The health effects of exposure to these chemicals include frequent miscarriages and other severe pregnancy complications, like long-term fertility issues. They contaminate human breast milk and sicken breast-feeding babies. PFOS and PFOA contribute to liver damage, kidney cancer, high cholesterol, decreased response to vaccines, an increased risk of thyroid disease, along with testicular cancer, micro-penis, and low sperm count in males.”

Is there some constituency that array of maladies doesn’t concern? Are there certain groups who, after thoughtful consideration, place flags and war slogans above that entire list of illnesses? Of course there are. Until I say this: The “U.S. military installations across the globe” include thousands across the United States. It’s OK to pretend that last sentence isn’t what finally grabbed your attention. That pretense suggests a positive tendency.

Progressive Except for Peace

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s big new speech and article on foreign policy last week pretended that a war on Iraq that killed over 1 million people had killed 6,000; proposed to end wars in order to be more prepared for other wars; dishonestly demonized other nations; advocated “better” weapons; urged that U.S. troops be brought back from Afghanistan “starting now” (rather than ending now — it’s been starting over and over again for more than a decade), and generally promoted militarism while rhetorically opposing it. There was no proposed military budget, no proposed joining of any treaties, no proposed actual ending of any wars, no concrete policy at all, no draft legislation the way one might expect on any other topic.

Senator Bernie Sanders, while helping to lead the push on Yemen, otherwise continues to promote militarism and to address other topics as if militarism were unrelated. Last week over 100 scholars and activists signed a letter to Sanders that thousands of others have since added their names to. Part of the letter — which is addressed to Sanders but could be addressed with minor changes to any other Senator — reads:

“Your recent 10-point plan omits any mention of foreign policy whatsoever. We believe this omission is not just a shortcoming. We believe it renders what does get included incoherent. Military spending is well over 60% of discretionary spending. A public policy that avoids mentioning its existence is not a public policy at all. Should military spending go up or down or remain unchanged? This is the very first question. We are dealing here with an amount of money at least comparable to what could be obtained by taxing the wealthy and corporations (something we are certainly in favor of as well). A tiny fraction of U.S. military spending could end starvation, the lack of clean water, and various diseases worldwide. No humanitarian policy can avoid the existence of the military. No discussion of free college or clean energy or public transit should omit mention of the place where a trillion dollars a year is going. War and preparations for war are among the top destroyers, if not the top destroyer, of our natural environment. No environmental policy can ignore them.”

No environmental policy can ignore them. But every environmental policy does.

A Green New Deal

Have you actually read the Green New Deal — I mean the Democrats’ version under the same name but radically different from the Green Party’s version.

It includes: “decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries,” but does not mention the top producer of carbon around, the U.S. military — or for that matter that the main problem with agriculture is methane, not carbon.

It includes: “decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure,” but no mention of military bases.

It includes “funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases,” but no mention of the military as a top emitter of carbon, and no mention of the military as the place where all the money goes that could be most easily moved into any useful “massive investment.” Instead, the Green New Democrats’ Deal reads:

“Many will say, ‘Massive government investment! How in the world can we pay for this?’ The answer is: in the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed.”

To read this as anything other than a conscious and explicit commitment to continuing to dump $1 trillion per year into the most environmentally destructive program ever devised, while seeking out any other possible way to pay for a “green deal” would be delusional. If the military budget’s existence were going to be acknowledged, it would have been acknowledged here.

The exclusion of the world’s worst environmental destroyer from environmentalism is not new. It is enshrined in the Kyoto and Paris agreements. It is embodied in the work of all of the biggest environmental organizations. Leading up to the April 2017 Climate March in Washington, D.C., many of us raised as much hell as we could, until a little peace ghetto was permitted in part of the march. I’m not sure that doing that for the upcoming December 10th rally for the Green New Deal makes sense. I think Congresswoman-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues should either admit that the military exists and act accordingly, or not. Here’s what I said at the Climate March:

Most countries on earth have the U.S. military in them.

Most countries on earth burn less fossil fuel than does the U.S. military.

And that’s without even calculating how much worse for the climate jet fuel is than other fossil fuels.

And it’s without even considering the fossil fuel consumption of the world’s leading weapons makers, or the pollution caused by the use of those weapons all over the world.

The U.S. is the top weapons dealer to the world, and has weapons on multiple sides of most wars.

The U.S. military created 69% of super fund environmental disaster sites and is the third leading polluter of U.S. waterways.

When the British first developed an obsession with the Middle East, passed along to the United States, the desire was to fuel the British Navy.

What came first? The wars or the oil? It was the wars.

Wars and the preparations for more wars consume a huge amount of oil.

But the wars are indeed fought for control of oil. So-called foreign intervention in civil wars is, according to comprehensive studies, 100 times more likely — not where there is suffering, not where there is cruelty, not where there is a threat to the world, but where the country at war has large reserves of oil or the intervener has a high demand for oil.

We need to learn to say

No More Wars for Oil

and

No More Oil for Wars

You know who agrees with that? Pre-presidential campaign Donald Trump. On December 6, 2009, on page 8 of the New York Times a letter to President Obama printed as an advertisement and signed by Trump called climate change an immediate challenge. “Please don’t postpone the earth,” it said. “If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.”

In fact, Trump is now acting to speed up those consequences, an action prosecutable as a crime against humanity by the International Criminal Court — at least if Trump were African.

It’s also a crime impeachable by the United States Congress — at least if there’s some way to involve sex in it.

Holding this government accountable is up to us.

No More Wars For Oil
No More Oil for Wars

Say it with me.

Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?

Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?

JAMES GEORGE JATRAS | 17.11.2018 |

Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?

Was $25 million in American tax dollars allocated for a payoff to stir up religious turmoil and violence in Ukraine? Did Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (unsuccessfully) attempt to divert most of it into his own pocket?

Last month the worldwide Orthodox Christian communion was plunged into crisis by the decision of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Constantinople to recognize as legitimate schismatic pseudo-bishops anathematized by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church. In so doing not only has Patriarch Bartholomew besmirched the global witness of Orthodoxy’s two-millennia old Apostolic faith, he has set the stage for religious strife in Ukraine and fratricidal violence – which has already begun.

Starting in July, when few were paying attention, this analyst warned about the impending dispute and how it facilitated the anti-Christian moral agenda of certain marginal “Orthodox” voices like “Orthodoxy in Dialogue,” Fordham University’s “Orthodox Christian Studies Center,” and The Wheel. These “self-professed teachers presume to challenge the moral teachings of the faith” (in the words of Fr. John Parker) and “prowl around, wolves in sheep’s clothing, forming and shaping false ideas about the reality of our life in Christ.” Unsurprisingly such groups have embraced Constantinople’s neopapal self-aggrandizement and support for the Ukrainian schismatics.

No one – and certainly not this analyst – would accuse Patriarch Bartholomew, most Ukrainian politicians, or even the Ukrainian schismatics of sympathizing with advocacy of such anti-Orthodox values. And yet these advocates know they cannot advance their goals if the conciliar and traditional structure of Orthodoxy remains intact. Thus they welcome efforts by Constantinople to centralize power while throwing the Church into discord, especially the Russian Church, which is vilified in some Western circles precisely because it is a global beacon of traditional Christian moral witness.

This aspect points to another reason for Western governments to support Ukrainian autocephaly as a spiritual offensive against Russia and Orthodoxy. The post-Maidan leadership harp on the “European choice” the people of Ukraine supposedly made in 2014, but they soft-pedal the accompanying moral baggage the West demands, symbolized by “gay” marches organized over Christian objections in Orthodox cities like AthensBelgradeBucharestKievOdessaPodgoricaSofia, and Tbilisi. Even under the Trump administration, the US is in lockstep with our European Union friends in pressuring countries liberated from communism to adopt such nihilistic “democratic, European values.”

Perhaps even more important to its initiators, the row over Ukraine aims to break what they see as the “soft power” of the Russian Federation, of which the Orthodox Church is the spiritual heart and soul. As explained by Valeria Z. Nollan, professor emerita of Russian Studies at Rhodes College:

‘The real goal of the quest for autocephaly [i.e., complete self-governing status independent of the Moscow Patriarchate] of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a de facto coup: a political coup already took place in 2014, poisoning the relations between western Ukraine and Russia, and thus another type of coup – a religious one – similarly seeks to undermine the canonical relationship between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Moscow.’

In furthering these twin objectives (morally, the degrading of Orthodox Christianity; politically, undermining the Russian state as Orthodoxy’s powerful traditional protector) it is increasingly clear that the United States government – and specifically the Department of State – has become a hands-on fomenter of conflict. After a short period of appropriately declaring that “any decision on autocephaly is an internal [Orthodox] church matter,” the Department within days reversed its position and issued a formal statement (in the name of Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, but clearly drafted by the European bureau) that skirted a direct call for autocephaly but gave the unmistakable impression of such backing. This is exactly how it was reported in the media, for example, “US backs Ukrainian Church bid for autocephaly.” Finally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weighed in personally with his own endorsement as did the US Reichskommissar for UkraineKurt Volker.

The Threat…

There soon became reason to believe that the State Department’s involvement was not limited to exhortations. As reported by this analyst in October, according to an unconfirmed report originating with the members of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (an autonomous New York-based jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate), in July of this year State Department officials (possibly including Secretary Pompeo personally) warned the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (also based in New York but part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) that the US government was aware of the misappropriation of a large amount of money, about $10 million, from estimated $37 million raised from believers for the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in New York. The State Department warning also reportedly noted that federal prosecutors have documentary evidence confirming the withdrawal of these funds abroad on the orders of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was suggested that Secretary Pompeo would “close his eyes” to this theft in exchange for movement by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in favor of Ukrainian autocephaly, which helped set Patriarch Bartholomew on his current course.

[Further details on the St. Nicholas scandal are available here, but in summary: Only one place of worship of any faith was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attack in New York and only one building not part of the World Trade Center complex was completely destroyed. That was St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a small urban parish church established at the end of World War I and dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who is very popular with Greeks as the patron of sailors. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, and following a lengthy legal battle with the Port Authority, which opposed rebuilding the church, in 2011 the Greek Archdiocese launched an extensive campaign to raise funds for a brilliant innovative design by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava based on traditional Byzantine forms. Wealthy donors and those of modest means alike enthusiastically contributed millions to the effort. Then – poof! In December 2017, suddenly all construction was halted for lack of funds and remains stalled to this day. Resumption would require having an estimated $2 million on hand. Despite the Archdiocese’s calling in a major accounting firm to conduct an audit, there’s been no clear answer to what happened to the money. Both the US Attorney and New York state authorities are investigating.]

This is where things get back to Ukraine. If the State Department wanted to find the right button to push to spur Patriarch Bartholomew to move on the question of autocephaly, the Greek Archdiocese in the US is it. Let’s keep in mind that in his home country, Turkey, Patriarch Bartholomew has virtually no local flock – only a few hundred mostly elderly Greeks left huddled in Istanbul’s Phanar district. (Sometimes the Patriarchate is referred to simply as “the Phanar,” much as “the Vatican” is shorthand for the Roman Catholic papacy.) Whatever funds the Patriarchate derives from other sources (the Greek government, the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches), the Phanar’s financial lifeline is the ethnic Greek community (including this analyst) in what is still quaintly called the “Diaspora” in places like America, Australia, and New Zealand. And of these, the biggest cash cow is the Greek-Americans.

That’s why, when Patriarch Bartholomew issued a call in 2016 for what was billed as an Orthodox “Eighth Ecumenical Council” (the first one since the year 787!), the funds largely came from America, to the tune of up to $8 million according to the same confidential source as will be noted below. Intended by some as a modernizing Orthodox “Vatican II,” the event was doomed to failure by a boycott organized by Moscow over what the latter saw as Patriarch Bartholomew’s adopting papal or even imperial prerogatives – now sadly coming to bear in Ukraine.

…and the Payoff

On top of the foregoing, it now appears that the State Department’s direct hand in this sordid business may not have consisted solely of wielding the “stick” of legal threat: there’s reason to believe there was a “carrot” too. It very recently came to the attention of this analyst, via an unsolicited, confidential source in the Greek Archdiocese in New York, that a payment of $25 million in US government money was made to Constantinople to encourage Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on Ukraine.

The source for this confidential report was unaware of earlier media reports that the same figure – $25 million – was paid by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the Phanar as an incentive for Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on creating an independent Ukrainian church. Moreover, Poroshenko evidently tried to shortchange the payment:

‘Peter [Petro] Poroshenko — the president of Ukraine — was obligated to return $15 million US dollars to the Patriarch of Constantinople, which he had appropriated for himself.

‘As reported by Izvestia, this occurred after the story about Bartholomew’s bribe and a “vanishing” large sum designated for the creation of a Unified Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine surfaced in the mass media.

‘As reported, on the eve of Poroshenko’s visit in Istanbul, a few wealthy people of Ukraine “chipped in” in order to hasten the process of creating a Unified Local Orthodox Church. About $25 million was collected. They were supposed to go to the award ceremony for Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the issuing of a tomos of autocephaly. [A tomos is a small book containing a formal announcement.] However, in the words of people close to the backer, during the visit on April 9, Poroshenko handed over only $10 million.

‘As a result, having learned of the deal, Bartholomew cancelled the participation of the delegation of the Phanar – the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia on July 27 in Kiev.

‘”Such a decision from Bartholomew’s side was nothing other than a strong ultimatum to Poroshenko to return the stolen money. Of course, in order to not lose his face in light of the stark revelations of the creation of the tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Peter Alexeevich [Poroshenko] had to just return those $15 million for the needs of Constantinople,” a trusted source explained to reporters.

‘For preliminary information, only after receiving the remaining sum, did Bartholomew finally give his consent to sending a delegation of the Phanar to Kiev … ‘

Now, it’s possible that the two identical figures of $25 million refer to two different pots of money (a cool $50 million!) but that seems unlikely. It’s more probable the reports refer to the same sum as viewed from the sending side (the State Department, the Greek Archdiocese) and the delivery side (Poroshenko, Constantinople).

Lending credibility to the confidential information from New York and pointing to the probability that it refers to the same payment that Poroshenko reportedly sought to raid for himself are the following observations:

  • When Poroshenko generously offered Patriarch Bartholomew $10 million, the latter was aware that the full amount was $25 million and demanded the $15 million Poroshenko had held back. How did the Patriarch know that, unless he was informed via New York of the full sum?
  • If the earlier-reported $25 million was really collected from “a few wealthy people of Ukraine” who “chipped in,” given the cutthroat nature of disputes among Ukrainian oligarchs would Poroshenko (an oligarch in his own right) have risked trying to shortchange the payment? Why has not even one such Ukrainian donor been identified?
  • Without going into all the details, the Phanar and the Greek Archdiocese have a long relationship with US administrations of both parties going back at least to the Truman administration, encompassing some decidedly unattractive episodes. In such a history, a mere bribe for a geopolitical shot against Moscow would hardly be a first instance or the worst.

As one of this analyst’s Greek-American connections puts it: “It’s easy to comprehend the Patriarchate bowing to the pressure of State Dept. blackmail… not overly savory, but understandable. However, it’s another thing altogether if Kiev truly “purchased” their autocephalous status from an all too willing Patriarchate … which would relegate the Patriarch to ‘salesman’ status and leave the faithful wondering what else might be offered to the highest bidder the next time it became convenient to hold a Patriarchal ‘fire sale’ at the Phanar?!”

To add insult to injury, you’d think Constantinople at least could pay back some of the $7-8 million wasted on the Crete 2016 debacle to restart the St. Nicholas project in New York. Evidently the Phanar has better things to spend it on, like the demonstrative environmentalism of “the Green Patriarch” and, together with Pope Francis, welcoming Muslim migrants to Europe through Greece. Of course maybe there’s no need to worry, as the Ukraine “sale” was consistent with Constantinople’s papal ambitions, an uncanonical claim to “universal” status, and misuse of incarnational language and adoption of a breathtakingly arrogant tone that would cause even the most ultramontane proponent of the Rome’s supremacy to blush.

Finally, it seems that, for the time being at least, Constantinople doesn’t intend to create an independent Ukrainian church but rather an autonomous church under its own authority. It’s unclear whether or not Poroshenko or the State Department, in such event, would believe they had gotten their money’s worth. Perhaps they would. After all, the issue here is less what is appropriate for Ukraine than what strikes at Russia and injures the worldwide Christian witness of the Orthodox Church. To that end, it doesn’t matter whether the new illegal body is Constantinopolitan or Kievan, just so long as it isn’t a “Moskal church” linked to Russia.

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Sanctions against Social Ethics

Hussein Samawarchi

The practice of social responsibility needs for all to be proactive, one way or another, in bringing equality for fellow community members. It is when the more able member of society assists the less fortunate for the purpose of maintaining a general social equilibrium of education and wealth. Everyone should be entitled to an equal opportunity to realize his or her ambitions and full potential; the tools that lead to improving one’s situation are availed by others knowing that the betterment of the individual member yields a healthier society for all.

Protecting the rights of every person is a main deterrent against the decline of moral standards which, in its turn and in so many cases, is a direct result of social frustration. Hence, the display of a sound sense of social responsibility by all would ultimately serve in eliminating, to a great degree, many factors that lead to corruption – a healthier social setup evolves.

This is a part of the teachings of Islam; justice has to be prioritized if we are to live in the comfort of safety. And, the application of justice goes beyond the classical judicial system. Islam dictates the founding of courts manned by wise and highly educated judges; it doesn’t stop there though. It also dictates that justice is practiced to a person’s best ability with family, neighbors, colleagues, friends, and anyone who is weaker. Justice is a part of social responsibility in Islam.

When the word “Hezbollah” is mentioned anywhere, the resistance is the first thing that comes to the mind of the majority of people. The image of a heroic patriot walking up a hill on a cold rainy night with his brothers, leaving the warmth of his family to ensure that his home and the homes of his neighbors are protected against the “Israeli” saboteur.

These brave men of the Lebanese resistance have relied, mostly, on simple weapons during the years extending from 1982 – nothing worth millions of dollars like tanks or fighter jets. They showed the world that a successful resistance relies more on the hearts of the people than on the class of armament. They showed that volunteers achieve more victories than professional highly paid soldiers and mercenaries.

The United States is talking about further sanctions against Hezbollah. They, allegedly, impose sanctions for the “noble” purpose of preventing a government or an organization from acquiring weapons. Knowing that the defense strategy of the resistance does not depend on tactical items that need great expenditures, it can be clearly seen that whatever the magnitude of the sanctions is, it will not affect the military aspect. The defense combat gear comprises rifles that are decades- old and even older rocket-propelled grenades. The maximum in cost might be night vision binoculars but those can be purchased over the counter globally under the commercial category of civilian and recreational gadgets.

As for some more sophisticated weapons like modern compact anti-tank and aircraft arms, plenty has been left behind in Iraq and Syria and in pristine condition by the dozen or more terrorist factions armed to the teeth with compliments of “Israel” and other terror-supporting countries. Stockpiles upon stockpiles have been seized.

So, what are the sanctions targeting?

One might argue that affecting the overall financial situation of Hezbollah would influence the salaries of its members negatively, resulting in their eventual dismay from a worsening personal financial situation leading to desertion. That would have been the case if they were fighting for financial gain. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of the men of Hezbollah are volunteers and they avail themselves for purely patriotic reasons; as poetic as it sounds, the truth is that their payment is the honor of fighting for their country.

As for those who serve on a full-time basis, their salaries are covered with donations from local businesses which are sufficient. At this point, it is worthy of mentioning that the salary of the highest paygrade in Hezbollah is that of the Secretary-General. The amount is USD 1,400.

Again. What are the sanctions targeting?

The answer is clear. The sanctions are against the fabric of the society that contains Hezbollah. They are against Social responsibility and justice. They target civil establishments linked to the general population falling directly and indirectly under the geographical region where Hezbollah and Muslims exist. These establishments include orphanages, educational institutions for the financially underprivileged, non-profit medical centers, charities, women empowerment centers, vocational training institutes for young adults with special needs, and more.

The American administration that still gives billions of dollars in the form of unconditional annual aid to “Israel” for the purpose of building more illegal settlements on Palestinian raped land and arming its terrorist army along with Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] mercenaries wants to close down Lebanese charities that take care of society.

They aim to financially suffocate civilian institutions that direct the social compass towards higher human values. The concept of “education and justice for all” is the enemy in the scope of American sanctions. The recent move against the UNRWA is sufficient proof of that.

Contemptible acts like targeting the livelihoods and the future of the youth and the needy can only be described as animosity towards humanity. There’s no doubt that certain aspects will suffer here and there. Still, one must keep in mind that this is a social set up built by the people who excel in the culture of resilience and creativity. History has it written in its pages: The Lebanese will always prevail. How can they not when they have such leaders as Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in their ranks.

Source: Al-Ahed News

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New US Law Obliges Americans to Pay Unlimited Billions to israel (apartheid state)

Source

Good news! You’ll be relieved to know that once again Israeli interests are trumping the interests of Heritage Americans. You and your children will be given the honor of paying for Israel’s security with no limits on how much can be stolen from you. From The New Observer.

In what has been described as an “unprecedented gift of executive power to Israel,” the US Congress has passed for the very first time a law that forces the American president to give Israel a minimum of $3.8 billion per year—without limitation and no matter what Israel does.

Passed by the House of Representatives on September 12, 2018, the “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018” rolls back any limitations that the US places on the amount of “aid” American taxpayers must hand over to Israel.

The bill states in “Sec. 102. Statement of Policy) that it “shall be the policy of the United States to provide assistance to the Government of Israel in order to support funding for cooperative programs to develop, produce, and procure missile, rocket, projectile, and other defense capabilities to help Israel meet its security needs and to help develop and enhance United States defense capabilities.”

According to a review of the law published by the If Americans Knew group,the AIPAC-lobbied law, introduced by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), whose maternal grandparents were Sephardic Jews, originally from the Ottoman Empire, who had been active in Cuba’s Jewish community, and Ted Deutch (D-Florida), whose grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Belarus, the bill is “even more generous to Israel than the Senate bill and the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding and “amounts to $7,230 per minute to Israel, or $120 per second.”

The If Americans Knew review adds that the bill “guarantees $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years” and “is a dramatic departure from the deal offered under President Obama’s 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“Most dramatically, this new act would eviscerate the ability of President Trump and his successors for the next ten years to withhold United States aid to Israel,” the review continued.

“Historically, almost every president since Eisenhower has attempted to withhold such aid at one time or another in order to force Israel to the peace table or to stop Israel from committing human right abuses or illegal acts such as taking Palestinian land and giving it to Israeli settlers.

“President Eisenhower was the last American President who managed to use this threat effectively, when he forced Israel to withdraw from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 1957.”

The review added that the “second most important effect of this act is in Section 103. While the MOU limits the amount of aid [the US] give[s] Israel to the amount agreed upon, in this case $38 billion over 10 years, Section 103 of the current bill removes all limitations on how much [the US] give[s] give Israel.

“Under the new act, instead of 38 billion being the cap, as Obama stipulated in his 2016 MOU, [the US] must now give Israel a minimum of $3.8 billion per year until 2028.

“Without a cap, and with incessant lobbying by Israel and her proxies in the United States, the amount we give could conceivably double over the next 10 years,” the review said.

“Section 106 will increase Israel’s access to a war-reserve stockpile by completely removing the limits on how many precision guided missiles [the US] can give Israel. The existing law set a maximum of $200 million worth of arms from the stockpile per year, to be charged against the agreed aid package.

“The House version of the bill differs from the Senate version, replacing the words ‘sell’ and ‘sale’ to ‘transfer,’ which appears to open the door for more gifts in excess of the $38 billion

“To put this in context, a Tomahawk Missile currently costs about $1 million. The media recently lambasted President Trump for using 60 such missiles in Syria because of the high cost.

“Section 107 calls on the President to prescribe procedures for the rapid acquisition and deployment of precision guided munitions. The House text differs from the Senate version in that it removes all the detailed requirements for Israel to have such rapid acquisition.

“In the version just passed by the House, there is only one, extremely broad requirement, that Israel is under direct threat of missiles (in Israel’s opinion).

“Section 108 of the Act authorizes Israel to export arms it receives from the U.S., even though this violates U.S. law. The Senate version included a provision calling on the President to make an assessment of Israel’s eligibility before adding Israel to the exemption list.

“The House version deleted that requirement, and simply orders the American President to grant Israel the privilege.

“In fact, Israel is ineligible, having repeatedly made unauthorized sales in violation of this Act. The Export Act further forbids granting such an exemption to any country that is in violation of International Nuclear Non-proliferation Agreement, which Israel has refused to sign.

“Israel is known to be in possession of nuclear weapons, and hence in violation and ineligible for the export exemption. Congress thus reiterates the message that it will force the President to continue funding Israel even when that violates [U.S.] laws,” the review continued.

“Section 201 orders NASA to work with the Israel Space Agency, even though an Israeli space official has been accused of illegally obtaining classified scientific technology from a NASA research project.

“U.S. agencies periodically name Israel as a top espionage threat against the United States.

“The section also states that United States Agency for International Development (USAID) must partner with Israel in ‘a wide variety of sectors, including energy, agriculture and food security, democracy, human rights and governance, economic growth and trade, education, environment, global health, and water and sanitation.’

“All countries except Israel are required to spend US military aid on American goods. This ensures that the American economy benefits to some degree from these massive gifts. (Of course, if Americans wished to subsidize these U.S. companies, money could be provided directly to them, and Israel and other countries left to buy their equipment with their own money.)

“In the past, Israel has spent 40 percent of U.S. aid on Israeli companies, at the expense of U.S. industry. Under Obama’s 2016 MOU, this percentage was to be decreased over the 10-year span, and eventually Israel’s unique right not to spend use U.S. military aid to purchase items from American companies was to be ended.

“The new Act eliminates this requirement, putting Israeli economic interests before [America’s].

“An Israeli spokesperson crowed: ‘The landmark deal was reached despite budget cuts, including defense cuts, in the U.S.’

The bill now will go back to the Senate for approval, and then to Trump to be signed into U.S. law.

Trump Regime’s Rage for Regime Change in Venezuela

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Beginning with the Clinton co-presidency, US regimes opposed Venezuela’s Bolivarian social democracy, wanting pro-Western puppet rule replacing it.

In 2001, after Hugo Chavez compared Bush/Cheney’s global war on terrorism with the 9/11 attacks, Washington’s ambassador Donna Hrinak was recalled for consultations.

Ahead of Bush/Cheney’s aborted two-day April 2002 coup against Chavez, State Department cables said it couldn’t be ruled out, the incident one of others to follow against him and Nicolas Maduro.

Days earlier, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted:

“Venezuela reiterates its denouncement and condemns the continuing aggressions that the US government has directly promoted against the constitutional President @NicolasMaduro, democratically elected and re-elected by a wide electoral margin in May of this same year,” separately tweeting:

“We denounce the intervention plans and support for military conspirators by the government of the United States against Venezuela. Even in US media, the crass evidence is coming to light.”

Like their predecessors, Trump regime hardliners want Maduro removed. International law prohibits interfering in the affairs of other nations, except in self-defense if attacked.

The 1970 UN General Assembly Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (Resolution 2625) affirmed “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” in all nations.

It proclaimed their right to “freely determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development” – requiring compliance by all member states.

It prohibited the “threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” calling for resolving disputes “by peaceful means.”

International, constitutional and US statute laws never impede Washington’s aim to topple ruling authorities in nations it opposes – Venezuela a prime target because of its world’s largest oil reserves Republicans and undemocratic Dems want control over.

Rex Tillerson when secretary of state and Mike Pompeo when CIA director openly called for toppling Maduro.

At the time, Pompeo accused the Venezuelan president of usurping power and inflicting pain on the Venezuelan people – a bald-faced lie, ignoring US political and economic war on the country still raging.

As CIA director, Pompeo orchestrated months of street violence, falsely calling Bolivarian social democracy a threat to US security, supported by Trump instead of denouncing and preventing what’s going on.

Straightaway after replacing Tillerson as secretary of state last March, Pompeo warned about toughening Trump regime policies against US security threats in Latin America – despite none existing, aiming his remarks mainly at Venezuela.

Illegal sanctions were increased, political and economic war escalated. At the time, Trump said he wouldn’t rule out a “military option” to remove Maduro. Added toughness against Cuba was signaled.

Former Reagan administration assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs Roger Noreiga accused then-under secretary of state for political affairs Thomas Shannon of failing to pursue enough toughness against Maduro.

When Pompeo replaced Tillerson at State, he said Trump regime policies can reverse what he called “shortcomings” in Latin America by “get(ting) tough on (regional) hot spots.”

On Friday, Pompeo warned of unspecified “actions” the Trump regime intends pursuing against Venezuela, saying:

“You’ll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership…who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people.”

“We’re determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say.” Maybe he has another coup d’etat, political assassination, or war of aggression in mind.

The Trump regime’s notion of what National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis called “a peaceful, orderly return to democracy” is all about eliminating it wherever it exists and preventing its emergence elsewhere.

Venezuelan Bolivarian social democracy is a prime Trump regime target for elimination. Another attempt to remove Maduro could come any time.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.

Who Conflates Zionism and Judaism?

September 17, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Every Sabbath the good people of Ann Arbor protest against their local synagogue. They have been doing it for 15 years.

إدلب: النهاية الفعلية لـ «تامبر سيكامور»

سبتمبر 11, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– مصطلح «تامبر سيكامور» أي «خشب الجميز» ليس غريباً على المعلقين والمحللين والمتابعين في أميركا والغرب، وهو الرمز الذي منحته المخابرات الأميركية عام 2012 للعملية التي تهدف لأوسع خطة أميركية لتعبئة الأفراد والسلاح والأعمال الاستخبارية والعمليات الخاصة، منذ حرب أفغانستان. والهدف هذه المرة هو إسقاط سورية ورئيسها وتدمير جيشها، وتحويلها ساحة تشبه ما انتهت إليه العملية التي سبقتها في أفغانستان، وكما الأداة هي نفسها أي تنظيم القاعدة ومتفرّعاته ومنتجاته، الشريك في التعبئة والتمويل والإدارة والتشغيل هو نفسه، المملكة العربية السعودية. وهنا لا نزال في استعراض المعلومات الأميركية الرسمية التي يسهل الحصول عليها من مواقع وزارة الخارجية ووزارة الدفاع الأميركيتين، ومن التقارير التي قدّمها مايك بومبيو بصفته رئيساً للمخابرات الأميركية عام 2017 أمام الكونغرس ولجانه في سياق الإعلان عن تصفية المشروع، الذي تقول التقارير الرسمية إنه كلف الخزانة الأميركية مليار دولار، وأنه تسبب بوقوع أسلحة نوعية بيد تنظيم القاعدة.

– ما يجب أن ننتبه إليه هو أن ما تقوله واشنطن عن البرنامج هو بعض الحقيقة، وما تقوله عن أسباب الإعلان عن الإنهاء هو عكس الحقيقة. ففي المنشور عن البرنامج أنه تمويل ميليشيات وتسليحها وتدريبها، كذب واختزال للمشروع ببعض بنوده. فالمشروع يتضمن إنشاء غرفة عمليات سميت بالـ»موك» وهي اختصار لعمليات خاصة تنفذها القوات الخاصة الأميركية، التابعة للمخابرات الأميركية ووكالتها الأهم صاحبة البرنامج سي آي أي. وقد بات معلناً أن الهدف الحقيقي هو إسقاط الدولة السورية ورئيسها وجيشها، وبات معلوماً أن ضمن الخطة عمليات خاصة تنفذها السي آي اي، على الأرجح أن بينها وأولها كانت عملية استهداف مقر الأمن القومي في دمشق الذي استشهد فيه كبار الضباط السوريين العسكريين والأمنيين يومها، وبات معلوماً أيضاً أن كذبة تسليح ميليشيات مثل كذبة اكتشاف أن السلاح وصل لجبهة النصرة، مثل كذبة أن الحرب على داعش استدعت وقف البرنامج، فتسليح وتمويل واستجلاب تنظيم القاعدة اصل البرنامج، كما صمّمه الجنرال ديفيد بتريوس المؤسس الحقيقي لجبهة النصرة كفرع سوري عراقي لتنظيم القاعدة، وابتكار تنظيم داعش كان الحلقة الثانية من البرنامج. وكل الوقائع قائمة لإثبات إدارة واشنطن لداعش. وبالمقابل إدارة الحرب المبرمجة والمدروسة عليها، لخدمة التموضع في سورية بحجة الحرب، ومنع قيام حرب جدية تنهي وجود التنظيم الذي رعت ولادته واشنطن، كما قال الرئيس دونالد ترامب يوم كان مرشحاً.

– من الأكاذيب التي يجب الانتباه لها في الرواية الرسمية الأميركية أن موازنة المشروع هي مليار دولار فقط. بينما تقول الوقائع المنشورة عن إنشاء تنظيم القاعدة برعاية مستشار الأمن القومي الأميركي في عهد الرئيس رونالد ريغان زبيغينيو بريجنسكي، أن مليار دولار مشابه أنفقتها واشنطن عام 1980، كان مقابلها قرابة مئة مليار دولار أنفقتها السعودية على تنظيم القاعدة، لإسقاط الحكم الحليف لروسيا السوفياتية آنذاك تمهيداً لإسقاط الاتحاد السوفياتي، وها هي تكرر المحاولة هذه المرة مع روسيا وإيران انطلاقاً من سورية، لكنها تفشل. فالذي حصل حتى تاريخه ليس الاكتشاف المتأخر لوصول الأسلحة ليد متطرفين وإرهابيين، بل العجز عن تحقيق الهدف، وانتقال زمام المبادرة إلى يد الحلف المواجه أي سورية وإيران وروسيا، ليصير الواقع وفقاً لوصف بعض الخبراء الأميركيين، انتقاماً روسياً من تجربة أفغانستان.

– من الأكاذيب أيضاً الحديث عن إنهاء البرنامج، وقد كانت ركيزته غرفة الـ»موك» ولم تقفل بإعلان تصفية البرنامج رسمياً، ما يعني تغيير المهام لا إنهاءها. والمتوقع أن التغيير يهدف لاستبدال المهمة من إسقاط سورية ورئيسها وجيشها إلى منع انتصار سورية ورئيسها وجيشها، وعرقلة هذا الانتصار لفرض واشنطن شريكاً إلزامياً في أي تسوية مستقبلية في سورية. والتهديدات كما التصريحات الرئاسية والوزارية الأميركية، كما التفاهمات والخلافات، بوجود برنامج تعتمده المخابرات، تخضع لمقتضيات هذا البرنامج، «تامبر سيكامور» في معركته السرية الأخيرة في إدلب، حيث الضباط الأميركيون الذين تولوا مهام القيادة خلال سنوات مضت، وحيث الهزيمة وحدَها ستنهي البرنامج وتضيع معه مئات مليارات الدولارات التي تحدّث عنها ذات يوم نائب الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن أمام جامعة هارفرد.

– «خشب الجمير» الذي استوحى منه بتريوس اسم البرنامج هو الخشب الذي استخدمه الفراعنة في صناعة توابيت الرجال العظام، والواضح أن القصد كان الإشارة إلى هدف البرنامج بصناعة تابوت لسورية ودولتها ومكانتها، وربما لإيران وروسيا معها. لكن التاريخ يدور دورته، وفي إدلب اليوم يستعدّ صانع التابوت لتجربته.

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America’s War on Yemen Exposed

August 14, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – As atrocities and scandal begin to mount regarding the US-backed Saudi-led war on the impoverished nation of Yemen, the involvement and hypocrisy of the United States and other Western backers is coming to full light.

Global condemnation of Saudi airstrikes on civilian targets has brought public attention to Washington’s role in the conflict – a role the Western media has attempted to downplay for years. It is ironic, or perhaps telling, that alternative media outlets targeted as “Russian influence” are leading coverage of Yemen’s growing humanitarian catastrophe.

US Denies Role in Proxy War That Couldn’t be Fought Without It 
In a recent press conference, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis – when asked about the US role in the Yemeni conflict in regards to Saudi atrocities – would claim:

We are not engaged in the civil war. We will help to prevent, you know, the killing of innocent people.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Mattis himself would lobby US Congress earlier this year to continue US support for Saudi-led operations in Yemen.

A March 2018 Washington Post article titled, “Mattis asks Congress not to restrict U.S. support for Saudi bombing in Yemen,” would admit:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made a personal appeal to Congress on Wednesday not to restrict the United States’ support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, as the sponsors of a privileged resolution to end Washington’s involvement announced that the Senate would vote on the matter next week.

Support includes US intelligence gathering for Saudi operations, the sale of of US weapons to the Saudi regime, and even US aerial refueling for US-made Saudi warplanes dropping US-made munitions on Yemeni targets selected with the aid of US planners.

In essence, the US is all but directly fighting the “civil war” itself.

Abetting War Crimes, Sponsoring Terrorists to What End? 

As to why the US believes it must continue supporting a proxy war Saudi Arabia is fighting on its behalf – beginning under US President Barack Obama and continuing in earnest under current US President Donald Trump – the Washington Post could conclude (emphasis added):

The war in Yemen has inspired much controversy in Congress, as lawmakers have questioned why the United States has involved itself so closely on the Saudi-backed side of a civil war against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel forces. Successive presidential administrations have presented the campaign as a necessary component of the fight against terrorism and to preserve stability in the region. As Mattis put it in his letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, “withdrawing U.S. support would embolden Iran to increase its support to the Houthis, enabling further ballistic missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and threatening vital shipping lanes in the Red Sea, thereby raising the risk of a regional conflict.”

However, Mattis, his colleagues, and his predecessors have categorically failed to explain how Iran constitutes a greater threat to either US or global security than Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is a nation admittedly sponsoring Al Qaeda worldwide, including in Yemen as revealed by a recent Associated Press investigation, and the nation which both radicalized the supposed perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York City and Washington D.C. and from which most of the supposed hijackers originated from.

If Iran is indeed waging war against Saudi Arabia and its terrorist proxies in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, the real question is – why isn’t the United States backing Tehran instead?

The obvious answer to this question reveals the crumbling moral authority of the United States as the principled facade it has used for decades falls away from its hegemony-driven agenda worldwide.

The US and its allies created the “War on Terror” and intentionally perpetuated it as a pretext to expand militarily around the globe in an attempt to preserve its post-Cold War primacy and prevent the rise of a multipolar alternative to its unipolar “international order.” It has done this not only at the cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives across the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, it has done it at the cost of trillions of taxpayers’ dollars and the lives of thousands of America’s own soldiers, sailors, aviators, and Marines.


Canada Too 

A recent row between Canada and Saudi Arabia over supposed “human rights” concerns appears to be a vain attempt to salvage the credibility of at least some nations involved in the now 7 year long war – the last 3 years of which has seen direct military intervention by Saudi Arabia, its partners, and its backers – including Canada.

The Guardian in an article titled, “‘We don’t have a single friend’: Canada’s Saudi spat reveals country is alone,” attempts to portray Canada as taking a lone, principled stance against human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia – abandoned even by Washington.

The article would claim:

The spat appeared to have been sparked last week when Canada’s foreign ministry expressed its concern over the arrest of Saudi civil society and women’s rights activists, in a tweet that echoed concerns previously voiced by the United Nations. 

Saudi Arabia swiftly shot back, making plans to remove thousands of Saudi students and medical patients from Canada, and suspending the state airline’s flights to and from Canada, among other actions.

The Guardian would also claim:

…the US said it would remain on the sidelines while Saudi officials lashed out at Canada over its call to release jailed civil rights activists.

Canada’s feigned concern for “human rights” in Saudi Arabia comes at a time when the Canadian government continues approving of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms sales to Riyadh. This includes small arms and armored personnel carriers Saudi forces are using in their ongoing invasion and occupation of neighboring Yemen.

The feigned divide between Ottawa and Washington over Saudi human rights violations is overshadowed by years of commitment by both North American nations in propping up the Saudi regime, and aiding and abetting the very worst of Riyadh’s human rights abuses unfolding amid the Yemeni conflict.

Canada’s apparent role is to help compartmentalize the worst of the West’s decaying moral authority, containing it with the US, and taking up a more prominent role in the West’s industrialized “human rights” and “democracy” leveraging racket.

While Canadian armaments help fuel genocide in Yemen – Canadian diplomats around the world fund agitators and directly meddle in the internal political affairs of foreign nations predicated on promoting “human rights” and “democracy.”

In Thailand for example, the US has receded into the shadows, allowing Canada, the UK, and other European nations to openly engage in political meddling on their behalf. US funding and support continues, but the public face of Western “outrage” is increasingly becoming Canadian, British, and Northern European.

However, Canada faces the same problem that has permanently eroded American credibility. And as its role in perpetuating real human rights abuses worldwide continues to be exposed, its feigned concern over token or even manufactured human rights concerns will increasingly appear hypocritical and hollow, undermining the West’s collective ability to leverage and hide behind human rights and democracy to advance their self-serving agendas.

Aftermath of the (unnecessary) US Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Aftermath of the US Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – Voice Over – Russian Ambassador 1945

Lieberman’s Definition of Terrorism

Lieberman says that the best answer to terrorism is the expansion of settlements.

I wish he had continued his sentence to indicate that those settlements are not actually being built on the moon or Mars. The geographical region allocated for those new settlement units is owned by indigenous people being systematically stripped of their ethnic identity alongside their ancestral land by foreign illegal immigrants brainwashed with delusions of supremacy.

This “Israeli” minister of war would also do well to discuss the source of funding for those said settlements. The majority of financing of the bulldozers demolishing Palestinian houses and uprooting the olive trees comes from the US taxpayers – money that could be better utilized in uplifting the heavy weight of mortgages US veterans come back home to deal with. Or, relief the American students owing ludicrous amounts to universities. Maybe even use that money to subsidize national medical care.

Americans are not the enemy; the overwhelming popular belief on this side of the hemisphere is that the American people are not entirely aware of how they are being manipulated by a deep dark political system hellbent on securing high profits for a military-industrial complex. Profits achieved by demonizing neighbors so as to sell weapons to countries who are in desperate need of allocating the majority of their budgets towards enhancing educational and social national organizations.

When they fail in demonizing candidates, the US government creates demons like they did with al-Qaeda and “ISIS”.

It is high time to exert real efforts in unifying a global definition of terror and what terrorism is. Mr. Lieberman’s usage of the word insinuates that those who defend their property and children against occupying forces are the “terrorists”. His definition of terrorism does not seem to include dispatching regulars in the army with high power rifles as snipers to hunt down civilian targets indiscriminately. It doesn’t refer to soldiers filling a sixteen-year-old girl with bullets or a military helicopter crew tearing apart the bodies of little boys playing soccer on the beach. Bombarding a densely populated area after laying siege on it must have also missed his definition of terrorism.

There is a genuine discrepancy in terminology. Iran, a country that is not known to have initiated any wars against other countries during, at least, the contemporary era of history is being labeled as a “state that sponsors terror”. On the other hand, “Israel” has attacked and occupied Lebanon more than once and has done it savagely but, still, it is being described as a “democratic state” yearning for peace and security. Supporting rogue terrorist organizations like Lahad’s Southern Army militias and “ISIS” is not seen as acts of terror; neither, it seems, orchestrating assassinations on foreign soil.

Memory goes back to when George Bush destroyed Iraq in the name of spreading democracy – another twisted term of our age. The father of Athenian democracy, Cleisthenes, must have turned in his grave every time Bush mentioned his creation. Killing huge sections of the Iraqi civilian population in the name of a noble concept was yet another example of hijacking terms and mutating them to gain the support of the unknowing masses. Maybe Lieberman does know what terrorism means but is twisting the word to mean something else; he is still betting on ignorant masses who would actually believe that a teenage girl deserves a prison sentence for slapping a heavily armed soldier who invaded the front yard of her home to shoot at her cousins.

It is a mess. It is a sorry state of affairs. The victim of the modern-day holocaust is being blamed for demanding his basic rights as a human and a citizen of the world. He is being told that he fits the profile of a terrorist – Lieberman’s definition of a terrorist.

We can all do our part in rectifying the situation humanity is in. We can begin by establishing international guidelines for terms such as democracy and terrorism. We must not only condemn Lieberman’s war crimes against the innocent people whose land he has occupied, we must condemn his attempts to twist the definition of words on which the human race bases ethical standards. His crimes go beyond murder and theft, they are against the very human culture.

No matter how many settlements are built, Palestinians will get what is rightfully theirs back. History has shown this to be true. The Ottomans occupied land like the Israelis did, the Ottomans enslaved people like the “Israelis” did, and the Ottomans committed genocide against the Armenians just like the “Israelis” are doing against the Palestinians. The Ottomans lost and went back to their country, so will the “Israelis”.

Source: Al-Ahed News

US Military Aid to Israel Set to Exceed $3.8B, or $23,000 Per Year for Every Jewish Family Living in israel (apartheid state)

What Stress Test? US Military Aid to Israel Set to Exceed $3.8B, or $23,000 Per Year for Every Jewish Family Living in Israel

The massive funding for Israel’s military is the result of the 2016 U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding on security assistance between the Israeli and U.S. governments, which called for annual funding of $3.8 billion — or $23,000 per year for every Jewish family living in Israel — for the next 10 years.

WASHINGTON — In an event largely overlooked by the U.S. media, the Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would provide Israel with $3.3 billion in military aid along with over $500 million for missile defense over the course of the next year. The bill, officially titled the “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018,” is expected to be voted on by the House within the week. If approved and signed into law by President Trump, it would represent the “single largest military aid package in American history.”The massive amount of funding being allocated to Israel’s military is ultimately the result of the 2016 U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding on security assistance between the Israeli and U.S. governments, which called for $3.8 billion in funding for Israel on an annual basis over the next ten years.

Though this startling figure — which translates into $23,000 for every Jewish family living in Israel — was supposed to be the limit for U.S. military aid to Israel, the figure is actually set to be higher this year, given Congress’ recent passage of a massive $716 billion defense bill that provides an additional $550 million in U.S. aid for Israeli missile defense systems. The defense bill also authorizes an additional $1 billion for U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel.

Over the past several years, U.S. military aid to Israel has ballooned, with U.S. funding of Israeli missile defense alone quadrupling since 2009. Ironically, many of those missile defense systems, besides being clumsy and costly, frequently malfunction, including the “Iron Dome” defense system — jointly developed by Raytheon and Israeli defense company Rafael — and the “Arrow-3” system — jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing.

 

“Largest aid package ever” to be given to Israel despite jarring human-rights abuses

The massive amount of aid the U.S. government is set to give to Israel comes during Israel’s unprecedented crackdown on unarmed protesters and a looming Israeli military operation aimed at “conquering” the Palestinian enclave. Indeed, since March 30, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) — the very forces set to receive billions in U.S. taxpayer funding — have killed 164 Palestinians, including 26 children as well as journalists and medics.

In addition, over that same time frame, the IDF has injured upwards of 17,000 Palestinians living in Gaza, over half of whom had to be hospitalized for their injuries — including more than 1,400 children. All of those killed and injured were unarmed. In contrast, there has been a single Israeli death and nine Israeli injuries over that same time period.

Such grave violations of human rights would normally prevent the U.S. government from providing aid to Israel, given that the Leahy Laws enable the U.S. to withhold military assistance from units and individuals in foreign security forces if they have committed a gross violation of human rights (GVHR). GVHR offenses include: extrajudicial killings; torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; prolonged detention without charges and trial; causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons; and other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person.

However, given that Israel has been engaged in gross violations of human rights since its founding in 1948, and yet has received over $133 billion in aid from the U.S. during that time, the U.S. government has made it clear time and again that it is willing to bend the rules when it comes to Israel.

Top Photo | Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers his speech as U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman listen, during the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. Sebastian Scheiner | AP

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

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