Thursday, December 30, 2010

Revisiting Gaza Two Years After

Desert Peace

By Khalid Amayreh

The genocidal onslaught on Gaza is sufficient to render Israel an illegitimate state. No state under the sun, Jewish or otherwise, should behave in such a nefarious manner and remain legitimate.

The Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip two years ago, which lasted for three weeks, was pornographically criminal and graphically genocidal. Israel knowingly and deliberately targeted innocent civilians, including children, using state-of-the-art machines of death.

Entire families were simply exterminated at the pretext that a member was involved with the resistance. Homes, hospitals, mosques and other public buildings were obliterated. Even terrified and thoroughly terrorized people raising white banners were mercilessly riddled with bullets.
The sheer criminality of the Israeli army gave the impression that Israeli soldiers were probably trying to mimic Old Testament savagery by murdering men, women, and children, and by destroying and annihilating all that breathe!!

The genocidal onslaught on Gaza is sufficient to render Israel an illegitimate state. No state under the sun, Jewish or otherwise, should behave in such a nefarious manner and remain legitimate.

Don’t mention the holocaust. In the final analysis, since when did Israel have the right to utilize one holocaust in order to commit another? Or use it as red herring to divert attention from its genocidal atrocities against its victims?

To cover her crimes against humanity, Israel used her effective lying machine to the fullest. It claimed that Israel was coming under attack from Gaza and that it was merely exercising self-defense.

Such a claim, coming  from a country that is based on mass murder, ethnic cleansing and land theft, is very much analogous to an imagined  claim by the Third Reich that it was  forced to deal  stringently with Jews because SS soldiers had been coming under attack from Jewish resistance fighters at Ghetto Warsaw.

I am making this comparison because as soon as Israel ostensibly left Gaza in 2005, it imposed a hermetically tight blockade on the coastal enclave, turning it into the largest open- air prison in the world.  Gazans were tormented and savaged and starved in manners unseen since Ghetto Warsaw, or probably the great Ukrainian starvation under Stalin.

Israel simply wanted Gazans to die unwept and as quietly as possible. However, when Gazans found out that they had nothing to lose; they decided to die standing on their feet, rather than walking meekly to the Israeli slaughterhouse.

Israel rained death on Gaza for 21 consecutive days, hoping to get the people of Gaza to crawl on their hands and feet, begging for mercy from an army that combined all the elements of barbarianism and brutality of the Wehrmacht, Gestapo and SS combined.

However, much of the so-called international community kept up looking on as Gaza was being killed and raped as if these abominations were occurring on a distant planet.

There is no doubt the pornographic apathy with which the so-called civilized world related to the shameful Israeli aggression in Gaza two years ago represented an all-time low in the world’s morality.

What else can be said of powerful states, some of which are considered cornerstones of the international system, which related to the attempted lynching of nearly 2 million Gazans by merely saying that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”!! What kind of fornication with language is this, coming from the President of the most powerful nation on earth?
To be sure, moral depravity was by means the lot of an evil empire that allowed itself to be transformed into a big whore by Israel and her supporters. Many other countries betrayed and continued to betray Gaza, including countries that shamelessly claim to be Arab and Islamic.
Unfortunately, the passage of two years since the clouds of death were hovering over Gaza has not brought any solace. The brutal ugliness of a manifestly fascist Israel is as conspicuous as ever. And Israel continues to gang up on Gaza, barring the victims of the 2008-2009 aggression from rebuilding their homes by preventing building materials from getting through into Gaza.

It is true that the overall humanitarian situation in Gaza is slightly better in comparison to what it was two years ago. However, it is also true that whatever improvement there has been is not a result of Israeli magnanimity but rather a cynical attempt to enhance her tarnished image.
This is why the free-minded people of the world must stay focused on Gaza lest Israel decides to reactivate her genocidal instincts and gang up on Gaza’s children again.

We must not allow ourselves to forget the cardinal fact that the murder of Palestinian children has always been a well-guarded Zionist tradition. Unfortunately, there is no evidence whatsoever suggesting that the Zionist entity is about to forgo this evil but intrinsic tradition which for most Zionists constitutes a way of life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Media Hit Job of the Year
Posted by Danny Schechter on December 29, 2010

Our Media Experienced A Few Highs and Many Lows in 2010;
None As Disgraceful As The Vitriol Against Helen Thomas

In 1960, I co-founded a student magazine at Cornell University called Dialogue. I was a wannabe journalist, fixated on emulating the courageous media personalities of the times, from Edward R. Murrow to a distinctive figure I came to admire at presidential press conferences, a wire service reporter named Helen Thomas.

In recent years, my faith in the power of dialogue in politics has been severely tested—as, no doubt has hers—in an age where diatribes and calculated demonization chills debate and exchanges of opposing views.

Once you are labeled and stereotyped, especially if you are denounced as an anti-Semite, you are relegated to the fringes, pronounced a hater beyond redemption, even beyond explanation.  You have been assigned a scarlet letter as visible as the Star of David the Nazis made Jews wear.  My career path took me from covering civil rights activism in the streets to later working in the suites of network power. I went from the underground press to rock and roll radio to TV reporting and producing at CNN and ABC.

As a member in good standing of an activist generation, I saw myself more as an outsider in contrast to Helen’s distinctive credentials as an insider, as a White House bureau chief and later as the dean of the White House Correspondents Association.

Yet, beneath her establishment credentials and status, she was always an outsider too—one of nine children born to a family of Lebanese immigrants in Winchester Kentucky, who despite their Middle East origins, were Christians in the Greek Orthodox Church.

She became a pioneering woman, a modern day Helen of Troy, who broke the glass ceiling, infiltrating the clubby, mostly male, inside the beltway world of big egos and self-important media prima donnas, most supplicants to power, not challengers of it.

Her origins were more modest. She grew up in an ethnic neighborhood in Detroit, a city I later worked in, as an intern in the Mayor’s office  (I was in a Ford Foundation education in politics program in the sixties that also boasted a fellow fellow in another city, Richard B. Cheney. Yes, the one and the same.)  Helen received her batchelor’s degree from Wayne State University in 1942, the year I was born. Earlier this year, her alma mater which had taken so much pride in her achievements, withdrew an award in her name in a striking gesture of cowardice and submission to an incident blown out of all proportions that instantly turned Helen from a shero to a zero in a quick media second.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center—not, by the way, linked to the legendary Nazi Hunter (who was unhappy with its work), put her on their top-ten list of anti-Semites after angry remarks she made about Israel went viral and blew up into one of the major media stories of 2010.  President Barack Obama who cheerfully brought her a birthday cake, hailing her long years of service to the American people, later labeled her remarks “reprehensible.”  You would think that given all the vicious slurs, Hitler comparisons and putdowns directed at him, he would be more cautious tossing slurs at others.  But no, all politicians pander to deflect criticism whenever they fear the winds of enmity will blow their way.

But now it was Helen who was being compared to Hitler in a new furor over the Fuhrer even though she says she grew up in a home that despised him, and from which her two brothers joined the army in World War ll.  She says now “We didn’t do enough to expose Hitler early on.  He was not just anti Jewish. He was anti-American!”

I might add if I considered it necessary, that I grew up in a Jewish family and am proud of that identity, our culture and traditions.  But that was no big thing to Helen who worked alongside Jews all of her life in the media world, many as close friends.  Her main concern as a child was with non-Jews who baited her in school as a “garlic eater,” a foreigner.

She may be a critic of Israel but never a hater of Jews, a distinction the world recognizes, but that right-wing backers of the Israel lobby (and the media that backs it) refuse to accept in the name of a black/white ‘you are with us or ag’in us” ideological agenda which has no tolerance for critics, differences of opinion or the anger of the dispossessed.

They only see themselves as victims, never the people they victimize. Prejudice often infects those who live in glass houses and who are quick to condemn others.  For many years, I admired Helen from afar, and later gave her an award for Truth In Media voted by my colleagues on She was an institution, an icon of honor. We were impressed by her history of asking tough questions even when they embarrassed Presidents.

Then, suddenly, last June, I like everyone in the world of media, was stunned to witness her public fall from grace, partly self-inflicted, perhaps because of inelegant language used in response to an ambush interview by provocateur father-son Israeli advocates posing as journalists.  They were following in the footsteps of the vicious comments by Ann (”You will find liberals always rooting for savages against civilization”) Coulter who earlier denounced her as an “old Arab” sitting yards from the President as if she was threatening him. She refused to dignify that smear with a response.

I didn’t know until she told me that she had also been hounded for years by Abe Foxman, a leader of the Anti-Defamation League, who demanded she explain 25 questions she asked Presidents over the decades,  “I didn’t answer,” “she told me, “because I don’t respond to junk mail.”
Foxman then sent the questions to her employer trying to get her fired, she says. Later, he recruited former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleisher in his crusade against her. Ari and his boss disliked her “hostile” questions about Iraq on official claims that have since been unmasked as lies.

Helen always stuck to her guns. She was considered the granddame of White House journalists. Presidents respected her. She went to China with Nixon. You don’t survive in that highly visible pit of presidential polemics for as long as she did by backing down.  Many correspondents assigned there turn into bulldogs for the camera. Maybe that’s why Helen can appear abrupt at times.  She has, however, always been polite enough to try to answer questions from strangers without always realizing who she was dealing with in a new world of media hit jobs, where  “GOTCHA” YouTube videos thrive on recording embarrassing moments, what we used to call “bloopers.’

In her senior years, she was brought down by a kid looking for a marketable soundbyte like the one he extracted — as if he was a big game hunter in Africa who bagged a lioness. She had been baited and took the bait. Unaware of how the video could be used, she ventilated and then regretted doing so. It was too late. That one media hit job triggered millions of online video hits.  Helen later apologized for how she said what she did without retracting the essence of her convictions.  But by then, it was too late. Her long career was instantly terminated. The perception became everything; the context nothing.

She tried to be conciliatory, saying, “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

Those remarks were derided and dismissed, with the pundits and papers demanding her scalp.  She had no choice but to resign after her company, her agent, her co-author and many “friends” started treating her like a pariah.

“You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive,” she says now. She believes the Israel lobby controls the discourse on Israel. She cited, as an example, CNN firing a veteran editor in Lebanon for praising a popular cleric for his support for woman after he died. (CNN had no problems hiring Wolf Blitzer, a former executive director of AIPAC.)

I didn’t ask her but I am sure she is sympathetic to President Carter for speaking out on the issue the way he has, despite the way he was later dumped on. Once under predictable vitriolic attack began, even he was forced to back down away from some of his positions.

She was forced into retirement and thrown to the wolves in a media culture that relishes stories of personal destruction and missteps. It’s the old ‘the Media builds you up before they tear you down’ routine.

As blogger Jamie Frieze wrote, “I don’t think she should have been forced to resign. After all, the freedom of speech doesn’t come with the right to be comfortable. In other words, the fact that you’re uncomfortable doesn’t trump my free speech. Thomas made people uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean her speech should be punished.”

But punished she was.

As a veteran of one kind of real journalism, she may have been inexperienced in dealing with our volatile media culture that now thrives on hostile ‘drive by’ attacks and putdowns.  When I called Helen Thomas to ask if she might be willing to share some of her thoughts on what happened, I found her as eloquent as ever, supportive of Wikileaks, critical of Grand Jury harassment in the Middle West against Palestinian supporters and angry with President Obama for his many right turns and spineless positions.

This clearly was not a mea culpa moment for her, but what has she learned from this ordeal?
While she hasn’t written about the incident she did speak to me about it for publication.  I first asked her for her view about what happened?

She was, she said, on a path outside the White House on a day in which Jewish leaders were being honored inside, at American Jewish Heritage Celebration Day, an event she said she was unaware of.  A Rabbi, David Nesenoff, asked to speak to her, and introduced his two sons who he said wanted to become Journalists. (One was actually a friend of his son Adam, also his webmaster.)  “People seeking advice come to me a lot,” she explained, “and I told them about my love of journalism and that they should pursue their goals. I was gracious, and told them to go for it.”  Then the subject abruptly changed. “What you think of Israel they asked next. It was all very pleasant and I don’t blame them for asking,” she told me. But, then, she admitted, she didn’t know the people who she then said, “shoved a microphone in my face like a jack knife.”

It wasn’t just any Rabbi making conversation.  Nessensoff is an ardent pro-Israel supporter who runs a website called Rabbi Live and can be a flamboyant self-promoter.  He says, “even though I was born in Glen Cove and grew up in Syosset Long Island, Israel is my Jewish homeland. It is the homeland for all Jewish people.”

The Jewish Forward newspaper would later report:
“Nesenoff came under scrutiny for appearing in a video depicting a man of Mexican descent pretending to give a weather forecast while a bearded rabbi in a black hat and coat stands nearby.
The four-and-a-half-minute video, titled “Holy Weather,” features Nesenoff dressed as “Father Julio Ramirez,” an outsize caricature of a Mexican priest. The rabbi makes statements that fuel stereotypes, painting Mexican laborers as dishwashers. He speaks in an exaggerated rasp of a Mexican accent, saying, among other things: “The last time I saw a map like that I was in an immigration office with three gringos down on the Mexican border, you know, right near New Mexico.” Fractured Spanish pops up from time to time, as when Nesenoff says the rabbi’s tendency to get better assignments is “no mucho bueno picnic.”
Though some critics used the skit as ammunition to portray him as a hypocrite and a racist, Nesenoff said he was dressed up because it was Purim.”
God, he said, likes humor.  Israeli officials were not in a laughing mood during this period for other reasons. Fox News reported:
“A senior Israeli politician tells Fox News that Israel is currently in the midst of its worst international crisis since the creation of the Jewish state. The politician, who asked not to be named in order to speak more candidly, added that for the first time Israel’s legitimacy is being questioned by many in the international community.
“The official believes the lack of a viable peace process, combined with last week’s Gaza-bound flotilla incident, which killed nine, has brought Israel to this situation. The Israeli public doesn’t understand the severity of the situation, according to the politician. The official believes that Israelis should not react in a nationalistic way to recent events, because it is only weakening the Jewish state in this process.”
I don’t know If any of this was weighing on Helen’s mind but I do know that criticism of Israel was soon at an all time fever pitch because of the Gaza Aid Flotilla which left Turkey on the day of the “interview.”  Supporters of the humanitarian project feared Israel would attack the ships as they soon did. For media spin, Tel Aviv righteously and loudly defended its violent interception of the non-violent convoy as an act of legitimate self-defense but, later, quietly, paid compensation to the victims when the world media turned against them.

Soon, there would protests worldwide and furious exchanges in the media. Much of it was very emotional. There was also anger at President Obama for not denouncing Israel’s intervention on the high seas. But, by that time, Helen Thomas was silenced and silent. (In some outlets, the incident “outing” Helen was used, bizarrely, as pro-Israel “balance” to show why Israel must act tough.)

Back at the North Lawn that day at the White House, Helen, who must have been following these evolving events, blew a fuse, or at least lost her usually professional demeanor. Here’s the now infamous exchange videotaped by an amateur cameraman, offering a deliberately unflattering and extreme tight close up of an 89 year-old woman.

Nesenoff: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everybody today, any comments on Israel?
Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.
Nesenoff: Oooh. Any better comments on Israel?
Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German, it’s not Poland …
Nesenoff: So where should they go, what should they do?
Thomas: They go home.
Nesenoff: Where’s the home?
Thomas: Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else
Nesenoff: So you’re saying the Jews go back to Poland and Germany?
Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries? See?

Nesenoff does not repeat her use of America, but only to Poland and German. He has nothing to say about her reference to occupation,  Clearly, the question triggered something deeper in Helen, feelings that she had perhaps bottled up for many years in the White House where every reporter has a built in radar that teaches them to be careful about what they say and how they say it, especially on a subject like Israel that Helen considers a “third rail,” almost an “untouchable issue.” She earlier told one college audience, “I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter.” (She was then an opinion columnist and perhaps freer to speak her mind,)

Israel was not a new subject for her to comment on either. Anyone from the Arab world tends to have a very different understanding of the history there, a perspective that we rarely hear or see. It’s a narrative driven by anger and unending Palestinian victimization.  She told me she had been in Israel in 1954 and visited the Palestinian village of Kibia that was invaded by Israel in which local residents were driven out and many killed.  She told me she personally met many Palestinians forced from their homes. She is not the only one angry about this often hidden legacy, especially because many Israelis justify expelling Palestinians in biblical terms and are supported by Christian Evangelicals in saying so.

That’s ironic, isn’t it, because in our media, fanatical fundamentalists are only pictured as Muslims, rarely as Jews.  Her historic memory was clearly triggered although her views are hardly extreme. She says Israel has a right to exist, and so do Jews “like all people. But not the right to seize others lands.” She says Israel has defied 65 UN resolutions on these issues.  She was frustrated when so many Presidents danced around the issues and in her view, “caved” on human rights.

To Nesenoff and many viewers oriented to see the world only through a unflinching pro-Israel narrative, Helen had crossed the line in their view from being anti-Israel to being anti-semetic. The reason: the inclusion of Poland and Germany into the mix were considered “obviously anti-Semetic.”
She agrees that by citing Germany, she opened the door to accusations of insensitivity, lumping her in with holocaust deniers, but denies being one or hating Jews. She says she was startled by that charge because she is, she says, a Semite so how can she be ant-Semetic? (Another irony: Jewish emigration to today’s Germany has increased 10 fold since the fall of the Berlin Wall to 200,000 with many leaving Israel. This “reverse exodus” troubles Israeli officials.)

Helen told me her thinking on this subject goes back to being moved by a Rabbi who spoke alongside Martin Luther King Jr at the March on Washington in 1963. I was there also, and heard him speak too, and so I looked him up, It was Joachim Prinz of the American Jewish Congress who made a speech that influenced a younger Helen Thomas. He said, “When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not .the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.”

Helen says her whole career has been about combating the sin of silence.  She says she has now been liberated to speak out. And “all I would like is for people to know what I was trying to say, that Palestinians are living under tyranny and that their rights are being violated. All I want is some sympathy for Palestinians.”

Had she said it like that, if she had perhaps made a distinction between Israel as a State and its settlers on occupied lands, she might still have her job. Unfortunately, what she did say, and how she said it, brought all the attention on her, not the issues she was trying to expose.  Now it’s the holiday season, allegedly a time of peace and forgiveness when Presidents issue pardons to convicted criminals and reflection is theoretically permitted, a time when its been suggested that even a State Department hawk like Richard Holbrooke could, on his deathbed call for an end to the Afghan war that he had dogmatically supported.

We have watched the rehabilitation of so many politicians over recent years who have stumbled, taken money or disgraced themselves in sex scandals, including Senators, even Presidents.  Helen Thomas is not in that category.  Yet, many of those “fallen” are back in action, tarnished perhaps, but allowed to recant, to work and then appear in the media.

But, to this day, there has been almost no compassion, empathy or respect shown for one of our great journalists, Helen Thomas, who has been presumed guilty and sentenced to oblivion with barely a word spoken in her defense. She admittedly misspoke and is now officially “Missing” like some disappeared priest in Argentina.  A whole world may be critical of Israel. Millions may believe that the occupiers should withdraw or that that Israeli rejectionism of the peace process must end. But when a “mainstream” American reporter of great stature touches these sentiments, she is consigned to Dante’s inferno, and turned into a non-person.  How can we expect Israelis and Palestinians to reconcile if our media won’t set an example by reconciling with Helen Thomas?
Filmmaker and News Dissector Danny Schechter edits

Rich Johns' Identities are Shielded in Escort Probe

Detroit News

Escort probe skips 248 area code

Feds will only reveal customers with 313, 734 phone numbers

By Robert Snell

Detroit — Federal prosecutors are refusing to reveal customers from Oakland County and the 248 area code who hired hookers from a high-priced escort service but are willing to out clients from Detroit, according to federal court records.

The legal tactic was unveiled in records filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit involving the Miami Companions escort service.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI busted the international escort service in July, indicted the owners and three employees on prostitution or money-laundering charges and seized a black book bulging with tens of thousands of customer names, job details and contact information.

Paul DeCailly, the attorney for Miami Companions co-owner Greg Carr, flew to Detroit last week to review the black book. He wanted to see the names of clients from Michigan and Ohio, but the U.S. Attorney's Office said he could see only the names from the 313 and 734 area codes, he said.

"There must be something there they don't want anybody to see," DeCailly said Tuesday. "In the 248 area code, a lot of influential people live there: musicians, Detroit's sports elite, politicians. ... It's the center of a lot of activity in the business community."

DeCailly filed a motion Tuesday to compel the government to turn over the entire black book and other records. He had a limited amount of time to review the names of clients from the 313 and 734 area codes and was not allowed to copy the information.

Prosecutors cited privacy concerns in initially refusing to allow DeCailly to copy the list and referenced a federal rule that says defense lawyers are not entitled to the government's witness list. A U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman earlier declined to say whether any clients will be called as witnesses during trial.

Prosecutors have said they will use the black book against Carr, a 44-year-old Dearborn Heights native, who they allege co-owned and ran the ring under the nickname "Paul Cutlass."
A U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
DeCailly said he needs the black book to mount a defense.

"It's not to destroy lives or marriages or anything like that," he said. "I think (the U.S. Attorney's Office) could care less about exposing the list, but they want the push for it to come from me or one of the defendants."

There are other restrictions.

The defense can scan certain documents, but none that contain biographical information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers or other identifying data, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to DeCailly.
Investigators already have interviewed some Oakland County residents whose names are in the black book, DeCailly said. He has reviewed copies of some of the interviews.

"The government is knocking down doors and any person it needs to, to do what the pleasure police want to do: basically shut down a legitimate business and prosecute a man who's done nothing wrong," DeCailly said.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wikileaks: a Big Dangerous US Government Con Job


by William F. Engdahl
The story on the surface makes for a script for a new Oliver Stone Hollywood thriller. However, a closer look at the details of what has so far been carefully leaked by the most ultra-establishment of international media such as the New York Times reveals a clear agenda. That agenda coincidentally serves to buttress the agenda of US geopolitics around the world from Iran to North Korea. The Wikileaks is a big and dangerous US intelligence Con Job which will likely be used to police the Internet.

It is almost too perfectly scripted to be true. A discontented 22-year old US Army soldier on duty in Baghdad, Bradley Manning, a low-grade US Army intelligence analyst, described as a loner, a gay in the military, a disgruntled “computer geek,” sifts through classified information at Forward Operating Base Hammer. He decides to secretly download US State Department email communications from the entire world over a period of eight months for hours a day, onto his blank CDs while pretending to be listening to Lady Gaga. In addition to diplomatic cables, Manning is believed to have provided WikiLeaks with helicopter gun camera video of an errant US attack in Baghdad on unarmed journalists, and with war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bradley Manning
Manning then is supposed to have tracked down a notorious former US computer hacker to get his 250,000 pages of classified US State Department cables out in the Internet for the whole world to see. He allegedly told the US hacker that the documents he had contained "incredible, awful things that belonged in the public domain and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington, DC." The hacker turned him in to US authorities so the story goes. Manning is now incommunicado since months in US military confinement so we cannot ask him, conveniently. The Pentagon routinely hires the best hackers to design their security systems.

Then the plot thickens. The 250,000 pages end up at the desk of Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian founder of a supposedly anti-establishment website with the cute name Wikileaks. Assange decides to selectively choose several of the world’s most ultra-establishment news media to exclusively handle the leaking job for him as he seems to be on the run from Interpol, not for leaking classified information, but for allegedly having consensual sex with two Swedish women who later decided it was rape.

He selects as exclusive newspapers to decide what is to be leaked the New York Times which did such service in promoting faked propaganda against Saddam that led to the Iraqi war, the London Guardian and Der Spiegel. Assange claims he had no time to sift through so many pages so handed them to the trusted editors of the establishment media for them to decide what should be released. Very “anti-establishment” that.

The New York Times even assigned one of its top people, David E. Sanger, to control the release of the Wikileaks material. Sanger is no establishment outsider. He sits as a member of the elite Council on Foreign Relations as well as the Aspen Institute Strategy Group together with the likes of Condi Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former CIA head John Deutch, former State Department Deputy Secretary and now World Bank head Robert Zoellick among others.

Indeed a strange choice of media for a person who claims to be anti-establishment. But then Assange also says he believes the US Government version of 9/11 and calls the Bilderberg Group a normal meeting of people, a very establishment view.

Not so secret cables…
The latest sensational Wikileaks documents allegedly from the US State Department embassies around the world to Washington are definitely not as Hillary Clinton claimed "an attack on America’s foreign policy interests that have endangered innocent people." And they do not amount to what the Italian foreign minister, called the "September 11 of world diplomacy." The British government calls them a threat to national security and an aide to Canada’s Prime Minister calls on the CIA to assassinate Assange, as does kooky would-be US Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.

Most important, the 250,000 cables are not "top secret" as we might have thought. Between two and three million US Government employees are cleared to see this level of "secret" document, [1] and some 500,000 people around the world have access to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRnet) where the cables were stored. SIPRnet is not recommended for distribution of top-secret information. Only 6% or 15,000 pages of the documents have been classified as even secret, a level below top-secret. Another 40% were the lowest level, "confidential", while the rest were unclassified. In brief, it was not all that secret. [2]

Most of the revelations so far have been unspectacular. In Germany the revelations led to the removal of a prominent young FDP politician close to Guido Westerwelle who apparently liked to talk too much to his counterpart at the US Embassy. The revelations about Russian politics, that a US Embassy official refers to Putin and Medvedev as “Batman and Robin,” tells more about the cultural level of current US State Department personnel than it does about internal Russian politics.

But for anyone who has studied the craft of intelligence and of disinformation, a clear pattern emerges in the Wikileaks drama. The focus is put on select US geopolitical targets, appearing as Hillary Clinton put it “to justify US sanctions against Iran.” They claim North Korea with China’s granting of free passage to Korean ships despite US State Department pleas, send dangerous missiles to Iran. Saudi Arabia’s ailing King Abdullah reportedly called Iran’s President a Hitler.

Excuse to police the Internet?
What is emerging from all the sound and Wikileaks fury in Washington is that the entire scandal is serving to advance a long-standing Obama and Bush agenda of policing the until-now free Internet. Already the US Government has shut the Wikileaks server in the United States though no identifiable US law has been broken.

What is emerging from all the sound and Wikileaks fury in Washington is that the entire scandal is serving to advance a long-standing Obama and Bush agenda of policing the until-now free Internet. Already the US Government has shut the Wikileaks server in the United States though no identifiable US law has been broken.

The process of policing the Web was well underway before the current leaks scandal. In 2009 Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller and Republican Olympia Snowe introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (S.773). IIt would give the President unlimited power to disconnect private-sector computers from the internet. The bill "would allow the president to ’declare a cyber-security emergency’ relating to ’non-governmental’ computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat." We can expect that now this controversial piece of legislation will get top priority when a new Republican House and the Senate convene in January.

The US Department of Homeland Security, an agency created in the political hysteria following 9/11 2001 that has been compared to the Gestapo, has already begun policing the Internet. They are quietly seizing and shutting down internet websites (web domains) without due process or a proper trial. DHS simply seizes web domains that it wants to and posts an ominous "Department of Justice" logo on the web site. See an example at Over 75 websites were seized and shut in a recent week. Right now, their focus is websites that they claim "violate copyrights," yet the website that was seized by DHS contained no copyrighted content whatsoever. It was merely a search engine website that linked to destinations where people could access copyrighted content. Step by careful step freedom of speech can be taken away. Then what?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Janet Napolito Would Like You to Bend Over


Airline passengers should get used to invasive full body scans and enhanced

pat-downs, the Homeland Security secretary suggested Sunday.

CNN's Candy Crowley asked Janet Napolitano if she expected changes to the controversial Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening procedures in the near future.
"Not for the foreseeable future," Napolitano replied.

"You know we're always looking to improve systems and so forth, but the new technology, the pat-downs -- just objectively safer for our traveling public," she said.
About 70 airports have put into use more than 400 backscatter x-ray machines that can see beneath passengers' clothing. Passengers who set off a metal detector or body scan machine or refuse to be scanned receive an invasive physical pat down.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it received over 900 complaints from travelers in November who were subjected to the new screening procedures of the TSA.
"Under the newly implemented enhanced pat-down, a TSA officer slides his or her hands over an individual's breasts, buttocks, groin, and inner thighs, and inserts his or her fingers inside the entire circumference of the pant's waistband," a lawsuit filed against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA administrator John Pistole stated.

"Although it is well established that subjecting airline passengers to limited searches designed to detect weapons and explosives is consistent with the Fourth Amendment, it is equally well established that such searches must be reasonable," the lawsuit added.

Crowley pressed Napolitano to explain how she could claim security is improving when a recent ABC News report found a nearly 70 percent failure rate at some major airports.
But the Homeland Security secretary brushed off those reports.

"I think I know the test to which you refer, many of them are very old, and out of date and there were all kinds of methodology issues with them. Let's set those aside."

"We pick up more contraband with the new procedures," she added.

AIPAC: 'Thou shalt not recognize Palestine State'

Palestinian Cry

Here is the latest case of the power of Israel Lobby (AIPAC). Last week the US lawmakers passed ‘unanimously’ Resolution 1765 – condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state. Incidently, the democratically elected Hamas government has not declared an ‘Islamic State of Palestine’, but Bolivia along with Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela has recognized Palestine as a “free and independent state within its pre-war (1967) geographical status”.

According to former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and intelligence adviser, Philip Giraldi PhD, Resolution 1765 was drafted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and sponsored by Congressman Howard Berman, currently Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. There were 53 co-sponsors.

Benji Netanyahu government is notorious in rubbing Ben Obama administration, from insulting Zionist Vice-presiden Joe Biden to telling Obama to shove-off his 20 F-35 stealth military planes and plus – in return for stopping illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank for 90 days. Obama’s top Middle East adviser, half-Jewish Dennis Ross, and certainly AIPAC and the Democratic campaign committee must be behind this new bribe or “pretty please, with a cherry on top” as MJ Rosenberg called.

“Why would the Palestinians agree to negotiations under these conditions? They can’t. Or maybe they would for $3.5 billion, which they can sure use but would never be offered. Thanks to the Anthony Weiners, Steny Hoyers, Ileana Ros-Lehtinens, Eliot Engels and Brad Shermans of the world, what we invariably offer the Palestinians is not $3.5 billion but, to use a wonderful Yiddish term, bupkes — absolutely nothing or so little as to be an insult,” says MJ Rosenberg, senior foreign policy fellow at Media Matter Actions.

“Israelis and Palestinians need an “honest broker,” but that is not the role the Obama administration has decided to play. (Check out any speech on the Middle East by Vice President Joseph Biden, who always says, over and over, that there must be “no daylight, no daylight” between US and Israeli positions. Some honest broker!)”, wrote Rosenberg.

“If Obama is Israel’s friend, he’ll tell AIPAC and its cutouts in Congress that he will do what’s right for Israel, which, not so incidentally, is what is right for the United States,” says Rosenberg. However, what’s right for the future generations of the Jews, Muslims and Christians living in the Middle East And United States, would be a single democratic State of Palestine.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Osama bin Dead awhile

By Keith Johnson
Revolt of the Plebs
December 24th, 2010

The next time the CIA comes up with another Osama bin Laden videotape, you might want to compare their images of the alleged al-Qaeda leader to the photograph I’ve provided here.  If he looks any healthier than that, then you’re probably looking at an imposter.
Yeah, Osama has definitely seen better days.  But give the guy a break, huh?  You wouldn’t look much better if you’d been dead for nine years.
Oh, by the way, in case you’ve just joined us?  Osama bin Laden is dead.

He died in the Tora Bora Mountains of Afghanistan on December 13, 2001.   He was buried in an unmarked grave within 24 hours of his death.  Case closed.
But don’t just take my word for it.  Top terror experts, intelligence analysts, academics, government officials, and even major political figures around the globe tend to agree that, “All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama Bin Laden.”

I know this is old news to most of you, but I think it’s important to reiterate this fact.  Why?  Because Christmas season is upon us, and you know what that means:  Terrorism!

That’s right!  “Tis the season to be frightened,” and what 21st century Christmas would be complete without a holiday greeting from the man often credited with masterminding the attacks behind 9/11?

But wait—it’s already Christmas Eve (at least it was at the time of this writing)—and although our government has been hyping the threat al-Qaeda poses to the American people, one central figure has been conspicuously absent from their conspiracy theories.
Could it be that our government has finally given up on trying to convince the American people that Osama bin Laden is still alive and kicking?  There sure is plenty to suggest that their efforts have thus far failed to inspire the kind of fear they need to justify these unpopular wars abroad, and the even more unpopular war on the civil liberties of American citizens here at home.

A CNN poll conducted in September of this year reveals that 67% of Americans believe it is unlikely the U.S. will ever capture or kill Osama bin Laden.  That’s a dramatic increase since 2001, when only 20% believed that it would be unlikely that the government would catch him.  One thing this poll does not address is why the American people believe it is unlikely that the U.S. will capture or kill Osama bin Laden.  But you and I know the answer to that question, right?  Right—because he’s dead!

By the time this poll was conducted, the American people had already grown tired of the ad nauseam attempts by our government to breathe life into this long dead villain.  Each new audio and videotape purporting to be that of Osama bin Laden failed to stand up to scrutiny.  One of the more prominent critics of these tapes is Former U.S. foreign intelligence officer Angelo M. Codevilla, who is now a professor of international relations at Boston University.  In March of 2009, Codevilla wrote a damning critique of the countless recordings in an article for American Spectator Magazine.

According to Codevilla, Some videos show him [bin Laden]with a Semitic aquiline nose, while others show him with a shorter, broader one.
He also determined that none of the audio recordings match up either.  Not only has voice recognition software found them to be not authentic, but even the secular language used by the “fake Osama” is inconsistent with the real bin Laden’s strict Islamic Wahhabism.
Codevilla also points out some of the finer discrepancies found in the videos.  Like the fact that Bin Laden is left-handed, but uses his right hand to write with.  He’s also seen wearing gold rings that are decidedly un-Wahabbi.

But these criticisms did not dissuade ‘the powers that be’ from releasing even more fake recordings.  However, they were obviously persuaded to play it safe by exclusively sticking to an audio format.
They managed to keep him alive for a while longer, but then totally ‘jumped the shark,’ on January 29, 2010.  That was the day that Osama bin Laden (the fake one, of course) scolded the U.S. for its failure to address climate change.  It was a laugh riot, and quite possibly what drove that final nail into OBL’s coffin once and for all.

We didn’t hear much from Osama bin Laden after that.  Then, less than a month after the CNN poll was conducted, three more audiotapes were released during the month of October.  But these recordings generated about as much excitement as an Ashton Kutcher film.
So, do you think that our betters have finally decided to retire OBL’s jersey?  That would seem to be the case.

Yesterday, in an op-ed piece for the Washington Times, former White House aide Robert Weiner and national security analyst James Lewis floated the idea that Osama bin Laden is most likely dead.
“Is bin Laden dead or alive? Nobody seems to know for sure, or, if anybody does, he isn’t saying. The White House’s Afghanistan-Pakistan review this month didn’t even mention him despite an ongoing, decade-long manhunt.”

But then they put a peculiar spin on their piece by suggesting that it is al-Qaeda that is trying to conceal bin Laden’s earthly departure.

“Al Qaeda wants America and the world to believe bin Laden is still alive. His image is a specter of the horrors of Sept. 11, helping build public support for everything from troop surges a globe away to warrantless wiretaps at home.
But the image of bin Laden is getting moldy, and there’s little reason for his ghost to scare anyone anymore. If al Qaeda wants America to believe bin Laden is alive, it should put up or shut up.”

This is not something you would expect to find in the Washington Times, which is a fanatical supporter of the‘war on terror’and a mouthpiece for whatever propaganda is coming out of the Pentagon.  But there you have it.

We may very well find our government putting closure to this whole Osama bin Laden affair in the very near future.  I expect them to come up with a body.  Maybe they’ll dig him up out of the hills of Afghanistan, or claim that he was recently blown to bits following a bloody fire fight in Yemen.  Whatever happens, you can sure that our government will declare, “Mission Accomplished” and finally have something to show for all those billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives it cost to get him.

But don’t think that will put an exclamation point to this entire saga.  No siree.  They’re just getting started, and they have a whole new bin Laden waiting in the wings.
Up till now, bin Laden has been our government’s real life version of Emmanuel Goldstein.  In case you don’t know who that is, I recommend you read George Orwell’s 1984.
In the novel, Goldstein was the Ministry of Truth’s poster child for terrorism.  Like bin Laden, he was elusive and seemed to be everywhere.  But the only place he actually showed up was on the nation’s telescreens.  Each day, at 11:00am, images of Goldstein would be flashed before the eyes of Oceania’s citizenry, as part of a daily ritual known as “Two Minutes Hate.”  It was a constant reminder to the people that the threat of terrorism was real and ever-present, and ensured that public support for the government’s ongoing wars was continuous.

With bin Laden gone, they’ll need a whole new Goldstein to take his place.
Anwar Al-awaki is that guy.  He’s another CIA creation that is being bumped up from the minor leagues.  Al-awaki has a very impressive resume who has been linked to the 9/11 plotters, the Ft. Hood shooter, and both the Christmas Day and Times Square bombers.  He’s a big hit with the western intelligence crowd, and even dined with top-level Pentagon officials just months after 9/11.
And, just like bin Laden, he’ll be just like the American Express Card:  He’s “everywhere you want to be!”

Remember when there was much chatter about a strike on Iran last summer?  Osama bin Laden and his pet falcon just happened to be there, living it up in a guarded compound north of Tehran.
Or how about when the Pentagon was ‘testing the waters’ to expand the Afghan war into Pakistan last October?  Well, bin Laden was there too, “living comfortably” in a cozy little hideaway somewhere north of the Kurrum Valley.

And let’s not forget how the U.S. has been salivating to break Yemen wide open.  Well, wouldn’t you know it?  Last month, Osama bin Laden was believed to be shopping for new digs—somwhere near Hadramout—so he could be close to the rest of his al-Queda buddies, and finally have a chance to settle down, and start a brand new family with his latest child bride.
Now that’s what I call one active senior citizen.

But I think you’ll agree that Osama bin Laden is nearing the end of his run.  At some point in time, you’ve got to switch out actors to breathe new life into the franchise.
I liked Roger Moore as James Bond, but everyone agreed that this 57-year-old had to go after “From a View to a Kill.”  You can only suspend so much disbelief when you see a guy— who can now get half price at Denny’s—knocking down multiple assailants and bedding women young enough to be his granddaughter.

Same thing with Osama.  He’s too old and becoming increasingly irrelevant.  It’s time our government introduces a new villain to the franchise before they lose their audience altogether.
So expect someone new to emerge from the smokey clouds of the next false flag.  He’ll be young, tanned and ready to kick some infidel ass.  He might even make a grand entrance like Pierce Brosnan did in the trailer to Golden Eye:

“My name is Al-awaki…Anwar Al awaki…Were you expecting someone else?”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FCC creates a monster, gives it control of the Internet

PCWorld, Dec. 21, 2010

This morning the Federal Communications Commission turned the open Internet into the Grimm's fairy tale of pyramid schemes. One in which nothing changes, nothing new is created, but those with more power on the 'net get to feed on those with less.

Carriers -- who virtually wrote the FCC's policy and have defended it behind closed doors ever since, except when they ventured out to set up straw-man proposals that were even more outrageously unfair than the rules they were really promoting -- sit at the top of the pyramid.

Below them are content providers such as Time Warner and Netflix, and SAAS, cloud-computing and other online services companies whose traffic amounts to something slightly richer and more useful than bandwidth-saving ASCII text.

At the bottom of the pyramid are end users -- consumers and businesses who use the Internet in legitimate ways, who pay exorbitant fees to do so and whose interests the FCC was created to protect.

Full story
See also FCC Net neutrality rules: What the future might look like

WikiLeaks: A Very Short Coincidence Theory, Dec. 20, 2010
by Maidhc Ó Cathail

It is surely just a coincidence that the law firm – Finers Stephens Innocent – which represents Julian Assange and set up the Julian Assange Defense Fund is also legal adviser to the Rothschild Waddesdon Trust; that the partially Rothschild-owned Economist gave Assange its 2008 Freedom of Expression Award; that Lord Rothschild is deputy chairman of BSkyB, whose warmongering chairman, Rupert Murdoch, and his propagandist father were lauded as fearless advocates of the truth by the WikiLeaks founder in an op-ed in the Murdoch-owned The Australian; that the only world leader “undoubtedly delighted” by the leaks, Benjamin Netanyahu – who often stays with Murdoch in London and has the award-winning pro-Israel media magnate on his “list of millionaires” (i.e. potential donors) – was singled out by Assange as a believer in diplomatic transparency; and that WikiLeaks has provided an unexpected “diplomatic coup” for the criminal state which was first promised to British Zionists in an enigmatic 1917 letter to an earlier Lord Rothschild.

These intriguing connections, which might appear suspicious to those suffering from the “crippled epistemology” associated with anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, are undoubtedly coincidental.

Maidhc Ó Cathail writes extensively on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East. Read other articles by Maidhc, or visit Maidhc's website.

Here is how Assange described himself just 3 years ago on an early version of the Wikileaks site which is no longer publicly available but may be seen here:

Julian Assange, Writer, Hacker & Activist
Born in Australia to a touring theater family, Julian attended 37 schools and 6 universities. As a teenager he became Australia's most famous ethical computer hacker. After referrals from the United States government his phone was tapped in 1991 and he spent 6 years in court. He hacked thousand of systems, including the Pentagon and the US military Security Coordination Center. Following a case in the supreme court, he was convicted of writing a magazine that inspired crimes against the federal government. He was instrumental in introducing the internet to Australia and co-founded one of Australia's first ISPs. He also founded the 'Pickup' civil rights group for children. A prolific programmer and consultant for many open-source projects, he was the co-inventor of 'deniable cryptography' a system used protect human rights workers from torture. He studied mathematics, philosophy and neuroscience. He has written and traveled extensively and has been the subject of several books and documentaries.

What a guy. Seems like he left out the part about how his leaks have consistently served the Zionist Israeli agenda in collaboration with the Pentagon. -Ed.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Editor of the Tucson Weekly Attacks "Conspiracy Theorists"

Collage Courtesy of Peter Morse
Elections integrity activists who are actually doing something or members of 9/11 Truth movement have more than the wrath of Cass Sunstein to deal with in Tucson.   It's the puerile "Get Out of Town" smack talk by the pseudo-hip, paper-and-ink info gatekeepers. 

I am the person Tucson Weekly editor Jim Boegle describes as one of the "more annoying and illogical members of the election integrity crowd".  He tries to denigrate those who believe the RTA Election was rigged by referring to the fact that I think 9/11 was an inside job.

Recent developments like the missing poll tapes and other newly discovered security breaches seriously undermine Goddard's recount:

but the Weekly took an early position about the RTA Election that is proving to be wrong.  To justify their position, they keep referring to Goddard's recount and the poll commissioned by Zimmerman and Associates (or Yes 1 and 2, the pro RTA political machine). The problem with the poll is that our inside sources know that, days before the election,  the pro RTA political machine was warning the person in charge of packaging the money for the campaign that they were behind in the RTA race or that it was too close to call.  It seems even those who paid for the poll didn't have much faith in it.   The Weekly is aware of this and could have investigated this story but chose to push this poll's results instead.  The "official" results of the RTA election, incidentally, are similar to that one set of polls.

As more developments surface, the Weekly tends to ignore them.  This behavior has already affected the paper's credibility on a number of different stories, particularly with those who are close to and understand the subjects it covers.  For example, they are remarkably dense about the sale of the Coronado Hotel, the conduct of Glen Lyons and the D.D.C., and the generally offensive moves that rich developers make against the poor and middle class.  The Tucson Weekly's coverage is so bad that they are now placing more emphasis on covering light entertainment stories than it's attempts at investigative journalism.

Concerning 9/11, Boegle held up as his "straw man"  my reference to a video I made a while back called '9/11 Prestige' about a dubious photograph of WTC7 used by Popular Mechanics showing much more damage than other photographs show after both towers collapsed.  Here is the video:

Citizen photographs and videos contradict what's shown in the NIST photo, for example, Aman Zafar's pic, which is used in the following analysis:

While there was some damage on the south side of WTC7, the picture used in "Inside Edition" appears to have been altered to exaggerate the size of the damage, especially when compared to the video footage that was found and used in "Fabled Enemies" with a roving camera both outside and inside the south side of the building after the towers were demolished.  Recent FOIA acquisitions prove to be even more embarrassing, especially with the footage of NYC Corporation Counsel Michael Hess screaming from the seventh floor window.  He was trapped in WTC7 when an initial set of explosions destroyed floors below his level.   Neither of the twin towers had fallen at that time.

We understand that the altered picture is a red herring issue because it means nothing compared to the way WTC7 was demolished.  Real journalists would interview those experts qualified to speak about the evidence of controlled demolitions on 9/11.   These experts are members of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Firefighters for 9/11 Truth and Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice.

Ultimately, when Jim Boegle states that Popular Mechanics provided a "thorough, definitive debunking of WTC7-related conspiracy theories", he embarrasses himself and creates a permanent record of how out of touch he really is nine years later in December of 2010.

This type of attack comes from an editor of a newspaper that not only makes the laughable claim of being the alternative paper for Tucson, but actually prints around fifty thousand copies of this facade to leave them strewn throughout the city.  One act that we know is not beneath the likes of Jim Boegle is the use of his power as an editor of a paper to ridicule those he disagrees with.  His recent move, however, is so clumsy and so ill-conceived that many are beginning to wonder if it isn't time for Jimmy to pick up his chips and find a new game.

J.T. Waldron

Monday, December 20, 2010

131 arrests in DC and that's not news

Madison Examiner
Gregory Patin

About 135 people were arrested yesterday in an anti-war protest outside the White House. This came as President Obama was revealing a new report that touted progress in the war in Afghanistan. Thanks to our diligent, informative, corporate media, this act of civil disobediance and arrests apparently are not news.

Those arrested included Pulitzer prize-winning war correspondent, Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon papers, retired 27-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern, FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley, as well as several members of Veterans for Peace.

The anti-war protest, organized by Veterans for Peace, began at 10 am yesterday in Lafayette Park with a series of speeches on the importance of civil resistance delivered to several hundred participants in frigid weather. After the rally, activists formed a solemn single-file process to the White House, silent except for a drum beat. When they encountered police barricades there, some veterans began climbing over them, until the police opened up the barricades, allowing people to approach the fence in front of the White House.

At about 12:30 pm, police began arresting protesters who remained along the fence, several of whom had chained themselves to it, while supporters who did not want to risk arrest were moved across the broad street. Some of the demonstrators stood in the snow and freezing temperatures for nearly four hours before being taken to Anacostia processing center and released. All have been released. Some have elected to pay a fine, while others, including Ellsberg and McGovern, will go to trial on the charge of disobeying a lawful order. Police spent several hours making the arrests and taking photos of each one of the demonstrators before placing them in a van.

While small in numbers, this protest is significant because it was organized and led by veterans who have served their country. It is also significant that it was completely ignored by the mainstream media on a news day largely filled with sports news and holiday shopping reports.

One would think that 135 or so arrests on the White House grounds are newsworthy, but apparently not with today’s media. If there is any doubt that the information that major corporate media outlets feed their consumers or omit to tell them is controlled, then this should dispel that doubt. It is apparently not in the corporate media’s interest to report that veterans, ex-CIA and FBI personnel and most Americans are opposed to the ongoing wars.

Update: 12/17/2010, 1830 EST. Veterans for Peace is now reporting that the precise number of arrests is 131.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fed Report: Bailout is Sixteen Trillion Dollars


LA Times
by: Ali Abunimah
December 17, 2010

Palestinians have already given up so much since 1948. It’s up to Israel to end its campaign of ethnic cleansing for the peace process to move forward

Israel's deputy minister of foreign affairs, Danny Ayalon, paints a picture of an innocent Israel yearning for peace, virtually begging the intransigent Palestinians to come negotiate so there can be a "two-states-for-two-peoples solution" ("Who's stopping the peace process?" Dec. 14). But it's one that bears no resemblance to the realities Palestinians experience and much of the world sees every day.

Ayalon claims that the settlements Israel refuses to stop building on occupied land are a "red herring" and present no obstacles to peace because in the "43 years since Israel gained control of the West Bank, the built-up areas of the settlements constitute less than 1.7% of the total area."

But let us remind ourselves of a few facts that are not in dispute. Since the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel signed the Oslo peace agreement in 1993, the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has tripled to more than half a million. Ayalon's deceptive focus on the "built-up areas" ignores the reality that the settlements now control 42% of the West Bank, according to a report last July from the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

B'Tselem points out that there are now more than 200 Israeli settlements "that are connected to one another, and to Israel, by an elaborate network of roads." These roads, along with various "security zones" from which Palestinians are excluded, cut across Palestinian land and isolate Palestinians in miserable and often walled, ghetto-like enclaves.

Despite a 10-month settlement "moratorium" that ended in September, Israel never stopped building settlements for a single day. Construction went on virtually uninterrupted, according to Israel's Peace Now, and within weeks of the official end of the "moratorium," settlers had more than made up for the slight dip in new housing starts in the previous months. In East Jerusalem, where Israel never even pretended to have a moratorium, government-backed Israeli settlers continue to evict Palestinians from numerous neighborhoods.

While Israel's violent actions in occupied East Jerusalem have gotten a little bit of attention, its silent ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley has attracted almost none. Israel has reduced the Jordan Valley's population of 200,000 indigenous Palestinians to just 60,000 by demolishing their villages and declaring vast areas of this vital region off-limits to them.

Israel's settlement project has one goal: to make Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and a two-state solution impossible. With no prospect of drawing a line between Israeli and Palestinian populations, it's time to recognize that Israel has succeeded and what we have today is an apartheid reality across Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Prominent Hebrew University demographer Sergio DellaPergola recently told the Jerusalem Post that Jews already constitute just under 50% of the population in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip combined. In effect, a Jewish minority rules over a majority population that includes 1.4 million Palestinian (second-class) citizens of Israel, 2.5 million Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and another 1.5 million under siege in the open-air prison known as the Gaza Strip. All credible projections show that Palestinians will be the decisive majority within a few years.

This injustice is intolerable. Under Israel's policies and the refusal of the United States to exert any real pressure, there will be no end to it, and the prospects for catastrophic bloodshed increase.

Absent any real action by the United States or other governments to hold Israel accountable, it is up to civil society to step in. When black South Africans saw the world doing nothing about apartheid in the 1950s, they called on global civil society to impose a boycott, divest from the country and pass sanctions. By the 1970s and '80s, such campaigns were mainstream in U.S. churches, campuses and communities, and politicians who had been reluctant to support sanctions on South Africa eventually came aboard.

Today we see a similar movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions, endorsed overwhelmingly by Palestinian civil society and growing around the world. It has even gained support from some Israelis. Its aims are to do what the U.S. government should be doing but will not: pressure Israel to end discrimination against Palestinians in Israel, end its occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and respect the rights of Palestinian refugees whose return home Israel refuses to accept just because they are not Jews.

This movement is not an end in itself but a vehicle to get us down the road to a just peace built on equality for Israelis and Palestinians. Israel's policies, typified by the disingenuous diversions of Ayalon, have left us with no other choice.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

22 arrested in LA foreclosure protest at Chase

Omaha World-Herald

Wall Street Whitewash

New York Times

Paul Krugman
December 16, 2010

When the financial crisis struck, many people — myself included — considered it a teachable moment. Above all, we expected the crisis to remind everyone why banks need to be effectively regulated.

How naïve we were. We should have realized that the modern Republican Party is utterly dedicated to the Reaganite slogan that government is always the problem, never the solution. And, therefore, we should have realized that party loyalists, confronted with facts that don’t fit the slogan, would adjust the facts. 

Which brings me to the case of the collapsing crisis commission.
The bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was established by law to “examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.” The hope was that it would be a modern version of the Pecora investigation of the 1930s, which documented Wall Street abuses and helped pave the way for financial reform.

Instead, however, the commission has broken down along partisan lines, unable to agree on even the most basic points.

It’s not as if the story of the crisis is particularly obscure. First, there was a widely spread housing bubble, not just in the United States, but in Ireland, Spain, and other countries as well. This bubble was inflated by irresponsible lending, made possible both by bank deregulation and the failure to extend regulation to “shadow banks,” which weren’t covered by traditional regulation but nonetheless engaged in banking activities and created bank-type risks.

Then the bubble burst, with hugely disruptive consequences. It turned out that Wall Street had created a web of interconnection nobody understood, so that the failure of Lehman Brothers, a medium-size investment bank, could threaten to take down the whole world financial system.
It’s a straightforward story, but a story that the Republican members of the commission don’t want told. Literally.

Last week, reports Shahien Nasiripour of The Huffington Post, all four Republicans on the commission voted to exclude the following terms from the report: “deregulation,” “shadow banking,” “interconnection,” and, yes, “Wall Street.”

When Democratic members refused to go along with this insistence that the story of Hamlet be told without the prince, the Republicans went ahead and issued their own report, which did, indeed, avoid using any of the banned terms.

That report is all of nine pages long, with few facts and hardly any numbers. Beyond that, it tells a story that has been widely and repeatedly debunked — without responding at all to the debunkers.
In the world according to the G.O.P. commissioners, it’s all the fault of government do-gooders, who used various levers — especially Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored loan-guarantee agencies — to promote loans to low-income borrowers. Wall Street — I mean, the private sector — erred only to the extent that it got suckered into going along with this government-created bubble.

It’s hard to overstate how wrongheaded all of this is. For one thing, as I’ve already noted, the housing bubble was international — and Fannie and Freddie weren’t guaranteeing mortgages in Latvia. Nor were they guaranteeing loans in commercial real estate, which also experienced a huge bubble.
Beyond that, the timing shows that private players weren’t suckered into a government-created bubble. It was the other way around. During the peak years of housing inflation, Fannie and Freddie were pushed to the sidelines; they only got into dubious lending late in the game, as they tried to regain market share.

But the G.O.P. commissioners are just doing their job, which is to sustain the conservative narrative. And a narrative that absolves the banks of any wrongdoing, that places all the blame on meddling politicians, is especially important now that Republicans are about to take over the House.
Last week, Spencer Bachus, the incoming G.O.P. chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told The Birmingham News that “in Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”
He later tried to walk the remark back, but there’s no question that he and his colleagues will do everything they can to block effective regulation of the people and institutions responsible for the economic nightmare of recent years. So they need a cover story saying that it was all the government’s fault.

In the end, those of us who expected the crisis to provide a teachable moment were right, but not in the way we expected. Never mind relearning the case for bank regulation; what we learned, instead, is what happens when an ideology backed by vast wealth and immense power confronts inconvenient facts. And the answer is, the facts lose.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cosmic Rays and Climate: Are these Folks Funded by the Oil Industry?

WikiLeaks sets the stage for the ‘No Send List’

Aletho News
Richard K. Moore
December 17, 2010

Hillary Clinton has called WikiLeaks “an attack on the international community”. Coming from her, we must assume that is meant in all seriousness. We must compare it to what we saw on our screens on 9/11: “America under attack”.

When a Secretary of State announces that we are ‘under attack’, it follows without saying that we can expect some kind of response to that attack. Indeed the word ‘attack’ is more or less reserved for occasions where a response is planned. Otherwise the statement would be interpreted as reflecting weakness and impotence.

When America was ‘under attack’, we got the Patriot Act domestically, and never-ending war internationally — the Constitution was shredded along with international law. That was a very big response. What kind of response can we expect when the ‘international community’ is declared to be ‘under attack’, because a website has revealed a few relatively harmless secrets?

If the State Department really felt that the WikiLeaks operation was a serious threat to national security, or even a serious embarrassment politically, they could have shut it down at any time. They have their ways. And they could have ‘gotten to’ Assange in one way or another, as they got to David Kelly, who really was a threat, with his testimony that WMDs did not exists, testimony that was never heard about again, after he ‘committed suicide’.

Instead, with WikiLeaks, we have Assange at large flaunting it, and we see the leaks being published in the mainstream media, both in print and online, conveniently indexed. What’s wrong with this picture? If the leaks are harmful, why are they doing everything they can to make sure everyone, including any ‘potential terrorists’, sees them?

The WikiLeaks affair has become a major dramatic story line on the stage of the global mass media. It’s very much like the launch of a new television series. We’ve got a dramatic personality at the center, seen by some as a super hero and others as a super demon, who is able to reveal a million secrets at a single bound. We’ve got increasing dramatic tension, as the attack alarms ring, the secrets keep coming out, and… nothing decisive is being done. Something must be done! That’s clearly where this story line is leading.

By doing nothing decisive, and with Assange out on bail, the message between the lines is that new legislation is needed. Perhaps new legislation is already being discussed; I haven’t been following that part of the story. But as the dramatic tension mounts in the media, so that it becomes ‘obvious’ that something must be done, we can be sure we will end up with a draconian Cyber Terrorism Act, akin to the Domestic Terrorism Act.

Clearly, the provisions of this act will be very far-reaching. That has been the consistent pattern with each of our various ‘terrorism’ acts. Currently, anyone can be arbitrarily declared a domestic terrorist, and be locked up forever incommunicado. That hasn’t been happening on any significant scale, yet, but the provisions are that far reaching.

Similarly, in a Cyber Terrorism Act, we’ll get a provision that any website can be arbitrarily declared ‘in aid of terrorism’, closed down, and anyone involved with it can be treated as a domestic terrorist. The Act will be that far-reaching, but we probably won’t see a lot of such closures happening. Instead, we’ll get hit in more subtle ways. Websites will simply be seized, without fanfare, and that’s already been happening, under the logo of Homeland Security.

I think we can take a clue from the TSA experience at airports, as regards what we can expect at ‘net ports’. Consider, for example, the ‘no fly’ list. If you’re on the list, you can’t fly, they don’t give you any reasons, and they even seem to flaunt how arbitrary the list is. They are arbitrarily restricting your ability to connect with people face to face.

Similarly, from what might be called the Communications Security Administration (CSA), we can expect a ‘no send’ list. If you’re on the list, you can’t send or post messages, and no reasons will be given. They will be arbitrarily restricting your ability to connect with people remotely. Already, I’ve been encountering problems with sending, where my IP address has been mysteriously tagged as a spam source, and my ISP claimed to have no explanation.

Consider also the invasive screening process at airports. Everyone is treated as a potential terrorist, until they pass the invasive screening process. Similarly, every message anyone tries to send will be treated as a ‘potential cyber threat’, until it passes an invasive ‘threat filter’. Google is already deploying such a filter, and calling it a spam filter. Currently, with manual intervention, you can rescue a message from the filter. The CSA’s filter will simply delete your message, end of story, before it even gets to your ISP.

Air travel and the Internet have been the ‘great global connectors’, of people and of ideas. The thrust of ‘security’ measures has had little to do with terrorism, and everything to do with making ‘connection’ more and more difficult. Same story when you try to cross a border in your car.

WikiLeaks is indeed the 9/11 of the Internet. The leaks themselves are an inside job, just like the Twin Towers, with the leaks carefully selected to avoid anything really damaging, or anything embarrassing to Israel. And just as they didn’t scramble the interceptors, they didn’t close down the WikiLeaks site. They let both events play out, down on Highway 61, and then they splashed them all over the media. Such things are always done for a purpose.