From what the press is reporting about this Wikileaks “dump,” perhaps 10% are Secret or Confidential, the rest Unclassified, and nothing is Top Secret or above.
I have followed the unfolding teapot-tempest drama of the latest Wikileaks release with a certain bemusement, accompanied by a growing suspicion shared with others that all is not as it seems with these supposed revelations. But my initial impression, based of course on what I am reading in the mainstream and alternative media and not in the cables themselves, is that it is surprising how little damaging material is there about much of the world. Secretary Clinton cannot be happy at having the UN people know what she told her people there to do, of course, and there is a great deal to whet assorted salacious appetites. More substantive issues will doubtless emerge, but I expect most if not all to be embarrassing rather than destructive.
Perhaps the principal reason for this largely titillating, trivial aspect of so many of the released cables is the cables themselves. It is worth understanding that in the US government, even material that is taken from newspapers and clipped together can end up being classified “Secret” or “Confidential.” Really important or sensitive material (as in truly “national security” sensitive) is classified “Top Secret” or above.
From what the press is reporting about this Wikileaks “dump,” perhaps 10% are Secret or Confidential, the rest Unclassified, and nothing is Top Secret or above. This reflects the VERY low-level diplomatic “gossip column” character of much of what has been released and discussed in the media so far. But I suspect the general reaction of politicians and diplomats everywhere, all of whom send the same type of cables about others, will be a blend of public umbrage and private amusement, coupled with overtures to Ukraine for nursing support.
The Middle East Exception
The one striking exception in all of this global tour de farce <sic.> is the Middle East. Certainly, even aside from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s fulsome praise of Binyamin Netanyahu, what is said and what is not represent the message Israel and its partisans in the US Government (itself heavily Zionist and “Israel First” in orientation) want the world to hear, believe and accept. The message coming across in the US diplomatic cables could have been designed and drafted by Avigdor Lieberman, and who knows? It may have been….
The overt theme in the Middle East cables consists of a blend of attacks on prominent political figures in Turkey and Iran, coupled with critical and disparaging commentaries about their actual or alleged policies and ambitions. One might think that the architects of the Ottoman and Persian Empires in their times of splendor were simultaneously on the move again, with everything between them (except poor, brave, steadfast and enduring Israel, of course) trembling in fear and awe.
Complimenting this is a region-wide belief attributed to many Arab leaders of the need for stronger action, including military strikes, to thwart Iran’s regional and especially nuclear ambitions — precisely what Israel has been saying all along. Now, this may be true. I know, for example, that the Sunni leadership in many of those countries have their own concerns about Iran, just as Iran’s current leadership have with some of them.
But at least two things cause me to question this supposed thesis. One is the odd attribution in at least one of the cables to an Arab leader of a remark on Iran being an “existential threat.” Yet no one except Israel and its proponents refer to any other country as an “existential threat” to anyone, suggesting quite clearly that either some of the released cables regarding Iran are forgeries, or they were deliberately cast in terms to create an impression that Arab leaders really want the US and/or Israel to attack Iran, true or not.
And the Israeli Exception
The other part of the covert theme is the apparent absence of anything tough on Israel, which means that anything of the sort is Top Secret or better, was excised from the cables that were released, or simply doesn’t matter at all to anyone in or out of the Middle East. The Arab nations for many years have feared a real nuclear threat from Israel, not a fabricated threat by Iran, but nothing like that comes across, despite 60-plus years of hostility from most to Israel and its ambitions.
Far more significant to me is the utter lack to date of scathing commentaries on Israel and its policies, leadership and actions from SOMEWHERE in the world. Even if Arab leaders felt there was no point in doing so with the Americans, most others would not feel so constrained. Something surely must have come to the attention of the US ambassadors to (e.g.) Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Ireland, just to name a few of the many who have bitterly condemned Israel, and especially the disgusting duo of Netanyahu and Lieberman to say nothing of their predecessors, for what they have done to Palestine and the Lebanon; for Operation Cast Lead; for the settlements; for flagrant violations of UN Resolutions and the murder of UN officials; for Israel’s hostility to the Goldstone Report; for the blockade; for land expropriation; and for sheer thuggery and brutality.
Surely something so scathing would have been communicated back to Washington, alongside which Iran and its president would come off smelling like several bouquets of roses — slightly wilted roses, perhaps, but vastly better than the Israeli stinkpot.
But nothing like that is there, or at least has yet surfaced, which makes me increasingly inclined to see this as just another game of rhetorical smoke and mirrors, with a lot of real cables and real victims (like the poor US soldier who presumably gave Assange at least some of the cables), but with many or most of the Middle East cables “cooked” if not fabricated outright.
So these, at least, are probably the handiwork of Israeli-Americans or just Israelis putting their own spin on things, included in a mass of otherwise legitimate cables as camouflage and for validation. An Australian news website concluded that “[the] WikiLeaks cables [are] the 9/11 of world diplomacy.” Too, too true – same source, different vehicle and venue, all helping pave the road to yet another needless war in Israel’s service, this time against Iran. The gods weep — but not, presumably, Yahweh.
Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Three years ago I heard the American-born Israeli Michael B. Oren promoting his new book Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present at a university near my home in upstate New York.
Oren is a tall, good looking man who radiated a quiet confidence. His book had the truly fanciful goal of showing that the intense American involvement in the Middle East and especially our engagement with the idea of a renewal of Jewish sovereignty in the region was not a recent development. Oren claimed that both the Zionist idea and the friction between Americans and Muslims is an important and persistent narrative thread running through American history from very early times. For instance, he describes the military confrontations of a young American republic with the Barbary pirates as the first battles in what we now call the “War on Terror.” My own conclusion after reading his book, was that Oren’s role as a conservative Israeli think-tanker had completely subsumed any desire he may have had to be an honest American historian. I assumed that he believed that this was a good career move for someone who simultaneously lived in Israel and taught at Yale University. At that point this apparently mild-mannered, obviously intelligent scholar seemed harmless enough. Of course, it was impossible to have known then that Oren would become Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ambassador to the United States.
Last week Michael Oren, as Israeli Ambassador to the United States, visited Atlanta in order to lay a wreath upon the grave of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King. In addition to the wreath, Oren used his Atlanta visit to lay some of his country’s particularly odious hasbara (meaning public relations, some say propaganda) upon no doubt unsuspecting Georgians.
According to Martha Dalton of Atlanta radio station WABE, Oren exploited the ceremony honoring King by making a statement about the imminent danger Iran’s nuclear program presents to both Israel and the rest of the world. This is far from a universally accepted claim, but after having it repeated enough times in the U.S. media, most accept it as fact. The ambassador also expressed concern about fallout from the recent Wikileaks release of thousands of diplomatic cables, some of which were embarrassing to Israel. [Oren's fantasy world hasbara at work]
In an opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on November 26 entitled “A 63-Year Search For Mideast Peace” Oren took full advantage of the leeway American newspaper editors give to public figures and especially to pro-Israel columns. According to Oren, Israel has been engaged in a 63-year struggle to make its neighbors and those it expelled from its territory understand that all it has ever wanted is to peacefully share the land it claims for itself with its indigenous population.
The United Nations voted to partition what is now Israel 63 years ago into Jewish and Palestinian states. The wisdom of this decision, which was rejected by the region’s Arab governments and populations, is very much in question today. However to Oren, whose views reflect his own blind faith in Israeli power and a generous serving of fantasy, the partition decision (UN resolution 181) expresses the incontestable truth that “[t]he Arab world was to welcome the Jews, after 2,000 years of exile back to their homeland.”
Surprisingly, at least according to Oren, the Arabs did not understand the imperative that they were morally obligated to welcome the Zionists and their proposed Jewish State on lands upon which the Palestinians had lived for centuries. A war ensued, in which according to Oren (repeating one of the favorite false claims of countless pro-Israel propagandists) “the weakly-armed Israeli defenders defeated the much stronger Arab armies.” This description is on its face false. Of course, the stronger army won, do you think it was God who made the Israelis triumph despite their weakness? (For an extensive and detailed description of the relative military strengths of both sides in the 1948 War see the Israeli historian, Benny Morris’ The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949.)
Continuing to mercilessly ladle on the hasbara (which literally means explanation in Hebrew), Oren writes that despite the Palestinians’ history of rejection of continuous Israeli goodwill, his government persists in reaching out with generous peace proposals. The ambassador points to examples of Palestinian recalcitrance in their refusal to accept the Israeli offers of “full statehood” in 2000 and 2008. The reader is not told how full statehood for the Palestinians is compatible with Israeli control of Palestinian water sources, no foreign policy, no army, and Israeli overflight rights among many other crippling limitations, which are conditions upon which the Israelis always insist. Oren also neglects to mention that this “generous offer” of statehood does not now include Gaza nor its democratically-elected government.
To this point Oren’s op-ed had been a rehash of the Israeli and pro-Israel lobby talking points. But suddenly and unexpectedly the mild mannered ex-historian turned diplomat seeks to incite his audience with an original gem of hasbara. Oren declares, “Hamas …[is a]… group dedicated to the murder of all Israelis – indeed all Jews worldwide.”
Hamas is a political party and a social service organization which was democratically elected to rule the Palestinian territories. It also is a liberation and resistance movement which has employed violence against the Israeli army of occupation, the illegal Israeli settler/colonists, and ordinary Israeli civilians. However, the general statement that Hamas is dedicated to the murder of all Israelis is as valid as saying that the Israeli occupation army is dedicated to killing all Palestinians. The second charge, that Hamas is dedicated to killing all Jews worldwide is as fantastic as Oren’s claim in Power, Faith and Fantasy that the American founding-fathers were proto-Zionists who spent inordinate amounts of resources fighting implacable Muslim enemies. Actually, Hamas explicitly rejects the use of violence against targets outside the occupied territories and Israel. Its behavior has reflected that policy.
Before Oren went to Atlanta he made an appearance at the Jewish Federations General Assembly in New Orleans. In addressing the assembly, Oren urged American Jews to make it a priority to ensure that US politicians continue to give Israel “bipartisan support” even if these same American Jews may believe that Israel’s policies are wrong. Oren insisted that it is not only the duty of American Jews to fall into line with Israel’s wishes, but he further declared, “we [Israelis] expect American Jews to refute” any criticism of Israeli policy.
Ambassador Oren wants American Jews to become hasbara agents who blindly follow Israeli government policy while simultaneously inciting them with false fears of being murdered by what for them is a totally imagined enemy. In assuming his new diplomatic role, Michael B. Oren has, unfortunately, been given the authority and platform to promote fantasies about which he could only theorize, three years ago, when I heard him merely urging his audience of college students to buy his book.
- Ira Glunts first visited the Middle East in 1972, where he taught English and physical education in a small rural community in southern Israel. He was a volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces in 1992. Mr. Glunts lives in Madison, New York where he operates a used and rare book business, writes and is a part-time reference librarian. Contact him at: gluntsi[at]morrisville[dot]edu.
An excerpt from War Is A Lie
One type of “defensive” war is one that follows a successful provocation of aggression from the desired enemy. This method was used to begin, and repeatedly to escalate, the Vietnam War, as recorded in the Pentagon Papers. Setting aside the question of whether the United States should have entered World War II, in either Europe or the Pacific or both, the fact is that our country was unlikely to enter unless attacked. In 1928 the U.S. Senate had voted 85 to 1 to ratify the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a treaty that bound — and still binds — our nation and many others never again to engage in war.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s fervent hope for years was that Japan would attack the United States. This would permit the United States (not legally, but politically) to fully enter the war in Europe, as its president wanted to do, as opposed to merely providing weaponry, as it had been doing. On April 28, 1941, Churchill wrote a secret directive to his war cabinet:
“It may be taken as almost certain that the entry of Japan into the war would be followed by the immediate entry of the United States on our side.”
On May 11, 1941, Robert Menzies, the prime minister of Australia, met with Roosevelt and found him ” a little jealous” of Churchill’s place in the center of the war. While Roosevelt’s cabinet all wanted the United States to enter the war, Menzies found that Roosevelt,
” . . . trained under Woodrow Wilson in the last war, waits for an incident, which would in one blow get the USA into war and get R. out of his foolish election pledges that ‘I will keep you out of war.’”
On August 18, 1941, Churchill met with his cabinet at 10 Downing Street. The meeting had some similarity to the July 23, 2002, meeting at the same address, the minutes of which became known as the Downing Street Minutes. Both meetings revealed secret U.S. intentions to go to war. In the 1941 meeting, Churchill told his cabinet, according to the minutes: ” The President had said he would wage war but not declare it.” In addition, “Everything was to be done to force an incident.”
Japan was certainly not averse to attacking others and had been busy creating an Asian empire. And the United States and Japan were certainly not living in harmonious friendship. But what could bring the Japanese to attack?
When President Franklin Roosevelt visited Pearl Harbor on July 28, 1934, seven years before the Japanese attack, the Japanese military expressed apprehension. General Kunishiga Tanaka wrote in the Japan Advertiser, objecting to the build-up of the American fleet and the creation of additional bases in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands:
“Such insolent behavior makes us most suspicious. It makes us think a major disturbance is purposely being encouraged in the Pacific. This is greatly regretted.”
Whether it was actually regretted or not is a separate question from whether this was a typical and predictable response to military expansionism, even when done in the name of “defense.” The great unembedded (as we would today call him) journalist George Seldes was suspicious as well. In October 1934 he wrote in Harper’s Magazine: ” It is an axiom that nations do not arm for war but for a war.” Seldes asked an official at the Navy League:
“Do you accept the naval axiom that you prepare to fight a specific navy?”
The man replied “Yes.”
“Do you contemplate a fight with the British navy?”
“Do you contemplate war with Japan?”
In 1935 the most decorated U.S. Marine in history at the time, Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, published to enormous success a short book called “War Is a Racket.” He saw perfectly well what was coming and warned the nation:
“At each session of Congress the question of further naval appropriations comes up. The swivel-chair admirals…don’t shout that ‘We need lots of battleships to war on this nation or that nation.’ Oh, no. First of all, they let it be known that America is menaced by a great naval power. Almost any day, these admirals will tell you, the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and annihilate our 125,000,000 people. Just like that. Then they begin to cry for a larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For defense purposes only. Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For defense. Uh, huh.
“The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline in the Pacific. Will the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be two thousand, yes, perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast.
“The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the United States fleet so close to Nippon’s shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern, through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles.”
In March 1935, Roosevelt bestowed Wake Island on the U.S. Navy and gave Pan Am Airways a permit to build runways on Wake Island, Midway Island, and Guam. Japanese military commanders announced that they were disturbed and viewed these runways as a threat. So did peace activists in the United States. By the next month, Roosevelt had planned war games and maneuvers near the Aleutian Islands and Midway Island. By the following month, peace activists were marching in New York advocating friendship with Japan. Norman Thomas wrote in 1935:
“The Man from Mars who saw how men suffered in the last war and how frantically they are preparing for the next war, which they know will be worse, would come to the conclusion that he was looking at the denizens of a lunatic asylum.”
The U.S. Navy spent the next few years working up plans for war with Japan, the March 8, 1939, version of which described “an offensive war of long duration” that would destroy the military and disrupt the economic life of Japan. In January 1941, eleven months before the attack, the Japan Advertiser expressed its outrage over Pearl Harbor in an editorial, and the U.S. ambassador to Japan wrote in his diary:
“There is a lot of talk around town to the effect that the Japanese, in case of a break with the United States, are planning to go all out in a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbor. Of course I informed my government.”
On February 5, 1941, Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner wrote to Secretary of War Henry Stimson to warn of the possibility of a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.
As early as 1932 the United States had been talking with China about providing airplanes, pilots, and training for its war with Japan. In November 1940, Roosevelt loaned China one hundred million dollars for war with Japan, and after consulting with the British, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau made plans to send the Chinese bombers with U.S. crews to use in bombing Tokyo and other Japanese cities. On December 21, 1940, two weeks shy of a year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, China’s Minister of Finance T.V. Soong and Colonel Claire Chennault, a retired U.S. Army flier who was working for the Chinese and had been urging them to use American pilots to bomb Tokyo since at least 1937, met in Henry Morgenthau’s dining room to plan the firebombing of Japan. Morgenthau said he could get men released from duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps if the Chinese could pay them $1,000 per month. Soong agreed.
On May 24, 1941, the New York Times reported on U.S. training of the Chinese air force, and the provision of “numerous fighting and bombing planes” to China by the United States. “Bombing of Japanese Cities is Expected” read the subheadline. By July, the Joint Army-Navy Board had approved a plan called JB 355 to firebomb Japan. A front corporation would buy American planes to be flown by American volunteers trained by Chennault and paid by another front group. Roosevelt approved, and his China expert Lauchlin Currie, in the words of Nicholson Baker, “wired Madame Chaing Kai-Shek and Claire Chennault a letter that fairly begged for interception by Japanese spies.” Whether or not that was the entire point, this was the letter:
“I am very happy to be able to report today the President directed that sixty-six bombers be made available to China this year with twenty-four to be delivered immediately. He also approved a Chinese pilot training program here. Details through normal channels. Warm regards.”
Our ambassador had said “in case of a break with the United States” the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor. I wonder if this qualified!
The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force, also known as the Flying Tigers, moved ahead with recruitment and training immediately and first saw combat on December 20, 1941, twelve days (local time) after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
On May 31, 1941, at the Keep America Out of War Congress, William Henry Chamberlin gave a dire warning: “A total economic boycott of Japan, the stoppage of oil shipments for instance, would push Japan into the arms of the Axis. Economic war would be a prelude to naval and military war.” The worst thing about peace advocates is how many times they turn out to be right.
On July 24, 1941, President Roosevelt remarked, “If we cut the oil off , [the Japanese] probably would have gone down to the Dutch East Indies a year ago, and you would have had a war. It was very essential from our own selfish point of view of defense to prevent a war from starting in the South Pacific. So our foreign policy was trying to stop a war from breaking out there.”
Reporters noticed that Roosevelt said “was” rather than “is.” The next day, Roosevelt issued an executive order freezing Japanese assets. The United States and Britain cut off oil and scrap metal to Japan. Radhabinod Pal, an Indian jurist who served on the war crimes tribunal after the war, called the embargoes a “clear and potent threat to Japan’s very existence,” and concluded the United States had provoked Japan.
On August 7th four months before the attack the Japan Times Advertiser wrote: “First there was the creation of a superbase at Singapore, heavily reinforced by British and Empire troops. From this hub a great wheel was built up and linked with American bases to form a great ring sweeping in a great area southwards and westwards from the Philippines through Malaya and Burma, with the link broken only in the Thailand peninsula. Now it is proposed to include the narrows in the encirclement, which proceeds to Rangoon.”
By September the Japanese press was outraged that the United States had begun shipping oil right past Japan to reach Russia. Japan, its newspapers said, was dying a slow death from “economic war.”
What might the United States have been hoping to gain by shipping oil past a nation in desperate need of it?
In late October, U.S. spy Edgar Mower was doing work for Colonel William Donovan who spied for Roosevelt. Mower spoke with a man in Manila named Ernest Johnson, a member of the Maritime Commission, who said he expected “The Japs will take Manila before I can get out.” When Mower expressed surprise, Johnson replied “Didn’t you know the Jap fleet has moved eastward, presumably to attack our fleet at Pearl Harbor?”
On November 3, 1941, our ambassador tried again to get something through his government’s thick skull, sending a lengthy telegram to the State Department warning that the economic sanctions might force Japan to commit ” national hara-kiri.” He wrote: ” An armed conflict with the United States may come with dangerous and dramatic suddenness.”
Why do I keep recalling the headline of the memo given to President George W. Bush prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks? “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S.”
Apparently nobody in Washington wanted to hear it in 1941 either. On November 15th, Army Chief of Staff George Marshall briefed the media on something we do not remember as “the Marshall Plan.” In fact we don’t remember it at all.” We are preparing an offensive war against Japan,” Marshall said, asking the journalists to keep it a secret, which as far as I know they dutifully did.
Ten days later Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote in his diary that he’d met in the Oval Office with Marshall, President Roosevelt, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Admiral Harold Stark, and Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Roosevelt had told them the Japanese were likely to attack soon, possibly next Monday. That would have been December 1st, six days before the attack actually came. “The question,” Stimson wrote, ” was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. It was a difficult proposition.” Was it? One obvious answer was to keep the fleet in Pearl Harbor and keep the sailors stationed there in the dark while fretting about them from comfortable offices in Washington, D.C. In fact, that was the solution our suit-and-tied heroes went with.
The day after the attack, Congress voted for war. Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin (R., Mont.), the first woman ever elected to Congress, and who had voted against World War I, stood alone in opposing World War II (just as Congresswoman Barbara Lee [D., Calif.] would stand alone against attacking Afghanistan 60 years later). One year after the vote, on December 8, 1942, Rankin put extended remarks into the Congressional Record explaining her opposition. She cited the work of a British propagandist who had argued in 1938 for using Japan to bring the United States into the war. She cited Henry Luce’s reference in Life magazine on July 20, 1942, to “the Chinese for whom the U.S. had delivered the ultimatum that brought on Pearl Harbor.” She introduced evidence that at the Atlantic Conference on August 12, 1941, Roosevelt had assured Churchill that the United States would bring economic pressure to bear on Japan. “I cited,” Rankin later wrote, ” the State Department Bulletin of December 20, 1941, which revealed that on September 3 a communication had been sent to Japan demanding that it accept the principle of ‘nondisturbance of the status quo in the Pacific,’ which amounted to demanding guarantees of the inviolateness of the white empires in the Orient.”
Rankin found that the Economic Defense Board had gotten economic sanctions under way less than a week after the Atlantic Conference. On December 2, 1941, the New York Times had reported, in fact, that Japan had been “cut off from about 75 percent of her normal trade by the Allied blockade.” Rankin also cited the statement of Lieutenant Clarence E. Dickinson, U.S.N., in the Saturday Evening Post of October 10, 1942, that on November 28, 1941, nine days before the attack, Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., (he of the slogan “kill Japs, kill Japs!” ) had given instructions to him and others to “shoot down anything we saw in the sky and to bomb anything we saw on the sea.”
Whether or not World War II was the “good war” we are so often told it was, the idea that it was a defensive war because our innocent imperial outpost in the middle of the Pacific was attacked out of the clear blue sky is a myth that deserves to be buried.
GAZA — Palestinian officials warned on Monday of complete stoppage of bakeries in the Gaza Strip by next week after wheat supplied through Israeli-controlled commercial crossings ran out of stock.
Importers of wheat said that the wheat crisis was the result of the new Israeli procedure of cutting down the days during which wheat is allowed into the Strip.
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) had earlier decided to allow import of wheat and fodder for only two days out of three in which the Mintar crossing operate weekly with one day allocated for both commodities and the other for construction material for international agencies operating in Gaza.
Abdul Nasser Al-Ajrami, the head of the society of bakers in Gaza, said that the new measure led to acute shortage in wheat and fodder that would exacerbate in the few coming days.
Ajrami told the German news agency (DPA) that the bakeries in the Strip have been facing shortage in wheat supplies.
He underlined that Gaza needs 500 tons of wheat daily while the IOA allows entry of less than that quantity per week, which led to the gradual shortage.
The IOA used to supply the Strip with 3200 tons of wheat weekly over two months ago but now it only allows 25% of the aforementioned amount.