President Obama is right to say that we cannot be on a war footing forever, but the time to take our country off the global warpath and fully restore the rule of law is now, not at some indeterminate future point. Four years into his presidency, President Obama has finally taken the first steps to jump-start his administration’s effort to make good on early campaign promises to close Guantánamo and recognized the human cost of failing to act. These are encouraging and noteworthy actions.
To the extent the speech signals an end to signature strikes, recognizes the need for congressional oversight, and restricts the use of drones to threats against the American people, the developments on targeted killings are promising. Yet the president still claims broad authority to carry out targeted killings far from any battlefield, and there is still insufficient transparency. We continue to disagree fundamentally with the idea that due process requirements can be satisfied without any form of judicial oversight by regular federal courts.
We are particularly gratified that President Obama embraced our recommendations to use his authority to allow prompt transfer and release of Guantánamo detainees who pose no national security threat and that have been cleared by the military and intelligence agencies. We also applaud his appointment of a high level official to supervise the process for closing Guantánamo once and for all.
But there are other problems that must still be addressed. The unconstitutional military commissions must be shuttered, not brought to the United States. While the president expressed appropriate concern about indefinite detention, he offered no clear plan for ending this unconstitutional policy for those who have not been tried or cleared for release.
President Obama’s efforts to repair his legacy in the eyes of future historians will require that he continue to double down if he is to fully restore this nation’s standing at home and abroad. The ACLU realizes that Congress has thrown significant barriers in closing Guantánamo. But in some areas Congress has been more progressive, having recently demanded legal memoranda that claim to authorize the illegal killing program. The ACLU stands ready to work with, and if necessary do battle with, those elements of government that impede our nation’s obligations to honor the rule of law and to protect our values while safeguarding our security.
In a speech to the National Defense University yesterday outlining his new policies regarding the use of drones in targeted killings US President Obama told his audience;
…before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.
This last point is critical, because much of the criticism about drone strikes – at home and abroad – understandably centers on reports of civilian casualties. There is a wide gap between U.S. assessments of such casualties, and non-governmental reports. Nevertheless, it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But as Commander-in-Chief, I must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies against the alternatives. To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties – not just in our cities at home and facilities abroad, but also in the very places –like Sana’a and Kabul and Mogadishu – where terrorists seek a foothold. Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.
At least Obama is admitting – contrary to CIA director John Brennan’s claims that no civilians have been killed in drone strikes – that there are civilians being killed in these attacks though he is inferring that civilian deaths are not as high as some are reporting (though the Human Rights Institute are saying that some non-government reports are actually under-reporting the numbers) suggesting that the people of the world should believe US assessments rather than ‘non-governmental reports’. (Why would anyone want to believe ‘US assessments’ after the Iraq WMDs fiasco?)
Obama goes on to say that the civilian deaths will ‘haunt him’ and all those involved in the killings for ‘as long as we live’. This is unadulterated and utterly transparent garbage. Obama and his willing killers that operate the drones couldn’t care less about the civilian casualties. They do it time and time again. Thousands of civilians have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan alone and each time Obama thinks it’s enough just to say; ‘Sorry. We didn’t mean it. We’ll do our best to ensure it doesn’t happen again’, but, of course, it does happen again – and again, and again. Obama then sinks to new low levels of rhetoric by resorting to the use of moral relativism as he attempts to justify civilian deaths by saying that the ‘enemy they are targeting also kill civilians’.
The reality is that Obama and the US kill the enemy off battlefield simply because they can and they really are not in the slightest bit concerned about the civilian deaths except inasmuch that it may adversely effect public opinion; hence the attempts at justification. What doesn’t seem to have been thought through yet is the possibility that America’s enemy may one day have the same ability to kill by remote control. What then when scores of American citizens die when the enemy makes an attempt to assassinate an American political or military leader via a remotely controlled weapon?
At the height of Guatemala’s mass slaughters in the 1980s, including genocide against the Ixil Indians, the Reagan administration worked with Israeli officials to provide helicopters that the Guatemalan army used to hunt down fleeing villagers, according to documentary and eyewitness evidence.
During testimony at the recent genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt, one surprise was how often massacre survivors cited the Army’s use of helicopters in the scorched-earth offensives.
Journalist Allan Nairn, who covered the war in Guatemala and attended the Rios Montt trial, said in an interview, “one interesting thing that came out in the trial, as witness after witness testified, was a very substantial number of them talked about fleeing into the mountains and being bombed, attacked and machine gunned from U.S. planes and helicopters.
“At the time this was going on, I was aware this was happening in some cases, but from the testimony of the witnesses, it sounded like these attacks from U.S. planes and helicopters were more frequent than we realized at the time. That’s an example of how we don’t know the whole story yet – how extensive the U.S. complicity was in these crimes.”
Part of the mystery was where did Guatemala’s UH-1H “Huey” helicopters come from, since the U.S. Congress continued to resist military sales to Guatemala because of its wretched human rights record. The answer appears to be that some helicopters were arranged secretly by President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council staff through Israeli intelligence networks.
Rios Montt began pressing the United States for 10 UH-1H helicopters in June 1983, as his military campaign was ramping up. Since Guatemala lacked the U.S. Foreign Military Sales credits or the cash to buy the helicopters, Reagan’s national security team looked for unconventional ways to arrange the delivery of the equipment.
On Aug. 1, 1983, NSC aides Oliver North and Alfonso Sapia-Bosch reported to National Security Advisor William P. Clark that his deputy Robert “Bud” McFarlane was planning to exploit his Israeli channels to secure the helicopters for Guatemala, according to a document that I discovered at Reagan’s presidential library.
“With regard to the loan of ten helicopters, it is [our] understanding that Bud will take this up with the Israelis,” wrote North and Sapia-Bosch. “There are expectations that they would be forthcoming. Another possibility is to have an exercise with the Guatemalans. We would then use US mechanics and Guatemalan parts to bring their helicopters up to snuff.”
By then, McFarlane had a long and intimate relationship with Israeli intelligence involving various backdoor deals. [For more on McFarlane's Israeli channels, see Consortiumnews.com's "How Neocons Messed Up the Mideast."]
McFarlane’s approach to Israel for the helicopters was successful, according to former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe, who described some of the history behind Israel’s activities in Guatemala in his 1992 memoir, Profits of War.
Ben-Menashe traced the Israeli arms sales to Guatemala back to a private network established in the 1970s by Gen. Ariel Sharon during a gap when he was out of the government. Sharon’s key representative in Guatemala was a businessman named Pesach Ben-Or, and through that channel, Israel supplied military gear to Guatemala’s security services in the 1980s, Ben-Menashe wrote.
In an interview on Thursday, Ben-Menashe said the Israelis supplied a total of six helicopters to the Guatemalans along with computers and software to keep track of alleged subversives who could then be identified and executed. Ben-Menashe said he learned of the mass slaughters during his travels to Guatemala and reported back to his Israeli superiors about the atrocities involving the equipment that they had authorized. The response, he said, was concern but inaction.
“They weren’t for killing these people, not at all,” Ben-Menashe said. “But they thought their interest was to help the Reagan people. If the Reagan people wanted it [the equipment sent to Guatemala], they would do it. [They thought,] ‘this is bad, but is it any of our business? Our American friends are asking for our help, so we should help them.’”
After our phone interview had ended, Ben-Menashe called me back to stress that the Israelis were unaware of the genocidal nature of the Guatemalan military campaigns against the Ixil Indians, although the Israelis did recognize that they were assisting in mass murders of dark-skinned Guatemalans.
“As we saw it, they [Guatemalan military authorities] were targeting all non-white villagers who were sitting on fertile lands that the white Guatemalans wanted,” he said, adding that when he reported this information to his superiors, “the Israelis rolled their eyes [in dismay] but said, ‘this is what our friends in the Reagan administration want.’” [For more on Ben-Menashe's work for Israeli intelligence, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege and America's Stolen Narrative.]
Besides the helicopters for hunting down villagers who fled into the jungles, the computer equipment and the sophisticated software made the Guatemalan killing machine vastly more efficient in the towns and cities. A former U.S. Green Beret operating in Guatemala once told me that he witnessed Guatemalan security forces stopping buses and inputting identification numbers of the passengers into a computer to select those who would be dragged off to the side of the road and summarily shot.
From first-hand reporting in Guatemala, journalist Nairn also observed the security advantages gained from detailed death lists. Nairn said soldiers under Gen. Otto Perez Molina, the current president, “described how they would go into town armed with death lists provided them by G2 military intelligence, death lists of people who were suspected of being collaborators of the guerrillas or critics of the army.
“They told how they would strangle people with lassos, slit women open with machetes, shoot people in the head in front of the neighbors, use U.S. planes, helicopters and 50 [kilo]gram bombs to attack people if they fled into the hills.”
Nairn said, “The U.S. had also arranged for Israel to step in and become the principal supplier of hardware to the Guatemalan army, in particular assault rifles, the Galil automatic rifle. This was because the administration was running into problems with Congress, which wouldn’t go along with a lot of their plans to aid the Guatemalan military, so they did an end run by using the government of Israel.”
Though the focus of the case against Rios Montt has been the genocide inflicted on Ixil villages in the northern highlands – where some 626 villages were eradicated by the Guatemalan military – those massacres were only part of the estimated 200,000 killings perpetrated by right-wing Guatemalan regimes since a CIA-sponsored coup ousted an elected government in 1954.
The bloodbath was at its worst in the 1980s during Ronald Reagan’s presidency as he encouraged the anti-leftist slaughters that claimed the lives of some 100,000 Guatemalans. Reagan expanded his support for the Guatemalan security forces even though the CIA was keeping his administration informed of the systematic killings underway.
Another document that I discovered in the archives of the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, revealed that Reagan and his national security team in 1981 agreed to supply military aid to Guatemala’s dictators so they could pursue the goal of exterminating not only “Marxist guerrillas” but people associated with their “civilian support mechanisms.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ronald Reagan: Accessory to Genocide.”]
As for Rios Montt, who ruled Guatemala for 17 especially bloody months in 1982-83, the 86-year-old ex-general was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity by a criminal court on May 10 and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.
But that conviction was overturned on Monday on a 3-2 vote by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court which is still dominated by allies of the military and the oligarchy. As for the Reagan administration officials and the Israelis who aided and abetted Rios Montt and his fellow generals, there is no indication that any accountability will be exacted.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.
- Tales of Reagan’s Guatemala Genocide (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel’s Proxy War in Guatemala (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Genocide in Guatemala: The Conviction of Efrain Rios Montt (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Washington Insider Eduardo Stein Tries to Protect Ríos Montt from the Genocide Trial in Guatemala (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The British government has approved plans for opening controversial military-style state schools as a likely new method to lure British children into the armed forces.
The UK Education Secretary, Michael Gove is proposing a system of a chain of state-funded “free schools” that impose an influential Armed Forces culture at the same time that the United States government plans to do.
The revelation came as the Department for Education granted approval for one military-style school in Oldham – the first of its kind in Britain.
According to the plans, The Phoenix Free School will open from September 2014, which will be staffed by former members of the Armed Forces and led by an active Army captain.
Meanwhile, two campaign groups announced in April that the UK government continues to recruit 16 and 17-year-olds to its armed forces irrespective of the fact that most countries in the world had stopped the practice a long time ago.
The argument stated that while under-18s are banned in Britain from many activities considered harmful — including drinking alcohol and smoking — they are allowed to risk their lives in military exercises.
United States Attorney General Eric Holder has informed Congress that four American citizens have been killed in Yemen and Pakistan by US drones since 2009.
It has been widely reported but rarely acknowledged in Washington that three US citizens — Samir Khan, Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki — were executed in Yemen by missile-equipped drones in 2011. With Holder’s latest admission, however, a fourth American — Jude Kenan Mohammed — has also been officially named as another casualty in America’s continuing drone war.
“Since 2009, the United States, in the conduct of US counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda and its associated forces outside of areas of active hostilities, has specifically targeted and killed one US citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki,” the letter reads in part. “The United States is further aware of three other US citizens who have been killed in such US counterterrorism operations over that same time period,” Holder said before naming the other victims.
“These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States,” the attorney general wrote.
The news of the admission broke Wednesday afternoon when New York Times reporter Charlie Savage published the letter sent from Holder to congressional leaders in a clear attempt to counter critics who have challenged the White House for falling short of US President Barack Obama’s campaign plans of utmost transparency. Upon a growing number of executive branch scandals worsened by the Department of Justice’s recently disclosed investigation of Associated Press journalists, Holder wrote that coming clean is an effort to include the American public in a discussion all too often conducted in the shadows cast by the US intelligence community.
“The administration is determined to continue these extensive outreach efforts to communicate with the American people,” continued Holder. “To this end, the president has directed me to disclose certain information that until now has been properly classified. You and other members of your committee have on numerous occasions expressed a particular interest in the administration’s use of lethal force against US citizens. In light of this face, I am writing to disclose to you certain information about the number of US citizens who have been killed by US counterterrorism operations outside of areas of active hostilities.”
The letter, dated Wednesday, May 22, was addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Drone strikes have become a signature counterterrorism tool used by the Obama administration and his predecessor, President George W. Bush, and have been attributed with killing roughly 5,000 persons abroad, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina). But under the covert and protective umbrella of the Central Intelligence Agency, little has been formally acknowledged from Washington as to the details of these strikes.
As part of the vaguely defined ‘War on Terror,’ the US has reportedly waged drone strikes outside of Afghanistan where the Taliban once harbored al-Qaeda. In recent years, those strikes have targeted towns in neighboring Pakistan, as well as Yemen, Somalia and perhaps elsewhere.
But despite growing criticism over escalating use of drones, the president and his office has remained adamant about defending the operations.
“It’s important for everybody to understand that this thing is kept on a very tight leash,” Obama said last January, adding that his administration does not conduct “a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly.”
Others have argued quite the opposite, though, and have opposed these drone strikes over the lack of due process involved and the habit of accidently executing civilians in the strikes. When researchers at Stanford University and New York University published their ‘Living Under Drones’ report last September, they found that roughly 2 percent of drone casualties are of top militant leaders. The Pakistani Interior Minister has said that around 80 percent of drone deaths in his country were suffered by civilians.
Earlier this year, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) led a marathon filibuster on the floor of Congress to oppose the CIA’s drone program and demand the administration explain to elected lawmakers why the use of unmanned aerial vehicles is warranted in executing suspects, often killing innocent civilians as a result.
Of particular concern, Paul said, was whether or not the Obama administration would use the 2011 Yemen strike as justification to kill American citizens within the US. For 13 hours, he demanded the White House respond.
“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA,” Sen. Paul said. “I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”
One day after the filibuster, both Attorney General Holder and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reached out to Sen. Paul to say the president lacks the authority to issue such a strike within the US. With this week’s letter, however, Holder admits that at least four Americans have met their demise due to US drones. He also explains why the administration felt justified in using UAVs to execute its own people.
“Al-Awlaki repeatedly made clear his intent to attack US persons and his hope that these attacks would take American lives,” wrote Holder. “Based on this information, high-level US government officials appropriately concluded that al-Awlaki posed a continuing and imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.”
Later, Holder says the decision to strike al-Awlaki was “not taken lightly” and was first put into plan in early 2010. Additionally, Holder said the plan was “subjected to exceptionally rigorous interagency legal review” and that Justice Department lawyers and attorneys for other agencies agreed that it was the appropriate action to take.
According to Holder, the senior al-Awlaki and Mr. Khan were killed in the same September 2011 drone strike in Yemen. The following month, 16-year-old Abdulrahman Anwar Al-Awlaki was killed in a strike in the same country. Mohammed, a North Carolina resident born in 1988, was killed by a drone likely in November 2011 within a tribal area of Pakistan. Mohammed was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2009 for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons in a foreign country, and was considered armed and dangerous by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Both Khan and the older al-Awlaki were suspected members of al-Qaeda and were affiliated with the group’s magazine, Inspire.
Last February, friends of Mohammad told a North Carolina newspaper that they believed he was dead.
“Farhan Mohammed says he heard in November that his friend was killed in a drone strike,” Raleigh’s WRAL News reported in 2012. “Jude Mohammad’s pregnant wife was hysterical about her husband’s death and called her mother-in-law in the Triangle to break the news, according to Sabra. The US government hasn’t confirmed Mohammad’s death, but the people who knew him in North Carolina say it’s probably true.”
Holder declined to explain why either Mohammad or the teenage al-Awlaki were killed. President Obama is expected to discuss America’s drone program at an address in Washington on Thursday.
- Obama to address drones, Gitmo in defense policy speech (thehill.com)
Afghan officials have reportedly found the footless body of a local man who went missing a half-year ago. The corpse was unearthed near the former A-Team US Special Forces base – where detainees were tortured and killed, locals claim.
Authorities alleged that the grisly discovery is directly connected to Zakaria Kandahari, a notorious wartime collaborator who Afghan officials believe has US citizenship.
Kandahari reportedly led a death squad that terrorized locals in Wardak Province, using the A-Team base in Nerkh District, a one-hour drive from Kabul, as a permanent residence.
The mutilated body was discovered by ditch diggers about 200 yards from the perimeter of Nerkh base in Wardak Province, the New York Times reported. The base was previously occupied by the A-Team US Special Forces unit, which withdrew in March. Rhe Nerkh base compound is currently occupied by Afghan Special Forces.
According to district governor Mohammad Hanif Hanafi, the corpse was found packed in a military-style black body bag. The victim was identified as Sayid Mohammad, a local resident who was allegedly seen being taken to an US base in November 2012.
This is not the first time that the partial remains and clothing of a missing person have been found near Nerkh base, Afghan officials said. A dismembered body was previously found in a garbage container just outside the US base.
An anonymous Afghan investigator for the Defense Ministry told the NYT that he has a list of names of 17 people who went missing in Nerkh District in Wardak Province between November and December 2012, when Kandahari’s squad conducted operations such as detaining suspects and bringing them to the US Special Forces base.
The seized persons were reportedly never seen alive again. Nine of their bodies, including that of Sayid Mohammad, were found; the other eight remain missing.
The torture squad
The recently unearthed victim was the same man previously seen in a classified video recording made last year. US officials familiar with the matter said it depicts Mohammad being repeatedly kicked by the chief interpreter at the Nerkh base – Kandahari.
Kandahari is on Afghanistan’s most-wanted list for prisoner abuse, torture and murder. Kabul claimed the US sheltered Kandahari; the US Army has denied the accusations.
The US Army has not denied that Kandahari was previously on their payroll, but maintains that the torture video was made after he parted with the A-Team to operate a rogue Afghan unit, and that he is not a US citizen. The US Military described Kandahari as a “freelance interpreter” who joined the American Special Forces voluntarily and lived at their base out of gratitude.
Over the past year, Kandahari and his henchmen have been seen throughout Wardak Province wearing NATO uniforms while riding on quad bikes in search of alleged insurgents.
Last March, hundreds of Afghans – watched by a considerable number of armed riot police – marched to parliament in Kabul, demanding the withdrawal of US Special Forces from Wardak Province. The demonstrators were infuriated by reports of civilians being tortured and killed; Kandahari’s name first went public amid these demonstrations.
APTN video still
Following the protests, Afghan authorities demanded the US deliver the alleged criminal to Kabul. The US refused to turn over Kandahari to Afghan authorities.
US Military authorities claimed that Kandahari had escaped, and that they knew nothing about his whereabouts. In response, an infuriated President Hamid Karzai demanded that the US Special Operations forces leave Wardak. A compromise was later reached, and only the infamous A-Team base was removed.
An unidentified Afghan investigator told the New York Times that “there is no question” that Kandahari was directly involved in torture and murder, but asks, “Who recruited him, gave him his salary, his weapons? Who kept him under their protection?”
The official also expressed doubts that Kandahari could have left the base on his own, since “He was such a criminal that he could not stay one hour outside the base by himself.”
US Military officials reported that they conducted thorough investigations into the disappearances and murders “of at least 15 people” in Wardak Province, none of which revealed evidence that American soldiers were involved in such crimes. However, the results of these investigations have not been made public.
The treatment of Afghans by US troops and their collaborators has been a perpetual stumbling block for US-Afghan relations; the ‘steal and kill’ case of Kandahari could well be the final straw in the 11-plus years of the Afghan War.
‘Afghan govt can’t be trusted, pursuing own interest in any situation’
The governments in both Washington and Kabul should be answerable to the Afghan people over the alleged torture, believes Daoud Sultanzoy, political analyst and former Afghan MP. He described the incident involving the mutilated body of a man as “gruesome.”
However, “the history behind this that goes as far as back to 2002 or even late 2001,” he told RT. At that time, the “then Interior Minister of the Afghan interim government was keeping a private prison run by a former special forces guy, working as a freelancer for the minister.”
“There is more than one side to all these stories and they have to be investigated,” believes Sultanzoy.
Human rights organizations are staying pretty quiet on all this, which is “very suspicious.”
The Afghan government though is taking advantage of the situation, pursuing their own interests, the analyst stated. Therefore, their position on the issue “cannot be trusted,” he believes.
“We have to rely on independent sources. The Afghan justice system has to be so reliable that they can do an investigation independent from any political influence and the influence of the military as well,” Sultanzoy pointed out.
“The US military has to show it is transparent at least in cases of human rights abuses,” the expert added. They will eventually have to act and provide answers to questions regarding the allegations of torture, he concluded.
Israeli apologists would like us to believe that Zionism, the political ideology guiding Israeli policies and practices since its establishment of Israel in Palestine in 1948, is God’s chosen national movement for the re-establishment and maintenance of a “Jewish homeland” in “biblical lands”. Moreover, they want us to accept that Zionism is Judaism and that present-day Israel is the Jewish “promised land”. As a religion, Judaism considers the return of Jews to Palestine before the coming of the Messiah a sacrilege.
God has never been involved in real estate transactions; neither has the Bible ever been considered a source of International Law governing relations between modern states nor a reliable source of human history or archeology. If the world were to be reestablished according to the Bible, the United States, Europe and most modern states would not exist. Furthermore, there are no eyewitness accounts or scientific evidence linking current Israeli Jews to the ancient Hebrews. Some historians and archeologists even dispute that Jews ever had a significant presence in the area.
A Brief Analysis
Israel was established by a European racist and settler colonial ideology through the use of carefully and deliberately fabricated myths. Unlike classical settler colonialism, Zionism and Zionists do not maintain an umbilical cord to a mother European country nor plans to exploit local natives and resources. Zionism and Zionists argue for close cooperation with disposable surrogate superpower(s), complete control of resources, and the expulsion of the indigenous population, the Palestinians. Zionism and Zionists claim that Palestine was desolate and the Palestinians never existed. The clear motive behind the myths is to justify the establishment of Israel in Palestine as a Jewish state and the gathering of Jews therein. Myths that are often repeated give way to delusional mindsets. Zionism and Zionists concluded that Palestine will become a home for the Jewish state regardless of the wishes of the Palestinians and in order to achieve this objective, the inhabitants will be ethnically cleansed. There are two main lies that the Zionists regurgitate: Palestine was desolate and there is no such a thing as Palestinians.
Was Palestine desolate? Did the Palestinians exist in history?
Zionism, as practiced by Israel since 1948, is a racist ideology manifested in several ways. It is an archaic political ideology that holds and promotes Jewish racial purity and divine entitlement to Palestine. It is a military occupation enabling and supporting colonialist settlers. It practices ethnic cleansing through the confiscation of land and the expulsion of indigenous Palestinians. It exercises political domination and exploitation through the denial of basic human rights under the guise of divine entitlement and the spread of Western values. In short, Zionism in Israel today practices political, economic, cultural domination and persecution through control, systematic destruction, ethnic cleansing and genocide against the indigenous presence and heritage.
In Israel, the historical record shows that:
1. Zionism is a segregationist movement founded on the premise that all Jews, regardless of cultural differences and religious observance, are one nation, and cannot be secure except in a state of their own, because the non-Jewish world is inherently hostile to Jews. Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, argued that the key to establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine was to harness European anti-Semitism for the realization of the Jewish State by encouraging European governments to rid their countries of Jews. “Herzl regarded Zionism’s triumph as inevitable, not only because life in Europe was ever more untenable for Jews, but also because it was in Europe’s interests to [get] rid [of] the Jews and [be] relieved of anti-Semitism: The European political establishment would eventually be persuaded to promote Zionism. Herzl recognized that anti-Semitism would be HARNESSED to his own–Zionist-purposes.”(1) Many years later in Rome, Ariel Sharon as prime minister of Israel, stated: “If Israel is weakened … the Jews worldwide will not be able to live the lives they live today … We are witness to a great wave of anti-Semitism, and apart from the usual anti-Semitism against Jews, there is today the added hate of the collective Jew, which is Israel… The best solution to anti-Semitism is immigration to Israel. It is the only place on Earth where Jews can live as Jews.”(2)
2. Zionism practices a racist colonial-settler ideology which claims that historical Palestine was desolate and uninhabited and that the Palestinian people never existed. Before Palestine had been selected by the Zionists to be the site of their new state, Theodor Herzl himself acknowledged in his 1896 book, “The Jewish State”, that both Palestine and Argentina were populated, saying that “[i]f the Powers show themselves willing to grant the Jewish people sovereignty over a neutral territory, the Society [of Jews] will negotiate for the land to be taken. Two regions are possibilities: Palestine and Argentina. Noteworthy experiments in colonization have been made in both places, although they have been based on the mistaken principle of a gradual infiltration of Jews. Infiltration is always bound to end badly. For there invariably comes a moment when the government, under pressure of the native population–which feels itself threatened–bars any further influx of Jews. Consequently, emigration will be pointless unless it is based upon our guaranteed sovereignty.”
Leo Motzkin, another Zionist leader, wrote of his disappointment upon visiting Palestine and, finding the country densely inhabited and its fertile land utilized by its Arab natives, wrote: “One has to admit that the density of population does not exactly put the visitor to Palestine in a joyful mood. In large stretches of land, one constantly comes across big Arab villages, and it is a well-established fact that the most fertile regions of our land are occupied by Arabs.”
The fact that Palestine was inhabited and fertile did not deter the Zionists from perpetuating the big lie that it was desolate and uninhabited. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Zionists, as an integral part of their scheme to colonize Palestine, began using the slogan ‘A land without a people for a people without a land’ referring to Palestine.
The British Zionist Israel Zangwill, who visited Palestine in 1897, became so obsessed with this slogan that he consequently authored several versions of it to the point where it is often attributed to him. In using this slogan, the Zionists were deliberately trying to convince themselves and the world that Palestine was desolate and uninhabited and thus it was permissible to colonize it. This myth continued to be repeated to deceive the world, such that in 1969 Prime Minister Golda Meir stated in public that “There was no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”
In the few instances where Zionists conceded the existence of the indigenous population, they were labeled as “savages”, “barbarians” or “terrorists”. Zangwill wrote: “…the people living in Palestine were not a people with a history, culture, and legitimate claim to national self-determination of their own; to the extent than any of this existed, it was regarded as inferior in value to the history, culture, and claim of the Jewish people. Put differently, Palestine contained ‘people’, but not a people’. There were people who (possibly) had their homeland there, but they lacked a national identity and thus had no claim to national self-determination, let alone a state.”
The denial of the very existence of the Palestinian people and the process employed to demonize them enables Israel to this day to justify its brutal practices against them. Even when one finds some ‘humane’ Zionists who advocate some rights for the Palestinians, their advocacy never amounts to granting Palestinians the same rights enjoyed by Jews. This fact was not missed by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, who ridiculed ‘humane’ Zionists when he said; “You cannot have humane Zionism, it is a contradiction in terms.”
According to Israel’s Basic Law, Jews, regardless of their country of origin or ethnicity, can settle in Israel on land that was confiscated by force after the expulsion of the majority of the indigenous Palestinians. In an essay titled “Judea and Galilee,” Ben Gurion describes the Zionist settlers in Palestine as “conquering, conquering a land. We were a company of conquistadors.”
Such ideological discourse prompted the late professor Israel Shahak to conclude: “It is my considered opinion that the State of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of this term: In this state people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin. This racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried out today mainly in co-operation with the institutions of the Zionist movement.”(11)
3. Zionism distinguishes between Jews and Palestinians on various levels and its laws and practices are designed to keep them apart. All Jews in the world are considered ‘nationals’ of Israel, whereas a mere portion of Palestinians are considered citizens. Through the enactment of several laws, including but not limited to the Absentee Property Law 1950, the Land Acquisition Law 1953, and the Basic Law: Israel Lands 1960, Israel has confiscated lands belonging to those Palestinians who were uprooted and expelled from their properties and later declared as absentees and prevented by Israel from returning to it and from Palestinians who remained under its control. Israel established various schemes to keep, manage, and utilize Palestinian confiscated land for the benefit of Jews only.
According to the Israel Land Administration Authority (ILA), the Israeli government agency responsible for managing this land, Israel owns approximately 93% of the total land “… that is, either property of the state, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) or the development Authority.”(12) The land is comprised of 4,820,500 acres. Ownership of land according to ILA means leasing rights for 49-98 years. Palestinians, therefore, are treated merely as tillers and tenants on Jewish land and it is only a matter of time before they are completely expelled as were their predecessors. After expelling the majority of the Palestinians from Palestine in 1948-49, Israel concentrated on cleansing the Galilee of its indigenous people.(13)
4. Zionism is, in its campaign to segregate the Jews and to establish an exclusive Jewish state, derived from the narrow tribal understanding of Judaism that the cosmos is divided into five parts: plants, vegetables, animals, human beings and Jews – Jews being the noblest and the closest to God. This fanatic religious view is clearly reflected by Rabbi Yosef Ovadia, former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, who advocates the annihilation of the Palestinians on the basis that they are not Jews. “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”(14) Unfortunately, the views of the Chief Rabbi on non-Jews are not only shared by some Jews, but it is becoming a central belief of American Christian-Zionists. “Gentiles were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.”(15)
5. In addition to annihilating the Palestinians, the Zionist advocacy regarding the indigenous population is centered on four options:
a. A systematic attempt at purchasing the land of Palestine from the Palestinians and colonizing it through Jewish immigration for the benefit of Jews only. The Israeli historian Benny Morris described this thinking when he said: “The early Zionists had been aware of the Arab presence in the country–there were just under half a million around 1882, the year the first Zionists came ashore in Jaffa. And there were, at the time, some twenty-five thousand Jews in the country.”(16) Writing in 1882 Eliezer Ben-Yehuda wrote: “The thing we must do now is to become as strong as we can, to conquer the country, covertly, bit by bit . . . buy, buy, buy [the land from the Arabs].”(17) Writing decades before the holocaust in Europe, Ben-Yehuda and many other Zionist leaders believed that the country’s demographics would be changed through Jewish immigration which would ultimately alter its future to favor the Zionist scheme to colonize Palestine. Early Zionist leaders were not fully convinced that the Palestinians would sell their land and cooperate in their own colonization. Accurately predicting the swift and predictable reaction of the Palestinian Arabs to the Zionist colonial scheme through immigration, Herzl warned in 1896 that their objection and resistance could bring Jewish immigration to an end. Vladimir Jabotinsky, writing in 1923, argued that the consent of and agreements with Palestinian Arabs to hand over their country to the Zionists was not necessary: “There can be no voluntary agreement between ourselves and the Palestine Arabs. Not now, nor in the prospective future. I say this with such conviction, not because I want to hurt the moderate Zionists. I do not believe that they will be hurt. Except for those who were born blind, they realised long ago that it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting ‘Palestine’ from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority.” (18) He continued: “We cannot offer any adequate compensation to the Palestinian Arabs in return for Palestine. And therefore, there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached. So that all those who regard such an agreement as a condition sine qua non for Zionism may as well say ‘non’ and withdraw from Zionism. Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population.”(19)
b. “[B]eing crushed like grasshoppers,” as Israel’s former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir wrote in Hehazit: “We have before us the command of the Torah, whose morality surpasses that of any other body of laws in the world: ‘Ye shall blot them out to the last man’.”(20) This genocidal view has been shared by many in Israel including several Prime Ministers such as Begin, Sharon, and Netanyahu.
c. There is no room for non-Jews in the Jewish state. Rehavam Zeevi, then Israel‘s Minister of Tourism, described Palestinians as living “illegally” in Israel. He is quoted as saying: “We should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get rid of lice. We have to stop this cancer from spreading within us.” In 1983, Raphael Eitan, then Israel’s military chief of staff, speaking of plans to increase Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, said: “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle.” This racist ideological view in Israeli governing Zionist circles is widespread and determines Israel’s policies and practices toward the Palestinians.
Israel’s bases for apartness and discrimination
Israel is a state of Jews, by Jews, and for Jews. Its practices against non-Jews are racially motivated and designed to keep citizens apart, the meaning of ‘apartheid’ in Afrikaans.
Israel has laws but it does not have a constitution. Specifically, it has a Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel and a Law of Return. Said Declaration was signed on May 14, 1948, by thirty-seven colonists, none born in Palestine and only some who were recent colonial settlers. It consists of two pages which clearly define Israel as a ‘Jewish state’, although to this day Israel has failed to define who is a Jew. The document stresses that sovereign authority in Israel belongs to the Jewish people only: “This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign state.” It repeatedly uses phrases to emphasize this point such as: “Jewish people…in its own country,” “Jewish people to rebuild its national home,” “Jewish state,” “right of the Jewish people to establish their state,” “Jewish people in the up building of its state,” and “sovereign Jewish people”
In contrast, the American Declaration of Independence does not establish the United States as a Christian state, nor as a republic for whites only; neither does it appoint Christians or whites as the builders of the state and sovereign in the republic, nor does it expropriate property for the exclusive use of and benefit to Christians or whites. Furthermore, even though the United States adopted and enforced racist laws for many decades, it eventually and democratically dismantled such practices and institutions, giving life to the words of its own Declaration:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.
Before, during and after the establishment of Israel as a ‘Jewish state by European Jewish colonial settlers, a substantial majority of the indigenous people of Palestine were not Jews. The Israeli Declaration makes a clear distinction between Jews, who are to be the sovereign authority in Israel, and non-Jewish citizens of the state. Although Palestinians who remained in their homeland in 1948 are not necessarily denied certain privileges such as citizenship or the right to vote and hold office, the laws upholding said privileges are such that they do not dilute the character of the Jewish state and the bias toward Jews. Whatever is accorded to the non-Jewish citizens of Israel is done so with the explicit recognition and understanding that Israel is a country for the “Jewish people to rebuild its national home.” No democratic processes or alternatives are possible under Israel’s existing basic laws.
Israel’s Law of Return was adopted in 1950 and states that: “Every Jew has the right to immigrate to the country.” The indigenous Palestinians who were and continue to be deliberately uprooted and expelled are denied their right to return to their homes and properties and declared as ‘present absentees’ or ‘absentees’, their properties seized by Israel and in the possession of Israel’s Custodian of Absentee Property, who puts the property at the disposal of and for the benefit of Jews only.
Prior to and after the establishment of Israel, certain Israeli private organizations (non-governmental or non-profit) with quasi-governmental authority were created and empowered to formulate policies and oversee the affairs of non-Jews. The Jewish Agency is one of the major organizations in this category. The Jewish Agency shares many jurisdictions and overlapping functions with the Israeli government. It describes itself as “the agency for Jewish interests in Eretz ['the land of’] Israel … [it’s] role is defined…as a voluntary, philanthropic organization with responsibility for immigration, settlement and development, and coordination of the unity of the Jewish people.”(21)
The Israeli Citizenship Law aims to separate Jews and Arabs on a personal level. For example, a Jew and an Arab cannot legally marry in Israel and such marriages, if performed outside the country, are not recognized under Israeli law. The Citizenship Law even restricts the ‘family reunification’ of Israeli citizens with certain foreign partners. It denies entry or residential permits to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, and citizens of enemy countries or from areas involved in long-term conflict with Israel. The law affects mainly Israeli Arab citizens and their families from the West Bank and Gaza. In January 2012 Israel’s Supreme Court upheld this law banning Palestinians who marry Israel Arabs from gaining Israeli citizenship. (22)
Section 7A (I) of the Basic Law of Israel explicitly prevents Israeli citizens – both Arab and Jewish – from using the ‘democratic’ system of Israeli elections to challenge the inferior status of Arabs under the law or the exclusive Jewish character of Israel and restricts who can run for political office. This law states that: “A candidate’s list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if among its goals or deeds, either expressed or implied, are one of the following: (1) the negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the State of the Jewish People…”. In 1989 Justice Levine of the Israeli Supreme Court, speaking for the majority, ruled that this law meant that a political party could not run candidates if it intended to achieve the cancellation of one of the fundamental tenets of the State — namely “the existence of a Jewish majority, the granting of preference to Jews in matters of immigration, and the existence of close and reciprocal relations between the State and the Jews of the Diaspora.” (23)
According to ADALLAH, Israel has more than 30 laws that discriminate against its non-Jewish citizens. (24) It is easy to lose track of the exact number of laws and regulations pertaining to the Palestinians who remain under Israel’s military occupation, siege, and control. For the purpose of this paper, I deal with seven basic Israeli laws that discriminate against non-Israeli-Jews who are supposedly citizens of Israel:
(1) Law of Return 5710-1950- Right of aliyah – a term that means to ‘go up’ as opposed to ‘go down’ implying that immigration to Israel is the right thing to do. This law states in part:
1. Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh (M) olah (F) — terms in the Hebrew language that mean someone who immigrates to Israel. This law states:
2. (a) Aliyah shall be by oleh’s visa.
(b) An oleh’s visa shall be granted to every Jew who has expressed his desire to settle in Israel, unless the Minister of Immigration is satisfied that the applicant
1) is engaged in an activity directed against the Jewish people; or
2) is likely to endanger public health or the security of the State.
3. (a) A Jew who has come to Israel and subsequent to his arrival has expressed his desire to settle in Israel may, while still in Israel, receive an oleh’s certificate.
(b) The restrictions specified in section 2(b) shall apply also to the grant of an oleh’s certificate, but a person shall not be regarded as endangering public health on account of an illness contracted after his arrival in Israel.
4. Every Jew who has immigrated into this country before the coming into force of this Law, and every Jew who was born in this country, whether before or after the coming into force of this Law, shall be deemed to be a person who has come to this country as an oleh under this Law.
(2) The 1949 Discharged Soldiers (Reinstatement in Employment) Law, amended in 1970 [Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 3, p. 10 (1949) and art. 1, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 24, p. 126 (1970)]:
This Law makes an additional child support payment to ‘soldiers’. The amendment defines ‘soldier’ as “a person who is serving or has served in the Defense Army of Israel, the Police or the Prison Service”, or who served in one of the Zionist military formations (Haganah, Irgun, or LEHI) prior to the establishment of Israel. Since Israeli citizens who are not Jewish or Druze do not get called to serve in qualifying organizations, and since the qualifying organizations from the past were clearly selected so as to exclude non-Jews, this law gives to Jewish citizens of Israel rights that it denies to non-Jewish and non-Druze citizens of Israel.
(3) State Education Law, arts 2, 4, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 7, p. 113 (1953),
This law states that the purpose of elementary education is to teach “the values of Jewish culture’ and “loyalty to the State and the Jewish people”. This covers even “non-Jewish educational institutions”, whose curriculum is prescribed by the Minister of Education. The state funds an Orthodox Jewish private school system but does not fund schools for other religions, according to Izhak Englard’s “Law and Religion in Israel,” in the American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 35, p. 201 (1987). This law gives Jewish citizens of Israel the right to have their children educated in conformity with their religion, and denies this right to non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
(4) The Jewish Religious Services Budgets Law of 1949 arts. 1-2, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 3, p. 66 (1949) and the Jewish Religious Services [consolidated version] Law of 1971 Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 25, p. 125 (1971).
These laws call for local religious councils to submit budgets to the Minister of Religious Affairs. The budgets are financed one-third by the central government and two-thirds by the local government. There are no such statutes for other religions. Although funds are allocated for Muslim and Christian religious services, they are at a level far less than their proportion in the population, and without a legislative mandate.
(5) Chief Rabbinate of Israel Law arts 2(2), Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 34, p. 97 (1980),
This law gives legal status to the chief rabbinate and empowers and obligates it to undertake “activities aimed at bringing the public closer to the values of [Jewish religious learning] and mitzvot [Jewish religious duties]”. No other religion has a body with similar legal status, empowerment, or obligations.
(6) Specified Goods Tax and Luxury Tax Law [art 26, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 6, p. 150 (1952),
This law authorized the minister of finance to designate classes of persons for favorable treatment when they bring goods into Israel after residence abroad. Under this authorization, the minister issued the Purchase Tax Order (Exemption) 1975, [Definition 15 (returning resident), Definition 20 (returning national), Collected Regulations] which calls for a lower import duty to be collected from a returning national than from a returning resident. The order defines ‘returning national’ to include only a person who, ‘if the person were not an Israeli national the Law of Return would apply to him.’ Thus, only a Jewish person is a returning national with the right to favorable treatment when bringing goods into Israel after residence abroad.
(7) Nationality and Entry into Israel Law 5763 (Also known as the Citizenship Law) passed in 2003 and prevents non-Jews in the Occupied Territory from entering Israel to be with their Israeli citizen spouse. As noted above, this law was upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court in January 2012.
American Support for Israel
The Constitution of the United States clearly declares that “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…” The opening phrase, “We the people”, is universal and encompasses men and women, white and black, Christians and Muslims, rich and poor, etc. Although the interpretation of the phrase was not put into practice in the early stages of the Republic, the intent and hope of some of the founding fathers was that the US would evolve and keep changing in order to achieve that more “perfect union” by providing ways and means in the Constitution to encourage and achieve such transformation. The Israeli Basic Laws do not allow for such transformation to be achieved.
The Constitution further states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This prohibition is iron-clad and prohibits the US government from establishing or aiding in the establishment of a state religion. In addition, the Constitution allows for a process to change, amend, or challenge the political system. What was permissible in the past can therefore be changed, allowing for the unthinkable fifty years ago to become a reality, such as the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. The Israeli system on the other hand does not allow for such change. It would not permit a Samir Abed-Rabbo who was born in Jerusalem but who is not Jewish to become the President or the Prime Minister of Israel. In order for equality to prevail, the Israeli system must be dismantled as in the case of the institution of slavery in America or Apartheid in South Africa.
George Washington, in his Farewell Address, referred to the “passionate attachment” of one country to another, in which the national interest of the one is betrayed by a “virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption or infatuation.” Those who dare to work against such an attachment “are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.”(25) This explains why in America today the supporters of a U.S./Israel relationship hypocritically acclaim a “democratic Israel” in which Israel’s victims become the “terrorists” while Israel itself, the violator of domestic and international laws and obligations, is rewarded with billions of our tax dollars and the military tools to maintain its racist policies and practices.
American recognition of and support for Israel occurred minutes after Israel declared itself independent. Initially, this support derived from a desire to settle Jewish refugees, displaced persons and survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, but rather than settling such persons in a vast and population-starved America, the United States succumbed to the Zionist political plan of settling Jews in Palestine and to establishing Israel on its ruins. The Holocaust was one of the rationales, if not the rationale, for a shift in Jewish support for the establishment of Israel, which began to grow particularly among the American Jewish community. The motivation for the support by a significant segment of the American Christian community was based on, once again, biblical convictions: some Evangelical Christians see the establishment of a Greater Israel as a sign for the Second Coming of Christ and the harbinger of Armageddon when approximately 86,000 people will survive and the blood of those who do not consent to their version of theology (including Jews) will be condemned. This significant American support has been augmented by a general identification with Israel as being a “democratic” society as well as “shared strategic goals” in the Middle East, the latter effecting nothing but the continual aiding and maintaining of ineffectual, tyrannical, corrupt, and inept Arab regimes. Another reason for American unconditional support of Israel is the US government’s contempt for Arab national aspirations for unity, freedom, independence, accountability and transparency.
US military support for Israel has transformed its military into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world and enabled Israel to develop its own military technological base and to retain the balance of power in the Middle East. US aid has subsidized and helped Israel develop and build an advanced arms industry that is equipped with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and is ranked among the world’s top ten exporters of weapons and. Economic aid has served a similar purpose. Up to the early 1990’s, US economic aid has stimulated and subsidized the lackluster Israeli economy. Starting in the 1990’s the US and Israel entered into scientific cooperation to build Israel’s hi-tech sector. As a result, Israel is now considered a fully industrialized state with an economy on a par with Western European countries.
American aid to Israel is channeled through various means, but two are of importance to us as taxpayers. First is direct aid offered by the United States Government and, second is indirect aid emanating from American institutions, organizations, companies and individuals. Israel is an advanced, industrialized and technologically developed state. The World Bank places Israel among the top fifty richest states in terms of per capita income. It enjoys one of the world’s highest per capita incomes of $32,351 in 2011.
The U.S. Government is the largest donor to Israel. All aid provided to Israel in recent years comes in the form of grants and subsidies, that is, money that need not be paid back. The term “aid” is not accurate, however, but is used to mean the same. Since 1948 the United States has provided Israel with a largess of approximately $115 billion in direct military and economic aid. Economic aid alone from 1949-2013 totals approximately $48 billion and military aid $67,423.4 billion. (Table 1) Unlike other recipients of American aid, Israel receives its share within 30 days from the enactment of the bill. Additionally, from 2006-2008 the US provided Israel with $426 million to develop its missile systems and $420 million for the settlement of Jewish refugees. Between 2003-2010 the US made guaranteed loans for economic recovery available to Israel in the amount of $11 billion. U.S. indirect aid to Israel, for the same period, is estimated at more than $60 billion. In recent years, annual direct aid exceeds $3 billion and indirect aid totals $1.5 billion, of which $1 billion comes through tax-deductible donations and $500 million from the sale of Israeli bonds. Israel is the only government in the world that receives American tax-deductible donations. In addition, Israel obtains an estimated $1 billion annually in short- and long-term commercial loans from American banks.
Writing on March 20, 2013 in Haaretz, one of Israel’s leading newspapers, Ora Coren and Nadan Feldman estimated American aid to Israel to be $233.7 billion. Others, including this author, think that American aid to Israel is higher than the published figures taking into account many obvious factors including fluctuation in the rate of inflation and the interest paid by the US on money given to Israel. From 1949-2013 American subsidy of Israel ranged from 1.2-14.2% of Israel’s GDP. (Table 2)
In one of his last acts as president of the United States, G.W. Bush, oblivious to the looming economic crisis, proposed a military aid package for Israel in the amount of $30 billion over a 10-year period. Not to be outdone and without consideration to sequestration and record national deficits and even though Netanyahu treats the President of the United States as the head of a Banana Republic, President Obama is considering a $40 billion military aid package to Israel over ten years.
Israel’s lobby and its domestic supporters make certain that American aid to Israel keeps flowing. American domestic supporters consist of an amalgam of strange bedfellows: professional politicians who need the organizational and financial backing of Israel’s supporters; a potent Israeli lobby, AIPAC, that understands, manipulates and influences the American political system on behalf of Israel; the potent and valuable support of the established, well-organized and well-positioned American Jewish community and its unconditional commitment to maintaining an exclusive “Jewish state” in Palestine; and the ever-increasing power of the Christian evangelical right on the American political scene. The evangelical right opposes any peaceful arrangement for fear of delaying the Second Coming of Christ and ferociously believes in establishing Israel in all of Palestine and in-gathering all Jews into Israel. Each group, for its own reasons, pours in their resources to keep and increase levels of American support for Israel. Evidence exists, moreover, that the collaboration between Israel, AIPAC, the established American Jewish community and the Christian evangelical right is giving rise to anti-Islamic frenzy in the United States. Is this the beginning of a war between civilizations?
Since 1948, the US has been the main supplier of Israel’s military equipment and its main diplomatic and economic backer. Without American support, Israel would not have been able to maintain its Apartheid system, current economic advancement and military development and posture. Israel possesses approximately 500 nuclear warheads, in addition to an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. It is ranked as the 4th military power in the world. By law, the 1952 US Mutual Defense Agreement and subsequent arms agreement between the US and Israel limit the use of American supplied equipment to “legitimate self-defense”. Also, the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, section 116, states: “No assistance may be provided under this part to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of persons, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country.”
US money is enabling Israel to maintain its occupation of Arab lands, violating the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, killing innocent civilians, destroying their property and ignoring all United Nations Resolutions that call on Israel to abide by International Law. American financial support subsidizes and enables Israel to build colonies and settle its citizens in Arab occupied lands–activities that are considered war crimes. American support maintains an archaic racist governmental structure and funds its brutal practices. Certainly, US aid to Israel is not used for legitimate self-defense or for benefiting the needy in that country or in the service of the American national interest and its democratic values.
Three examples to illustrate the brutality of Israel practices
Between September 29, 2000 and December 26, 2008, Israel, under Prime Ministers Sharon, Olmert, and Netanyahu has been waging a relentless war against the civilian population of Palestine and the so-called peace process. During this period Israel killed 4,904 (26); between September 29, 2000 and April 29, 2003, 41,000 Palestinians were injured with 2,500 made permanently disabled (27); destroyed and damaged 12,273 homes (including twelve churches and thirty mosques); uprooted 34,606 olive and fruit trees; bulldozed, razed or burned 7,585 acres of cultivated land; and confiscated 291 acres of Palestinian land for the exclusive use by Jewish colonial settlers. In addition, Israel attacked hospitals, clinics, ambulances and medical staff; hindered and attacked journalists; imposed partial and total curfews on Palestinian towns and cities as a form of collective punishment; detained approximately 15,000 Palestinians without charge; disrupted, raided and closed Palestinian colleges and schools; and disrupted and damaged the economic infrastructure of Palestine causing the loss of approximately $3.2-10 billion.
On July 13, 2006 Israel, under the leadership of Olmert, Livni and Barak, attacked Lebanon, with the Israeli Air Force launching more than 12,000 attack missions. The Israeli Navy fired more than 2,500 shells and the Army more than 100,000. As a result, large parts of the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon was destroyed, including more than 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, and 31 other civilian targets as well as Beirut’s International Airport, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical grids and facilities, 25 fuel stations, 900 commercial structures, more than 350 schools, and two hospitals. Fifteen thousand homes were destroyed and more than 130,000 more damaged. On July 15, 2006 the Israeli Air Force bombed the Jiyeh power station, resulting in the largest-ever oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea. The plant’s damaged storage tanks leaked more than 4 million gallons of oil into the eastern Mediterranean. Israeli bombing also caused significant damage to the world heritage sites of Tyre and Byblos. In Tyre, a Roman tomb was damaged and a fresco near the center of the site collapsed. In Byblos, a medieval tower was damaged and Venetian-period remains near the harbor were dramatically stained by the oil slick. Damage was also caused to historic ruins at Bint Jbeil and Chamaa and to the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek.
The attack resulted in a huge financial setback for Lebanon to the amount of $5 billion or approximately 22% of its GDP. The Lebanese top police office and the Lebanon Ministry of Health, citing hospitals, death certificates, local authorities, and eyewitnesses, put the death toll at 1,123 of whom 37 were soldiers and police officers; 894 were identified as civilians, 192 were unidentified. The Lebanon Higher Relief Council estimated the numbers of Lebanese injured to be 4,409 of whom 15% were permanently disabled. The death toll does not include Lebanese killed since the end of fighting by land mines or unexploded Israeli cluster bombs.
On December 27, 2008 Israel under the same leadership waged a criminal war against the civilian population of Gaza. The total areas of 360 square kilometers and with a population of 1,500,202 were subjected to sustained ground, sea, and air Israeli military attack. No safe haven or bomb shelters existed for the civilian population of Gaza. The Israeli air force carried 2,360 air sorties dropping bunker buster bombs and white phosphorus bombs in densely populated civilian areas. Before the ground invasion began, Israeli artillery bombarded the coastal strip which is considered the most densely populated area in the world. More than 400,000 Palestinians were left without running water; 1,370 Palestinians were killed and thousands more injured; and 4,000 buildings were ruined. Damage to Palestinian economic infrastructure is still being tallied.
The above three examples are just the tip of the iceberg of Israel’s brutality and criminality since its inception in 1948.
Even if the US were to move, on moral grounds, to end Israeli racial policies and curtail Israeli brutal practices, Israeli politicians have taken certain measures to resist by blackmailing the US. As early as 1956 Francis Perrin, the father of the French nuclear bomb and a major collaborator in establishing Israel’s nuclear program, wrote: “We thought the Israeli Bomb was aimed at the Americans, not to launch it at the Americans, but to say: ‘if you don’t want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us. Otherwise, we will use our nuclear bombs”‘. Simha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to Washington during the Middle Eastern war of 1973, said, “If a massive airlift to Israel does not start immediately, then I will know that the U.S. is reneging on its promises and… we will draw very serious conclusions. . .” The ambassador’s veiled threat to use weapons of mass destruction to reverse Israel’s misfortunes on the battlefield did not fall on deaf ears. President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger ordered a massive airlift to aid Israel in the war. But who should we hold responsible for allowing America to be held hostage?
During the last three years, Israel has escalated its genocidal war against the civilian people of Palestine and Lebanon, their properties and economic infrastructure. Entire refugee camps, towns and sections of cities have been destroyed by American-supplied weapons systems. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the most gruesome and despicable ways; entire families have been buried under the rubble of their homes by Israeli army bulldozers that are manufactured by Caterpillar and paid for by American taxpayers; civilian residents have been shelled by Israeli missiles and tank fire; Palestinian leaders and prisoners have been assassinated; and 15,000 civilians have been detained without charge. In return, the US announced a military aid package for Israel totaling $30 billion for ten years to be followed by another more generous one in the amount of $40 billion. Are these actions conducive to achieving peaceful and structural changes in Israel/Palestine or a recipe for prolonged conflict?
The US government is making sure that Israel’s war machine is well financed by our tax money and equipped with the best of US military weapons while Americans are left to face the consequences of the piling national debt with devastating impact on the elderly and the prospects of American children going to bed hungry and lacking health care and insurance.
This passionate attachment is an affront, a burden and a liability on America. Israel’s structure, laws, policies, and practices are in violation of the American Constitution, laws and mores. The continuation of this relationship is a harbinger for more Israeli brutality and oppression. Working for the ending of racism and brutality will usher in justice, peace and tranquility for the region and the world. This is the choice that the US and the world should pursue.
Whatever the rationale for American aid to Israel, American support helps Israel maintain its racist character and practices, aggressive military posture and its violations of international law. The amount and intensity of American assistance signify an active American partnership with Israel against the aspirations of the people in the region for self-determination, justice, peace, and development. By alienating the Arab and Muslim peoples, America is exacerbating and fomenting conditions that are ripe for social upheaval–the intensity of which threatens to engulf the region and impact US interests worldwide.
Israel’s supporters in the US should not be permitted to achieve their goal of igniting a clash of civilizations emanating from the region. Continuous war will not provide a tranquil place for the Second Coming of Christ, nor for justice, hope, and peace for the people of the region. The region needs a vision that values human dignity, equality, and justice for all, instead of aircraft, bombs, and bullets.
America can no longer hide its involvement in the region under the guise of worn-out ideas. People in the region are watching and weighing America’s every move. If history is a guide, Americans should not underestimate the damage that disenfranchised and alienated individuals, groups, and countries could bring to bear.
Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo is a Palestinian-American who was born in a refugee camp in Jerusalem.Completed college and university studies in the US where he obtained a Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Miami. Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo is the author/editor of several books and articles on US Aid to Israel, Palestine, Zionism, International Law and Islam. From 1995-8 he served as the Dean of The Jerusalem School of Economics and Diplomacy.
- Take It From the Rabbi’s Mouth (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Church of Scotland Report Challenging Jews’ ‘Divine Right’ to Palestine Unchanged (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The publication date of two different books, to be released on May 31 2013, is a coincidence that could turn out to be a fortuitous one for each, in that both deal with the same topic, the secret war in Laos that took place during the 1960’s, and whose geographical focus is the same area of northern Laos. One is a novel, The Plain of Jars, while the other is a reprint of a 1972 anthology of bombing survivor stories, Voices from the Plain of Jars.
It has been just about fifty years since undeclared war was waged in Laos, the tiny country sandwiched between Vietnam and Thailand. Although the roots of this war were entangled in the complex and reckless politics of US foreign policy at that time, the results are clearer: after nine years of war, seven billion dollars, three and a half million tons of bombs, a half-million dead, and 750,000 homeless, the US had failed to achieve any of the objectives it had aimed for.
There are several grave aspects of this war which still have relevance today. The most tragic was the bombing of unarmed civilians, the worst case of this having taken place in the plateau known as the Plain of Jars, its name derived from two thousand year old stone urns made by a forgotten civilization. Here, a scorched earth policy was carried out by the US Air Force, with the objective of population removal. Firsthand accounts of the horrors of the bombing campaigns are given in Voices from the Plain of Jars, where those who had made it to refugee camps told their stories to a young American volunteer, now a freelance columnist, Fred Branfman, who subsequently compiled the narratives and children’s drawings into this classic book.
As a consequence of the air war, there are still millions of live cluster munitions lying in the ground, which have caused more than 50,000 casualties, including 30,000 dead, and still continue to kill and maim 100 people each year. More than half of the victims are children who pick up the brightly colored, yet deadly little balls.
The Plain of Jars, a novel by N. Lombardi Jr., is an adventure story about a sixty-four year old widow trying to unravel the mystery of her son’s fate, a pilot who was shot down over Laos twenty two years earlier, and in the second part of the book, about a mysterious man who becomes a local legend as he clears the cluster bombs with the aid of an elephant and a self-designed flailer, a device that whips the ground and detonates the little ball-like grenades. The novel uses entertainment value to educate people about a military conflict that only few today know had ever occurred. Using action, suspense, even humor, and other fictional devices, the author has created a vehicle to convey a strong anti-war message without beating the reader over the head with it.
Does recalling the events of that time and place have any contemporary significance? Both authors feel that indeed it does, for the secret war in Laos had set the precedent for tactics used in making war today, such as aerial bombardment of civilian targets, CIA involvement in military operations, the use of proxy armies, and the testing of new aerial weapons in combat situations.
Both books are available at all major outlets, both online and many brick and mortar shops.
Voices of the Plain of Jars, Life under an Air War, Edited by Fred Branfman, University of Wisconsin Press
The Plain of Jars, by N. Lombardi Jr., Roundfire books
For more information on the history and culture of the Laotian people, and an introduction to the secret war, visit http://plainofjars.net.
OKLAHOMA CITY – A new documentary film, Nuclear Savage, by documentary filmmaker Adam Jonas Horowitz, should have been shown on PBS this month, but may be running into resistance by persons unknown at the publicly-funded U.S.-based public-television network that includes World Channel content.
A story in this week’s edition of The Marshall Islands Journal, headlined “Nuclear cover-up?,” featured editor and reporter Giff Johnson’s interview with Horowitz. The filmmaker believes someone is trying to keep the hard-hitting Nuclear Savage from airing on PBS channels.
Roundly hailed as an important film on the film-festival circuit, Horowitz’s Nuclear Savage focuses on Project 4.1, the study of radiation effects on humans. This was the same secret project that monitored people exposed to nuclear-testing fallout in the 1950’s on Rongelap and Utrik atolls.
PBS’s World Channel explained to Horowitz that “it is possible for any program to be cancelled and pulled at any time. These decisions are made by the programmers.”
As Amber McClure, with the Pacific Islanders in Communication told Horowitz, the World Channel (which had originally scheduled Nuclear Savage for May), said they wanted to air it during December “during a military-themed time, perhaps around Dec. 7 (Pearl Harbor Day).”
Horowitz, though, isn’t buying it. Suspecting official censorship, Horowitz told The Marshall Islands Journal: “To put off this program until Pearl Harbor Day , under the claim it should be grouped at a ‘military-themed time’ does not hold water, and most of all, in my opinion, is an insult to the Marshall Islanders who were the victims of US testing, and who appeared in the film.”
As some readers may recall, last fall, Red Dirt Report was outraged by plans by a Maryland-based “haunted house” attraction that was going to incorporate Project 4.1 as part of the “sick thrill.” Many outraged Marshallese and their allies demanded the haunted-house operation not run this attraction. After all, as we wrote at the time: “Why not have a Halloween “attraction” involving the victims of Pol Pot’s killing fields? Or the Rwandan genocide? There are plenty examples of man’s violence against man that Hallow, Inc. could use as an ‘attraction.’
Sure, we like it that people are having fun and are totally against censorship, but when people profit on the pain and suffering of others we have to call them out on it.”
The legacy of radiation exposure on the Marshallese is a dark chapter in American history. It is one that has yet to be fully exposed and many Marshallese still suffer from the atomic-bomb tests conducted in the Marshall Islands from the 1940’s to the 1960’s.
Red Dirt Report has sent email inquiries to both Horowitz and McClure, seeking additional information. We hope to have more on this story in coming days.
Listening, on 15 April, to the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on US policy towards Iran put me in mind of the inscription Dante imagined over the entrance to Hell: “Abandon hope all you who enter here”.
There seemed no notion among members of the committee that territories beyond the borders of the United States of America are not subject to US jurisdiction – still less that reasoned persuasion and reciprocity can be more effective tools for achieving US foreign policy goals than sanctions (how the good Congressmen love sanctions!) and the infliction of pain.
Wendy Sherman, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs who heads the U.S. delegation in the P5+1 negotiations with Iran, must have come away from that hearing with the feeling that she has an impossible task. Congress will howl if the administration makes the slightest concession to secure Iranian agreement to non-proliferation assurances and restrictions on nuclear activities. Yet if Iran is offered nothing in return for measures it deems to be voluntary, because they lie beyond the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it will continue to defy the US and its allies.
Still, it is hard to avoid the thought that the administration could have made more of this opportunity.
Ambassador Sherman’s opening statement contained no reference to the US intelligence community’s confidence that Iran’s leaders have not taken a decision to acquire nuclear weapons. Instead, it referred to “Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions” and to the need for Iran to “change course”, which the congressmen could be forgiven for taking as confirmation of their chairman’s opening assertion that Iran is trying to build a nuclear arsenal.
On top of that, Ambassador Sherman fed the Congressmen’s appetite for a penal approach by stressing that the goal of US policy is to have Iran live up to its “international obligations”. The Congressmen were left undisturbed in their conviction that Iran is entirely in the wrong and most certainly should not be rewarded for mending its ways. The opportunity to start helping their Honours to understand that the reality is more complicated went begging.
I hope LobeLog readers who know what lies behind that last sentence will forgive me for explicating it.
Iran’s “international obligations” come in two forms. One lot of obligations stem from the provisions of the NPT. Iran accepts that these are genuine obligations under international law and is ready to comply fully with them without reciprocity. Indeed some observers believe Iran is already fully compliant.
The other lot stem from the provisions of four Security Council resolutions adopted under article 41 of the UN Charter. Iran refuses to accept the legally-binding nature of these, not unreasonably, given that, when they were adopted, the Council had not determined that Iran’s nuclear activities represented a threat to international peace and security. Instead, Iran offers to proceed on the basis of reciprocity, volunteering the steps specified in these resolutions in return for recognition that Iran has NPT rights as well as obligations, and also for the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.
The third missed opportunity was ethical in nature. The administration had no need to indulge in misrepresentation and distortion but succumbed to temptation.
The Congressmen were told that Iran is “isolated”. In reality, Iran maintains full diplomatic relations with some 100 states. Iran’s Foreign Minister is received courteously almost everywhere in Asia and Europe apart from the UK and Israel. Just this week Iran assumed the chair of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Currently Iran presides over the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement
Ambassador Sherman implied that responsibility for the appalling civil conflict in Syria must be ascribed to Iran, “a destabilising influence across the entire Middle East”. The initial supply of weapons to the Syrian opposition by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia was not mentioned. Some Middle Eastern states are allowed to have interests beyond their borders, it seems, and others are not.
Oh, and in Syria all the violence against “the Syrian people” is being inflicted by the Assad regime, supported by its Iranian ally. Perish the thought that the opposition has shed a single drop of Syrian blood!
Most Europeans yearn for the objectivity and ethical agnosticism that underlay the US opening to China, détente with the Soviet Union, and the final flurry of US/USSR agreements heralding the end of the Cold War. That sort of objectivity should come naturally, one might think, when the adversary is Iran, a state so very much weaker than the US. Alas, the opposite seems to be the case!
- Israel says no ‘compromise’ should be made with Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- US obstructing global disarmament: Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Nuclear Iran: What’s at Stake for the BRICS (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The USA, once one of the most free countries on earth, is no longer free. It is rapidly becoming a militarized gulag society – a giant open air prison.”
Nearly 1,000 American military bases occupy every corner of the planet. US troops have killed more than a million people in various countries during the past decade. Officially, this is all being done in the name of “freedom.”
Yet the USA, once one of the most free countries on earth, is no longer free. It is rapidly becoming a militarized gulag society – a giant open air prison.
The faster Americans lose their freedom, the louder their leaders chant empty, Orwellian freedom slogans. And the loudest and most Orwellian symbol of American unfreedom is the new World Trade Center skyscraper officially named the Freedom Tower, which might more appropriately be called the Unfreedom Tower.
Appropriately enough, the new Unfreedom Tower will be surrounded by $40 million dollars worth of “security infrastructure” including bollards, dual-barricades, street barriers and 11-foot-tall security booths. New York Business Journal lamented the situation in its recent headline: “World Trade Center or armed camp?” According to the New York Times, Lower Manhattan will become “a fortresslike environment” featuring “a fortified palisade of guard booths, vehicle barricades and sidewalk barriers.” New York Magazine quoted one of the planners: “You have these checkpoints that make it look more like an armed camp or a gated community.”
Or an Israeli-occupied territory.
The Unfreedom Tower is the architectural symbol of the new, post-9/11 world. The contradiction between its ostensible symbolic meaning – “freedom” – and the reality on the ground around it is not an accident.
George Orwell famously explained how those who set out to crush freedom do so by violating logic and language. By flooding the airwaves with slogans like “freedom is slavery,” Big Brother’s dystopian government in Orwell’s novel 1984 paralyzes the public’s capacity to think clearly and logically. Once clear thinking is paralyzed, Big Brother can do whatever he wants. As Orwell put it: “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
By building a “Freedom Tower” surrounded by an armed camp, symbolizing the loss of liberty that 9/11 was designed to catalyze, the architects of Philip Zelikow’s post-9/11 “whole new world” are systematically and intentionally destroying the American public’s capacity to think.
Zelikow, Wolfowitz, and the other architects of this Orwellian “whole new world” have been using their controlled corporate media to attack the American mind with Orwellian “freedom equals slavery” slogans, beginning just minutes after the Twin Towers were demolished. Practically before the North Tower had finished its ten-second-freefall, the television was blaring that Bin Laden and his friends did it because “they hate our freedoms.” The utter absurdity of this statement was rarely remarked on.
The television then repeatedly told Americans that in order to preserve their freedom, they would have to give up some of their liberty. The fact that freedom and liberty mean the same thing makes this an absurdity. By forcing Americans to internalize such absurdities, the mind-controllers created a whole nation of unthinking automatons, ready to march off to war on transparently ridiculous premises… and to systematically slaughter civilians, rape children in front of their parents as an “interrogation technique,” commit unspeakable sexual crimes at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, poison much of the Middle East and Central Asia with depleted uranium, murder thousands of innocent people with cowardly drone strikes, and generally perpetrate unspeakable acts on a daily basis.
As Voltaire put it: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” If Voltaire were alive today, he would tell us that people who believe three skyscrapers can disappear at free-fall acceleration through the path of most resistance, due to modest office fires ignited by only two planes, will commit the most hideous atrocities imaginable.
The Unfreedom Tower now looms over an unfree land.
In today’s America, executive-branch death panels oversee a “disposition matrix” in which computers decide which people will be murdered by the government, which ones will merely be disappeared without charges into the global sex torture gulag, and which ones will be arrested and tried in a courtroom. This despite the clear Constitutional statement that in the USA, no one may be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” And the phrase “due process of law” is clearly defined: It means a public, transparent trial by jury, beginning with presumption of innocence, under various safeguards.
The pretext for this annihilation of liberty is the “war on terrorism.” Big Brother tells us that terrorists are likely to strike us all dead at any moment, so emergency measures are necessary. But in reality, terrorism barely even exists. Americans are more likely to drown in their bathtubs, or be hit by lightning, than be killed by terrorists. The whole terror scare is a paranoid hallucination that was carefully scripted and inflicted on the American people by the most depraved and demonic mind-controllers who have ever lived.
Anybody who can see that two plus two make four, not five, can see that the current rulers of the USA are not the Constitutional government. They are treasonous usurpers.
When will Americans break through the checkpoints, overturn the guard booths, overwhelm the barricades, and overthrow the demons-in-human-form who have paralyzed their minds and destroyed their freedoms?
Although many Americans believe their universities are places where administrators and faculty members coexist on a fairly equal basis, the reality is that this is far from the case.
According to recent surveys by the Chronicle of Higher Education, 35 private university presidents and 4 public university presidents topped $1 million in total earnings during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Among the public university presidents, Graham Spanier of Pennsylvania State University received $2.9 million for that year, followed by Jay Gogue of Auburn University ($2.5 million), E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University ($1.9 million), and Alan Merten of George Mason University ($1.9 million). Overall, the presidents of public universities — the poor relations of their private university counterparts — had a median annual total compensation of $441,392.
This very substantial income does not include many additional perks. According to the New York Times, President Gee is known for “the lavish lifestyle his job supports, including a rent-free mansion with an elevator, a pool and a tennis court and flights on private jets.”
Moreover, despite hard times, including pay cuts, for many Americans, university presidents are rapidly increasing their income. President Gogue’s annual earnings soared from $720,000 to $2.5 million in a single year. Between 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, the number of public university presidents in the $600,000 to $700,000 income range jumped from 13 to 28.
Of course, it might be argued that they “earned” these hefty incomes through superior performance on the job. But is this true?
President Spanier, whose $2.9 million income in 2011-2012 made him the best-paid public university president in the United States, resigned his post in November 2011. His resignation came five days after the arrest of Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State assistant football coach, on child sex abuse charges — charges that sparked nationwide outrage over that university’s failure for nearly a decade to alert law enforcement authorities to alleged sexual assault on campus. Spanier was himself charged criminally in an alleged cover-up of Sandusky’s crimes, although he continues to maintain his innocence.
In most cases, however, the bloated incomes of university presidents result from their fundraising prowess. President Gogue, whose $2.5 million compensation placed him second to Spanier, was lauded by Auburn University officials for his close relationship with business leaders. “In basic financial terms,” a university spokeswoman explained, “the return on investment is remarkably high.” Similarly, Hollis Hughes, Jr., the president of Ball State University’s board of trustees, justified the huge income of Jo Ann Gora, the university president — who, at just under $1 million income placed fifth in the financial ranking of public university presidents in 2011-2012 — on the basis of her success at fundraising.
Cultivating corporate and wealthy donors, of course, has long been a major task of university presidents, but it has become an obsession in recent years, especially as state governments have cut back funding for public universities. The nation’s largest public university system, the State University of New York, has gone from a situation in which the state paid 75 percent of the university’s costs and student tuition paid 25 percent to exactly the reverse, in which state support covers 25 percent of costs and student tuition covers most of the remainder. In these circumstances, public universities are desperately seeking to attract financial support from corporations and the wealthy, with obvious consequences when it comes to rewarding the top fundraisers and setting campus priorities.
Meanwhile, faculty members are left out in the cold. Despite the fact that most faculty at public universities have many years of graduate education, doctoral degrees, publications, and years of teaching experience, their average annual salary is just over $80,000 per year. These, of course, are the full-time, “regular” faculty. Part-timers, a talented but cheap labor force who administrators are increasingly substituting for full-timers, are paid, at best, a few thousand dollars per course. Thus, even when they shuttle from campus to campus, cobbling together the equivalent of a full course load, they are so impoverished that they qualify for food stamps. These part-timers and other “contingent” faculty — educators in temporary positions without job security– today constitute the vast majority of those who teach at American colleges and universities.
Nor do faculty salaries seem likely to rise very much. At the State University of New York, the faculty and professional staff are now voting on a new, five-year contract with the state that will provide them with a salary raise of about 1 percent a year – a raise that, when inflation is taken into account, will actually give them a salary reduction. Although United University Professions, their faculty/professional staff union that engaged in lengthy contract negotiations with the state, fought until the end for a minimum salary for part-time faculty, state negotiators — loyal to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s hostile approach to public sector workers — adamantly refused to consider it. Consequently, although top administrators can (and will) be paid increasingly outlandish amounts, there will be no salary floor for those who do the teaching and research.
On university campuses, it seems, everyone is equal. But some are much more equal than others.