Israel’s policy of assassinating Palestinian leaders is misguided – it should be talking to them instead
As the dust settles on the publicity storm triggered by the Dubai assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a deep feeling of disappointment has descended on the Israeli-Palestinian peace camp. What started as an important public discourse with a potential for real change eventually missed the essential point of the affair.
The international debate over the assassination of Hamas member al-Mabhouh, allegedly carried out by the Mossad, concentrated more on the illegal use of foreign passports than on the illegal taking of a human life. Most critics of the operation seem to ignore the fact that sending trained assassins to a foreign country to strangle a man in his bed is not just a diplomatic incident or a violation of international law, it’s cold-blooded murder. Has the world become accustomed to Israel’s violations of human rights to the point of acceptance?
Extrajudicial killing of unwanted rivals is a “tool” frequently used by Israel, both in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and abroad. Strangled in their beds, bombed from the air, ambushed in their cars or shot down by snipers, hundreds of “unwanted” Palestinians have died at the hands of the IDF and the secret service, leaving a long trail of blood and grief. Beyond the targets themselves, hundreds of innocent bystanders have died in these operations. The typical profile of the assassination target varies from active terrorist to political leader. The typical profile of the innocent bystander is not an issue for the Israeli security services.
Israel, which frequently accuses its enemies of leading a culture of killing, is a dedicated follower of this fashion. Security officials would have us believe that these killings have actually saved the lives of hundreds of Israelis by preventing terrorist attacks. This argument ignores the aftershock of vengeance that inevitably follows each of these operations, costing many more lives. A critical analysis of this policy shows that in the long run these operations have contributed nothing at all to Israel’s security.
The broader picture is that 42 years of living under Israeli occupation has created no shortage of Palestinian men and women willing to kill and die for their people’s independence. For every fighter killed two are born. Strategically speaking, these assassinations are futile at best.
Beyond the tactical and strategic side of this practice lies a darker reality. By killing their leaders, Israel is sending a clear message of rejection and contempt to the Palestinians. Israel is saying, and has been saying for decades: we do not negotiate. Israel’s assassination policy should be understood as a complement to its politics; its refusal to arrive at a compromise with its neighbours is the real story behind the extrajudicial killings.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister who allegedly authorised the Dubai assassination, was also responsible for another Mossad fiasco. In 1997 he ordered the assassination of the Hamas operative Khaled Mashaal in Jordan. The operation failed. Today Mashaal is head of the Hamas politburo and, according to some, a pragmatist. There’s a lesson to be learned from this: yesterday’s terrorist may be tomorrow’s political partner.
Perhaps the most effective way to deal with Hamas is to bargain with its leaders rather than to assassinate them. If the barbaric culture of killing is abandoned and replaced with a truthful attempt to reach an agreement with our neighbours, perhaps today’s threats can become tomorrow’s hopes.
A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.
“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.”
In results published online March 18 by the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute reported on two experiments investigating the link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity.
The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.
The second experiment — the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals — monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet. In humans, this would be equivalent to a 200-pound man gaining 96 pounds.
“These rats aren’t just getting fat; they’re demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides,” said Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly. “In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes.” In addition to Hoebel and Bocarsly, the research team included Princeton undergraduate Elyse Powell and visiting research associate Nicole Avena, who was affiliated with Rockefeller University during the study and is now on the faculty at the University of Florida. The Princeton researchers note that they do not know yet why high-fructose corn syrup fed to rats in their study generated more triglycerides, and more body fat that resulted in obesity.
High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars — it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose — but the typical high-fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.
This creates a fascinating puzzle. The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. The critical differences in appetite, metabolism and gene expression that underlie this phenomenon are yet to be discovered, but may relate to the fact that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.
In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.
“Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic,” Avena said.
The new research complements previous work led by Hoebel and Avena demonstrating that sucrose can be addictive, having effects on the brain similar to some drugs of abuse.
In the future, the team intends to explore how the animals respond to the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in conjunction with a high-fat diet — the equivalent of a typical fast-food meal containing a hamburger, fries and soda — and whether excessive high-fructose corn syrup consumption contributes to the diseases associated with obesity. Another step will be to study how fructose affects brain function in the control of appetite.
The research was supported by the U.S. Public Health Service.
Aletho News reported on this issue January 5, 2010:
The brain trust that calls itself “The Huffington Post” has disgraced itself and shown the “progressive left” is a cowardly fraud by removing a column guest written by Jesse Ventura about 9/11.
The official explanation from no less than Arianna Huffington, presumably, is “Editor’s Note: The Huffington Post’s editorial policy, laid out in our blogger guidelines, prohibits the promotion and promulgation of conspiracy theories — including those about 9/11. As such, we have removed this post.” Maybe no one explained to these worthies that if any one were to write about 9/11, they would be writing about a conspiracy theory, since the government’s own “official account” is only the most outrageous. And, as Jesse’s new book, AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES (2009) elucidates, there have been many throughout our history.
Conspiracies are as American as apple pie. All they require are two or more individuals acting together to bring about an illegal end. When a couple of guys knock off a 7/11, they are engaged in a conspiracy, even if they are subsequently charged with armed robbery instead. Most America conspiracies are economic, like Enron, WorldCom, and Halliburton. Bernie Madoff comes to mind, since he can’t possibly have done it alone. Since the “official account” maintains that 19 Islamic fundamentalists hijacked four commercial carriers, outfoxed the most sophisticated air defense system in the world, and perpetrated these atrocities under the control of a guy in a cave in Afghanistan, it is a conspiracy theory, too.
Apparently that subject is taboo at The Huffington Post. But if that is the case, then many important events are not going to be covered there. Conspiracies to murder political leaders are far older than the assassination of Julius Caesar and include attempts on the lives of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Truman. Four of those involved in the Lincoln conspiracy were hanged from the same gallows at the same time. Consider the range of events that could not be understood absent conspiracies as David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., listed them in his chapter, “The Silence of the Historians,” MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA (2000), page 402:
Foreign Targets/Assassination Conspiracies (20th Century): Franz Ferdinand / Rajiv Gandhi / Louis Mountbatten / Czar Nicholas II / Adolf Hitler / Rafael Trujillo / Salvadore Allende / Charles DeGaulle / Benigo Aquino / Anwar Sadat / Luis Colosio / Leon Trotsky / Ngo Dinh Diem / Rene Schnneideer / Nhu / Jacobo Arbenz / Grigorli Rasputin / Fidel Mohammed Mossadegh / Castro / Pancho Villa / Ngo Dihn Patrice Lumumba / Pope John Paul II / Saddam Hussein / Manuel Noriega.
Egad! What would Shakespeare have had to write about but for plots against the kings and queens of England? And in the US (20th Century), the list would be extended to include John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Watergate, Abscam, Iran-Contra, Senator Paul Wellstone, Cpl. Pat Tillman, and many others as well, if you consider the evidence. So if the American press is not even willing to investigate conspiracies, we are going to be unable to begin to understand our own history, including the stories that appear on virtually every page of The New York Times, as I documented in “Thinking about ‘Conspiracy Theories’: 9/11 and JFK,” accessible via Google and published in my book, THE 9/11 CONSPIRACY: THE SCAMMING OF AMERICA (2007). What would history be without them?
The Huffington Post is not the only prominent offender. Even amazon.com has refused to carry the DVD of a conference on “The Science and Politics of 9/11: What’s Controversial, What’s Not,” that I organized in Madison, Wisconsin, 5-7 August 2007. It runs 14-½ hours and includes presentations and discussion about many aspects of 9/11. A publisher tired to market it on amazon.com and found it was suppressed:
I tried to put it up on Amazon, but the thought controllers have blocked it.
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As a former Marine Corps officer and retired professor of philosophy, I am at a loss as to what has become of this once-great country of ours. Are we so afraid of the examination of what our government has told us about “the pivotal event of the 21st century” that even progressive publications like The Huffington Post and presumably impartial business operations like amazon.com refuse to publish a column by the former governor of Minnesota or to carry the DVD of a meeting of experts on different aspects of the case? What is there to be afraid of, unless the official account is a house of cards that will collapse if it is critically scrutinized?
And that indeed appears to be the case. According to the “official account” of the destruction of the Twin Towers, the planes hit the buildings, the resulting fires weakened the steel, and a pancake collapse of one floor upon another ensued. But that description is not remotely consistent with the gross observable photo evidence. The buildings appear to be tuning into millions of cubic yards of fine dust:
“Revealing new aerial photos of 9/11 attack released”
James Fetzer, VoltaireNet, 18 February 2010
“New 9/11 Photos Released”
James Fetzer, 10 February 2010
Does this look remotely like a “pancake collapse” to you? A set of 9/11 photos were recently released which, when they are temporally sequenced, provide a glimpse of what was actually going on, which was no “pancake collapse.” Every American deserves to see that the “official account” cannot even accommodate the gross appearance of the Twin Towers as they were destroyed even below ground level.
No one knows exactly how this was done, It appears to have required a highly sophisticated combination of conventional and unconventional means. Once you understand that the sequence of events these photos display cannot have been the result of a “pancake collapse,” that there was no “collapse” at all as these two 500,000-ton buildings were converted into very fine dust, but that some complex form of a demolition under control was taking place and you begin to grasp why not even The Huffington Post or amazon.com can allow you the least glimpse of what actually happened on 9/11. It was indeed “the scamming of America” and the reasons appear to have had nothing to do with Islam or “Arab hijackers.”
James H. Fetzer, McKnight Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Duluth; Founder, Scholars for 9/11 Truth; Editor, Assassination Science; and Co-Editor, Assassination Research, maintains a blog on 9/11 and other “false flag” attacks.
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Netanyahu Vows to Continue East Jerusalem Construction
Last week’s declaration of victory in the ongoing Israel row by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have been a short-lived win, and media claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “bowed” to US demands appear to be premature.
In his most recent public comments, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that he would like to see the “indirect talks” with the Palestinian Authority resume, but that he absolutely would not ever agree to restrict construction in occupied East Jerusalem, the issue upon which the talks have stalled.
With Netanyahu on his way to the US for AIPAC’s policy conference, and expected to focus his visit on pressing President Obama for more advanced weapons with which to attack Iran, it was widely expected that the Netanyahu government would try to defuse the tensions over the East Jerusalem move, which US officials considered a public insult.
And indeed the tensions do seem to be dying down, though the only thing resembling a concession made by the Netanyahu government was to implement a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy wherein the Israeli government would continue to expand settlements in East Jerusalem with impunity but would stop publicizing them at inopportune times.
But even if US-Israeli relations return quickly to normalcy, there appears to be no rapprochement forthcoming with the PA. This may serve as a recipe for the Obama Administration to default back to chastising the Palestinians for “refusing” negotiations (just two weeks after they agreed to those negotiations, only to see them torpedoed by the most recent construction), but it seems unlikely that it will restart the peace talks.
The current administration, challenged by the president to be the most open, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than Bush did.
The Democratic administration of Barack Obama, who denounced his predecessor, George W. Bush, as the most secretive in history, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than the Republican did.
Transparency and openness were so important to the new president that on his first full day in office, he dispatched a much-publicized memo saying: “All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.”
One of the exemptions allowed to deny Freedom of Information requests has been used by the Obama administration 70,779 times in its first year; the same exemption was used 47,395 times in Bush’s final budget year.
An Associated Press examination of 17 major agencies’ handling of FOIA requests found denials 466,872 times, an increase of nearly 50% from the 2008 fiscal year under Bush.
As Ed Morrissey notes on the blog Hot Air, during a time of war and terrorist threats, any government can justify not releasing some sensitive information. And true, Obama had previously been a legislator, not an executive.
But why make such a big campaign deal over a previous administration’s secrecy when you’re going to end up being even more secretive?
On March 16 to mark annual Sunshine Week, designed to promote openness in government, Obama applauded himself by issuing a statement:
“As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever.”
However, a new study out March 15 by George Washington University’s National Security Archive finds less than one-third of the 90 federal agencies that process such FOIA requests have made significant changes in their procedures since Obama’s 2009 memo.
So, a day later, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sent out yet another memo. Since the agencies ignored the memo from the president, they’ll all snap to when the staffer’s note arrives, don’t you think?
Top of the Ticket, The Times’ blog on national politics ( http://www.latimes.com/ ticket), is a blend of commentary, analysis and news. This is a selection from the last week.