The Obama administration wants to make it tougher for Americans to obtain government records by offering agencies more opportunities to deny Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Among the amendments are changes that would allow federal offices to:
· deny requests that aren’t addressed to precisely the correct department (16.3 (a))
· summarily dismiss requests if they deem the wording too vague (16.3 (c))
· hide what part of the agency is responsible for filling requests (16.4 (e))
· reset their deadlines for responses any time they refer requests among departments (16.5 (a))
· make it more difficult for requests to be deemed urgent (16.5 (e))
· lie, and claim records do not exist, when they do (16.6 (f))
· make it easier for businesses to declare that information is a trade secret (16.7)
· disqualify most schools from getting FOIA fees waived (16.9(a)(4))
Obama’s DOJ Seeks to Weaken the FOIA (by John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation)
New Rule Would Allow Government to Say Existing Records Don’t Exist (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Turkish protesters have gathered outside the US Embassy in the capital, Ankara, to voice opposition to government plans to host a NATO base in the country, Press TV reported.
Turkish activists said on Sunday that the establishment of a NATO radar base in the eastern province of Malatya would turn Turkey into an “intelligence base for the imperialist wars waged by the US.”
They also held banners which read, “Turkey will not become a shield for Israel.”
The protest was organized by the Organization of Human Rights and Solidarity for oppressed People, known as Mazlumder in Turkish. Activists from several other NGOs also took part in the gathering.
Ankara announced in September that it had agreed on the deployment of the X-Band radar, which is an early warning radar, on its territory as part of NATO’s missile defense system.
According to the US Defense Department, the radar system will become operational in Turkey by the end of 2011.
The decision has sparked several protest rallies in Turkey.
Protesters say that the system threatens the region’s security and economy and that Ankara agreed with the plan under pressure from the US.
Opposition parties in Turkey have also called on the government to reject the planned deployment which they say is aimed at protecting Israel.
Iranian officials have repeatedly said that the presence of foreign forces in the region only threatens regional security and stability.
In my opinion, the greatest threat to world peace today is the “Jewish State” of Israel. It already has a bigger nuclear arsenal than Britain, and now it is developing nuclear-armed ballistic missiles with a range of 5,000 miles.
Israel is considered by Janes to have either the third or fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world.
And all this with a population of just 8 million.
And the United States pours billions of dollars a year into Israel, in both economic and military aid? – How stupid.
And the Germans sell them submarines that can be used for sneak attacks as well as a second-strike force? – If Israel lashes out, the Germans will be the first to get fried.
The sooner Israel is cut off from all aid and isolated the better. I can’t think of any other way to put a stop to their serial war crimes carried out against the Palestinians, and their endless encroachments and ethic cleansing carried out in total defiance of U.N. resolutions.
Or, equally importantly, to eliminate their capability to produce more and more weapons of mass destruction.
If you want to know what will happen to the rest of the world if Israel ever gets a clear upper hand, just look at the West Bank and the Gaza prison camp.
Global nuclear powers plan to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on upgrading and modernizing their atomic warheads and delivery systems over the next decade, a report says.
The United States will spend USD 700 billion on its nuclear weapons program, and Russia will allocate at least USD 70 billion to delivery systems alone, the report for the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) has warned.
Several other countries, including China, India, France, Pakistan as well as the Israeli regime are set to spend large amounts of money on tactical and strategic missile systems, the Guardian reported on Sunday.
Washington also plans to spend a further USD 92 billion on new nuclear warheads and build 12 nuclear ballistic missiles submarines, air-launched nuclear cruise missiles and bombs, the document said.
The new revelation is believed to fly in the face of all international efforts aimed at a total elimination of nuclear weapons.
For several countries such as Russia, Pakistan, France and the Israeli regime, said the report, nuclear weapons have been assigned roles that go well beyond deterrence.
According to the report, in Russia and Pakistan nuclear weapons are assigned “war-fighting roles in military planning.”
Pakistan and India are seeking smaller, lighter nuclear warheads so they have a greater range and also so they can be deployed for tactical or “non-strategic” roles.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is admirably legislating against U.S. arms sales to Bahrain, the autocratic Gulf kingdom which has killed at least 30 protesters during the Arab Spring. To suppress protests, Bahrain has arrested more than 1,600 protesters, has fired 2,500 from their jobs, and is handing down harsh jail terms to medical personnel who treated injured protesters. This brutal repression of Bahraini human rights led Wyden to introduce a resolution to prohibit U.S. weapons sales to Bahrain until it meets stringent human rights criteria, helping to generate enough political pressure so that the Obama Administration has delayed implementation of its shameful decision last month to sell $53 million of weapons to Bahrain.
“Selling weapons to a regime that is violently suppressing peaceful civil dissent and violating human rights is antithetical to our foreign policy goals and the principle of basic rights for all that the U.S. has worked hard to promote,” Wyden argued.
While this principle should apply to all U.S. weapons sales, it should be even more strictly adhered to when U.S. taxpayers are funding weapons sales through military aid. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, scheduled to receive $30 billion in taxpayer-financed weapons between 2009 and 2018, and also violently suppresses nonviolent Palestinian protest and commits grave human rights violations against Palestinians living under its illegal 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.
As an example of Israel’s repression of Palestinian nonviolence, in January, Jawaher Abu Rahmah died after inhaling U.S.-supplied tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers in her West Bank village of Bil’in during its weekly protest against Israel’s illegal wall encroaching upon village farmland. In April 2009, her brother Bassem was also killed after being hit in the chest with a high-velocity tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers. These types of tear gas canisters from Combined Systems, Inc. of Jamestown, PA also have been linked to the killing of Bahraini protesters.
Jawaher and Bassem are two of the more than 3,000 Palestinians civilians who have been killed by Israel since 2000, according to the Israeli organization B’Tselem. Often Israel kills these Palestinians with some of the more than 670 million weapons U.S. taxpayers have funded for Israel in the same period, according to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Given Wyden’s professed commitment to U.S. weapons not being misused to further human rights violations, the Senator should be outraged as well by U.S. military aid to Israel, for which his Oregon constituents are expected to pay more than $285 million between 2009 and 2018. Yet, instead, Wyden praises Israel as “a stable democracy and a stalwart ally” and keynotes at fundraisers for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an outfit that lobbies for more U.S. aid to Israel to the detriment of unmet needs at home.
Wyden should not hold Israel to a different standard. If U.S. weapons should not support Bahrain’s human rights abuses, then neither should they support Israel’s denial of Palestinian freedom and self-determination.
Josh Ruebner is the National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and a former Analyst in Middle East Affairs at Congressional Research Service.
Once again, it is a Jewish media outlet that provides us with the ‘news’ the British press insists to hide. When it comes to Israel and its lobby, the British press is extremely ‘careful’ (on the verge of dishonest). But the truth seems to come out anyway. I guess that Liam Fox was ‘kicked’ out because he was advocating an action against Iran. Someone out there was clever enough to grasp that Britain better stay out of the next Israeli blunder.
… Werritty’s travels included forays to Iran, where he reportedly met with opposition activists, and to Israel, where he is said to have met with Israeli intelligence agents, including the director of the Mossad. …
… In fact, his travel was funded by a nongovernmental organization he established in which three of the six principal donors are linked to pro-Israel organizations. …
… Last February, Werritty arranged a dinner attended by Fox, Matthew Gould, who is Britain’s ambassador to Israel, and senior Israeli political figures at a security conference in Herzliya, Israel. Sanctions against Iran were reportedly discussed at the dinner. Crucially, it is understood that Israeli intelligence agents, including then-Mossad chief Meir Dagan, also attended the meeting.
Murkier still, Britain’s intelligence service, MI6, apparently warned Werritty that his multiple visits to Iran’s capital, Tehran, and contacts with Iranian dissident groups could be misconstrued, given his close ties to Fox, as suggesting official British support for an Iranian regime change. Foreign Secretary William Hague has taken pains to describe the notion that Werritty was running a parallel foreign policy as “fanciful.” … Read full article
Since the Zionist occupation of 78% of Palestine in 1948, and the subsequent occupation of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine in 1967, we have witnessed growing efforts to Judaize Jerusalem and colonize Palestine. These crimes against humanity are done under the political protection and full support of successive American administrations and enforced by its veto at the United Nations.
The goal of the Zionists is to force Palestinian residents out of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine through acts of state terrorism, economic pressures, legal restrictions, and outright expulsions. The Holy city of Jerusalem is falsely called “the eternal capital of Israel” by Netanyahu and other Zionist leaders who clearly state that Jerusalem is non-negotiable. Such statements and related actions by the Zionists are absolutely inconsistent with all of the relevant United Nations resolutions on Jerusalem and contrary to the principles of international law.
The dominant position within the Israeli political, military and religious leadership is that Israel has a right to occupy all of historic Palestine. The “ultimate solution” as envisaged by the Zionists is to complete the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians from historic Palestine and in the meantime apply a system of apartheid.
And yet Jerusalem is our common universal heritage including being revered by followers of all monotheistic religions. This remarkable and historic city of great antiquity is also venerated across the world for enhancing the heritage of all of humanity.
The city of Jerusalem has always been a beacon of emancipation and hope to the downtrodden. It has symbolized the unity and equality of all of God’s creation and the message of love, mercy and compassion. Millions of people who love Jerusalem are concerned for the safety and sanctity of the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other sacred properties under the Zionist plan to change and dismantle the structure of the society of Jerusalem, obliterating its Arab identity and changing the character of the city.
Jerusalem and all of Palestine need to be liberated, redeemed and restored as a land of freedom and coexistence by people of the world from all religious and cultural backgrounds.
As part of this movement and at the invitation of Palestinians, we decided to organize a Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) aimed at raising awareness of the mortal threat to Jerusalem and all of Palestine by the hands of Zionists and helping us move closer to the day of freedom.
On 30 March 2012, from all continents we will converge and gather along the Palestinian borders with Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, with the participation of delegations joining us from every country in the world in a peaceful march towards Palestine.
Therefore, we ask all people of good conscience to join us.
– The International Committee of the Global March towards Jerusalem
In his Truth in Testimony disclosure form submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee before giving testimony to its “Iranian Terror Operations on American Soil” hearing, Dr. Matthew Levitt reveals that he had received a
Contract from U.S. Central Command and the U.S. Army Directed Studies Office for $77,883 to conduct a day long conference on Iran in January, 2010.
Levitt is the director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism & Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank created by AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to “do AIPAC’s work but appear independent.”
Not only can Israel get the Pentagon to swallow its anti-Iranian propaganda — it gets them to pay through the nose for it too.
KHAN YOUNIS — Two more Palestinians were killed at midnight Sunday in a fresh Israeli violation of the Egyptian brokered calm that supposedly went into effect for the third time at 10 pm Sunday.
Medical sources told the PIC reporter that the medical crews could not retrieve the bodies of the two men until dawn Monday, noting that they were killed in a raid on the Fakhari area east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip.
The Ansar brigades, the armed wing of the Ahrar movement, said that the two were of its fighters.
The casualties bring the number of Palestinian martyrs since Saturday to 12 mostly from Islamic Jihad operatives.
Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance factions retaliated to the Israeli violations of the ceasefire and fired homemade rockets at areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip with no casualties reported.
An Arab member in the Israeli Knesset, Dr. Jamal Zahalka, said that Israel was trying to restore its “deterrence” but ruled out a big military operation on Gaza for the time being.
He said in a statement to Quds Press on Sunday that Israel had no justification for the attacks on Gaza but rather had its own goals such as maintaining the siege on the coastal enclave and to strike at Palestinian factions to sway them from the path of resistance.
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Iran has demanded an official apology from the US over its recent anti-Iran allegations and media hype, falsely claiming that Tehran plotted to assassinate the Saudi Arabian envoy to Washington, Press TV reports.
In a recent letter to the US government, Iran has insisted that American authorities must publicly apologize to the Iranian government and its citizens for the false accusations they publicized against Tehran in violation of international norms and regulations.
In the letter, the Iranian government also demanded compensation for material and moral damages caused by the American anti-Iran publicity campaign.
The letter has been handed over to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran which represents US interests in Iran since Tehran and Washington severed diplomatic relations in 1980.
According to the letter, the manufacture of such deceitful scenarios [against Iran] has become a permanent component of US policies against Iran.
The letter further cited the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 as another clear instance of US warmongering based on the dissemination of entirely false allegations.
After killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and US soldiers and wasting billions of dollars out of the pockets of American citizens, said the letter, the US has no other way out except to withdraw its military forces from Iraq.
On October 11, the US Justice Department accused Iran of plotting to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir, with help from a man suspected of being a member of a Mexican drug cartel.
‘Progressive’ advocate for notorious Israeli spy urges U.S. to use fake ‘Iran terror’ plot to strengthen sanctions
In his testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management hearing on “Iranian Terror Operations on American Soil,” Lawrence J. Korb counselled against military action, recommending instead that
The Obama administration should use the Iranian plot to convince our allies to recommit themselves to enforcing the current sanctions on Iran. This plot provides evidence of continued hostile Iranian behavior, evidence that should be used to bolster the international coalition against Iran.
Moreover, the United States should strengthen its own sanctions regime and press for stronger international sanctions that can garner the support of our allies in this coalition. The sanctions on Iran draw legitimacy from the fact that they have been approved by the United Nations and even involve some of Iran’s former allies, such as Russia and China. Maintaining the support of this robust coalition should be one of the primary goals of the U.S. response.
Simultaneously, the United States should continue its efforts to engage with the Iranian government. As Adm. Michael Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted last month, “even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union. We are not talking to Iran, so we don’t understand each other.” Talking to Iran promotes stability in the U.S.-Iranian relationship and, to the greatest extent possible, denies the Iranian government the ability to use the specter of “evil America” as a means of unifying the Iranian people.
Concluding by saying that “Iranian aggression toward the United States cannot be tolerated,” the Center for American Progress senior fellow advised the Congressional hearing that “it is important that the U.S. response to the Iranian plot furthers our long-term goals: deterring Iranian aggression and protecting U.S. national security.”
Korb’s stated concerns for American national security, however, have to be weighed against the two decades the former assistant secretary of defense in Ronald Reagan’s administration has devoted to working for the release of Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy who “did more damage to the United States than any spy in history.” In a January 12 Foreign Policy op-ed, Korb revealed his role in Israel’s latest attempt to free Pollard:
On Jan. 4, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood in front of the Knesset to read a letter that he had sent to the president of the United States, calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard. The Israeli leader admitted that Pollard, a former U.S. naval intelligence analyst serving a life sentence for espionage, “was acting as an agent of the Israeli government.” He nevertheless contended that Pollard’s 25 years in prison represented a sufficient punishment for his crimes and pointed to the support of a number of former U.S. officials and congressmen for clemency.
Netanyahu’s request did not come as a surprise to me. On Dec. 20, 2010, after speaking to the Knesset, I met with the prime minister and urged him to go public with his request. Unless he did so, I argued, the issue would not gain the traction it needed. I also pointed out to him that he needed to publicly apologize and pledge to never again recruit Americans to spy against their country, which would allow supporters of Pollard’s release to respond effectively to the argument that the Pollard case was business as usual for Israel.
Dismissing the concerns of U.S intelligence professionals and prosecutors, Korb cited Netanyahu’s letter, which noted that the United States is “based on fairness, justice, and mercy,” and urged Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence. “It is the right thing to do,” he said.
The Center for American Progress, where Korb is a senior fellow, is funded by major individual donors such as George Soros, Peter Lewis, Steve Bing, and Herb and Marion Sandler. In a February 18 interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Soros confidently asserted, “I would like to bet that the Iranian regime will not be there in a year’s time.”