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Zionism in the Age of the Dictators

By Lenni Brenner | CounterPunch | February 24, 2014

I’m American, but my first book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (now finally back in print), was published in Britain. American houses wouldn’t risk selling an expose of Zionist collaboration with Hitler. Then I found pro and anti-Zionist books published by Croom Helm Ltd. I went to them. They gave me an ultimatum: “You are about to write the most controversial book imaginable…. So there can be no mistakes. You must send us a photocopy of every document you quote.” It was published in 1983.

While British leftists organized a lecture tour for me, I went to Israel. By luck, that visit ultimately generated international attention to the book.

When Menachem Begin retired and Yitzhak Shamir became Israel’s 2nd Likud Prime Minister, I had a Palestinian English-language weekly publish a translation of his 1940-41 outfit’s offer to go to war on Hitler’s side. An Israeli newspaper questioned him about it. I went on to London and there, in the 21 October Times, was the PM’s lie:

“Shamir… denied that he had any part in the efforts by Mr. Abraham Stern… to establish contact with the Nazis and Italian Fascists.

‘There was a plan to turn to Italy for help and to make contact with Germany on the assumption that these could bring about a massive Jewish immigration to Palestine. I opposed this… but I did join Lehi after the idea of contacts with the Axis countries was dropped.’”

The “Proposal of the National Military Organization (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the side of Germany” was found post-war in Germany’s Turkish embassy. The Sternists declared that

“The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.

Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side.”

I went to The Times with the German original, the translation and a letter. “You sure didn’t make this up in German!” My letter appeared on 4 November:

“Away from my files, I cannot be certain exactly when in 1940 Shamir joined the group. But in any case, isn’t he confessing that he knowingly joined an organization of traitors which had offered to ally itself to the archenemy of the Jews? Nor can there be any doubt that he joined up with Stern before December 1941, when the Sternists tried to send Nathan Yallin-Mor to Turkey to contact the German ambassador there with the same proposal.”

I relocated evidence that Shamir was a ‘Stern Gang’ founder and presented it to The Times. He organized their 1944 assassination of  Britain’s Middle East High Commissioner in Cairo. In 1963, Gerold Frank published The Deed about it.

Stern split off from David Raziel’s Irgun in September 1940. Frank wrote up a meeting where “Yizernitsky” (Shamir’s born-name)….“spoke tersely, summing up the reason, behind Stern’s decision decision to walk out of the Irgun.” One of the assassins “could not forget Yizernitsky’s ‘fire and powder’ remark in the days immediately following the Raziel-Stern split.”

This led to Edward Mortimer reviewing the book in the 11 February 1984 Times:

“Who told a Berlin audience in March 1912 that “each country can absorb only a limited number of Jews, if she doesn’t want disorders in her stomach. Germany already has too many Jews”?

No, not Adolf Hitler but Chaim Weizmann, later president of the World Zionist Organization and later still the first president of the state of Israel….

Zionism itself encouraged and exploited self-hatred in the Diaspora. It started from the assumption that anti-Semitism was inevitable and even in a sense justified so long as Jews were outside the land of Israel.

It is true that only an extreme lunatic fringe of Zionism went so far as to offer to join the war on Germany’s side in 1941, in the hope of establishing “the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich.” Unfortunately this was the group which the present Prime Minister of Israel chose to join….

Mr Brenner is able to cite numerous cases where Zionists collaborated with anti-Semitic regimes, including Hitler’s; he is careful also to put on record the opposition to such policies within the Zionist movement.

In retrospect these activities have been defended as a distasteful but necessary expedient to save Jewish lives. But Brenner shows that most of the time this aim was secondary. The Zionist leaders wanted to help young, skilled and able-bodied Jews to emigrate to Palestine. They were never in the forefront of the struggle against fascism in Europe.”

Indeed the Stern Gang weren’t the only Zionist collaborators. On June 21, 1933 the Zionistische Vereinigung fur Deutschland, the German Zionist Federation, appealed to the Nazis:

“May we therefore be permitted to present our views, which, in our opinion, make possible a solution in keeping with the principles of the new German State of National Awakening…. because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group….

For its practical aims, Zionism hopes to be able to win the collaboration even of a government fundamentally hostile to Jews…. Boycott propaganda – such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways – is in essence un-Zionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build.”

The WZO made the Ha’ Avara (Transfer) agreement in 1933. The Nazis ‘taxed’ money leaving Germany, but the rate was lowest for German Zionists buying Nazi goods which the WZO sold in Palestine and the Middle East. In 1935 Weizmann explained that the WZO “should concern ourselves with the constructive solution of the German question through the transfer of the Jewish youth from Germany to Palestine, rather than with the question of equal rights of Jews in Germany.”

The WZO opposed anti-Nazi boycott movements. Fritz Reichart, the Gestapo’s Palestine agent, wrote to his headquarters:

“The London Boycott Conference was torpedoed from Tel Aviv be- cause the head of the Transfer in Palestine, in close contact with the consulate in Jerusalem, sent cables to London. Our main function here is to prevent, from Palestine, the unification of world Jewry on a basis hostile to Germany.”

The ZVfD asked Baron von Mildenstein of the Nazi SS elite corp to write pro-Zionist articles in the Nazi press. He visited Palestine for six months as the ZVfD’s guest and wrote 12 articles for Der Angriff (The Assault), the leading Nazi propaganda organ, about how Jewish soil under a Jew’s feet “reformed him and his kind in a decade. This new Jew will be a new people.”

To commemorate the Baron’s expedition, Propaganda Minister Goebbels had a medal struck: the Zionist star and EIN NAZI FÄHRT NACH PALÄSTINA — A Nazi Travels to Palestine — on one side, the swastika UND ERZÄHLT DAVON IM Angriff – And tells about it in Angriff – on the other.

The medal is on the front cover of the new edition of my book.

The WZO tried to extend its relationship with Nazism. On February 26, 1937, Feival Polkes of the Haganah Labor Zionist militia, met with Adolf Eichmann in Berlin. The report on their negotiations was in SS files found after the war:

“Polkes…. noted that the Haganah’s goal is to reach, as soon as possible, a Jewish majority in Palestine…. he declared himself willing to work for Germany in the form of providing intelligence as long as this does not oppose his own political goals. Among other things he would support German foreign policy in the Near East. He would try to find oil sources for the German Reich without affecting British spheres of interest if the German monetary regulations were eased for Jewish emigrants to Palestine.”

Eichmann and another SS man went to Palestine on October 2nd. Polkes took them to a kibbutz, a Labor Zionist co-op farm. Two days later the British realized that the visitors also contacted Reichart, known to be a Gestapo agent, and they expelled them to Egypt. Polkes met them in Cairo. He passed on two pieces of “intelligence”:

“The Pan-Islamic World Congress convening in Berlin is in direct contact with two pro-Soviet Arab leaders: Emir Shekib Arslan and Emir Adil Arslan…. The illegal Communist broadcasting station whose transmission to Germany is particularly strong, is, according to Polkes’ statement, assembled on a lorry that drives along the German-Luxembourg border when transmission is on the air.”

Later, Eichmann, hiding in Argentina, taped a look-back at his career. The holocaust’s prime organizer waxed nostalgic about Palestine:

“I did see enough to be very impressed by the way the Jewish colonists were building up their land. I admired their desperate will to live, the more so since I was myself an idealist. In the years that followed I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that, had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist. I could not imagine being anything else. In fact, I would have been the most ardent Zionist imaginable.”

MUSSOLINI: “YOUR FASCIST, JABOTINSKY”

Most American pro-Zionists, Jew or gentile, know little Zionist history. Most can’t identify Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880 – 1940) even though he was the founder of the Zionist-Revisionist movement, the precursor of the Likud Party, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s father was his secretary.

In 1917 Jabotinsky organized a Jewish Legion to help the British take Palestine from Ottoman Turkey. When Britain declared it the “Jewish national home,” Palestine included today’s Jordan. But in 1921 London separated it from Palestine and gave it to the son of Britain’s puppet Sharif of Mecca. As no Zionists lived there, WZO leaders accepted the loss. But Jabotinsky insisted that the WZO had to “revise” its policy. Britain giving part of Palestine to an Arab would inspire Palestinians to struggle on until London completely abandoned  Zionism. “One side of the Jordan is ours – and so is the other.” So goes Shtei Gadot, a song identified with Revisionism from 1923, when Jabotinsky founded the Betar youth movement, until well after the 1948 creation of Israel.

In 1923 he wrote Revisionism’s Bible, an article, “The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs)”:

“Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonized. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel.”…. Zionist colonization must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. This means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population –- behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”

Jabotinsky looked for a new imperial protector committed to a ruthless policy towards Arabs. Italy was appealing with its bloodthirsty Libyan colonialism. But he had been a student in Italy and couldn’t see anything wrong with the liberal and aristocratic traditions that Mussolini repudiated. In 1926 he sneered at Fascism:

“There is today a country where ‘programs’ have been replaced by the word of one man… Italy; the system is called Fascism: to give their prophet a title, they had to coin a new term—‘Duce’—which is a translation of that most absurd of all English words—‘leader’. Buffaloes follow a leader. Civilized men have no leaders.”

But for Ex-Labour Zionists turned Revisionist, ex-socialist Mussolini was a hero. At the 1932 Revisionist World Conference, Abba Achimeir and Wolfgang von Weisl proposed Jabotinsky as their Duce. He refused but, without abandoning liberal rhetoric, he incorporated Mussolini’s concepts into his ideology.

Jabotinsky proposed quitting the WZO, but their World Union Executive saw no gain in splitting. He took personal control of the movement and let the ranks choose between him and the Executive in a plebiscite. He wrote a letter: “The time has apparently come when there must be a single, principal controller in the movement, a ‘leader’, though I still hate the word. All right, if there must be one, there will be one.”

Jabotinsky set up the New Zionist Organization. Achimeir, its Palestine leader (Britain barred Jabotinsky from Palestine) ran his Yomen shel Fascisti (Diary of a Fascist) in their paper. Von Weisl, NZO’s Financial Director, told a newspaper that “He personally was a supporter of Fascism, and he rejoiced at the victory of Fascist Italy in Abyssinia as a triumph of the White races against the Black.”

In 1934 Mussolini authorized a Betar squadron at his maritime academy. In 1935 he met a rabbi and hailed “your fascist, Jabotinsky.” Mussolini reviewed the squadron in 1936.

The orientation towards Italy ended in a debacle. The Spanish civil war persuaded Mussolini to unite with Hitler to ward off worker revolutions. It was impossible to be Hitler’s ally and have Jews in his own party. He expelled Jews from the party and geared up for war. The Revisionists declared that they were wrong for the right reasons:

“For years we have warned the Jews not to insult the fascist regime in Italy. Let us be frank before we accuse others of the recent anti-Jewish laws in Italy; why not first accuse our own radical groups who are responsible for what happened.”

Stern and Shamir’s “historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis” evolved from this fanaticism.

“THERE IS NOT THE REMOTEST CHANCE OF WAR”

Shmuel Merlin, NZO’s Secretary-General, later explained that in January 1933 Jabotinsky “thought that Hitler would either reform or yield to the pressure of the Junkers and Big Business.” But by March he called for an anti-Nazi boycott. On June 16 Revisionists assassinated Labor Zionist Chaim Arlosoroff who negotiated the Ha’Avara pact with Berlin.

Two days later the British police brought Revisionists Avraham Stavsky and Zvi Rosenblatt in for an identity parade. Arlosoroff’s widow recognized Stavsky. Rosenblatt was cleared on a legal technicality but Stavsky was sentenced to hang. Later the Palestine Court of Appeal acquitted him on technicalities but the Chief Justice was displeased: “in England… the conviction would have to stand.” In 1944 a ballistics expert discovered the gun that killed Arlosoroff was used in the Cairo assassination by the Stern Gang splitters from Jabotinsky’s organization.

There’s no evidence that Jabotinsky ordered Arlosoroff killed but  he insisted that Revisionists didn’t commit  the crime. Many in the WZO opposed Ha’Avara, but they wouldn’t unite with Arlosoroff’s murderers in anti-Nazi actions. Alone they accomplished nothing and inevitably Revisionist policies re Germany became surreal.

Even as they demonstrated against Hitler throughout Europe, their Staatzionistische Organisation and its leader, George Kareski, were  Hitler’s favorite Zionists. On  April 13, 1935, the Gestapo declared that State Zionism would receive “permission to let its members… wear uniforms indoors… because the State Zionists have proven to be the organization which had tried in any way, even illegally, to bring its members to Palestine, and… meets half-way the intention of the Reich Government to remove the Jews from Germany.”

The scandalized NZO ranks compelled a resolution that, under the circumstances, there was no German Revisionist movement and Jabotinsky called on him to deny any Nazi connection. However in 1936 Kareski was his go-between with the German publishing house holding the copyright to one of his books, and the Fascists around von Weisl remained in contact with him.

In 1937 Kareski went to Palestine. German Jews discovered him and chased him through the streets until police rescued him. I’d like to report that he died alone and hated, but in 1947 he was appointed chairman of a Revisionist health fund.

In 1939, a week before Hitler invaded Poland, Jabotinsky insisted that “There is not the remotest chance of war.” He planned to invade Palestine, landing a boatload of Betarim on Tel Aviv’s beach while the Irgun seized Government House in Jerusalem, and a provisional Jewish government was proclaimed abroad. After his capture or death, it would operate as a government-in-exile.

His model was the 1916 rising in Ireland. Its leaders were executed, but their martyrdom inspired a revolutionary movement. However it is impossible to see how an invasion could have convinced Jews in Palestine, mostly his WZO enemies, to rise up after his defeat. The plan’s fantasy was revealed on the night of August 31-September 1. The British arrested the Irgun command as they debated whether to take part in the scheme and, within hours, Hitler started the war Jabotinsky insisted wouldn’t happen.

The December 4, 1948 New York Times ran a letter by Albert Einstein and other Jews re Menachem Begin’s visit to the US, exposing his Herut Party which evolved into today’s Likud. Given that Achimeir and von Weisl wrote for Herut’s newspaper, Einstein’s evaluation of Begin’s Revisionist commitment bears quotation:

“Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the ‘Freedom Party’ (Tnuat HaHerut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties…. They have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism and racial superiority… it is imperative that the truth about Mr Begin and his movement be made known in this country.”

Indeed Zionist Revisionist history must be known here. Read Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators and then convince other Americans to read it.

Lenni Brenner can be contacted at BrennerL21@aol.com.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Comments Off on Zionism in the Age of the Dictators

Violence and Vulnerability in Buenaventura, the Dark Side of Development

By Margaret Boehme | Red Hot Burning Peace | February 24, 2014

From the tenth-floor balcony of our hotel in Buenaventura, we sit with community leader Miguel Duarte and watch as the sunset over the Pacific Ocean streaks the sky with peach and mauve before fading to a shroud of lavender-gray and darkness. Below us, teenage girls chase a soccer ball. A few hundred yards away, a patch of the island is covered with tree tops like the heads of broccoli. “Take a photo of that island,” says Duarte, pointing at the tree line. “There are thousands of dead bodies buried on it.”

“We need a commission from the Attorney General’s office to count the bodies,” he continues. “The island is controlled by paramilitaries.”

The violence in Buenaventura is staggering, yet reliable statistics are hard to attain: official documentation is lacking and it’s left to community leaders, like 18-year-old Jesús, to try to compile the data independently. At our meeting, he pulls out his notebook and begins reading off his handwritten list of victims from a recent massacre. He gets to the end of his list, glances up, and says, “Children were cut up and heads were found in barrios Santa Monica and Campo Alegro. Last night Alberto’s cousin was killed in a confrontation. That one made the newspaper.”

According to a report issued in January 2014, the city sees two-to-three murders and three-to-six forced disappearances daily. In November 2013 alone, fighting between different armed groups displaced 2,500 families in Buenaventura.

“We’re convinced of one thing,” says Duarte. “This pressure is so that people leave.”

On the heels of shoot-outs in waterfront neighborhoods, city officials arrive and ask residents if they’re ready to sign documents in which they agree to vacate the zone. On February 5 and 6, local security forces staged an elaborately orchestrated tsunami drill for neighborhoods near the port, with armed men blocking off streets and redirecting traffic into the night. According to Colombian Process of Black Communities (PCN), the exercise was yet another effort to brainwash Buenaventura’s Bajamar residents into believing that it’s not safe to live in the area and that they should be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

Many point out that Buenaventura is dangerous for people who live in neighborhoods slated for commercial development but that, paradoxically, these same areas are safe for tourists. Below our hotel, a seafood fusion-sushi bar does slow business just yards from a neighborhood where armed groups recently did battle.

It’s Friday night in this commerce town, and clubs cater to weekend carousers with pockets full of pesos.  Against a backdrop of giraffe-like cranes, half-built high-rises sprouting rebar, and a balmy breeze dispersing salsa beats, Duarte explains that 15 or 20 years ago, people began to talk about megaprojects in the region: port expansion, a cargo terminal, a tourist boardwalk, and an international airport in nearby Cali. Those conversations coincided with the beginning of the market liberalization process, as the port changed from public to private ownership.

Over the past 15 years, as the armed conflict arrived to nearby rural areas, many residents fled their farming communities at the outskirts of Buenaventura and settled in ocean-front neighborhoods near the city center, joining communities of Afro-Colombians who had arrived generations ago. In 2005, the FARC and Colombian military battled in Buenaventura. In 2006, paramilitaries entered the urban zone to protect businesses and terrorize the local population.

The first interurban displacement in Buenaventura—in which people fled from one neighborhood to another within the city—was in 2009. Today, ground zero for violent displacement coincides perfectly with zones marked for port expansion, a coal warehouse, a massive container storage area, and a tourist promenade.  The violence, PCN states, is “part of the war strategy to control territory and clean out the zone to bring in projects.”

Residents in vulnerable neighborhoods are not opposed to the city’s economic growth, per se. But many feel that projects should benefit all people in the area, not bring prosperity to few while forcing misery on most.

That’s what Remedios’ husband, Eduardo believed. Their home in Caucana, about 45 minutes from the port, is along the road being widened to facilitate port expansion and accompanying projects in order to make Buenaventura competitive for Free Trade Agreement projects.

The old road is narrow, windy, and unpaved, meaning that it currently takes a truck seven or eight hours to make the trip from Buenaventura to Bugalagrande, a town along the Pan-American Highway. The new road will reduce the journey to about an hour.

Eduardo opposed the road expansion through their community because small children play there, and the project was contaminating their air and bad for people’s health. Remedios said, “He’d been looking to strengthen the community. He didn’t want to leave people in misery.” He’d been advocating for the community’s right to Free Prior and Informed Consent for new projects on their land guaranteed under Law 70, or the “Law of Black Communities.”

One morning Eduardo got a call that warned him he’d be killed if he ran in upcoming community council elections. For months he lived under the dark cloud of death threats, and on February 23, 2013, he was murdered. A year later, despite the efforts of his wife and other community members to seek justice, the government has made no progress in the investigation of his death.

“It has left me desperate, my kids too. They’re struggling at school. They don’t remember their vowels, just sleep, play, fight, scream….My children want to know why their father was murdered. They’re small, thinking bad thoughts, seeking vengeance. I’m asking for help because I don’t want my kids to become bad people.”

While we are in Buenaventura, a death threat is circulated, naming as military targets indigenous groups, campesinos, Marcha Patriotica members, protestors who block roads, and “guerilla-defending” NGOs—the name often used by paramilitaries to refer to NGOs that work on human rights issues.

Back on the tenth-floor balcony, a man whose community is surrounded by illegal armed groups looks out over the port, past the island of dead bodies, to the green lights blinking at the edge of the bay. He says, “If we don’t act quickly in Buenaventura, there will be more deaths.”


Margaret Boehme is a member of the Witness for Peace Colombia team based in Bogotá.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on Violence and Vulnerability in Buenaventura, the Dark Side of Development

Iraq signs deal to buy arms from Iran: Report

Al-Akhbar | February 24, 2014

Iran has signed a deal to sell Iraq arms and ammunition worth $195 million, according to documents seen by Reuters – a move that would break a UN embargo on weapons sales by Tehran.

The agreement was reached at the end of November, the documents showed, just weeks after Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki returned from Washington, where he lobbied the Obama administration for extra weapons to fight al Qaeda-linked militants.

Some in Washington are nervous about providing sensitive US military equipment to a country they worry is becoming too close to Iran. Several Iraqi lawmakers said Maliki had made the deal because he was fed up with delays to US arms deliveries.

A spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister would not confirm or deny the sale, but said such a deal would be understandable given Iraq’s current security troubles.

“We are launching a war against terrorism and we want to win this war. Nothing prevents us from buying arms and ammunition from any party and it’s only ammunition helping us to fight terrorists,” said the spokesman, Ali Musawi.

The Iranian government denied any knowledge of a deal to sell arms to Iraq. It would be the first official arms deal between Iran and Iraq’s government and it highlights the growing bond between them in the two years since the departure of US troops from Iraq.

One US official, told of Reuters’ findings, said such a deal could further complicate Washington’s approach to negotiating with Iran on easing international sanctions over its nuclear program, which the West suspects, with no evidence, is aimed at producing bombs. Iran says its aims are purely peaceful.

“If true, this would raise serious concerns,” the US official said. “Any transfer of arms from Iran to a third country is in direct violation of Iran’s obligations under UNSCR 1747.”

The official documents seen by Reuters showed that six of eight contracts were signed with Iran’s Defense Industries Organization to supply Iraq with light and medium arms, mortar launchers, ammunition for tanks as well as artillery and mortars.

A final two contracts were agreed to with the state-owned Iran Electronic Industries for night vision goggles, communications equipment and mortar guiding devices.

One of the contracts includes equipment to protect against chemical agents. An Iraqi army major with knowledge of procurement issues said that would include items such as gas masks and gloves, as well as injections. Baghdad has expressed fear the militants will use such agents against its forces.

Officials from the Iraqi and Iranian defense ministries signed the agreements, according to the documents. They did not list a timetable for deliveries and it was not possible to confirm whether they had taken place.

Maliki is engaged in a nearly two-month-old battle in western Iraq against al Qaeda-inspired militants and rebellious tribesmen. The prime minister has blamed the unrest in Anbar on the conflict spilling over from neighboring Syria.

One Western security official said US government experts believed an Iranian-Iraqi arms deal had been in the works for some time.

The growing friendship between the two countries is discomfiting for the United States.

Iran already supplies Baghdad with electricity and gas and reiterated an offer of military assistance in January.

The weapons purchases amount to a drop in the ocean for Iraq, which receives most of its arms from the United States and has also bought weapons and helicopters from Russia and other countries.

But they are politically significant as Maliki pursues a third term in office.

“We have here a political and not a military deal,” said Amman-based Iraq analyst Yahya al-Kubaisi from the Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies, a think tank filled with political opponents of the Iraqi government. “On one hand it is aimed at financing Iran, which is desperately in need of dollars, and on the other it is clearly aimed at winning Tehran’s support for Maliki’s third term.”

Three Iraqi lawmakers, who said they had knowledge of the deals, argued they were due to Maliki’s unhappiness with Washington’s response to his request to supply Iraq with arms and ammunition to fight militant groups during his visit late last year. Iraq has long complained the timetable for US weapons and aircraft delivery was too slow.

“The Americans were obviously dragging their feet from implementing the arms deals signed with Baghdad and under different pretexts, and that was a reason to get urgent shipments from Tehran,” said one of the lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

The US government in recent months has delivered Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones to Iraq as part of its long-standing relationship with Baghdad, which it illegally invaded and occupied in 2003. It has also supplied Iraq with M1 Abrams tanks and is in process of delivering F-16 fighter jets.

Since fighting broke out in western Anbar in January, Washington has pushed to move ahead with the sale of 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq, which had been held up for months due to the concerns of US lawmakers about how Maliki would use them.

A lawmaker close to Maliki said the deal with Iran sent a message to Washington that threatening to withhold or delay arms purchases would no longer work.

“If you went to a shop to buy a toy and they refused to sell it to you, then as long as you have the cash, you can get it from the shop next door. It’s as simple as that,” said the official, who also asked to remain unnamed due to the sensitivity of the issue.

A senior Iraq army officer said Iran was the best source for quick shipments as some of the arms used by the Iraqi army are similar to those manufactured by Tehran, including assault weapons, mortars, artillery and tank ammunition. Iran even produces ammunition for US-made M-12 assault rifles, used by the Iraqi military.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Comments Off on Iraq signs deal to buy arms from Iran: Report

Cop Harasses Photographer, Steals His Cellphone Battery And Attempts To Get YouTube To Pull The Incriminating Video

By Tim Cushing | Techdirt | February 24, 2014

Recording a police officer in public isn’t a crime. Well, it isn’t anything a cop can cite or arrest you for doing. Instead, a bunch of vague infractions are listed in hopes that something will stick and deter future citizen recordings.

Shawn Randall Thomas, a New York photographer, was approached by NYPD officer Efrain Rojas when he noticed Thomas filming another officer’s interaction with a turnstile jumper in a subway station. “Approached” is putting it mildly. Rojas confronted Thomas and got physical when the photographer refused to stop filming.

A New York City cop beat up and arrested a man for video recording him inside a subway station from 30 feet away Saturday night, walking up to him and getting in his face all while claiming the man was invading his personal space…

Thomas also obtained footage from another man who had recorded Rojas with his knees on Thomas’ back as he lay face down on the sidewalk just outside the sub station, seconds after Rojas had bashed his face into the pavement, busting his lip.

The injury was so bad that they had to transport him to the hospital twice during his 24-hour incarceration where doctors described him as a victim of assault.

As if the impromptu “use of force” wasn’t enough, Thomas was also charged with the following:

[Thomas] is still facing charges of resisting arrest, trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing government…

Here’s the video:

Note that Rojas had to come over to where Thomas was filming (nearly 30 feet away) in order to be “obstructed.” Note also that Thomas was filming in a public location, where it’s almost impossible to “trespass.” And note that the de rigueur “resisting arrest” is included only because Thomas didn’t apply his own handcuffs, hoof it to the nearest cruiser and slide into the back seat.

Here’s the description of “resisting arrest” from the arrest report itself:

Deponent further states that, at the above time and place, defendant did resist a lawful arrest by crossing defendants’ arm across defendant’s chest while deponent attempted to place defendant in handcuffs.

But it gets worse. Officer Rojas apparently grabbed Thomas’ cellphone and either deleted the footage or removed the battery in order to prevent Thomas from filming any further. (PINAC’s account of this event mentions “deletion” and Thomas using Recuva to recover the deleted footage, but the description of events only says Rojas took Thomas’ phone and pocketed the battery.) Thomas then took out his backup phone (a Blackberry) and tried to continue filming, at which point Rojas “knocked the phone out of [Thomas’] hand” and slammed him to the ground.

Either way, Rojas made an effort to prevent any further filming. The incident report filed by Rojas makes no mention of the fact that he seized a cellphone and either deleted footage or seized the phone’s battery. He also undermines the charge of trespassing by noting the area where Thomas was filming was public, which is contrary to Rojas’ filmed assertion that Thomas was “violating” his “personal space.”

Apparently, Rojas wasn’t done with feeling “violated” by Thomas’ filming. According to PINAC’s Facebook page, Officer Rojas filed a privacy complaint asking YouTube to remove the video. YouTube, fortunately, turned his request down, which means that Rojas will now have to deal with a recording that contradicts (or severely weakens) many of the claims he made in his sworn statements (the arrest report).

As PINAC and Thomas point out, the obstruction charge is especially baseless, given Thomas’ distance from the officers (approx. 30 feet compared to the report’s “close proximity”) and the fact that the entire situation appears to be completely under control by the time Officer Rojas arrives. Rojas seems to be the only cop there who viewed Thomas and his camera as somehow interfering with police business. Rojas then abandons his “partner” — who is presumably dealing with an actual criminal — solely to harass someone with a camera. If nothing else, Rojas has problems with prioritizing, giving the non-criminal (and protected) act of filming precedence over an actual law enforcement work.

Officer Rojas had multiple paths to take when he noticed a citizen filming him performing his public duties in a public place. Unfortunately, he decided to take the well-worn path and violate the rights of the photographer. And like many others, this decision has done nothing more than heap more negative publicity on the police department and the officer involved. The correct response — ignore it and do your job — still remains largely untested.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , | 1 Comment

NSA bugs Merkel aides instead of chancellor

RT | February 24, 2014

In the wake of President Obama’s promise to stop spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the US intelligence has switched its attention to her top government officials, a German newspaper reported.

Washington’s relations with Germany were strained last year after revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was conducting mass surveillance in Germany and even tapped the mobile phone of Chancellor Merkel.

Facing the German outrage, President Barack Obama pledged that the US would stop spying on the leader of the European country, which is among the closest and most powerful allies of America.

After the promise was made, the NSA has stepped up surveillance of senior German officials, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag (BamS) reported on Sunday.

“We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the chancellor’s communication directly,” it quoted a top NSA employee in Germany as saying.

BamS said the NSA had 297 employees stationed in Germany and was surveying 320 key individuals, most of them German decision-makers involved in politics and business.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere is of particular interest to the US, the report said, because he is a close aide of Merkel, who seeks his advice on many issues and was rumored to be promoting his candidacy for the post of NATO secretary-general.

A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry told the newspaper it would not comment on the “allegations of unnamed individuals.”

Privacy issues are a very sensitive area in Germany, which holds the memory of invasive state surveillance practices by the Nazi government and later by the Communist government in the former East Germany.

Part of the outrage in Germany was caused by the allegation that US intelligence is using its surveillance capabilities not only to provide national security, but also to gain business advantage for American companies over their foreign competitors.

Berlin has been pushing for a ‘no-spying deal’ with the US for months, but so far with little success. Germany is also advocating the creation of a European computer network which would allow communication traffic not to pass through US-based servers and thus avoid the NSA tapping.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Planning for the Future of the BDS Movement

By Lawrence Davidson | To the Point Analyses | February 24, 2014

Part I – Norman Finkelstein’s Predictions

Much has been made of the rising influence of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Indeed, there is a growing sense that the boycott power of civil society, particularly as it is manifesting itself in Europe, is on track to repeat history—to do to Israel what it once did to South Africa. Simultaneously, there is the persisting assumption that the latest effort at negotiating a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, now being managed by Secretary of State Kerry, will go down the same ignoble path as all its predecessors.

However, not everyone agrees with this. In an interview given to the New Left Project, posted on-line on 11 January 2014, Norman Finkelstein (a well published critic of Israel) presents a different scenario. Finkelstein firmly believes that Kerry’s efforts will bear fruit and thus, before the end of President Obama’s term in office, Israel and the frankly unrepresentative Palestine Authority (PA) will come to terms.

Finkelstein explains that the classic debate over Israel’s illegal settlement blocs is over and, on this issue, Israel has won. It will be allowed to absorb the major settlements and thus render any Palestinian entity geographically dubious. The right of return so dear to Palestinian refugees will also be abandoned by the PA.

As a consequence, what is now being “negotiated” are the Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” and the final status of the Jordan Valley. Finkelstein predicts that the first issue will be solved by describing Israel as “the state of the Jewish people and its citizens,” thus affording alleged legal protection to Arab-Israelis, and correspondingly, Palestine will become “the state of Palestinians and its citizens.” As to the Jordan Valley, Israel will slowly withdraw from the area. Finkelstein’s comment on this is that “Israel is adept at ‘conceding’ things to which it has no title in the first place.”

Finkelstein describes the “Palestinian leadership” as “irredeemably corrupt, incompetent and stupid.” He is only slightly kinder in his description of “Palestinian supporters abroad,” who, he says, are “not acting smartly.” He discounts boycott achievements in the U.S. and believes that those in Europe should be thought of as pressure tactics in support of Kerry’s efforts. Palestinian solidarity groups “carry on as if the Kerry process is a meaningless sideshow, something that can safely be ignored.” He thinks that this is a big mistake and that the possibility of real Palestinian self-determination will be gone before these supporters know what has hit them.

Part II – What If He Is Right?

Whatever one might think of Norman Finkelstein and his prognostications, it would be wise for those supporting BDS and Palestinian rights to  consider how they might react if, against all odds, Secretary of State Kerry succeeds. So let’s think about this.

Such a settlement (at least as described by Finkelstein) would transform a good part of the West Bank’s occupied territory into “sovereign” Israeli land and set up a truncated Palestinian entity to which Palestinian refugees could “return.” Some might question whether there would remain a rationale for continuing to boycott Israel. The BDS movement could lose steam, at least temporarily. However, would it and its goals dissipate all together?

Probably not. What would ultimately save the BDS movement is Israel’s leadership itself, driven as they are by the inherently racist nature of the Zionist ideology. In other words, Israel’s policy makers can be safely relied upon to be true to character. Take the “politically moderate” finance minister Ya’ir Lapid ,who recently told an Israeli audience, “the issue [is] we need to get rid of the Palestinians. It threatens us, it chokes us.” As a result of this commonly shared attitude, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians (and other non-Jews such as asylum seekers from East Africa) within Israel’s territory will continue apace. To put it another way, the 67-year-old effort to harass most non-Jewish citizens and residents out of the country will greatly intensify. The BDS campaign conducted against South Africa was a reaction against that society’s racist culture and policies. There is no reason why a powerful BDS movement cannot be sustained against Israel on the same basis.

Part III – What If He Is Wrong?

However, Norman Finkelstein may be wrong. It might be that the well-informed journalist Jonathan Cook is correct when he observes that “despite outward signs … [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu [is] far from ready to compromise.” Cook claims that Netanyahu has “the bulk of the Israeli public behind him. … But most importantly he has a large chunk of the Israel’s security and economic establishment on his side too.” As a result, “These negotiations may not lead to an agreement, but they will mark a historic turning-point nonetheless. The delegitimization of Israel is truly under way, and the party doing most of the damage is the Israeli leadership itself.”

Part IV – The Fate of the Movement

I think that the BDS movement, and more generally the movement for Palestinian rights, should be able to survive either way. If Cook is right, not only survival but rapid growth of the movement can be expected. If Finkelstein is correct, the situation will prove more complicated. Cook is certainly right about one thing: we are at a crossroads.  Where exactly the situation might lead us is not as clear as either he or Finkelstein make it out. This means that those who support the Palestinians no matter in what format should think about these possibilities. There is as yet lead time to formulate suitable contingencies. Let’s make the most of it.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Comments Off on Planning for the Future of the BDS Movement

Israeli army deploys new division in occupied Golan Heights: report

Al-Akhbar | February 24, 2014

The Israeli military deployed a new division to the border with Syria in a move described as “a significant boost to border security and stability,” the Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.

The 210th Regional Bashan Division replaced the 36th Armor Division and the Har Dov sector, which have been stationed on the occupied Golan Heights for 40 years.

The 36th Armor Division will become “an all-purpose wartime division, designed to be sent to any combat arena, such as Lebanon or Gaza, to support other divisions,” while the 210th Regional Bashan Division, with it’s “enhanced capabilities” backed by air defense systems and intelligence operations, will also have the ability “to carry out a ground maneuver in enemy territory.”

The deployment, dubbed “historic” has been planned months in advance, spurred by the volatile events across the border in Syria particularly in terms of fears that “there is no Syrian state sovereignty in areas bordering the southern Golan Heights, and global jihadi forces are expected to get stronger in such areas,” the Jerusalem Post said, citing Israeli intelligence assessments.

“The military sources said they do not expect Syria to recover from the civil war and go back to being a sovereign state in the foreseeable future, and they described the conflict as a strategic change that will be studied in future textbooks on Middle East history. It is impossible to know how Syria will turn out,” the report said.

“The IDF’s map of territory controlled by the Assad regime and the rebels is changing continuously,” it added.

Furthermore, the Jerusalem Post report noted that the 210th Division will be assisted by “a recently created Combat Intelligence Collection battalion, active along the Syrian border, and by a new security fence complete with electro-optical surveillance means and radars.”

The 210th Division will also have the ability to conduct military operations without seeking higher approval.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | Comments Off on Israeli army deploys new division in occupied Golan Heights: report