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Israel’s 24-7 ‘War’ on Palestine Rights Movement Torpedoes Events, Advances Anti-boycott Legislation

Israel’s 24-7 ‘War’ on Palestine Rights Movement Torpedoes Events, Advances Anti-boycott Legislation

The 29th floor of Tel Aviv’s Champion Tower is the nerve center of a 24-7 ‘war’ against Palestinian rights supporters around the world. Israeli agents working behind the scenes advance legislation, torpedo events, organize counter protests, close bank accounts. The Director says: ‘In order to win we must use tricks and craftiness.’

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | July 14, 2017

An Israeli newspaper reports that a special office in Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs is advancing anti-boycott, pro-Israel legislation around the world.

Israel’s Ynet News reports: “The State of Israel is waging one of its most important and difficult battles: The war on delegitimization and on the boycott movement.” The Ministry has mapped 150 entities and has implemented what it calls a “combat doctrine” against them.

According to Ynet, the ministry has created a $70 million unit that works “24-7” to monitor and counter activism in support of Palestinian rights.

The unit, named “The Battle,” has worked to advance legislation, torpedo events, block bank accounts, thwart funding, and organize counter protests. It has also placed agents in Israeli embassies around the world.

The Ministry’s Director-General Sima Vaknin-Gil says that in order to win, Israel must “must use tricks and craftiness.”

According to Ynet, the office monitors “all protests, conferences, publications calling for an anti-Israel boycott and international bodies’ boycott initiatives. It then transfers the information to the relevant people to provide a proper response to these activities, whether through a counter-protest or through moves to thwart the initiative behind the scenes.”

Israel’s justice department has agreed to exclude the unit from Israel’s Freedom of Information Law.

Gilad Erdan, Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information, states:

“Since the ministry began leading the war on the boycott movement, boycott organizations have been under constant pressure.

“Legislation is being advanced in Israel and in the world, the organizations are under financial pressure which includes closing bank accounts and thwarting donations, and the hypocrisy of bodies disguised as ‘human rights organizations’ is being exposed. My policy of moving from the defense to the offense has proved itself, but there’s a lot more to be done.”

Numerous anti-boycott, pro-Israel bills are making their way through U.S. governmental bodies.

The U.S. Congress passed anti-boycott legislation in 2015, at least 22 state legislatures throughout the country have enacted anti-boycott bills, and anti-boycott legislation in other states is in process.

In addition, legislation calling criticism of Israel “anti-Semitic” is being advanced at both the federal and state levels, and similar regulations are being adopted on college campuses. Related laws and resolutions are also being promoted internationally.

Israeli efforts to influence events in the U.S. are not new. In 1994 a former Mossad agent described on C-Span how the Mossad used pro-Israel organizations to plant claims that individuals critical of Israel are “antisemitic.”

In 1963 Senator William Fulbright discovered that Israel had given more than $5 million ($40 million in today’s dollars ) to organizations and individuals in the U.S. to influence public opinion in favor of Israel.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 6 Comments

Orwell’s Nightmare: Temperature Adjustments and Climate Change

corbettreport | July 14, 2017

Who controls the temperature datasets controls the past, and who controls the past controls the future. Welcome to the Orwellian world of temperature adjustments and climate alarmism. Sit up straight and buckle up tight, because this is consensus science as brought to you by Big Brother.

SHOW NOTES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=23211

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

Israel Once Again Reveals Its Disdain for Freedom of the Press

By Richard Hardigan | CounterPunch | July 14, 2017

When Akran Natsheh, a reporter for the Al Quds satellite channel, arrived at his office in Hebron in the morning of Thursday, July 13, he found that several of the doors had been pried open. Shards of wood were everywhere, and papers were strewn about on the floor. It certainly looked like an ordinary robbery, but then he found that several of his hard drives had been removed. His suspicions about the perpetrators were confirmed when one of his co-workers showed him the note he found posted on the front door by the Israeli army. It indicated that the offices had been stormed because “Al Quds serves an illegal organization.”

Natsheh looked at me with exasperation. “What does that even mean?” he complained. “When another news organization was raided, they were told it was because of incitement to violence.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regularly claims that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, but its commitment to one of democracy’s fundamental tenets – freedom of an independent press – leaves a great deal to be desired.

Mada, the Palestinian Center for Media and Development Freedoms, is an organization that monitors violations in the Palestinian Territories by both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. For example, it states in its annual 2017 report that while “2016 witnessed a relatively significant decrease in total number of violations monitored against media freedoms in Palestine compared to 2015,” there will still 383 violations, including “the murder of a media student at Al-Quds University … by Israeli Occupation Forces, [the] injuring and arresting of dozens of Palestinian journalists, [and the] raiding, confiscating and sabotaging [of] media outlets including the shutdown of 12 Palestinian media outlets and printing houses.”

When I asked Natsheh about the value of the items destroyed by the soldiers, he shrugged.

“Maybe $2000, but the money is not the important part. It is more about the psychological effect. I can buy new hard drives and new doors.” He paused to reflect.

This kind of attack causes self-censorship. Your work becomes something frightening. The challenge becomes bigger and bigger. They may storm this office next week and arrest me, or harass me in the field. Two years ago they shot at journalists during clashes, and so they became afraid to cover them.”

But Natsheh vowed to continue his work.

“We are journalists. We are not inciters. Our mission is to deliver the truth about what happens in Palestine to our audience. This is the mission of all journalists around the world. We all have the same mission, the same values, the same journalistic ethis. If they have anything against any organization, why don’t they go to court? They don’t. They go directly to destroy. If they had a strong narrative, they would not do that. But they don’t. We are just journalists. We just say what we see … You say something they don’t like, and they shut you down. This is the Occupation.”

Richard Hardigan is a university professor based in California. He is currently writing a book entitled “The Other Side of the Wall” based on his experience in the Occupied Territories.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

Opposing Zionism is not racism, rules Scottish court

By Yvonne Ridley | MEMO | July 14, 2017

In yet another landmark legal victory, members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign emerged from court victorious today after being accused of racism. Their “crime”? Standing up to Zionism.

The trial ended three years of speculation and pressure for SPSC members whose robust defence of their actions won the day in Glasgow Sherriff’s Court when the verdict was announced on Friday.

Four days of evidence and cross-examinations earlier this month focussed on the actions of two SPSC members who faced charges of racism and aggravated trespass for a protest against Israeli company Jericho cosmetics, which operates around the Dead Sea in the occupied West Bank. The protest was held in the wake of Israel’s 2014 military offensive against Palestinian civilians besieged in the Gaza Strip. More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed by the Israelis during the offensive, including 550 children, before in the war ended on 26 August. During the demonstration on 13 September 2014, the SPSC protesters denounced the killings.

Police were called to the shopping centre where the protest was being held, leading to the arrest of the two SPSC members accused of racism. “In other words,” explained Mick Napier, one of those arrested, “we were accused of being motivated by hatred of Israelis rather than opposition to Israel’s repeated massacres, apartheid across the whole of Palestine and genocidal violence in Gaza.”

During the Glasgow trial, the SPSC was buoyed by a High Court ruling in London that the Conservative government in Westminster acted unlawfully when it tried to prevent local councils in Britain from divesting from companies involved in Israel’s military occupation. The successful legal challenge for the right to boycott was brought by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in London, supported by War on Want, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the Quakers.

However, Napier wasn’t convinced that the result of the latest trial was a foregone conclusion. “Given their past record, we felt it was unlikely that even this High Court ruling in favour of BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] would stop Scottish prosecutors’ related efforts to criminalise the campaign in support of Palestinian freedom.”

The prosecutor — called the Procurator Fiscal in the Scottish legal system — claimed in open court that the two accused in the Glasgow case were recycling an ancient anti-Semitic “Jewish blood libel” by speaking about Israeli mass murder of Palestinians. The Procurator Fiscal’s office made these claims, said Napier, while the violated people of Gaza “were still looking for ice-cream freezers and vegetable refrigerators in which to store the bodies of children killed by Israel’s military.”

In their testimony last month, Napier and his co-accused Jim Watson both rejected the claims made by prosecution witnesses, a Chief Inspector of police, the manager of the Jericho stall and two local Zionist activists. The prosecution claim was that staff were intimidated by “racist” placards and the shouting of “racist abuse”; this was the description of the SPSC’s criticism of the pro-Israel counter-demonstrators for supporting Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians.

The “racist” placard with which the Procurator Fiscal and Zionist witnesses took particular issue was a symbolic but graphic image of blood dripping under the name “Dead Sea cosmetics”. Napier pointed out that at the time of their protest, the UN Secretary-General was describing Israel’s massacre of thousands of Palestinians as a “moral outrage and criminal act” and a “gross violation of humanitarian law.”

“When the Scottish government joined in by denouncing the ‘deep inhumanity’ of the Israeli massacre,” noted Napier, “the Scottish procurators fiscal were working hand in glove with pro-Israel lobby groups to silence voices of Palestine solidarity.”

The SPSC has faced repeated efforts by pro-Israel lobbyists and Scottish prosecutors to criminalise the group’s pro-Palestine activities. The Zionist record to-date is one of almost total failure; legal action has failed to secure any convictions of pro-Palestine activists. “There was, however, a consolation prize [for the Zionists] when we were both found guilty of refusing to leave the shopping centre when asked to do so by the police,” said Napier. “I was also convicted of aggravated trespass for protesting inside the shopping centre. We will be appealing against both convictions so any celebrations by the Zionists will, I suggest, be a bit premature.”

In February last year, two employees of the pro-Israel Community Security Trust made allegations against SPSC members but that was also thrown out by Kilmarnock Sheriff Court when the Sheriff ruled that the crime as alleged had not taken place. “Had we not had the benefit of an Al-Jazeera Arabic language broadcast of the protest where the CST tried to secure an assault conviction there might have been a different outcome,” added Mick Napier.

Anyone wanting to help the legal fund for this latest appeal can donate on the SPSC website here: http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments

US Dems Start Coordinated Bid to Obtain Trump Records, Force Votes on Russia

Sputnik – 14.07.2017

WASHINGTON – Democrats in the US House of Representatives have launched a coordinated effort to order the release of records related to President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and to force floor votes on the matter, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a briefing on Friday.

“Today we are announcing a new coordinated effort to force votes to get answers for the American people. We will force Republicans to take votes on the record… [and] we will expose House Republicans in action for their willful, shameful enabling,” Pelosi told reporters at a joint news conference with eight other lawmakers.

Seven members of Congress announced that they would introduce Resolutions of Inquiry on Friday as part of the coordinated effort.

The goal of the procedural measures is to hold Republicans accountable for their “complicity” with Trump, Pelosi said.

“They [Republicans] have become enablers of the violation of our Constitution, the attack on the integrity of our elections, the security of our country,” Pelosi said.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters said she and other Democrats on the Financial Services Committee introduced a Resolution of Inquiry directing the Treasury secretary to provide any documents related to credit extended by Russian banks or Russian government officials to the president, his immediate family, his associates or his properties and businesses.

In a similar vein, Congressman Bill Pascrell said he would introduce a Resolution of Inquiry to force the release of Trump’s tax returns to the Ways and Means Committee.

Meanwhile, Congressman Joaquin Castro introduced a Resolution of Inquiry directing the Secretary of State to provide Congress with any documents or communications records related to efforts to modify or revoke sanctions against Russia.

“If during the campaign or since the president’s inauguration members of the Trump team have considered altering sanctions on our adversary Russia, Congress and the American people need to know and have a right to know,” Castro told reporters. “House Republicans shouldn’t be providing cover for the administration and its affection for Russia.”

Congresswoman Pramilia Jayapal and Congressman David Cicilline said they would draft a Resolution of Inquiry, as well as letters to the chair of the Judiciary Committee demanding more information about Jared Kusher and Donald Trump Jr,’s affairs and meetings with Russian government officials.

Jayapal said the resolution seeks to expose the full extent of the ties between Donald Trump’s inner circle and the Kremlin.

“I fear that we are witnessing a betrayal of our nation that is unlike anything we have ever seen before in American politics. And we have a responsibility to uncover the truth and to lay the facts bare for all to see and judge for themselves,” Cicilline told reporters.

For her part, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman drafted a Resolution of Inquiry calling on the Department of Homeland Security to provide the House Homeland Security Committee with all documents of payments made by the agency to Trump organizations or Trump family travel in furtherance of Trump family business.

In addition, Congressman Hank Johnson, Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure, drafted a resolution to force the General Service Administration to produce documents related to a 60-year lease agreement for the Trump Organization to develop the iconic Old Post Office building in Washington.

“We need to ensure that President Trump is not enriching himself while serving in the ultimate position of public trust,” Johnson said.

Republicans are unlikely to back any of the resolutions, but Democrats could use the recorded votes as political fodder during next year’s midterm elections.

The issue of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election has become a political weapon in Washington, with Democrats seeking to portray Trump and his Republican party as soft on Russia.

Russia has repeatedly denied interference in the US presidential election and has called such allegations absurd and intended to deflect public attention from revealed instances of election fraud and corruption as well as other domestic concerns.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Yemen: Court Battle Exposes UK-Saudi Arms Deals And Humanitarian Tragedy

By Felicity Arbuthnot | Dissident Voice | July 14, 2017

On Monday 10th July, a ruling was handed down by London’s High Court, which should, in a sane world, exclude the UK government ever again judging other nations’ leaders human rights records or passing judgment on their possession or use of weapons.

The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) lost their case to halt the UK selling arms to Saudi Arabia, the case based on the claim that they may have been used to kill civilians in Yemen.

Anyone following the cataclysmic devastation of Yemen would think it was a million to one that the £3.3 Billion worth of arms sold by the UK to Saudi in just two years, had not been used to kill civilians, bomb hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, decimate vital and economic infrastructure and all necessary to sustain life.

In context, a survey released by the Yemen Data Project in September last year found that between March 2015 and August 2016 in more than 8,600 air attacks, 3,158 hit non-military targets.

How casual the slaughter is, Saudi pilots (as their British and US counterparts) apparently do not even know what they are aiming at. So much for “surgical strikes” – as ever:

Where it could not be established whether a location attacked was civilian or military, the strikes were classified as unknown, of which there are 1,882 incidents.

All those “unknown” killed had a name, plans, dreams, but as in all Western backed, funded or armed ruinations “it is not productive” to count the dead, as an American General memorably stated of fellow human beings.

In context, the survey found that:

One school building in Dhubab, Taiz governorate, has been hit nine times … A market in Sirwah, Marib governorate, has been struck 24 times.

Commenting on the survey, the UK’s shadow Defence Secretary, Clive Lewis, said:

It’s sickening to think of British-built weapons being used against civilians and the government has an absolute responsibility to do everything in its power to stop that from happening. But as Ministers turn a blind eye to the conflict … evidence that Humanitarian Law has been violated is becoming harder to ignore by the day.

Forty six percent of Yemen’s 26.83 million population are under fifteen years old. The trauma they are undergoing cannot be imagined.

The original CAAT Court hearing which took place was a Judicial Review in to the legality of the UK government’s arms sales to Saudi, held on 7th, 8th and 10th of February in the High Court.

CAAT stated, relating to the case:

For more than two years the government has refused to stop its immoral and illegal arms sales to Saudi Arabia – despite overwhelming evidence that UK weapons are being used in violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen.

They also quoted Parliament’s International Development and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees, who opined in October 2016:

Given the evidence we have heard and the volume of UK-manufactured arms exported to Saudi Arabia, it seems inevitable that any violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law by the coalition have involved arms supplied from the UK. This constitutes a breach of our own export licensing criteria. (Emphasis added.)

UK supplied arms since the onset of the assault on Yemen are:

£2.2 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)

£1.1 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles,

countermeasures)

£430,000 worth of ML6 licences (Armoured vehicles, tanks.)

Contacting CAAT spokesman Andrew Smith I queried what “countermeasures” might be (point two.) He said technically, protective items.  However:

CAAT feels that the overwhelming majority will be bombs and missiles including those being used on Yemen.

On 5th June CAAT had pointed out some further glaring anomalies:

The last two months have seen three terrible terrorist attacks carried out in the UK. The attacks were the responsibility of those that have carried them out, and they have been rightly condemned.

However:

Last week it was revealed by the Guardian that the Home Office may not publish a Report into the funding of terrorism in the UK. It is believed that the Report will be particularly critical of Saudi Arabia.

Andrew Smith commented:

Only two months ago the Prime Minster was in Riyadh trying to sell weapons to the Saudi regime, which has some of the most abusive laws in the world. This toxic relationship is not making anyone safer, whether in the UK or in Yemen, where UK arms are being used with devastating results.

Nevertheless:

Delivering an open judgment in the High Court in London, Lord Justice Burnett, who heard the case with Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave, said: “We have concluded that the material decisions of the Secretary of State were lawful. We therefore dismiss the claim”.

CAAT called the ruling a “green light” for the UK government to sell arms to “brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers”.

Interestingly, in increasingly fantasy-democracy-land UK:

The Court (also handed down) a closed judgment, following a case in which half of the evidence was heard in secret on national security grounds.

What a wonderful catch-all is “national security.”

Moreover:

UK and EU arms sales rules state that export licences cannot be granted if there is a ‘clear risk’ that the equipment could be used to break International Humanitarian Law. Licences are signed off by the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox. (Emphasis added.)

Mind stretching!

So the oversight of what constitutes a “clear risk” of mass murder and humanitarian tragedy, goes to the Minister whose Ministry stands to make £ Billions from the arms sales. Another from that bulging: “You could not make this up” file.

‘The case … included uncomfortable disclosures for the government, including documents in which the Export Policy Chief told the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, then in charge of licensing: “my gut tells me we should suspend (weapons exports to the country).”

‘Documents obtained by the Guardian showed that the UK was preparing to suspend exports after the bombing of a funeral in Yemen in October 2016 killed 140 civilians. But even after that mass murder, the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, advised Fox that sales should continue, adding: “The ‘clear risk’ threshold for refusal … has not yet been reached.”

For anyone asleep at the wheel, Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is supposed to be the UK’s chief diplomat. Definition: “a person who can deal with others in a sensitive and tactful way. Synonyms: Tactful person, conciliator, reconciler, peacemaker.” Comment redundant.

‘CAAT presented “many hundreds of pages” of reports from the UN, European Parliament, Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, Amnesty International and others documenting airstrikes on schools, hospitals and a water well in Yemen, as well as incidents of mass civilian casualties.’

However, to further batter the mind:

The reports “represent a substantial body of evidence suggesting that the coalition has committed serious breaches of International Humanitarian Law in the course of its engagement in the Yemen conflict”, the Judges wrote. “However, this open source material is only part of the picture”.

In two eye-watering fox guarding hen house observations:

The Saudi government had conducted its own investigations into allegations of concern, the judges noted, dismissing CAAT’s concern that the Saudi civilian casualty tracking unit was working too slowly and had only reported on 5% of the incidents. The Kingdom’s “growing efforts” were “of significance and a matter which the Secretary of State was entitled to take into account” when deciding whether British weapons might be used to violate international humanitarian law.

So Saudi investigates itself and the Secretary of State overviews his own actions in the State profiting in £ Billions from seemingly indiscriminate mass murder and destruction.

There was “anxious scrutiny – indeed what seems like anguished scrutiny at some stages” within government of the decision to continue granting licences, wrote the Judges. But the Secretary of State was “rationally entitled” to decide that the Saudi-led coalition was not deliberately targeting civilians and was making efforts to improve its targeting processes, and so to continue granting licences.

Pinch yourselves, Dear Readers, it would seem we live in times of the oversight in the land of the seriously deranged.

CAAT’s Andrew Smith, said:

This is a very disappointing verdict and we are pursuing an appeal. If this verdict is upheld then it will be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.

Every day we are hearing new and horrifying stories about the humanitarian crisis that has been inflicted on the people of Yemen. Thousands have been killed while vital and lifesaving infrastructure has been destroyed.

The case had exposed the UK’s “toxic relationship” with Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday 12th July, UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd again invoked “national security” (something Yemenis can only dream of in any context) and presented Parliament with a paltry four hundred and thirty word “summary” of the Report on the funding of terrorism, origins of which go back to December 2015.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott encapsulated the thoughts of many, telling Parliament:

 … there is a strong suspicion this Report is being suppressed to protect this government’s trade and diplomatic priorities, including in relation to Saudi Arabia. The only way to allay those suspicions is to publish the report in full.

Caroline Lucas, co-Leader of the Green Party said:

The statement gives absolutely no clue as to which countries foreign funding for extremism originates from – leaving the government open to further allegations of refusing to expose the role of Saudi Arabian money in terrorism in the UK.

Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Fallon condemned the refusal of the government to publish the Report as: “utterly shameful.”

Amber Rudd concentrated on pointing to individuals and organisations which might be donating, often unknowingly to: “ … inadvertently supporting extremist individuals or organisations.”

Peanuts compared to UK arms to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT’s appeal is to go back to the High Court and “If it fails, will go to the Court of Appeal” states Andrew Smith.

It also transpires that Saudi has dropped British made cluster bombs in Yemen, despite the UK being signatory to the 2008 Ottawa Convention on Cluster Munitions, banning their use, or assistance with their use. The Scottish National Party said it was a: “shameful stain on the UK’s foreign policy and its relationship with Saudi Arabia, as well as a failure by this government to uphold its legal treaty obligations”.

Final confirmation that the British government’s relations with Saudi over Arms and Yemen lies somewhere between duplicity and fantasy would seem to be confirmed in an interview with Crispin Blunt, MP., former army officer and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

In spite of the legal anomalies and humanitarian devastation, he assured the BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse that the Saudis were “rigorous” in making sure there were no breaches of international law and adopted the sort of high standard of the British army.

In that case, the cynic might conclude, given the devastation caused by the British army in Afghanistan and Iraq, perhaps it is not only arms and money that are the ties that bind the two countries, but scant regard for humanity itself.

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger’s Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.)

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Sending Messages to Russia

By Brian Cloughley | CounterPunch | July 14, 2017

Remember the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, hosted by Russia? The planning and organization were excellent and the games were an outstanding success in every way. The western media looked frantically for something to criticize and there was indeed one slight hiccup — at the opening, one of the decorative Olympic Rings in the enormous lit-up sign malfunctioned. British and American television stations loved it.  They played the fizzle-pop segment time after time after time, hoping that there would be something else equally disastrous for which evil, incompetent yet curiously threatening Russia could be hung out to dry.

It didn’t happen, of course, and the Russians made fun of the episode at the end of the games, but the attitude of the west was vehemently Cold War and it set the stage for the next few years.

To the anguish and annoyance of much of the Western media, the recent meeting in Hamburg between Presidents Trump and Putin was a success. On the Sunday following their discussions on Friday July 7 there was not one single positive comment piece or headline in any of the usual anti-Russia chorus line — including the Washington Post, London’s  Sunday Telegraph, the New York Times, London’s Mail on Sunday, and the Boston Sunday Globe (to name but a few).

Saturday’s front pages had also been devoid of anything positive, but given the small amount of information that was available immediately after the meeting, this is not surprising, although the Globe managed a front-page headline that “Trump Confronts Putin on Election Meddling” which was a good try. What was predictable but nonetheless deplorable was the totally negative attitude. Western media people do not think it a good thing that the leaders of two large and important nations spoke amicably with each other.

What they really wanted, of course, was for there to be a mighty explosion between Trump and Putin, followed by a snarling walk-out by one or other or preferably both. My goodness, just think of the photo-opportunities, the gleeful headlines, the sententious “I told you so” from the galaxy of talent poised in the wings with venom-tipped keyboard fingers.

Don’t get me wrong : I have no time for Trump whom I judge to be an arrogant, erratic, mendacious, vulgar oaf who would not be permitted to enter my house to clean the lavatory. But he is the President of the United States and thus a most important person. What he says should be regarded as official US policy — or perhaps not, because on July 8 he declared that “Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia” yet next day his Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told the media that in spite of what her President says about Russia, “It doesn’t mean we ever trust Russia. We can’t trust Russia and we won’t ever trust Russia.”

Just what is America’s official policy? It is apparent that the US and British media are firmly opposed to Russia, no matter what it does, but surely we should expect an indication of concerted, practical strategy from the highest strata of government?

When we have the US President saying he wants to “work constructively” with Russia and a minion publicly declaring that Russia can’t be trusted, there is obviously a critical problem.

In days gone by, that sort of insubordinate deviance would have been met with instant dismissal. You can’t have a country sending conflicting diplomatic (or undiplomatic) messages to another country with which it has sensitive relations — or, for that matter, to a country which considers it has most amicable relations with Washington, of which a case in point is Australia.

For years Australia has been trying to ingratiate itself with the US by supporting it in its stance of military confrontation against China (a vital Australian trade partner), by, amongst other things, letting the Pentagon establish yet another vast US military base and joining in saber-rattling military exercises. But in February the US President insulted the Australian Prime Minister by abruptly ending a telephone call with him. Sure, the Australian PM seemed to take it lightly when he mimicked Trump during an informal social event, but the damage to US-Australia relations had been done, and the American President has caused many Australians to distrust his country, which is quite an achievement. The messages were mixed, but the damage could have been rectified by a simple apology from Trump for his offensive treatment of Australia’s prime minister. But it is difficult to imagine Trump making a sincere apology for any of his actions or statements.

Which brings us back to his policy towards Russia, which is in self-contradictory tatters.

According to MSN news, Trump tweeted on Sunday July 9 that “Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin . . .” But according to the Washington Post (which is not the most dependable source in reporting anything to do with Russia, but in this case seems to be accurate) “Immediately after Friday’s meeting with Vladimir Putin, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the president told his Russian counterpart that members of Congress are pushing for additional sanctions . . .”

No foreign service, no government, no country, can operate effectively in international affairs when there are contradictory statements at such levels about matters of enormous importance. Nobody knows where they stand, and Trump’s tweet fandangos serve only to further complicate US-Russia relations about which there are increasingly grave doubts. The rabid anti-Russia diatribes in the US Senate have made it clear that no matter what Trump might try to do in order to establish cordial relations, both US political parties are inflexible in their determination that no peaceful progress will be permitted.

In order to advance the cause of confrontation, Washington’s politicians feed the media with meaty nuggets of condemnation. Western Intelligence agencies, which work closely with the staffs of the Washington Post and the New York Times (and, in the UK, with the Daily Telegraph ), do their bit in the disinformation process by publishing material based on leaks from “anonymous sources” who provide unverifiable yet ostensibly authoritative snippets of weighty garbage.

There is a major split in government in Washington, with President Trump — of all people — apparently intent on seeking balanced rapprochement with Russia, while the political Establishment and the Pentagon, backed to the hilt by the Fourth Estate, are relentlessly intent on a malevolent campaign of insult, innuendo and increasing military deployment close to Russia’s borders in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

President Trump said “We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia and the United States and for everybody concerned” which is a positive approach to bilateral relations, echoed by President Putin’s “I’m very glad to be able to meet you personally, and I hope that, as you have said, our meetings will yield positive results.”

Russia’s Foreign Secretary, Sergei Lavrov, told the media the “My feeling is that it’s been confirmed that the presidents, both the Russian and the American, are driven above all by the countries’ national interests and that they understand these interests primarily as looking for mutually beneficial agreements and not trying to act out some confrontation scenarios, not trying to create problems out of nothing.”

You couldn’t have asked for a more positive and constructive approach by both nations, and the talks would indeed have “yielded positive results” had not the entire clique in Washington made it clear that no such thing would be permitted.

The United States is sending mixed messages to Russia, but they are equally clear: on one hand there is desire for mutually beneficial rapprochement and on the other there is determination to intensify military and economic confrontation.  If these conflicts continue, there will be confusion.  If the Washington Warriors succeed in their campaign of malevolent hostility there will be war.

The arteries of diplomatic decency and mutually beneficial compromise are being blocked by clots.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Rising Budget Stakes for Space Warfare

By Jonathan Marshall | Consortium News | July 14, 2017

There’s a civil war being fought on our nation’s soil, right in our capital. It pits the Secretary of Defense and senior generals against a bipartisan band of militant legislators who accuse the Pentagon of standing pat while Russian and China work to achieve military superiority over the United States in space.

No doubt these bureaucratic warriors will eventually call a truce. But in the meantime, the American people will almost certainly become less secure and more indebted (in budget terms) as a result of both sides’ macho posturing for new warfighting capabilities in space (differing mostly on how far and how fast to go).

Eager congressional advocates of space warfare have attached an amendment to the House defense authorization bill requiring the Pentagon to create a new U.S. Space Corps to join the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard by 2019. Currently, the Air Force oversees most space warfare projects.

The amendment has sent senior Pentagon leadership into a tizzy. Secretary of Defense James Mattis “strongly” urged Congress to rescind the requirement, stating in a letter that “it is premature to add additional organization and administrative tail to the department at a time I am trying to reduce overhead.”

Similarly, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson protested that the proposal will simply “add more boxes to the organization chart.” Meanwhile, Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, insisted that his service has space matters well in hand. (He should be happy — the Pentagon recently raised his position to a 4-star rank.)

Upping the Ante

In response, Rep. Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican and chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee, announced that he was “pissed” and “outraged” at the Air Force for fighting the new Space Command, saying its obstructionism would “set back efforts to respond to adversaries and space threats” and allow Russia and China “to surpass us soon.”

“The Air Force leadership would have us trust them: I don’t think so,” Rogers sneered, as if speaking about the Russians. “They just need a few more years to rearrange the deck chairs: I don’t think so. This is the same Air Force that got us into the situation where the Russians and the Chinese are near-peers to us in space.” He vowed, “We will not allow the status quo to continue.”

Behind all the fiery argumentation lies a bipartisan consensus that the United States must sharply increase its spending on the militarization of space to maintain global supremacy. Gen. Raymond applauded Congress for recognizing the “national imperative” of his mission to “normalize, elevate, and integrate space as a war-fighting domain.”

Secretary Wilson published an op-ed column last month on her new initiatives to “develop space airmen who have the tools, training, and resources to fight when – not if – war extends into space.” She fully expects Congress to follow through on her request for a 20 percent increase in Air Force space funding. (Total military spending on space, including non-Air Force programs like the National Reconnaissance Office, came to about $22 billion last year.)

What’s driving all this activity — aside from baser motives of bureaucratic advantage and financial gain — are “intelligence assessments” that “China and Russia have aggressive programs to both demonstrate and produce eventual operational capability to . . . attack our space assets across the spectrum,” in the words of David Hardy, acting deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for Space.

“While we’re not at war in space, I don’t think we can say we’re exactly at peace, either,” said Navy Vice Adm. Charles A. Richard, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, in March. Gen. John Hyten, head of the Pentagon’s Strategic Command, recently declared that the United States needs not only a good defense, but “an offensive capability to challenge” space threats from Russia and China.

The High Stakes in Space

The stakes are potentially huge because the United States uses space for all manner of command, control, and intelligence missions, not to mention civilian applications. Orbiting satellites provide near-real-time images of conflict zones, sense missile launches and nuclear tests, provide precise positioning coordinates to guide weapons systems, and route secure communications to remote regions of the globe.

Of some 1,400 operational satellites currently in orbit, 40 percent belong to the United States, nearly twice as many as Russia and China combined. About 150 U.S. satellites serve military applications.

Any threat to satellites would thus pose a serious, even disproportionate military risk to the United States. But instead of supporting international initiatives to put space off limits to warfare, Washington has led the way in developing anti-satellite missile technology, encouraging a space arms race that puts our assets in peril.

The United States and Russia experimented with primitive anti-satellite technology as far back as the 1960s, but the United States first used a missile fired from a fighter jet to destroy an aging satellite in 1985. Not until 2007 did China conduct a similar test, blowing up an old weather satellite, while emphasizing its interest in multilateral talks to prevent the weaponization of space. The following year, the United States used a Navy interceptor missile to shoot down a dying military satellite. Russia followed suit with an anti-satellite test in 2015, proving that no military advance goes unanswered.

Some Key Facts

Alarmists who selectively cite Russian and Chinese activities to warn of an impending military space “gap” ignore a few key facts:

  1. The United States holds a clear technology lead and spends at least 10 times more on military space operations than every other country on earth combined.
  2. Although U.S. satellites are vulnerable to attack, most have maneuvering capabilities, shielding against various forms of radiation, and jam-resistant communications.
  3. For years, Russia, China and other nations have sought to control the spread of weapons into space — only to face consistent opposition from Washington.

An Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 limited only the deployment of nuclear weapons in space. In 2002, the George W. Bush administration withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty with Russia, opening the door to widespread deployment of weapons that put U.S. satellites at risk. A year later, the Air Force declared in its Strategic Master Plan that “the ability to exploit space while selectively disallowing it to adversaries is critically important and . . . an essential prerequisite to modern warfare.”

Candidate Barack Obama proposed an international “code of conduct” in space, but as president he met resistance from the State Department and Pentagon, and dropped the idea as U.S.-Russia relations soured. In 2011, Congress passed an amendment banning cooperation with China in space, thus encouraging a military space race between our countries.

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly voted 126 to 4 to pass a Russian resolution banning an arms race in space. The four dissenting countries were Georgia, Israel, Ukraine — and the United States.

Because the United States depends on space more than any other nation, both for military security and commerce, it has the most to lose if wars spread into space. Instead of relying only on military superiority to keep us safe, the time is long overdue to pursue diplomatic options for arms control — which potentially could help us achieve greater security for far less money.

“Unfortunately, the structural inertia that supports and, indeed, advocates, aggressive space postures requiring expensive weapon systems is strong,” notes Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and expert on space warfare. “Congressional support for their efforts is easily garnered, as building hardware creates lucrative jobs and corporate profits, whereas diplomacy does not.

“But if the goal of U.S. space security efforts is to maintain stability in space so it can fully utilize its space assets, then the time seems ripe for proactive diplomatic leadership and, at the same time, sustained strategic restraint. Otherwise, the U.S. will be seen (not for the first time) as advocating a policy of do-as-we-say-and-not-as-we-do regarding pursuit of offensive space capabilities.”

Johnson-Freese is not alone in her call for fresh new thinking about space warfare. A 2016 policy paper that she co-authored was published of all places by the Atlantic Council — a pro-NATO, Pentagon-funded think tank.

Its introduction declared, “The days of ‘space dominance’ are over and we need to move from thinking of space as a military domain of offense and defense to a more complex environment that needs to be managed by a wide range of international players. Doing so would calm growing tensions in space and, with deft management, lead to a more stable, peaceful space domain.”

The author of those words was retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They are words that sensible Americans — who want a safer world and a sane limit on military spending — should rally round. We will stand a greater chance of preserving our civilization if we reserve space wars for movies and novels.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

How the Clinton’s Longstanding Ukrainian Donor Allegedly Sponsored Hillary’s Run

Sputnik – July 14, 2017

CyberBerkut hackers believe that the Clinton Foundation’s donor Victor Pinchuk, a son-in-law of former Ukrainian President Kuchma, could have been behind the money laundering scheme involving IMF funds intended for Ukraine. The hackers alleged that these funds were then redistributed to the Clinton charity through offshores.

While the American mainstream media is struggling to find Russian “traces” in the US 2016 presidential campaign, the story of the Ukrainian interference in the election remains largely neglected.

During his testimony at the Senate Confirmation Hearing on Russia future FBI Director Christopher Wray said that he would be interested in looking into Kiev’s alleged meddling in the electoral process in the United States.

For her part, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier that there was “real collusion” between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Ukraine during the campaign.

On July 12 the CyberBerkut hacker group released what it called the email exchange of Thomas Weihe, the head of the board of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, assuming that the Pinchuk entity threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton during the US 2016 presidential campaign.

Victor Pinchuk is one of the most influential Ukrainian oligarchs and a son-in-law of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

In addition, Victor and his wife Elena Pinchuk (also referred to as Olena Franchuk) are well known for their longstanding cooperation with the Clinton Foundation.

According to the Clintons’ charity website, the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation established a partnership with the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) back in September 2006.”The two Foundations have committed a total of $2.5 million dollars to support CHAI’s HIV/AIDS work in Ukraine over the five-year period of 2006 through 2010,” the official press release read.

Still, according to Elena Pinchuk Foundation’s site, her cooperation with CHAI actually started in 2004 when Elena Pinchuk, the daughter of then-Ukrainian President Kuchma, “initiated the negotiations between the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative and Ukraine.”

The emails hacked by CyberBerkut have indicated that the Pinchuk-Clinton cooperation has not waned over the years.

“On behalf of CGI, we are delighted to kick off preparations for the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative [CGI] with you and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. We very much appreciate all of your Victor and Elena Pinchuk’s continued support of the work of the Clinton Global Initiative and look forward to working with you,” one of the emails said.

Furthermore, citing the Clinton Foundation’s website, the hacker group called attention to the fact that “over the past 5 years the Victor Pinchuk Foundation transferred to the Clinton Foundation from 10 to 25 million dollars.”

What is more interesting, however, is that “the largest tranches from the Pinchuk Foundation to the Clinton Foundation were held in 2015 and 2016,” according to CyberBerkut.

“By a ‘fortune chance,’ Hillary Clinton fought for the Oval at the exact same time,” the hacker group highlighted.

Interestingly enough, just two weeks before Hillary Clinton officially announced her decision to run for the presidency, Victor Pinchuk “relentlessly” sought to meet Bill Clinton wanting him to “show support for Ukraine,” as one of the Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks indicated.

“Victor Pinchuk is relentlessly following up (including this morning) about a meeting with WJC [Bill Clinton] in London or anywhere in Europe. Ideally he wants to bring together a few western leaders to show support for Ukraine, with WJC probably their most important participant. If that’s not palatable for us, then he’d like a bilat with WJC,” the email allegedly written by Ami Desai, the Clinton Foundation’s foreign policy director on March 30, 2015, said.

It appears that the Pinchuks and their Ukrainian allies were interested in Hillary Clinton’s victory in the 2016 presidential run given their longstanding and close collaboration. However, that is not all.

Cyberberkut assumes that the funds given to the Clinton Foundation by Pinchuk could have originated from vanished IMF loans allocated for Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian investigation case connected to commercial banks that laundered the IMF’s money from the National Bank of Ukraine is still going on. According to the investigation, such banks as Tavrika, Pivdenkom Bank, Avtokraz Bank, CityCommerce Bank, Finrost Bank, Terra Bank, Kyivska Rus Bank, Vernum Bank, Credit Dnepr Bank, Delta Bank were involved in the criminal scheme. Funds were transferred through Austrian Meinl Bank AG,” the CyberBerkut site reads.

The hacker group highlighted that Credit Dnepr Bank and Delta Bank, related to Victor Pinchuk, offshored much more money than their counterparts.

“As it turns out, the offshore organizations that received the IMF’s money such as Melfa Group LTD (Belize), Tandice Limited (Cyprus), Tosalan Traiding Limited (Cyprus), Agalusko Investment Limited (Cyprus), Winten Trading LTD (Cyprus), Silisten Trading Limited, Nasterno Commercial Limited, are also connected to this gentleman,” CyberBerkut wrote.

“Moreover, most of the money went to the account of his main money laundering machine — the Victor Pinchuk Foundation,” the hacker group suggested.

The hackers also noted that at that time (from 2014 to 2016) the Ukrainian Finance Ministry was run by Natalie Jaresko who served as the First Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine (1992 —1995) under President Bill Clinton.

“Coming back to the Credit Dnepr Bank which belongs to V. Pinchuk it is worth to mention that his supervisory board includes former IMF managing director D. Strauss-Kahn who probably still has an influence on the international credit organization,” the hacker group remarked.

SEE ALSO:

Ukraine May Have a New President in Waiting, But He’s Another Oligarch

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia Baiters and Putin Haters

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • July 14, 2017

“Is Russia an enemy of the United States?” NBC’s Kasie Hunt demanded of Ted Cruz. Replied the runner-up for the GOP nomination, “Russia is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug.”

To Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, the revelation that Donald Trump Jr., entertained an offer from the Russians for dirt on Clinton could be considered “treason.”

Treason is giving aid and comfort to an enemy in a time of war.

Are we really at war with Russia? Is Russia really our enemy?

“Why Russia is a Hostile Power” is the title of today’s editorial in The Washington Post that seeks to explain why Middle America should embrace the Russophobia of our capital city:

“Vladimir Putin adheres to a set of values that are antithetical to bedrock American values. He favors spheres of influence over self-determination; corruption over transparency; and repression over democracy.”

Yet, accommodating a sphere of influence for a great power is exactly what FDR and Churchill did with Stalin, and every president from Truman to George H. W. Bush did with the Soviet Union.

When East Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Poles rose up against Communist regimes, no U.S. president intervened. For those nations were on the other side of the Yalta line agreed to in 1945.

Bush I and James Baker even accused Ukrainians of “suicidal nationalism” for contemplating independence from Russia.

When did support for spheres of influence become un-American?

As for supporting “corruption over transparency,” ex-Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili resigned in disgust as governor of Odessa in November, accusing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, our man in Kiev, of supporting corruption.

As for favoring “repression over democracy,” would that not apply to our NATO ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, and our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte? Were U.S. Cold War allies like the Shah of Iran and Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile all Jeffersonian Democrats? Have we forgotten our recent history?

The Post brought up the death in prison of lawyer-activist Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Under the Magnitsky Act of 2012, Congress voted sanctions on Russia’s elites.

Yet China’s lone Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to 11 years in prison for championing democracy, died Thursday of liver cancer, with police in his hospital room. Communist dictator Xi Jinping, who makes Putin look like Justin Trudeau, would not let the dying man go.

Will Magnitsky Act sanctions be slammed on China? Don’t bet on it. Too much trade. Congress will do what comes naturally — kowtow. Yet our heroic Senate voted 98-2 to slam new sanctions on Russia.

What are the roots of this hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin, whom a Fox analyst called “as bad as Hitler”?

During the Cold War, every president sought detente with a USSR that was arguably the most blood-soaked regime of the century.

When the Cold War ended in December 1991, the Soviet Union had dissolved into 15 nations. Moscow had given up her empire, a third of her territory, and half the population of the USSR. Marxist-Leninist ideology was dead. An epochal change had taken place.

Yet hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin seem to exceed anything some of us remember from the worst days of the Cold War.

Putin’s Russia is called imperialist, though Estonia, next door, which Russia could swallow in one gulp, has been free for 25 years.

Russia invaded Georgia. Well, yes, after Georgia invaded the seceded province of South Ossetia and killed Russian peacekeepers.

Russia has taken back Crimea from Ukraine. True, but only after a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev replaced the elected pro-Russian regime.

Russia has intervened to back Bashar Assad in Syria. Yes, but only after our insurgent allies collaborated with al-Qaida and ISIS to bring him down. Is Russia not allowed to support an ally, recognized by the U.N., which provides its only naval base on the Med?

Russia has meddled in our election. And we have meddled in the affairs of half a dozen nations with “color-coded revolutions.” The cry of “regime change!” may daily be heard in the U.S. Capitol.

Putin is not Pope Francis. But he is not Stalin; he is not Hitler; he is not Mao; and Russia today is not the USSR. Putin is an autocrat cut from the same bolt of cloth as the Romanov czars.

His cooperation is crucial to the peace of the world, the freedom of the Baltic States, an end to the Syrian civil war, tranquility in the Persian Gulf, and solving the North Korean crisis.

While our tectonic plates may rub against one another, we are natural allies. The Russia of Tolstoy, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn and the Orthodox Church belongs with the West.

If America stumbles into a war with Russia that all our Cold War presidents avoided, the Russia baiters and Putin haters will be put in same circle of hell by history as the idiot war hawks of 1914 and the three blind men of Versailles in 1919.

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment