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US police covertly spy on innocent citizens with military hardware – report

RT | November 26, 2017

Dozens of police departments across the US are using special devices to track suspects without warrants. However, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers also capture data from regular people on the street.

The technology, which was developed for the military, mimics cell phone towers and tricks phones into routing signals through them. This allows police to a track suspect’s location. The machines even allow police to get the location of a phone without the user making a call or sending a text. The most common of these devices is called a “StingRay.”

Such devices can also collect the phone numbers a person has been calling and texting and even intercept the content of communications.

At least 72 state and local law enforcement departments in 24 states and 13 federal agencies use the devices, according to a new report from AP. The report notes that further details are hard to come by because the departments that use IMSI catchers must take the unusual step of signing non-disclosure agreements overseen by the FBI.

An FBI spokeswoman told the news agency that the agreements, which regularly involve the defense contractor that makes the machines, are intended to prevent the release of sensitive law enforcement information to the general public. Last year, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report that found the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security had spent a combined $95 million on 434 cell-site simulators between 2010 and 2014.

Civil liberties unions such as the NYCLU say the devices are extremely invasive because they operate in such a wide range, around two city blocks, that they don’t just grab up the target’s data but also information from other people in the area.

Law enforcement agencies have also gone to great lengths to conceal StingRay usage, in some instances even offering plea deals rather than divulging details on the machine.

In several states, courts are beginning to grapple with the issue. Earlier this month, a Brooklyn judge ruled that the police need an eavesdropping warrant to use a StingRay. In September, a federal court ruled use of the device without a warrant violated the US Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment.

READ MORE: Stingray tracking of cellphones unconstitutional without a warrant – US court

November 26, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Google’s Eric Schmidt, arbiter of news, has long history with Obama & Clinton

RT | November 21, 2017

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, announced that his company will ‘de-rank’ RT’s articles online, calling them propaganda. Is he concerned for the integrity of news, or are his motives more partisan?

The 62-year-old, with an estimated wealth of $11.1 billion, has never hidden his political leanings, jumping straight into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign long before she officially announced her candidacy. In one of John Podesta’s leaked emails, the long-time Clinton confidant and chairman of her presidential campaign told her soon-to-be campaign manager Robby Mook that he had met with Schmidt in April 2014, more than a year before Clinton told the American public that she was hoping to become their next president.

“I met with Eric Schmidt tonight… He’s ready to fund, advise recruit talent, etc. He clearly wants to be head outside advisor, but didn’t seem like he wanted to push others out. Clearly wants to get going. He’s still in DC tomorrow and would like to meet with you if you are in DC in the afternoon. I think it’s worth doing…” Podesta wrote in the email, which was published by WikiLeaks last October.

Another email, written two weeks later, showed Schmidt sharing his campaign ideas with Clinton aide Cheryl Mills. “Let’s assume a total budget of about $1.5 billion, with more than 5,000 paid employees and million(s) of volunteers,” he said.

He went on to brainstorm ideas on how to utilize technology in the campaign. It wasn’t long before The Groundwork, founded by analysts and engineers who worked on Barack Obama’s campaign and funded by Schmidt, became Clinton’s top technology provider. The Groundwork was housed in an office just a few blocks away from Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

Schmidt continued to advise Clinton on digital matters throughout the campaign.

“Eric recognizes how the technology he’s been building his whole career can be applied to different spaces. The idea of tech as a force multiplier is something he deeply understands,” The Groundwork’s Michael Slaby told Quartz in 2015.

Then there was campaign night, when a photo forwarded to Politico showed a smiling Schmidt at Clinton’s election headquarters, complete with a “staff” badge.

Schmidt’s efforts to get Clinton elected, along with Google’s overall efforts to do the same, were addressed in a November 2016 report by the Campaign for Accountability ‒ a non-partisan, non-profit organization that aims to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life ‒ and its Google Transparency Project. The document concluded that “Google executives and employees bet heavily on a Clinton victory, hoping to extend the company’s influence on the White House.” It added that “had she won the election, Clinton would have been significantly indebted to Google and Schmidt, whom she referred to as her ‘longtime friend.'”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also brought up the relationship between Schmidt and the US establishment in his 2014 book, ‘When Google Met WikiLeaks.’ He describes a 2011 encounter with Schmidt in Norfolk, UK, where Assange was under house arrest at the time.

“I had been too eager to see a politically unambitious Silicon Valley engineer, a relic of the good old days of computer science graduate culture on the West Coast. But that is not the sort of person who attends the Bilderberg conference four years running, who pays regular visits to the White House, or who delivers ‘fireside chats’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos,” Assange wrote. “Schmidt’s emergence as Google’s ‘foreign minister’ – making pomp and ceremony state visits across geopolitical fault lines – had not come out of nowhere; it had been presaged by years of assimilation within US establishment networks of reputation and influence.”

Same thing, different candidate 

Schmidt’s political leanings became clear in the early days of Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. He publicly endorsed Obama, telling The Wall Street Journal in October 2008 that he was “doing this personally,” as Google was “officially neutral” in the election. He also served as an informal adviser to Obama’s campaign.

Schmidt also donated $5,000, the maximum allowed by law, to Obama’s 2008 campaign, according to US media reports that cited a now-deleted official list of donors. Schmidt’s close relationship with Obama didn’t end when the Democratic candidate was elected. Schmidt chaired the board of public policy think tank New America Foundation, working closely with Obama as a member of his Transition Economic Advisory Board. Later, Schmidt claimed a seat on Obama’s new Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The two became so close that the Consumer Watchdog sent a letter to the White House demanding that Obama distance himself from Google, and stop inviting Schmidt to fancy galas in Washington, DC. The group pointed out that Schmidt, and then-Google Vice President Marissa Mayer, were invited to a state dinner despite the company being under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice over allegations that it profited from selling online ads to illegal pharmacies.

“Executives of companies under federal criminal investigation should not be invited while a major case is pending. Allowing such executives to hobnob at a gala White House event inevitably sends a message that the Administration supports them and undercuts the ability of federal investigators to proceed with their case in a fair and unbiased way,” reads the letter, dated June 23, 2011.

Schmidt also supported Obama’s 2012 campaign, helping to recruit talent, deciding on technology, as well as mentoring campaign manager, Jim Messina. He was present in the Chicago, Illinois boiler room on election night. The Google executive was apparently so impressed by Obama’s campaign staff that he invested in several start-ups founded by the analysts and engineers who worked on it, one of those being The Groundwork.

Schmidt’s announcement to ‘de-rank’ RT’s articles comes despite Google’s own investigation saying it found no manipulation of its platform or policy violations by RT. There may be more ground to question Schmidt’s integrity than that of RT – but that’s highly unlikely to happen in today’s climate, because Google is not a Russian company.

Read more:

‘Modern censorship: Google decides RT is propaganda, yet millions disagree’

‘Google’s plan to isolate Russian media is an act of information warfare’

Google will ‘de-rank’ RT articles to make them harder to find – Eric Schmidt

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

US Military Fraud Endemic in Overseas Operations

By Wayne MADSEN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 21.11.2017

History shows us that when empires over-extend themselves, military commanders become semi-independent warlords who usher into place systems of graft and corruption. Such was the case in the Roman Empire in 193 A.D., when Emperor Pertinax’s Praetorian Guard – a combination personal security force for the emperor and elite special forces unit that distinguished itself on distant battlefields – sold out the emperor in exchange for a bribe from an aspirant emperor, Didius Julianus. The Praetorian Guard assassinated Pertinax and swore their allegiance to the new emperor, Julianus.

The rot of corruption would help ensure the downfall of other global empires. The fraudulent British East India Company and its corporate nabobs, backed by British military and naval power, helped to ignite colonial rebellions in America in the 1770s and India in 1857.

As the United States has over-extended its military realm into the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, Europe, the Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, corruption within so-called “Areas of Responsibility” assigned to regional US military commands has run rampant.

Within the US Pacific Command (PACOM) region, a major bribery and fraud scandal centered on a US Navy contractor, Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), headed by Leonard Glenn Francis, a 350-pound Malaysian citizen nicknamed “Fat Leonard.” In return for cash, vacations at five-star hotels, first- and business-class flights, expensive concert tickets, Rolex watches, Mont Blanc pens, Dom Perignon champagne, vintage wine, Cuban cigars, spa treatments, foie gras, $2000 bottles of cognac, and prostitutes, US Navy officers provided Leonard with virtual unfettered access to Navy intelligence and sensitive contract information that was used by GDMA to secure lucrative Navy logistics contracts. The “Fat Leonard” scandal grew to include senior officers, including admirals, attached to the US Seventh Fleet in Japan. The Navy’s investigation is continuing, and more than 60 additional admirals are reportedly under investigation by law enforcement authorities. For years, the Navy scandal extended from Japan to the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sabah, South Korea, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Sri Lanka, Hawaii, and Washington, DC and involved, in addition to Navy officer and enlisted personnel, Marine Corps officers and US government civilians, including investigators of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

One of the worst frauds to have arisen from the neo-conservative bowels of the George W. Bush administration was the US Africa Command (AFRICOM). The June 4, 2017, strangling death in Bamako, Mali of US Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar by two US Navy SEALs is now linked to his discovery that the two Navy personnel were pocketing official funds used by AFRICOM to pay off informants in the West African country. This type of fraud points to a culture of malfeasance present in US area of responsibility commands, including AFRICOM, Central Command (CENTCOM), and Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

According to reports in The New York Times and The Daily Beast, the death of Melgar at the hands of the two SEAL thieves occurred within a barracks unit within the heavily-fortified US embassy compound in Mali. The SEALS, Petty Officer Anthony DeDolph and Adam C. Matthews, allegedly killed Melgar after he refused an offer to share their ill-gotten loot and shared, via email, his concerns with his wife back in the United States. The SEALS claimed Melgar died after becoming unconscious during a hand-to-hand combat training session. The SEALS also told military investigators that Melgar was drunk when he became unconscious as the result of a chokehold placed on him during the roughhousing. However, the US Special Operations Command and Army Criminal Investigative Command (USACIC) decided the SEALS had changed their stories so many times that they became subjects, rather than witnesses, in the investigation. An autopsy revealed that there were no traces of alcohol or drugs in Melgar’s body at the time of his death. Furthermore, Melgar was reported by friends and family to have been a teetotaler.

AFRICOM and USACIC tried to cover up the details of Melgar’s death until The New York Times originally broke the story about the death last month. USACIC handed off investigation of the case to the NCIS, which is worse than its Army counterpart in covering up sensitive military criminal cases. Neither of the two SEALS, both of whom were transferred back to the United States and were placed on administrative leave, have been charged in the murder of Melgar. It was apparently officers of the US Special Operations Command, which is headquartered in Tampa, Florida, who tipped off the press about the cover-up involving Melgar’s death.

AFRICOM has also been hesitant to provide full details about an ambush of a joint US-Nigerien unit operating near the Niger village of Tongo-Tongo in October of this year. Four US Army personnel were killed by an armed force that remains unidentified by AFRICOM. Tongo-Tongo sits astride a major African smuggling route for humans, drugs, ivory, and weapons between West Africa and the failed state of Libya. It was later reported that the four US soldiers died at the hands of the attackers after their unit’s Nigerien army personnel fled the scene during the attack. The body of one of the American troops, Sgt. La David Johnson, showed signs of being tortured and executed by the unidentified captors.

The case of Melgar is similar to the murder of West Point ethics professor, Army Col. Ted Westhusing in Baghdad in 2005. Like AFRICOM in Mali and other African countries, CENTCOM was entrusted with hundreds of millions of dollars in cash used to pay-off informants and make local purchases on the Iraqi economy.

Westhusing’s family and friends rejected the Army’s determination that Westhusing took his own life. The Army based its decision on a “suicide” note said to be written in Westhusing’s handwriting. At the time of his death, Westhusing was investigating contract violations and human rights abuses by US Investigations Services (USIS), a privatized former entity of the US Office of Personnel Management later purchased by The Carlyle Group, a firm with close links to George H. W. Bush. While he was in Iraq training Iraqi police and overseeing the USIS contract to train police as part of the Pentagon’s Civilian Police Assistance Training Team, Westhusing received an anonymous letter that reported USIS’s Private Services Division (PSD) was engaged in fraudulent activities in Iraq, including over-billing the government. In addition, the letter reported that USIS security personnel had murdered innocent Iraqis. After demanding answers from USIS, Westhusing reported the problems up the chain of command. After an “investigation,” the Army found no evidence of wrongdoing by USIS.

Days before his supposed suicide by a “self-inflicted” gunshot wound in a Camp Dublin, Iraq, trailer located at Baghdad International Airport, West Point Honor Board member Westhusing reported in e-mail to the United States that “terrible things were going on in Iraq.” He also said he hoped he would make it back to the United States alive. Westhusing had three weeks left in his tour of duty in Iraq when he allegedly shot himself in June 2005.

The cover-up of Westhusing’s death involved the same Army Criminal Investigative Command that covered up Melgar’s death in Mali. The murders of Melgar and Westhusing are not stand-alone events regarding US military forays around the world. Army Corporal Pat Tillman, the star National Football League player who enlisted in the Army after 9/11, became disillusioned with the war in Afghanistan. After Tillman’s private feelings about the Afghan war were discovered by senior commanders in his chain-of-command, Tillman was “fragged” by members of his own unit in Khost province on April 22, 2004. Tillman’s diary, uniforms, and other possessions were burned by his unit to cover up his execution by his own colleagues.

On September 4, 2006, Army Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez, the chief logistics officer at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, who was investigating over-payments for goods and services and other fraud, supposedly committed suicide in his base quarters after ingesting prescription sleeping pills and anti-freeze. In December 2006, Army Major Gloria Davis, a contracting officer at Camp Arifjan, allegedly committed suicide in Kuwait after she admitted to receiving $225,000 in bribes from Lee Dynamics, an Army logistics contractor. Davis had reportedly agreed to cooperate with government investigators in their overall investigation of contract fraud in Iraq and Kuwait.

In 2007, a senior Blackwater manager threatened to kill Jean C. Richter, the chief US State Department investigator of Blackwater’s dubious operations in Iraq, unless the State Department called off the investigation. The incident occurred as Richter focused on problems with Blackwater’s $1 billion State Department contract. The CEO of Blackwater was Erik Prince, whose sister, Betsy DeVos, now serves as Donald Trump’s Education Secretary. Prince later sold Blackwater, which is now known as Academi. Prince has reportedly been involved in AFRICOM operations in Libya and Somalia via his Reflex Responses (R2) firm, which is based in Abu Dhabi.

The July 2, 2007, “suicide” of Army Lt. Col. Thomas Mooney, the US Defense Attaché in Nicosia, Cyprus, was said to be the result of a “self-inflicted cut to the throat.” Mooney’s body was found next to an embassy vehicle parked in a secluded location, some 30 miles west of Nicosia. He was said to have left the embassy in the embassy’s black Impala Chevrolet to pick up an arriving passenger at Larnaca International Airport. Although the US embassy and State Department ruled Mooney’s death a suicide, the Cypriot police did not agree with those findings but merely pointed out that suicide was illegal in Cyprus. Mooney was, according to our sources, investigating Iraq-related contract fraud involving companies headquartered in Cyprus, some of which were linked to the Israeli Mafia.

AFRICOM and PACOM – just as is the case with CENTCOM, which complements the culture of baksheesh bribery in the Middle East and South Asia – now find themselves mired in the same depths of kleptocratic fraud as is practiced in countries like Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso, where AFRICOM is active. The Fat Leonard scandal and the recent murder of Melgar in Mali are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the malfeasance involved in global US military operations.

When it comes to the US military operating in its overseas locations, the Latin phrase popularized by the Roman poet Juvenal, perhaps wise to the corruption of the Praetorian Guard of his time, comes to mind. “Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” “Who watches the watchmen?”

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

How the Israel Lobby Works in Britain

By Brian CLOUGHLEY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 15.11.2017

The government of the United Kingdom is in a state of turmoil, mainly because it lacks authority as a result of holding an election in which the Conservative party was unexpectedly dealt a severe blow to its pride and popularity. Since then its indecision and incompetence have been complicated by scandal, of which the latest involved enforced resignations of two cabinet ministers, one because he indulged in sexual harassment, and the latest, the Overseas Aid minister, Ms Priti Patel, because she told lies to the prime minister about a visit to Israel.

Ms Patel admitted that her actions “fell below the high standards expected of a secretary of state” which was certainly the case, because she told lies; but her low standard expeditions appear to have involved some intriguing antics. It was reported that in August she went on “a secret trip to Israel with a lobbyist, during which she held 12 meetings, including one with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, without informing either [Prime Minister] May or Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary.” It is amazing that she could have imagined that British intelligence services would not report her movements and meetings in the daily brief, but this did not stop her telling the Guardian newspaper that “Boris knew about the visit. The point is that the Foreign Office did know about this, Boris knew about [the visit to Israel]. It is not on, it is not on at all. I went out there, I paid for it, and there is nothing else to this. It is quite extraordinary. It is for the Foreign Office to go away and explain themselves.”

But it wasn’t the Foreign Office that had to explain things, because this was yet another squalid deception by a grubby little politician — for whatever reason she may have had to try to disguise her motives. Her assertion that “I went on holiday and met with people and organisations . . . It is not about who else I met, I have friends out there,” didn’t ring true, and the media discovered a whole raft of deceit.

Not only did she have a dozen meetings with “friends” in Israel, but, as revealed by the Sun newspaper, “on September 7, Ms Patel met Israeli Minister for Public Security Gilad Erdan for talks in the House of Commons. Then, on September 18, she met Israel’s Foreign Ministry boss Yuval Rotem while in New York at the UN General Assembly. Ms Patel would not last night [November 6] disclose what the meetings were about. She had seen both men in Tel Aviv in August . . .”

She was accompanied on her holiday in Israel by a British peer, Lord Polak, who attended all her meetings with Israel’s best and brightest, including Prime Minister Netanyahu. And Polak went with her to New York, with his flight being paid for by the Israeli consulting firm ISHRA, which “offers a wide range of client services.” Polak was also present when she had discussions with the Israeli Minister for Public Security at the House of Commons before she went to New York.

Lord Polak

Lord Polak didn’t have far to walk to the House of Commons because he is a member of the adjacent House of Lords, Britain’s unelected upper chamber of Parliament, which is a travesty of democracy. It makes a mockery of social equality and far too many of its members are generous donors to political parties or failed politicians who have been “kicked upstairs” to well-recompensed relaxation as compensation for years of political toadying. There are 800 members of the House, making it the second-largest legislative assembly in the world, after China’s National People’s Congress (although it has to be borne in mind that China has a population of 1.3 billion as against Britain’s 65 million).

In short, the House of Lords is a farcical disgrace. But it still has much influence, because there is a great deal of money sloshing around, and there are people and political parties who control this money — like the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), an organisation that the Financial Times (FT) reports has “an estimated 80 per cent of Tory MPs as members.” And it is no coincidence that Lord Polak “spent a quarter of a century as head of the CFI . . . He quit as director in 2015 to join the House of Lords, but has remained the group’s honorary president.”

CFI is a wealthy organisation which the FT notes “has given £377,994 [495,000 US dollars] to the Conservative party since 2004, mostly in the form of fully-funded trips to Israel for MPs.” Not only that, but it gives large individual donations to Conservative members of parliament — and does anyone imagine for a moment that any politician so favoured is going to say a single word against Israel in any forum in any context?

They’ve been bought.

The CFI’s deep-pocket generosity includes holding an annual London dinner, at which last December the prime minister not only referred to Lord Polak as “the one and only Stuart Polak” but noted there were over 200 legislators present and declared she was “so pleased that the CFI has already taken 34 of the 74 Conservative MPs elected in 2015 to Israel.”

Money is the most important feature of UK-Israel relations, and May was thrilled about “our countries’ biggest-ever business deal, worth over £1 billion, when Israeli airline El Al decided to use Rolls Royce engines in its new aircraft.” It all comes down to money, and Israel, in receipt of oceans of cash from the United States, can splurge it where it wants.

Last year it was announced that the US “will give Israel $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade, the largest such aid package in US history, under a landmark agreement signed on [September 14]” which includes an annual amount of $3.3 billion in “foreign military financing.”

Britain can’t give Israel any money, as it is itself in a poor financial situation, but it tries to make up for lack of cash by unconditional political support. It doesn’t matter to Britain’s government that Israel is in violation of nearly 100 UN Security Council resolutions, almost all of them requiring its withdrawal from illegally occupied Arab lands. Don’t expect the United Kingdom to criticise the Israeli fiefdom.

The love-fest between Britain’s Conservative party and the state of Israel is not only unhealthy but suspiciously personal. There is little wonder that the British government has done its best to sweep the sordid Patel affair under the carpet, and that the intrigues of Lord Polak are being kept very quiet indeed.

Lord Polak is chair of the advisory board of TWC Associates, a “boutique consultancy specialising in the development of political strategy”, which lists among its clients several Israeli defence companies, including Elbit Systems which specialises in defence electronics.

In 2012 it was disclosed that TWC and Elbit Systems were involved in the appalling British “Generals for Hire” scandal when Elbit’s UK chairman told undercover Sunday Times reporters that TWC could gain access to government “from the prime minister down.” In this particularly revolting instance of corruption the British retired Lieutenant General Richard Applegate, then Chairman of TWC, boasted that TWC had enormous influence, through its connections with Conservative Friends of Israel. He declared that “We piggy back on something, and please don’t spread this around, to do with basically Conservative Friends of Israel… do a series of discreet engagements using advisers to gain access to particular decision makers.” Just as Ms Patel was doing in Tel Aviv and London and New York, with the shadowy but authoritative guidance of the creepy Polak.

There is a lot that is wrong in the United Kingdom at the moment, but the Israeli scandal is the most squalid pantomime yet to be revealed in the tenure of the present administration. The prime minister is desperate to conceal her government’s intimate association with Israel, and is achieving success by deflecting media attention away from the machinations of the Israeli lobby and selecting other targets. Her attack on Russia in a bizarre diatribe at a London banquet on November 13 was indicative of panic, but the headlines were obtained and the grubby Israel drama faded away into the background.

In the words of Prime Minister Theresa May on November 2, just as news of the Patel scandal was breaking, “We are proud to stand here today together with Prime Minister Netanyahu and declare our support for Israel. And we are proud of the relationship we have built with Israel.”

May and Netanyahu in London on November 2

The British public will never know what Patel, Polak and all the other agents of influence were scheming to achieve, or what fandangos they may get up to in the future, but we can be certain that the Britain-Israel alliance will continue to prosper.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Democrats Used to Love Russian Oligarchs

By Glen Ford | Black Agenda Report | November 15, 2017

The massive leaking of the so-called “Paradise Papers” detailing the myriad ways corporations and individual billionaires hide their money in tax havens around the world, provided news organizations a chance to make the case for reining in global capital. Unlike the 2015 leak of the so-called “Panama Papers ,” which detailed the offshore tax evasions of a sleazier class of capitalists, the “Paradise” disclosures reveal how the world’s public sectors are starved for funding by billionaires and corporations from “the high end of town” — the Lords of Capital that make up the “international oligarchy” whose spreading influence is “the major issue of our time,” in the words of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Nearly 100 news media groups agreed to join with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to expose how the oligarchs avoid their responsibility to share in the cost of civilization, while simultaneously dictating the terms of life for most of the planet’s people. The New York Times is part of this network, but instead of following the money wherever it leads, the paper chose, in the bulk of its own reporting, to make the Paradise Papers an extension of its Russiagate obsession.

To kick off the project, the Times highlighted Twitter and Facebook investments by Yuri Milner , an alleged recipient of “hundreds of millions of dollars in Kremlin funding” who has ties to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner; and dealings by Wilbur Ross , Trump’s commerce secretary whose money is invested in a shipping company “with business ties to a Russian oligarch facing sanctions and [with] President Vladimir V. Putin’s son-in-law.”

The Wilbur Ross story has been at the center of the Times coverage of the Paradise Papers ever since, solidifying the public’s impression that the Russian oligarch connection to the U.S. is mainly a Republican affair — or, more specifically, the result of relatively recent machinations within Donald Trump’s circles. The truth is quite the opposite. It is the Democrats that have been in “collusion” with Russian oligarchs since the birth of that class out of the rubble of the Soviet collapse. And it was during the brief “reset” of U.S.-Russian relations, between 2009 and 2012 under President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that the most recent deals between American and Russian capitalists were consummated.

Donald Trump and his crowd arrived very late on the Russian scene, after relations between Moscow and Washington had been poisoned, and never got a chance to wheel and deal with ruling oligarchic circles — which is why the Trump team’s Russian interlocutors turned out to be so marginal, sleazy and ultimately useless. The party was over when Trump’s people arrived on the Moscow scene; they met with hustlers, self-dealers and wannabes.

Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, on the other hand, took advantage of the “reset” that she and Barack Obama had initiated. In 2015, the New York Times headlined “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal ,” detailing how Clinton’s State Department and other U.S. and Canadian agencies had signed off on a 2012 deal that gave a Russian company control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. During that same period, the chairman of the Russian company kicked in $2.5 million to the Clinton Foundation, and former president Bill Clinton “received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting” the uranium company’s stock, according to the Times.

During the thaw in U.S.-Russian relations Tony Podesta, the lobbyist brother of former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, won the contract to represent the then president of Ukraine, Viktor F. Yanukovych, who would later flee to Russia after U.S.-backed Nazi’s ran him out of office. Podesta is now one of the rare Democratic targets of Robert Mueller’s Russiagate investigation. However, it was logical that a “pro-Russian” politician hire a Democratic lobbyist to represent his interests in Washington under a Democratic president. Indeed, Democratic-identified lobbyists got most of the Russian contracts during the “reset” period, and Democratic businesses had the inside track on whatever deals were available. Had the reset occurred under President George W. Bush, Republican lobbyists and firms would have had the advantage — as is well understood in Washington.

Is it any wonder that Trump turns an even redder shade of orange when he demands an investigation into Clinton’s “Uranium to Russia deal”? The Donald was totally outclassed by a Democratic apparatus with far more experience in navigating the Kremlin.

The Democrats were there at the birth of the Russian mafia-oligarchy, clucking and cooing like godmothers. Bill Clinton and platoons of Wall Street advisors guided the dissolution of the Russian state and redistribution of public assets among the new class of gangster-owners. They openly backed the drunken quisling Boris Yeltsin for president in 1996, and were assured by the nouveau gangster capitalist class of continued subservience to Washington. To this day, the U.S. government (and the New York Times ) treats fallen Russian oligarchs like political prisoners, and exiled mafia as allies, and has installed an oligarch-run regime in Ukraine. They hate Putin because he “tamed” the most unpatriotic elements of Russian oligarchy, and put his country on an independent international path.

The Democrats don’t hate oligarchs. How could they, when the United States is a world-strangling oligarchy, home to six of the planet’s eight wealthiest men, three of whom — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — own more wealth than the bottom half of the entire U.S. population: 160 million people. Russia’s oligarchs are bums compared to the Lords of Capital of the United States.

But Washington does deeply resent the loss of their special relationship with the Russian oligarchy. Putin’s success in domesticating his country’s mafia allowed Russia to reassert its national interests and, in the process, to resist Barack Obama’s (Democratic) global military offensive, centered in Syria, beginning in 2015, and to forge a working partnership with China, which has reclaimed its ancient status as the center of the world economy. These are the events that will shape our world for the rest of this century.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Financial Tyranny: ‘We the People’ Are the New Permanent Underclass in America

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute | November 14, 2017

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” ― Frédéric Bastiat, French economist

Americans can no longer afford to get sick and there’s a reason why.

That’s because a growing number of Americans are struggling to stretch their dollars far enough to pay their bills, get out of debt and ensure that if and when an illness arises, it doesn’t bankrupt them.

This is a reality that no amount of partisan political bickering can deny.

Many Americans can no longer afford health insurance, drug costs or hospital bills. They can’t afford to pay rising healthcare premiums, out-of-pocket deductibles and prescription drug bills.

They can’t afford to live, and now they can’t afford to get sick or die, either.

To be clear, my definition of “affordable healthcare” is different from the government’s. To the government, you can “afford” to pay for healthcare if your income falls above the poverty line. That takes no account of rising taxes, the cost of living, the cost to clothe and feed a household, the cost of transportation and communication and education, or any of the other line items that add up to a life worth living.

As Helaine Olen points out in The Atlantic:

Just because a person is insured, it doesn’t mean he or she can actually afford their doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical, and other medical bills. The point of insurance is to protect patients’ finances from the costs of everything from hospitalizations to prescription drugs, but out-of-pocket spending for people even with employer-provided health insurance has increased by more than 50 percent since 2010.”

For too many Americans, achieving any kind of quality of life has become a choice between putting food on the table and paying one’s bills or health care coverage.

It’s a gamble any way you look at it, and the medical community is not helping.

Healthcare costs are rising, driven by a medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industry that are getting rich off the sick and dying.

Indeed, Americans currently pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care. We spent more than $10,000 per person on health care in 2016. Those attempting to shop for health insurance coverage right now are understandably experiencing sticker shock with premiums set to rise 34% in 2018. It’s estimated that costs may rise as high as $15,000 by 2023.

As Bloomberg reports, “Rising health-care costs are eating up the wage gains won by American workers, who are being asked by their employers to pick up more of the heftier tab… The cost of buying health coverage at work has increased faster than wages and inflation for years, pressuring household budgets.”

Appallingly, Americans spend more than any developed country on healthcare and have less to show for it. We don’t live as long, we have higher infant mortality rates, we have fewer hospital and physician visits, and the quality of our healthcare is generally worse. We also pay astronomical amounts for prescription drugs, compared to other countries.

Whether or not you’re insured through an employer, the healthcare marketplace, a government-subsidized program such as Medicare or Medicaid, or have no health coverage whatsoever, it’s still “we the consumers” who have to pay to subsidize the bill whenever anyone gets sick in this country. And that bill is a whopper.

While Obamacare (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act) may have made health insurance more accessible to greater numbers of individuals, it has failed to make healthcare any more affordable.

Why?

As journalist Laurie Meisler concludes, “One big reason U.S. health care costs are so high: pharmaceutical spending. The U.S. spends more per capita on prescription medicines and over-the-counter products than any other country.”

One investigative journalist spent seven months analyzing hundreds of bills from hospitals, doctors, drug companies, and medical equipment manufacturers. His findings confirmed what we’ve known all along: health care in America is just another way of making corporations rich at consumer expense.

An examination of an itemized hospital bill (only available upon request) revealed an amazing amount of price gouging. Tylenol, which you can buy for less than $10 for a bottle, was charged to the patient at a rate of $15 per pill, for a total of $345 for a hospital stay. $8 for a plastic bag to hold the patient’s personal items and another $8 for a box of Kleenex. $23 for a single alcohol swab. $53 per pair for non-sterile gloves (adding up to $5,141 for the entire hospital stay). $10 for plastic cup in which to take one’s medicine. $93 for the use of an overhead light during a surgical procedure. $39 each time you want to hold your newborn baby. And $800 for a sterile water IV bag that costs about a dollar to make.

This is clearly not a problem that can be remedied by partisan politics.

The so-called Affordable Care Act pushed through by the Obama administration is proving to be anything but affordable for anyone over the poverty line. And the Trump administration’s “fixes” promise to be no better. Indeed, for too many Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and struggle just to get by, the tax penalty for not having health insurance will actually be cheaper than trying to find affordable coverage that actually pays for care.

This is how the middle classes, who fuel the nation’s economy and fund the government’s programs, get screwed repeatedly.

When almost 60% of Americans are so financially strapped that they don’t have even $500 in savings and nothing whatsoever put away for retirement, and yet they are being forced to pay for government programs that do little to enhance their lives, we’re not living the American dream.

We’re living a financial nightmare.

We have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, but that doesn’t prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn and forcing us to pay for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, pork barrel projects that produce little to nothing, and a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

We have no real say, but we’re being forced to pay through the nose, anyhow.

George Harrison, who died 16 years ago this month, summed up this outrageous state of affairs in his song Taxman:

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Don’t ask me what I want it for
If you don’t want to pay some more
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re working for no one but me.

In other words, in the eyes of the government, “we the people, the voters, the consumers, and the taxpayers” are little more than indentured servants and sources of revenue.

If you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your property and your money, you’re not free.

Consider: The government can seize your home and your car (which you’ve bought and paid for) over nonpayment of taxes. Government agents can freeze and seize your bank accounts and other valuables if they merely “suspect” wrongdoing. And the IRS insists on getting the first cut of your salary to pay for government programs over which you have no say.

It wasn’t always this way, of course.

Early Americans went to war over the inalienable rights described by philosopher John Locke as the natural rights of life, liberty and property.

It didn’t take long, however—a hundred years, in fact—before the American government was laying claim to the citizenry’s property by levying taxes to pay for the Civil War. As the New York Times reports, “Widespread resistance led to its repeal in 1872.”

Determined to claim some of the citizenry’s wealth for its own uses, the government reinstituted the income tax in 1894. Charles Pollock challenged the tax as unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor. Pollock’s victory was relatively short-lived. Members of Congress—united in their determination to tax the American people’s income—worked together to adopt a constitutional amendment to overrule the Pollock decision.

On the eve of World War I, in 1913, Congress instituted a permanent income tax by way of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and the Revenue Act of 1913. Under the Revenue Act, individuals with income exceeding $3,000 could be taxed starting at 1% up to 7% for incomes exceeding $500,000.

It’s all gone downhill from there.

Unsurprisingly, the government has used its tax powers to advance its own imperialistic agendas and the courts have repeatedly upheld the government’s power to penalize or jail those who refused to pay their taxes.

Irwin A. Schiff was one of the nation’s most vocal tax protesters. He spent a good portion of his life arguing that the income tax was unconstitutional. He paid the price for his resistance, too: Schiff served three separate prison terms (more than 10 years in all) over his refusal to pay taxes. He died at the age of 87 serving a 14-year prison term. As constitutional activist Robert L. Schulz noted in Schiff’s obituary, “In a society where there is so much fear of government, and in particular of the I.R.S., [Schiff] was probably the most influential educator regarding the illegal and unconstitutional operation and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code. It’s very hard to speak to power, but he did, and he paid a very heavy price.”

It’s still hard to speak to power, and those who do are still paying a very heavy price.

All the while the government continues to do whatever it likes—levy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsibly—with little thought for the plight of its citizens.

The national debt is $20 trillion and growing. The amount this country owes is now greater than its gross national product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). We’re paying more than $270 billion just in interest on that debt annually. And the top two foreign countries who “own” our debt are China and Japan.

To top it all off, all of those wars the U.S. is so eager to fight abroad are being waged with borrowed funds. As The Atlantic reports, “For 15 years now, the United States has been putting these wars on a credit card… U.S. leaders are essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

If Americans managed their personal finances the way the government mismanages the nation’s finances, we’d all be in debtors’ prison by now.

Still, the government remains unrepentant, unfazed and undeterred in its money grabs.

While we’re struggling to get by, and making tough decisions about how to spend what little money actually makes it into our pockets after the federal, state and local governments take their share (this doesn’t include the stealth taxes imposed through tolls, fines and other fiscal penalties), the police state is spending our hard-earned tax dollars to further entrench its powers and entrap its citizens.

For instance, American taxpayers have been forced to shell out $5.6 trillion since 9/11 for the military industrial complex’s costly, endless so-called “war on terrorism.” That translates to roughly $23,000 per taxpayer to wage wars abroad, occupy foreign countries, provide financial aid to foreign allies, and fill the pockets of defense contractors and grease the hands of corrupt foreign dignitaries.

Mind you, that staggering $6 trillion is only a portion of what the Pentagon spends on America’s military empire.

That price tag keeps growing, too.

The 16-year war in Afghanistan, which now stands as the longest and one of the most expensive wars in U.S. history, is about to get even longer and more costly, thanks to President Trump’s promise to send more troops over.

In this way, the military industrial complex will get even richer, and the American taxpayer will be forced to shell out even more funds for programs that do little to enhance our lives, ensure our happiness and well-being, or secure our freedoms.

As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in a 1953 speech:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. […] Is there no other way the world may live?

This is still no way of life.

Yet it’s not just the government’s endless wars that are bleeding us dry.

We’re also being forced to shell out money for surveillance systems to track our movements, money to further militarize our already militarized police, money to allow the government to raid our homes and bank accounts, money to fund schools where our kids learn nothing about freedom and everything about how to comply, and on and on.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The government isn’t taking our money to make our lives better. Just take a look at the nation’s failing infrastructure, and you’ll see how little is being spent on programs that advance the common good.

We’re being robbed blind so the governmental elite can get richer.

This is nothing less than financial tyranny.

“We the people” have become the new, permanent underclass in America.

It’s tempting to say that there’s little we can do about it, except that’s not quite accurate.

There are a few things we can do (demand transparency, reject cronyism and graft, insist on fair pricing and honest accounting methods, call a halt to incentive-driven government programs that prioritize profits over people), but it will require that “we the people” stop playing politics and stand united against the politicians and corporate interests who have turned our government and economy into a pay-to-play exercise in fascism.

We’ve become so invested in identity politics that label us based on our political leanings that we’ve lost sight of the one label that unites us: we’re all Americans.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the powers-that-be want to pit us against one another. They want us to adopt an “us versus them” mindset that keeps us powerless and divided. Trust me, the only “us versus them” that matters anymore is “we the people” against the police state.

We’re all in the same boat, folks, and there’s only one real life preserver: that’s the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution starts with those three powerful words: “We the people.”

The message is this: there is power in our numbers.

That remains our greatest strength in the face of a governmental elite that continues to ride roughshod over the populace. It remains our greatest defense against a government that has claimed for itself unlimited power over the purse (taxpayer funds) and the sword (military might). As Patrick Henry declared in the last speech before his death, “United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions … or … exhaust [our strength] in civil commotions and intestine wars.”

This holds true whether you’re talking about health care, war spending, or the American police state.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | | 1 Comment

Take it from the AIPAC’s Mouth

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon

In this precious video, AIPAC delivers a devastating message to the American people. Your political system is hijacked by a foreign aggressive lobby — it doesn’t matter if you vote for the Democrats or the Republicans, if you like Clinton or prefer Trump, your political system is dominated by a Jewish lobby group that doesn’t even try to conceal its diabolical operation.

This is exactly the situation I describe in my new book Being in Time – a Post Political Manifesto. The ‘political’ has been obliterated by now. If you want to understand why America, Britain and France are fighting Zionist immoral interventionist wars, spend one minute and watch this video!

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Corruption in Israel is not just an Israeli issue

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | November 14, 2017

Whether the string of scandals, now hounding Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, lead to his sacking or not, it matters little.

Though nearly half of Israelis polled last July – well before the scandals took a much dirtier turn – believe that Netanyahu is corrupt, a majority of Israelis said that they would still vote for him.

A recent survey conducted by Israel’s Channel 10 TV concluded that, if general elections are held today, Netanyahu will garner 28% while his closest contenders, Avi Gabbay of the Zionist Camp and Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid will each gather 11% of the vote.

“The next stage, which is drawing near, is for the citizens of Israel to re-elect a criminal as their leader and entrust their fate to him,” a leading Israeli columnist, Akiva Eldar, wrote in response to Netanyahu’s continued popularity, despite accusations of corruption and repeated police investigations.

But Eldar should not be surprised. Political corruption, bribery and misuse of public funds have been the norm – not exception – in Israeli politics.

Alex Roy puts it more succinctly in a recent piece in the Times of Israel : “The fact that (Netanyahu) still has a good chance of being the prime minister after these coming elections says more about how used to corruption we have become than how clean he is.”

Roy wrote that his country “has gotten used to political criminals” simply because “each prime minister over the last quarter century has at some point faced criminal charges.”

He is right, but there are two major points that are missing in the discussion which had been, until recently, mostly confined to Israeli media.

First, the nature of the suspected misconduct of Netanyahu is different from his predecessors. This matters greatly.

Second, Israeli society’s apparent acceptance of corrupt politicians might have less to do with the assumption that they have “gotten used” to the idea and more with the fact that the culture, as a whole, has grown corrupt. And there is a reason for it.

To elucidate, Netanyahu’s alleged corruption is rather different from that of former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

Olmert was corrupt the old-fashioned way. In 2006, he was found guilty of accepting bribes while serving as the mayor of Jerusalem. In 2012, he was convicted for breach of trust and bribery, this time as Prime Minister. In 2015 he was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

Other top Israeli officials were also indicted, including President Moshe Katsav, who was convicted of rape and obstruction of justice.

These charges remained largely confined to a person or two, making the nature of the conspiracy quite limited.  Israeli and western media pundits used such prosecutions to make a point regarding the health of Israel’s democracy, especially when compared with its Arab neighbors.

Things are different under Netanyahu. Corruption in Israel is becoming more like mafia operations, roping in elected civil servants, military brass, top lawyers and large conglomerates.

The nature of the investigations that are closing in on Netanyahu points to this fact.

Netanyahu is embroiled in ‘File 1000’, where the Prime Minister and his wife accepted gifts of large financial value from a renowned Hollywood producer, Arnon Milchan, in exchange for favors that, if confirmed, required Netanyahu to use his political influence as the Prime Minister.

‘File 2000’ is the ‘Yisrael Hayom’ affair.  In this case, Netanyahu reached a secret deal with the publisher of the leading Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Arnon Mozes. According to the deal, Yedioth agreed to cut down on its criticism of Netanyahu’s policies in exchange for the latter’s promise to decrease the sale of a rival newspaper, ‘Yisrael Hayom’.

‘Yisrael Hayom’ is owned by pro-Israeli American business tycoon, Sheldon Adelson, Netanyahu’s close and powerful ally, until the news of the Yedioth deal surfaced. Since then, ‘Yisrael Hayom’ turned against Netanyahu.

‘File 3000’ is the German submarines affair. Top national security advisors, all very closely aligned to Netanyahu, were involved in the purchase of German submarines that were deemed unnecessary, yet cost the government billions of dollars. Large sums of this money were syphoned by Netanyahu’s inner circle and transferred to secret, private bank accounts.

This case, in particular, is significant regarding the widespread corruption in Israel’s upper-most circles.

Central to this investigation are the cousins and two closest confidantes of Netanyahu: his personal lawyer, David Shimron and the country’s ‘de-facto foreign minister’, Isaac Molcho. The latter has managed to build an impressive, but largely hidden, network for Netanyahu, where the lines of foreign policy, massive government contracts, and personal business dealings are largely blurred.

There is also the ‘Berzeq affair’ involving Israeli telecommunication giant, Berzeq, and Netanyahu’s political ally and friend, Shlomo Filber.

Netanyahu was the Minister of Communication until he was ordered by court to step down in 2016. According to media reports, his handpicked replacement, Filber, served the role of ‘spy’ for the telecommunication powerhouse to ensure critical decisions made by the government are communicated in advance to the company.

Most intriguing about Netanyahu’s corruption is that it is not a reflection of him alone: this is layered corruption, involving a large network of Israel’s upper echelons.

There is more to the Israeli public’s willingness to accept corruption, than its inability to stop it.

Corruption in Israeli society has become particularly endemic after the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. The idea that ordinary Israelis can move into a Palestinian house, evict the family, claim the house as their own, with the full support of the military, the government and the court, exemplifies moral corruption to the highest degree.

It was only a matter of time before this massive corruption racket – military occupation, the settlement enterprise, the media whitewashing of Israeli crimes – seeped back into mainstream Israeli society, which has become rotten to the core.

While Israelis might have ‘gotten used’ to their own corruption, Palestinians have not, because the price of Israel’s moral corruption is too high for them to bear.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Balfour Mentality Has No Place in Civilized Society

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | November 14, 2017

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was hatched by Zionist schemers and foisted upon a gullible and desperate British government in time of war. Those dark forces then worked hard to ensure that the first part of the pledge (and much more) was implemented while the second part, which promised to safeguard the rights and interests of the existing non-Jewish population of Palestine, was permanently suppressed.

This betrayal has shamed and angered right-thinking British people for decades. The Government could apologise and make amends but lacks the moral fibre. In the meantime, the spectacle of sick-minded elements of the British Establishment celebrating 100 years of Balfour is beyond all bounds of decency. It was met with such strong counter-demonstrations that supporters of Israeli apartheid will hopefully feel more isolated from now on. They are relatively few, corralled in their Westminster bubble. We are many, and growing.

But we still have an ignorant, biased mainstream media to contend with. During his visit to join the jollifications Israeli prime minister Netanyahu was given a platform on the BBC’s flagship Andrew Marr Show where he spouted his propaganda lies without serious challenge from the usually forensic Marr. A pity George Galloway wasn’t on hand for the occasion.

The Daily Mail meanwhile accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of snubbing an invitation to the gala dinner with Netanyahu to honour Balfour and the birth of Israel and slammed him for speaking at a MEND (stands for Muslim Engagement Development) event instead. MEND in turn was accused of being a hard-line Islamist organisation masquerading as civil libertarians, and extremist with it.

Former Communities Secretary Sir Eric Pickles called Corbyn’s snub “a slap in the face of Israel, and of all British Jewish citizens of the United Kingdom”. He said: “To not make a dinner is perhaps excusable but to attend a meeting of extremists who are vowed to destroy Israel is contemptible.

The unswerving devotion by Tory grandees like Pickles to the real extremists, chief among them Her Majesty’s Government’s guest of honour Netanyahu, is nauseating. This hard-line nutter, with his repulsive gang, continues to expropriate Palestinian land and property and ethnically cleanse Palestinian citizens from their homeland at gunpoint and with armoured bulldozers. And Pickles calls Corbyn contemptible?

Jennifer Gerber, of Labour Friends of Israel, declared that it was “utterly unacceptable” for the Labour leader to attend an event organised by a group that has repeatedly peddled myths about the Israel lobby. So uncomfortable truths are relegated to myth? In any case what are agents of a foreign military power doing in the Labour Party and using it to influence the work of the British parliament? It’s high time all party leaders shut down the pro-Israel meddlers in their ranks, just as they’d crush interference on behalf of any other rogue state.

Personally I don’t believe Israel has a friend in the whole world apart from those it has bought and the sad folk who have allowed themselves to be perverted by Christian-Zionist pastors and the Scofield bible.

Then Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary, was criticised for “disgraceful” Balfour comments and accused of having “reflected Corbyn’s view that the Labour party has no place as a mediator in the Israel-Palestine conflict”. Professor Colin Shindler, a Senior Research Fellow in Israel Studies and an advisory board member of the Israel Institute, said: “Corbyn over the last thirty years has never been a mediator between Israel and Palestine but a propagandist for one side and one side only. This goes against all the talk about peace and reconciliation – it doesn’t make any sense at all.”

I wonder, has Shindler tried saying the same to the Conservative Party, with 80 percent if its MPs signed up to Friends of Israel?

Thornberry argued that the Balfour Declaration should not have been celebrated “because I think it was a turning point in the history of that area, and I think probably the most important way of marking it is to recognise Palestine”. This will strike most people as a perfectly reasonable position given that successive British governments over the last 40 years have fielded prime ministers and foreign secretaries who were eager stooges for Israel, happy to turn a blind eye to its crimes and only too pleased to help thwart attempts to win justice for those it has cruelly oppressed in the Holy Land.

The latest fiasco is the crazy adventures of Conservative glamour-girl Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary who had 14 meetings with Israeli politicians (including prime minister Netanyahu and his security minister) during a family holiday in Israel without telling the Foreign Office, her civil servants or her boss Theresa May, and without government officials present. This was not only a two-finger salute to the ministerial code of conduct but a gross breach of security.

She’s accused of freelancing in foreign policy and is said to have tried persuading colleagues to send British taxpayers’ money as aid for an Israeli forces project in the Golan Heights. Like we don’t need the money here, with 300,000 homeless and sleeping rough….  Furthermore, she actually visited the Golan. Everyone and his dog knows — except Patel, apparently — that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory stolen in 1967 by the Israelis who have illegally occupied it ever since. Touring it with the thieving occupation army was a monumental diplomatic blunder.

Patel’s meetings are said to have been arranged by Lord Polak. This individual was an official of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in the 1980s, joined the Conservative Friends of Israel in 1989, and served as its director for 26 years until appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for political service and made a life peer. It’s hard to see what political service Polak performed for anyone except the Israeli regime.

The Patel-Polak shambles is a disturbing echo of the Fox-Werrity affair back in 2011. The then shadow Secretary of State for Defence Dr Liam Fox had been quoted on the Conservative Friends of Israel website as saying: “In the battle for the values that we stand for, for democracy against theocracy, for democratic liberal values against repression — Israel’s enemies are our enemies.” The Jewish Chronicle hailed him as “a champion of Israel within the government”. Fox has continually rattled the sabre against Iran which, of course, is no enemy of Britain but regarded by Israel as an obstacle to its craving for supremacy in the region. So it was well advertised where Fox was coming from. No surprise, then, when he became the centre of an unsavoury scandal involving him, his ‘close friend’ Adam Werrity, the UK’s ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould (who had previously served at senior level in the embassy in Iran) and Israeli intelligence figures allegedly involved in plotting sanctions against Iran. The Foreign Office and civil servants knew little or nothing about these meetings.

Fox jumped before he was pushed, so did Patel. Pimping for Israel is never seriously punished in the corridors of British power and Fox was speedily rehabilitated in the bosom of the Conservative Party and is now Secretary of State for International Trade. We can expect to see Patel back on board quite soon.

She is replaced by Penny Mordaunt, also a good looking woman but with a much more impressive CV — and she’s a Royal Navy reservist.

Another pimp for Israel, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, was giving evidence before the Foreign Affairs Committee the other day. He said of Hamas: “If they want to enter the democratic process, then it’s very clear what they have to do. They have to renounce terror, they have to recognise the State of Israel, and they’ve got to stop spewing out anti-Semitic propaganda.” I wonder, has he tried saying the same to Netanyahu about the Israelis’ behaviour towards the Palestinians?

In the debate on the Balfour Declaration earlier Johnson said of Israel: “It is a pluralist society, a society that protects the rights of those who live within it. It is a democracy. It is, in my view, a country to be saluted and celebrated.” Completely taken in.

A few months ago Theresa May, if you remember, attacked the successful BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, warning that her government would “have no truck with those who subscribe to it”. 200 legal scholars and practising lawyers from all over Europe promptly pointed out that BDS is lawful freedom of expression and outlawing it undermines a basic human right protected by international convention. But May is so infatuated with Israel that she never misses a chance to tell everyone how she adores the Zionist entity. It’s time civil society made it clear that we’ll have no truck with her or any other supporter of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. In other words, the Balfour mind-set has no place in our society.

This may be a good time to remember George Washington’s wise words: “The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave… a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.”

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments

Nigel Farage calls on EU to investigate George Soros funding, collusion

RT | November 14, 2017

Nigel Farage says while Russia is accused of funding Britain’s ‘Leave’ campaign, financier George Soros’ recent $18 billion donation to pro-EU charity Open Society has escaped scrutiny. “This is where the real international political collusion is,” Farage says.

Speaking to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Farage told fellow MEPs he believes that when it comes to international collusion, “we are looking in the wrong place.” He says Soros’ influence in Brussels is “truly extraordinary,” adding: “I fear we could be looking at the biggest level of international, political collusion in history.”

Farage, the leader of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group, believes Soros has spent billions in the EU to undermine the nation state. “When we are talking about offshore money, when we are talking about political subversion, when we are talking about collusion, I wonder if we are looking in the wrong place.

“And I say that because George Soros recently gave Open Society, which of course campaigns for freedom of movement of people and supranational structures like the European Union, $18 billion. And his influence here and in Brussels is truly extraordinary.”

Farage said Open Society boasts it held 42 meetings in 2016 with the European Commission, and has published a book of reliable “friends” in the European Parliament. There are 226 names on the list, he says. He told those MEPs he would be writing to them to establish whether they had accepted money or help from billionaire investor and liberal campaigner Soros.

“If we’re going to have a debate, and talk about full, political and financial transparency, well let’s do it. So I shall be writing today to all 226 of you, asking some pretty fair questions: Have you ever received funds directly or indirectly from Open Society? How many of their events have you attended? Could you please give us a list of all the representatives including George Soros?”

He is also calling on the European Parliament to set up a special committee to look into the issue. “I say this at a time when the use of money and the implications it may have had on the Brexit result or the Trump election has reached virtual hysteria.

“Just last week, the Electoral Commission launched an investigation to find out whether the Leave campaign took offshore money or Russian money. This came about as a result of questions asked in the House of Commons by one Ben Bradshaw, someone linked to an organization called ‘Open Society.’”

In October, Soros transferred the “bulk of his wealth” to Open Society, it confirmed. Writing on his website, the financier said: “My success in the financial markets has given me a greater degree of independence than most other people. This allows me to stand on controversial issues: in fact, it obliges me to do so because others cannot.”

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

It’s time UK ministers learn: Foreign policy conventions are matters of national security

By Alastair Sloan | MEMO | November 13, 2107

Former International Development Secretary and lobbyist Priti Patel’s scandal has echoes from the past.

Rather than learning those lessons – the Conservative party appears to have laid the groundwork for her louche approach to the importance of diplomacy being run by the government, not some freelance political hack.

As many readers will know, the popular Google Chrome browser allows a myriad of customisation options – everything from integrating popular messaging apps to blocking annoying adverts. Arguably the most niche yet brilliant of these “plug-ins” is the “Liam Foxinator”.

Install this nifty piece of software and it will read every page you read, look out for mentions of “Liam Fox” and seamlessly replace that moniker with “Disgraced Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox”.

Fox, or “The Good Doctor” as some of his Westminster acolytes nickname him, infamously travelled the world with his close friend Adam Werrity, passing him off as an official adviser. He too conducted a parallel and unauthorised foreign policy, with Israel, that ran contrary to British interests and instructions being received from the Foreign Office.

Paid for by severely shady lobbying agencies, like G3, and transatlantic lobbying groups, like Atlantic Bridge, nobody was quite sure what to make of it, except that Fox should be fired. Then he re-appeared in government. He is now International Trade Secretary, arguably the least appropriate position possible for a chap with his history – short of appointing him ambassador to Jerusalem.

What Patel was doing in Israel was just as awful. She was not just taking a view on where British taxpayer money should be spent.

She was putting national security at risk. As Nick Tolhurst, a former Foreign Office official has put it publicly: “She has to be considered security risk & thus cannot be Prime Minister, Foreign Minister or Defence Minister in future.” He explains that “to undertake a planned secret meeting in a foreign country without prior approval from the Foreign Office” would present “a clear security risk”, mainly because arrangements for such a meeting would not have been done in a secure way. He warns that such a visit “instantly opens up ministers to blackmail not just because of her secret behaviour but because she could not use UK security…. all Foreign Office visits depend on securing/sweeping.” He concludes that “she was thus vulnerable to pressure/blackmail”.

None of this security context should have been a surprise. As then cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell had earlier found, Fox had done similar; his report into the Fox-Werrity affair concluded: “The disclosure outside the Ministry of Defence of details about future visits overseas posed a degree of security risk not only to Dr Fox, but also to the accompanying official party.”

The timing of her visit was also tactless. It is broadly clear that Theresa May and the Foreign Office have managed to bungle the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration completely. They did this by managing to offend just as many British Muslims as British Jews (or those that still show an interest in the conflict), and just as many pro-Palestinians and pro-Israelis. Enter the clumsy Patel, whose skill set as a media provocateur makes for entertaining Sunday newspapers but less so diplomatic finesse.

She does have form on these kinds of jaunts. One lesser known role she has played in the Conservative Party is acting as a bridge between Narinder Modi in India and first David Cameron and then Theresa May, both of whom have been keen to hoover up the Hindu vote (often at the expense of Muslims).

Perhaps Patel has seen an opportunity in the indelicate way the Balfour Declaration has been handled by the present government, to politicise the event to her advantage. Her travelling with a political lobbyist for the pro-Israel camp suggests she understands the value of having powerful lobbyists like Conservative Friends of Israel behind her career. There is no doubt she also has her eye on the full premiership of the Conservative party – although this now looks increasingly unlikely, and CFI may be embarrassed to have associated with her. There is equally no doubt many prominent pro-Israel voices in Britain were irritated by the way the Tories refused to give full-throated backing to the celebrations.

Regardless of the vulgar nature of religious politics in Britain today (and it should always be stressed that “Jewish votes” are not equal to “pro-Israel votes”, even if some on the pro-Palestinian side don’t appreciate this, to the benefit of the pro-Israel lobby), the Patel affair should have never happened. It is no surprise it has. The Fox-Werrity scandal had no meaningful consequences for Fox – he was able to bid for the leadership himself and now enjoys one of the top jobs in Cabinet. Parties teaching their ministers, Conservative or Labour, that foreign policy conventions aren’t just diplomatic niceties, but matters of national security, is key.

Read Also: 

Patel-Israel scandal grows as May tries to weather the storm

BBC journalist deletes tweet about UK’s ‘corrupt’ relationship with Israel

November 13, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manipulation: The US State Department’s New Program to Take On Hungarian Media

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | November 10, 2017

Hypocrisy may be the only consistent guiding principle of US foreign policy. Here’s a prime example of the “do as we say, not as we do” that is the core of how Washington does business overseas: In the same week that the the US Justice Department demanded that the Russian-backed RT America network register as a foreign propaganda entity or face arrest, the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DNL) has announced that it is launching a program to massively interfere in NATO-partner Hungary’s internal media.

So the US Justice Department is cracking down on RT America for what it says is manipulation of US domestic affairs while the US State Department announces a new program to manipulate Hungary’s domestic affairs.

The State Department’s new program would send three-quarters of a million dollars to Washington-selected Hungarian media outlets to “increase citizens’ access to objective information about domestic and global issues in Hungary.” On what authority does the United States pick winners and losers in Hungary’s diverse media environment? Since when does one government have the right to determine what news is “objective” in another country? Hungary is not a country to be “regime-changed” — it is a full democracy where the will of the people is regularly expressed at the ballot box and where the media competes freely in the marketplace of ideas.

Washington’s Hungarian media project is clearly meant to interfere in that country’s domestic political environment. Here are the stated objectives of the US government’s Hungary program:

The program should improve the quality of local traditional and online media and increase the public’s access to reliable and unbiased information.

Projects should aim to have impact that leads to democratic reforms, and should have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources. (emphasis added)

The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor identifies its mission in this call for grantees as “promoting democracy and protecting human rights globally.” So what is it doing in Hungary? Hungary has had nearly three decades of democracy since 1989 and hardly needs the United States to tell it what kind of media is allowed (subsidized) and which kind should be suppressed.

In reality this is a US government program to ensure that the Hungarian media follows Washington’s policy line. Hungarians are all too familiar with this kind of toxic interference from an outside superpower: it was called the Soviet Union. Does Washington really seek to take on that role?

Stab in the back

This US government intervention in Hungary’s internal affairs must feel like a stab in the back to Orban and his government. Orban was an early — and rare — supporter of candidate Donald Trump among his European colleagues. Indeed, where Brusssels saw Trump as a gauche loudmouth, Orban openly admired the soon-to-be-president’s position on immigration and particularly on the mass immigration of mostly Muslim “refugees” that has proven to be disastrous for so many European countries. Likewise, Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party has managed to retain a high level of popularity through two election cycles by embracing and promoting the kind of nationalism that characterized Trump’s successful campaign.

Orban’s early support for Trump appeared to have paid off. Where Fidesz had struggled to make any headway at all under GW Bush or Obama’s State Departments, both of which were openly hostile, one of President-elect Trump’s first moves was to invite Orban to the White House. Orban, for his part, hailed Trump on inauguration day, welcoming in an era where national interest takes precedent over multilateralism.

As recently as last month, President Trump praised Viktor Orban, saying that the “strong and brave” Hungarian Prime Minister is “on my guest list.”

Then Trump’s State Department launched a program to undermine Hungary’s national sovereignty by interfering in the Hungarian media market. It seems national sovereignty is a one-way street for Washington no matter who occupies the Oval Office.

Hypocrisy…or policy consistency?

But perhaps it’s inaccurate to accuse the US government of hypocrisy in this case. After all, pressuring RT America with the intent of silencing the news network and spending our tax dollars propping up US-friendly media outlets in the Hungarian countryside are actually two sides of the same coin: the US government will tell you what kind of media you are allowed to consume. If you are a media network in the United States that allows voices who oppose Washington’s neocon-dominated foreign policy they will shut you down. If you are a news outlet in the Hungarian countryside that spews the US party line, they will prop you up. Both cases are the same: your media will toe the US government official line or else.

Note to Washington: This is not 1950. Hungary has been a fully free and democratic country with plenty of free elections under its belt. It does not need you to come in and attempt to manipulate its newspapers and broadcast media. What would you do if China sent in a few million dollars to prop up US publications who agreed to push the Beijing line? What about if Tehran sent some money to publications pushing the Ayatollah party line? You cannot even tolerate RT America — which is largely staffed by Americans but dares to feature prominent Americans who challenge the neocon foreign policy line. Hands off Hungary!

Note to Viktor Orban: You risked arrest — and worse — in June, 1989 when you directly confronted the communists who were occupying your country. Now that Hungary’s freedom has been won — in no small way due to your efforts — do not allow Washington’s neocons to take it away from you! If you do not confront this violation of Hungarian sovereignty, the neocons will continue to increase the pressure. The neocons want you out! Just this week, neocon commentator Anne Applebaum wrote that you are a “neo-Bolshevik” who has “little to do with the right that has been part of Western politics since World War II, and…no connection to existing conservative parties.” Do a little research and you will notice that Applebaum is a member of the International Advisory Council of the Center for European Policy Analysis — the organization your own government funded for a big conference this summer! Neocon knives are out for you. You’d be smart to make a better assessment of who are your friends and enemies in the United States…before it’s too late.

November 11, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment