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Kerry warns Congress about Netanyahu’s Iran speech, says Bibi pushed US to attack Iraq

Press TV – February 26, 2015

benjamin-netanyahu-2_190_190US Secretary of State John Kerry has reminded American officials that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is against a nuclear deal with Iran, was also in the US in 2002 to push for the invasion of Iraq.

Netanyahu is set to use his next week’s address to a joint session of Congress to condemn a potential nuclear agreement with Iran.

During a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Wednesday, Kerry warned Congress about the controversial speech.

“The prime minister, as you will recall, was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush, and we all know what happened with that decision,” Kerry said.

The top US diplomat was referring to testimony on the Middle East that Netanyahu delivered to Congress on Sept. 12, 2002.

During his speech, Netanyahu expressed strong support for Washington to oust former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Six months later, the US military bombarded the country.

“I think the choice of Iraq is a good choice, it’s the right choice,” Netanyahu said in 2002. “If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”

Kerry also said on Wednesday that Netanyahu was wrong about Iran too because he had been “extremely outspoken about how bad the interim agreement was, calling it the ‘deal of the century for Iran.’”

The March 3 speech by Netanyahu has made the Obama administration furious as it comes ahead of crucial nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany that are working hard to reach a comprehensive nuclear accord.

Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the speech has “injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.”

Netanyahu, who is trying to put pressure on US officials to stop a final deal, once again defended his trip to Washington on Tuesday, saying he would do everything to prevent the agreement.

“It is my obligation as prime minister to do everything that I can to prevent this agreement. Therefore, I will go to Washington… because the American Congress is likely to be the final brake before the agreement,” he said.

President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and John Kerry would not meet with the Israeli leader during his trip.

A number of Democrats announced that they would skip the speech.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Netanyahu’s claims on Iran nuclear program contradicted Mossad findings – leaked docs

RT | February 23, 2015

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2012 statement at the UN, in which he warned the world of Iran being too close to making a nuclear bomb, allegedly contradicted his country’s intelligence assessments, according to leaked spy documents.

Netanyahu famously declared to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2012 that Iran was 70 percent of the way to completing its “plans to build a nuclear weapon,” and drew another “red line” at 90 percent, claiming Tehran’s first bomb would be ready “by next spring, at most by next summer.”

However, leaked Mossad documents suggest the country was much further from such development.

According to Spy Cables – a cache of hundreds of leaked secret intelligence papers from all over the world, published by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit in collaboration with the Guardian newspaper – at the time of Netanyahu’s statement, Israel’s intelligence service concluded that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons,” estimating that Iran had 100 kilograms of uranium enriched to a level of 20 percent.

“Even though Iran has accumulated enough 5 percent enriched uranium for several bombs, and has enriched some of it to 20 percent, it does not appear to be ready to enrich it to higher levels. It is allocating some of it to produce nuclear fuel for the TRR [Tehran Research Reactor], and the amount of 20 percent enriched uranium is therefore not increasing,” said the secret report, which Mossad shared with South Africa’s State Security Agency a few weeks after the prime minister’s UN speech.

With world leaders worried by a possible nuclear threat, a series of political decisions led to Iran’s consent to neutralize or destroy its enriched uranium under an agreement with the US, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany – the so-called P5+1 group.

Talks between world leaders on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and uranium enrichment capacity have taken place since sanctions were imposed on Tehran in 2012.

Iran insists it has no nuclear weapons ambitions and seeks enrichment capabilities to develop reactor fuel, and for other peaceful purposes. However, the West believes Tehran has been using its civilian atomic energy program as a cover for developing a bomb.

Since the parties failed to reach a conclusion by the previous deadline of November last year, Iran’s nuclear talks with the six world powers carry on. Iran and P5+1 countries are expected to reach a basic framework agreement by the end of March, with a final accord due by June 30. Netanyahu plans to address the US Congress next month to once again warn against a nuclear compromise with Tehran.

READ MORE: Netanyahu warns America that Iran is an ‘enemy’, not a partner

February 23, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Fifth Column

Enabling Netanyahu

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • February 17, 2015

When I was in college back in the 1960s a Jewish friend and I got into a discussion after Israel’s overwhelming victory in the June 1967 “Six day war.” I observed that many of the Jewish students who were exulting over kicking the crap out of the Arabs were at the same time leaders of the anti-war movement on campus, which opposed the Vietnam War. Admittedly media coverage of Vietnam was already becoming negative and the press descriptions of what had gone on in the Middle East falsely represented a beleaguered Israeli David by sheer grit and valor defeating an overwhelming Arab Goliath, so it was possible to distinguish in practical terms between the two conflicts. One was defense and the other was American imperialism, or so it could be construed by those who chose to see it that way.

As I knew that I was soon to be drafted I tried to rationalize within my own mind Vietnam, convincing myself that it was a war to stop the spread of communism, which at the time appeared to represent an existential threat directed against the United States. But I was still bothered by folks who claimed to oppose Vietnam on principle cheering on another war apparently based on their own ethnic affinity. My friend responded to my concerns by acknowledging the emotional tug represented by Israel but adding that the United States would always be much more important to him. It didn’t really answer the question but it came from a friend and it was good enough.

Well, that was then and this is now. Since the 1960s what Norman Finkelstein has described as the “Holocaust industry” has burgeoned, much of it used as an excuse to exonerate Israeli bad behavior. The Israel Lobby has also grown enormously in support of only one objective, which is binding Israel to the United States in such a fashion as to make Americans the enablers and uncritical supporters of Tel Aviv’s foreign and security policies.

Many American Jews, to their credit, have become weary of the tie that binds to Israel as they recognize that it is bad for both parties involved and enables an endless occupation of Arab land that is both cruel and immoral while fostering internal developments in Israel that might reasonably be described as fascistic. Other Jews have, however, gone in another direction, making the immunizing of Israel from any and all criticism while demonizing her enemies their life’s goal. In that they have largely succeeded, with Benjamin Netanyahu an honored guest of the U.S. Congress, a wannabe presidential candidate incorrectly describing Israel as a “most cherished ally,” and two Jewish billionaires openly lining up to be principal supporters of the upcoming Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as measured by their support of Israel.

Indeed, many supporters of Israel do not seem at all ashamed of openly putting Israel ahead of the United States, which is where I have a problem because, apart from enabling the skewing of America’s foreign policy, it raises the issue of where one has basic loyalty. Loyalty to a nation might well be passé in this day and age but it can have significant consequences when groups that are powerful promote detrimental policies that impact on everyone.

All of which brings me to the Super Bowl. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a passionate supporter of Israel and all its works, to include its increasingly right wing governments over the past decades. He has visited the country more than 50 times. When his team won the Lombardi trophy in 2005 he personally carried it to Israel and presented it to then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. To be sure Kraft appears to be a decent, well liked man who has funded institutes that foster better Christian-Jewish relations, but his bottom line always appears to be Israel.

Kraft’s recently deceased wife Myra once told the Jerusalem Post that if one of her sons wanted to join the Israeli Army “I would go with him. I always wanted to live here. As for joining the army, over Vietnam, I would have had an issue, because I didn’t believe in it. The same goes for the war in Iraq. I don’t know why we’re there. I would hate to have one of my sons fighting there. Iran’s the problem, not Iraq. But, as far as fighting for Israel is concerned, there is no problem.” For Myra Kraft even if one were serving to maintain an illegal occupation, Israel was always the “good war” while America’s wars were debatable. For what it’s worth, none of her four sons has ever been in anyone’s uniform. Nor has their father.

The Kraft family passion for the Israel Defense Forces extends to Robert’s recent writing of a personal letter to the family of Israeli-American soldier Max Steinberg. Steinberg was killed during Israel’s recent invasion of Gaza, in which 2,310 Palestinians, 500 of whom were children, died compared to 71 Israelis, 66 of whom were soldiers.

Kraft wrote “It is with a heavy heart that I write to you after having learned about your dear son and distinguished member of the Israel Defense Forces, Max. Although I didn’t have the privilege of knowing your son Max personally, I have taken the liberty of reaching out to you since I noticed him wearing a New England Patriots cap in one of the broadcasted photos. He represents the consummate patriot and I am forever grateful for the sacrifices he made to keep our beloved Israel safe. His dedication and loyalty to Israel have not gone unnoticed and I am sure he has left behind a legacy of which you and your family can be proud.”

Why is all this important? It is important because Robert Kraft is a rich, powerful and politically well-connected man. What he says and does and the example he sets matter. Insofar as I could determine he has never written a letter to a fallen American soldier from either Boston or Massachusetts. Like his wife, he perhaps unintentionally sees something special in service to Israel that he does not find in service to the United States. And as for those who might perversely argue as Myra Kraft did that America’s wars are suspect while Israel’s conflicts are righteous self-defense, one might well note that Washington’s disastrous invasion of Iraq was intertwined with Israeli interests while Tel Aviv’s urging yet another war against Iran serves no U.S. national interest at all. Arguing in favor of Israel’s use of its armed forces as somehow more ethical than that of the United States is ridiculous, particularly as Tel Aviv’s military is mostly engaged in supporting an illegal and brutal occupation of Palestinian territory.

The bottom line is that celebrating Israel’s apartheid regime and its wars is bad for both Israel the United States and it behooves moderate leaders like Robert Kraft to recognize that fact and state it openly.

This type of blinkered Israel-centric thinking leads to other extraordinary behavior, far beyond anything done by Kraft. The controversial impending visit by Benjamin Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress has brought the Lobby out in full force. Israeli former parliamentarian and journalist Yossi Sarid, who writes for Haaretz, notes how Republican Jewish organizations have “launched a campaign of intimidation against those lawmakers who have already announced the intent to skip the joint session.” He observes that “Netanyahu is determined to show the president once and for all who really rules in Washington, who is the landlord both here and there.” He cites Matthew Brooks, head of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who reportedly said “We will commit whatever resources we need to make sure that people are aware of the facts, that given the choice to stand with Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu in opposition to a nuclear Iran, they chose partisan interests and to stand with President Obama.” Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America added “We will, of course, be publicly condemning any Democrats who don’t show up for the speech, unless they have a doctor’s note.”

Sarid concludes somewhat hyperbolically with an observation that no American newspaper would ever dare print: “In these very moments, the protocols are being rewritten. Rich Jews are writing them in their own handwriting. They, in their wealth, are confirming with their own signatures what anti-Semites used to slander them with in days gone by: We, the elders of Zion, pull the strings of Congress, and the congressmen are nothing but marionettes who do our will. If they don’t understand our words, they’ll understand our threats. And if in the past, we ran the show from behind the scenes, now we’re doing it openly, from center stage. And if you forget our donations, the wellspring will run dry.”

Benjamin Netanyahu has ignored demands that he alter the agenda of his visit to make it less confrontational. He recently said that he will be the “representative of the entire Jewish people” when he addresses Congress, an assertion that has made many American Jews very uncomfortable. He will also be speaking at the annual AIPAC summit and will attend a gala reception hosted by the Emergency Committee for Israel, headed by Bill Kristol. Kristol welcomes the visit of Netanyahu because “Obama left a few things out of SOTU. Bibi can help out by filling in some blanks–al Qaeda, radical Islam, Iran’s sponsorship of terror, etc.” In other words, Americans should be grateful for Netanyahu’s telling us how ignorant we all are.

And obsession with defending Israel also can lead to turning a blind eye to the celebration of the cruel deaths of Americans who do not share that infatuation. Debbie Schlussel, a popular talk radio host who describes herself as a “lifelong conservative Republican activist,” does not find the recent killing by ISIS of American aid worker Kayla Mueller a tragedy. Schlussel, who claims to be highly educated, describes Mueller as a “Jew hating, anti-Israel bitch,” and “an anti-Israel piece of crap who worked with HAMAS and helped Palestinians harass Israeli soldiers and block them from doing their job of keeping Islamic terrorists out of Israel.” Another advocate for Israel calls Mueller a “useful idiot” and “terrorist supporter.” That the rabid Schlussel is borderline mainstream in terms of her audience and access is astonishing and the comments on her website suggest, unfortunately, that she is not alone in her vitriolic hatred of anyone even vaguely perceived as being not friendly enough to Israel.

As Allan Brownfeld has argued very persuasively Judaism is a religion and the United States and Israel are both sovereign countries having different interests, which is something that Robert Kraft, Bill Kristol, Matthew Brooks, Debbie Schlussel and Mortimer Klein should just occasionally bear in mind. Ultimately, if you are being honest with yourself you can only be loyal to one country and if you are born, living and working in the United States that should be your default choice. If your religion, tribal solidarity or ethnic affinity makes you defer to the interests of Israel or indeed any other country, by all means move there.

Indeed, American citizens can have affection for as many countries as they choose but loyalty involves the responsibilities of citizenships and doing what is right for one’s own country which makes it quite a different issue. It is not a rhetorical conceit that the oath new American citizens take requires them to abjure any prior allegiances. No one is suggesting that American Jews should not be charitable to and express concern regarding the well-being of their co-religionists worldwide, but that charity and empathy should not extend to promoting the pernicious interests of a foreign government.

Our first President George Washington, whose birthday we celebrate this week, called such ties “passionate attachments” that create “the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists.”To my mind, it would not be possible to describe the lopsided special relationship between Israel and the United States, engineered by a powerful domestic lobby, any better than that.

February 17, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel lobby: Attendance mandatory at Netanyahu speech

Press TV – February 9, 2015

Several pro-Israel lobby groups in the United States have threatened to “publicly condemn” Democrats who plan to skip the Israeli prime minister’s speech about Iran before Congress next month.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s well-funded Jewish conservative backers say they may use their funds to draw attention in the districts and states of any Democratic lawmaker who is not at the US Capitol to listen to Netanyahu on March 3.

Netanyahu has been invited by House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of Congress to speak about the “threat” of Iran’s nuclear energy program.

“This is, I think, a critical visit by the prime minister. If these Democrats would rather put partisan politics ahead of principle and walk out on the prime minister of Israel, then we have an obligation to make that known,” said Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a political lobbying group which promotes Jewish Republicans.

“We will commit whatever resources we need to make sure that people are aware of the facts,” Brooks said. He did not specify what methods this campaign would use, but promised that his group would do whatever it can.

Other Zionist organizations are sending similar messages. “We will, of course, be publicly condemning any Democrats who don’t show up for the speech, unless they have a doctor’s note,” said Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, a prominent pro-Israel group with 30,000 members.

“It’s really an anti-American, anti-patriotic position to take,” Klein added.

AIPAC, the largest pro-Israel lobby in the US, is encouraging members of Congress to attend the speech, although the group also has reservations because it is turning into a partisan event.

Growing criticism over Netanyahu speech

Democrats are angry over the Boehner’s invitation of the Israeli premier, which was planned without the knowledge of the Obama administration.

The event will take place just two weeks before the Israeli elections, which is seen by the White House and senior Democrats as particularly manipulative. The White House has called the invitation a breach of protocol.

President Barack Obama would not meet with Netanyahu during his trip to Washington, according to the White House. Vice President Joe Biden’s office also confirmed on Friday that he would not be present during Netanyahu’s speech.

It seems Netanyahu plans to go ahead with the trip despite growing criticism both in Israel and the United States. The Israeli prime minister says he will address Congress to lobby against a “bad and dangerous” nuclear deal with Iran.

Iran and the P5+1 group – the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany – are in talks to narrow their differences and pave the way for a final, long-term nuclear accord.

The Republican-controlled Congress, however, is pushing a new round of sanctions on Iran, despite the veto threat from the White House and warnings that additional sanctions at this juncture risked derailing the nuclear talks.

Iran argues that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

February 9, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and Israel

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | February 4, 2015

The disclosure that convicted al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui has identified leading members of the Saudi government as financers of the terrorist network potentially reshapes how Americans will perceive events in the Middle East and creates a risk for Israel’s Likud government which has forged an unlikely alliance with some of these same Saudis.

According to a story in the New York Times on Wednesday, Moussaoui said in a prison deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of the group’s donors and that the list included Prince Turki al-Faisal, then Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar bin Sultan, longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many leading clerics.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, meeting with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas. (White House photo)
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, meeting with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas. (White House photo)

“Sheikh Osama wanted to keep a record who give money,” Moussaoui said in imperfect English — “who is to be listened to or who contributed to the jihad.”

Although Moussaoui’s credibility came under immediate attack from the Saudi kingdom, his assertions mesh with accounts from members of the U.S. Congress who have seen a secret portion of the 9/11 report that addresses alleged Saudi support for al-Qaeda.

Further complicating the predicament for Saudi Arabia is that, more recently, Saudi and other Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms have been identified as backers of Sunni militants fighting in Syria to overthrow the largely secular regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The major rebel force benefiting from this support is al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

In other words, the Saudis appear to have continued a covert relationship with al-Qaeda-connected jihadists to the present day.

The Israeli Exposure

And, like the Saudis, the Israelis have sided with the Sunni militants in Syria because the Israelis share the Saudi view that Iran and the so-called “Shiite crescent” – reaching from Tehran and Baghdad to Damascus and Beirut – is the greatest threat to their interests in the Middle East.

That shared concern has pushed Israel and Saudi Arabia into a de facto alliance, though the collaboration between Jerusalem and Riyadh has been mostly kept out of the public eye. Still, it has occasionally peeked out from under the covers as the two governments deploy their complementary assets – Saudi oil and money and Israeli political and media clout – in areas where they have mutual interests.

In recent years, these historic enemies have cooperated in their joint disdain for the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt (which was overthrown in 2013), in seeking the ouster of the Assad regime in Syria, and in pressing for a more hostile U.S. posture toward Iran.

Israel and Saudi Arabia also have collaborated in efforts to put the squeeze on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who is deemed a key supporter of both Iran and Syria. The Saudis have used their power over oil production to drive down prices and hurt Russia’s economy, while U.S. neoconservatives – who share Israel’s geopolitical world view – were at the forefront of the coup that ousted Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

The behind-the-scenes Israeli-Saudi alliance has put the two governments – uncomfortably at times – on the side of Sunni jihadists battling Shiite influence in Syria, Lebanon and even Iraq. On Jan. 18, 2015, for instance, Israel attacked Lebanese-Iranian advisers assisting Assad’s government in Syria, killing several members of Hezbollah and an Iranian general. These military advisors were engaged in operations against al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Meanwhile, Israel has refrained from attacking Nusra Front militants who have seized Syrian territory near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. One source familiar with U.S. intelligence information on Syria told me that Israel has a “non-aggression pact” with these Nusra forces.

An Odd Alliance

Israel’s odd-couple alliances with Sunni interests have evolved over the past several years, as Israel and Saudi Arabia emerged as strange bedfellows in the geopolitical struggle against Shiite-ruled Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon. In Syria, for instance, senior Israelis have made clear they would prefer Sunni extremists to prevail in the civil war rather than Assad, who is an Alawite, a branch of Shiite Islam.

In September 2013, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

And, in June 2014, speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren expanded on his position, saying Israel would even prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.

Skepticism and Doubt

In August 2013, when I first reported on the growing relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia in an article entitled “The Saudi-Israeli Superpower,” the story was met with much skepticism. But, increasingly, this secret alliance has gone public.

On Oct. 1, 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu hinted at it in his United Nations General Assembly speech, which was largely devoted to excoriating Iran over its nuclear program and threatening a unilateral Israeli military strike.

Amid the bellicosity, Netanyahu dropped in a largely missed clue about the evolving power relationships in the Middle East, saying: “The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy. And this affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.”

The next day, Israel’s Channel 2 TV news reported that senior Israeli security officials had met with a high-level Gulf state counterpart in Jerusalem, believed to be Prince Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States who was then head of Saudi intelligence.

The reality of this unlikely alliance has now even reached the mainstream U.S. media. For instance, Time magazine correspondent Joe Klein described the new coziness in an article in the Jan. 19, 2015 issue.

He wrote: “On May 26, 2014, an unprecedented public conversation took place in Brussels. Two former high-ranking spymasters of Israel and Saudi Arabia – Amos Yadlin and Prince Turki al-Faisal – sat together for more than an hour, talking regional politics in a conversation moderated by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius.

“They disagreed on some things, like the exact nature of an Israel-Palestine peace settlement, and agreed on others: the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat, the need to support the new military government in Egypt, the demand for concerted international action in Syria. The most striking statement came from Prince Turki. He said the Arabs had ‘crossed the Rubicon’ and ‘don’t want to fight Israel anymore.’”

Though Klein detected only the bright side of this détente, there was a dark side as well, as referenced in Moussaoui’s deposition, which identified Prince Turki as one of al-Qaeda’s backers. Perhaps even more unsettling was his listing of Prince Bandar, who had long presented himself as a U.S. friend, so close to the Bush Family that he was nicknamed “Bandar Bush.”

Moussaoui claimed that he discussed a plan to shoot down Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, at a time when Bandar was the ambassador to the United States.

According to the New York Times article by Scott Shane, Moussaoui said he was assigned to “find a location where it may be suitable to launch a Stinger attack and then, after, be able to escape,” but that he was arrested on Aug. 16, 2001, before he could carry out the reconnaissance mission.

The thought of anyone in the Saudi embassy, then under the control of “Bandar Bush,” scheming with al-Qaeda to shoot down George W. Bush’s Air Force One is shocking, if true. The notion would have been considered unthinkable even after the 9/11 attacks, which involved 15 Saudis among the 19 hijackers.

After those terror attacks which killed nearly 3,000 Americans, Bandar went to the White House and persuaded Bush to arrange for the rapid extraction of bin Laden’s family members and other Saudis in the United States. Bush agreed to help get those Saudi nationals out on the first flights allowed back into the air.

Bandar’s intervention undercut the FBI’s chance to learn more about the ties between Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 perpetrators by giving FBI agents only time for cursory interviews with the departing Saudis.

Bandar himself was close to the bin Laden family and acknowledged having met Osama bin Laden in the context of bin Laden thanking Bandar for his help financing the jihad project in Afghanistan during the 1980s. “I was not impressed, to be honest with you,” Bandar told CNN’s Larry King about bin Laden. “I thought he was simple and very quiet guy.”

The Saudi government claimed to have broken ties with bin Laden in the early 1990s when he began targeting the United States because President George H.W. Bush had stationed U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, but – if Moussaoui is telling the truth – al-Qaeda would have still counted Bandar among its supporters in the late 1990s.

Bandar and Putin

Bandar’s possible links to Sunni terrorism also emerged in 2013 during a confrontation between Bandar and Putin over what Putin viewed as Bandar’s crude threat to unleash Chechen terrorists against the Sochi Winter Olympics if Putin did not reduce his support for the Syrian government.

According to a leaked diplomatic account of a July 31, 2013 meeting in Moscow, Bandar informed Putin that Saudi Arabia had strong influence over Chechen extremists who had carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Russian targets and who had since deployed to join the fight against the Assad regime in Syria.

As Bandar called for a Russian shift toward the Saudi position on Syria, he reportedly offered guarantees of protection from Chechen terror attacks on the Olympics. “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year,” Bandar reportedly said. “The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

Putin responded, “We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism.”

Bandar’s Mafia-like threat toward the Sochi games – a version of “nice Olympics you got here, it’d be a shame if something terrible happened to it” – failed to intimidate Putin, who continued to support Assad.

Less than a month later, an incident in Syria almost forced President Barack Obama’s hand in launching U.S. air strikes against Assad’s military, which would have possibly opened the path for the Nusra Front or the Islamic State to capture Damascus and take control of Syria. On Aug. 21, 2013, a mysterious sarin attack outside Damascus killed hundreds and, in the U.S. media, the incident was immediately blamed on the Assad regime.

American neocons and their allied “liberal interventionists” demanded that Obama launch retaliatory air strikes even though some U.S. intelligence analysts doubted that Assad’s forces were responsible and suspected that the attack was carried out by extremist rebels trying to pull the U.S. military into the civil war on their side.

Yet, pushed by the neocons and liberal war hawks, Obama nearly ordered a bombing campaign designed to “degrade” the Syrian military but called it off at the last minute. He then accepted Putin’s help in reaching a diplomatic solution in which Assad agreed to surrender his entire chemical weapons arsenal, while still denying any role in the sarin attack.

Later, the Assad-did-it case crumbled amid new evidence that Sunni extremists, supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, were the more likely perpetrators of the attack, a scenario that became increasingly persuasive as Americans learned more about the cruelty and ruthlessness of many Sunni jihadists fighting in Syria. [See Consortiumnews.com’sThe Mistaken Guns of Last August.”]

Targeting Putin

Putin’s cooperation with Obama to head off a U.S. military strike in Syria made the Russian president more of a target for the American neocons who thought they finally had reached the cusp of their long-desired “regime change” in Syria only to be blocked by Putin. By late September 2013, a leading neocon, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, announced the goal of challenging Putin and recognizing his sore point in Ukraine.

Taking to the Washington Post’s op-ed page on Sept. 26, 2013, Gershman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important step toward ultimately ousting Putin. Gershman wrote, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents.  … Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sNeocons’ Ukraine-Syria-Iran Gambit.“]

However, in early 2014, Putin was obsessed with Bandar’s implicit threat of terrorism striking the Sochi Olympics, thus distracting him from the “regime change” – being pushed by NED and neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland – next door in Ukraine.

On Feb. 22, 2014, putschists, spearheaded by well-organized neo-Nazi militias, drove elected President Viktor Yanukovych and his government from power. Putin was caught off-guard and, in the resulting political chaos, agreed to requests from Crimean officials and voters to accept Crimea back into Russia, thus exploding his cooperative relationship with Obama.

With Putin the new pariah in Official Washington, the neocon hand also was strengthened in the Middle East where renewed pressure could be put on the “Shiite crescent” in Syria and Iran. However, in summer 2014, the Islamic State, which had splintered off from al-Qaeda and its Nusra Front, went on a rampage, invading Iraq where captured soldiers were beheaded. The Islamic State then engaged in gruesome videotaped decapitations of Western hostages inside Syria.

The Islamic State’s brutality and the threat it posed to the U.S.-backed, Shiite-dominated government of Iraq changed the political calculus. Obama felt compelled to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in both Iraq and Syria. American neocons tried to convince Obama to expand the Syrian strikes to hit Assad’s forces, too, but Obama realized such a plan would only benefit the Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

In effect, the neocons were showing their hand – much as Israeli Ambassador Oren had done – favoring the Sunni extremists allied with al-Qaeda over Assad’s secular regime because it was allied with Iran. Now, with Moussaoui’s deposition identifying senior Saudi officials as patrons of al-Qaeda, another veil seems to have dropped.

Complicating matters further, Moussaoui also claimed that he passed letters between Osama bin Laden and then Crown Prince Salman, who recently became king upon the death of his brother King Abdullah.

But Moussaoui’s disclosure perhaps cast the most unflattering light on Bandar, the erstwhile confidant of the Bush Family who — if Moussaoui is right — may have been playing a sinister double game.

Also facing potentially embarrassing questions is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, especially if he goes through with his planned speech before a joint session of Congress next month, attacking Obama for being soft on Iran.

And, America’s neocons might have some explaining to do about why they have carried water not just for the Israelis but for Israel’s de facto allies in Saudi Arabia.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

February 5, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel freezes another $100m in Palestinian tax revenues

MEMO | February 3, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frozen an additional 400 million shekels ($100 million) from Palestinian tax revenues, Israel Today revealed yesterday.

The funds were from January’s tax revenues, the newspaper said, and will be added to the 500 million shekels ($128 million) that Israel froze in December, making the amount of Palestinian tax revenues frozen about $228 million.

Sources close to Netanyahu told the newspaper that he promised continuous tax freezes as a punishment for the Palestinian leadership’s application to join the International Criminal Court.

Such revenues constitute 70 per cent of the Palestinian Authority’s source of income which finance the bulk of salaries and public services in the West Bank such as hospitals and schools.

It is worth mentioning that the money freeze last month faced critical reactions from the UN, US and many EU countries, but none of them put any pressure on Israel to recede its decision.

The Israeli newspaper reported that sources say the situation in the West Bank is expected to explode because of the hard economic circumstances resulting from the lack of funds.

February 3, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Netanyahu: UN Gaza probe should be ‘shelved’

MEMO | February 3, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that a probe by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) into last year’s Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip should be shelved in light of the recent resignation of inquiry commission head William Schabas.

“After the resignation of the committee chairman, who was biased against Israel, the report that was written at the behest of the UNHRC… needs to be shelved,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

The Israeli premier went so far as to slam the rights council as “an anti-Israel body, the decisions of which prove it has nothing to do with human rights.”

“This is the same council that in 2014 made more decisions against Israel than against Iran, Syria and North Korea combined,” Netanyahu asserted.

“It is Hamas, the other terrorist organizations and the terrorist regimes around us that need to be investigated, not Israel,” he added.

The Israeli government has already said it would not cooperate with the UNHRC committee formed to investigate violations committed during Israel’s onslaught on the Gaza Strip last July and August.

Israel had said that the UN council would not be objective.

The Israeli offensive left more than 2,160 Palestinians dead and some 11,000 injured – the vast majority of them civilians – while partially or completely destroying thousands of residential structures across the territory.

The onslaught, which was launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire from the coastal enclave, finally ended with the announcement last August of an open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions.

On Monday, Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, reportedly resigned from his post as head of the investigation committee due to Israeli allegations of bias.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, for his part, hailed Schabas’ resignation, saying it was a “victory” for the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

“It is an Israeli diplomatic victory. However, it will not change the probe’s conclusions,” he said.

He added that the appointment of Schabas to investigate last year’s war against Gaza was like “appointing Cain to investigate who killed Abel.”

February 3, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel and the US: a Troubled Romance

By Robert Fantina | CounterPunch | January 30, 2015

It is sometimes interesting to see the many hoops the United States jumps through to accommodate the brutal whims of Israel. With Palestine ratifying the Rome Statute, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) beginning its initial investigation of possible Israeli war crimes committed against the Palestinians, more such information is leaking out.

Israel, it is reported, is pressuring nations that fund the ICC, however inadequately, to either reduce or suspend that funding altogether. Reports are that poor Israel is being rebuffed at every turn, with the major funding nations saying they have no intention of making such adjustments. The U.S., this writer is sure, would cease all funding for the ICC, if it had ever deigned to join. But no international body, it seems, has the right to judge the soldiers and/or leaders of the self-described ‘land of the free and home of the brave’ for illegal invasions, wanton killing of civilians, or torture of political prisoners. So Israel, which has in the past successfully demanded that the U.S. cease any aid to Palestine, can’t rely on the U.S. to pull the plug on the ICC.

All this comes at a very awkward time for the troubled romance between Israel and the U.S., a time when perhaps the final nail has been hammered into the coffin of the dysfunctional bromance between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu. In March, Mr. Netanyahu will visit the U.S. to give Congress his instructions regarding U.S. negotiations with Iran. This, in all likelihood, will torpedo the delicate, years-long negotiations that Mr. Obama, with support from much of the international community, has been spearheading. But the general direction of these negotiations has been displeasing to Mr. Netanyahu, and he will inform Congress of that fact in no uncertain terms. Congress, always responsive to the holders of the purse strings, will fall into line. So what if it means that more young Americans will be sent to kill and die in another war? What is this, when funds are needed for one’s next re-election campaign?

A presidential spokesperson said that Mr. Netanyahu’s forthcoming visit to the U.S. is a slap in the face of Mr. Obama. And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, an international joke if ever there was one, is said to be particularly peeved. Did he not, as has since been reported, contact at least fifty world leaders in December, begging and pleading with them on Israel’s behalf, to vote down a resolution being introduced at the United Nations, that would have mandated an end to the Israel occupation of Palestine by 2017? Was he not successful in procuring Israel’s desire at the expense of the basic human rights of the Palestinians? And then, within days, to have Mr. Netanyahu spit in his eye! Oh, the shame of it! One is confident that Mr. Kerry will send a strongly-worded message to someone in Israeli diplomatic circles, perhaps a staff member responsible for cleaning the guest bath at the ambassador’s residence.

A reasonable person might ask what response to this is most appropriate. Unfortunately, we have moved far beyond reasonable when the U.S. tramples the basic human rights of an entire nation to please a powerful lobby, and when a member of the House of Representative invites a world leader to address Congress without mentioning it to the president. But let’s play the ‘what if’ game anyway.

The U.S. gives Israel $3 billion a year, with no strings attached. One might think that that would give the U.S. some leverage in getting Israel to adapt its behavior in some way. Might not the U.S. say that the next gift, perhaps a shipment of bombers, is contingent on a cessation of new, illegal settlement activity? Or perhaps an end to the brutal blockade of the Gaza Strip? Some adherence to international law, it seems, could be tied to continued U.S. funding.

But no, there is no precedent for such actions; in fact, the reverse is true. There is historical precedent for simply writing a blank check to Israel. In 1988, an Israeli journalist commented that “One may say no to America and still get a bonus.” Nothing has changed in twenty-seven years.

So there we are. In March, Mr. Netanyahu will be in town to address Congress and participate in that even more important governing body, AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee). Most of Congress will join him there, where the real governing takes place, to bow and scrape before the holders of the biggest checkbooks. Heaven forbid they spend as much time or energy with constituents; what a waste of valuable time! Money, it is said, talks, and the members of Congress always have a listening ear.

Fortunately, the rest of the world is looking in another direction, recognizing the arrogance of Mr. Netanyahu, the cruelty of the occupation, the hypocrisy of the U.S. and the ineffectual administration of Mr. Obama. The work of the ICC will continue slowly, but it will continue. Without Israel’s cooperation, which it has vowed not to provide, there may be no just outcome, but the focus is on Israel. While an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the reputation of an accused who gets off on the technicality of refusal to cooperate is more than a little tarnished. Israel’s long walk toward international isolation is accelerating. And the U.S. is only expediting it.

Whatever the next several months bring for Palestine, Israel and the U.S., only a few things are sure: Palestinians will continue to suffer under the brutal, apartheid Israeli regime even as more and more nations recognize it; Israel will continue to draw almost universal condemnation, with the U.S. being the main holdout, for the brutal occupation of Palestine, and the U.S., long seen outside its own borders as the world’s main terrorist nation, trampling on the human rights of entire nations simply to ensure the filling of corporate coffers, will do nothing to dissuade the world from that opinion. The U.S. and Israel will impede the march of justice, but increasingly it is obvious that they cannot stop it.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

January 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Waving the “False Flag”

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review  •  January 27, 2015

As it remains unclear who might have actually sponsored the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, if indeed anyone did, a great deal of speculation about motives and resources is perhaps inevitable. If one goes by the traditional “cui bono” standard, who benefits, there are perhaps two possible beneficiaries. One would be a terrorist sponsoring group which would be able to claim credit for a dramatic success against a major western government that is regarded as an enemy because it has been participating in wars against Islamic states. Terrorist organizations routinely make such claims after an attack because it establishes their bona fides and serves as a magnet for volunteers and donations from supporters. Very often the claims are suspect, particularly as many terrorist actions are now decentralized franchise operations that are carried out without direction or support by so-called “loners.”

The other possibility is Israel. Israel would benefit from an Islamist terrorist incident in France and would have powerful motives for allowing or encouraging such an attack to take place. First, it would reverse what it would see as a deplorable trend in France (and in Europe) to support Palestinian statehood, which Paris and other European governments endorsed at the United Nations on December 30 th. Second, it would dramatically shift the narrative in the media away from the continued brutal treatment of the Palestinians. And third it would heighten anti-Islamic sentiments and get the Europeans back on board for the perpetual war on terror, which inextricably links Muslims to terrorism and effectively makes Israel’s enemies the enemies of both Europe and the United States.

To demonstrate what the actual Israeli government viewpoint might be, one has only to recall the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s satisfaction when he first heard about 9/11. He said “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq, swung American public opinion in our favor.” Netanyahu knew that the attack could be manipulated to inextricably tie the United States to the Israeli view of the nature of Islamic terrorism and what to do about it. In that he was correct and the U.S. has been paying the price for a disproportionate and misguided counter-terrorism policy ever since. Netanyahu’s bizarre performance at the Charlie Hebdo solidarity parade in Paris also suggests that he is prepared to milk the current situation for the maximum political advantage, both for himself and for Israel.

But in spite of the clear evidence that Tel Aviv would like to see more terrorist attacks in Europe, even hypothesizing that Israel might be directly involved or knowledgeable in some way regarding Charlie Hebdo produces the predictable response, i.e. that it is anti-Semites who are making such a suggestion and that Israel is not so cynical or evil as to engage in such activity. One pundit casually dismisses speculation that the attack might have been engineered by “specifically the mystical supermen of Israel’s Mossad. Such a theory is stupid and scurrilous, as well as on so many grounds self-evidently incorrect.” The author does not explain why it is “self-evidently incorrect.”

A false flag operation is one in which the sponsors adopt a false identity, most often pretending to be from a different country or adhering to a different organization than that which they actually represent. Because Israel is reviled in much of the world, Israeli agents do not regularly tell anyone about their true affiliation. And Israel has a long history of both black and false flag operations going back to the Lavon Affair in 1954 in which the Israelis sought to blow up the United States government offices in Alexandria and blame it on the Egyptians. It has also frequently used non-Israeli passports, many provided unknowingly by immigrants from the U.S.,
Canada, Europe and Oceania, to cover the agents involved in its more creative overseas operations. When operating against Iran, the Israelis have sometimes pretended to be Americans as they knew that few Iranian dissidents would want to cooperate with Israel.

A great advantage Israel has for carrying out black operations is its stable of diaspora Jews who come from Arab countries, speak Arabic fluently and understand both the culture and Islam. Using false passports and identities, they could easily pretend to have links with either al-Qaeda or the Islamic State and it would not be that difficult for them to infiltrate small radicalized groups or connect with disaffected individuals in target countries. In the past when terrorist organizations were tightly controlled from the top it would have been difficult to pass as an adherent of such groups lest one be checked out and exposed, but the decentralization of terrorism over the past ten years has greatly reduced that possibility.

At the heart of the argument against any Israeli involvement is the belief that a false-flag operation would be too complicated to execute. In reality, the greatest difficulty is to avoid getting caught by the local police authorities while one is pretending to be someone else, a risk referred to as blowback.

The targets that one is trying to motivate to undertake some terrorist act will generally be gullible and willing to cooperate once access to a group is attained and credibility is established. An analogy with how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates inside the United States would not be inappropriate. The FBI works with the National Security Agency (NSA) to identify dissidents by monitoring email transmissions and telephone calls. It then insinuates an informant into the group who uses a false identity and pretends to share the views of those being targeted. At that point it all becomes somewhat murky, at least if the FBI account is to be believed.

For the FBI informant to motivate and possibly enable the would-be terrorists to actually commit a crime would be regarded as “entrapment” which is itself an impropriety by law enforcement that would render inadmissible any evidence developed for a possible prosecution. But recent anti-terrorist legislation provides maximum advantage to prosecutors who only have to demonstrate some kind of material or other assistance to terrorism. Consequently, the line drawn regarding encouraging an action and enabling it has since 9/11 become somewhat blurry, even when the informant provides the targets with weapons that do not work or bombs that cannot explode. In practice, most alleged terrorists arrested in the United States are incapable of carrying out a terrorist act but they are nevertheless successfully prosecuted. This is due to the involvement of the informant and it is widely believed that the informant more often than not actually enables the planning for the crime to take place.

In reality, the FBI informant plays the same role that an Israeli or other agent might play in infiltrating a group and motivating it to carry out a terrorist attack. The potential targets could be identified online using Israel’s highly sophisticated technical resources and an agent might wait for an opportunity to make nonthreatening contact. Once contact is made, the relationship would be developed to the point where the agent becomes an active collaborator and makes suggestions about what might be done. He then gradually withdraws from the activity and lets the targets execute their planned attack.

I am not suggesting that either Israel or any other government was behind the two terrorist attacks in Paris but it would be foolish to rule anything out. Knee jerk reactions against conspiracy theories are frequently as irrational as some of the theories themselves but anyone who is open minded should appreciate that some very strange things have happened over the past fourteen years. 9/11 critics are regularly derided as crazy “truthers” but anyone who has read the entirety of the 9/11 Commission Report might very well come to the conclusion that there is a lot missing, to include the redacted section about a possible Saudi Arabian connection. I have in the past noted that the possible leads involving Israel and Pakistan have also failed to be investigated adequately and included in the report. One might reasonably consider that the principal role of government currently is to spin a narrative that exonerates its own behavior, making truth a rarely encountered commodity.

January 27, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Netanyahu and ‘the Big Lie’

By Robert Fantina | CounterPunch | January 23, 2015

With the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) acceptance of Palestine as a member, and its agreement to investigate possible Israeli war crimes during last summer’s brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be having fits of rage. His puppet, the United States government, has also denounced the Court’s decisions, and Mr. Netanyahu has made the following bizarre statements:

* “It’s absurd for the ICC to go after Israel, which upholds the highest standards of international law. Our actions are subject to the constant and careful review of Israel’s world-renowned and utterly independent legal system.”

* “But this decision is even more preposterous given that Israel is legitimately defending itself against Palestinian terrorists who routinely commit multiple war crimes. They deliberately fire thousands of rockets at our civilians, while hiding behind Palestinian civilians whom they use a human shield.”

* “It is the democracy of Israel, a world leader in fighting terrorism, which is to be hauled to the dock in The Hague, while the terrorist war criminals of Hamas are the ones who are going to be pressing the charges.”

Perhaps we might look at each of these amazing statements, and see how many holes we can punch in them in a short essay. Doing so is not particularly challenging.

Israel ‘upholds the highest standards of international law’. Well now, isn’t that interesting? International law forbids the movement of the occupying nation’s citizens into the occupied nation. Israel has moved over 500,000 Israelis onto Palestinian land, and Mr. Netanyahu has stated that not one of them will ever leave.

During last summer’s brutal attack on Gaza, press vehicles, schools, hospitals, mosques and private residences were all targeted; each is forbidden by international law.

Further: “Our actions are subject to the constant and careful review of Israel’s world-renowned and utterly independent legal system.” The fox, when protesting the farmer’s actions against it after it raided the henhouse, might have said the same thing. We often read, after some abomination committed by Israel, that Israel is ‘investigating’. However, we very seldom read about the outcome of such investigations, and when we do, it is to say that the perpetrator has been exonerated.

“Israel is legitimately defending itself against Palestinian terrorists who routinely commit multiple war crimes.” One worries about sounding like a broken record, when one points out again that there is no legitimate ‘defense’ by an occupier against the occupied. There is only greater enforcement of the occupation. An occupied nation, by international law, has the right to resist the occupation.

If Palestinians have, in fact, committed war crimes, Israel can file charges at the ICC (of course, that would mean actually joining the ICC). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stated that he will cooperate fully with any such investigation. Mr. Netanyahu, on the other bloody hand, has said he will not cooperate at all.

In this astounding statement, Mr. Netanyahu rolls out the old canard of Palestinian resistance fighters “hiding behind Palestinian civilians whom they use a human shield”. There is no evidence to support this claim, although there is ample evidence, including on video, of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) terrorists using Palestinian children as human shields. What was that that Mr. Netanyahu said above, about upholding ‘the highest standards of international law’?

Lastly, Mr. Netanyahu refers to ‘the democracy of Israel’. Well, this is a most unusual democracy, where all Israelis are afforded equal rights, but Palestinians and people of African descent are not. This sounds more to this writer like apartheid.

He further calls Israel ‘a world leader in fighting terrorism.’ Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are subjected daily to night raids, during which their homes can be ransacked, their possessions stolen and anyone of any age, including children, can be arrested without charge. Israel also bulldozes homes, sprays extremely offensive liquids on school, and routinely prevents people in desperate need of medical care from receiving it. If this isn’t terrorism, what is?

People often take great umbrage when the name of Hitler is ever associated with the actions of modern day Israel. However, this writer will risk the wrath of the ignorant and uninformed, and point out a parallel. In Mein Kempf, Hitler wrote about ‘the big lie’. “In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.” [According to many scholars, Hitler echoes the German philosopher Schopenhauer and alleges that it is the Jews who are “The Great Master of Lies.” At no point does he advocate the “Big Lie Technique” himself. On the contrary, he criticizes the Jews for allegedly adopting the technique themselves. It is ironic that Hitler himself fell posthumous victim to this tactic. – Aletho News ]

It seems that Mr. Netanyahu, in his desperation to halt the slow march of justice for Palestine, has resorted to ‘the big lie’. As shown above, the statements he made regarding the ICC’s decision to investigate possible war crimes Israel committed are simply lies, falsehoods that he hopes the world will believe; in fact, he needs the world to believe them, so that Israel can continue its gradual genocide of Palestine.

The U.S., true to form, endorsed this same view. Like Mr. Netanyahu, the U.S. sang the old song of ‘negotiations’ as required for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The United Nations recognizes Palestine’s borders as those that existed prior to 1967. There is nothing to negotiate; if Israel, as claimed by the esteemed Mr. Netanyahu, does in fact uphold ‘the highest standards of international law’, why does it choose to ignore this one? Why does it not retreat to those internationally-recognized borders?

The reason is simple; Israel, an apartheid state, has no interest in negotiating anything with the Palestinians; it simply wants to absorb all Palestinian land, destroy its culture and kill its people. Increasingly around the world the basic human right of self-determination is being recognized as one that the Palestinians have long been deprived of, and have long deserved. Pretty lies spoken with a straight face don’t hide the facts, and may slow the path of progress, but cannot stop it. The world, it seems, is finally losing patience with Israel.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 4 Comments

Chutzpah Squared, Bibi and Boehner

By Jim Lobe | LobeLog | January 22, 2015

As Mitchell Plitnick pointed out on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress on February 11, although now it appears that Bibi would like to put off the occasion until March 3, when AIPAC will be holding its annual policy conference and unleashing its 12,000-plus attendees on Capitol Hill. The lobby group presumably aims to persuade its members of Congress to do everything they can to sabotage a possible nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran—as well as bolster Bibi’s chances of retaining the premiership in the March 17 elections in Israel. Much has happened that is relevant to the visit in the last 24 hours, and a brief round-up, which unfortunately is all that I have time for today, seems in order.

The invitation was clearly arranged without any notification of or coordination with the White House, which, as Mitchell reported, noted that its handling appeared to be “a departure from protocol.” It also appears now that Boehner didn’t even consult Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who, in addition to complaining about the negative impact Netanyahu’s appearance might have on the negotiations, explained on Thursday that the common practice is for the two leaders from each party to agree before issuing an invitation to a foreign leader:

…[I]t’s out of the ordinary that the Speaker would decide that he would be inviting people to a Joint Session without any bipartisan consultation. And of course, we always—our friendship with Israel is a very strong one. Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to the Joint Session two times already. And there are concerns about the fact that this—as I understand it from this morning—that this presentation will take place within two weeks of the election in Israel. I don’t think that’s appropriate for any country—that the head of state would come here within two weeks of his own election in his own country.

Meanwhile, the White House announced that Obama won’t meet Netanyahu for the same reason: “As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told reporters in an emailed statement. Kerry won’t meet with Bibi either, according to the State Department.

Meanwhile, Obama’s position that Congress should give diplomacy a chance by not enacting new sanctions legislation got a key endorsement from the presumed front-runner in the 2016 Democratic presidential race, Hillary Clinton. Speaking at a conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she said:

If we’re the reason—through our Congress—that in effect gives Iran and others the excuse not to continue the negotiations, that would be, in my view, a very serious strategic error… Why do we want to be the catalyst for the collapse of negotiations until we really know whether there’s something we can get out of them that will make the world safer [and] avoid an arms race in the Middle East?… [R]ight now, the status quo that we’re in is in my view in our interests and therefore I don’t want to do anything that disrupts the status quo until we have a better idea as to whether there’s something we can get out of it.

Clinton’s position, of course, should be quite helpful in keeping wavering Democrats in line. And, in the wake of Obama’s veto threat and Boehner’s invitation to Bibi, it seems that even some of the Democratic co-sponsors of the original Kirk-Menendez bill are moving in the White House’s direction. “I’m considering very seriously the very cogent points that he’s made in favor of delaying any congressional action,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal told Politico. “I’m talking to colleagues on both sides of the aisle. And I think they are thinking, and rethinking, their positions in light of the points that the president and his team are making to us.”

The fact that he would mention that some Republicans may also be “rethinking” their positions, while not provable yet, is significant, particularly in light of today’s Washington Post op-ed, “Give Diplomacy a Chance,” by the foreign ministers of France, Britain, and Germany and the high representative of the European Union (EU) for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, with whom Kerry met on Wednesday. The four of them could not have been clearer:

Maintaining pressure on Iran through our existing sanctions is essential. But introducing new hurdles at this critical stage of the negotiations, including through additional nuclear-related sanctions legislation on Iran, would jeopardize our efforts at a critical juncture. While many Iranians know how much they stand to gain by overcoming isolation and engaging with the world, there are also those in Tehran who oppose any nuclear deal. We should not give them new arguments. New sanctions at this moment might also fracture the international coalition that has made sanctions so effective so far. Rather than strengthening our negotiating position, new sanctions legislation at this point would set us back.

It’s worth remembering that the writers of that statement include the foreign ministers of Washington’s three closest European and NATO allies—the countries (at least Britain and France) that Americans normally think of when a politician, including the Republican variety, talks about building closer ties with “our traditional allies.” Asked to choose between Israel and Washington’s western allies that, unlike Israel, have suffered real casualties alongside U.S. servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, some Republicans may not find it to so easy to follow AIPAC’s lead, despite rich campaign rewards dangled by the billionaire donors in the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), notably its chairman, Sheldon Adelson. So, when Boehner told Politico Thursday, “Let’s send a clear message to the White House — and the world — about our commitment to Israel and our allies,” he failed to clarify which “allies” he was referring to.

Of course, Europe is also Israel’s biggest trading partner by far, and European leaders and parliaments have been expressing increasing frustration over the past year with Netanyahu’s positions on Israel-Palestine as well as the general rightward drift of Israeli politics. In his last foreign venture, Netanyahu made himself thoroughly obnoxious in France. By being seen as actively trying to sabotage an agreement with Iran that, if it is indeed concluded, will gain the strong backing of the president of the United States and the leaders of Washington’s closest European allies, Netanyahu will isolate Israel even more from its western supporters.

That may be part of the reason why Israel’s national-security professionals have apparently been willing to go “rogue,” as Josh Rogin and Eli Lake called it in their big story Wednesday on Bloomberg about dissent in the Israeli intelligence community regarding the potentially disastrous impact of new sanctions legislation on the Iran negotiations. The intelligence community did this before when Netanyahu and Ehud Barak were repeatedly threatening to attack Iran earlier this decade.

Although Mossad’s director issued an extremely unusual statement on Thursday denying any opposition to new sanctions, the phrasing indicated a certain lack of conviction.

Meanwhile, it will be very interesting to find out who initiated the idea that Netanyahu should be invited to address Congress at such a critical moment and to do so without any consultation with the State Department, the White House, or the minority leader in Congress. It’s hard to believe that either Boehner or McConnell would have the temperament or imagination to act on their own. One wonders whether Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer or someone at the RJC or Bill Kristol thought it was a great idea. Or maybe it was Bibi himself. Certainly the Emergency Committee for Israel welcomes the visit and plans to hold a reception for Bibi when he gets to Washington. Still, it’s hard to figure out how Israel’s relations with the United States or Europe are going to be improved by this.

AN ADDITIONAL THOUGHT: I think mainstream Jewish organizations that place a high stock in maintaining their bipartisan identity — including the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, and even AIPAC — are going to have a difficult time dealing with this situation due to the fact that Boehner has acted in such a transparently partisan manner. It’s important to remember that both Kristol’s ECI and Adelson’s favorite Zionist group, the Zionist Organization of America, implicitly attacked AIPAC last February for essentially throwing in the towel on the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill precisely because the powerful lobby group had run into a solid wall of Democratic opposition and didn’t want to risk its bipartisan image. As Kristol said at the time, “[I]t would be terrible if history’s judgment on the pro-Israel community was that it made a fetish of bipartisanship — and got a nuclear Iran.” If Democrats line up strongly against Boehner’s and Bibi’s little coup, that same community is going to have to make some hard decisions.

~

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January 23, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Congress Seeks Netanyahu’s Direction

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | January 22, 2015

Showing who some in Congress believe is the real master of U.S. foreign policy, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session and offer a rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s comments on world affairs in his State of the Union speech.

Boehner made clear that Netanyahu’s third speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress – scheduled for Feb. 11 – was meant to counter Obama’s assessments. “There is a serious threat in the world, and the President last night kind of papered over it,” Boehner said on Wednesday. “And the fact is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran.”

The scheduling of Netanyahu’s speech caught the White House off-guard, since the Israeli prime minister had apparently not bothered to clear his trip with the administration. The Boehner-Netanyahu arrangement demonstrates a mutual contempt for this President’s authority to conduct American foreign policy as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution.

In the past when Netanyahu has spoken to Congress, Republicans and Democrats have competed to show their devotion by quickly and frequently leaping to their feet to applaud almost every word out of the Israeli prime minister’s mouth. By addressing a joint session for a third time, Netanyahu would become only the second foreign leader to do so, joining British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who never used the platform to demean the policies of a sitting U.S. president.

Besides this extraordinary recognition of another country’s leader as the true definer of U.S. foreign policy, Boehner’s move reflects an ignorance of what is actually occurring on the ground in the Middle East. Boehner doesn’t seem to realize that Netanyahu has developed what amounts to a de facto alliance with extremist Sunni forces in the region.

Not only is Israel now collaborating behind the scenes with Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabist leadership but Israel has begun taking sides militarily in support of the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the Syrian civil war. A source familiar with U.S. intelligence information on Syria said Israel has a “non-aggression pact” with Nusra forces that control territory adjacent to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The quiet cooperation between Israel and al-Qaeda’s affiliate was further underscored on Sunday when Israeli helicopters attacked and killed advisers to the Syrian military from Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran. In other words, Israel has dispatched its forces into Syria to kill military personnel helping to fight al-Nusra. Iran later confirmed that one of its generals had died in the Israeli strike.

Israel’s tangled alliances with Sunni forces have been taking shape over the past several years, as Israel and Saudi Arabia emerged as strange bedfellows in the geopolitical struggle against Shiite-ruled Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon. Both Saudi and Israeli leaders have talked with growing alarm about this “Shiite crescent” stretching from Iran through Iraq and Syria to the Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon.

Favoring Sunni Extremists

Senior Israelis have made clear they would prefer Sunni extremists to prevail in the Syrian civil war rather than President Bashar al-Assad, who is an Alawite, a branch of Shiite Islam. Assad’s relatively secular government is seen as the protector of Shiites, Christians and other minorities who fear the vengeful brutality of the Sunni jihadists who now dominate the anti-Assad rebels.

In one of the most explicit expressions of Israel’s views, its Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, a close adviser to Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post in September 2013 that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Saudi Arabia shares Israeli’s strategic view that “the Shiite crescent” must be broken and has thus developed a rapport with Netanyahu’s government in a kind of “enemy of my enemy is my friend” relationship. But some rank-and-file Jewish supporters of Israel have voiced concerns about Israel’s new-found alliance with the Saudi monarchy, especially given its adherence to ultraconservative Wahhabi Islam and its embrace of a fanatical hatred of Shiite Islam, a sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites that dates back 1,400 years.

Though President Obama has repeatedly declared his support for Israel, he has developed a contrary view from Netanyahu’s regarding what is the gravest danger in the Middle East. Obama considers the radical Sunni jihadists, associated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, to be the biggest threat to Western interests and U.S. national security.

That has put him in a different de facto alliance – with Iran and the Syrian government – since they represent the strongest bulwarks against Sunni jihadists who have targeted Americans and other Westerners for death.

What Boehner doesn’t seem to understand is that Israel and Saudi Arabia have placed themselves on the side of the Sunni jihadists who now represent the frontline fight against the “Shiite crescent.” If Netanyahu succeeds in enlisting the United States in violently forcing Syrian “regime change,” the U.S. government likely would be facilitating the growth in power of the Sunni extremists, not containing them.

But the influential American neoconservatives want to synch U.S. foreign policy with Israel’s and thus have pressed for a U.S. bombing campaign against Assad’s forces (even if that would open the gates of Damascus to the Nusra Front or the Islamic State). The neocons also want an escalation of tensions with Iran by sabotaging an agreement to ensure that its nuclear program is not used for military purposes.

The neocons have long wanted to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran as part of their “regime change” strategy for the Middle East. That is why Obama’s openness to a permanent agreement for tight constraints on Iran’s nuclear program is seen as a threat by Netanyahu, the neocons and their congressional allies – because it would derail hopes for militarily attacking Iran.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama made clear that he perceives the brutal Islamic State, which he calls “ISIL” for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as the principal current threat to Western interests in the Middle East and the clearest terror threat to the United States and Europe. Obama proposed “a smarter kind of American leadership” that would cooperate with allies in “stopping ISIL’s advance” without “getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East.”

Working with Putin

Thus, Obama, who might be called a “closet realist,” is coming to the realization that the best hope for blocking the advances of Sunni jihadi terror and minimizing U.S. military involvement is through cooperation with Iran and its regional allies. That also puts Obama on the same side with Russian President Vladimir Putin who has faced Sunni terrorism in Chechnya and is supporting both Iran’s leaders and Syria’s Assad in their resistance to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Obama’s “realist” alliance, in turn, presents a direct threat to Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran represents an “existential threat” to Israel and that the “Shiite crescent” must be destroyed. There is also fear among Israeli right-wingers that an effective Obama-Putin collaboration could ultimately force Israel into accepting a Palestinian state.

So, Netanyahu and the U.S. neocons believe they must do whatever is necessary to shatter this tandem of Obama, Putin and Iran. That is one reason why the neocons were at the forefront of fomenting “regime change” against Ukraine’s elected pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last year. By splintering Ukraine on Russia’s border, the neocons drove a wedge between Obama and Putin. [See Consortiumnews.com’sNeocons’ Ukraine-Syria-Iran Gambit.”]

Even the slow-witted mainstream U.S. media has begun to pick up on the story of the emerging Israeli-Saudi alliance. In the Jan. 19 issue of Time magazine, correspondent Joe Klein noted the new coziness between top Israeli and Saudi officials.

He wrote: “On May 26, 2014, an unprecedented public conversation took place in Brussels. Two former high-ranking spymasters of Israel and Saudi Arabia – Amos Yadlin and Prince Turki al-Faisal – sat together for more than an hour, talking regional politics in a conversation moderated by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius.

“They disagreed on some things, like the exact nature of an Israel-Palestine peace settlement, and agreed on others: the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat, the need to support the new military government in Egypt, the demand for concerted international action in Syria. The most striking statement came from Prince Turki. He said the Arabs had ‘crossed the Rubicon’ and ‘don’t want to fight Israel anymore.’”

Not only did Prince Turki offer an olive branch to Israel, he indicated agreement on what the two countries consider their most pressing strategic interests: Iran’s nuclear program and Syria’s civil war. In other words, in noting this extraordinary meeting, Klein had stumbled upon the odd-couple alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia – though he didn’t fully understand what he was seeing.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Obama had shifted his position on Syria as the West made a “quiet retreat from its demand” that Assad “step down immediately.” The article by Anne Barnard and Somini Sengupta noted that the Obama administration still wanted Assad to exit eventually “but facing military stalemate, well-armed jihadists and the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the United States is going along with international diplomatic efforts that could lead to more gradual change in Syria.”

At the center of that diplomatic initiative was Russia, again reflecting Obama’s recognition of the need to cooperate with Putin on resolving some of these complex problems (although Obama did include in his speech some tough-guy rhetoric against Russia over Ukraine, taking some pleasure in how Russia’s economy is now “in tatters”).

But the underlying reality is that the United States and Assad’s regime have become de facto allies, fighting on the same side in the Syrian civil war, much as Israel had, in effect, sided with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front by killing Hezbollah and Iranian advisers to the Syrian military.

The Times article noted that the shift in Obama’s position on Syrian peace talks “comes along with other American actions that Mr. Assad’s supporters and opponents take as proof Washington now believes that if Mr. Assad is ousted, there will be nothing to check the spreading chaos and extremism.

“American planes now bomb the Islamic State group’s militants in Syria, sharing skies with Syrian jets. American officials assure Mr. Assad, through Iraqi intermediaries, that Syria’s military is not their target. The United States still trains and equips Syrian insurgents, but now mainly to fight the Islamic State, not the government.”

Yet, as Obama adjusts U.S. foreign policy to take into account the complex realities in the Middle East, he now faces another front in this conflict – from the U.S. Congress, which has long been held in thrall by the Israel lobby.

Not only has Speaker Boehner appealed to Netanyahu to deliver what amounts to a challenge to President Obama’s foreign policy but congressional neocons are even accusing Obama’s team of becoming Iranian stooges. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a Democratic neocon, said, “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.”

If indeed Netanyahu does end up addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress, its members would face a stark choice of either embracing Israel’s foreign policy as America’s or backing the decisions made by the elected President of the United States.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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