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Max Blumenthal and Justin Raimondo: The 21st Century’s First “Premature Anti-Fascists”?

10:48 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

A crowd at the Euromaidan, one spectator looks at the cameraBack in the 1990s, British-American classicist, Bernard Knox, related how he became aware of the term “premature anti-Fascist.”  Knox was interviewing in 1946 for entry into the PhD program at Yale.  Knox had just left his distinguished wartime service in the U.S. Army:

The [interviewing] Professor, who had himself served in the US Army in 1917-18, was very interested [in Knox's military record], and remarked on the fact that, in addition to the usual battle-stars for service in the European Theatre, I had been awarded a Croix de Guerre a l’Ordre de l’Armée, the highest category for that decoration.

Asked how I got it, I explained that, in July 1944, I had parachuted, in uniform, behind the Allied lines in Brittany to arm and organize French Resistance forces and hold them ready for action at the moment most useful for the Allied advance. “Why were you selected for that operation?” he asked, and I told him that I was one of the few people in the US Army who could speak fluent, idiomatic, and (if necessary) pungently coarse French. When he asked me where I had learned it, I told him that I had fought in 1936 on the northwest sector of the Madrid front in the French Battalion of the XIth International Brigade.

“Oh,” he said, “You were a premature anti-Fascist.” [emphasis added]

Last month’s violent Ukrainian coup d’état has garnered more attention than any of the other coups taking out democratically elected administrations during the Obama period.  In spite of the fact that the 2009 Honduran coup was in our own hemisphere, it received very little attention in the U.S. media.  The Ukrainian coup is being portrayed by U.S. and western European media as somehow democratically inspired.  Valid questions about how it was funded and supported aren’t getting much play at MSNBC, ABC, CBS, FOX or NPR.  Rather, the attention has been on the response of the Russian government to an event these outlets personify in the body of Vladimir Putin.  U.S. media gets worse at covering issues by the day, it seems.

Articles in the alternative media are asking these questions, though.  Here at firedoglake there have been a good number of them.  Two articles appearing elsewhere since the coup’s seeming success impress me as being deep in their detail of some pretty damning evidence of a fascist resurgence at play here.  Max Blumenthal’s article, Is the US backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?, appeared in late February. However Justin Raimondo’s essay at antiwar.com, A Monster Reawakens: The Rise of Ukrainian Fascism, is unblinking:

For the first time since 1933, the followers of a movement that valorizes Adolf Hitler and preaches anti-Semitism has entered a European government. The German Nazis, too, were part of a “coalition” government, the other members of which thought they could contain or even “tame” them and prevent a Communist takeover. They were tragically wrong – and the United States and its European allies are taking the same road in backing Hitler’s heirs in Ukraine.

Of course the majority of the government’s supporters are hardly hardcore neo-Nazis: but that isn’t necessary to make this a precedent the West will live to regret. [emphasis added]

Raimondo lists the new “interim government” fascists appointed to key cabinet and administrative posts:

Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok, now a top official of the Ukrainian Parliament, is an unrepentant anti-Semite. In the summer of 2004, he made a speech to his followers at the gravesite of a Banderist commander in which he declared: “You are the ones that the Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine fears most.” His peroration also made reference to “Kikes” as prominent among those the Banderists fought. Tyahnybok was expelled from Parliament for his remarks, but the “revolution” has installed him back in his seat – and more powerful than ever.

He has plenty of company. Svoboda activists, who already held seats in Parliament, hold no less than eight top Cabinet positions:

  • Ihor Tenyukh – interim defense minister and a member of Svoboda’s political council. Formerly commander of Ukraine’s navy, in 2008, during Russia’s war with Georgia, he ordered Ukrainian warships to block the entrance of the Russian Navy to the bay of Sevastopol.
  • Andriy Parubiy – National Security Council chief, co-founded Svoboda back when it was the “Social National” (ahem!) party.
  • Dmytro Yarosh – deputy head of the National Security Council, i.e. the police, and the founder-leader of “Right Sector,” a militant neo-Nazi paramilitary group that took charge of security in the Maiden.
  • Oleh Makhnitsky – Svoboda member of parliament, is prosecutor-general.
  • Oleksandr Sych – Svoboda parliamentarian and the party’s chief ideologist, is deputy prime minister for economic affairs.
  • Serhiy Kvit – a leading member of Svoboda, is to head up the Education Ministry.
  • Andriy Moknyk – the new Minister of Ecology, has been Svoboda’s envoy to other European fascist parties. Last year, he met with representatives of Italy’s violent neo-fascist gang, Forza Nuovo.
  • Ihor Shvaika – agro-oligarch and a member of Svoboda, has been appointed Minister of Agriculture. One of the richest men in the country, his massive investments in agriculture would seem to indicate a slight conflict of interest.

Blumenthal’s article was written before most of these “interim” posts were filled.  However, he followed the street battles closely:

White supremacist banners and Confederate flags were draped inside Kiev’s occupied City Hall, and demonstrators have hoisted Nazi SS and white power symbols over a toppled memorial to V.I. Lenin. After Yanukovich fled his palatial estate by helicopter, EuroMaidan protestersdestroyed a memorial to Ukrainians who died battling German occupation during World War II. Sieg heil salutes and the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol have become an increasingly common site in Maidan Square, and neo-Nazi forces have established “autonomous zones” in and around Kiev.

And, typical of Blumenthal, he included some wry humor:

An Anarchist group called AntiFascist Union Ukraine attempted to join the Euromaidan demonstrations but found it difficult to avoid threats of violence and imprecations from the gangs of neo-Nazis roving the square. “They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists,” one of its members said. “There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult.”

Will the U.S. and western European media begin to cover the fascist component of this coup more studiously?

What do you think?

Meanwhile, will excellent authors and essayists such as Blumenthal and Raimondo be labeled by coup supporters and their sidekicks as “premature anti-fascists”?

Photo by Jose Luis Orihuela released under a Creative Commons license.

How Many Times Will Kerry Let Netanyahu Kick Him in the Nuts?

10:48 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

We don’t know yet.

Kerry & Netanyahu

“Netanyahu’s doing it because over the years he and most high-ranking Israeli officials have come to loath Americans.”

I.  Upon his return to do whatever he does in Israel and Palestine to push for some sort of a deal that both the Israelis and Palestinians can accommodate (an utterly impossible task), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was treated to this tirade by the Israeli Prime Minister:

Welcome back to Jerusalem, John. I want to use this opportunity to express once again my personal appreciation and the appreciation of the people of Israel for your unremitting personal efforts to advance peace between us and the Palestinians. I know that you’re committed to peace, I know that I’m committed to peace, but unfortunately, given the actions and words of Palestinian leaders, there’s growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace.

A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced terrorists as heroes. To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage. How can President Abbas says – how can he say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists. And I’m wondering what a young Palestinian would think when he sees the leader of the Palestinian people embrace people who axed innocent men and women – axed their heads or blew them up or riddled them with bullets – what’s a young Palestinian supposed to think about the future? What’s he supposed to think about what he should do vis-a-vis Israelis and vis-a-vis the state of Israel? So it’s not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn’t see fit to condemn these attacks, even after we learned that at least in one case – I stress, at least in one case – those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them.

Netanyahu is referring, in part, to the record of some of the imprisoned Palestinians whose release is being celebrated in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. What he was doing, in the statement, was paying Kerry back for his moment of candor, when, back in early November, he warned:

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, warned Israel on Friday that it faced a third intifada if peace talks with the Palestinians failed.

During a visit to Israel aimed at putting the faltering peace process back on track, Mr Kerry told Israeli and Palestinian television that the alternative to success was a potential eruption of Palestinian violence.

‘The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos,” he said. “I mean, does Israel want a third intifada?’

It was strong language from America’s top diplomat, clearly frustrated at the lack of progress in a process in which he has personally invested considerable effort.

Using the Arabic word for uprising, it recalled the first and second Palestinian intifadas which ran from 1987 to 1993 and from 2000 to 2005. Each period of escalated violence claimed thousands of lives, with the toll particularly heavy on the Palestinian side.

The so-called “Peace Process” talks seem to be entering new levels of absurdity:

‘We’re not expecting a breakthrough on this trip,’ Martin Indyk, the State Department’s mediator on the conflict, said today in a supposedly-anonymous briefing on this week’s urgent round of peace talks in Ramallah and Jerusalem.

Indyk said there is no ‘agreement’ between the parties, but Secretary of State John Kerry is seeking an agreement on a ‘framework’ for continued talks, not so different from the Clinton parameters of 2000. Indyk, a longtime advocate for Israel, said part of the framework is a possible announcement of final borders of a Palestinian state:

We’re trying to reach an understanding on what the final borders will be.

The briefing was supposedly anonymous– ‘with a Senior State Department Official who will be previewing the Secretary’s trip to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week’– but the first clue to Indyk’s identity came when the anonymous official mentioned his ’35-year experience on this particular conflict.” Then the briefing’s unnamed moderator outed him: “It’s an agreement on the terms, as Martin said– right– which has not been achieved in the past, at least in recent history.’

The talks will never get past Israeli demands that Palestine recognize the land stolen from the latter as “the Jewish State,” and Palestinian demands for a level of autonomy that would give them the same degree of statehood as Belize, Andorra, Singapore or Bermuda, to name similarly sized countries.

II.  Netanyahu isn’t kicking Kerry in the nuts because Kerry deserves it. He’s doing it because over the years he and most high-ranking Israeli officials have come to loath Americans. Even though the Obama administration’s record of supporting Israeli policies is perhaps the most disgustingly pro-Israeli in our country’s history, that matters less to the Israelis than that Obama is black and that they can sow seeds of distrust toward him in our country through Republican politicians, and through Democrats up for close elections in red states.  Is that cynical, or what?

The most disgustingly anti-American, anti-Obama interview I’ve read this week comes from The Times of Israel, in an interview of former U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren with the Times‘ David Horovitz. Justin Raimondo, in his first 2014 essay, got to the heart of the anti-Americanism in the interview:

Read the rest of this entry →

I Call the White House Regarding the Edward Snowden “We the People” Petition

10:32 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

On June 9th, someone started a petition at the White House niche, We the People, requesting the President address Edward Snowden’s legal status:

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:

Pardon Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.

When I signed this morning, there were about 108,000 signatures.  Supposedly, once a petition gets over 100,000 signatures, it receives front-rank attention.  Here’s the video the White House posted at YouTube, explaining the process.  Note that a specific number of signatures for the “signature threshold” isn’t mentioned in the video:

Soon after I signed, Justin Raimondo urged twitter followers to call the White House, and politely ask about the petition’s status, now that it had gone over the 100,000 signature threshold.

I called.  After jumping through some hoops, I got a real person.  I wanted to know:

1). Does some specific action happen when a petition reaches 100,000 signatures?

2).  Are there specific people assigned to the “We the People” site to deal with petitions deemed to have met the “threshold” when they get there?

3).  If so, is there a way you can connect me with one of them over the telephone?

The courteous young man responded to my likewise courteous questions with vague answers, ending up with “I’ve got a lot of calls coming in, and I don’t have time to refer you to somebody who can answer your questions specifically, but if you call back ………”

I’ve given the White House 20 minutes.  I’ll call back now.  The petition is up to 112,379 signatures.

My call went through the hoops.  Another nice young man eventually answered.  When I started explaining why I was calling, the line went dead.  Must be some glitch in their switchboard, eh?  I’ll try again.  112,408.

Sort of the same thing.  I got through.  This not-so-young male listened, said “OK,” and the line went dead.  Must be some other glitch, huh?

One more try – 112,419.

On my fourth call, I finally was given a different phone number – the White House switchboard – 202-456-1414.

This time (fifth call), a polite, very professionally polished young woman answered.  She stated that all petitions that reach the 100,000 mark are dealt with the same way.  There is no established time frame in which that might happen, though.  She stated that although specific people at “We the People” handle this task, they are never available to take calls from, uh we, the people.  She did note that she has received a lot of calls on this petition.

We wished each other a nice day.

112,560.

Thoughts on Staff Sgt. Robert Bales’ Attorney – John Henry Browne

12:53 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Kohring-BrownPostTrial

I got into blogging to cover the Federal corruption trial of former Alaska State Representative Vic Kohring.  Kohring’s attorney in that October 2007 trial was John Henry Browne.  He is the high-profile Seattle-based attorney now representing U.S. Army Staff Sgt, Robert Bales. The sergeant was charged Friday with the killing of 17 Afghan civilians on the night of March 11-12.

During the Kohring trial, four and a half years ago, I got to meet and know John Henry Browne.  He was fairly well known in the Pacific Northwest for having represented serial killer Ted Bundy, and for having been a key attorney in the overturning of the bizarre Wenatchee Washington sex ring convictions. [see Masoninblue's comment #7]

At the time of the Kohring trial, I was reluctant to come to deep conclusions about Browne.  The premise of my trial blog was this:

Two longtime friends from the Mat-Su Valley with opposing views of the trial and its defendant share their thoughts. Fred James perceives Vic Kohring as a victim of a prosecution gone awry. Philip Munger has been predicting a demise for Kohring for years as the Wasilla anti-government politician attempted to make too many increasingly unconnected ends and motives meet.

The concept was inspired by firedoglake‘s coverage of the Scooter Libby trial, which was an historic approach to trial writing.  I hoped that with Fred and me exchanging differing views, we would cover new ground too.

Others who attended the trial blogged about it too, most notably retired University of Alaska Anchorage public policy professor, Steve Aufrecht.  Today, at his outstanding blog, What Do I Know? Steve has revisited his thoughts on Browne at the time of the Kohring trial:

John Henry Browne, the attorney now representing Robert Bales, the soldier accused of massacring 17 Afghan civilians, spent several weeks in Anchorage in 2007, representing the third state legislator to go on trial for corruption here, Vic Kohring.  I blogged that trial and so I got to watch him in action.  Of the three trials, he was the only attorney who seemed to attract almost as much attention as his client.

I have comments about Browne throughout the Kohring posts, but I’ve pulled out a few here that may give some insight into this attorney.  Or not.

On my first encounter in court October 22, 2007:

John Henry Browne

For me the big unknown was the defense attorney. When I walked in, I saw him from behind and thought he was younger until he turned and faced the gallery. He was wearing what looked like an expensive light grey suit with just a touch of green. His shirt was just barely pink. The prosecutors, in comparison, were in dark, dark grey to black suits with white shirts, except for Mr. Goeke who had a beige shirt. Even Agent Mary Beth Kepner [Thanks, Steve, I was getting tired when I did that] had on a grey suit. And Mr. Browne’s hair also looked expensive – basically brown with what would have been called surfer blond streaks where I grew up near Venice Beach. OK, I know what some of you are thinking. But this is not intended as a fashion evaluation of the attorneys. I do think, however, that the dress does tell us something about people. Browne very definitely pays attention to how he looks. He also has trouble talking without moving. If his arms aren’t moving, or his hands, then his fingers are moving. A few times I could even see the muscles in his back moving through his jacket. And this was just very low key questions to the jury.

His voice is radio quality deep and his intonation is precise, more articulated than most American speakers naturally talk. Perhaps he’s done some acting or had other voice coaching.

When he asked questions of the jurors, or even when he didn’t, he would say, “Good morning” in the same exact tone which sounded warm and interested the first time, but after hearing it repeated precisely many times, it began to sound canned. For two jurors, he said something like, “Your comments were much more extensive than the other jurors” which I thought sounded like calculated flattery, and which caused Prosecutor Botinni [Bottini] to object to the “unnecessary editorial comments” about juror performance. The judge concurred.

He also addressed the court twice, between jurors, with two questions that I thought seemed inappropriate. The first time he wanted to know about jurors who came from outside of Anchorage – who paid for them? (The court pays their airfare and hotel, but they don’t go back for weekends the judge replied.) The second question was whether the jurors came from all of Alaska. The judge explained that they only came from the Anchorage district, which was a large district, stretching from Cordova to the Aleutians. It just seemed to me that these were curiosity items, that I would have written down and checked on later. Or, as the Outside defense attorney, I would have found out before the trial. And being an Outside attorney – the local attorney Wayne Anthony Ross was not there today [and I don't think ever was in court] – he wouldn’t understand the implications of what local talk show hosts the jurors said they listened to.

Overall, his behavior reinforced the impression I’ve gotten in the pretrial press coverage. This is the Seattle attorney who is coming to the boondocks to try a case. If that really is the way he’s thinking, I suspect he’s in for a big surprise.  Judge Sedwick has run very tight, but fair, trials. His excusing of the full time student today is an example of his practical understanding of what makes sense and what doesn’t. The prosecution has done an overwhelming amount of work and have been extremely well prepared. The teams at the previous two trials were one local attorney and one from the DC based Public Integrity Section. These guys do their homework. The pairing for this trial is Joe Botinni[Bottini], who’s been in the Anchorage US Attorney Office for many years, and Edward P. Sullivan from DC. On the other hand, it does seem that the taped evidence is likely to be not as damaging as in the other cases, and that Kohring might appear to have been less calculating than Kott or Anderson in working out ways to get paid. We will see.

By the next day, I’d figured out who Browne reminded me of.  I wrote a post titled, Is John Henry Browne Really Eddie Haskell 50 Years Later?

Eddie Haskell, eh?

I’ve been trying to get in touch with Browne to question him about PFC Bradley Manning’s treatment compared to what he’s come to know about the detention of SSgt. Bales.  Browne has succeeded in getting his client into the news this past week.  He’s already  putting the U.S. Army and the Afghan War on trial:

The lawyer for the Army staff sergeant suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians questioned Tuesday the quality of the evidence against his client and said he planned to travel to Afghanistan to gather his own.

John Henry Browne said he met with Robert Bales for 11 hours over two days at Fort Leavenworth, where his client is being held. He added that there was still a lot he didn’t know about the March 11 shootings.

“I don’t know about the evidence in this case. I don’t know that the government is going to prove much. There’s no forensic evidence. There’s no confessions,” Browne said outside his hotel near the post.

“I’m certainly not saying that we’re not taking responsibility for this in the right way, at the right time. But for now, I’m interested in what the evidence is,” he said. “It’s not like a crime scene in the United States.”

Browne said there were legal, social and political issues linked to the case and how it will be prosecuted. “The war’s on trial. I’m not putting the war on trial,” he said. “I’m not putting the war on trial, but the war is on trial.”

NPR, discussing Bales’ options on Friday:

SOLIS: The defense doesn’t have a lot of roads to travel right now, and so what they’re going to do is blame it on the mental state, which probably has some validity, and blame it on the Army.

BOWMAN: Blame it on the Army for sending Sergeant Bales on four combat tours, which took a toll.

SOLIS: And that’s because of the three prior tours that the suspect had in Iraq, the fact that he had been wounded a couple of times, that he objected to being sent back to Afghanistan for a fourth tour. So I think that this is the type of case which is tailor-made for a lack of mental responsibility defense.

BOWMAN: But military lawyer Neal Puckett points out that many soldiers have served multiple combat tours and suffered from PTSD.

PUCKETT: You can’t totally displace responsibility on to the Army simply because you say well, he has TBI and/or he has PTSD.

BOWMAN: There’s one other defense that may not be an option for Sgt. Bales, that his life was in danger. Neal Puckett defended a Marine accused of shooting civilians at Haditha, Iraq in 2005 after an attack on his squad. The most serious charges were dropped after Puckett argued the Marine felt he was threatened.

Browne was probably sought out by Bales’ family, as Browne works out of a Seattle office, and the trial will be held in the lower Puget Sound area of Ft. Lewis, where Bales’ unit has its home base.  His family have put together a legal defense fund:

Robert Bales’ wife, Karilyn Bales, has started a fund to raise money to help pay his legal costs. Contributions, not tax-deductible, can be sent to the Staff Sergeant Robert Bales Legal Defense Fund, P.O. Box 2774, Seattle, WA 98111.

I’m not sure I totally buy into Bales having been unaccompanied or unassisted in his night-time journeys.  He supposedly left the base, walked to one village, came back, walked to another village and came back a second time – by himself.  Here’s a map I created, superimposing a McClatchy graphic onto my own annotated image from Google Earth:

Alkozai-Najiban Axis

Those distances he would have had to walk, totaling over 7 kilometers, are as the crow flies.  Sgt. Bales appears to be fit, but …….

Justin Raimondo is still questioning the veracity of the lone actor scenario.  And he also feels that the way this is playing out, fiction or not, shows up many flaws in our Afghan end-game:

All of this has led to an outcry in Afghanistan, where the local are saying this was an organized revenge killing rather than Sergeant Psycho on a rampage. Which raises an intriguing question: organized by whom?

It seems to me there are two possibilities:

1) This was the result of a “rogue” group of soldiers acting on their own, motivated by the previous IED attack. Reports that Bales was drinking with a group of other soldiers the night of the massacre conjure images of a late-night venting climaxed by a senseless act of terror.

2) It was a “night raid” gone horribly wrong. This is suggested by the fact that the “official” story of what happened that night limns these night raids to a tee, except for the number of military personnel involved. And Karzai has a point: it is certainly possible Bales went to two residences, killed 16 women and children, and then gathered up the bodies and burned them in the space of a couple of hours, with no assistance from anyone — but how likely is it? About as likely as Bales’s claim not to remember anything of that night.

What is striking is how seamlessly these two scenarios blend into each other: even if this heinous crime was carried out by a “rogue” group of soldiers, how different is it from those night raids where they are acting under orders? The direct threats issued to the villagers, however, points to the possibility that they were acting with the knowledge of at least some higher-ups, who must have authorized the round-up, the use of a translator, and even the participation of the Afghan army.

What is worrying is that the numerous reports coming out of Afghanistan of rampant war crimes committed by “rogue” soldiers – “kill teams” – indicates a complete breakdown of the US chain of command. At the top of the command structure, the grand strategists and theoreticians are constructing elaborate theories of counterinsurgency warfare designed to win over the populace and deny the Taliban a victory. However, by the time “clear, hold, and build” trickles down to the ranks in the field, it becomes “clear, hold, and kill.”

It will be some time before SSgt. Bales goes to trail.  Certainly not this year, if the slowness of the Bradley Manning case progress is any indicator.  Watch for John Henry Browne to do everything he can to keep his client’s case in the news, and to tie any new American military misconduct into his developing narrative against the war:  ”I’m not putting the war on trial, but the war is on trial.”

 

 

Atlanta Publisher Andrew Adler Wants Obama “Whacked” by the Mossad

1:26 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Assassination Solicitation from Andrew Adler 1:13:2012

There it is.  Andrew B. Adler’s editorial from his paper, The Atlanta Jewish Times, from January 13, 2012:

Here’s John Cook at Gawker, covering it late yesterday:

Andrew Adler, the owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, a weekly newspaper serving Atlanta’s Jewish community, devoted his January 13, 2012 column to the thorny problem of the U.S. and Israel’s diverging views on the threat posed by Iran. Basically Israel has three options, he wrote: Strike Hezbollah and Hamas, strike Iran, or “order a hit” on Barack Obama. Either way, problem solved!

Here’s how Adler laid out “option three” in his list of scenarios facing Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu (the column, which was forwarded to us by a tipster, isn’t online, but you can read a copy here):

Three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.

Yes, you read “three” correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don’t you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circles?

Another way of putting “three” in perspective goes something like this: How far would you go to save a nation comprised of seven million lives…Jews, Christians and Arabs alike?

You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table.

It’s hard to tell whether or not Adler is just some crank. But the Atlanta Jewish Times, which he purchased in 2009, appears to be a real community newspaper. It was founded in 1925 and,according to Wikipedia, claims a circulation of 3,500 and staff of five. To judge from its web site, it’s a going concern.

Adler’s newspaper isn’t what it used to be, and, according to Wikipedia, “After [Adler's] takeover the website jtonline.us ceased to be updated..  This may explain the gap of a week between the editorial’s publication and the pushback, which has begun in earnest today, inducing an apology from Mr. Adler:

The owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times apologized for an opinion column in which he counted President Obama’s assassination as among Israel’s options in heading off a nuclear Iran.

“I very much regret it, I wish I hadn’t made reference to it at all,” Andrew Adler told JTA on Friday.

He said he would publish an apology in his next edition, and that reaction from readers had been overwhelmingly negative.

That was from the Jewish Telegraph Agency‘s short report.  Here’s The Forward:

The option for Israel to assassinate Obama was the third in a series that Adler laid out as choices for Netanyahu to confront the threat posed by Iran. Adler denied that he was advocating that Israel consider ordering Obama’s assassination. He claimed he only wrote the piece to provoke readers.

“I don’t stand behind what I wrote and my intention was never to stand behind it. I just wanted to get a reaction from the local community, to see what they would do,” he told the Forward.

Adler said the reaction had been “very negative.” He vowed to write a column explaining himself, and insisted he has nothing against Obama.

“My view of the President is favorable,” Adler said.

The Secret Service, which investigates threats against the president, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Adler, who is a member of the Chabad Movement and has been active in the Atlanta Jewish community for years, bought the paper 2-1/2 years ago. It has a circulation of between 3,000 and 4,000.

The National Jewish Democratic Council denounced Adler’s column, calling in the “height of irresponsibility.”

“To dare to give such despicable ideas space in a newspaper … is beyond the pale,” said NJDC President David A. Harris in a statement.

Adler’s column on the 13th begs the question, “Is this one deranged man’s response to the campaign of organized efforts afoot by ardently militant Zionists, to demonize Obama?”

Thursday, both Glenn Greenwald and Justin Raimondo wrote very long columns on how anyone questioning the militant Zionist meme that Iran is indeed developing nuclear weapons is being targeted as “anti-Semitic.”  These attacks are centering on a few writers, who Raimondo has called  The DC Five:

The tale of the DC Five – the five Beltway bloggers at two prominent Democratic Washington thinktanks who have been smacked down (and one fired) for being insufficiently pro-Israel – is hardly a shock to those who know their history. But before we get into that, a few details on what is only the latest chapter in the story of how the War Party operates in this country.

The DC Five are Matt DussAli GharibEli Clifton and Zaid Jilani, bloggers at the Center for American Progress group blog, ThinkProgress, and former AIPAC employeeMJ Rosenberg who currently writes for Media Matters.

Greenwald, in his update to a column titled The Smear Campaign against CAP and Media Matters rolls On, posted a screen shot of a Washington Post headline that declared “Liberal think tank tied to Obama accused of anti-Semitic language.”  (They’ve since changed the headline.)

Both Greenwald and Raimondo, in their articles, give many examples of how a coordinated campaign against Obama, tied directly to the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is seeking to undermine the presidency and reelection of one of the most Israel-friendly presidents in U.S. history, for not being supportive enough of that pesky little country.  Adler’s over-reaction may just be one of many.  As critical as I am of Obama, I’d give my life to protect his, if the occasion occurred.  Likewise Mr. Adler’s life.

This shit is getting way, way out of hand.

A final thought:  Had the editor of the Dearborn American Muslim Times (I’m making the name up, so if there is such a paper – sorry) proposed that an option of dealing with any president of the United States might be to have him whacked by Iranian or Pakistani or Saudi or Syrian secret services, do you think that editor would be walking the streets a week later a free man or woman?

Of course not.

 

Justin Raimondo’s Most Prescient Essay? – The Banksters and American Foreign Policy

1:06 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I’m a longtime fan of Justin Raimondo. I’ve been following Antiwar.com since my internet access was good enough to get it – around 1997. By the beginning of this century, I realized that Raimondo is perhaps the most honest and inclusive user of HTML links embedded into the text of his articles there is.  They always emphasize the subject at hand in meaningful ways that can make reading a 900-word essay by Justin take four hours.  And you can learn a lot in the process.

At the time I discovered Raimondo, I was a Green Party of Alaska member.  Justin is a solid, often doctrinaire, libertarian.  Greens tend to be left libertarians. Back in the 90s and early 2000′s, some of his economic theses struck me as stuck in libertarian schtick.  But many of his predictions from the early part of the last decade have struck home.

Like a lot of us firebaggers, Raimondo smells a rat in the deals going down during the debt ceiling crisis.  He sees it as different from the many earlier showcase events involving raising the limit on borrowing:

Everyone agrees the United States is in a crisis of momentous importance: we’re approaching bankruptcy [.pdf], millions are out of work, and the emotional leitmotif of our culture can be summed up in one word: demoralization.

Is there a way out?

Well, yes and no. Yes – if the solution comes from below: no, if we’re depending on our “leaders” to pull us out of the abyss.

Let me explain.

Raimondo goes on to do just that.  His prescient article quotes libertarian icon, economist Murray Rothbard, extensively.  Before that, though, Raimondo gives his own description of the current dilemma:

Let’s recount a little history here: in the winter of 2008 the house of cards that is the American economy suddenly collapsed, and the Great Bubble of faux “prosperity” burst. A long orgy of malinvestment – spurred by bank credit expansion [.pdf] (i.e. the Federal Reserve printing gobs of “money”) – came to an ignominious end. The housing market, already weak, imploded. It was a massive market correction, one that had to be endured before it could be cured – but the big boys weren’t going to take their medicine.

In a free economy, the banks that invested trillions in risky mortgages and other fool’s gold would have taken the hit. Instead, however, what happened is that the American taxpayers took the hit, paid the bill, and cleaned up their mess – and were condemned to suffer record unemploymentmassive foreclosures, and the kind of despair that kills the soul.

How did this happen? There are two versions of this little immorality tale, one coming from the “left” and the other from the “right” (the scare-quotes are there for a reason, which I’ll get to in a moment or two).

The “left” version goes something like this:

The evil capitalists, in league with their bought-and-paid for cronies in government, destroyed and looted the economy until there was nothing left to steal. Then, when their grasping hands had reached the very bottom of the treasure chest, they dialed 911 and the emergency team (otherwise known as the US Congress) came to their rescue, doling out trillions to the looters and leaving the rest of America to pay the bill.

The “right” version goes something like the following:

Politically connected Wall Streeters, in league with their bought-and-paid-for cronies in government, destroyed and looted the economy until there was nothing left to steal. Then, when their grasping hands had reached the very bottom of the treasure chest, they dialed BIG-GOV-HELP and the feds showed up with the cash.

The first thing one notices about these two analyses, taken side by side, is their similarity: yes, the “left” blames the free market, and the “right” blames Big Government, but when you get past the blame game their descriptions of what actually happened look like veritable twins. And as much as I agree with the “right” about their proposed solution – a radical cut in government spending – it is the “left” that has the most accurate analysis of who’s to blame.

It is, of course, the big banks – the recipients of bailout loot, the ones who profited (and continue to profit) from the economic catastrophe that has befallen us.

One of the fascinating things to me about Raimondo’s essay, is that he seems to be leading to an intersection of his ideas, Rothbard’s and those of Naomi Klein, a collision that should shock less people than it might:

You may have noticed, however, that these are not normal times: we’re in a crisis of epic proportions, not only an economic crisis but also a cultural meltdown in which our social institutions are collapsing, and with them longstanding social norms. In such times, ideological categories tend to break down, and we’ve seen this especially in the foreign policy realm, where both the “extreme” right and the “extreme” left arecalling for what the elites deride as “isolationism.” On the domestic front, too, the “right” and “left” views of what’s wrong with the country are remarkably alike, as demonstrated above. Conservatives and lefties may have different solutions, but they have, I would argue, a common enemy: the banksters.

This characterization of the banking industry as the moral equivalent of gangsters has its proponents on both sides of the political spectrum, and today that ideological convergence is all but complete, with only “centrists” and self-described pragmatists dissenting. What rightists and leftists have in common, in short, is a very powerful enemy – and that’s all a mass political movement needs to get going.

Raimondo’s most apt quote from Rothbard may be this one:

“The great turning point of American foreign policy came in the early 1890s, during the second Cleveland Administration. It was then that the U.S. turned sharply and permanently from a foreign policy of peace and non-intervention to an aggressive program of economic and political expansion abroad. At the heart of the new policy were America’s leading bankers, eager to use the country’s growing economic strength to subsidize and force-feed export markets and investment outlets that they would finance, as well as to guarantee Third World government bonds. The major focus of aggressive expansion in the 1890s was Latin America, and the principal Enemy to be dislodged was Great Britain, which had dominated foreign investments in that vast region.

“In a notable series of articles in 1894, Bankers’ Magazine set the agenda for the remainder of the decade. Its conclusion: if ‘we could wrest the South American markets from Germany and England and permanently hold them, this would be indeed a conquest worth perhaps a heavy sacrifice.’

“Long-time Morgan associate Richard Olney heeded the call, as Secretary of State from 1895 to 1897, setting the U.S. on the road to Empire. After leaving the State Department, he publicly summarized the policy he had pursued. The old isolationism heralded by George Washington’s Farewell Address is over, he thundered. The time has now arrived, Olney declared, when ‘it behooves us to accept the commanding position… among the Power of the earth.’ And, ‘the present crying need of our commercial interests,’ he added, ‘is more markets and larger markets’ for American products, especially in Latin America.’”

Raimondo, suggesting an alliance somewhat similar to ideas often proposed at articles here at firedoglake, concludes:

With America as the world policeman and the world banker – in alliance with our European satellites – the Washington elite can extend their rule over the entire earth. It’s true we won’t have much to show for it, here in America: with the dollar destroyed, we’ll lose our economic primacy, and be subsumed into what George Herbert Walker Bush called the “New World Order.” Burdened with defending the corporate profits of the big banks and exporters abroad, and also with bailing them out on the home front when their self-created bubbles burst, the American people will see a dramatic drop in their standard of living – our sacrifice to the gods of “internationalism.” That’s what they mean when they praise the new “globalized” economy.

and:

All those dollars, shipped overseas, enrich the military-industrial complex and their friends, the exporters – and drain the very life blood out of the rest of us. Opposition to this policy ought to be the basis of a left-right alliance, a movement to bring America home and put America first.

In the long term, there is the basis for a more comprehensive alliance: the de-privileging of the banking sector, which cemented its rule with the establishment of the Federal Reserve. That, however, is a topic too complex to be adequately covered in a single column, and so I’ll just leave open the intriguing possibility.

“Left” and “right” mean nothing in the current context: the real division is between government-privileged plutocrats and the rest of us. What you have to ask yourself is this: which side are you on?

I’m on the side of sanity based upon long-term sustainability of the biosphere. Libertarians such as Raimondo tend to describe bottom-line environmentalism as some sort of a hoax.  It isn’t, and plays a larger role in how and why the economy is going to shit so thoroughly than most seem to understand.

If you were unfamiliar with the writings of Justin Raimondo, or with the website, Antiwar.com, I hope you’re now tuned in.  Support them, as you do firedoglake.  There is a lot of common ground.