Palestinian activists routinely claim to be suffering a “shoah” at the hands of Israel, but the Jewish state normally denies any moral equivalence between the suffering of Palestinians today and European jewry under the Nazis.
Matan Vilnai, deputy defence minister, broke that taboo when he used the term “shoah” during interview on Army Radio.
“The more qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves,” he said.
His use of the term reflects the febrile atmosphere in Israel where public opinion demands the government does something decisive to stop the daily barrage of rockets fired from Gaza over the border into Israel.
The Telegraph article was incorrect in its claim of “a daily barrage of rockets fired from Gaza.” That is certainly the case now, but there have been many extremely long lulls and cessations in the most often innocuous and ineffectual rocket launchings or barrages. Indeed, the Israelis have killed more Palestinian kids this week than Palestinian rockets have claimed over all the years among all Israelis, let alone innocent children.
Minister Vilnai wasn’t the only government spokesperson to vilify human life itself this weekend in public comments. Interior Minister Eli Yishai earnestly advocated genocidal war crimes against Gazans:
The above ad, by Anti-Republican Crusaders, which they are encouraging people to distribute openly and widely, featuring actor George Clooney, is aimed at progressives who feel betrayed by Obama’s policies. As in other pushes to draw people who had once supported Obama back into the fold, it is – to borrow the term Obama has been using on the stump this past week – Sketchy.
Shimon Peres once was instrumental in attempting to arm apartheid South Africa with nuclear weapons to use against neighboring states – as a nuclear threat. I wrote about it here in March:
Back in 1975, at the height of the White South African Apartheid regime’s period of hubris, they were getting a lot of help in their attempts to become a nuclear power:
Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.
The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa’s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”. The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.
It didn’t. The news came out in 2010, which disturbed the Israelis:
The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa‘s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.
They will also undermine Israel’s attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a “responsible” power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.
A spokeswoman for Peres today said the report was baseless and there were “never any negotiations” between the two countries. She did not comment on the authenticity of the documents.
South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.
The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975.
So Peres, the supporter of giving nukes to white supremacist South Africa, now wants to force Obama to free the most damaging spy in the history of espionage against Obama’s country?
Here’s a bit on how damaging Jonathan Pollard was to our security interests at the height of the latter part of the Cold War:
The career intelligence officer who helped to assess the Pollard damage has come to view Pollard as a serial spy, the Ted Bundy of the intelligence world [emphasis added].
“Pollard gave them every message for a whole year,” the officer told me recently, referring to the Israelis. “They could analyze it” — the intelligence — “message by message, and correlate it. They could not only piece together our sources and methods but also learn how we think, and how we approach a problem. All of a sudden, there is no mystery. These are the things we can’t change. You got this, and you got us by the balls.” In other words, the Rota reports, when carefully studied, gave the Israelis “a road map on how to circumvent” the various American collection methods and shield an ongoing military operation. The reports provide guidance on “how to keep us asleep, thinking all is working well,” he added. “They tell the Israelis how to raid Tunisia without tipping off American intelligence in advance. That is damage that is persistent and severe.”
Moles have burrowed on Israel’s behalf throughout the U.S. intelligence services. Perhaps most infamous was the case of Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish-American employed as a civilian analyst with the U.S. Navy who purloined an estimated 800,000 code-word protected documents from inside the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and numerous other U.S. agencies.
While Pollard was sentenced to life in prison, counterintelligence investigators at the FBI suspected he was linked to a mole far higher in the food chain, ensconced somewhere in the DIA, but this suspected Israeli operative, nicknamed “Mr. X,” was never found. Following the embarrassment of the Pollard affair — and its devastating effects on U.S. national security, as testified by then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger (who allegedly stated that Pollard “should have been shot”) — the Israeli government vowed never again to pursue espionage against its ally and chief benefactor.
documents that Pollard turned over to Israel were not focussed exclusively on the product of American intelligence — its analytical reports and estimates. They also revealed how America was able to learn what it did — a most sensitive area of intelligence defined as “sources and methods.” Pollard gave the Israelis vast amounts of data dealing with specific American intelligence systems and how they worked. For example, he betrayed details of an exotic capability that American satellites have of taking off-axis photographs from high in space. While orbiting the earth in one direction, the satellites could photograph areas that were seemingly far out of range. Israeli nuclear-missile sites and the like, which would normally be shielded from American satellites, would thus be left exposed, and could be photographed. “We monitor the Israelis,” one intelligence expert told me, “and there’s no doubt the Israelis want to prevent us from being able to surveil their country.” The data passed along by Pollard included detailed information on the various platforms — in the air, on land, and at sea — used by military components of the National Security Agency to intercept Israeli military, commercial, and diplomatic communications. At the time of Pollard’s spying, select groups of American sailors and soldiers trained in Hebrew were stationed at an N.S.A. listening post near Harrogate, England, and at a specially constructed facility inside the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, where they intercepted and translated Israeli signals. Other interceptions came from an unmanned N.S.A. listening post in Cyprus. Pollard’s handing over of the data had a clear impact, the expert told me, for “we could see the whole process” — of intelligence collection — “slowing down.” It also hindered the United States’ ability to recruit foreign agents. Another senior official commented, with bitterness, “The level of penetration would convince any self-respecting human source to look for other kinds of work.”
A number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard’s material and provided it to the Soviet Union in exchange for continued Soviet permission for Jews to emigrate to Israel. Other officials go further, and say there was reason to believe that secret information was exchanged for Jews working in highly sensitive positions in the Soviet Union. A significant percentage of Pollard’s documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union. One longtime C.I.A. officer who worked as a station chief in the Middle East said he understood that “certain elements in the Israeli military had used it” — Pollard’s material — “to trade for people they wanted to get out,” including Jewish scientists working in missile technology and on nuclear issues. Pollard’s spying came at a time when the Israeli government was publicly committed to the free flow of Jewish emigres from the Soviet Union. The officials stressed the fact that they had no hard evidence — no “smoking gun,” in the form of a document from an Israeli or a Soviet archive — to demonstrate the link between Pollard, Israel, and the Soviet Union, but they also said that the documents that Pollard had been directed by his Israeli handlers to betray led them to no other conclusion.
High-level suspicions about Israeli-Soviet collusion were expressed as early as December, 1985, a month after Pollard’s arrest, when William J. Casey, the late C.I.A. director, who was known for his close ties to the Israeli leadership, stunned one of his station chiefs by suddenly complaining about the Israelis breaking the “ground rules.” The issue arose when Casey urged increased monitoring of the Israelis during an otherwise routine visit, I was told by the station chief, who is now retired. “He asked if I knew anything about the Pollard case,” the station chief recalled, and he said that Casey had added, “For your information, the Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the U.S.S.R. all of it. The coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences. And for guess who? The Soviets.” Casey had then explained that the Israelis had traded the Pollard data for Soviet emigres. “How’s that for cheating?” he had asked.
I am guessing that Obama, in his desperation for Zionist campaign contributions, will release Pollard, in spite of the damning evidence against the traitor. And all this at the behest of a man who sought to turn white supremacist South Africa into a nuclear power, an act that certainly would have prolonged the apartheid agony.
Sixty-four years ago, the United States became the first country in the world to recognize the State of Israel–the realization of a modern day state in the historic homeland of the Jewish People. Since that momentous day, the special bond of friendship between the United States and Israel has grown stronger. Ours is a unique relationship founded on an unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, and anchored by our common interests and deeply held values. These values continue to enlighten and guide our efforts as we work with Israel, as well as with others in the region, to confront shared challenges and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution that will usher in a future of peace, security, and dignity for the people of Israel and its neighbors.
Today, as Israelis celebrate their 64th Independence Day and their remarkable achievements over the past six decades, it gives me great pleasure to extend my best wishes, and the best wishes of the American people, to President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the people of Israel.
The past two days have seen fairly large demonstrations in Tel Aviv, as Israeli peace activists have sought to read out aloud the names of these 500-plus (and other, later) villages, towns and communities destroyed by the militant expansionist Zionist machine:
One of the activists that were called over brought a history book, out of which he started reading out loud the names of villages demolished by the Nakba, on which the city of Tel Aviv was built. Policemen warned him that if he keeps on reading he will be arrested. [emphasis added]
After a moment or two they fulfilled this threat. As he was dragged to the police van he kept on reading. “Shayka Muwannis, Abu Kabir, Salama….” The reading continued, though, from the cards held by those inside the blockade, one by one the names were read, repeated by everybody “Ijlil Shamalyyia, Sawalima, Yazur…” When a couple of dozens were reading out the names the cops stood helpless.
Fortrunately, here in the United States, we can list the names of these destroyed communities, histories, livelihoods and lives. Perhaps AIPAC is crafting legislation to make it as unlawful for Americans to commemorate the Nakba as it has become for Israelis to do so. Although, should AIPAC lobbyists craft such legislation, it would probably pass both lower and upper US houses by wide margins.
Meanwhile, the debate on what all this means in 2012 goes on. Here is Al Jazeera, covering the current divestment proposal before the American Methodist Church, and other related issues. Max Blumenthal and MJ Rosenberg have different views on what the solution might be. This is the first instance I’ve seen where the differences in their views are so clearly articulated:
Saturday April 14th brought the intersection of two seemingly irreconcilable groups of political activists in the hometown of Sarah Palin (it is also my hometown, since 1985). On Saturday morning, the Mat-Su Democrats, easily the most progressive area Democratic Party organization, held their presidential choice caucus, and met in their legislative district groups (for the last time, as statewide redistricting will fragment them by the end of June). Saturday afternoon, the Conservative Patriots Group Tea Party of Wasilla, easily the most regressive area Tea Party organization, held their annual tax day protest less than a mile from where the Democrats were winding down their caucus.
I attended the Mat-Su Democrats’ caucus as a party member (and past district and area officer). I was questioned by the State Central Committee Treasurer – a dear friend of mine – as soon as I came in.
“You’re not going to object to the nomination of Obama, are you, Phil?”
I hadn’t thought of what I might do when motions were presented. I asked, “Why?”
“Every other area caucus has endorsed the President by acclamation, and by unanimous consent. If you object, we would be the only group that didn’t do that.”
“Do you want me to STFU?”
“What does ‘STFU’ mean?”
A friend interjected, “It means ‘abstain,” I think.”
“In that case, yes,” replied the statewide treasurer.
I decided to not make waves on the issue and said “Sure.”
I brought a poll with me. I had four questions I wanted to ask both the Wasilla Democrats and Wasilla Tea Party Patriots. I polled 18 of the 78 or 79 people there. I attended my district caucus of 22 people, voted on resolutions for the upcoming state convention in Fairbanks, and signed up to be a delegate.
After the scheduled events were over, I drove over to Wasilla Lake, where the Tea Party event was about to start. I had polled this annual tax day protest in 2009 and 2010. I missed 2011 because of a work schedule conflict. I polled 20 of the 350 people there with the same questions I’d posed to the local Dems. The poll results for both groups are below the fold. [cont'd] Read the rest of this entry →
Jeremy Scahill is one of the most curious, thorough and courageous journalists working anywhere today. As a writer, his book on the growth of military contractors such as Blackwater (now known as Xe Services LLC, uh – Academi), Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, won the George Polk Book Award. His work with Democracy Now and The Nation is highly regarded by people concerned with the continuing abuse of American imperial power in the Obama administration. Being a realist in terms of how Obama is conducting armed foreign policy has led to his being marginalized by apologists for these policies.
Scahill’s bottom line is that these policies, particularly the killing of hundreds of innocent people (if not more!) by our growing fleet of armed drone aircraft, are counter productive, and against our country’s long-term interests in many ways. His latest article for The Nation, Why is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen?, deals with aspects of that bottom line. The article is far more chilling, though, in some of its content and message. It shows quite clearly how the Obama administration’s manipulation of some of the new powers it asserts for the chief executive are beyond troublesome. The secretiveness of this administration is no secret on the real left. Not expressed in Scahill’s article, nor in Glen Greenwald’s thorough assessment of it, is what bothers me most about this administration’s growing uses of secrecy and extra-constitutional powers to go after its perceived enemies abroad – and here:
Once an American chief executive takes on new powers, his successor never backs down from that position. Not even when, as Obama clearly did in 2008, the new president has promised on the campaign trail to ratchet these powers down a notch or two.
Here’s Greenwald’s description of some of what Scahill and others have uncovered, regarding the imprisonment in Yemen of another courageous journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, at the direct behest of Obama. The White House is disturbed that Shaye uncovered a major Obama lie regarding civilian deaths from drone strikes:
There is one reason that the world knows the truth about what really happened in al Majala that day: because the Yemeni journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, traveled there and, as Scahill writes, “photographed the missile parts, some of them bearing the label ‘Made in the USA,’ and distributed the photos to international media outlets.” He also documented the remnants of the Tomahawks and cluster bombs, neither of which is in Yemen’s arsenal. And he provided detailed accounts proving that scores of civilians, including those 21 children, had been killed in the attacks. It was Shaye’s journalism that led Amnesty International to show the world the evidence that it was the U.S. which had perpetrated the attack using cluster bombs, and media outlets to reveal the horrifying extent of the civilian deaths. Shaye’s work was vindicated when WikiLeaks released a diplomatic cable — allegedly provided by Bradley Manning — in which Yemen’s then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh joked with David Petraeus about continuing to lie to the public: ”We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.”
Saleh, perhaps under pressure from the White House, had Shaye imprisoned without charge, tortured and abused:
Despite that important journalism — or, more accurately, because of it — Shaye is now in prison, thanks largely to President Obama himself. For the past two years, Shaye has been arrested, beaten, and held in solitary confinement by the security forces of Saleh, America’s obedient tyrant. In January, 2011, he was convicted in a Yemeni court of terrorism-related charges — alleging that he was not a reporter covering Al Qaeda but a mouthpiece for it — in a proceeding widely condemned by human rights groups around the world. “There are strong indications that the charges against [Shaye] are trumped up and that he has been jailed solely for daring to speak out about US collaboration in a cluster munitions attack which took place in Yemen,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, told Scahill. The Yemen expert, Johnsen, added: “There is no publicly available evidence to suggest that Abdulelah was anything other than a journalist attempting to do his job.”
Shaye’s real crime is that he reported facts that the U.S. government and its Yemeni client regime wanted suppressed. But while the imprisonment of this journalist was ignored in the U.S, it became a significant controversy in Yemen. Numerous Yemeni tribal leaders, sheiks and activist groups agitated for his release, and in response, President Saleh, as the Yemeni press reported, had a pardon drawn up for him and was ready to sign it. That came to a halt when President Obama intervened. According to the White House’s own summary of Obama’s February 3, 2011, call with Saleh, “President Obama expressed concern over the release of Abd-Ilah al-Shai.” The administration has repeatedly refused to present any evidence that Shaye is anything other than a reporter, and this is what State Department spokesperson Beth Gosselin told Scahill in response to his story:
“We are standing by [President Obama’s] comments from last February. We remain concerned about Shaye’s potential release due to his association with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. We stand by the president’s comments.” When asked whether the US government should present evidence to support its claims about Shaye’s association with AQAP, Gosselin said, “That is all we have to say about this case.”
So it is beyond dispute that the moving force behind the ongoing imprisonment of this Yemeni journalist is President Obama. And the fact that Shaye is in prison, rather than able to report, is of particular significance (and value to the U.S.) in light of the still escalating American attacks in that country. Over the past 3 days alone, American air assaults have killed 64 people in Yemen, while American media outlets — without anyone on the scene — dutifully report that those killed are “suspected Al Qaeda insurgents” and “militants.”
This White House policy is not only stupid, it is dangerously blind. And arrogant in a profoundly un-American way.
It is blind to how history works on a global scale. And, importantly, it is blind to how a possible GOP successor to this president might use these same tools of dictatorship against what he or she perceives to be a threat, foreign – or domestic. During the past few months, Obama and the U.S. Congress have undermined the Constitution in so many ways, it is hard to keep score. Just this past week, we’ve been given the anti-Occupy H.R. 347, that would make our citizens’ protests outside the White House felonies.
I’ve never voted for an incumbent president before. It doesn’t look like that will change. This really sucks, as I’ve got a feeling that the Israel Lobby will be backing whichever jerk the GOP pulls out of their hat in Tampa, and that they might be powerful enough in the 2012 scenario to be the final arbiter of who ends up winning in November.
The dilemma for me is not whether or not I will vote for Obama, but how strenuously I’ll be backing an alternative candidate, such as Dr. Jill Stein, should she get the Green Party nomination.
But – no matter what – I cannot in good conscience consider marking Obama on my ballot.
Here’s Scahill on the Alyona Show last week – America Cannot Kill Its Way to Peace:
I’m posting the video of the president’s speech put up a few minutes ago by the White House. Other versions have already been posted, but it is important to see how many comments coming in already at the president’s own Youtube site are very negative toward the speech and toward ongoing U.S. policy decisions having to do with Israel. Click on the Youtube icon on the video to go to the site.
Although the Pentagon and individual services strongly discouraged active duty military personnel from participating in Monday’s march on the White House by veterans and service members supporting Ron Paul, hundreds of them joined the thousands in the march and White House demonstration.
Standing at the gates of the White House, hundreds of veterans and active duty service members, including Schlegel, turned their backs.
Together, they saluted one second for every service member who has committed suicide during Barack Obama’s presidency.
After eight minutes of saluting, they observed a 21-minute silent prayer – one second for every service member who died abroad during President Obama’s term.
Coverage of this unprecedented event has been light in the mainstream media. So has the fact that Paul has pulled in about twice as much as the president from serving military, and over 20 times as much as his leading GOP rival from this constituency, Mitt Romney.
The group then marched in formation back to the Washington Monument. The numbers of civilians walking behind the official veterans and active duty marching to show that “Ron Paul is the Choice of the Troops” was reported to be over 1,000 family members and supporters. The official march of the troops and veterans themselves is believed to have been an additional over 900 people. It is unclear at this time, how many members of the public may have been in the crowds to observe this historic public statement by our veterans in support of Ron Paul for President of the United States.
This was clearly a unique anti-war march by our nation’s veterans and perhaps could be referred to as one of the most unique in recent history. The official march was heard in cadence to: “End the Fed”, “President Paul”, “End the Wars” and “Ron Paul Revolution, Legalize the Constitution”.
There was initially to be active duty also participating in the march. It is unclear after a warning was said to be issued by top military brass in the last couple of days whether the numbers of active duty members that actually marched today was affected by this warning instructing them not to participate.
Here’s video of the gathering at the Washington Monument:
And Here’s video of the march. There do appear to be many active service members there, though one cannot be sure. No doubt the Defense Department and Secret Service are busy going through their photos and videos, trying to determine which people there are indeed active duty. Will they be given the Lt. Dan Choi treatment?
I really like former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Gifford. Her miraculous survival and heroic recovery from the Tucson mayhem of January 2011 has inspired me, along with millions of other people who hate random violence, mayhem, killing and hate.
In yet another break with tradition, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced Friday that a new Littoral Combat Ship would be named for Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who survived a January 2011 assassination attempt.
“The selection of Gabrielle Giffords, designated LCS 10, honors the former Congresswoman from Tucson, Arizona, who is known for supporting the military and veterans, advocating for renewable energy and championing border security,” the Navy said in a statement accompanying the announcement.
Roxanna Green, whose 9-year-old daughter Christina-Taylor Green was killed in the shooting, was named sponsor of the ship.
“Giffords and the ship’s sponsor, Roxanna Green, are sources of great inspiration and represent the Navy and Marine Corps qualities of overcoming, adapting and coming out victorious despite great challenges,” Mabus said.
Giffords, a three-term representative, resigned from Congress on Jan. 25 to continue recovering from her wounds.
Although LCSs recently have been named for cities, Mabus passed up the opportunity to name a ship for Phoenix, Arizona’s largest city, named for the mythical bird that rose from its own ashes to fly again.
The previous Phoenix, a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine, was decommissioned in 1998.
The Tucson, a submarine named for the largest city in Giffords’ district, is in service with the Pacific Fleet.
The Navy is building 55 LCS ships. The original naming scheme for the type was for patriotic-sounding place or regional names. But after the first two ships were named Freedom and Independence, the scheme was changed to small or mid-sized cities, and the last two LCS names announced were for Montgomery and Little Rock.
Mabus, who as Navy secretary has the authority to name its ships, has garnered criticism for some of his choices. In particular, some conservatives took umbrage when the decision was announced in May 2011 to name a dry cargo and ammunition ship after Latino civil rights and labor activist Cesar Chavez.
A decision in April 2010 to name a landing transport dock ship after deceased Rep. John Murtha, an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq and the Bush administration, continues to rankle conservatives. LPDs previously had been named for small or medium-sized cities or geographic place names.
Last October, Mabus added another wrinkle to the already jumbled scheme for naming new joint high speed vessels when he changed the name of the second JHSV from its Army name of Vigilant to Choctaw County, his home county in Mississippi. The Navy had not used county names for its ships since the 1950s and 1960s.
The future Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) will be an Independence LCS 2-class ship. Funded in the 2012 budget, its construction contract is expected to be awarded in the first half of this year to Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.
I find it creepy to name buildings after living people, unless the people the buildings are named after own them.
Naming naval vessels after living people strikes me as strange too.
But to name a ship of a new class, the primary function of which will be to kill swarthy Arabs, Persians, Africans, Latin Americans and others in semi-secret or covert missions, to support our worldwide corporate interests, after such a vibrant, positive, inspirational woman is just plain fucking sick and cynical.
The people whooping it up over this are even sicker. If it were up to me, and I had to choose something to name after Rep. Gifford now, it would be a trauma center, a neurosurgery research school or an institute for disarmament.
Here’s some LCS porn for the O-bots to get excited over:
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