US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell was highly enthusiastic about Israel’s partial, temporary illegal settlement freeze stating "it is more than any Israeli government has done before and can help move toward agreement between the parties." In fact, Israel has done more. In 2005 Israel reversed settlement construction and its overt occupation of Gaza. Palestinians situation worsened under a strangulating economic blockade and total Israeli control of borders, airspace and maritime access. Ironically, those Americans seeking a permanent end to Israeli settlement activities face a predicament similar to the Palestinians. Peace in the Middle East depends on reversing a peculiar manifestation of illegal Israeli settlements right here at home. These US settlements were built not on stolen land, but the strategic territory of US governance through violations of the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Among Israel’s first international efforts as a state was establishing an "Israel Office of Information" (IOI) in the United States in the fall of 1948. The IOI registered as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice which required it not only to file activity reports about its efforts on behalf of Israel every six months, but also place a stamp on pamphlets and other materials circulating in the US that their true origin was the Israeli government.
During a 1952 summit meeting, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proposed that leaders of major organizations centralize US lobbying and fundraising coordination under the American Zionist Council (AZC) rather than the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency. The AZC was a small umbrella organization that united the leadership of top organizations such as Hadassah and the Zionist Organization of America. But the AZC continued to rely heavily upon financial support from the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency in Jerusalem for public relations and lobbying until the 1960s. Between 1962-1963 a Senate and Justice Department investigation found the AZC and Kenen had received direction and the equivalent of $35 million from the Jewish Agency via its American Section in New York to lobby for US taxpayer-funded aid and arms. The Justice Department ordered the AZC to register as an Israeli foreign agent on November 21, 1962. This initiated a fierce DOJ/AZC battle that lasted until 1965, when the DOJ allowed the AZC to file a secret FARA declaration expecting it to shut down operations. The Jewish Agency was also forced shut down its American Section in New York after a rabbi and George Washington University legal scholar forced it to file its secret 1953 "covenant agreement" with the Israeli government which conferred governmental powers to the Jewish Agency.
The AZC quietly and quickly reorganized lobbying operations within its former division, internally referred to as the "Kenen Committee" (today called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC) which Isaiah Kenen led until 1975. The Jewish Agency also executed a shell company paper reshuffle, reemerging as the World Zionist Organization-American Section within the same building, with the same staff, management and publications.
Today, the most important nucleus of the Israeli government’s power in America lies far outside its Washington DC embassy, official consulates, or properly registered FARA entities. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations consists of only two key paid employees according to its 2008 charitable tax return (PDF). Like the AZC under Ben-Gurion’s mandate, the Conference of Presidents has only one true role: corralling American organizations into a US power base for the Israeli government. The Conference of President’s roster now includes such curiously named organizations as the American Friends of Likud and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs alongside old AZC mainstays such as the ZOA and Hadassah. As mandated by AIPAC’s bylaws (PDF), all Conference of Presidents member organizations are part of AIPAC’s executive committee, forming a combined grassroots lobbying might far more intimidating to the Justice Department than the old AZC.
Yet in reality, Israeli government’s newest lobbying venture is nothing more than a rebranded AZC — the stealth foreign agency relationships remain, some hidden, others not. One visible geographic linkage to the Israeli government is the Conference of Presidents offices which are located at the same 633 Third Avenue New York address as the World Zionist Organization’s American Section.
The World Zionist Organization-American Section, as the paper reincarnation of the Jewish Agency, is still compelled to register (PDF) as an Israeli foreign agent. In 2008 it spent $8,102,752, by far the largest expenditure of any registered foreign agent for Israel. Like its predecessor foreign agent, the Jewish Agency, the WZO American Section claims these large disbursements across America are mainly for "education" rather than political activity. Such claims are easily debunked.
The WZO was more accurately revealed by Israeli prosecutor Thalia Sasson in 2005 as being at the very center of illegal Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. Shimon Peres estimated that up to $50 billion was laundered into illegal settlement construction. Today WZO/Conference of Presidents "education" initiatives include organizing rabbis to effectively campaign for war on Iran, activities that are not accurately disclosed on the WZO’s disclosures to the Department of Justice.
The question of whether such Israeli-conceived plans are worth American blood and treasure are vitally important, as is rule of law. Under FARA, Americans have a clear right to full disclosure about AIPAC and the Conference of President’s political activities, public relations and transfer of things of value on behalf of their foreign principal(s). As foreign lobbying organizations emerging directly from the American Zionist Council, these leaders of the Israel lobby carry an expanding information debt to American taxpayers expected to fund their many initiatives. Yet in spite of the 1961 order by the attorney general, since March of 1965, neither has filed a single public declaration at the FARA office. This means that AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents now owe Americans 88 semiannual FARA declaration filings. For its part, the WZO must begin to accurately disclose its heavy involvement in illegal West Bank settlements, which are opposed by the Obama administration.
Given the Israel lobby’s past penchant for nondisclosure, such filings will no doubt garner a great deal of public scrutiny. Explanations for why so much classified US government information is passing between AIPAC it and its foreign principals in 1984 and 2005 have been a long time coming. These will be particularly timely and enlightening as Israel’s drumbeat for US attacks on Iran grows louder. Until they again begin to register under FARA, Israel’s principal colonization entities, the World Zionist Organization, political muscle (Conference of Presidents), and enforcer in Congress (AIPAC) are themselves illegal Israeli settlers in America.
State Department, back of hand to forehead, eyes fluttering, about to wilt: "Well, I do declare! I am dismayed!" [Hands over billion dollar check to Israel.]
Obama has done a lot of little things very well: he has the knack of the small, gracious detail. Opening up the return of dead soldiers back to the press per family's OK was a good move. He appears in front of all the necessary functions as our country's emissary and is the perfect diplomat: very elegant and debonair. He offers Lieberman a flower when Lieberman was a former frenemy douche.
But what seems to be missing from Obama so far are some big things. Enforcing your demand that Israel stop their illegal settlements at the point of your welfare gun is something even conservatives like Andrew Sullivan are encouraging, so maybe you could take a stand on this and make this one of your big things? Obama?
20 years after the fall of communism, American-style capitalism has also fallen. But the downfall was silent, without any visible walls toppling or crumbling. The 9/11-like collapse of the financial firms of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers left no piles of rubble or slabs of fractured concrete on the ground, just lots of laid off traders and deal makers. But the brokerage and investment banks' end signaled the death knell of market capitalism as we knew it; another misbegotten ideology born out of the musings of Adam Smith, Ricardo and Milton Friedman was laid to rest unceremoniously. The troika which presumed that man’s most bestial instincts can be curbed in the pursuit of profit and happiness were wrong ...
The president’s inverted version of “perestroika” (that is, the restructuring or retooling of the economy) has been fine tuned to meet the need of the oligarchs and corporate barons who support him and prompt him behind the curtains. Obama and his czar–commissars (and his adoring minions of PR spin operatives) have deftly in a brilliant slight of hand in one swift jest, effectively expropriated the entire financial and industrial sectors in America by means of massive taxpayer funded “bail outs”. These ploys have turned the essence of capitalism upside down, by rewarding cronyism and criminal behavior to the point where “crime pays” very handsomely indeed, and enables billionaires, fraudsters and financiers to obtain great gain almost without almost any pain or punishment. These perverse policies are likely to fail. In the end, Gorbachev’s policies, although ostensibly well meaning, actually hastened the demise of the Soviet state. This later led to its fragmentation and disintegration of the communist superpower and its Eastern Empire. America’s current plight may lead to a similar outcome.
This is a really interesting video from a Spanish nun and MD on the swine flu. It has been translated into English subtitles. I highly recommend it. She starts of with talking about the BAxter live virus in Czech., and goes on from there. She is educated, literate, and quite compelling. There are six parts to the vid. I post the first one here.
by all means, 'Think for yourself schmuck!' But I suggest to watch at least the first two vids, it may be vital and of utmost importance.
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
While our voyeristic xenophobia society is caught up in the trance of whether Maj. Haasan shouted the Takbir as a last battle cry, or of the SAVIOR Dems championing some crumbs from the Elite Banquet & Catering hall, aka Private Insurance Carte bailout, fact of the matter is, it doesn't matter. As long as you see what your suppose to see.
Paraphrasing or paraplagiarizing a comment I read elsewhere, (I forget where), "Whatever the truth is, the narrative will be Muslim sleeper cells. Too many people stand to profit from it being otherwise. If you want escalation in ___istan here is your talikng point. If you are al-CIAda here is your chance to pretend to be a global network. Cue a new bin (Los Alamos National Laboratory) laden video on this post haste, as being the next phase of the religious Jihadist Stunde Null ..." Meanwhile all this the intellectual simulation aka psyops, keeps us distracted from the real story...
Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer John Varley stood at the wooden lectern in St. Martin-in-the- Fields on London’s Trafalgar Square last night and told the packed pews of the church that “profit is not satanic.”
The 53-year-old head of Britain’s second-biggest bank said banks are the “backbone” of the economy. Rewarding high- performing bankers with more pay doesn’t conflict with Christian values, he said. Varley was paid 1.08 million pounds ($1.77 million) and no bonus in 2008.
“Is Christianity and banking compatible? Yes,” he said in an interview after the speech in the 283-year-old church. “And is Christianity and fair reward compatible? Yes.”
President Barack Obama instructed Justice Department attorneys to argue last week in San Francisco before Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker, that he must toss out the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Shubert v. Bush lawsuit challenging the secret state's driftnet surveillance of Americans' electronic communications.
This latest move by the administration follows a pattern replicated countless times by Obama since assuming the presidency in January: denounce the lawless behavior of his Oval Office predecessor while continuing, even expanding, the reach of unaccountable security agencies that subvert constitutional guarantees barring "unreasonable searches and seizures." EFF senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston wrote:
In a Court filing late Friday night, the Obama Administration attempted to dress up in new clothes its embrace of one of the worst Bush Administration positions--that courts cannot be allowed to review the National Security Agency's massive, well-documented program of warrantless surveillance. In doing so it demonstrated that it will not willingly set limits on its own power and reinforced the need for Congress to step in and reform the so-called 'state secrets' privilege. (Kevin Bankston, "As Congress Considers State Secrets Reform, Obama Admin Tries to Shut Down Yet Another Warrantless Wiretapping Lawsuit," Electronic Frontier Foundation, November 2, 2009)
I and many others think, after Bush's 8 years - the Republican Party deserves to die. Its popularity is at an all-time low as NPR reports that now less than 25 percent of the country identify themselves as Republicans, which is good news except . . . the Republicans are DESTINED for a comeback. Sure it may not be this midterm, and Obama will most likely serve two terms, but they are DESTINED to come back eventually . . . no matter how badly they lie and rape this country up the ass . . . why?
Simply because there is no other choice! Of course!
Now, even though the number of Americans who know how goddawful Republicans are is at an all-time high, the entire country lives in the shadow of their inevitable return. And it IS inevitable.
Let's say for argument's sake Obama stops moving at a snail's pace begging for Republican assent at every goddamn step of the way (I can see him in an old folk's home decades after his last term has ended, 'I'm THIS close to bipartisanship!'), and accomplishes at least a handful of great things . . . eventually the same old script is going to call for 'change' and the voters will turn the levers for 'change' and what will come back up will be the only other option: the GOP. The GOP then will not tarry for Democratic assent on anything they do, and will once again set world records for raping and pillaging and murdering brown people overseas before plundering their assets, stealing from the poor, eating babies and snapping old people's bones to use as toothpicks. [Republicans work on coke. They will look at Bush's record with a head full of Bolivian marching powder and say, 'How can I top that?'] All of Obama's potentially good work could be thrown out in nanoseconds. So what is the long-range plan?
How does progressive America get out from the shadow of the inevitable Republican return?
And a related, but separate question: how does progressive America keep the Democrats as a whole from not turning into Lieberman-like douches? How do we convince those Democrats who believe in the 'left-right spectrum' and try to stay in the 'middle' of that idiotic faux-metric to instead ignore that b.s. and do the RIGHT thing and what the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN, and take a stand for healthcare for all, clean air and clean water, social justice and all that general flower child actual humanist hullabaloo? [Do not be afraid of the label 'from the left side of the Democratic party' or the 'radical side of the Democratic party' when what you will be doing with healthcare for example, is saving lives. You have corporate profits on one side and American lives on the other - it's that fucking simple. As always the public forum has been gassed with mass corporate b.s. and the conversation flounders.]
Why don't we stop using this odd direction-based analogy in describing what kind of society man wants to live in? Ditch 'left' and 'right' and start talking about doing the right thing. Saving lives at the expense of corporate profits is doing the right thing. That's not an opinion. That is a fact tinged with just the smallest scintilla of human compassion.
There are great Democrats out there - I am sick of them being dismissed in the media as 'from the left wing of the Democratic party' even tho what they want - healthcare for all - is also what a majority of Americans want. And is also, no doubt about it - the right thing to do.
Hey Democrats, you've been in power now how long and what have you done about healthcare? What have you done about climate change? What have you done about stopping torture? What have you done about stopping the bloodshed in Afghanistan and Iraq? I know the economy is important but who said something about chewing gum and walking at the same time? . . .
So one fucking Republican Governor gets in and the pundits are saying "Republicans are back!" WTF!? Is this the endless 'pendulum' (moving a millimeter if that either way) that America is doomed to FOREVER?
DEMS, REPUBS, DEMS, REPUBS - that's IT?! That's the spectrum???
And even with the Dems now in power they CAN'T EVEN CHANGE THE FACT THAT AMERICA IS STILL THE ONLY INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WITHOUT HEALTHCARE FOR ALL!
Man . . . Uncle $cam turns out more prescient every day . . .
This quote is drawn from Henry A. Giroux's forthcoming book, "Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror" (Paradigm Publishers, 2010).
...The war abroad entered a new phase with the release of photos of detainees being tortured at Abu Ghraib prison. War as organized violence was stripped of its noble aims and delusional goal of promoting democracy and revealed state violence at its most degrading and dehumanizing moment. State power had become an instrument of torture, ripping into the flesh of human beings, raping women and most abominably torturing children. Democracy had become a shell that not only defended the unthinkable, but inflicted the most horrible mutilations on both adults and children deemed to be the enemies of democracy. But the mutilations were also inflicted against the body politic as politicians such as former Vice President Dick Cheney defended torture while the media addressed the question of torture not as a violation of democratic principles or human rights but as a strategy that may or may not produce concrete information. The utilitarian arguments used to defend a market-driven economy that only recognizes cost-benefit analyses had now reached their logical end point as similar arguments were now used to defend torture, even when it involved children. The pretense of democracy was stripped bare as it was revealed over and over again that the United States had become a torture state, aligning itself with infamous dictatorships such as those in Argentina and Chile during the 1970's. The United States government under the Bush administration had finally arrived at a point where the metaphysics of war, organized violence and state terrorism prevented them from recognizing how much they were emulating the very acts of terrorism they claimed to be fighting. The circle had now been completed as the warfare state had been transformed into a torture state. Everything became permissible both at home and abroad just as the legal system along with the market system legitimated a punishing and ruthless mode of economic Darwinism that viewed morality if not democracy itself as a weakness to be either scorned or ignored. Self-regulation now drove the market and narrowly defined individual interests set the parameters of what was possible. The public collapsed into the private and social responsibility was reduced to the arbitrary desires of the hermetic, asocial self. Not surprisingly, the inhuman and degrading not only entered public discourse and shaped the debate about war, state violence and human rights abuses, but served to legitimate such practices. Torture was normalized and the promise of an aspiring democracy was irreparably damaged.
The United States under the Bush administration embarked on a war on terror that not only defended torture as a matter of official policy, but furthered conditions for the emergence of a culture of cruelty that profoundly altered the political and moral landscape of the country. As torture became normalized under the Bush administration, it not only corrupted American ideals and political culture, it also passed over to the dark side in sanctioning the unimaginable and unspeakable - the torture of children. While the rise of the torture state has been a subject of intense controversy, too little has been said by intellectuals, academics, artists, writers, parents and politicians about how state violence under the Bush administration set in motion a public pedagogy and political culture that not only legitimated the systemic torture of children, but did so with the complicity of a dominant media that either denied such practices or simply ignored them. The focus on children here is deliberate because young people provide a powerful referent for not only the long-term consequences of social policies, if not the future itself, but also because they offer a crucial index to measure the moral and democratic values of a nation. Children are the heartbeat of politics because they speak to the best of its possibilities and promises and yet they have in the last few years become the vanishing point of moral debate, either irrelevant because of their age, discounted because they are largely viewed as commodities, or scorned because they are considered a threat to adult society...
On January 16, 2003, the European Court of Human Rights agreed - more than two years after the applications have been filed - to hear six cases filed by Chechens against Russia. The claimants accuse the Russian military of torture and indiscriminate killings. The Court has ruled in the past against the Russian Federation and awarded assorted plaintiffs thousands of euros per case in compensation.
As awareness of human rights increased, as their definition expanded and as new, often authoritarian polities, resorted to torture and repression - human rights advocates and non-governmental organizations proliferated. It has become a business in its own right: lawyers, consultants, psychologists, therapists, law enforcement agencies, scholars and pundits tirelessly peddle books, seminars, conferences, therapy sessions for victims, court appearances and other services.
Human rights activists target mainly countries and multinationals.
In June 2001, the International Labor Rights Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of 11 villagers against the American oil behemoth, ExxonMobile, for "abetting" abuses in Aceh, Indonesia. They alleged that the company provided the army with equipment for digging mass graves and helped in the construction of interrogation and torture centers.
In November 2002, the law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll joined other American and South African law firms in filing a complaint that "seeks to hold businesses responsible for aiding and abetting the apartheid regime in South Africa ... forced labor, genocide, extrajudicial killing, torture, sexual assault, and unlawful detention".
Among the accused: "IBM and ICL which provided the computers that enabled South Africa to ... control the black South African population. Car manufacturers provided the armored vehicles that were used to patrol the townships. Arms manufacturers violated the embargoes on sales to South Africa, as did the oil companies. The banks provided the funding that enabled South Africa to expand its police and security apparatus."
Charges were leveled against Unocal in Myanmar and dozens of other multinationals. In September 2002, Berger & Montague filed a class action complaint against Royal Dutch Petroleum and Shell Transport. The oil giants are charged with "purchasing ammunition and using ... helicopters and boats and providing logistical support for 'Operation Restore Order in Ogoniland'" which was designed, according to the law firm, to "terrorize the civilian population into ending peaceful protests against Shell's environmentally unsound oil exploration and extraction activities".
The defendants in all these court cases strongly deny any wrongdoing.
But this is merely one facet of the torture business.
"America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can't ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can't lose what you lacked at conception.
"Mass-market nostalgia gets you hopped up for a past that never existed. Hagiography sanctifies shuck-and-jive politicians and reinvents their expedient gestures as moments of great moral weight. Our continuing narrative line is blurred past truth and hindsight. Only a reckless verisimilitude can set that line straight."
--James Ellroy, American Tabloid
Ensure a Free and Fair Election (Ban Paperless Voting Machines