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Total number of comments: 905 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Mark Koroi

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  • US sent CIA Director as Ambassador to Tehran after CIA overthrew Iran's Democratic gov't (US now Complaining about Hostage-Taker Amb.)
    • Richard Helms received the ambassadorship to Iran in 1973 from Richard Nixon for several reasons:

      (1)he was a college roommate of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi when they studied in Switzerland;

      (2)the Watergate scandal had implicated several former CIA personnel - including E. Howard Hunt, who had been Helms closest aide at one point - and Nixon was anxious to place Helms in an area as far away as possible from the scrutiny of Watergate investigators;

      (3)Nixon wanted to mollify Helms after firing him by giving him a plum position as ambassador to prevent Helms from being cooperative with any Congressional investigations - and this worked as Helms was viewed by many as evasive during Church Committeee hearings.

      Helms was fired by Nixon as CIA director due to his refusal to invoke the "State Secrets Doctrine" to block the criminal investigations and prosecutions arising from the Watergate episode.

      Helms was revered within the Central Intelligence Agency with a cult-like following as the first career intelligence officer to become DCI when he was appointed by LBJ to replace Admiral Raborn in 1966. When he was convicted for being in contempt of Congress, Agency personnel donated the funds to pay for his fine.

      Here is a link to Helms' official CIA career bio:

      link to

  • Made Homeless by Israel, defiant Bedouin vow to stay in Jordan Valley
    • The Bedouins, ironically, had historically been allies of the Israeli government and were valued soldiers in the IDF due to their ability as pathfinders. They endured the bulk of casualties defending against Gazan militants prior to the 2005 disengagement.

      Daphni Leef of the J-14 movement in Israel spoke out against their victimization by the Netanyahu government.

  • Top Ten Ways in which it was Actually the Israeli Gov't that Derailed the Peace Talks
    • Inside the Israeli cabinet conference room is a prominent portrait of Herzl - who was an atheist. None of his descendants ever resided in Israel. The most recent leadership of Israel's government's have included people who are descendants of original right-wing elements that founded Israel in the 1940s:

      (A) PM Netanyahu's father was personal secretary to Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism;

      (B)MK Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister and Mossad employee is the daughter of a former Irgun leader and MK;

      (C)MK Tzachi Hanegbi, a former chair of the Knesset Defense and Foreign Relations Committee and Intelligence Minister is the son of the former operations commander of the Stern Gang;

      (D)Benny Begin, currently a senior figure in the Likud Party and a former MK is the son of former Irgun leader Menachem Begin.

      I could cite many more examples, but the theme is that the violent extremists that founded Israel have had their legacies continue via their children, who continue to control the Israeli government. They have no interest in ceding any land to Palestinians. They wish to perpetuate indefinitely the post-1967 status quo and will continue to do so as long as the U.S. government tolerates it.

  • US: Stop Blocking Palestinian Rights! (HRW)
    • An important aspect of these arguments is that Israel's own human rights organizations, such as Ir Amin, cited in the article, have been vocal opponents of Israeli government policies as violative of international law.

      The ability of the Palestinian Authority to petition the ICC for an investigation of war crimes against the Israeli government is a step in the right direction.

  • Get ready for More Disappearing Airliners: Obama moots giving Syrian Rebels Anti-Aircraft Missiles
    • The Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1990s launched Operation MIAS to buy back Stinger anti-aircraft missiles from Afghan militants due to the perceived danger of misuse of these weapons - $10 million was earmarked to give to these militant groups still possessing such items.

      The danger of such weapons was underscored when Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmyatar in 1992 authorized the firing of a rocket at the plane of Afghanistan's then-president. It fortunately missed but the event caused the breakup of the fledgling post-communist government at that time.

      Many Mujahidin leaders in Afghanistan saw the possession of high-tech Stingers as a status symbol and wanted to keep them.

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  • Palestine's Abbas finally says will Go to UN over Israeli Squatters
    • Jonathan Pollard, a Stanford-educated former naval intelligence analyst, has served over 28 years in federal custody and is slated to be released next year anyway.

      While there are those that rightfully opine that releasing Pollard as part of a Mideast peace process agreement is repugnant, the fact of the matter is that he has little time left in confinement and his value as a bargaining chip in the peace process dwindles as he nears the end of his sentence and imprisonment.

      The Pollard case has often been characterized as Israel spying on an ally, when in fact Israel has not only ignored demands to return voluminous classified files Pollard conveyed but will not account as to their whereabouts, giving rise to speculation that Israel may have sold such documents to an enemy state.

  • Pace Sheldon Adelson: Top 5 Signs West Bank is Occupied Territory
    • The West Bank has been ruled by the "Civil Administration" a division of the Israel Defense Forces led by a brigadier general.

      The most powerful political figure in the West Bank is Brig. Gen. David Menachem, who was appointed almost one year ago. He directs the Civil Administration under the guidance of the IDF chief of staff. Very few outside of Israel are aware of the identity of this leader as his name appears only sporadically in Israeli newspapers - an then as part of IDF management coverage.

      The Civil Administration was created in 1981 by Menachem Begin as part of the Camp David Accords. The Civil Administration vacated the Gaza Strip in 2005.

  • Why not Just take Syria to the International Criminal Court?
    • There is no doubt accountability needs to be exacted against responsible Baathists in Syria for human rights violations as it was for Iraqi Baathists, however the practical state of affairs is that nothing can be initiated until Assad is toppled from power, and this could take years, if at all.

      Thus far, the ICC has targeted mainly sub-Saharan African dictators and warlords for prosecution and did little to seek justice for leaders of nations who have strong ties to Western interests, Russia or China. Politics may cause gridlock in seeking a prosecution in the ICC against Syria just as it has forestalled ICC action against Israeli leaders despite ample and documented proof of war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against Gazans during Operation Cast Lead.

  • Israel Guilty of Apartheid, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians: UN Rapporteur
    • Thanks for the correction.

    • Lydda was the hometown of George Habash. His sister was ill and died the night the Jewish terror gang members came to expel Arab residents at gunpoint . Habash's family would walk for three days without food or water before they could reach Arab lines. He would blame his sister's death on the forced expulsion.

      Habash would later graduate first in his medical school class at American University, but later committed his talents to leading the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

      It was not coincidence that many of the leaders on both sides of the 1940s-era conflict remained top governing figures within their respective communities almost up until the present.

      Yitzhak Rabin is currently Israel's president. Yigal Allon had become deputy prime minister of Israel in the 1970s and had a friendship with President Nixon.

      Militia leaders such as Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir actually wanted to promote publicly massacres of Arab villages so that there would be voluntary evacuation of other Palestinian villages without any fight and therefore preserve Jewish fighters from combat casualties.

      At the end of the War of Independence the "respectable" Haganah and Palmach militias were incorporated into the Israel Defense Forces, however the terror gang members of the Irgun and Lehi were absorbed into the Mossad intelligence agency. Shamir, for example, entered service in the Mossad where he had a long career in intelligence.

  • Israelis slam Kerry over "Jewish State" Remarks as Abbas Rejects Demand
    • Interestingly, Theodor Herzl was an atheist and a large percentage of Israeli Jews today are nonobservant Jews or atheists.

    • When Israel declared its independence in 1948, there were voices among those religious Jews who wanted to make it a theocracy with a firm commitment to Judaism however the key founders insisted that it would be secular in nature.

      Israel's War of Independence was fought alongside Arab Druze residents who had been allied with the Jewish Underground against the British Mandate going back to the 1930s. Druzes continue to serve in the Knesset and the IDF.

      Israel has had no constitution at any time in its history and its legal basis is derived from the Basic Law initially passed by the Knesset. The existence and scope of jurisdiction of its Supreme Court is at the pleasure of the Knesset.

      Israel's First Knesset seated in 1949 had several Arabs in its group - the Christian Arab from Haifa, Toufik Toubi, just died a few years ago as the last surviving member of that First Knesset.

      There is simply no sociological nor historical justification for making Israel a "Jewish state".

  • Can the Neoconservatives make a comeback via the Ukraine Crisis?
    • Here's a link to the CSM article:

    • The Syria civil war gridlock has been brought about by the indecisiveness of the Obama administration.

      It has been the neocons, led by John McCain who have been wholehearted and vocal advocates of the Free Syrian Army, the one organization who has, via its Supreme Military Council, adopted an agenda of promotion of democratic principles.

      The Obama administration should be stepping up shipments of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles to the FSA.

      The rebels have recently lost their last Lebanese supply line when the Syrian army seized a border town in heavy fighting with rebels.

      Syrian deaths in the civil war now are at 140,000 out of a population of 22 million. Geneva II was a failure, and the Assad regime is arrogant and defiant with the assistance it has received from Hezbollah, Russia, and China.

      The very limited concession of a plan to divest Syria of its chemical weapons stockpiles has not been timely implemented by the Damascus regime and it is doubtful that Assad will fully capitulate with the terms of that agreement.

      U.S.Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford recently resigned his position in the Obama administration and in a speech at Tufts University gave a point-by-point outline delineating the failures and issues facing the international community in addressing the sad state of affairs within Syria. That speech was reported on one week ago in the Christian Science Monitor. Ford had enjoyed a positive relationship with the Syrian expatriate community in the United States that was donating millions of dollars in funding to the Free Syrian Army.

  • CIA: Only Spied On Senate Because They Took Documents Proving We Lied
    • Don't expect much to come of any investigation of the CIA.

      The last real FBI investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency involved a 4-billlion dollar loan from an FDIC-insured bank branch in Atlanta of an Italian-headquartered financial institution to the government of Iraq. This loan was facilitated by CIA personnel and FBI director William Sessions ordered a thorough investigation.

      The CIA retaliated by causing an investigation of Sessions that led to findings that he violated government regulations by using his office phone to speak to his wife and other trivialities.

      The bottom line was that the CIA personnel that had been implicated in the questionable loan transaction were not criminally prosecuted.

  • Sunni Representation Imperiled in Iraq if al-Anbar can't/ won't Vote
    • "......Al-Sistani actually stays out of politics as much as possible....."

      This is accurate. Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, a native-born Iranian, actually is probably the most influential current leader in Shi'ite Islam in the Middle East and clearly the most respected and influential figure within Iraq.

      In stark contravention to Iranian leaders, he has chosen the path of "quietism", avoiding direct intervention and participation in the politics of Iraq. His advocacy in Iraqi political processes has largely been limited to generalized support for democratic electoral representation for all Iraqis.

  • Obama to Netanyahu: Israel faces Int'l Sanctions over "Permanent Occupation of West Bank"
    • ".........[w]hen the Jewish people were granted a state in 1948, the rights of the people who lived there were extinguished!"

      The U.N. Partition Plan was adopted on November 29th, 1947 and was only advisory as it was passed by the General Assembly only and could not be enforced by the U.N. Security Council.

      It did not authorize the forcible expulsion of Arabs that later occurred during the implementation of Plan Dalet, the blueprint of Israeli leaders to expel and dispossess Arabs from their homes.

    • The alternative to a permanent peace agreement between the Palestinian Authorirty and Israel will be initiation of a Third Intifada - as predicted in a recent New York Times editorial.

      The Israel Chamber of Commerce has estimated that $35-$45 billion in economic losses were sustained by Israel in the Second Intifada. The U.N. estimated high losses for the Palestinians as well.

      A final status agreement would be a financial boon for both sides.

  • What today's GOP gets Wrong about Leadership: Obama & Eisenhower, Russian & Israeli Recklessness
    • Dwight Eisenhower also was president during the CIA-inspired 1953 overthrow of popularly-elected Dr. Mossadegh in Iran during Operation Ajax and the emplacement of the repressive regime of the Shah. This eventually led to the Iranian Revolution and hostage crisis. The hostage incident led to the resignation of Iranian government leader Mehdi Bazargan - who was an ally of the moderate Dr. Mossadegh.

      The CIA also played a key role in the assumption of power of Maronite Lebanese president Camille Chamoun in Lebanon in 1958.

      Pres. Eisenhower also personally congratulated the CIA personnel who overthrew Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 and it was his administration who commenced planning of what eventualy became the disaster at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba.

      The eight years of the Eisenhower presidency saw exponential growth of the U.S. intelligence community and their respective international covert operations.

  • Assad Regime‚Äôs Drought Response Triggered Syrian War
    • The Assad regime's response to the drought was only one factor in the equation.

      The ongoing wholesale human rights violations and the massacre of 30,000 in Hama in 1982 following a Muslim Brotherhood revolt in that city are the reasons I have heard from Syrian expatriates living in the United States as why there is a civil war.

  • This Apartheid Week, Read the Report Israel Doesn't Want you To See
    • Re: Israel's "......current practice of administrative detention":

      I have seen estimates that well over 6,000 Palestinians are kept in Israeli jails without criminal charge for months or even over a year at a time. They are purportedly suspected of collaboration with terrorist activities - though insufficient evidence exists to bring formal criminal charges.

      The legal concept of administrative detention originated in the early days of the Soviet Union and was described extensively in the "Gulag Archipelago" by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. It is the same legal theory that gave rise to millions held at concentration camps under Stalinism.

  • The Deep State is Vulnerable to People Power
    • " 'the next thing you know, someone's calling the FBI,' said Tim Attalla, a Dearborn attorney and community activist."

      Mr. Attalla, a Palestinian-American, would later find himself under a federal indictment for drug possession after an FBI informant claimed to see him with a Viagra tablet. The indictment also accused him of obstruction of justice for advising an arrestee not to submit to police interrogation.

      He waived his right to a jury trial for obvious reasons.

      At bench trial, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds acquitted him of the drug charge for lack of sufficient evidence - she dismissed the obstruction of justice charge before trial. The assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case congratulated Attalla after the judge issued her judgment from the bench.

      Attalla's earlier advocacy of the Palestinian cause had received international media attention.

    • Some nice links about how the Deep State became embedded in Metro Detroit:

      link to

      link to

      The "fusion centers" and "joint terrorism task forces" have made state and local police accomplices with the U.S. intelligence community since 2001 in conducting highly invasive surveillance of Arab-Americans.

  • Race Inequality in America by Graph, from Crime Sentencing to Income
    • There are other variables other than discrimination that may be at play here.

      One is that the death penalty is not even available or is rarely imposed in many states that have high percentage of white population e.g. Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Washington, Oregon and Utah.

      Secondly, blacks very often have inadequate legal representation due to poverty.

      Thirdly, the rate of criminal recidivism is higher among the black population and this is a legitimate basis for a judge or jury to impose the death penalty.

      It also should be noted that areas of high black populations e.g. Detroit, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, the government is often dominated by liberal Democrats at the prosecutorial and judicial levels and this leads to leniency in prosecutorial discretion at the charging and plea-bargaining levels and also leniency by judges during pre-trial rand trial proceedings and during sentencing.

  • Israel to Implant 9-Storey Ultra-Orthodox Seminary in Palestinian East Jerusalem
    • The Kadash Party in Israel still has a number seats in the Knesset.

      It is the successor to the former Israel Communist Party that had seats in the First Knesset in 1949.

      Labor and Kadash parties historically have both had a substantial mix of Jews and Palestinian Arabs in their membership.

      The Labor Party succeeded Mapai, whose party symbol closely resembled the Soviet hammer and sickle.

    • One wonders why the Palestinian Authority sits by idly and does not use their newfangled "observer status" at the United Nations to commence a war crimes proceeding in the International Criminal Court for this blatant violation of the Geneva Convention.

    • "Price tag" attacks have been acts of violence carried out by Jewish settlers in retaliation for the curtailment of their settlement enterprises.

      They traditionally have targeted Arabs, but they have also have retaliated against Israei security forces that have interfered with their interests. They often spray paint "price tag" at the site of their attacks.

  • Brokers of Deceit: Massive US Aid to Israel has Enabled a Colonial Project
    • Thomas Friedman, one of the most influential Middle East experts on U.S. foreign policy and a Council on Foreign Relations member, had stated as far back as the 1980s in his book "From Beirut to Jerusalem" , that the Likud Party strategy was to maintain the status quo of IDF occupation of the West Bank indefinitely, thus denying Palestinians therein basic democratic rights, and simultaneously perpetuating Israeli hegemony over the region.

      The Oscar-nominated film "The Gatekeepers" consisted of interviews of the living former directors of the of the Israeli Shin Bet internal security organization, a who critized the Israeli government for bad faith in attempting to subvert the peace process for political motives.

      The majority of Israelis polled want an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank. Most moderate to liberal Israeli elected leaders want a final status agreement of some sort that allows for Palestinian statehood.

      The failure of the U.S. to use its foreign aid resources as a bargaining chip to induce Israel to finalize a final status agreement with the Palestinians is a key reason for ongoing conflict in the region since the First Intifada flared up in 1987.

      The fact the European Union is supporting sanctions on Israel has been a positive step.

  • Top 10 Reasons Rand Paul's Lewinsky Gambit Can't Obscure GOP War on Women
    • "I just don't trust her as a leader who would be forced to make tough decisions on national security issues in the Oval Office"

      That's exactly why the underdog Obama beat her in 2008

      The Monica Lewinsky "scandal" never impacted national security or the U.S. economy - although it was embarassing to both Bill and Hillary Clinton. The "predator" in that relationship was viewed by the public as Monica Lewinsky.

  • In midst of Alleged Peace Talks, Israel Announces Hundreds of new Squatter Homes in Palestinian East Jerusalem
    • That platform has no basis in U.S. foreign policy - just partisan posturing in response to Mitt Romney's close ties to PM Netanyahu and Israel to pander to pro-Israel voters.

      The word out of the peace talks is that Jerusalem could be under joint Israel-Palestinian Authority administration if a U.S. State Department proposal is adopted.

  • A $9 Trillion War? Top 10 Reasons Americans will Regret it if GOP Derails Iran Negotiations
    • According to the World Nuclear Association, in a December of 2013 report, Saudi Arabia has plans to spend $80 billion in the next 20 years to construct a number of nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia.

      Saudi Arabia has signed a research and development agreement with South Korea and also has cooperation agreements with Argentina and France.

      Saudi Arabia in 2008 became a signatory to the old "Atoms for Peace" program initiated by President Eisenhower in the 1950s.

      There is no conclusive proof that Saudi Arabia has ever possessed atomic weaponry, but it is correct that they financed the Pakistani nuclear weapons program and have promoted educational opportunities for physicists to conduct such scientific research.

  • "In the Seam": Israel Strangles Palestinian Town
    • The story references Machsom Watch.

      This is an award-winning group of several hundred female Jewish human rights volunteer observers, primarily older and liberal in orientation, who monitor IDF checkpoints and military tribunals and make a record of any perceived violations of civil rights of Palestinians.

      Their website is:

  • Congress to CIA: Provide US Drone Victim Count
    • Congress should know where drones are being used.

      They are being heavily used in Somalia - though the media has not extensively covered that story. The Somalis reportedly shot one down at one point.

      There have been reports that U.S. drones have been used in the Phillipines - an alleged target there was putative Indonesian Bali bomber Umar Patek. Another story was that an American drone was seen floating in waters off the Philippine coast.

      The CIA was reportedly considering in early 2013, per a news article, using drones in Syria - but the idea was nixed when it was determined the U. S.. had no compelling policy interest in Syria to justify drone use there.

  • Bush ordered NSA to spy on Germany's Schroeder over Iraq War Opposition
    • Canada has its own NSA counterpart which conducts massive surveillance on its own citizenry.

      New disclosures also indicate that the Canadian government cooperated with the NSA in surveillance of foreign targets.

      Canadian intelligence services are widely unknown and unheralded but historically have been involved in sophisticated international operations. It was Canadian agents that acquired information regarding Israel's intent to build a nuclear weapons progran and in 1964 discovered Israel's purchase of bulk quantities of enriched uranium from Argentina - the story of this was not publicly revealed until 2013.

    • On August 17, 1975, Frank Church, stated on Meet the Press, re the NSA:

      ".........I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

      On the record of the Church Committee, he noted that, unlike the CIA, most Americnas did not even know the NSA exists.

      In a recent interview, attorney Abdeen Jabara, a U.S. citizen, stated when he sued the FBI for ilegal surveillance in 1972, he did not even know the NSA existed let alone that they had placed him under surveillance along with other federal agencies. He stated that least three foreign governments received products of that surveillance. That surveillance included confidential attorney-client communications that a federal court held Jabara's clients had stading to sue for privacy violations. Jabara today has stated that the Snowden revelations do not surprise him given what was disclosed during his federal case pressed by the ACLU until it settled in the 1980s after exhaustive attempts by the Justice Dept. failed to dismiss that lawsuit.

      This recent Guardian article confirms that the "tyranny" that Senator Church referred to was broader than just America but extended to American allies overseas.

      Senator Church's warning went unheeded and he was maligned from many sources as an intermeddler who was damaging U.S. national security interests. The American national media in the 1970s and 80s largely ignored the Jabara litigation that provided revelations on how U.S. citizens were under intensely invasive NSA surveillance.

  • Broken Democracy: Republicans poised to take Senate, Americans Reject their Platform
    • ".....[t]hey are too easy to hack....."

      Yeah, seems like hackers can break into any computer.

      A few years ago, someone figured out a "jackpot code" existed on a Las Vegas slot machine and engineered a scam to take advantage of that; they were caught and prosecuted, but voting machines that are computerized are a scary proposition.

      Remember how easy it has ben historically to rig elections in America. The Daley, Sr. machine in Chicago and "Landslide Lyndon" Johnson beating Coke Stevenson in Texas for a U.S. Senate seat. Remember tiny Pima County, Arizona in 1972 where the Socialist Labor Party got over 30,000 votes in a presidential contest?

  • Islamic State of Iraq & Levant too Extreme for al-Qaeda (Not the Onion)
    • There is speculation that ISIS may be covertly funded and armed by the Syrian government to foment destabilization among the Syrian rebel movement. It would be interesting to see where their actual financial support and arms are derived from. Their fighters have been reportedly predominantly foreigners, largely Iraqi.

      ISIS has reportedly summarily executed several dozen captured al-Nusra Front and Islamic Front fighters in recent weeks.

      The only positive report made about them is they have suppressed, to some degree, criminal gang activity in area they control in Syria.

  • Director Steven Spielberg speaks at UN Holocaust Remembrance Day: "There are no Bystanders to History"
    • He produced the Oscar-nominated "Munich" movie which was a fictionalized version of the "Operation Wrath of God" that involved in the extrajudicial killings of the Palestinian leaders of the Black September terror organization by Israel's anti-terror units.

      The film was generally critiqued at being neither pro or anti-Israeli.

  • Now Peace Talks, John Kerry, are "Anti-Semitic" in Eyes of Israeli Far Right
    • Uri Avinery, a journalist and former member of the Knesset, has described the future rise of the "Israeli Second Republic" via the J-14 social reform movement. He had his photo taken with Daphni Leef, that movement's leader (with her bandaged wrist after having her hand broken by Israeli police). Ms. Leef, in an interview, described a "Five-Year Plan" in which her group was going to restructure the current Israeli government. She has denounced the victimization of Israeli society by the Netanyahu government. There are many within her group that want to see Israeli apartheid dismantled as disgraceful.

      Dr. Marek Edelman, one of the commanders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, before his recent death, had felt that the Israeli Left and moderate Palestinian groups should unite into a single movement to promote a binding peace agreement. He frequently communicated and met with Palestinian activists from his Lodz apartment. Dr. Edelman had joined the Polish Resistance after escaping the Warsaw Ghetto and later was lauded by Lech Walesa for joining the Solidarity Congress as a delegate. He was awarded thr Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honor, however drew anger in Israel among Jews for authoring an open letter to Palestinian militants encouraging them to engage in a peace dialogue with Israel.

  • Bad for the Jews: Israeli Annexation of Palestinian West Bank, Scarlett Johansson and BDS
    • You have hit the nail on the head.

      Palestinians comprise 45% of the population of waht is known as Isarel, Gaza, and the Occupied Territories. The West Bank Palestinians have no right to vote, routinely have their farms uprooted, their homes demolshed, are stopped by army checkpoints, tried in IDF military tribunals, and live under martial law dictated by the "Civil Administration", a branch of the Israel Defense Forces, led by an IDF brigadier general and divided into political subdivisons ruled by IDF colonels.

      If Palestinian Arabs had true equal rights in this "Greater Israel", they would likely have very little reason to complain and Palestinian nationalism would not have the appeal it has currently.

  • Don't Break up Syria: WW I-Style Imperial Divide & Rule is a Failure
    • The organizing principle of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Islamic Front, and even Jabhat al-Nusra is the removal of the Baathist regime of Assad and its human rights violations chronically perpetrated by its security services. There was little media coverage in 1982 when 30,000 inhabitants of Hama were massacred after the Muslim Brotherhood rebelled against Hafez Assad's rule. The entire city was razed, bulldozed and steamrolled after existing tor thousands of years and symbolized the brutality of Hafez Assad.

      Hafez Assad assumed office illegally in 1970 and his family have dominated the Syrian government since that time via the commission of wholesale human rights violations. His Alawite minority controls a disproportionate share of the wealth and political power in the Baathist regime.

      The FSA has been emphasizing that sectarian differences and the danger of jihadists has been overblown by the Baathists and that "FSA" represents the "Future Syrian Army". The longtime chair of the Syrian National Council, George Sabra, is Christian, Suheir Atassi is a secular feminist and a key negotiator at Geneva II, and Kurds, Sunnis and other secular leaders have held seats in the Syrian National Coalition (SNC). The establishment of an interim transitional government is the key aim at this time of the SNC.

      While I agree that there are parallel's to Iraq's sectarian strife, the difference in Syria that there has been a pre-existing commitment to an equitable distribution of political power. The FSA's Supreme Military Council has committed itself to a signed declaration of democratic principles and is itself elected via the voting process. The Islamic Front and the FSA have been largely allies and the key differences lie in the FSA's allegiance to the SNC and its Western diplomatic ties.

      The U.S. State Department has resumed aid to the FSA units near Damascus fighting the Assad regime and Saudi Arabia is providing the bulk of funding to the Islamic Front. U.S. and private funding to the FSA exceeds $170 million and the Saudis have given over $500 million in aid to rebel forces.

      Once the Baathists are removed from power there is likely going to be greater autonomy given to certain regions and minorities. The Kurds in northern Syria are an example of a likely future autonomous state that will remain a part of Syria.

      The Sunni Muslims of Syria are the most vocal expatriate group in the U.S. and their community in Syria will be the biggest winners in a post-Baathist government. The Sunnis controlled the Syrian presidency with a popularly-elected president when a CIA- inspired coup brought a military junta to power in 1949.

      "Balkanization" is too strong a term to describe a likely post-Assad Syria. Greater autonomy to certain regions is likely and the primary danger to security will probably be from jihadists such as ISIS or Jabhat al-Nusra.

      I agree that there is "a rich history of coexistence" in Syria and that such a future goal is to foster ongoing goodwill between the ethnic factions.

  • Dovish SOTU: Obama will Veto AIPAC Iran Sanctions, Pledges Afghanistan Wind-Down
    • "There was no applause at the mention of an independent state for Palestinians..............."

      There should be no applause because the only Palestinian state Israel will agree to is comparable to the Bophutswana entity in South Africa. Palestinians would still be subject to humiliating West Bank checkpoints manned by the IDF.

      Former Israeli Labor Party Knesset member Colette Avital, a Holocaust survivor and reired career Israeli diplomat, has advocated the relocation of all Jewish West Bank settlers with compensation and a separate truly independent Palestinian state as the ideal final status between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Her voice is joined by many Israelis in the Labor, Meretz, and Hadash parties seving in the Knesset.

      Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid underscored the devastating economic effect of a European Union boycott on Israel if the Netanyahu government is unable to conclude a peace deal with the Palestinian delegation.

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu faces Zionist Racism from Son dating Norwegian
    • The issue of social stratification in Israel among its Jewry has long been controversial.

      There was violence in Haifa in the 1950s against recent Sephardic Jewish immigrants from Morocco by Ashkenazi Jews.

      Ethiopian Jews have claimed prejudice within Israel. About 80,000 of them currently live in Israel.

      PM Ehud Barak issued an apology in 1997 toward Oriental Jews for prejudice against them within Israel.

    • The genetic argument is based on the fact that it is an invalid criteria for Israeli citizenship as most Ashkenazi Jews are descended from European converts to Judaism and, therefore, cannot have a legitimate claim as descendants of the Jewry that historically inhabited Palestine prior to the Diaspora.

      On the other hand, those Jews actually descended from pre-Diaspora Jewry will have a genetic composition very similar to Palestinian Arabs.

      In other words, genetics is a wholly invalid basis of Jewish identity.

      Religion likewise, is not necessarily a basis of Jewish nationalism. The pre-eminent proponent of Zionism, Theodor Hirzl, was an atheist. His portrait hangs prominently in the Israeli Cabinet conference hall. He never set foot in Palestine.

      The other religion-based nationalism which can be closely analogized with Zionism is the Mormon concept of the Deseret state. Perhaps this is why PM Netanyahu and Mitt Romney seem to have such an affinity to each other.

    • PM Netanyahu married a friend of Mitt Romney, Fleur Cates, as his second wife in 1981. She was a British subject, a Christian, who later converted to Judaism. He and Romney had worked at the same investment banking firm in Boston at the time of this marriage.

      It was believed that if he had run for public office in Israel prior to his divorce from Cates, the mixed marriage would have been an issue.

  • Why Tunisia's Transition to Democracy is Succeeding while Egypt Falters
    • One aspect of Tunisia is its proximity to Europe and the cultural influences that emanate from both France and Italy.

      The French language is prevalent among the educated and business classes and there are strong commercial ties to Europe. Tunisia is only a few hundred miles from southern Italy. There is a substantial French and Italian population in Tunis.

      Tunisia has also been known for its liberality in its relations with its Jewry. Both the capital of Tunis and a small offshore island each have a cohesive Jewish community. Tunisia openly supported a two-state solution to the Palestinian question modeled after the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan when Egypt's President Nasser opposed Israel's existence. Anti-Semitic violence did rage, however, in Tunis in the immediate aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967.

      The killing of leftist leader Chokri Belaid, a respected poet and lawyer, last year was certainly troubling but was denounced by almost all Tunisian factions as well as throughout the Arab world.

  • Israel's KKK: Violent Squatters increasingly Attacking Palestinians
    • The settlers, about 7,000, reside at Kiryat Arba.

      In 2002, 12 Israelis were killed, including the military governor of Judea, Col. Dror Weinberg, when Islamic Jihad militants ambushed them on a road near Hebron.

      It should also be noted that an American, Alan Goodman, went on a shooting rampage in Jerusalem against Muslim worshippers with a rifle wearing an Israeli army uniform and killed one woman. He served some prison time and was released - he left to return to Baltimore.

      Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League and a former FBI informant, was one of only four American-born Jews ever to be elected to the Knesset. His son and daughter-in-law were later killed by two Arabs in a random shooting near Hebron. His Kach Party was outlawed - one former card-carrying Kach Party member is current Israeli cabinet minister Avigdor Lieberman.

  • Syria Conference Roiled by Shouting Matches, Insults
    • There are about 200,000 "Twelver" Shi'ites in Syria.

      The Alawites are a sect of Shi'ism, however some consider the Alawite beliefs so different, they really are a separate religion altogether. They had been allied with the French colonial administration preceding Syrian independence.

      The Alawite population in Syria is largely concentrated along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, especially in cities such as Latakia.

    • My information was the Kurds were not excluded - it was the Kurdish Democratic Union Party leadership that wanted an independent delegation to represent their interests - but that the Americans demanded that Kurdish interests be represented via the Syrian National Coalition; the actual "Kurdish" that reportedly are attending are members of the foreign affairs committee of the Kurdish National Council.

      Syrian Kurds have shied away from the Syrian National Council in general due to its perceived closeness to the Turkish government.

      The Syrian Kurds have sought autonomy from the Assad regime and during the civil war Assad's army has largely withdrawn from Kurdish areas to defend Damascus - leaving only two major garrisons within those Kurdish areas.

      Israel would likely give recognition to an independent Kurdish state - there are 100,000 Kurdish Jews that live in Jerusalem alone and the Kurds have sustained much of the same degree of persecution in Arab countries have the Jewish adherents during the last century. There are voices in Israel that support recognition by the Isreali government of an autonomous Kurdish state in Syria.

      The Syrian Kurds have the best opportunty for advancing their interests at Geneva II.

  • Massive War Crimes: Syrian Regime Tortured, Starved, Murdered 11,000 Prisoners
    • The Russian Federation has veto power on whether to take away their Security Council veto - so don't hold your breath.

      The other option is to replace the United Nations with a more effective international policing body.

      The Korean War was defended by U.N. forces only because Russia staged a "walkout" and boycotted the Security Council vote on military intervention.

    • The massacre of 30,000 by Assad's forces at Hama in 1982 was seen as the major ralllying point of those supporting the Free Syrian Army. The ongoing torture and kilings by Assad's security services since 1982 have led to the increase in rebel activity that exists to the present.

      The Free Syrian Army enjoys the vast support of the Syrian-American community, particularly Sunni Muslims, who have donated millions through the Syrian Support Group (SSG). The SSG has also been funded by the U.S. State Department and been publicly praised by U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford.

    • Go to the ICC website and you will see the list of ICC prosecutions is mainly limited to sub-Saharan African leaders and warlords.

      Prior to the ICC the international community relied upon ad hoc tribunals - such as Nuremberg - to mete out justice where the facts warranted.

      The U.S. and other major powers are fearful that their own citizens may face such an international tribunal.

    • Israel has no declared policy as to "taking sides" in the conflict, however several policy considerations have been discussed:

      (1) seeing Assad deposed will interfere with the Iran-Hezbollah weapons supply line that threatens Israel - so the rebels in Syria should be supported;

      (2) Assad has kept a fairly peaceful border with Israel on the Golan Heights and rebel control of that area could conceivably endanger such calm;

      (3) Gen. Salim Idris - head of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army - made claims last spring that the civil war has destabilized the internal security of Syria and allowed outside parties to freely enter Syrian territory - Idris staed that the Mossad had agents within Syria attempting to gather evidence of illegal chemical weapons use to provide to the U.S. government to incite further American action.

  • NSA Surveillance is about Control & Leverage, not Security
    • The NY Times #1 best-seller "By Way of Deception" explained how the Mossad was not politically fond of Yitzhak Rabin and created a scandal early in his political career after they discovered Leah Rabin, his wife, controlled a bank account in New York, in violation of Israeli law. The Mossad was notorious for using blackmail against targets, per the book.

      As to Governor Spitzer, his successor also was involved in a scandal after it was discovered that campaign funds were used to pay for a hotel room where he hired a prostitute - thus ruining his political fortunes as well.

      J. Edgar Hoover had an iron-clad grip on power until his death exactly because of the vast treasure troves of data he collected on officeholders and civic leaders. MLK and JFK were two examples of leaders he targeted.

      Victor Marchetti, Philip Agee, and James Bamford also had been targeted for "persuasion" after they were about to - or did - go public with books revealing groundbreaking information on the U.S. intelligence community. Marchetti and Agee were embroiled in federal litigation in the 1970s and the Justice Department threatened to indict Bamford for disclosing declassified information later re-classified after the Reagan administration learned it was going to be published in a book - "The Puzzle Palace".

  • Gov't used Surveillance of MLK in Bid to Destroy Him: Now they want us to just Trust Them
    • During the federal criminal trial for campaign violations in Detroit, 1998 Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee in Michigan Geoffrey Fieger, there was testimony from Fieger's secretary that a senior FBI official wanted information on affairs he may have had. Fieger, defended by Gerry Spence, was acquitted.

      The Federal Election Commission later authorized a favorable settlement of outstanding civil violation charges against Fieger consistent with findings of inadvertent infractions of federal campaign finance laws. It was the GOP appointees to the Federal Election Commission that spearheaded this favorable settlement after Fieger had, following his acquittal, began serving Freedom of Information Act requests upon the federal government to discover who authorized the FBI investigation of him. Fieger had vowed to bring legal action against the government, but the favorable FEC settlement resolved everything and saved Fieger hundreds of thousands in potential additional fines from his fund-raising efforts on behalf of a presidential candidate.

  • Fear is Driving Diplomacy on Syria, not Humanitarianism
    • One ethnic segment of the opposition, the Kurds, are upset that they will not be allowed an independent delegation at Geneva II.

      They feel that the U.S. is forcing the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to advocate their interests. The SNC has permitted Kurdish interests to be represented by the foreign relations committee of the Kurdish National Council. Salih Muslim, the head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, is considered by many to be the most influential Syrian Kurdish leader, but whose presence is likely to be excluded at Geneva II.

      The Kurds have declared an autonomous state in northern Syria and have largely been uninvolved in active fighting with the Syrian army due to the fact the Syrian government had re-deployed its forces from those areas to defend Damascus.

  • Taking on al-Qaeda: Syria's Uprising within an Uprising
    • This is an excellent article that underscores the extent of the recent fragmentation in the Syrian opposition.

      The parallels between the ongoing situation in Iraq the last ten years and the current situation in Syria cannot be ignored.

      There are some that believe ISIS is actually covertly supported by the Syrian government to foment dissension in the anti-Assad movement.

      One additional important point made by the author is the fact the Islamic Front has spurned further dialogue with Ambassador Ford and the Western diplomatic representatives following the recent Ankara conference. Ambassador Ford has maintained positive relations with the Syrian National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army leadership - as has certain U.S. Congressmen - including Senator McCain.

      There were reports that Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic prisoners captured by ISIS were summarily executed. ISIS has a strong component of non-Syrian fighters, mostly from Iraq, but also from other areas outside Syria.

      An irony is the fact that the U.S. State Department would likely hope ISIS follows Zawahiri's edict that ISIS go back to Iraq. A second irony is that ISIS has been in certain respects a positive force in Syria by suppressing criminal gang activity.

      This article sadly suggests that Geneva II will be destined for failure - especially since the Islamic Front will not participate or respect any of its future agreements.

  • American Public Pushes back against AIPAC Senators seeking Iran Conflict
    • See: link to

      Additionally, the January 14, 2014 Associated Press article by Ali Akbar Dareini quotes a leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division that Hezbollah's new capability can hit and destroy any target within Israel with very little inaccuracy and also with pinpoint ability.

  • Top Ten Ways Ariel Sharon Ruined Israel and the Middle East
    • Regarding Iranian sponsorship of Hezbollah:

      It was Hafez Assad who allowed the Iranian government to establish a training base for Hezbollah militiamen in a Syrian-controlled region of the Bekaa Valley that allowed Hezbollah to flourish. They became a well-trained and equipped militia that were responsible for the lion's share of IDF casualties during the 18-year long IDF occupation of Lebanon.

      The IDF occupation earlier had indirectly led to the 1982 assassination of Lebanese President-elect Bashir Gemayel - a close ally of Sharon and the U.S. and contributed to killings of other political leaders within Lebanon thereafter.

  • Did Ariel Sharon get a pass on War Crimes because he was White?
    • The NSA had claimed to have wire intercepts confirming that Arafat had ordered P.L.O. military chief Khalil Wazir to kill diplomatic hostages from Sudan in 1974 which included U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel.

      Arafat was, of course, never prosecuted.

    • Agreed.

      NATO also threatened to have their headquaters removed from Brussels if the Sharon prosecution went forward.

      The Belgian court system eventually dismissed the charges so the whole political issue was mooted.

  • Ariel Sharon's Legacy for Israel and the Middle East
    • The unilateral withdrawal only occurred after Sharon was unable to extract a concession from Hamas that they would disarm.

      The eventual unilateral disengagement was endorsed by Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad of Palestine. One Arab-side criticism of the plan as carried out as the withdrawal was not orderly and created a power vacuum within Gaza that was a recipe for problems.

      One of the initial disegagement plans was to have Gaza surrounded by the IDF and have them carry out military invasions on an ad hoc basis into Gaza when needed - but this was not done. However you are correct in characterizing the withdrawal as carried out as a form of occupation since Gaza remains subject to both a naval blockade as well as regular invasions of their airspace by the Israel Air Force.

      Sharon did, during the Second Intifada, characterize the West Bank Gaza situations as occupations that must end. This was a landmark statement and placed him at odds with the settler movement.

      Politically, the Kadima Party, with its peace platform, was able to win a landslide victory after Sharon's disabling coma and having Ehud Olmert as PM - so the public was behind Sharon's newly-minted party and its apparent commitment to peace.

    • Sharon's most illustriuous moments came as a field general durng the 1973 Yom Kippur War when the troops largely reversed the gains made by the Egyptian Army after the IDF's Bar-Lev defensive line had been overrun and he commanded a division that crossed the Red Sea and held a significant area of Egyptian land on its eastern bank while keeping the Egyptians at bay during artillery duels .

      He was not only the leader of the IDF when the Sabra and Shatila massacres killed 1,000 Palestinians, which the Kahane Commission found him responsible, but he also led the unit that commtted the Kibya Massacre in 1954 that left scores of innocent civilian Arabs dead in the West Bank.

      The only material redeeming conduct toward peace that he can be credited with is the Gaza disengagement in 2005 which won him international praise and his split with the Likud Party to form the moderate Kadima Party. Even Mahmoud Zahar, a high-level Hamas leader, felt that Sharon's disability bode badly for the peace process - in a Der Spiegel article in 2006, Zahar opined the Gaza disengagement could have led to other withdrawals from occupied territories. Sharon's successor, Ehud Olmert was widely seen as an incompetent leader that failed to pursue peace in a reasonable manner and almost immediately embroiled the IDF in the largely failed Second Lebanon War that bolstered the political fortunes of Hezbollah as key influential player in Lebanese politics.

  • Top 5 US Government Decisions that put Troops more at Risk than Snowden Did
    • The vitiolic attacks against Snowden are nothing new.

      When James Bamford had "The Puzzle Palace" published in 1982, the Justice Department threatened to have him prosecuted after having the President Reagan re-classify, as "secret", materials disclosed to him previously by the Carter administration pursuant to FOIA requests. Bamford's lawyer rejected this assertion as an "ex post facto" reclassification that was immaterial.

      The Puzzle Palace was published and became the seminal published treatise on the inner workings of the NSA. Bamford interviewed former NSA director Marshall Carter for the book and discovered in the NSA parking lot at Fort Meade numerous vehicles with diplomatic license plates - suggesting to him that foreign governments had a significant relationship with the NSA.

      Bamford was a former naval intelligence analyst who had a law degree but pursued a career as a journalist. His subsequent book on the NSA - "Body of Secrets" - won acclaim.

  • Top Ten Things Bob Gates was Wrong about, Some Criminal
    • That is an excellent article which chronicles some of the same players in Afghanistan that are around today.

      It also correctly emphasizes the lack of effective government that caused the Afghan opium trade to flourish - which now produces 87% of the world's supply.

    • I do not believe that Operation Cyclone - the CIA's covert war in Afghanistan - was per se a bad idea.

      It was initiated by the Carter administration and augmented under President Reagan. China was one of the countries that supplied arms to the Afghan rebels as well as Saudi Arabia. It was in response to the so-called "Brezhnev Doctrine" that the Soviet Union would not allow a socialist regime to fall without Soviet military aid.

      The Soviets propped Nur Muhammad Taraki, a Marxist, as Afghan head of state in the late 1970s until he was assasinated in 1978. The USSR then installed Hafizullah Amin, an Ivy League-educated former teacher to succed Taraki - Amin was murdered by the KGB during the December of 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan - they then replaced Amin with Babrak Karmal. The Communist government in Kabul was extremely unpopular and they had to literally kidnap men off the street to serve in the Afghan army.

      The Soviet's primary strategy in occupying Afghanistan was to obtain a base and supply line to train and arm Balochi rebels in western Pakistan and eventually obtain a badly-needed naval base on the Indian Ocean. The Pakistani opposed this due to valuable natural resources that were in that region. The civil war that raged from 1979-1992 in Afghanistan ravaged the already impoverished Afghan people. Afghanistan at this time tied Somalia for the lowest literacy rate in the world (5%) and also had one of the highest infant mortality rates.

      The CIA-supplied rebellion succeded in 1992 when the rebels captred Kabul and the nation's final Marxist leader - Dr. Najibullah - was hanged. The Soviets lost over 15,000 soldiers killed in action and were decimated by anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons given by the rebels by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel. Osama bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia a national hero and was given an audience with King Fahd.

      The failure of the U.S. and its allies was in neglecting to establish a stable government and civil infrastructure to help a devastated Afghan citizenry following 1992, which led to sectarian fighting between former CIA allies. This power vacuum led the Pakistani ISI to create and arm the Taliban - which quickly occupied Kabul and most of the countryside in Afghanistan.

      It was the Clinton administration that failed to gauge the seriousness of the situation, provide sufficient assistance to the Afghan government that led to Bin Laden's al-Qaeda and the unelected Taliban militia flourishing which President Bush inherited when he assumed ofice in 2001. Former U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra, then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has made it clear that the Clinton administration had the ability to kill bin Laden - but elected not to.

      Al-Qaeda and the ongoing civil war within Afghanistan was a direct product of failures of President Clinton in following up on a CIA, Saudi Arabian, Chinese and Mossad covert operations success against Soviet-aligned interests.

  • Syria: Rebel Militias take on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
    • One important point not raised is that the December timeline of events occurred following a landmark meeting between Islamic Front representatives and U.S. and Western European diplomats in Ankara, Turkey in which discussions were held on providing aid to the Islamic Front as had been occurring with the Free Syrian Army.

      Saudi Arabia has funded the Free Syrian Army with about $500 million in assistance. Saudi Arabia as of late has been favoring Salafist units rather than those aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood as Turkish and Qatari interests have been allied with.

      It is important to note that the individual brigades that are fighting in Syria under the FSA or Islamic Front are highly autonomous and merely coordinate activities and supply distribution through these umbrella groups rather than seeing them as a rigid command structure.

      The Islamic Front appears to be emerging as the most influential network among the rebels, replacing the FSA in these regards.

      The initial organizing principle of the Islamic Front had been rejection of the Syrian National Coalition as the political leadership of the rebel movement - even though the Arab League and Western countries have recognized this entity as the Syrian government-in-exile.

  • Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State is like saying the US is a White State
    • The "remedy" being discussed is to allow a single binational state in Israel and the West Bank that will allow each to maintain its primary ethnic identity within its own defined borders - but for the two separate national entities to be inter-related via a unified economic, financial, and civil infra-structure - much like the European Union unites much of that continent.

      The key sticking point will be how to design and implement a national defense arrangement.

    • "The creation of a siege mentality in Israeli society was necessary to complement the pre-fabricated myth of the Arab threat. The two elements were intended to feed each other. Although Israeli society faced a serious risk of social and cultural disintegration under the impact of a mass immigration of Asian and North African Jews into the pre-State's ideologically homogenous community, the purpose of the siege mentality was not so much that of attaining a defensive cohesiveness in Israel's Jewish society. It was principally calculated to 'eliminate the moral brakes' required for a society to fully support a policy which constituted a complete reversal of the ethical code on which its formal education was based and from which it was supposed to derive its vital strength......"
      p.7, "Israel's Sacred Terrorism" by Livia Rokach

      Ms. Rokach was the daughter of the former mayor of Tel Aviv.

    • Dr. Uri Davis, an Israeli anthropologist, cites his 1943 Palestine birth certificate as proof he is Palestinian. He was the first to equate Zionism with South African-style aparthied.

      He sits as an elected member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, the chief legislative body of that political party and has an observer seat membership in the Palestine National Council.

  • Israel Rejects Kerry Proposal to Relinquish Control of Palestine-Jordan Border, Endangering Talks
    • Benzion Netanyahu had stated that it was useless to negotiate with Palestinians - they must be shown force.

      He championed Revisionist Zionism and was personal secretary to one of its key theorists - Ze'ev Jabotinsky.

      It was ironic that when he died recently at age 102, his state funeral was not only presided over by Israel's president Shimon Peres, but the prime minister - his own son.

      Many have thought it ironic that he, as a scholar of the history of Sephardic Jewry and of the persecution they sustained, had taken positions so ruthless against the native Palesinians.

    • Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has already mentioned recently that the Palestinian Authority may use the U.N. non-member observer state status accorded Palestine on November 29, 2012 to initiate a formal complaint with the International Criminal Court against Israel.

  • Is a Third Palestinian Uprising on its Way?
    • The IDF had fired on peaceful demonstrators in Gaza, killing some, during the Second Intifada and endured the international criticism.

      No different than MLK and the Selma to Montgomery marchers at Edmund Pettus Bridge.

    • There are no mass marches without a permit - which Israeli officials will not give.

    • Ultimately, a third intifada (literally "shaking off") is not only reasonable, it is necessary.

      Unlike 1987 and 2000, when the prior intifadas occurred, was there a nascent anti-government mood within Israel itself as it is today with the J-14 movement. The J-14 movement has been fueled within Israel by rising rents and economic disparity between the wealthy and the middle classes - which largely has been caused by the Israeli government scavenging social programs to fund the continuing occupation of the West Bank.

      The First Intifada ended with the 1993 Oslo Accords (Oslo I)following the historic 1991 Madrid Conference and the election of a moderate Labor Party-controlled government led by Yitzhak Rabin.

      The Second Intifada ended with the internationally-praised Gaza disengagement in 2005 and the release of hundreds of West Bank prisoners by the Ariel Sharon government - which also gave rise to the moderate Kadima Party which swept to victory in the next parliamentary elections.

      In the event the current peace negotiations fail - and most expect this - the Third Intifada is likely to arise. This time the Israeli government is likely to have pressure from a peace movement internally that has recognized the damage the occupation is doing to the Israeli economy - especially with a growing international call for BDS.

  • A Delegation of Congressional Christian Zionists to Israel
    • The key is the term "begotten" - meaning of a specific relationship. The Virgin Mary gave birth to only one "Son of God."

      Comparatively, Hebrews 11:17 describes Isaac as the only begotten son of Abraham - even though Abraham sired Ismail born from Hagar.

    • There is no doubt that the Christian Zionist movement in the United States is even more zealous than the AIPAC or Likud partisans since it arises from their belief that Israel is on a divine mission and to simply disagree with Israel on a matter is opposing God.

      The voluminous writings of Pastor Hagee have absolutely no acknowledgement of any improper behavior by Israel in any way but severe disgust expressed at Arab governments as Nazi-like.

      Hagee dwells on the reconstruction of the Third Temple and the demolition of the Dome of the Rock to accommodate that reconstruction - and the fact that this will necessarily lead to a cataclymic future war between Muslim and Jews.

      Hagee has been personal friend of every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin.

  • Top Ten Middle East Stories 2013: How the Region has Changed
    • Surprisingly the political situation in Israel in not mentioned in the top 10.

      The rise of Yair Lapid - chosen by the Jerusalem Post as the "most influential Jew" - and his centrist Yesh Atid political party was a major surprise in the Knesset elections early this year. His platform against the privileges of the ultraorthodox community within Israel found a large audience and the Likud Party left Shas and United Torah Judaism out of the ruling party coalition for the first time in many governements in Israel.

  • Israeli Public favors Teaching Peace, Palestinian Narrative in Schools
    • Thomas Hurndall, a Briton, who was killed by an IDF sniper as part of the same International Solidarity Movement that Corrie belonged to, had his cause vigorously advocated by the British government.

      The IDF sergeant was court-martialed and convicted of manslaughter and received a lengthy prison term and the family of Hurndall received a hefty monetary settlement from the Israeli government in a wrongful death case.

    • "Modern day Israel has a very bad record with imprisoning and killing non Jewish minors."

      The Zion Square assault in August of 2012 against four Arab teenagers by a Jewish mob resulted in multiple convictions of several young Israeli Jews - the sentencing judge labeled the event an attempting lynching. Even so the most severe sentence meted out was only eight months incarceration.

      Contrast this with the Israel Defense Forces military tribunals in the West Bank that have the authority - and often do - impose an extra 15-year prison sentence for youthful Palestinian defendants exhibiting disrespect to the tribunal.

    • Arab Israelis have been known not to vote in Knesset elections, as well.

  • Israel plans 1400 New Squatter Homes in Palestinian West Bank
    • The Palestinian Authority has standing as abserver state of the U.N. to bring a complaint for war crimes by colonizing foreign territory before the International Criminal Court but cherishes its good relations with the Netanyahu government to undertake such drastic remedial action.

  • Benghazi Consular attack was Local, not al-Qaeda: NYT Correspondent Demolishes GOP Talking Points
    • In reality, there have been concerns about Al-Qaeda endangering U.S. interests in Libya that have factual support.

      On September 14, 2012 CNN correspondent Arwa Damon discovered Ambassador Stevens' diary at the unsecured site of the attack; that diary conveyed his worries of being on an Al-Qaeda hit list.

      CNN's Paul Cruickshank, in a March 15, 2015 report indicated that an intercepted phone call from Benghazi linked a senior Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb figure to the attack.

      Kirkpatrick's account likely solves mystery of the assault on the operational level only and in no way even scratches the surface as to who may have planned or ordered it.

      In no meaningful way was the al-Libi drone killing addressed in the Kilpatrick report however this appears to have been a possible motive for the attack. He was the Al-Qaeda figure from Libya who was targeted by a U.S. drone and died in Pakistan several months prior to the Stevens attack.

  • US Arms Shiite Iraqi Gov't to Kill Sunni Rebels, Arms Syrian Sunni Rebels to overthrow Shiite Gov't
    • The New York Times article by its investigative staff had indicated that the Central Intelligence Agency had brokered arms sales to the rebels and cited an example of an arms purchase from Croatia. The "supply line" consists of Turkish and Arab nation's cargo planes delivering the weapons to Turkey for eventual distribution. Who actually pays for the arms themselves may not be the U.S. government, but the U.S. , per a Chicago Tribune article, has been supervising the actual distribution of weapons via CIA personnel neat the Turkish border with Syria.

      The U.S. State Department has been giving "non-lethal" aid funding to the Free Syrian Army via the Syrian Support Group, which is chaired by Chicago attorney and is the "implementing agency" for State Department funding to the Free Syrian Army. Non-lethal aid consists not only of food and medical supplies, but can include military hardware such as radios and military jackets.

      The danger in not supplying the Free Syrian Army is that rebels from that group may defect over to the Islamic Front or other umbrella organizations that may be less amenable to U.S. interests - and there are reports that this already has been happening.

      The Syrian Support Group has verified delivery of shipments of supplies to rebel leaders by creating a videotape record of the actual deliveries to satisfy the State Department that the items are being received by the appropriate groups.

  • Wounded by Apartheid Wall, Occupied Bethlehem Hopes for Pilgrimage Revival
    • Thank you.

    • Agreed.

      It should be noted that reform elements within Israel have also sustained harassment in the name of Israeli security.

      Daphni Leef, the leader of the J-14 social reform movement in Israel, who had two of her comrades elected to the Knesset last election, was interviewed and indicated she fears for her safety, claiming the Israeli government had dispatched 300 undercover agents to penetrate her group of supporters and were monitoring her personal telephone calls.

      Recent articles published in Israel have indicated that Israeli police had scoured her Facebook site attempting to discover evidence of criminal conduct. She was indicted on various charges from her arrest in Tel Aviv during a demonstration in which police broke her arm. This was after she had indicated the possibility she might run against Tel Aviv's incumbent mayor.

      Much of the social inequality in Israel Ms. Leef complains of is due to a government that has gutted social programs to finance the occupation of the West Bank. She has criticized the government's victimization of Arab Bedouin tribes in the Negev.

      The key to ending gridlock in Israel/Palestine relations will be the middle class in Israel which is finding itself the victims of its government's policies. The national security structure in Israel has controlled its government and has oppressed its own people much the way Mubarak and his henchmen controlled Egypt - Ms. Leef labeled the Arab Spring demonstrations in Egypt "an amazing thing".

  • Obama will Veto new Iran Sanctions, Israel War Mandate pushed by AIPAC Senators
    • The only members of Congress that have historically been pro-Arab and anti-Israel have been those whose constituency provides a net local political benefit from doing so - even so these Representatives have taken their degree of political fallout by virtue of their stated positions.

      John Conyers, John Dingell and David Bonior -all from Metro Detroit were openly critical of Israel.

      Dingell in the early 1970s was described as likely the fourth or fifth most powerful member of the U.S. House but now has lost most of his key committee appointments and a few years ago lost his coveted chairmanship of the Energy and Transportation Committee when the Congressional Democratic Caucus replaced him with Henry Waxman.

      John Conyers' wife in recent years, a Detroit City Council member was targeted in an FBI bribery probe and was convicted and sentenced to prison. There were questions of John Conyers' possible connection to the scheme and at least one GOP member called for is resignation however he was never charged and no solid evidence of his complicity ever revealed.

      Conyers had also been on the infamous Nixon "Enemies List".

      Both these U.S House members. had been previously profiled in a well-circulated Israeli newspaper article over their opposition to Israel's interests.

  • Federal Judge to NSA: What you did to Verizon Customers was Unconstitutional
    • There has already been evidence that the NSA illegally leaked intercepted messages to the D.E.A. to advance that agency's interests.

      There have also been allegations that some NSA workers misappropriated confidential data for personal purposes.

      The historical precedent of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and his "Secret and Confidential" files gives Americans reason to believe that there are segments of our U.S. intelligence community who may exploit collected data in an illegal or inappropriate manner.

    • It was Carter bringing in an outsider - Admiral Turner.

      Carter had funding cut and many career intelligence officers were cut. Shackley expected to promoted to Director of Intelligence but got forced out. The CIA's power structure was altered dramatically under Carter - just as it had under JFK.

    • Awesome article.

      The genesis of the Bush family's ascendancy to the presidency was Jimmy Carter's gutting of the Central Intelligence Agency by laying off 700 career CIA personnel and appointing outsider Stansfield Turner as Director of Intelligence in 1977.

      Ted Shackley, former CIA Associate Deputy Director of Operations, was one of those who left the CIA and commenced the October Surprise efforts. He reportedly met with George H.W. Bush for breakfast every Saturday for strategy discussions during Bush's presidential run in 1980.

    • A question now may be how many Verizon customers may have invasion of privacy claims against the responsible parties for the unconstitutional conduct.

      Several Metro Detroit attorneys in the 1960s and 70s filed suit after they discovered that their telecommunications systems were being monitored.

      Jimmy Hoffa's defense counsel, William Bufalino, sued Michigan Bell Telephone Company and the Detroit Police Department for placing electronic eavesdropping devices on his law firm's phones.

      Abdeen Jabara, appeals counsel to Sirhan Sirhan, sued, via the ACLU, the FBI in 1972 for illicit surveillance of overseas telecommunications involving attorney-client matters, although the NSA and CIA were also involved in some of the questionable government conduct. The varying levels of surveillance of Jabara actually began in 1967 - one year before Sirhan's arrest - and the ACLU suit filed several months after Jabara persuaded the California Supreme Court to vacate Sirhan's death sentence - that ACLU case was eventually settled in the 1980s after the Justice Department tried unsuccesfully for years to obtain dismissal of claims including violations of the Freedom of Information Act and Federal Privacy Act.

      Both cases had political overtones. Hoffa and the Teamsters had close ties to the GOP and Richard Nixon and the "Get Hoffa Squad" of the Justice Department was headed by Kennedy ally Walter Sheridan - a former NSA counterintelligence officer. Jabara was a vocal opponent of U.S. foreign aid to Israel - and remains so to this day.

    • A good opinion but do not be surprised if the U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit eventually reverses as the Sixth Circuit did Judge Anna Diggs-Taylor's opinion from the Eastern District of Michigan when she held that the NSA's ECHELON program was violative of the Fourth Amendment's Warrant Clause.

      The federal judiciary often is drawn from career government attorneys or those with connections to the intelligence community. Chief Justice William Rehnquist's wife was a CIA employee and Associate Justice Lewis Powell was an army intelligence officer.

  • US, UK suspend Aid to Syrian "Moderates" as Fundamentalists Grab Western Supplies
    • The Islamic Front was formed by over one dozen brigades whose organizing principle was political separation from the Syrian National Coalition. al-Nusra Front and ISIS are not included in their ranks, however not all military units may be "moderate."

    • CIA officers Miles Copeland and Stephen Meade had instigated the overthrow of popularly-elected Sunni Presient Shukri al-Quatli in the spring of 1949 with the connivance of Syrian army chief of staff Husni al-Zaim.

      The overriding policy objective at that time was the Trans-Arabian Pipeline - which the democratically-elected Syrian government had blocked. The pipeline project was approved immediately after the coup. A series of military-controlled governments dominated Syrian politics until 1970 when Defense Minister Hafez Assad overthrew and jailed Prime Minister Atassi.

      President Obama eventually issued an executive order authorizing broad support for the rebels forces from the U.S. intelligence community. The apparent policy consideration was the human rights violations being perpetrated by the Assad regime against his own people, however that regime has been a destabilizing force within Lebanon via its arming of and providing logistical support to Hezbollah, whom the U.S. State Department has identified as a terror organization.

      America's #1 ally Israel, also, would love to see the Free Syrian Army prevail over Assad.

    • Several points:

      Yesterday, General Salim Idris of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army met on the Syrian/Turkish border with Islamic Front commanders to discuss the situation. The Islamic Front has currently been helping the Free Syrian Army ward off ISIS extremist elements. The U.S. is monitoring the situation and the FSA has expressed hope through its spokesman that the U.S, would reconsider its decision and continue funding of the FSA.

      The Islamic Front in October of this year announced its formation and at that time its brigades had already renounced any allegiance to the Syrian National Coalition. The Islamic Front did not renounce the Free Syrian Army at that time, nor have they been affiliated with the extremist al-Nusra Front or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria groups.

      The Free Syrian Army and its Supreme Military Council owe their allegiance to the Syrian National Coalition, who is recognized by the world community diplomatically as the representatives of the Syrian people and who occupy Syria's seat in the Arab League.

      While the Islamic Front seizure of contents of the FSA-controlled warehouse is significant and troubling, other U.S.-supplied storage facilities of the FSA have been undisturbed.

      Lastly, the Syrian National Council, headed by George Sabra, an Orthodox Christian, and based in Istanbul, is a separate entity tha the Syrian National Coalition - who is based in Doha, Qatar and and led by Ahmad al-Jarba, a Sunni Muslim attorney. The Syrian National Council, however, has a number of members who hold seats in the Syrian National Coalition. The Syrian National Coalition was founded in Qatar in November of 2012.

      There has always been degrees of dissension in the anti-Assad rebel movement. One example were Kurdish groups who felt that the Syrian National Council was too close to the Turkish government whom the Kurdish leaders saw as inimical to their interests.

      The respective websites of the two Syrian key expatriate groups: link to

  • Has a European Boycott of Israeli Colonies in the Palestinian West Bank Begun?
    • In the United States the Olympia Food Co-op was sued by dissident shareholders when its board of directors approved a boycott of Israeli products, however the suit was dismissed and the plaintiffs were ordered to pay $160,000.00 in penalties to current and former directors of the co-op board named in the suit. Attorney fees of $280,000 were claimed after the presiding judge asked the defendants to present a costs and fees itemization.

      The Israeli government was believed to be behind the prosecution of the lawsuit and the Israeli Consul General in the region had met with the plaintiffs in the suit opposing the boycott.

  • Young Israelis Emigrating Abroad Roils Politics in Tel Aviv
    • The Haredim (ultraorthodox) are primarily non-Zionist in orientation.

      They believe that Israel has no religious legitimacy and their attitudes toward Palestinians are not monolithic.

      The leadership of Likud's coalition partners, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, have made adverse comments regarding future Palestinian- Israeli relations - Lapid calling for a "very high fence" between the two groups and Bennett desiring full Israel Defense Forces control over the West Bank and no Palestinian statehood.

  • Top 10 errors in Netanyahu's Speech Demanding Iran give up 'Genocidal' Policies
    • "Nuclear weapons were useless...."

      Israel's homeland security leaders have already considered an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) option to wreak havoc on Iran on an across-the-board basis.

      The detonation of a one-megaton hydrogen bomb 100 kilometers above Iran would, via gamma radiation, damage electrical circuitry and shut down that nation's vital industrial, transportation, telecommunication, and banking systems.

      Israel has the capability to deliver such a weapon via Jericho IV intercontinental ballistic missiles or nuclear-armed Dolphin submarine - Israel always maintains at least one Dolphin submarine located in international waters within the Persian Gulf as a nuclear deterrent to any unreasonable aggression by the Iranian government.

      Israel has a highly sophisticated nuclear weapons delivery system that has acted, and shall continue to act, as a deterrent to its actual and potential foes in that region.

      Of course the nuclear fallout that would incidentally result from such an EMP device could infuriate Iran's neighbors, including Russsia and China.

    • Israel allowed a first-ever IAEA inspection of its Soreq reactor this year, however Dimona's reactor has never been inspected by the IAEA.

      Israel destroyed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak in June of 1981 and sustained a 44-7 censure by the UN General Assembly. The Israeli Air Force in 2007 pursuant to "Operation Orchard" destroyed an underground nuclear reator in Syria - kiling a number of North Korean technicians in the process.

      Israel has always played under its own rules with respect to its nuclear program and dealing with Middle Eastern nations seeking nuclear power capabilities.

      What if Avigdor Lieberman or some other right-wing extremist became prime minister and over-reacted? While many fear Iran's nuclear program, the greater fear should be some dangerous reactionaries in Tel Aviv authorizing introduction of atomic weaponry in a conflict - especially since Lieberman has already publicly bandied about the possiblity using a nuclear option in Gaza and even bombing the Aswan Dam in Egypt. Other influential Israelis have even be heard discussing firing nuclear weaponry at European capitals in the event of exercising its "Samson option". Since Israel has, per a declassified USAF intelligence report issued in 1997, some 400 fission and thermonuclear fusion bombs in its arsenal and could deliver many these anywhere on Earth given its multibillion-dollar submarine fleet purchased from Thyssen-Krupp, the German industrial giant, what is being done by the international community to address these dangers.

      The Dolphin submarines from Germany were deployed in 2012 and can fire sea-launched cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. This gives Israel a "second strike" capability in the event it is militarily defeated by a foreign power.

      Given Israel's history of deception and subterfuge in developing its nuclear program and the fact its chief architect was Israel's current president, the world community may have much to fear if Israeli assurances cannot be verified.

  • United States, Israel opposed Mandela, supported Apartheid
    • The African National Congress was dominated by Marxist elements.

      Arguably the most influential leader in that body was Joseph Slovo, the leader of the South African Communist Party.

      It was the college campuses in the U.S. where the initial vocal opposition in America to apartheid existed and was often manifested by by advocacy of the boycott divestment sanctions (BDS) movement. University of Michigan's student government body was one of the first entities in the U.S. to pass a resolution to encourage BDS against South Africa.

  • Almost Human: How Robots, Race and Neoliberalism killed Detroit and what it Means for You
    • I was a resident of Detroit during the 1960s.

      The John Hersey book "Algiers Motel Incident" is an excellent description of that incident and the general history of the 1967 riots and the underlying causes.

      U.S. Army troops were transported from Selfridge Air National Guard base in convoy and decamped at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit in 1967 during the riots - I lived two blocks away from the fairgrounds. One of the chief causes of the riots was police repression of black residents. The city was racially polarized with blacks and whites largely residing in separate neighborhoods. Despite the fact blacks were about 45% of the city's population, only one City Council member - Nicholas Hood -was black. The police department in Detroit had very, very few minorities on it. Blockbusting by real estate brokerages broke up the white neighborhoods and the populations of the suburbs soared due to white flight.

      Detroit had rioting in April of 1968 immediately after the MLK assassination.

      Detroit was perceived to be on the verge of rioting in 1993 as two white officers had their murder trials conclude. Their jury convictions defused a possible riot such as that which had occurred in Los Angeles a year earlier after the state court acquittals in the Rodney King case.

      The two-term Kwame Kilpatrick mayoral era was a disaster with widespead corruption with over 30 persons under federal indictment and many others forced to resign due to scandal. Kilpatrick received a 28-year prison sentence; he was also convicted of assaulting a Detroit police officer. His father was convicted of income tax charges, his mom voted out of office as a U.S. House member. Other family members faced legal actions arising out of the myriad of scandals that engulfed Mayor Kilpatrick and his inside circle.

      The key movers and shakers that currently control Detroit are all outsiders. Mike Duggan who just got elected as mayor of Detroit moved in this year from the nearly all-white suburb of Livonia. Governor Rick Snyder, who appointed the "emergency financial manager", is from Ann Arbor, as is U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven W. Rhodes, who presides over the Chapter 9 bankruptcy, as is U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. Ann Arbor is a college town about 40 miles from downtown Detroit in a separate county.

      Detroit just elected its first Hispanic City Council member in its history as well as its first white City Council member in many years.
      Detroit's population is about 80% black, 5% Hispanic, and another 5% other minorities. Although there are grumblings, there has been broad-based support from the black community to allow outside experts come in and re-organize a city that is in dire straits. Race relations are about the best I have seen in Detroit's history.

  • Feinstein & Rogers justify NSA Spying with Syrian Rebels (Voted to Arm Syrian Rebels)
    • "The number of Americans estimated by the FBI to be fighting in Syria? 24. Two dozen. That's it......"

      The State Department has indicated that the actual number is unknown.

      We know that 33-year old Nicole Mansfield of Flint, MI was killed in action by the Syrian Army.

      We also know that Eric Harroun, a U.S. Army veteran, served with an al-Nusra Front unit and received a $100.00 fine and three years of probation after being plea-convicted in a United States Distric Court of illegal munitions transfer. His plea agreement remains under court seal and his father had earlier leaked to the media that his son was a CIA operative.

      There are reports of up to 100 British subjects fighting with rebel forces and up to 60 Americans as well as some Canadians.

      A broad cross-section of Americans are donating funds to the Syria Support Group ( who have a State Department license to collect such donations for non-lethal aid to the Free Syrian Army. They are acting as an implementing agency for State Department funding of the Free Syrian Army and have acted as a liaison bewteen FSA leaders and the U.S. government.

      Hundreds of millions of dollars of funding by the international community has been received by rebel forces within Syria.

  • Israel to Ethnically Cleanse 70,000 Palestinians in Massive Negev Land Grab
    • What is particularly galling about this action is that the Bedouins have generally been cooperative with Israel and many have served honorably in the Israel Defense Forces with a reputation as skilled pathfinders.

      The Bedouin had carried out some of the most undesirable military operations during the Gaza occupation by the IDF and many were killed or wounded by Palestinian insurgents manning IDF outposts or on patrols.

      It was the "Likud Arabs" from the Negev that gave political support to Ariel Sharon during much of the last decade since he was committed to developing agriculture in that area. Hamas leadership during this period published an open letter to Bedouins in Israel recognizing them for their honorable history and establishing a scholarship fund for them while encouraging them not to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

      Israeli social reformer Daphni Leef in her famous speech several years ago cited the Bedouins as one of the groups within Israel that had been victimized by the Israeli government.

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