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Total number of comments: 1344 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Mark Koroi

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  • A CIA Eyewitness blows the Whistle on Bushie Torturers still Justifying Crimes
    • "I wish some foreign court would bring war crimes charges against these evil people who are still running around free."

      This is next to impossible where CIA officers operate under diplomatic cover out of the local U.S. Embassy and are protected via immunity.

      It was reported that CIA undercover officers had shadowed a Hezbollah leader, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus, Syria in 2008 before killing him in a car bombing in a joint mission with the Mossad:

      link to timesofisrael.com

      It would be highly unlikely that the CIA would undertake such an operation without diplomatic immunity protection for its personnel involved with its execution. The same logic applies to torture situations.

      The use of torture was documented in the "Family Jewels" report issued in the 1970s which gave special attention to the extended detention and torture perpetrated upon KGB defector Yuri Nosenko; the CIA conceded that laws appeared to have been broken in the Nosenko case. No CIA employee was prosecuted, however, as a result of such torture activities.

  • Israel: Surge in Unlawful Palestinian Home Demolitions: 126 in West Bank Left Homeless
  • Is Israeli military using Barak in struggle w/ Netanyahu over Iran Deal?
    • Actually, the citation I believe you are referring to is Judges 4:6-22.

    • "Isn't it a matter of political expediency that Barak has always has always positioned himself immediately to Bibi's left?"

      The 1999 commitment of Barak to withdraw the IDF from Lebanon was based on firm public sentiment within Israel to stop the casualty count of Israeli military personnel during the occupation of south Lebanon - the 1,000th IDF fatality milestone had been reached in 1996 during the 15th year of that occupation following the Operation Galilee invasion in June of 1982.

      On a personal level, both Netanyahu and Barak have similar backgrounds - in fact, Barak was a key organizer of the 1976 Entebbe raid in which Netanyahu's older brother, Yonaton, was killed as a young army officer.

    • "While speculation rages in Israel that Barak is trying to undermine his enemies as part of a bid to come back as head of the Labor Party and make another bid to become prime minister......."

      This is not the first dispute Ehud Barak has had disputes with PM Netanyahu.

      Recall as defense minister, Barak abruptly resigned after the targeted killing of Hamas acting military wing leader Ahmed Jebari occurred. That death happened shortly after Hamas and Israel had already reportedly agreed in principle on a long-term truce and had prepared a written draft of the agreement. While Netanyahu thought the ruse to be clever (flushing out Jebari from hiding on the premise of an impending peace deal) - Barak saw this as an underhanded move and quit the cabinet.

      It was Ehud Barak, as a Labor Party PM, who made the controversial decision in the late 1990s to have the IDF withdraw from Lebanon. He has earned a reputation as a pragmatic liberal politician who as PM had sought to advance peace negotiations with the Palestinians. When he lost his prime minister seat to Ariel Sharon, this fueled the intensity of the Second Intifada. Ehud Barak was defense minister during Operation Cast Lead and unsuccessfully recommended to PM Ehud Olmert to end that Gaza operation well before Olmert agreed to do so.

      Barak has often critically opposed hawkish elements within the Israeli government, and I do not see any "attempt to undermine", on his part, anyone by his recent interview revelations.

      "Israeli parliamentarians are demanding an inquiry as to how in the world the military censors allowed the Ehud Barak tapes to air..............."

      The Office of Chief Censor is headed by Brigadier General Sima Vaknin Gill. That office has in the past been accused to engage in politics in deciding what gets censored or not. It is possible that the IDF - whose leadership recently, in large part, opposed Netanyahu on the Iran deal - wanted to have the Barak statements as a way of embarrassing PM Netanyahu.

  • Israel issues demolition order for mosque in Palestinian East Jerusalem
  • Barak-- Netanyahu was on verge of Attacking Iran 3 Times 2010-12 (Why Listening to him on Iran Diplomacy is Daft)
    • Most members of the Knesset are backing PM Netanyahu's position on the Iran deal - and with only 10% public support of that deal within Israel - it is easy to see why elected politicians there are reluctant to oppose it.

  • "The Iranian Threat": Who Is the Gravest Danger to World Peace?
    • My interpretation of the cited sentence was that the U.S. essentially abandoned (the "defeat") its intent to establish Iraq as an American"colony" via exploitation of its natural resources and setting up a network of U.S. military installations and instead allowed Iran to exercise significant influence within the Iraqi government, the "Iraqi enemy".

      There are perceptions within Iraq that the Shi'ite controlled government in Baghdad is heavily influenced by Tehran - and a corresponding lessening in American influence - a "zero-sum" phenomenon.

  • Iran's Support for Syria Pragmatic, not Religious (or, Who are the Alawites?)
    • Several points:

      (1) There are 200,000 "Twelver" Shi'te Muslims who live in Syria that depend upon the Assad regime for protection from the Sunni extremist groups - such as the Succor Front and ISIS;

      (2) Damascus is the home of the Sayyida Zeinab shrine - which is one of the most revered sites in Shia Islam - it has previously been targeted by suicide bombers and, also, received protection due to its status to Shi'ites;

      (3) Syria acts as an important land route for weapons supplies to the pro-Iranian Hezbollah Shi'ite organization from Iran into Lebanon - without Syria, Hezbollah is in a very precarious position and this explains the "odd couple" alliance emerging between the Israeli government and the al-Qaeda affiliate within Syria known as the Succor Front that has been reported recently in various reliable sources.

  • New Proof: AT&T and NSA’s Long Surveillance Partnership shredded 4th Amendment
    • The seminal books revealing the United States intelligence community - including "The Secret Team" by L. Fletcher Prouty and "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" by Victor Marchetti and John Marks, and "Inside the Company - a CIA Diary" - had each emphasized the links of that community to big business interests.

      Banks and communication companies often have a cozy relationship with the federal law enforcement and "help" them in investigating citizens without observance of legal formalities.

      Fortune 500 companies often recruit personnel from federal agencies as the FBI and CIA. Former FBI Assistant Director Cartha DeLoach, for example, took a position as a vice-president of Coca Cola after retiring.

  • Did Ayatollah Sistani just save Iraq from Iran-backed militias by pushing Gov't Reforms?
    • Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has had an incredible duration of influence as a Shi'ite cleric - which extends back into the early 1960s.

      He has assumed a path of "quietism" - meaning general non-interference in governmental affairs; however in emergencies al-Sistani has not hesitated to issue recommendations to his followers - which are usually followed.

      His influence extends beyond Iraq and is respected among Lebanese Shias. Hassan Nasrallah visited Iraq to meet him several years ago. A Shi'ite adherent from Lebanon once compared him to what the pope represents to Roman Catholics.

      Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani overall has been a positive and stabilizing force in Iraqi affairs when his input is needed.

  • Top Iran General Endorses Nuclear Deal with US, UNSC
    • Several points:

      (1) In the best-selling book "By Way of Deception", a former Mossad officer conceded that Israel targeted and did kill Iraqi nuclear scientist personnel;

      (2) there are strong suspicions that Israel was behind the killing of several Iranian atomic physicists in recent years;

      (3) Iraq's suspicions during the Saddam Hussein regime that the CIA would misuse UN WMD inspections to obtain Iraqi "executive communications" information useful to assassinate Hussein were later confirmed when it was revealed the CIA had, in fact, infiltrated the UN inspection team for that purpose;

      (4) there has been credible information and satellite photos published by blogger Richard Silverstein that the Israeli Air Force in preceding months had bombed a suspected atomic weapons research facility at a military installation in Parchin, Iran;

      (5) Iraq's former Osirak reactor is not the only one Israel has targeted - the New Yorker magazine confirmed that Israel bombed a Syrian nuclear reactor at al-Kibar in 2007 during Operation Orchard - the mission was so complex that the Mossad had psychologists issue reports on President Bashar Assad to divine whether his predisposition would likely result in a retaliatory counter-strike (they were correct in that he was unlikely to retaliate).

      In sum, it is not unreasonable to assume that Israel would use IAEA inspection information made available to them to assist them to target Iranian government leaders or atomic energy interests either militarily or via covert intelligence operations.

  • How Iran Deal Could Change the Middle East
    • Israel recently allowed an IAEA inspection of its Soreq nuclear reactor - however has never permitted an IAEA team to visit Dimona - nor can they be compelled to do so since they are not a signator to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

      When the U.S. conducted an inspection of Dimona a number of years ago, the examiners were only shown areas of that facility that the Israeli government wanted them to see - and concealed areas that housed controversial weapons-producing research and equipment.

  • Leader of extremist Israeli organization calls for torching churches
    • The trial in the Mohammed Abu Khdeir murder case, where a 17-year old was bludgeoned and burned to death, has been proceeding in a Jerusalem court.

      The family of the victim has complained of being spat on by settlers as they leave court:

      link to mondoweiss.net

  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the single greatest acts of terrorism in human history?
    • "There is little disagreement that the atomic bombings, constituted war crimes, even among its architects....."

      Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester Nimitz - who disagreed on many things - concurred in their moral opposition to dropping an atom bomb on a civilian population center - and MacArthur stated that it was against the moral code he was taught as a military officer.

  • Support for Iran Nuclear Deal: L. A. Jews for Peace Statement
    • "We hear all Israelis oppose the deal but that is not true...."

      Opinion polls in Israel show about 10% support in the general public for the deal.

      "In fact, many prominent Israeli security leaders support the agreement."

      This is not only accurate - but has been a manifestation of long running criticism by the Israeli intelligence community against the Netanyahu government on the Iran issue:

      link to nhregister.com

      link to democracynow.org

  • Rebuilding destroyed Palestinian homes: Resistance one house at a time
  • Grandson of Meir Kahane arrested for burning baby; part of extremist network
    • ".....the grandson of Meir Kahane, known for his racism and incitement against Arabs..........."

      On Easter Sunday morning in1982, Alan Harry Goodman, a follower of Rabbi Meir Kahane wearing an IDF uniform and toting an M-16 rifle, shot his way into al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and inflicted heavy casualties. Kahane's Kach Party denounced the carnage, PM Menachem Begin declared the shooter insane and a court in Jerusalem convicted Goodman, a former Case Western Reserve University student, of counts of murder and attempted murder and sentenced him to life plus 40 years in prison.

      Despite this severe sentence, two separate sentence reductions were ordered by President Chaim Herzog and a third by his successor and Goodman was granted a parole at the earliest opportunity in late 1997 - he was flown by El Al jet to his native Maryland. It was rumored that then-PM Netanyahu was instrumental in securing his release on parole.

      Netanyahu's father, Benzion, had been a close friend of Meir Kahane's father

      PM Netanyahu, a few months ago, delivered a eulogy at the funeral of a Jewish settler extremist leader - second in historical stature only to Kahane - in which he labeled the deceased, Rabbi Moshe Levinger "a great example"; Levinger, like Goodman, had served jail time for killing a Palestinian.

      PM Netanyahu denunciation of the latest violent death and purported sympathy for the toddler's family have a hollow ring to many observers.

  • Autopsy confirms Palestinian infant was 'burned alive' by Israeli Squatters
    • Iraqi-born Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who died in 2013 at the age of 93, chaired the ultraorthodox Shas Party; this party has historically, along with ultraorthodox United Torah Judaism, formed a highly influential political bloc in the Knesset that has usually joined Likud in a coalition government - and been generally successful in keeping liberals outside of any governing coalition.

      Rabbi Yosef has made similar controversial pronouncements:

      link to timesofisrael.com

    • PM Netanyahu has visited the family of the deceased toddler at the hospital.

      Just a few months ago he lauded Rabbi Moshe Levinger as a "great example" at his funeral. Levinger had previously been imprisoned for homicide for shooting a Palestinian shopkeeper and had been charged ten times prior for violence in connection with his settlement activism.

      It will be interesting to see what Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked will say or do regarding this incident. One recalls that, as a member of the Knesset, she posted on her Facebook site, an essay by an extremist settler calling for genocide against Palestinians shortly before Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burned to death last summer after being kidnapped.

  • Syria's al-Qaeda captures US-Linked Free Syrian Army Commander, troops
    • According to Iraqi intelligence officials quoted in an Israeli periodical, Abu Muhammed al-Joulani, the leader of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, was born in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, is a college graduate in his 30s or early 40s who attended medical school for two years in Damascus and who served time at Camp Bucca as an inmate in Iraq where he taught classical Arabic to fellow inmates. He split with the Islamic State in Iraq over their renunciation of allegiance to al-Qaeda:

      link to timesofisrael.com

      I found it interesting that the al-Nusra Front leader appears to have lived under IDF occupation and, later, imprisoned by the U.S. Department of Defense at a sprawling camp in Iraq and how those experience may have shaped his worldview.

    • Several points:

      The al-Nusra Front had been designated by the U.S. State Department as an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) several years ago and has admitted complicity in no less than 57 suicide bombings within Syria - a number of other countries have followed suit in likewise identifying Jabhat al-Nusra as a terror group.

      Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had, also, identified a sub-group within the al-Nusra Front - known as Khorasan - that were hardcore foreign al-Qaeda fighters that had entered Syria for purposes of jihad.

      That said, Moaz al-Khatib, a political moderate and then-chairman of the Syrian National Coalition, the entity that America and Western nations recognize as the Syrian government-in-exile, had urged the U.S. State Department to rescind its terror organization listing for the al-Nusra Front.

      Secondly, Israel has had documented ties to Jabhat al-Nusra and were giving them valuable assistance - including aerial bombing runs against Syrian army positions opposing the al-Nusra Front.

      Thirdly, the Free Syrian Army has had an ongoing "love-hate relationship" with the al-Nusra Front - often praising them for their battlefield prowess and coordinating military operations with them - but often fighting them as well - especially after the U.S. Air Force has bombed al-Nusra positions.

      Lastly, there have been accounts that suggesting that Muhammed al-Joulani, the Jabhat al-Nusra chief, may renounce allegiance to al-Qaeda due to their inability to provide financial assistance coupled with the fact such allegiance has inhibited many would-be Qatari and other Gulf states benefactors from otherwise donating to Jabhat al-Nusra.

      Here are some links:

      link to centerforsecuritypolicy.org

      link to securitymiddleeast.com

  • Has Iran cut off Hamas? Is Hamas turning to Saudi Arabia?
    • The Muslim Brotherhood was the entity that initially rose up against the Baathists in Syria in 1982 at Hama and whose adherents are prevalent in the current Free Syrian Army - and was the forerunner in Gaza of Hamas.

      Iran had however long been a financial backer of Palestinian Islamic Jihad - who is based on the Iranian political model of Shia Islam. A U.S. federal court held the Iranian government responsible in a wrongful death case when an American was killed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in a terror operation - the judge alluded to proof that the Iranian government publicly disclosed funding in their national budget for terror activities to that group.

      Hamas has closely worked with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the past and there has been no signal from Tehran that it will completely abandon Gazan militants there - especially since it provides a base for paramilitary activity against Israel. Further, the Baathist regime in Damascus could conceivably collapse within the next year.

  • Iran Deal: The Calculus of Power in the Mideast just Changed Forever
    • "...........doesn't this represent a genuinely existential threat to Israel.....that is Israel's traditional way of doing business?"

      Yes. Israel has tried to isolate or economically damage its perceived enemies - Iran, Lebanon and Gaza - either via military intervention, occupation or international sanctions.

      The Likud Party and its allies in Israel feed off of conflict and confrontation with Arab and/or Iranian governments to maintain internal cohesiveness and popular support for a hawkish foreign policy agenda.

      The recent approvals of settlement expansion in the West Bank and the raiding of the al-Aqsa mosque compound by police with full approval of the Israeli government illustrate that their government is unconcerned about offending the Obama administration - but rather wish to promote conflict between that administration one one hand, and other political forces in the U.S. that will support Israel without any hesitation - especially the conservative GOP leadership.

    • Several points:

      (1) Iran had been deeply involved in funding international terror operations both in Lebanon and Gaza and its intelligence agents fomenting the destabilization of Iraq - this deal will encourage Iran to join the community of nations and integrate herself economically with the West while simultaneously creating a disincentive to continue to promote such further terror activities or destabilization of Iraq;

      (2) Israel has no moral standing to complain of Iranian complicity in past terror activities when she has had a history of support for the South Lebanon Army as a partner in illegally occupying that region, armed the Tamil Tigers during its atrocities against the citizens in its rebellion against the government of Sri Lanka, and most recently, had ties to an Islamic-Marxist terror organization operating within Iran as well as giving support to the al-Qaeda affiliate within Syria;

      (3) Iran is a necessary partner with the U.S. both promoting stability in Iraq and also fighting the ISIS menace;

      (4) Iran's ability to market its petroleum products in the West will lead to a glut in the international market that will benefit consumers at the gasoline pumps via lower retail prices while simultaneously lowering U.S. manufacturing costs in general;

      (5) Iran had sustained 500 billion dollars in damages as a result of imposition of international economic sanctions while trying to complete a nuclear program that it had invested $6 billion to create with initial encouragement and technological support supplied by the West during the Shah's regime;

      (6) the finalized deal represents a profound foreign policy failure of the Netanyahu government in Israel;

      (7) the consummation of this nuclear deal with Iran will give the international community stronger arguments to place Israel's nuclear program under more strict supervision - especially the Dimona reactor facility - and to pressure Israel into acceding to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

  • Jerusalem: Israeli forces, extremist Jews, storm Aqsa mosque compound
    • Three significant points:

      An Israeli cabinet minister, Uri Ariel, took part in the visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He has previously advocated the rebuilding of the Third Temple, and Israeli pro-Temple advocates have even, in the past, suggested to Christian Zionists that that mosque should be demolished to make way for the Third Temple:

      link to imemc.org

      Secondly, the Arab League's ministers are slated to meet next month to discuss the actions by Israeli police and Jewish worshippers.

      Lastly, recall that excavations by Jewish activists in 2000 along with Ariel Sharon led to Arab rioting and the eventual commencement of the Second Intifada - also known as the "Al-Aqsa Intifada".

  • Iraqis Divided on Iran Deal: Sunnis say, "The US sold us to Iran"
    • "......although Allawi is a Shi'ite Muslim too, he leans toward the secular lobby and he is well known for his antipathy toward Iran."

      Ayad Allawi of the Iraq National Accord has had close ties to the Central Intelligence Agency going back to at least 1990.

      In early 2003, he and a former Baathist official from the Saddam Hussein regime met in Langley, Virginia at CIA headquarters with senior CIA officials to organize the General Services Directorate as the new intelligence agency for the Iraqi government. This project was funded with 3 billion dollars appropriated from U.S. Congress.

      Today, the al-Wataniya coalition he leads has a number of seats in the Iraqi parliament, but the coalition controlling the Iraqi government has close ties to Iran. Allawi is likely concerned over the extensive influence Iran has in Iraqi affairs - including Iranian intelligence services perceived ties to Shia militia leaders that have been a destabilizing force within Iraq.

  • Israel's Netanyahu & Iran: Even former Intel Officials think he's Unhinged
    • ".....he had the Israel Air Force completely destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981."

      This is not accurate.

      Iran in late1980 in "Operation Scotch Sword" damaged the Osirak reactor in a historic raid by F-4 Phantoms at the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. The raid was the first time any nuclear reactor was ever bombed.

      Israel's June 7, 1981 raid only caused further damage to the Osirak reactor.

      It was not until the Persian Gulf War in 1991 when the Osirak facility "completely destroyed" and this was done by U.S. bombers. Begin felt these actions vindicated his earlier orders that Osirak was a danger to be used as part of an atomic weapons program.

      In reality, Osirak was designed under the supervision of a French nuclear engineer who ensured that it would be extremely difficult to convert it to create nuclear weapons.

      The French had designed the Negev Nuclear Research Facility at Dimona in Israel and Pres. De Gaulle eventually suspected Israel was misusing the facility to manufacture atomic weaponry and in the early 1960s ordered an end to its joint program with the Israeli government, although outstanding contractual obligations the French owed to Israel resulted in ongoing performance by France of technical assistance in administering the Dimona reactor until 1966.

      The French knew that they had been "had" in unwittingly establishing an Israeli nuclear weapons program under the cover of an "Atoms for Peace" program pursuant to which the Israeli government was a signator in 1957. The French had designed Osirak with those concerns in mind.

    • Many important points in this article.

      Additional points:

      The only defense minster who openly advocated a pre-emptive military strike against Iran's perceived nuclear weapons facilities was Shaul Mofaz, himself of Iranian extraction, in 2005 and 2006. He actually hosted a radio program where Iranians called in and Mofaz fielded questions regarding such a prospective military operation.

      Two things put a damper on Mofaz's plans:

      (A) the Bush administration refused to back such a mission;

      (B) after Mofaz was replaced as defense minister by Amir Peretz, Israel's mediocre performance against a 1,500-member Hezbollah militia in Lebanon in 2006 questioned whether Israel should embark on a military attack of a nation with 60,000,000 people.

      There have been leaks to blogger Richard Silverstein that he has published suggesting that the IDF has recently bombed a suspected nuclear weapons research facility at a military base in Parchin, Iran. Silverstein posted before-and-after satellite photos of that base reflecting heavy damage to certain buildings.

      The 1981 bombing of Osirak was condemned by a UN general Assembly vote of 44-7. A number of civilians were killed in the Israel Air Force air raid - including a 24-yearold French nuclear engineer - his estate was later paid compensation in a legal settlement by the Israeli government.

  • Iran's Khamenei Praises Nuclear Deal, but slams US Foreign Policy
    • "........sanctions has brought the Iranians to their knees...."

      Look at the $18 trillion-dollar national debt, a massive import-export deficit, and huge U.S. auto manufacturing costs that were due in substantial part to the Arab oil embargo, activism of OPEC and the sanctions against Iran and explain how blind U.S. support for Israel has not harmed American interests.

      The sanctions against Iran cost that country $500 billion - but U.S. economic interests sustained serious damage as well.

  • Iran Deal: Winners & Losers in the Greater Middle East
    • Ron:

      The consensus is that gasoline prices in the United States will decline to about $2.00 per gallon as a result of this nuclear deal with Iran.

      Since the deal was announced I have seen retail prices in Metro Detroit where I'm from drop about thirty cents per gallon. I just saw a station this morning market its gasoline for $2.57 per gallon where other stations one week ago had it selling around $2.90-$3.00 per gallon.

      This petroleum glut will no doubt irk the Arab oil-producing states in the Persian Gulf - but U.S. consumers will be happy with all the money they will be saving.

  • Iran Deal: Why doesn't US Media interview Real Allies on American Policy?
    • Interestingly enough, Israeli cabinet minister Tzipi Hotovely called Iran part of the "Axis of Evil" in a statement denouncing the historic deal, and 69% of Israelis polled oppose the deal - but a majority of top Israeli military and intelligence officials that have spoken have expressed support for the pact.

      This historic deal will likely promote integration of Iran into the international community and strengthen the influence of moderates in the Iranian government. While celebrations have erupted within Iran, the recent weeks have seen Ramadan demonstrations there with the overly familiar "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" chants.

      This deal will be a win-win situation for all interested nations if observed in good faith. The losers will be the respective political hardliners in both Israel and Iran.

  • That Time Ronald Reagan opened Iran and Illegally sold Khomeini Weapons
    • The Reagan administration's sale of weapons to Iran were technically legal - but violated the spirit of the law.

      The sale of TOW missiles was to replenish Israel - and Israel sold its TOW missiles to Iran from its prior stock. The weapons-for-U.S.hostages trade to get Lebanese Shi'ites to release these captives was legal and authorized by federal law granting the president broad powers to recover hostages. No one was prosecuted for these shipments of weapons because the independent counsel had no legal basis to initiate prosecution. Criminal offenses occurred in the diversion of funds to Contra operations in Nicaragua and the cover-up that followed.

      John Kerry was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at this time and received lurid testimony from convicted U.S. drug traffickers about their involvement with CIA-organized Contra resupply operations in which American pilots unloaded weapons to Contra bases and brought drugs in on the return flight. Testimony was received about the complicity of Latin American government leaders, including Manuel Noriega, in the international drug trade - which led to his investigation and eventual indictment. These traffickers received short prison terms due to their cooperation with Kerry's committee.

      There was one story about a marijuana shipment that came in via Homestead AFB in Florida on a return weapons supply flight. The flights were financed by the U.S. government.

      Much of these drug shipments obviously must have eventually reached the streets of America and distributed with the prior help of the U.S. government during Contra resupply operations. This flies in the face of the Reagan administration's purported commitment to the "War on Drugs".

      While Reagan went on television to present proof the Sandinista involvement in the cocaine trade - he did not reveal that the U.S. shut down the DEA station in Honduras since it interfered with Contra resupply operations or that many Contra leaders were equally as culpable in their involvement in the drug trade.

      The NY Times #1 bestseller "By Way of Deception" also implicated the Israeli government in that drug trade and led to an internal investigation within Israel in which the author was questioned at deposition. The author, a former Mossad officer, described his disgust at seeing cargo planes bearing the Star of David carrying cocaine shipments in Latin America.

      Kerry's investigation of these links of the U.S. government to the drug trade are well document and present the most controversial aspect of Iran-Contra scandal.

  • How the Washington Post got Taken in by Syria's Taliban
    • Very good points in this article.

      In 2013, Ahrar al-Sham was affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) but was one of several anti-Assad brigades to split off and eventually form part of the Islamic Front.

      The departure of a number of brigades was due the FSA's allegiance to the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) based in Doha, Qatar. The SNC was diplomatically recognized by Western governments as the Syrian government-in-exile - but a number of brigades were upset abour the SNC's willingness to enter into the Geneva II conference and commence a peace dialogue with the Baathists.

      The Islamic Front eschewed aid at the Ankara Conference that was proposed by Western diplomats. The Islamic Front is heavily funded by Saudi and Qatari interests.

      It is important to note that the FSA and Islamic Front constituent brigades fighting in Syria are highly autonomous and the Islamic Front is primarily a supply line and information conduit to the member units.

      Ahrar al-Sham is Salafist - but the FSA had a number of brigades under its command that had been Salafist in orientation and welcomed these units and also coordinated with Jabhat al-Nusra.

      Former U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford has recently stated that arming the FSA will likely lead to those armaments finding their way to Islamic extremist fighters. This is accurate.

      In my opinion the various armed rebel factions are highly fragmented and often turn on each other or may also collaborate with each other. In one reported incident, 250 Jabhat al-Nusra militants refused to fight ISIS and laid down their weapons on the basis that the considered ISIS fighters their brethren - all 250 were summarily executed by ISIS.

      It is becoming like Iraq - you cannot really trust any militant group completely and you do not know who is dealing with who. Plus you have Russia and Israel supporting interests that are inimical to U.S. foreign policy.

      If the U.S. helps the FSA defeat the Baathists - then a possible scenario is that ISIS and/or Jabhat al-Nusra enter into Damascus and declare themselves the new Syrian government with the FSA being in a position to becoming tantamount to what the "Northern Alliance" was in post-9/11 Afghanistan.

      No end to the carnage in sight - a sad situation, indeed.

  • Amira Hass: "Let me be blunt: Gaza is a Huge Concentration Camp"
    • Both Max Blumenthal and Amira Hass are vilified by right-wing Israelis.

      Blumenthal has correctly placed a spotlight on violent racism in Israeli society and how liberal American Zionists have fostered these attitudes via their inaction.

    • What has always amazed me about the respect she receives in Gaza - even though she is Jewish.

      There have been pro-Palestinian activists kidnapped and even executed by Gazan extremists - Craig and Cindie Corrie were detained at one point and al_Qaeda extremists abducted and later killed an Italian activist affiliated with Rachel Corrie's International Solidarity Movement.

  • Ghosts of King George III: Top 5 Things that threaten American Independence Today
    • In Michigan, a law to strike registered voters from the clerk's rolls who have not voted in a certain number of elections was challenged by the United Auto Workers union.

      That challenge was upheld as an appellate court ruled that a registered voter can make the decision NOT to cast a vote for any candidate and be solidly within his rights as a citizen and should not be penalized for that inaction.

  • The Ghost of Soviet Collapse haunts the West: Military Hegemony isn't what it Used to Be
    • Since WWII we have seen a worldwide decline in the prestige of the military and naval forces of the world's superpowers despite their nuclear capabilities with non-state guerrilla and terror organizations being deployed as counter-measures.

      Dienbienphu in 1954 saw a vastly better armed and trained French force defeated by the Vietminh. Twenty-one years later the Vietcong and North Vietnamese army captured Saigon. Billions of dollars and tens of thousands of young American servicemen's lives were wasted fighting a futile political war against an opponent they could not understand.

      In 1979, the Soviet Union fought a war in Afghanistan that cost thousands of its soldiers their lives and resulted in victory for fundamentalist Islamic guerilla fighters.

      Israel's Operation Galilee in 1982 to dislodge the P.L.O in south Lebanon gave rise to the radical Shi'ite fundamentalism embodied by Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. Despite over 1,000 IDF soldiers killed in action, Israel was forced to declare its withdrawal from Lebanon under PM Ehud Barak in 1999 and allowed Hezbollah to proliferate into the seventh largest military force in the world, possessing between 40,000 and 100,000 missiles currently and having effectively a "state-within-a-state" in southern Lebanon. Without Israeli occupation in that region, Hezbollah would not likely have been created. The best that can be said of Hezbollah is that they have availed themselves of the political processes in Lebanon and parlayed their popularity into seats in the Lebanese parliament and cabinet.

      Today Israel finds itself in ongoing armed conflict with terror organizations in Gaza and the West Bank that are in a direct result of their illegal and oppressive occupation of those areas. The Israel Chamber of Commerce estimates the Second Intifada alone from 2000 to 2006 cost Israelis between 25 and 35 billion dollars until Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and released 700 Arab prisoners to the West Bank.

      The U.S. and British invasion of Iraq in 2003 has resulted in ongoing futility due to insurgent forces that have prevented a stable government from taking root in Baghdad.

      Much of the guerrilla and terror activities that have been ongoing in the Middle East and other parts of the Third World since WWII have been a direct result of unpopular foreign occupations.

      It also simply cannot be denied that the extrajudicial assassinations and drone strikes being carried out by the U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence communities did not result in a greater cohesiveness of members of radical terror groups and increased recruitment of new members. This phenomenon has been observed especially in Gaza, Afghanistan, and Yemen - where extreme poverty exists.

  • Is Congress Using Trade Rules to Blacklist Critics of Israel?
  • Think California’s Drought Is Bad? Try Palestine’s.
  • Lone Wolves and Soft Targets: Or how our Press, Politicians are being Played by ISIL
    • You could also include Hamas in Gaza as yet another example in which a Muslim Brotherhood-oriented group has been under outside attack and which violent jihadist extremists are the likely alternative if Hamas is toppled as the governing organization there.

      The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency chief has opined that an ISIS-like entity would probably emerge as the pre-eminent ruling power in Gaza should Hamas be removed from its rule via Israeli military action.

      The Israeli government is beginning to realize that rapprochement with the Hamas regime - even indirectly - serves its own interests. The recent doubling of sales badly-needed potable water from Israel's national water utility to Gaza and indirect contacts with Hamas via Qatari diplomatic channels are several ways in which the Netanyahu government is beginning to cooperate with Hamas to advance its own best interests.

  • Selling the Gaza Assault: Israel's Self-Inquiry is Self-Serving
  • Wife of Israeli Cabinet member tweets Racist Obama Joke, had called for Innocent Palestinians to be Punished
    • The Sderot municipality has been on the verge of bankruptcy due to the ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza.

      The Israeli government, however, does not want to allow a precedent of Israel withdrawing from its own territory and have pumped in large amounts of funding to ensure that Sderot remain in Israeli hands; Jewish-American charitable organizations have likewise made large donations to assist the residents of Sderot.

      Here are some links:

      link to facebook.com

      link to hopeforsderot.com

      link to juf.org

    • Page: 13
  • Top 5 Reasons Confederate Flag should stop Flying at SC Statehouse
    • Barack Obama lost almost every single Deep South state in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections - which averted an Obama landslide nationwide in the election.

      Obama lost Mississippi by landslides in 2008 and 2012. The Confederate flag is part of the state flag of Mississippi.

      The only reasonable explanation for this electoral anomaly of southern states is the discriminatory attitudes of large blocs of white voters in the Deep South.

      GOP presidential candidates do not want to alienate the white electorate in the South.

  • Israel releases 16 Squatter Youth suspected in arson of Church of Loaves & Fishes
  • Rhodesian Flag, Confederate Flag: Roof & the Legacies of Racial Hate
    • Some points:

      (1) one ally of Rhodesia during the Ian Smith era was Israel as they supplied the white-dominated government with arms to suppress the Patriotic Front guerilla movement;

      (2) Rhodesia enjoyed the highest rate of economic growth of any African nation in the 1970s under Smith's leadership;

      (3) Ian Smith, many years after leaving office, received a standing ovation after giving a speech at a predominantly black Zimbabwe university denouncing the Robert Mugabe government as "incompetent, corrupt gangsters";

      (4) Ian Smith after leaving office was warmly received as an elder statesmen in the United Kingdom by members of the Conservative Party;

      (5) the U.S. government lodged diplomatic protests several years ago over the mass expropriation in 2008 of real estate by the Mugabe regime from white landowners.

  • End of Sykes-Picot: Is Independence for Iraqi Kurdistan a Decade Away?
    • "The only part of what eventually would be a greater Kurdistan that is missing out on changes sweeping the region is that based in Iran."

      This is only partially correct.

      While it is true that most Shi'ite Kurds prefer to be ruled from Tehran, Sunni Kurds within Iran, especially those in outlying areas, have tended to oppose the Iranian government. Many Kurds within Iran feel they have been targeted for repression by the Iranian government. Ongoing anti-government demonstrations and violence in heavily Kurdish areas was reported in Iran last month:

      link to ekurd.net

      link to timesofisrael.com

  • Thank you, Edward Snowden: An End to General Warrants as so-called PATRIOT Act expires
    • In 1978, the Michigan Legislature adopted mandatory life in prison without parole as part of its Controlled Substances Act as a penalty for possession of certain amounts of narcotics and a minimum of lifetime probation as a penalty for even the smallest amounts of cocaine or heroin being seized from a person.

      The law led to vast prison overcrowding as hundreds of convicted drug lifers had no parole available - many of these convicts were low-level couriers with no criminal records. As a result, violent offenders, such as child molesters and those convicted of certain homicidal offenses, were given early paroles and often went on to further violence.

      Tens of thousands of lifetime probationers convicted of mere drug possession clogged the courts' dockets for decades until the courts simply stopped administering probation of drug possession convicts due to the prohibitive costs involved.

      Eventually, the Legislature amended the Controlled Substances Act to grant the Parole Board jurisdiction over these cases.

      Today courts in Michigan are beginning to implement probationary sentences under programs that treats convicted drug offenders with addiction issues as a disease requiring medical supervision and comprehensive treatment and counseling modalities. This approach is making inroads against recidivism among drug abusers under court jurisdiction. This is consistent with the American Medical Association's view of addiction as a disease.

  • Why Rand Paul is right to Kill the So-Called PATRIOT Act: It was never about Terrorism
    • Representative John Conyers - currently the longest-sitting U.S. House member and chair of the House Judiciary Committee - had been targeted on the Nixon administration's "Enemies List" and has been under
      continuous attack from both the Israel Lobby and conservatives due to his promotion of Arab causes and opposition to excessive abuses in the U.S law enforcement community.

      His net worth, per financial disclosures, approaches zero.

      The FBI ensnared his wife, Monica, in a bribery sting operation while she was a Detroit City Councilperson - she served time in federal prison.

      He is one of the most honest members of U.S. Congress - and one most despised by vested interests for his advocacy of the underdog.

  • Did the US DIA see ISIL as a strategic Ally against al-Assad in 2012?
  • Israel, fearing EU Sanctions over Apartheid, backpedals on Segregated Buses for Palestinians
    • Interestingly enough, the outrage over bus segregation in the Knesset apparently does not extend to members of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party of Avigdor Lieberman or the Homeland Party of Naftali Bennett.

      One of the grounds of complaints of settlers that gave rise to this proposed policy was the supposed proclivity of Palestinian males to engage in "sex harassment" of Jewish women riding buses:

      link to indianexpress.com

      link to idahostatesman.com

  • US Kneejerk support for Israeli Nukes Torpedoes UN Disarmament Talks
    • Absolutely, radioactive fallout would likely be dispersed over a broad area, contaminating farm crops into areas such as China and elsewhere.

      The effects of radiation would be devastating to the environment.

    • All it would take is the Israelis detonating a one-megaton hydrogen bomb at an altitude of 100 kilometers over Iran which will cause a "super-pulse" of electricity which would irreversibly damage electrical and electronic circuitry of just about every automobile, computer, communications device, machinery, and electrical grid in the country.

      Israel has both the H-bomb and the launch vehicle to deliver such a device to wreak such havoc.

      Israel has "hardened" its electrical grid to avoid the effects of such a super-pulse attack and thus could conceivably detonate such a device to inflict such a super-pulse on its immediate neighbors without causing significant damage to its own power systems.

      The U.S. has NOT spent the several tens of billions of dollars needed to likewise "harden" its electrical grid and is susceptible to a potentially devastating "super-pulse" attack on its electrical production and transmission facilities.

  • Venezuela to Boost Palestine to Full Embassy Status
    • No surprise here.

      Former Pres. Hugo Chavez had accused Israel of financing his political opposition.

      President Maduro had labeled IDF actions in Gaza as genocide.

      Venezuela up to 2005 had a positive relationship with Israel until they reneged on an agreement to service Venezuela's F-16 fighter fleet.

      Venezuela eventually expelled the Israeli ambassador to Caracas and severed all diplomatic ties over the abuses of Palestinians. Chavez also was critical of IDF misconduct in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

      Turkey in 2013 became the first country to send an ambassador to Ramallah - although many nations in the international community had extended diplomatic recognition to the "State of Palestine" since it declared its statehood in November of 1988 - including China and Russia.

  • World Bank Warns of Total Collapse of Economy in Gaza
    • Wikileaks disclosures reveal that the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv was debriefed by Israeli officials on a plan to severely damage Gaza's economy.

      Other wikileaks disclosures reveal U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's complicity with Israel to protect it from critical official U.N. inquiry findings.

      Some links:

      link to telesurtv.net

      link to telegraph.co.uk

      link to bbc.com

    • The Israeli government has had a plan to damage Gaza's economy to keep it on the brink of economic collapse and openly shared this information with the U.S. Embassy in briefings in Tel Aviv, per Wikileaks disclosures. Other Wikileaks disclosures indicate that Ban Ki-Moon cooperated with Israel to "soften" official UN inquiry report findings on Israeli misconduct during Gaza operations.

      Here are some links:

      link to haaretz.com

      link to telesurtv.net

      link to telegraph.co.uk

      link to bbc.com

  • Syrian Opposition, Caught between Assad & Extremists, Despair at World's Neglect
    • The Free Syrian Army - its leadership composed largely of Syrian army senior officers refusing to fire on anti-government demonstrators - had been the initial group that had commenced armed insurrection in 2011 against the Baathist regime in Damascus.

      The U.S. State Department as well as various federal agencies have organized " non-lethal" support to these rebels - who were close to toppling Assad in 2013 before U.S. aid was suspended - but had been later resumed.

    • An excellent analysis of one of the biggest foreign policy failures of the Obama administration that has left hundreds of thousands Syrians killed and millions displaced.

      Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has been a vocal and mordant critic of the position of the U.S. government toward Syria during the Obama administration:

      link to washingtonpost.com

  • Illegal Israeli Squatters uproot hundreds of Palestinian olive trees near Hebron
    • The concept of olive tree attacks had been initiated by the Gush Emunim settler movement. This recent attack near Hebron coincides with the burial of its founder Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who was eulogized by PM Netanyahu at his funeral as "an outstanding example"; President Rivlin also delivered a eulogy.

      Rabbi Levinger, 80 years of age at the time of his passing, had served time in prison for shooting to death an Arab Hebron shopkeeper and was arrested and charged at least 10 times for acts of violence against either Palestinians or Israeli authorities. His organization in the 1970s and 80s targeted Palestinian mayors with car bombings.

      It's ironic that Israel's governmental leaders are lauding the deceased leader of one of the most violent and racist groups to emerge in the West Bank that it had criminally prosecuted decades ago for racist violence.

  • Palestinian Christians, under Pressure, Honored by Pres. Abbas as they welcome New Saints
    • "The upcoming activity in the Vatican comes as strong US evangelical support for Israel continues to face stark contradiction to daily suffering of Palestinian Christians living under Israeli occupation............"

      The response to Christian Zionism by Roman Catholic prelates is the "Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism" which identifies Christian Zionism as a false teaching:

  • Palestinian Catastrophe Day: Injuries as Israeli Soldiers Attack Peaceful Nil’in Protest
    • It is ironic that one of the most violent proponents of West Bank settlements died today so shortly after Nakba Day.

      "A righteous person has been lost from our land. The Jewish people lost Rabbi Moshe Levinger today......." announced Israeli Minister of Construction Uri Ariel.

      link to israelnationalnews.com

      Levinger, 80 years old at the time of his death, had won the prestigious Moscowitz Prize for Zionism and a $100,000.00 cash award in 2013. The award is given annually and funded by a Jewish-American billionaire.

      Rabbi Levinger founded the Gush Emunim settler movement that terrorized Arabs in the West Bank. He served prison time for once firing a pistol indiscriminately into storefronts of Arab markets and killing a Palestinian business owner. He had been arrested and charged 10 different times over the years for violent acts.

      Next to Rabbi Meir Kahane, he was likely the most well-known of Jewish settler extremists. He founded the Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron and was a vocal supporter of building settlements in the Jerusalem-Maale Adumim corridor that splits the West Bank into north and southern regions.

      It is noteworthy how this once-derided violent ideologue of expansionist Zionism has become publicly revered in respected circles of U.S. and Israeli Jewry.

  • Palestinians welcome Pope's Recognition of their State
    • Jean-Baptiste Gourion, a Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism, was appointed as the Bishop of Jerusalem in 2004. He was the first Jewish bishop in Jerusalem since the 2nd Century. His prospective appointment had been opposed by longtime Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbagh, a Palestinian Arab. Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, a Dutch Holocaust survivor, who himself also converted from Judaism lauded the appointment of Gourion by the Vatican.

      Gourion claimed to be both Jewish and Roman Catholic simultaneously after his conversion in his early 20s over his parents' objections. He was an Israeli of Algerian ancestry.

      Bishop Gourion served until his death in 2005. The State of Israel sent a minor official in the Interior Ministry to attend the funeral - which prompted criticism by Vatican officials.

  • Israel plans forced evacuation of Bedouin families east of Jerusalem
  • Hanan Ashrawi: New Extremist Israeli Gov't generates a Culture of Hate
    • Unlike most democracies, the Supreme Court of Israel has no constitutional protections to ensure its continued existence and that very existence is at the pleasure of the Knesset under the Basic Law.

      In fact, Israel has no constitution nor has it had one at any time during its existence. Attempts at creating a constitution were shelved due to conflicts between the secular and religious elements of Israel's population as to how Israel's basic structure of government should be oriented.

      There have been attempts by right-wing extremists in the Knesset to substantially limit the power of the Supreme Court

  • Lurch to Far Right keeps Netanyahu in power, but for how long?
    • On May 7th, 2015, the Knesset went into special plenary session over the issue of the Ethiopian-Israeli racism and police brutality with a number of Knesset members openly conceding the problem of Israeli society being racist.

      No one from Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home Party made any statement in criticism of the obvious police misconduct, but criticized Arab MK Ahmed Tibi for comparing police violence against Ethiopian-Israelis with another incident in which an Arab was attacked by police.

      Israel's deputy interior minister likewise confronted Tibi over his remarks condemning Israeli police violence against Ethiopian immigrants, Haredim and Arabs as part of the same phenomenon as cynical - since Tibi would have opposed Ethiopian Jews and other Jews from arriving in the country as part of aliyah.

  • Palestinians: ""The face of a new form of racist, discriminatory Israel has been revealed"
    • Isaac Herzog just rejected the offer of PM Netanyahu to be foreign minister to fill the vacancy caused by Avigdor Lieberman's resignation - indicating that he wished to join the opposition to try to bring down the newly-minted coalition.

      Herzog indicated that he would not help the PM "dig out of the hole he has dug for himself."

  • Syria: What if Turkey and Saudi Arabia install al-Qaeda in Damascus?
    • "Whatever happened to the old days when you fought in order to drive the other guy to the bargaining table?"

      In January of 2014, the Geneva II conference between the Syrian government and the Qatar-based Syrian National Coalition was held and accomplished next to nothing.

      The Islamic Front, an umbrella group of brigades fighting the Assad regime and calling for the establishment of an Islamic state in Syria, called the Geneva II attendees traitors and indicated they would be executed upon the toppling of Assad's regime.

      The Islamic Front, Jabhat al-Nusra, and ISIS have rejected any settlement discussions with Assad and have pledged to fight until the Baathists are defeated.

      "Why is war getting more zero-sum when the countries wars are fought in are becoming more worthless?"

      Good question.

      Afghanistan and Yemen are two of the poorest countries in Asia yet have had ongoing civil wars fueled by al-Qaeda or other Islamic extremist groups for years with no end in sight. Islamic fundamentalism seems to flourish in poorer countries and their endgame is not primarily money-driven but motivated by eventual imposition of Islamic rule in lieu of secular state.

      The Syrian government had 30 billion dollars in financial reserves when the civil war commenced - which has now dwindled to $1 billion. Syria's civilian infrastructure has largely been destroyed and millions of refugees have streamed into neighboring countries. Syria is subject to international financial sanctions - including a trade embargo the U.S. has imposed.

      Syria is becoming a vast depopulated wasteland.

  • Israel's Government Ratchets even Further Right: Great Moments in Colonialism
    • ".......(t)he Jewish Home Party is a good fit for Bibi."

      It's the reverse.

      With Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party leaving the government and Zionist Union not wanting to join the a national unity government coalition as proposed by President Rivlin, the Home Party leadership extracted a sweet deal from Likud to form a government - including the demand that MK Ayelet Shaked - widely regarded as an extremist kook - to receive the cabinet seat for the Justice Ministry. Press accounts in Israel have observed that members of the usually quiet Israeli judiciary have expressed outrage that Shaked's appointment will damage Israel's international standing as a democracy.

      Foreign Minister Lieberman had previously bitterly complained that the attorney general in the Likud-led government of Netanyahu had unfairly targeted his party's leaders in a far-ranging corruption probe that he, Lieberman, claimed was politically motivated. Netanyahu then went on a campaign punctuated by anti-Arab bluster that further damaged Yisrael Beitenu's electoral fortunes by scavenging its ultraconservative voter constituency - leaving it with only six seats in the Twentieth Knesset.

      It is, therefore, no surprise that Yisrael Beitenu joined the Israeli opposition in the Knesset, and Bibi was forced to accede to steep demands of the Jewish Home Party that renders his coalition government appear as unduly extremist.

    • Actually, Welch was never a politician, but was counsel for the U.S. Army in the Senate hearings when he addressed Sen. Joseph McCarthy with his famous line.

      Joseph Welch is perhaps best known among movie buffs as the smooth-talking judge opposite Jimmy Stewart's defense lawyer role in "Anatomy of a Murder".

    • Israeli PM Netanyahu has raised eyebrows by appointing an attractive young former Texas Instruments executive with no law degree or any legal experience to the influential cabinet post of Justice Minister.

      Ayelet Shaked also has previously made news while a member of the Knesset by posting an article on Facebook advocating genocide against Palestinians and she was compared to Adolf Hitler by the Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan.

      Some links chronicling her extremist behavior:

      link to washingtonpost.com

      link to middle-east-online.com

      link to electronicintifada.net

      link to forward.com

      The Israeli PM has definitely made a statement by first appointing extremist Uri Ariel to an important cabinet seat - and now Ms. Shaked.

  • Israeli soldier testimonies reveal 'shoot to kill' policy in Gaza war
  • US Airstrike in Syria kills 53 Civilians, 6 Children
    • @rbtl:

      "the situation in 2011......a negotiated solution."

      Democracy Council, a Los Angeles non profit, was funding the Syrian opposition on behalf of the U.S. government to the tune of millions of dollars:

      link to cbsnews.com

      "Witness to the Uprising" by Stephen Starr is an excellent book on the events within Syria during this time period.

      The Obama administration had continued efforts on fomenting dissent within Syria by financing broadcasts aired by Syrian exile leaders which fueled protests within Syria. At the same time the State Department was seeking rapprochement with the Baathists in Damascus.

      In retrospect, perhaps a diplomatic "carrot-and-stick" approach with Russian encouragement could have advanced U.S. interests to some degree and avoided catastrophic civil war and the eventual introduction of ISIS and the al-Nusra Front into Syria.

      250,000 killed, millions displaced, and no end in sight.

    • "What 'policy blunders' are u (sic) referring to in 2013(?)"

      Firstly, the U.S. did not provide sufficient funding to the FSA to pay salaries or provide badly-needed arms during 2013 resulting in defections to Islamic extremists, including the al-Nusra Front, and general organizational deficiencies; despite this the FSA was still seizing government-held arms warehouses and performing admirably against the Syrian army forces. However when an FSA arms depot was raided in early-December of 2013 by Islamic Front militants, the State Department suspended all aid to the FSA; this suspension encouraged and resulted in more defections from FSA to Islamic jihadist brigades - many of whom who were receiving ample aid from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

      Secondly, the Obama administration failed to take more serious action when 1,400 were killed by poison gas at Ghouta by the Syrian army. The September of 2013 agreement for Syria to divest itself of proscribed chemical weapons was scoffed at by many experts and ridiculed by Assad himself as warranting a Nobel Peace Prize being awarded him. The Baathist government proceeded to violate the timetable for complying with the agreement and, worse, initiated deployment of chlorine and mustard gas on civilians in several instances in 2014 - the last deadly attack being only a few days ago.

      The most damaging blunder of all, however, was the U.S. position on the Geneva II conference. John Kerry pressured the Syrian National Coalition to attend which resulted in several negative consequences. One consequence was that the Syrian National Council, headed by George Sabra, which held 22 seats in the Syrian National Coalition, withdrew in protest. Further in the fall of 2013, a number of FSA brigades broke away to form the Islamic Front - largely due to the FSA's allegiance to the Syrian National Coalition; the Islamic Front refused to participate at all in the Geneva II conference and, also, indicated that they considered anyone who did participate a traitor and would be executed once Assad was overthrown.

      The Geneva II conference was an utter failure as almost nothing was accomplished and the Syrian government's delegate to the conference did little other than to castigate the opposition representatives as traitors.

      "....the divisions between the exile Syrians and the locals....."

      Following the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus in 2012, the key American presence in Syria was via the Washington D.C-based Syrian Support Group (SSG), who acted as a liaison between the State Department and the Free Syrian Army, delivering millions of dollars in non-lethal aid to the FSA. The FSA 's board of directors consisted of Syrian exiles and Syrian-Americans and staffed by Americans with national security backgrounds. It's chairman had been a Chicago attorney linked to Obama's 2008 campaign and a former student of Dr. Cole.

      The SSG, pursuant to a State Department license. raised millions of dollars in the U.S. for the FSA. In 2014, the SSG however, closed its doors, citing the bad publicity that anti-Assad rebels were receiving.

      Former U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford has pointed out that Assad is so unpopular that Alawites in his own hometown have demonstrated against his government. It would be safe to say that the primary support the Baathists have among Syrians is the fear - especially among Christians and Alawites - that ISIS will impose a worse government than the Baathists.

    • More horrific stories have come out of Syria.

      Deadly chemical attacks on civilian population:

      link to worldbulletin.net

      ISIS conducting executions by crucifixion.

      Analysts believe that the Assad regime is going to collapse and it being only a matter of time; further U.S. "allies" Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would relish seeing this happen as a blow to the "Shia Crescent" - even if al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria and ISIS would take over:

      link to consortiumnews.com

      It was the U.S. State Department during the Bush Administration that began implementing an agenda of regime change in Syria due to alleged Syrian involvement in the assassination of Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri.

      The State Department, Pentagon and CIA proceeded to provide assistance to anti-Assad exile groups around the globe - with civil war breaking out in 2011 when Syrian army units began rebelling against the Baathists. By 2013, the Assad regime was close to collapse under pressure of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army when a series of foreign policy blunders by the Obama administration resulted in a fragmenting of those rebel forces and the introduction of ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated armed groups as the most powerful anti-Assad organizations operating within Syria.

      Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has been one of the most vocal critics of the U.S. State Department policy toward Syria during the Obama administration.

  • Israeli PM Begins Forming Pro-Settlement Coaltion
    • "......the only way for us on the outside to do that is to economically sanction those money machines."

      Good luck.

      There has been stiff resisitance to attempts to decertify the Internal Revenue Service non-profit tax-exempt status of that Jewish National Fund enjoys due to their promotion of apartheid policies in the West Bank - including the forbidding of non-Jews to live or work on land that it owns or controls.

      You are correct that there are tremendous money machines that support right-wing causes, but conversely the Jewish human rights groups in Israel have received significant financial assistance from foreign donors.

      B'tselem, the most Jewish prominent civil rights organization in Israel that documents violations against Arabs, for example, receives the bulk of its funding from contributors in Europe. FM Avigdor Lieberman has requested that the group be investigated.

    • ".......the Agricultural Ministry would be assigned to Uri Ariel, who will also control the World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division, a funding channel to settlements in the occupied West Bank ................"

      Uri Ariel is one of Israel's most controversial politicians, having called for the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. He is well-known in and revered by the Christian Zionist community in the United States and, on the other hand, seen as both inflammatory and divisive by Israelis and Palestinians.

      By appointing this expansionist religious zealot to an influential cabinet position, the Israeli PM is sending a strong message about his lack of commitment to any reasonable peace deal with Palestinians.

  • Assassination as Policy in Washington and How It Failed, 1990-2015
    • "...Robert Bonner, a former prosecutor and federal judge appointed to head the DEA in 1990.........."

      It is ironic that Bonner would be appointed to any leadership role in the "War on Drugs" since he was U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and personally took part in the failed prosecution of automaker John DeLorean in 1984 - in what was considered by most to be have been an open-and-shut case for his office.

  • Gaza Strip 101: World's Largest outdoor Prison
    • Israel's military incursions have primarily focused upon destroying civilian infrastructure, housing, and public buildings which are "soft targets" - akin to the "search and destroy" tactics used in the early stages of the Vietnam War. Militant operations and infrastructure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad of Palestine have been largely unscathed despite the IDF pouring billions of dollars in defense costs toward eradicating militant groups in Gaza.

      The parallels between these actions and the Vietnam War cannot be ignored.

      The IDF, for instance, has been unable to destroy smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza that have been used to replenish weapons arsenals of militants. Hamas has had only a small percentage of its armed militants suffer casualties over the years - thus the cycle of violence between Gaza and the IDF will likely continue indefinitely.

  • Syria: Al-Qaeda takes Jisr al-Shughur, threatening Key Port
    • The F.S.A. was the key rebel group in 2013 with about 100,000 militants in its ranks.

      ISIS was not a major player in Syria at that juncture and al-Nusra Front fighters were estimated to number about 5,000 to 10,000. The F.S.A. pledged it would turn its guns on the al-Nusra Front as soon as the Baathists were finally defeated.

      The U.S. and its allies could have provided air support to the F.S.A. as was done in Afghanistan and Libya to knock the Baathists out of Damascus and worry about the militant Islamic groups later.

    • There are elements within the Syrian exile community that welcome Israeli military action is Syria while acknowledging their disdain for Israel.

      There are also have been reports that the al-Nusra Front has received medical assistance, air support, and technical assistance from the Israeli government.

      Virtually every nation in the region has their fingers in the Syrian civil war in one way or another with the primary intent of advancing their own selfish interests.

    • Scott:

      In actuality, the Islamic Front is a loosely-knit umbrella organization of highly autonomous brigades that each have varying "shades" of adherence to Islam - some are ideologically very similar to al-Qaeda, others are more secular. The Islamic Front coordinates information and distributes funding to constituent brigades.

      The Islamic Front consisted of armed rebel groups that split off from the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) largely over the issue of allegiance to the internationally-recognized Syrian National Coalition, but remains largely sympathetic to the FSA. They are Saudi-funded and have eschewed formal ties to Western interests.

      The al-Nusra Front has won kudos from segments of the FSA, Islamic Front brigades and even the Syrian secular public due to their battlefield prowess - and has fought ISIS at times.

    • There is no evidence that the U.S is supplying the al-Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, or ISIS - however there are credible reports that the Israeli government has a cooperative relationship with the al-Nusra Front.

      The CIA has been reportedly involved in the distribution of weaponry to pro-democracy rebels in Syria such as the Free Syrian Army.

      There have been some reports that Turkish intelligence has had a positive relationship with ISIS and also that Turkish border guards have been bribed to allow passage of ISIS recruits into Syria.

    • The great debacle committed by the Obama administration was to suspend supplying the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as they were about to topple Assad in 2013 because an FSA arms depot was raided by Islamic militants. This suspension caused many fighters to defect from the FSA to Islamic rebel organizations.

      At that time the Baathists were also close to having their overland logistics route between the Mediterranean coast and Damascus severed by FSA rebels. Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate within Syria and ISIS were had minimal presences as far as being military forces against the Baathists.

      Today ISIS and the al-Nusra Front are the two most powerful rebel groups within Syria opposing the Baathists. The Assad regime is now applauding the bombing sorties flown by the U.S. Air Force against these two Islamist opposition organizations.

      Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has been a bitter critic of the Obama administration's handling of the Syrian situation.

      The Obama administration has snared defeat from the jaws of victory in Syria.

  • US admits it has no Idea who it is Assassinating by Drone
    • The CIA Inspector General has announced an investigation into the hostage deaths and, I concur, that little more than self-congratulations and exoneration is to be expected from such an internal investigation.

      In this case, however, the estates of both hostages may bring wrongful death suits in the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington D.C. to test the legality of the CIA's actions.

      The key reason the Anwar Amlaki suit was dismissed one year ago was due to the Congressional AUMF and the proof that Amlaki was a dangerous U.S. citizen, and even then, the court raised serious questions of affording Amlaki due process before targeting him. In the hostage deaths herein , the recklessness of the CIA in endangering these hostages is likely to be relevant; recall the millions in settlement paid by the City of Philadelphia to the estates of deceased minors in the outrageous bombing of the MOVE activists' rowhouses that killed innocent children.

      The ACLU has already issued a press release on the recent hostage deaths:

      link to aclu.org

    • The horrendous and regrettable deaths of two innocent hostages - one American and the second Italian - is something which will bring sorely needed scrutiny to this clearly illegal and reckless extrajudicial assassination drone program.

      This is not unlike the unfortunate death of a young U.S. citizen, Ms. Ronni Moffit, as "collateral damage" in Washington D.C. by a CIA contractor during the 1970s when Chilean exile leader, Orlando Letelier, was targeted in a car bombing and his aide, Ms. Moffit, was a bystander. It brought the shock of CIA killings to the forefront.

      It was President Obama who traditionally "signed off" on al-Qaeda drone targets and who may have personally authorized this debacle.

  • Is Iranian power on the rise?
    • The Iran arms sale was legal - however the diversion of funds from that sale of arms to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua violated the Boland Amendment of the Defense Appropriations Act of 1983 which forbade such assistance to the Contra cause.

      Check the criminal indictments of Oliver North, John Poindexter and the rest of the persons indicted at the request of the independent counsel and none were for selling weapons to Iran - they generally were for obstruction of justice or related crimes or else related to the wrongful diversion of government funds .

      Further the Boland Amendment itself had no criminal penalties itself incorporated into it.

    • It should be remembered that Iran assisted the United States in 1985 to obtain the release of U.S. hostages in Lebanon in exchange for arms. This transaction was not only legal, but specifically authorized as a power conferred the U.S. president under federal law. The arms were used against Baathist Iraq.

      Israel in that transaction acted as a "straw man" to circumvent an embargo when it supplied TOW missiles to Iran which were immediately replenished by the U.S by delivery of the same missile model back to Israel's arsenal.

      Iran has been resistant to Russian hegemony during previous decades and has been a truly "independent" and "non-aligned" country that has been damaged by economic sanctions imposed upon it due to its nuclear program.

      Normalization of diplomatic and economic relations between Iran and America would be a boon to both nations and would act to further integrate Iran into the international community.

      Iran's exclusion from the Geneva II conference to address the Syria situation did not help anyone and Iran's influence in the Iraqi and Syrian governments and with the Hezbollah Party in Lebanon could, in cooperation with the U.S. and other Western interests serve to politically stabilize those regions as well.

      Iran is a vital key to Middle East peace and the eradication of American perceptions of Iran as part of an "Axis of Evil" is needed - especially in U.S. Congress - so such a normalization process can be augmented.

  • Khamenei: US invented nuclear Myth; Iran will Never Invade another Country
    • Dr. Mossadegh was appointed prime minister only after being nominated by the Iranian parliament - which he obtained in a lopsided vote.

      One of Dr. Mossadegh's close associates, Mehdi Bazagan, became premiere of the Islamic Republic of Iran until resigning in protest of the Iranian hostage taking at the U.S. Embassy in Teheran.

  • Iraq: Why it doesn't Matter if Ezzat al-Douri was Killed
    • Izzat al-Douri has been reported dead on many previous occasions. Other sources indicated he is not even in Iraq.

      In 2009, CIA director David Petraeus claimed he was residing in Syria - another story had al-Douri living in Qatar.

      Absent credible forensic evidence, nothing is conclusive.

  • Juan Cole: Syria, Yemen Conflicts only seem to be about Sunni-Shiite from 30,000 Feet
    • The concept of "vanguardism" has been associated chiefly with Marxist-Leninism, however Theodor Hirzl used it as a principle of Zionism and it has been also utilized by the ideological forerunners of al-Qaeda.

      Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusra Front, does not appear "isolated" or "anarchist" without a "mass base" as that group rules over considerable areas and has won a limited degree of popularity among Syrians due to their battlefield prowess - they control more area than the "democratic" Free Syrian Army at this point - although Alawites and Christian minorities within Syria obviously fear - quite reasonably - coming under al-Nusra Front control.

  • President Hillary Clinton's Middle East Policy: Interventions, Wars, More of Same
    • "..........[t]here are no other likely candidates from the Democratic Party........"

      Pundits said the same thing in 2008 when an obscure junior senator from Illinois declared his candidacy and Hillary's support base of African-Americans and liberal young people began defecting over to Barack Obama.

      A charismatic young liberal in 2016, perhaps another black ,or even Hispanic, presidential candidate would give Hillary a tough race.

  • How Iran won Bush's Iraq War
    • Coalition forces had claimed to have identified and detained within Iraq many members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard and Iranian intelligence agents who had strong ties to Shia militias, including Muqtada al-Sadr's militia and the Iraqi government; these connections are not seriously disputed.

      However, the better question is whether these Iranian government agents actively trained, supplied, encouraged and directed IED attacks against Coalition targets.

      A fine line exists between the former and latter.

    • "Left out of Van Buren's account is an explanation of why Iran's rise would be entirely negative. What is Iran's endgame........"

      Agreed.

      Firstly, Iran's proxy in Lebanon Hezbollah has largely avoided engaging in international terrorist activities and even when it has, has tended to do so reactively to Israeli criminal acts - such as extrajudicial assassinations. Hezbollah has mainly engaged as a self-defense organization opposing Israeli military encroachments into south Lebanon - and has created a credible deterrent to Israeli invasions since its fighters fought the clearly better-armed Israel Defense Forces to a stalemate in 2006. Hezbollah's missile arsenal has multiplied from 12,000 at the beginning of the 2006 Second Lebanon War to between 40,000 and 100,000 currently, according to the best expert estimates.

      Hezbollah has also been the most effective force against ISIS and Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in that nation at a time when U.S. bombers are also engaged in sorties against those entities - while Israel has maintained a cooperative relationship with the al-Nusra Front, designated by the U.S. State Department as a terror organization.

      Secondly, Iranian influence in Iraq has led to better stability of the Shi'ite-controlled government there, which has provided a counterbalance to ISIS. Iranian support to Iraq is consistent with U.S. interests - especially since American military forces have engaged in some fighting with ISIS personnel approaching a U.S. base in Anbar province.

      Thirdly, the rise of Kurdish autonomy and regional influence in the last 24 years since the Persian Gulf War has resulted in advancement of U.S. interests - and Iran's historical support of the Kurds against initially the Baathists in Iraq, and now ISIS, certainly dovetails with U.S. policy interests in the region as the Peshmerga has been a bulwark against ISIS recently after having battled the Iraqi Baathists for decades. The Kurds have even enjoyed positive relations with Israel.

      Iran, also, has been one of the few countries that has diplomatically recognized Gaza as an independent state, although critics correctly point out that the Iranian government has funded the terror activities of Islamic Jihad of Palestine and also supplied weaponry - such as Fajr missiles - to Hamas that has used to menace Israel with.

      Overall, U.S. foreign policy interests in recent years have been advanced by Iran's conduct in the Middle East.

  • US history of coup-making Overshadows Obama's outreach to Iran, Latin American Left
    • Agreed.

      The Castro regime could have attempted armed force against the U.S. base in the previous decades to enforce its claims, however they wisely thought better of this.

    • Guantanamo Bay is subject to a lease pursuant to which the Cuban government receives annual rent checks for a nominal amount from the United States.

      While Cuba has protested the U.S. occupation of the base, it has done little to seek enforcement of its claims of invalidity of the lease. It has not cashed the tendered rent checks from the U.S. government in decades.

  • Homeless in Gaza: UN only has funds to rebuild 200 of 9K homes Destroyed by Israelis
    • Gaza has been pledged $3.5 billion for reconstruction by the international community but the Israeli government controls the borders and has only allowed in $945 million toward that envisioned reconstruction.

      For a good link to reconstruction and other post-conflict issues facing Gazans, see:

      link to foreignpolicy.com

  • What if US & UN Sanctioned Israel over its Nukes as they did Iran over Enrichment?
    • Renowned U.S. nuclear physicist Edward Teller, a close friend of PM David Ben-Gurion, warned Israel NEVER to sign the NPT unless they intended to perform obligations imposed by the treaty.

      Teller had warned CIA deputy director Carl Duckett in the late 1960s that Israel intended to build a nuclear arsenal, but DCI Richard Helms did not convey this information to LBJ until a year later.

      Israel's accession to the Atoms For Peace program in 1957 and its joint atomic energy research with France and construction of the Dimona nuclear reactor facility were cover for its secret nuclear weapons program, which could have never been initiated and progressed while complying with NPT obligations.

      It was not until the early to mid-1960s that DeGaulle and Israel's own civilian nuclear regulatory authority had suspicions that the Israeli national security apparatus was trying to construct a nuclear arsenal - but the absence of NPT inspections and the granting of only very limited access to American inspectors effectively thwarted international confirmation of Israeli atomic weapons research and construction.

      There is absolutely no reason for Israel to accede to the NPT at this juncture as its non-membership has served it well.

    • I believe boomer Bob speaks of the Apollo, Pennsylvania controversy. Here is a link to an article in the Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists:

      link to thebulletin.org

  • The von Moltke Fallacy and avoiding another World War, with Iran
    • A former CIA deputy director has opined that the proposed Lausanne agreement is a good one for U.S. interests, delaying significantly Iran's nuclear weapon capability, while simultaneously asserting that Iran's agenda is to promote a regional Persian Shi'ite empire:

      link to businessinsider.com

  • Netanyahu on Iran Deal: threatens ‘survival of Israel’, ‘horrific war’
  • Why Palestine joining the International Criminal Court could be a total game changer
    • Truth be told:

      The ICC has received 600 million dollars of funding from the international community since its inception in 2003 when its first judges were sworn, employs over 570 persons, and has convicted only two individuals since that time - both of whom may be released in 1 to 5 additional years despite being convicted of serious crimes.

      The ICC pre-trial detention facility is a "Club Fed" type of jail, having a gym, personal trainer, luxurious conference rooms adorned with flowers, language instructors, and each cell has a plasma TV, and personal computer.

      After conviction, prisoners are sent to the facilities of sponsoring states, where they are guaranteed by treaty certain minimal guarantees of human rights.

      All cases brought this far have had African defendants - although the tribunal hearing Yugoslav war crimes is in the same building in the Hague and the Yugoslav defendants use the same gym facilities - but are generally separated from contact with the ICC defendants.

    • "How is it that Israel collects taxes for the Palestinian Authority?"

      The Palestinian Authority is landlocked in the West Bank but receives tariffs on imports received in Israel destined for the West Bank. Since Israeli ports of entry actually process such incoming merchandise, the Israeli government acts as collecting agent for the Palestinian Authority tariffs associated with those imports.

      These tariffs form a large percentage of aggregate revenues derived by the Palestinian Authority.

  • More Palestinians killed than any year since1967, Says United Nations
    • The comments above from the U.N. report and quoted officials speak for themselves and succinctly summarize the human rights situation in the Occupied Territories and underscore both the inability of the U.N. to implement adequate remedial measures and the necessity for international intervention via the International Criminal Court and the imposition of economic sanctions upon Israel.

      The only question is how much more severe will the humanitarian situation have to get before the world community acts with sufficient measures to restrain the Likud-led government from continuing its systematic violations of the civil rights of the Palestinian people.

  • Ted Cruz Thinks Non-Christians Have Too Much Power
    • Ted Cruz has strong ties to Jewish GOP leaders and the collective Republican Party activists at the grassroots level have a heavy influence from Christian Zionists as well.

      Some GOP leaders are modifying the semantics of their message to couch their support for "Judeo-Christian" values.

      Before Sheldon Adelson came along, Detroit's Max Fisher of United Jewish Appeal was a heavy pro-Israel influence in the Republican Party nationally for decades.

  • The rise of the Israeli far right & the future of Palestine
    • "........Israel to undergo social change...."

      Daphni Leef, the leader of the J-14 social reform movement which held a large demonstration in Rabin Square in 2011 was interviewed last fall on why her movement seemed to fizzle from its peak. She relied that the 2012 and 2014 Gaza incursions diverted the attention of Israelis away from internal issues.

      She had earlier stated that the government had ramped up pressure on her by wiretapping her phone and assigning 300 undercover police operatives to infiltrate her movement. As she was considering running for mayor of Tel Aviv, she was arrested and beaten by police during a demonstration, but eventually all criminal charges were dismissed arising out of that arrest.

      Despite this, her two associates in the J-14 leadership, Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuli, were elected to the Knesset and retained their seats in the last election.

      It is clear that the Israeli government has attempted to intimidate those who seek peaceful social reforms within Israel.

    • ".....eventually Israel as a "Jewish" state will cease to exist, being replaced by a secular state with a very large Jewish minority."

      The Likud-led government will do everything to prevent this from occurring by:

      (A) encouraging Jews residing outside Israel to immigrate under the Law of Return;

      (B) continue to oppress Palestinians via such things as home demolitions, police brutality, administrative detention, school closings, and water theft with the hope that they will emigrate to other countries;

      (C) deny West Bank Palestinians citizenship and, hence, voting rights;

      (D) effectively disenfranchise Arab Israelis by providing legal roadblocks in the electoral processes for Arab candidates and political parties in Knesset elections;

      (E) continue to deny Arab Israelis access to social welfare programs in an invidiously discriminatory manner by demanding military service of a family member as a pre-requisite to benefits;

      (F) engage in provocative conduct (e.g. blockades, mass arrests) as a pretext for initiating devastating "search and destroy" military incursions such as Operation Cast Lead, Defensive Edge, etc.

      Right-wing Israelis have gotten away with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza and the West Bank with impunity since the Six-Day War in 1967 while being secure in their government's occupation of the West Bank - the mentality of politically conservative Israelis is that the 48 years of illegal occupation has occurred and will continue to occur as long as the majority of Americans tolerate their government's inaction and indifference toward the human rights of Palestinians.

    • "Palestinians..........have made a mess of their own affairs."

      Agreed.

      The Palestinian Authority (P.A.) has been plagued by a multitude of allegations of corruption since its inception. It is one of the reasons that Hamas has been allowed to flourish as an organization both in the West Bank and Gaza.

      The P.A. has even been compared to the Judenrat organization that was the self-governing body of the Warsaw Ghetto due to its collaboration with the Israeli government. One of the dangers pointed out by the Council on Foreign Relations following the creation of the Oslo Accords was the appearance that the P.A. was economically dependent on Israel in order to operate. This appearance has done much to discredit the P.A. in the eyes of Palestinians - as does the joint security relationship the P.A. has with the Israeli government.

      During the Second Intifada, the Tanzim (Order) private militia of the Fatah Party and the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade - designated by the U.S. State Department as a terror organization - actively engaged in insurrection and suicide bombings against Israeli interests - but that endeared them to radical Palestinians. By Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09, however, Fatah militants in Gaza were actually cheering the IDF invasion and fired rockets into Israel as a cease-fire was being declared so that the IDF could come back and continue to decimate and degrade Hamas' ruling power in Gaza.

      The P.A. must continue to be perceived as an opponent of Israel to gain credibility with its supposed constituents. Steps like applying for membership in the International Criminal Court is a good start.

  • Obama-Netanyahu Tiff worsens: US won't rule out using UN to create Palestine
    • "Ahem. A flat-out untruth."

      You missed my point.

      You are correct that Great Britain abstained from the General Assembly vote - however British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was emphatically against the Partition Plan, the British Parliament later debated the matter in December of 1947 and in the end their own plan to leave on their own terms was implemented to dissolve the British Mandate.

      U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 (the Partition Plan) had practically nothing to do with Israel's creation - it was the British Crown that initiated the transition of power as they saw fit.

    • "UN created Israel in 1947."

      This is inaccurate.

      The United Nations General Assembly passed its Partition Plan on November 29, 1947 that was merely advisory in nature.

      The State of Israel was not declared until May 14, 1948 when the British Mandate ended. It was the agreement of the British government - who voted against the General Assembly's Partition Plan - that made the birth of the State of Israel a reality.

  • Mideast Apocalypse 2030: Why Obama wants the Palestine Issue Solved. Now.
    • The possibility of ISIS or some other jihadist group coming into control of nuclear weapons technology is not farfetched.

      In 2007, the Israeli Air Force, as part of "Operation Orchard", destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria via bombing that was believed to have a weapons-producing capability. The land the destroyed reactor sits on is under the current control of ISIS.

      The Dimona reactor facility in Israel was targeted from Gaza by M-302 ballistic missiles in the last conflict with Israel and many observers feel that it would be easy for a Palestinian paramilitary organization to install effective guidance systems in these missiles that would likely inflict heavy damages in a future war with Israel.

  • Obama with Drama: Translating his comments on Israel's Netanyahu from the Vulcan
    • The International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over any person - Israeli citizen or otherwise - who may commit a war crime on the territory of a member state - such as Palestine - and whom the internal justice system of the offender's state is inadequate or unwilling to initiate criminal prosecution.

  • Tom Friedman & funding ISIL: Israel/Iran Derangement Syndrome
    • Israel perceived Iran as a counterbalance to Iraq and did not want to weaken it.

      Although it was major news that Israel's air force bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, comparatively few were aware that Iran had also attempted to bomb the same reactor during the Iran-Iraq War.

      The Osirak reactor was destroyed by U.S. Air Force jet bombers in 1991 and Israeli fears over the Iraqi nuclear program shifted to Iran.

      Iran during the 1990s was making inroads into Israeli hegemony in Lebanon via Hezbollah and in 1997 received a rude awakening when an IDF naval commando force was routed on the Lebanese coast by a joint force of Hezbollah militiamen in conjunction with the Lebanese Marines. The ongoing resistance to Israeli occupation in south Lebanon was driven by Iran's Hezbollah proxies and eventually led PM Ehud Barak's decision to withdraw all IDF occupation from Lebanon in 1999 after the IDF had accumulated over 1,000 fatalities during its 17-year occupation.

    • ".......it was the US-supported groups in Afghanistan which morphed into the Taliban and Al-Qaeda."

      The Taliban militia was created by the Pakistani ISI intelligence service in the mid-1990s and fought the CIA and Saudi Arabian funded and supplied warlords who led the Afghan government following their defeat of the Marxist-led government in 1992. Those warlords would become the "Northern Alliance" resisting the Taliban after the warlords were forced out power in Kabul - they would eventually defeat the Taliban with U.S. backing following 9/11.

      It is debatable whether the CIA had a direct or indirect relationship with Osama bin Laden during the 1980s when his "Afghan Arabs" fought the Marxist government in Kabul - but his fighters were only a tiny fraction of overall rebel forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Al-Qaeda was permitted by the Taliban in the late 1990s to establish training camps that would lead to the terror attacks that included the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, the USS Cole incident and of course, 9/11. There is no credible proof, however, that the US provided any support to Osama bin Laden while he was allied with the Taliban - although there exists some evidence that wealthy Saudi benefactors financed bin Laden in the late 1990s.

  • Mideast Reacts with Horror: "Israel has elected Extremism and Racism"
  • The Palestinian-Israelis' Selma Moment?
    • The Joint Arab List does not have to be included in the government to wield power as they could simply oppose a no-confidence vote and support Zionist Union proposals as opposition members - the Joint List's power primarily would be to keep the right-wing out of government and ensure the ruling government respects Palestinian interests.

      If Pres. Rivlin's suggestion is followed - a national unity government - then the possibility becomes that the Joint List "top dog" will become the Leader of the Opposition and the Israeli PM will be required by law to brief him/her on classified national security matters.

    • ".......... [i]f Herzog did form a government with the Joint Arab List in the coalition this would be a historic first for Israel."

      87% of Arab Israelis polled want the Joint Arab List to help form the next government and 74% prefer inclusion of the list in a new government formed by Zionist Union.

      Zionist Union and the leftist Meretz Party combined will likely have 31 to 32 seats in the new Knesset to be seated and centrist parties headed by Yair Lapid and Moshe Kahlon likely have another 22 seats - meaning the 12-13 seats the Joint Arab List will receive are enough to seat Zionist Union as the leaders of a new coalition without inclusion of any right-wing parties.

      Kahlon, a Libyan-born Mizrahi Jew, is now being seen as a power broker in the formation of the next Israeli government. He has been a bitter foe of Netanyahu and it has been suggested that Likud may have to relinquish Netanyahu as its prime minister nominee to allay Kahlon and, further, Kahlon may receive a position as finance minister in a Likud-led government as the price for his support.

  • Syria: Signs of Popular Backlash Against al-Qaeda
    • Ambassador Ford has also pointed out that some U.S.-backed rebel leaders have failed to perceive the al-Nusra Front as an enemy and that American supplies often find their way to the al-Nusra Front.

      He has pointed out that secular rebel forces may be as low as 20,000 in fighters and that the Obama administration policy in Syria has been a profound failure.

      Ford has described the fighting as Baathist vs. jihadist extremists.

      Here are some links:

      link to pbs.org

      link to mcclatchydc.com

  • Apartheid Forever: Israel's Netanyahu rules out Palestinian Citizenship Rights
    • "..........how did Resolution 242 get past the U.S.'s watchful, protective eye?

      Surprising answer:

      Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban helped draft Resolution 242 and it was not controversial when passed.

      Also surprising:

      Per Noam Chomsky, there was considerable support even in the leadership of the Israeli intelligence services immediately following the Six-Day War for the creation of a binational single joint Arab-Jewish state comprised of Israel and the Occupied Territories.

    • Israel has the U.S. as a "surrogate" to veto any resolution in the U.N. Security Council to enforce 1948-67 borders.

      The U.N. Security Council already has Resolution 242 to call for Israel to vacate the Occupied Territories.

    • The Kulanu Party led by Moshe Kahlon, a former Likud member bitterly critical of Netanyahu and emphasizing cost-of-living issues is projected to win 10 seats; its platform is similar to Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid Party who is expected to obtain 12 seats. Lapid was tossed out of the Israeli cabinet previously by Netanyahu over policy arguments.

      Should these two parties continue to oppose Netanyahu and decide to join a Zionist Union government, Zionist Union will only need the Joint Arab List to form a government by surpassing the 61-seat threshold.

    • "But in fact, Netanyahu and the right are dedicated to Greater Israel, to annexing the West Bank territory and finding a way to expel the Palestinians from it..........."

      30 years ago, Rabbi Meir Kahane proposed, as an extremist Knesset member of the later-outlawed Kach Party, the expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the Occupied Territories with compensation. He was met with public condemnation from the world's Jewry. Now the PM is espousing the same nonsense to ensure his re-election.

      Hopefully, the U.S. State Department will recognize that the Israel Foreign Ministry's "negotiations" with the Palestinian Authority have been a smokescreen by Israel to allay the U.S. that progress is being made - however no intention ever existed by the PM to permit a Palestinian state.

  • Top 5 ways Netanyahu sabotaged US and Israel Interests
  • Could a Netanyahu loss in Israeli Elections change Everything?
    • "Are the wild-card ultra-Orthodox parties known to be bribable?"

      Answer:

      link to israelnationalnews.com

      link to jweekly.com

      link to nytimes.com

    • There are some indications Isaac Herzog may sincerely try to resolve the Palestinian question. He met in December of 2014 with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who has previously visited Hamas leadership in Gaza and publicly called on Ireland to recall its ambassador to Israel due to its chronic human rights violations of Palestinians:

      link to theguardian.com

      link to algemeiner.com

      link to haaretz.com

    • Here are a couple of links referencing Gideon Levy and that op-ed piece:

      link to mondoweiss.net

      link to frammentivocalimo.blogspot.com

    • Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid Party has declined in popularity since its initial surprise finish of 20 seats in the last Knesset election and is expected to receive maybe 12 seats in the upcoming election.

      Lapid had rallied against the privileges accorded the ultraorthodox and the decline of the Israeli middle class standard of living - but achieved little after joining the Likud-led coalition and causing Likud to dump the ultraorthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties as coalition partners.

      I see Yesh Atid and ultraorthox parties as wild cards who could either join either a Netanyahu or Herzog-led coalition. Lapid has had a very weak understanding of the Palestinian issue and the ultraorthodox party leaders have had divergent opinions on this issue.

      Given current polling numbers, it appears that if Netanyahu can persuade all other rightist parties to join him in a coalition - and can receive support from either the ultraorthodox parties or Yesh Atid (whose policies are widely divergent) - then he should be re-elected; however right now it is not clear if all other conservative parties will automatically bolt toward Likud in forming a coalition post-election. In sum, many variables exist which make the March 17th election largely unpredictable.

      One surprising result is that the criminal probe of the Israeli Attorney General of Avigdor Lieberman's right-wing party leaders that has resulted in a decline in the polling numbers of that party to about six projected Knesset seats would translate in those conservative voters switching to Likud - but Likud's polling numbers have ben on the decline also.

    • "....the Livni Herzog double act seems likely to maintain the status quo..."

      Not exactly.

      Livni and Herzog will need the Joint Arab List parties and the leftist Meretz Party as coalition partners in order to form a government in the event Hatenua and Labor parties win enough seats in the March 17th election.

      It was the inclusion of the then-new Meretz Party in 1992 as a coalition partner with Labor Party that formed the impetus for the highly controversial Oslo Accords.

      If Zionist Union does do well in the election and is able to cobble together a ruling coalition - then the Joint Arab List and Meretz can simply withdraw from the coalition and allow a no-confidence vote if they feel that Herzog is going to simply drag his feet on final status negotiations with the Palestinians.

      The real possibility potential inclusion of Arab parties in a ruling coalition is unprecedented and would allow these parties to negotiate real political power in the Israeli political processes via appointment to influential cabinet positions.

      The last two centrist Israeli prime ministers - Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert - were hampered in their abilities to achieve significant inroads against gridlock in the peace processes since they had no leftist party inclusion in their respective governments - as Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres did when they negotiated the Oslo Accords.

  • Not a Jewish State: Palestinian-Israelis form Coalition that could be 3rd Largest Party
    • @Avi Green:

      Bibi has no coalition yet - he siphoned off votes from smaller right-wing parties to get Likud's 30 seats.

      When and if Bibi persuades Moshe Kahlon's party to be a coalition partner - then he can pop the champagne cork.

    • The prominent longtime Israeli newspaper Maariv has polled prospective voters and disclosed results showing that the center-left Zionist Union - composed of the Hatenua and Labor parties, led by Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog, respectively - is likely to receive 25 seats and the Likud Party 21 seats in the Knesset in the upcoming election.

      Sixty-one seats are needed for a majority in the 120-seat Knesset and it is absolutely certain that Zionist Union will need the projected 13 seats that the Joint Arab List is expected to realize if it intends to form a coalition government - meaning it would be the first time in Israel's history that an Arab-dominated party or party union would be a coalition partner in the Israeli government - and likely place an Arab for the first time in an influential cabinet seat.

      Although not a Arab party, the leftist Meretz Party is likely to be another potential coalition partner of Zionist Union - and would be necessary to form a governing coalition if Zionist Union does well enough in the upcoming election and wishes to form a government.

  • Insulting Netanyahu: How Bibi got Everything Wrong and called you Stupid
    • There was one obvious falsehood that PM Netanyahu made in his speech to U.S. Congress: Iran was behind the U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998.

      There is absolutely no proof of Iranian government complicity in this attack.

      It had been carried out by al-Qaeda operatives; al-Qaeda is a jihadist Sunni terror organization - not Shia as the Iranian government is - and al-Qaeda has generally been opposed to Shi'ite interests.

      As the above article correctly points out, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra (the Succor Front), enjoys a positive cooperative relationship with the Israeli government. This is something that the PM obviously did not disclose to Congress during his speech since that al-Qaeda affiliate has been designated on the U.S. State Department list of terror organizations subject to sanctions.

  • Syria: As al-Qaeda defeats 'moderate' US allies, will US ally with al-Qaeda?
    • ".....whenever the US meddles, the momentum of effective resistance shifts to the other side."

      When Jabhat al-Nusra was designated as a terror organization be the U.S. State Department, the practical effect was nil as far advancing American foreign policy interests as this designation allows the U.S. to do such things as freezing bank accounts the U.S. has jurisdiction over and imposing other penalties that require effective power over the designee that the U.S. does not have over the al-Nusra Front.

      In Syria, thousands took to the streets to protest this odious designation, which actually helped al-Nusra protect their reputation and expand within Syria.

    • The al-Nusra Front military wing commander was just recently killed in Aleppo by the Baathist Syrian army:

      link to bbc.com

    • The CIA's Operation Cyclone funded and armed Islamic fundamentalist forces fighting the Soviet-backed Marxist puppet regime headquartered in Kabul.

      Osama bin Laden was allied with those rebels and may or may not have had direct ties to U.S. intelligence - but it was clear bin Laden was fighting the same enemy. This collective rebel alliance - who often fought each other - eventually seized power in Kabul in 1992.

      The Taliban, however, did not exist during the 1980s, but was a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service ISI during the mid-1990s and eventually forced the Islamic fundamentalists out of power and largely into northern regions of the country - thus named the Northern Alliance.

      The Taliban, however, allowed al-Qaeda to establish training camps inside of Afghanistan that eventually hosted training in terror tactics. Absent American involvement in Afghan affairs due to Cold War concerns, the camps would likely not have existed and al-Qaeda not jelled as a terror organization.

  • 4 Things more Dangerous to Israel than Iran's civilian Nuclear Enrichment
  • Palestine to take Israel to Int'l Criminal Court for War Crimes
    • Israel has tried via its court system to hold the P.L.O liable for monetary damages for bombings and there are cases going on in New York to hold the P.L.O legal responsible for terror activity as well as the Arab Bank liable for doing business with Hamas as a customer.

      The ICC action against Israel will be as about as groundbreaking as the Nuremberg trials were in Germany to hold a Western power responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity of its political or military leaders.

      The Israeli government is currently consulting with international law experts on ways to fight the jurisdiction of the ICC. In the past Israel has been successful in avoiding the reach of such nations as Belgium in asserting "universal jurisdiction" over putative war crimes occurring in the Middle East.

  • Gaza's sole power plant to close as funding runs out
    • Israel bombed Gaza's power plant in 2006 causing $15 million in damages as immediate retaliation for the capture of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

      Israel's military and intelligence leaders had recommended the release of Palestinian prisoners, but PM Ehud Olmert initiated protracted air and military operations against Gaza. In the end. Israel released 1,000 Arab prisoners in return for Shalit.

      The great irony is that Israel as an occupying power is legally obligated to supply electricity to Gaza despite their status as military adversaries.

  • 180 Frmr Israeli Security Officials to PM Netanyahu: Cancel US Speech, which pushes Iran toward Bomb
    • It should be noted that the Labor Party and Hatenua Party leaders that are trying to unseat Netanyahu both have intelligence backgrounds.

      Isaac Herzog served in the IDF Unit 8200 - the Israeli equivalent of the National Security Agency.

      Tzipi Livni spent several years as a Mossad employee.

  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto
    • Several points:

      (1) Meir Dagan has, in the past, opposed any military action taken against Iran's nuclear program;

      (2) he served as Mossad director during the development of the Stuxnet computer virus - believed to be a joint U.S.-Israel intelligence operation - that targeted the enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran and was subject to intense debate about its ultimate effectiveness in thwarting Iran's ability to produce weapons-grade uranium material;

      (3) Dagan believes that PM Netanyahu's defiance and antagonism toward the Obama administration may endanger the "umbrella veto" power Israel benefits from U.S. presence on the United Nations Security Council;

      (4) there has long been sentiment within the Israeli intelligence leadership to enter final status negotiations with the Palestinians and achieve a just peace - "The Gatekeepers", an Oscar-nominated documentary, interviewing the five living Shin Bet former directors, indicated that the peace process is being "murdered" for political motives.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel
    • The State of Israel is one of the few democracies in the world with NO constitution.

      There is a reason for this.

      At the time of its creation, religious parties within Israel wanted the new country to have an expressly religious foundation, however secular Israelis opposed this - so no constitution has ever been adopted - and essential governmental institutions, such as the Israeli Supreme Court, exist at the pleasure of the Knesset.

      The "Basic Law" passed by the Knesset early in Israel's history established the organization and operation of the Israeli governmental structure and exists to this day.

  • Top 5 Reasons Palestinian-Israelis Could shape the Israeli Election
    • There are good points you are making, however even if Hadash and Arab List parties are not part of an Israeli coalition government any time soon, the Palestinians will no doubt benefit from a Labor or Hatenua Party coalition rather than a Likud-bloc-led government.

      Tzipi Livni attempted to revive the Israeli-Palesstinian peace process after official talks broke down. During Operation Cast Lead she as foreign minister advised, without success, for PM Olmert to scale down ongoing military operations in Gaza. Herzog, the current Labor Party PM candidate, has likewise in the past given support to final status negotiations toward the creation of a Palestinian state.

      The Labor Party succeeded several years ago in seating the very first Arab Muslim as a cabinet minister and would likely promote a greater Arab inclusion in Israeli government. It is an open question whether they would make Hadash or other Arab-dominated parties coalition partners in a future government.

      No Arab has ever held a seat on the powerful Defense and Foreign Relations Committee of the Knesset - and it is doubtful if one will anytime soon.

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