Archive for November, 2009
Why They Hate Us (I): on military occupation
by Stephen Walt
The Bottom Line (to the Afghan quagmire):
Israel’s Illegal Settlements in America
Posted By Grant Smith On November 27, 2009 @ 11:00 pm In Uncategorized | 57 Comments
US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell was highly enthusiastic about Israel’s partial, temporary illegal settlement freeze stating “it is more than any Israeli government has done before and can help move toward agreement between the parties.” In fact, Israel has done more. In 2005 Israel reversed settlement construction and its overt occupation of Gaza. Palestinians situation worsened under a strangulating economic blockade and total Israeli control of borders, airspace and maritime access. Ironically, those Americans seeking a permanent end to Israeli settlement activities face a predicament similar to the Palestinians. Peace in the Middle East depends on reversing a peculiar manifestation of illegal Israeli settlements right here at home. These US settlements were built not on stolen land, but the strategic territory of US governance through violations of the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Among Israel’s first international efforts as a state was establishing an “Israel Office of Information” (IOI) in the United States in the fall of 1948. The IOI registered as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice which required it not only to file activity reports about its efforts on behalf of Israel every six months, but also place a stamp on pamphlets and other materials circulating in the US that their true origin was the Israeli government.
The IOI quickly ran into trouble. It was cited by the FARA section for failing to disclose the existence of a California office. The FBI noticed it wasn’t affixing disclosure stamps to the material it circulated. Isaiah Kenen, registered as a foreign agent of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, soon tired of such regulatory oversight and disclosures. He coordinated his IOI departure with the Israeli government from the IOI to lobby from a domestically chartered lobbying organization, the American Zionist Council (AZC). The DOJ ordered him to reregister, but he never did.
During a 1952 summit meeting, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proposed that leaders of major organizations centralize US lobbying and fundraising coordination under the American Zionist Council (AZC) rather than the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency. The AZC was a small umbrella organization that united the leadership of top organizations such as Hadassah and the Zionist Organization of America. But the AZC continued to rely heavily upon financial support from the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency in Jerusalem for public relations and lobbying until the 1960s. Between 1962-1963 a Senate and Justice Department investigation found the AZC and Kenen had received direction and the equivalent of $35 million from the Jewish Agency via its American Section in New York to lobby for US taxpayer-funded aid and arms. The Justice Department ordered the AZC to register as an Israeli foreign agent on November 21, 1962. This initiated a fierce DOJ/AZC battle that lasted until 1965, when the DOJ allowed the AZC to file a secret FARA declaration expecting it to shut down operations. The Jewish Agency was also forced shut down its American Section in New York after a rabbi and George Washington University legal scholar forced it to file its secret 1953 “covenant agreement” with the Israeli government which conferred governmental powers to the Jewish Agency.
The AZC quietly and quickly reorganized lobbying operations within its former division, internally referred to as the “Kenen Committee” (today called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC) which Isaiah Kenen led until 1975. The Jewish Agency also executed a shell company paper reshuffle, reemerging as the World Zionist Organization-American Section within the same building, with the same staff, management and publications.
Today, the most important nucleus of the Israeli government’s power in America lies far outside its Washington DC embassy, official consulates, or properly registered FARA entities. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations consists of only two key paid employees according to its 2008 charitable tax return (PDF). Like the AZC under Ben-Gurion’s mandate, the Conference of Presidents has only one true role: corralling American organizations into a US power base for the Israeli government. The Conference of President’s roster now includes such curiously named organizations as the American Friends of Likud and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs alongside old AZC mainstays such as the ZOA and Hadassah. As mandated by AIPAC’s bylaws (PDF), all Conference of Presidents member organizations are part of AIPAC’s executive committee, forming a combined grassroots lobbying might far more intimidating to the Justice Department than the old AZC.
Yet in reality, Israeli government’s newest lobbying venture is nothing more than a rebranded AZC — the stealth foreign agency relationships remain, some hidden, others not. One visible geographic linkage to the Israeli government is the Conference of Presidents offices which are located at the same 633 Third Avenue New York address as the World Zionist Organization’s American Section.
The World Zionist Organization-American Section, as the paper reincarnation of the Jewish Agency, is still compelled to register (PDF) as an Israeli foreign agent. In 2008 it spent $8,102,752, by far the largest expenditure of any registered foreign agent for Israel. Like its predecessor foreign agent, the Jewish Agency, the WZO American Section claims these large disbursements across America are mainly for “education” rather than political activity. Such claims are easily debunked.
The WZO was more accurately revealed by Israeli prosecutor Thalia Sasson in 2005 as being at the very center of illegal Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. Shimon Peres estimated that up to $50 billion was laundered into illegal settlement construction. Today WZO/Conference of Presidents “education” initiatives include organizing rabbis to effectively campaign for war on Iran, activities that are not accurately disclosed on the WZO’s disclosures to the Department of Justice.
The question of whether such Israeli-conceived plans are worth American blood and treasure are vitally important, as is rule of law. Under FARA, Americans have a clear right to full disclosure about AIPAC and the Conference of President’s political activities, public relations and transfer of things of value on behalf of their foreign principal(s). As foreign lobbying organizations emerging directly from the American Zionist Council, these leaders of the Israel lobby carry an expanding information debt to American taxpayers expected to fund their many initiatives. Yet in spite of the 1961 order by the attorney general, since March of 1965, neither has filed a single public declaration at the FARA office. This means that AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents now owe Americans 88 semiannual FARA declaration filings. For its part, the WZO must begin to accurately disclose its heavy involvement in illegal West Bank settlements, which are opposed by the Obama administration.
Given the Israel lobby’s past penchant for nondisclosure, such filings will no doubt garner a great deal of public scrutiny. Explanations for why so much classified US government information is passing between AIPAC it and its foreign principals in 1984 and 2005 have been a long time coming. These will be particularly timely and enlightening as Israel’s drumbeat for US attacks on Iran grows louder. Until they again begin to register under FARA, Israel’s principal colonization entities, the World Zionist Organization, political muscle (Conference of Presidents), and enforcer in Congress (AIPAC) are themselves illegal Israeli settlers in America.
Read more by Grant Smith
Article printed from Antiwar.com Original: http://original.antiwar.com
URL to article: http://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2009/11/27/israels%c2%a0illegal-settlements-in-america/
ARE HATE CRIME LAWS LEGALIZING TREASON?
by Jeff Gates
Winning wars in the Information Age largely depends on winning the battle for public opinion. Thus the opinion-shaping role of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) when it attacked a high profile California professor for his criticism of Israeli policy in Palestine.
That ADL intimidation campaign successfully chilled debate on campuses nationwide during several time-critical months while a new president, promising the hope of change, reassessed U.S.-Israeli relations. His only change—endorsing more Israeli settlements on Palestinian land—quashed any hope of peace.
This ADL silencing strategy offers a microcosm of how the U.S. was induced to war in Iraq based on false intelligence. From the provocation of September 11, 2001 until the invasion of March 2003, war-planners ignored, dismissed or sought to silence anyone critical of the spurious premises offered for war.
Only later did we discover that the intelligence was fixed around a preset agenda. Even now, Americans are unaware that the U.S.-led invasion had long been an Israeli goal.
Internet Under Siege
Posted By Philip Giraldi On November 18, 2009 @ 11:00 pm In Uncategorized | 54 Comments
It is ironic that President Barack Obama would travel to China and speak against government control over the internet. If the American Department of Homeland Security has its way new cybersecurity laws will enable Obama’s administration to take control of the internet in the event of a national crisis. How that national crisis might be defined would be up to the White House but there have been some precedents that suggest that the response would hardly be respectful of the Bill of Rights.
Many countries already monitor and censor the internet on a regular basis, forbidding access to numerous sites that they consider to be subversive. During recent unrest, the governments of both Iran and China effectively shut down the internet by taking control of or blocking servers. Combined with switching off of cell phone transmitters, the steps proved effective in isolating dissidents. Could it happen here? Undoubtedly. Once the laws are in place a terrorist incident or something that could be plausibly described in those terms would be all that is needed to have government officials issue the order to bring the internet to a halt.
Government intrusion in the private lives of citizens is already a reality, particularly in the so-called Western Democracies that have the necessary technology and tech-savvy manpower to tap phones and invade computers. In Europe, draconian anti-terrorism laws enable security agencies to monitor phone calls and e-mails, in many cases without any judicial oversight. In Britain the monitoring includes access to detailed internet records that are available for inspection by no less than 653 government agencies, most of which have nothing whatsoever to do with security or intelligence, all without any judicial review.
In the United States the Pentagon recently sought an internet and news “instant response capability” which it dubbed the Office of Strategic Influence and evidence is growing that it has seeded a number of retired military analysts into the major news networks to provide a pro-government slant on the war news. The State Department is also in the game, tasking young officers to engage presumed radicals in debate on their websites. There also is the warrantless wiretapping program, which continues under the Obama administration in spite of pre-electoral promises that it would be stopped, while the growing use of national security letters means that private communications carried out using the internet can be accessed by Federal law enforcement agencies. The national security letter, established by the PATRIOT Act, is an investigative tool that is particularly insidious as it does not require judicial oversight. More than 35,000 were issued by the FBI last year and the recipient of a letter commits a felony if he or she reveals the receipt of the document. In a recent case involving an internet provider in Philadelphia, a national security letter demanded all details of internet messages sent on a certain date, to include account information on clients with social security numbers and credit card references.
The free flow of information on the internet has also produced a reaction among those who are more concerned with getting out a specific message. If you have noticed the frequent appearance of bloggers and “talkbackers” on the various internet sites who write in less than perfect English and who always support attacking Iran and are defensive about Israel, sometimes overwhelming sites with garbage messages, you are not alone as it is clear that a sustained effort is underway to intimidate, influence opinion, and suppress opposing views. The United States and Israeli governments have taken the lead in putting out propaganda over the internet and there are also indications that several European countries, including Britain and Germany, are engaged in creating regulatory hurdles and countering information that they do not approve of. When the debate is open and the interlocutors are identifying themselves as government representatives one might well argue that the process is healthy as it permits a genuine exchange of views, but where the government hand is hidden the exchange should be regarded as little more than propaganda, what the old Soviet Union might well have referred to as “agitprop.”
The focus on war by other means over the internet is important, if only because it means that governments are using their vast resources to spread propaganda in a deliberate effort to confuse the debate over important foreign and domestic policy issues. Israel is at the forefront, exploiting its cutting edge telecommunications industry and enabled by its large and powerful diaspora to get out its message. Not surprisingly, its lobbies including AIPAC are also leaders in the effort, sometimes acting openly and sometimes covertly.
Israel became heavily engaged on the internet during its devastating assault on Gaza last January, when world opinion came down strongly against it, recruiting teams of young soldiers and students to blog in support of Operation Cast Lead. It has recently focused on the UN’s Goldstone Report that claimed that Tel Aviv had committed numerous war crimes in Gaza, supporting a worldwide organized campaign to discredit anyone promoting the report. The latest victim of the smear has been the respected and nonpartisan group Human Rights Watch (HRW). In June Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister pledged that his government would “dedicate time and manpower to combating” human rights organizations. Shortly afterwards Ron Dermer of the Israeli Prime Minister’s office named Human Rights Watch as one of the offending organizations. Many attacks on HRW were subsequently carried out openly using various front organizations, including NGO Monitor which is based in Jerusalem and funded by wealthy Americans. Elie Wiesel, who cashes in on his humanitarian credentials while remaining notably silent over Israeli war crimes, is on the Monitor board and has written a letter attacking HRW. Critical pieces in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times soon followed the initial attacks, commentary that was distributed widely by AIPAC on Capitol Hill and also all over the internet.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry, headed by right-wing extremist Avigdor Lieberman, runs a semi-covert program which is openly funded by the government as the “internet fighting team” but which deliberately conceals the affiliation of the “talkbackers.” Ilan Shturman coordinates the Ministry effort, which is run out of the Hasbara Department, “hasbara” being a Hebrew word that is normally translated as propaganda. Shturman’s young and enthusiastic employees work from a prepared script of official Israeli government positions. They are instructed not to identify themselves either as Israelis or as government employees. There have been numerous applicants to work for Shturman. An Israeli source reports that one applicant emphasized his own qualifications, writing “I’m fluent in several languages and I’m able to spew forth bullsh*t for hours on end.”
But there is also concern that the program will further distort the news cycle which is already suffering from deliberately misleading government leaks, making it impossible to discern what information that is surfacing is being fabricated. One Israeli critic of the Foreign Ministry program has described it as part of a “thought police state.” And the effort is increasingly international in nature. During the attack on Gaza, Shturman headed an effort to obtain the assistance of Jews abroad, recruiting a “few thousand” to work with his Israeli volunteers to bombard hostile websites with Israel-friendly commentary. Much of the chatter is in English, though the teams also work in the other principal European languages. Recent immigrants from the Israeli government’s Ministry of Absorption have been recruited and used to attack sites in their own more exotic native languages.
The Israeli government program is expected to increase. A private advocacy group called Give Israel Your United Support has a reported 50,000 activists who use a specially developed software called megaphone that sends an alert when anti-Israeli commentary appears, permitting supporters to bombard the hostile site with their own comments. In July, 5,000 members of the World Union of Jewish Students were given the megaphone software. There are also reports that several American Christian evangelical groups have indicated that they are interested in helping the cause. The goal is to have hundreds of thousands of activists worldwide who are prepared to place messages supportive of Israel.
The danger is real. Most Americans who are critical of the actions of their own government rely on the internet for information that is uncensored and often provocative, including sites like Antiwar.com. As the United States generally follows Israeli initiatives for security it is likely only a matter of time before Obama’s internet warfare teams surface either at the Defense Department or at State. Deliberately overloading and attacking the internet to damage its credibility is all too possible; witness the numerous sites that have been “hacked” and have had to shut down or restrict their activities. American citizens who are concerned about maintaining their few remaining liberties should sound the alarm and tell the politicians that we don’t need more government advice on what we should think and do. Hands off the internet.
Read more by Philip Giraldi
Article printed from Antiwar.com Original: http://original.antiwar.com
URL to article: http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2009/11/18/internet-under-siege/
Israel lobby goes after Human Rights Watch
Election hate row explodes | The Jewish Chronicle
Britain’s Inquiry into the Iraq War and the Israel Lobby Taboo (see the UK Independent newspaper commentary piece by Richard Ingrams which is linked in the comments section at the bottom of the following URL):
Richard Ingrams’s Week: Will Zionists’ links to Iraq invasion be brushed aside?
UK ready to ‘alter legal system to appease Israel’
Zionist Control of Britain’s Government: 1940-2009 by William A. Cook
Is there a revolt brewing against the pro-Israel lobby in Britain?:
C4’s Dispatches has been branded ‘antisemitic’, but surely Britain’s Jewish community can cope with reasoned scrutiny?
Lawyer: 9/11 defendants want platform for views
NEW YORK – The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday.
Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but “would explain what happened and why they did it.”
The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this month that Ali and four other men accused of murdering nearly 3,000 people in the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. will face a civilian federal trial just blocks from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.
Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi, is a nephew of professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Mohammed, Ali and the others will explain “their assessment of American foreign policy,” Fenstermaker said.
“Their assessment is negative,” he said.
Fenstermaker met with Ali last week at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He has not spoken with the others but said the men have discussed the trial among themselves.
Fenstermaker was first quoted in The New York Times in Sunday’s editions.
Critics of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try the men in a New York City civilian courthouse have warned that the trial would provide the defendants with a propaganda platform.
Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said Sunday that while the men may attempt to use the trial to express their views, “we have full confidence in the ability of the courts and in particular the federal judge who may preside over the trial to ensure that the proceeding is conducted appropriately and with minimal disruption, as federal courts have done in the past.”
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Holder for hours about his decision to send the five 9/11 suspects to New York for trial.
Critics of Holder’s decision — mostly Republicans — argued the trial will give Mohammed and his co-defendants a world stage to spout hateful rhetoric. Holder said such concerns are misplaced, and any pronouncements by the suspects would only make them look worse.
“I have every confidence that the nation and the world will see him for the coward that he is,” Holder told the committee. “I’m not scared of what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has to say at trial — and no one else needs to be, either.”
The attorney general said he does not believe holding the trial in New York — at a federal courthouse that has seen a number of high-profile terrorism trials in recent decades — will increase the risk of terror attacks there.
One can bet that the pro-Israel biased ‘American’ media won’t even touch the primary motivation (US support of Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinians as conveyed via the following youtube and on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report) for the tragic attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11:
What motivated the 9/11 hijackers? See testimony most didn’t
The Bottom Line (to the Afghan quagmire)
We are talking about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s motivation (as he was the plotter of 9/11) and such was US support for Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinians just as it was for his nephew (Ramzi Yousef) with the 1993 attack on the WTC. Again, simply look up ‘Israel as a terrorist’s motivation’ in the index of James Bamford’s ‘A Pretext for War’ book if interested further:
Purpose of the 9/11 Attacks:
“Sit Down!” The Power to Silence the Truth about 9/11 Part 2
9/11 and Wrong Policy, what the 9/11 Commission Report did to us:
Additional at the following URL:
The Media Trend of Omitting Motive for 1993 & 9/11 Attacks
Additional at the following URLs:
Accused 911 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed faces New York trial
Gorilla in the Room is US Support for Israel:
Ray McGovern: Shining Light on Roots of Terrorism
Iran begins war games to protect nuclear sites
Iran to test new air defense system