Archive | December 4th, 2010

NOVANEWS**NOVANEWS

NOVANEWS

Israelify the US? Not if you Like the Constitution

By Michael Khaled for MIFTAH

In the wake of the controversy which just passed in the U.S. over full body scans and more hands-on pat down procedures in airports, some pundits and security “experts” are calling for the Israelification of American airports.

These supporters sing praises of the system in place Israel’s single international airport. They say it is focused more on actual security rather than “security theatre,” yet I would argue that Israelification already has a firm foothold in America, and not just in our airports. The increasing normalization of war crimes conducted and justified in the name of fighting terror, the growing specter of the security state with the patriot act and warrantless wiretaps, ascendance of the “clash of civilizations” worldview among Americans pitting East versus West, and the parallel growth of Islamophobia have all pulled the American mindset closer to the Israelis’.

American airports also seem to have copied one title aspect of the Israeli screening system though certainly in a more discerning and less blatant way, namely racial profiling.

Reports of Muslims and Middle Easterners being harassed at airports, kicked off flights on suspicion or making other passengers uncomfortable, and targeted for extra security shot up after 9/11 and remain frequent. Anecdotally, I can tell you as a Palestinian American Muslim that every time I have flown in the States, I would be singled out for the “random” extra screening. When I fly internationally I can always expect to be escorted to the Homeland Security Office where I generally wait for at least a couple hours to be interviewed about my trips abroad.

Now my experience can be explained away by the authorities because most of the traveling abroad I do is in Syria and the tense relations between it and America. Yet the pundits today calling for even more of the same don’t seem to understand the depth of what they are asking for.

Rafi Sela, the Israeli president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy, compared American and Israeli security procedures in an interview with the Toronto Star. He said Israel’s six layers of security hinges on “behavioral profiling” rather than screening for physical threats alone like Americans.

Starting at the gate before even approaching the terminal, security officials stop every vehicle coming to the airport and look for signs of distress or nervousness from the occupants. Armed guards outside the terminal observe people as they move towards the doors also looking for suspicious behavior. At the gates, security agents “randomly” select certain passengers to be searched and pass through a metal detector. Inside, while waiting for the baggage scan, an interviewer conducts a 30-second interview, again looking for suspicious behavior and flags some passengers for an extra screening. Before checking in, all luggage is scanned in an X-ray machine. Finally, the last step is the body and hand luggage search much similar to the standard one-step American search except you can keep your shoes on.

“Even today with the heightened security in North American, they will check your items to death.” Sela said. “But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes … and that’s how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys.”

In all, it should take most passengers no more than 25 minutes to get from the curb to the airport lounge, according to the Toronto Star. Yet the glaring deficiency in the whole system is that the system focused on profiling relies on the subjective judgment of the security guards who choose who to give extra attention to and who not. The screening practices take little effort to hide that race, religion and national origin are some of the main factors that determine the level of intrusion and hassle a person will face. For Jews, 25-minutes may be accurate but for everyone else, that quote is laughably false.

I wrote previously about my four-hour ordeal leaving through Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport, where my heritage and religion was one of the first topics the interviewer in the terminal asked about (I’ve learned to not be surprised by the racial questions any more). In all, I had to go through two luggage searches by hand, two pat downs, and four questionings.

Even if the system in place at Ben Gurion International could be copied to the hundreds of airports across the U.S. the blatant discrimination used in the screening process would clearly be unconstitutional. The focus is on the physical threat a person can pose to the airplane and its passengers preventing the possibility of arbitrary, subjective harassment that certain passengers face in the Israeli system.

No one should be more or less likely to be suspected or scrutinized by law enforcement because of their race or religion. Beyond that principle though, any system that profiles based on race, national origin or religion is doomed to be more harmful to the innocent targets than its purported benefits would warrant.

Not only would it be harmful to the individual rights of the thousands of innocent Muslim and Middle Eastern travelers who would become targets of such a system, it would also damage the cooperative relationship the American law enforcement authorities have spent years fostering with the Muslim community. In Israel, there is almost no cooperation between the authorities and the Palestinian and Muslim communities because of the mutual suspicion and distrust caused by generations of being targets of an ethnocentric regime.

This leads to the meat of why Israel is OK with racial profiling but America should never adopt such policies. Israel’s goal is the security and advancement of the Jewish people exclusively, only one of the many national groups which live under its authority. As such Israeli authorities can target members of the various out-groups without fear of violating the foundational, Zionist, principle that Jews and Jewish interests come first in Israel even while Israel purports itself to be a democracy for all its citizens.

In America, the guiding principals are in the Constitution, and the values of pluralistic democracy. Like Israel, it is a nation of immigrants; yet America has reached a level of maturity that it at least aspires to an ideal of equality among all its citizens and subjects, even if it falls short in so many cases.

Israel has never been able to approve a constitution as it would require Israelis to rectify their split personality as either Jewish or democratic. To Israelis racial or religious discrimination is no threat, in fact it can be seen as helpful, because the country is based on raising one nation above others, a completely un-American ideal.

Khaled is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). He can be contacted at mid@miftah.org.

 

New York Times  Stokes Fear of Iran

 
by Ray McGovern, antiwar.com
  

From the very large photo dominating page nine of the New York Times of Nov. 29, you can just tell from the look on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s face, not to mention the endless ranks of military officers standing in rows behind him, that Iran is determined to build a nuclear weapon. Anyone can tell. It’s obvious, right?

Never mind the doubting Thomases in those 16 U.S. intelligence agencies who — this time at least — have been demanding actual evidence before reversing their “high confidence” three years ago that Iran had stopped work on the warhead in the fall of 2003 and their belief that the work hadn’t resumed.

But can’t everyone tell from the defiant look on Ahmadinejad’s face that the Iranian president is a menace to us all?

I know someone will ask about those 19 advanced missiles Iran supposedly bought from North Korea. After all, we have a photo of them in a parade in North Korea, which proves this “mystery missile” really exists — despite some missile experts believing the North Koreans were just wheeling around a mock-up of the missile, not the real thing.

But the missiles — or the mock-ups — still looked real enough to be cited by the likes of Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman to highlight the grave threat from Iran.

And the New York Times editors don’t want to let up on what’s become their long campaign to rally the nation behind regime change for Iran, much as the Times and many other leading U.S. newspapers pumped for regime change in Iraq. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Pushes Confrontation with Iran.”]

So, with the new WikiLeaks documents, the Times highlighted how Sunni Arab leaders and Israelis alike have “Sharp Distress Over a Nuclear Iran,” as the Times offered little context regarding the long history of the often hysterical hostility against Shiite-ruled Iran that has emanated from Riyadh as well as Tel Aviv. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Cables Hold Clues to US-Iran Mysteries.“]

If you’re a Times editor who knows it’s smart to go with the flow, don’t forget to post the missile-parade photo in color on the NYT‘s Web page, making the menacing missiles seem even more dangerous, dripping with bright red blood-color paint on the payload tips. Yes, and give it a scary title, say, “Iran Fortifies Its Arsenal With the Aid of North Korea.”

And don’t forget to tell the reader that “advanced missiles from North Korea … could let [Iran] strike at Western European capitals and Moscow and help it [sic, presumably Iran, not Moscow] develop more formidable long-range ballistic missiles.”

Lusting After Real Evidence

It’s just too bad that U.S. intelligence can’t snap some satellite photos showing those missiles actually being in Iran. It’s a sure bet that if Washington had such images, they’d be all over the place, whether “classified” or not.

Though Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld may be long gone, his dictum still applies: “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” No satellite images or other hard evidence? No problem.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could perhaps track down those graphic artists who offered up the “renderings” of Iraq’s non-existent mobile biological weapons labs that Secretary Colin Powell cited in his infamous United Nations speech in 2003.

And if war with Iran does comes – as many powerful people around the world apparently hope – and if there’s no subsequent discovery of any nuclear weapons program, perhaps President Barack Obama can blame the Iranians for not proving their program didn’t exist, much as President George W. Bush blamed Iraqi leaders for not convincing him that they really didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.

Or retired Gen. James R. Clapper, who’s now Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, might reprise his explanation for not finding any WMD caches in Iraq, namely that they must have been shipped to Syria — or in Iran’s case, perhaps Turkmenistan.

Consider that the Times had several weeks to get the “long-range missiles from North Korea” story right, or at least to include the doubts from missile experts. But authors William J. Broad, James Glanz and David E. Sanger decided to cherry-pick the evidence within one WikiLeaks-released cable to highlight one version — the version U.S. officials were pushing with their Russian counterparts who didn’t believe them.

And the Times has yet to let its readers in on the fuller story.

To its credit, on Dec. 1, the Washington Post decided it had to be a tad more honest. “Experts cast doubt on Iran missile cache” was the headline of a surprisingly contrite article placed above the fold on page one, no less!

Post writers John Pomfret and Walter Pincus laid out so many problems with the U.S. side of the case that readers should have been just as incredulous about the missile claims as the Russians were.

“There is no indication that the Musudan [the “missile” paraded by the North Koreans on Oct. 10] is operational or that it has ever been tested,” the Post article noted. “Iran has never publicly displayed the missiles, according to experts and a senior U.S. intelligence official, some of whom doubt the missiles were ever transferred to Iran. Experts who analyzed Oct. 10 photographs of the Musudan said it appeared to be a mock-up.”

Later, the Post‘s article quotes a senior U.S. intelligence official saying, “There has been a flow of knowledge and missile parts” from North Korea, “but sale of such an actual missile does not check out.”

And those familiar with the dubious reputation of the German tabloid Bild Zeitung may be more than a little surprised that U.S. government officials told their Russian counterparts that Washington was relying “on news reports” — specifically from Bild Zeitung “as proof” of the sale of 19 advanced missiles by North Korea to Iran. 

It turns out that U.S. officials were being even more imaginative than Bild, which quoted German intelligence sources as saying that Iran had purchased 18 kits made up of missile components — not 19 of the missiles themselves.

Thielmann Comments

Greg Thielmann, formerly State Department intelligence director for strategic systems and now with the Arms Control Association, posted his own take on the case of the “mysterious missile” on Nov. 30:

“Bilateral interagency discussions about Iranian and North Korean missiles with a Russian delegation in Washington on December 22, 2009, revealed significant differences between U.S. and Russian assessments of the threat, according to a SECRET State Department cable released by Wikileaks. 

“The substance of the detailed discussions challenged some of the missile threat estimate timelines most commonly heard in U.S. political circles…

“So far, the U.S. press seems to have passed over some of the most interesting elements in the cable, highlighting instead the U.S. claim that Iran had obtained 19 missiles from North Korea, based on the R-27 (SS-N-6), a Russian submarine-launched design from the 1960s. Notable exceptions to this common story line can be found in the commentary of David Hoffman and Gareth Porter.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Takes US Side in Iran Missile Flap.”]

Thielmann continued: “Both the New York Times and the [initial] Washington Post coverage led with the 19 imported missiles angle and left an impression of imminent danger not merited by the specifics in the cable. For example, the New York Times declared: ‘[Iran] has in its arsenal…’

“The Washington Post carried an Associated Press story, leading with: ‘[Iran] has received advanced North Korean missiles capable of targeting Western European capitals and giving the Islamic Republic’s arsenal a significantly farther reach than previously disclosed.’

“This language implies that those missiles are ready for operational use. However, the text of the cable makes clear this is not the case. Moreover, independent studies such as the May 2010 IISS dossier, ‘Iran’s Ballistic Missile Capabilities’ and the report’s principal drafter, Michael Elleman, have noted that Iran or North Korea would have to introduce some ‘very significant changes’ and conduct multiple flight tests if they wanted to use this missile type as a mobile platform …

“According to the leaked cable, the U.S. admitted it had not seen the missile in Iran and both sides agreed there had been no flight tests of the system in Iran or North Korea; the Russians even expressed doubt that the missiles exist.

“Experts will differ on whether Moscow’s focus on current operational threats or Washington’s on technically feasible future threats is most relevant for policy makers.  But looking back on a cable reporting a meeting from the end of last year, Russian skepticism about U.S. projections for Iranian capabilities seems warranted. 

“With regard to the most capable solid-fueled MRBM Iran has flight-tested to date, the Sejjil-2, ‘The U.S. said that it would not be surprised if a two-stage [solid] system with a range up to 2,000 km were fielded within a year, at least in limited numbers.’ That system was not fielded in 2010. In fact, the Iranians did not even conduct a single flight-test of any medium-range ballistic missile all year long.”

And so it goes.

 

Read more by Ray McGovern

 

WikiLeaks Exposes Israeli Mafia’s Growing Influence

Cable reveals Mafia-government connection — But US media don’t care to dig for the story

 

by Justin Raimondo,

www.antiwar.com

I love how the pundits are yawning over the latest WikiLeaks revelations: oh, there’s nothing to see here, it’s all so boring, no “smoking gun,” so let’s just move right along. These people are just plain lazy: they want “scoops” delivered to their front doors, all neatly packaged and labeled as such. In short, they don’t want to have to do any work, beyond the usual cut-and-paste. Which is why a lot of the really juicy stuff coming out of WikiLeaks continues to elude them.  

Take, for example, this excerpt from a cable dated May 15, 2009 — entitled “Israel, A Promised Land for Organized Crime?” – sent by our embassy in Tel Aviv, which deals with the rising influence of Israeli organized crime: 

“As recently as March 2009, Zvika Ben Shabat, Yaacov Avitan, and Tzuri Roka requested visas to attend a ‘security-related convention’ in Las Vegas. According to local media reports, all three had involvement with OC. Post asked the applicants to provide police reports for any criminal records in Israel, but without such evidence there is no immediate ineligibility for links to OC. Luckily, all three have so far failed to return for continued adjudication of their applications. Nevertheless, it is fair to assume that many known OC figures hold valid tourist visas to the United States and travel freely.” 

What are organized crime figures doing showing up at a “security-related convention” in Las Vegas? Well, it seems Mr. Zvika Ben Shabat is the President of “H.A.Sh Security Group,” an Israeli company that offers security services worldwide. Indeed, they just signed an agreement to start a joint venture with India’s giant Micro-Technologies, a company which is described as follows: 

“Micro Technologies was established by Dr. [P.] Shekhar, who served as the person in charge on behalf of the Indian Government for advancement and development of the technology and software field in India (First Director Software Technology Park in India), and his company deals with the development of technologies and is already active in many markets around the world, amongst which are:  Denmark, Brussels, Italy, New York, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and more.  The company has security technologies for identification and monitoring of cell phones, vehicles, structures, computers, infrastructures and WIFI technologies.” 

In other words, they specialize in snooping, otherwise known as spying. The first Micro Technologies/H.A. Sh Security Group project is a “command and control center” to be built in Mumbai, India. As for what theH.A.Sh Security Group specializes in, well, take a look at these Youtube videos: herehere, and here, for starters. And get a load of who is the Chairman of H.A.Sh Security: none other than retired Major General Dan Ronen, whose resume appears here:  

“2001-2003 – Israel Police: Head of the Operations Division, with the rank of Major General; Coordination of activities of all police units in the operational field; Coordination with the General Security Service and IDF units in the battle against terrorism; 2004-2007 – Israel Police: Commander of Northern Region (the largest of the police regions); Responsible for liaison and coordination vis-à-vis heads of local authorities; Responsible for leading and commanding the overall forces and systems during the second Lebanon War, in missions involving defense of the residents in the northern home front; Areas of Expertise: Combat against terrorism and suicide bombers coordination and operation of emergency and rescue organizations Combat against crime and crime organizations.” 

Gen. Ronen is listed as the Chairman of H.A.Sh Security Group, with Mr. Ben Shabat, variously described [pdf] as the President, Vice-President, and Director. So why is one of Israel’s former top cops in a business relationship with a known member of the Israeli Mafia? 

Enquiring minds want to know! 

Ominously, the cable goes on to bemoan the fact that Israeli organized crime figures are no longer automatically prevented from entering the US due to a change in the rules. As the author, someone named Cunningham, notes in an appended comment entitled “OC [Organized Crime] Slipping Through the Consular Cracks”: 

“Given the growing reach and lethal methods of Israeli OC, blocking the travel of known OC figures to the United States is a matter of great concern to Post. Through collaboration with Israeli and U.S. law enforcement authorities, Post has developed an extensive database and placed lookouts for OC figures and their foot soldiers. Nevertheless, the above visa cases demonstrate the challenges that have arisen since the termination of the Visas Shark in September 2008. Unlike OC groups from the former Soviet Union, Italy, China, and Central America, application of INA 212(a)(3)(A)(ii) against Israeli OC is not specifically authorized per Foreign Affairs Manual 40.31 N5.3. As such, Israelis who are known to work for or belong to OC families are not automatically ineligible for travel to the United States.” 

“Visas Shark” was apparently a program that effectively excluded organized crime figures from the US, and its termination is noted here: instead, the embassy must go through a complex bureaucratic procedure in order to exclude a suspected organized crime member. First, the consular official must determine that a “reasonable suspicion” exists to identify a visa applicant as a member of an organized crime syndicate, and then the matter goes back to the State Department’s “Office of Legislation, Regulations, and Advisory Assistance,” which will then determine if a “reason to believe” the derogatory information on the applicant exists. A whole laundry list of possible “reasons to believe” are listed, including  

“Acknowledgement of membership by the individual, …actively working to further the organization’s aims in a way to suggest close affiliation; Receiving financial support or recognition from the organization; Determination of membership by a competent court;  Statement from local or U.S. law enforcement authorities that the individual is a member; Frequent association with other members;  Voluntarily displaying symbols of the organization; and participating in the organization’s activities, even if lawful.” 

Yet it was due to media reports that the author of the cable determined the connection of Messrs Ben Shabat, Avitan, and Roka to organized crime. Is this good enough to have a “reason to believe”? Ask the Office of Legislation, Regulation, and Advisory Assistance – which is what our embassy in Tel Aviv (and, indeed, our embassies all around the world) must do before they can refuse a visa to an applicant on that basis.  

Not that the Israeli Mafia has had any problem entering the United States in the past – and  making its presence felt. As Fox News’ Carl Cameron reported on December 17, 2001: 

“Los Angeles, 1997, a major local, state and federal drug investigating sours. The suspects: Israeli organized crime with operations in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Canada, Israel and Egypt. The allegations: cocaine and ecstasy trafficking, and sophisticated white-collar credit card and computer fraud.  
 
“The problem: according to classified law enforcement documents obtained by Fox News, the bad guys had the cops’ beepers, cell phones, even home phones under surveillance. Some who did get caught admitted to having hundreds of numbers and using them to avoid arrest.  
 
“This compromised law enforcement communications between LAPD detectives and other assigned law enforcement officers working various aspects of the case. The organization discovered communications between organized crime intelligence division detectives, the FBI and the Secret Service. 
 
“Shock spread from the DEA to the FBI in Washington, and then the CIA. An investigation of the problem, according to law enforcement documents, concluded, ‘The organization has apparent extensive access to database systems to identify pertinent personal and biographical information.’”
 

Israel’s hi-tech military sector is booming in the midst of a world economic downturn, and the “homeland security” industry is something they’ve jumped into head first, as Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania knows all too well. It was Rendell who hired them to oversee Pennsylvania’s security – until it was revealed they were spying on legal citizens groups who were protesting the construction of a local power plant. Israeli “security” firms are operating all over the US, as well as abroad, in airports, and government facilities, and if Israeli organized crime is now a factor in that booming industry, then surely that’s a major security concern – or ought to be.  

Cameron’s four-part Fox News investigation into Israeli spying in the US seemed to posit a connection between the Israeli government and the Israeli Mafia, and, thanks to WikiLeaks, we can now see the link made visible. The Gen. Ronen-Ben Shabat connection, through the H.A.Sh Security Group, shows Cameron’s reporting was based on more than a mere suspicion. Given the additional information provided by this cable, it is reasonable to believe a corrupted segment of the Israeli military-law enforcement establishment has literally gone into business with Israeli organized crime.  
 
If that isn’t scary — and newsworthy — I don’t know what is. Yet our laid-back pundits, and “journalists” — who want a story delivered on a silver platter — complain that there’s nothing really new to be found in the WikiLeaks cables.  

That’s because they aren’t looking.

 

 

Thirty-Nine Congressmen Can’t Be Wrong

 

by Philip Giraldi,

www.antiwar.com

A former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer has written a well reasoned op-ed explaining that throwing concessions and gifts to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in an attempt to obtain relatively minor concessions on his part is precisely the wrong policy to pursue.  Kurtzer notes that the deal will be a major shift in policy “…the first direct benefit that the United States has provided Israel for settlement activities that we have opposed for more than 40 years” and he asks “Does anyone really believe that there is a substantive connection between a three month settlement freeze and Israel’s professed need for more airplanes?”

Netanyahu, who despises President Barack Obama, has rightly seen the cajoling by the United States as weakness and as the consequence of failure by Washington to articulate any coherent policy in the Middle East, meaning that he knows that Israel has been empowered to get away with virtually anything it might demand.  Netanyahu has obligingly gone to the whack jobs and wing nuts in his own rickety right wing coalition and asked them to present him with a wish list for Washington, confident that Hanukkah has already begun and Christmas is right around the corner. 

The latest demand appears to be freedom for Israeli spy Jonathan Jay Pollard, who is an Israeli citizen, has a holiday named after him, and is regarded as a national hero in many right wing Zionist circles.  That Israel is completely dependent on Washington for its security and on the American taxpayer for its high standard of living has never inhibited the country’s security service Mossad from using agents like Pollard to steal everything not nailed down from the United States.  Pollard currently is spending his time in a federal prison in North Carolina for walking off with a roomful of American top secrets in exchange for money back in the 1980s.  I have already described the astonishing damage that he did as well as the reasons why he should never be released but politicians have short memories and President Obama appears to have no memory at all, so if he is pressed by the friends of Israel to release Pollard he will no doubt contrive some weasel worded explanation why it is in America’s interest to do so.  And he will do it with a straight face, almost certainly saying something about peace on earth and good will towards men.

And Obama would not be alone in his beneficence.  For those who think it inconceivable that a large number of congressmen might petition seeking clemency for a convicted foreign spy who did enormous damage to the United States, think again. Pollard has recently obtained the services of Barney Frank and thirty-eight other Democratic congressmen who have signed on to a letter coordinated with a number of Jewish groups.  They apparently believe that the poor guy has suffered enough in service to his country, which is of course Israel, making one wonder why American politicians should feel the pain.  But no matter, as we all know where the faux compassion comes from.

Arguing that Pollard should be released because he was only helping a friend and ally, the incredibly plucky splendid little democracy in the Middle East, has not worked up until now, so the congressmen have adopted a slightly different line.  They are arguing that Pollard has shown “remorse” and that his punishment is disparate vis-à-vis others who have committed similar crimes.  They contend that the years already spent in prison have been “sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence.”  They deleted a line from the first draft of the letter that suggested that the release of Pollard would help the Middle East peace process, possibly because even they realized that no one would believe it.

Well congressmen, the truth is that both Pollard and his wife Anne have bragged about the information he provided to Israel while he has never expressed contrition about spying against his country of birth.  He has persisted in the big lie that he provided the intelligence only to help Israel against its enemies instead of for money and has also incorrectly maintained that he merely stole information that would be of use in Israel’s defense.  If there is any remorse being expressed by Jonathan Jay Pollard, it is over his having to spend twenty-five years in prison.

And as for the deterrence value, it is somewhat hard to imagine what that might be as people who spy for Israel continue to be let off with a slap on the wrist or even less because the Justice Department refuses to prosecute even after FBI agents labor to make a viable case.  Ben Ami Kadish, who passed defense secrets to the same Mossad agent handler that worked with Pollard, was recently fined and freed without any jail time.  Pollard is, in fact, the only Israeli spy to have done any hard time in a federal prison in spite of the fact that hundreds of Tel Aviv’s agents, including numerous Americans and Israeli “movers” detected red handed during 9/11, have been caught in the act.  There are no other spies from “non-adversarial” nations, to use the phrase employed in the congressional letter, who have done anything at all comparable to what Pollard has done.  Pollard is unique and, given the magnitude of the crime he committed and the fact that Israel is the major recipient of foreign aid from the US, he should rot in prison.

But a far better reason why Pollard should never be released is the failure of Israel to comply with the agreement it made with the United States Justice Department in the aftermath of his arrest.  Israel long denied that Pollard was an Israeli spy, claiming instead that he was being run by a rogue operation without official sanction.  Nevertheless, the Israeli government entered into a secret agreement with Washington because of concerns that the US might issue federal warrants for the identified Israeli case officers who had handled Pollard, some of whom were not protected by diplomatic status and might be seized by US Marshals anywhere in the world.

Key to US willingness to enter into the agreement was Israel’s agreement to return the documents stolen by Pollard so a damage assessment could be conducted. But it failed to do so.  The team sent to Israel by the US Navy to investigate the crime was harassed, intimidated, and threatened with violence.  Its luggage was clandestinely searched and personal possessions were stolen.  It returned to Washington with a few dozen low level documents that were among the Pollard haul, meaning that the US will never know the true extent of the betrayal.

The 39 congressmen who signed the Pollard letter might well first consider the failure of Israel to live up to its agreements before demanding yet another bribe to reward its bad behavior.  Rather than attempting to appease Bibi Netanyahu and the kleptocrats who surround him, they should first think of what the United States national interest might be. They should be reminded that they do not represent Israel, having been elected by American voters and supported in their posturings by the long suffering US taxpayer.  They should for once not seek more concessions for Israel but should instead demand that Tel Aviv comply with what it has agreed to do.  If they cannot do that, they do not deserve to sit in the Congress of the United States of America.

 

Mass evacuations as huge blaze threatens Haifa

Over 13,000 residents moved to safety as brushfire sweeps across northern Israel, leaving 40 dead.

Mass evacuations were continuing across northern Israel in the early hours of Friday morning as dry easterly winds fanned a massive brushfire towards the city of Haifa.

Over 13,000 residents, including 600 prison inmates, were evacuated as the blaze raged out of control, devastating hundreds of acres of pine forest as flames swept down the slopes of the Carmel plateau towards Israel’s third largest city.

fire - Hagai Frid - December 2 2010 Firefighters from all over the country battle a massive fire raging across the northern Carmel region.
Photo by: Hagai Frid

By mid-evening Thursday, fire chiefs had admitted publicly that they had lost control of the fire, believed to have started in an illegal landfill site.

As the flames neared the city limits, residents of Denya, an affluent district of Haifa – a busy port city and the north’s economic heartland – were moved to safety.

At around 4:00 A.M., local time, firefighters said the blaze had reached Highway 4, a major traffic artery linking the north with Tel Aviv, but that they had succeeded in stopping the blaze from spreading further.

A number of neighboring countries dispatched firefighting aircraft to help tackle the blaze, the first of which were expected to reach Israel at around 7:00 A.M.

Earlier, 40 were killed when a bus carrying prison service trainees to assist in the evacuation was engulfed by fire after a falling tree blocked its path.

Two firefighters and a policeman were also among the dead. Elsewhere, at least two more fire crew were reported missing, while the Haifa district police chief was among the injured.

Across the region, traffic crawled to a standstill, with balck smoke and flames visible for miles around.

The blaze broke out shortly before lunchtime and spread rapidly across the tinder-dry Carmel countryside, parched by the hottest November in Israel in 60 years.

One of the first residential areas to be evacuated was Kibbutz Beit Oren, where all 400 residents reached safety before the entire collective farm was razed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said evacuations would continue and that authorities would take no risks where civilian lives were in danger.

“Evacuations will be conducted as needed, with sufficient advance warning. We do not want any more injuries,” he Netanyahu, who called an emergency cabinet meeting for Friday morning.

As the fire raged on, the town Isfiyeh, a center for Israel’s Druze community, much of which is concentrated in the Carmel mountains, was next to be evacuated.

Police also evacuated prisoners from Prison 6 and Carmel Prison, as well as students in Haifa University dormitories, who were transferred to a nearby high school.

Some 200 patients from the Tirat Hacarmel psychiatric hospital were also evacuated.

 

Turkey offers Israel help in controlling fire despite tense relations

Officials in Turkish embassy in U.S. say Israel accepted two firefighting aircraft, say Turkey was one of the first governments to offer help.

Turkish officials in Washington said Thursday that Turkey has offered to send Israel two firefighting aircraft to help control the huge brushfire that has been raging through northern Israel.

“Israel has accepted the offer and ours was, I guess, one of the first governments to offer help,” the spokesperson of the Turkish embassy in the United States told Haaretz.

erdogan - Reuters - December 1 2010 Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Photo by: Reuters

After the fire resulted in the death of 40 people and kept raging into the night on Thursday, Israel has turned to foreign countries in search of firefighting aircraft needed to control the blaze.

Israel asked the United States and other European countries for urgent help in taming the flames by sending firefighting aircraft.

Turkey’s offer comes as its relations with Israel have deteriorated in recent years and reached a low point last May when nine Turkish citizens were killed as Israeli naval commandos boarded a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

 

Former Chief of Staff Halutz enters politics

Dan Halutz, who commanded IDF forces during the Second Lebanon War, officially joins center-right party Kadima.

Former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz joined the political party Kadima on Thursday. Without any media fanfare, Halutz filled out the requisite forms and handed them to Kadima general manager Moshe Shchori, then left the premises.

Soon after he officially joined Kadima, party chair Tzipi Livni spoke with Halutz and congratulated him on his decision. “This is a time of important decisions on the future of the State of Israel, and Kadima is the true alternative that will take Israel into a better future,” Livni said to Halutz.

halutz - Alon Ron - September 12 2010 Dan Halutz, September 12, 2010.
Photo by: Alon Ron

“I bless you on your joining the members of Kadima, together with them we will change this country. Your joining today is another sign of a movement of people that is getting larger and stronger, a movement that identifies with Kadima’s ideals,” Livni told Halutz.

This past summer, Haaretz reported that Halutz managed to raise donations to the tune of NIS 391,000 in only three weeks. Halutz submitted a report to the State Comptroller explaining that these sums were raised to support his candidacy in the Kadima party primaries. Most of the money came from Chicago Jewish businessman Jeffrey Silverman.

Soon after his fundraising success was revealed, Halutz attended a Kadima party conference for the first time, held in Herzliya. At that time, Halutz denied that his presence held political significance, telling Haaretz, “All I did was go to hear a great man speak, Tony Blair.”

 

JCSER: “Israeli Police Used Dogs In Attacking Homeowners In Jerusalem”

The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights in Jerusalem (JCSER) reported that Israeli policemen used dogs during their Tuesday attack against Palestinian homeowners as the police attacked their homes before demolishing them earlier in the day in Al Esawiyya, in occupied East Jerusalem.

by Saed Bannoura, IMEMC–The Research and Documentation Unit of the JCSER reported that resident Mohammad Robin, an owner of a print house that was demolished Tuesday was attacked by dogs unleashed by the police while he was trying to get his father and equipment from the print house.

The dogs attacked and bit the two while the police used pepper spray against them before beating the wife of Mohammad. The police also fired gas bombs during the attack.

The center said that the police used excessive force against the residents who protested the attack. Policemen also broke into a number of homes.

The Jerusalem municipality also demolished two rooms built using wood and bricks, and also demolished a home in Sheikh Jarrah after violently breaking into it and forcing the resident out.

The police also fired gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets at residents protesting in the area

The center slammed the excessive use of force against the residents who became homeless due to an illegal policy.

Also on Tuesday, the police demolished a home that belongs to the family of Nour
Sub Laban, in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem.

The family was not at home when the police broke into it and demolished it without waiting for the owners to return and evacuate their furniture and belongings.

The Jerusalem Municipality claimed that its workers recently placed the demolish order on the main door of the home.

Furthermore, a warehouse was demolished in Shu’fat town, north of Jerusalem, and the police handed an order against a five-story home in Ras Khamis, in occupied East Jerusalem.

Iran: IAEA responsible for assassination of nuclear experts

 

 

Vienna – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is partly to blame for the recent killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist and for the injury of another professor, a senior Iranian diplomat charged Thursday.

Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told reporters that nuclear experts who had cooperated with the Vienna-based agency had found their names on UN sanctions lists and now had to fear for their lives.

‘Of course the agency is responsible also,’ the ambassador said, blaming the IAEA for passing on the victims’ names.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has charged Israel and Western governments were linked to the attacks.

University professor Majid Shahriari was killed and fellow nuclear scientist Fereydoun Abbasi was injured in two attacks Monday in Tehran.

Abbasi was listed by the United Nations Security Council in a 2007 sanctions resolution as a senior Defence Ministry scientist.

 

Government reports violations of limits on spying aimed at U.S. citizens

(Washington Post) The federal government has repeatedly violated legal limits governing the surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to previously secret internal documents obtained through a court battle by the American Civil Liberties Union.

In releasing 900 pages of documents, U.S. government agencies refused to say how many Americans’ telephone, e-mail or other communications have been intercepted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – or FISA – Amendments Act of 2008, or to discuss any specific abuses, the ACLU said. Most of the documents were heavily redacted.

However, semiannual internal oversight reports by the offices of the attorney general and director of national intelligence identify ongoing breaches of legal requirements that limit when Americans are targeted and minimize the amount of data collected.

The documents note that although oversight teams did not find evidence of “intentional or willful attempts to violate or circumvent the law . . . certain types of compliance incidents continue to occur,” as a March 2009 report stated.

The unredacted portions of the reports refer only elliptically to what those actions were, but the March 2009 report stated that “information collected as a result of these incidents has been or is being purged from data repositories.”

All three reports released so far note that the number of violations “remains small, particularly when compared with the total amount of activity.” However, as some variously put it, “each [incident] – individually or collectively – may be indicative of patterns, trends, or underlying causes, that might have broader implications.” and underscore “the need for continued focus on measures to address underlying causes.” The most recent report was issued in May.

In a statement Thursday, the ACLU said that violations of the FISA Amendments Act’s “targeting and minimization procedures . . . likely means that citizens and residents’ communications were either being improperly collected or ‘targeted’ or improperly retained and disseminated.” The ACLU has posted the documents on its Web site.

A spokesmen for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper did not immediately comment on the ACLU statement.

In an e-mailed statement late Thursday, a spokesman for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Dean Boyd, said the new law “put in place unprecedented oversight measures, reporting requirements and safeguards to protect privacy and civil liberties,” and that the reports cited by the ACLU were the product of “rigorous oversight” by the Justice Department and intelligence community. “In short, foreign intelligence surveillance is today carefully regulated by a combination of legislative, judicial, and executive-branch checks and balances designed to ensure strong and scrupulous protection of both national security and civil liberties,” Boyd’s e-mail said.

Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said, “It is imperative that there be more public disclosure about the FAA [FISA Amendments Act] violations described in these documents . . . as Congress begins to debate whether the FAA should expire or be amended in advance of its 2012 sunset.”

Congress passed FISA in 1978 to prevent Americans’ communications from being tapped without a warrant. Lawmakers amended the law in 2008 to broaden and clarify legal authorities after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and advances in Internet communications prompted fresh concerns over expanded surveillance powers.

The ACLU, human rights activists and other parties sued, charging that the new law violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches. A U.S. district judge tossed out the case, which remains on appeal, and the ACLU has pursued a related Freedom of Information Act request.

 

Cable: US Plotted to ‘Exploit’ Venezuela Ties to Iran

Concedes Claims of Venezuelan Nuclear Ambitions ‘Baseless’
by Jason Ditz, antiwar.com
2006 State Department cable leaked as part of WikiLeaks’ cablegate collection shows Bush Administration officials plotted to use false claims about Venezuela’s alleged nuclear ambitions to damage the country’s reputation around the world.

Incredibly, the document leads off in the very first paragraph by conceding that all the allegations against Venezuela in this regard “appear baseless,” and they later shrug off the allegations as “little more than conspiracy-mongering by Chavez adversaries.

But apparently there was no point in letting the truth get in the way of a convenient lie, and the document openly talks about how the Caracas embassy will seek to “exploit Venezuela’s missteps” and use the allegations to drum up opposition amongst countries like France which, it lamented, “have tended to make light of our concerns about Venezuela’s antidemocratic tendancies and militarization.”

In the end the document warns against dismissing the rumors publicly and expressed hope that Venezuela’s “coziness” with Iran would give them more opportunities to make diplomatic gaffes which the US could exploit to their own ends.

 

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THE SUN TZU OF A TURKISH SAMURAL

NOVANEWS

28. JUN, 2010


 

Part One: The Moral Law

Bishop Donald R. Corder –  Intifada Palestine

In the wake of the Gaza Holocaust, high seas murder of Turkish citizens during the Israeli flotilla raid and echoes of the UN’s Goldstone Report enunciating crimes against the humanity of a virtually defenseless Palestinian people. All these simmer in our outrage even in the midst of an American media blitz waged against Iran, while simultaneously Zionist threats of bombing scenarios are in the air along with their having recently launched spy satellite over Iran.

Deemed guilty is the vocal leadership of the Iranian peoples who can be construed as implicitly asserting their right to govern and defend themselves, and who incidentally, are also guilty of raising scholarly questions as touching what I will characterize as the strategically employed movie versions of the Jewish Holocaust.

Nonetheless, outrage of a global community to the war crimes and crimes against humanity, lambaste the ‘Old Ship of Zion.’ Necessity for justice demanded one come to the global stage imbued with the necessary courage, vision and heart of compassion. As these become the requisite necessity in a challenge to the paranoid insanity of a militaristic Israel. These qualities of leadership help to make possible the garner of the required support imperative to mobilizing assets on behalf of the global voice; cries of the Palestinian peoples under Zionist occupation and the Turkish martyrs aboard the MV Mavi Marmara.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been described as a “complex” leader. Where not only religion charts Turkey’s new course, Mr Erdogan’s foreign policy realigns Turkey with its history and geography, in the process raising its regional and global status, says Dilip Hiro. But, he enters upon a stage where a ball of chaos formed by elusive and shifting alliance of agendas, disinformation on a global scale, digital wealth controlled by blocs of dominant capital holders. All assimilated to provide an almost impenetrable cloud cloaking a society built upon collective global imperialism advancing the ideology and sustaining the power of a US ruling class – “the dominant segments of capital”.

Samir Amin, Africa’s foremost political economist and an intellectual of international stature who was born in Cairo, Egypt sets forth the following. The US ruling class has five objectives: (1) to neutralize and subjugate the other triad partners (Europe and Japan) and to minimize their capacity to act outside the American fold; (2) to establish military control over NATO and to “Latin Americanize’ the former parts of the Soviet World; (3) to assert undivided control over the Middle East and its oil resources; (4) to break up China, to ensure the subordination of the other major states (India, Brazil); and to prevent the constitution of any regional blocs that might renegotiate the terms of globalization, and (5) to marginalize regions in the South that are of no strategic interest. “Beyond US Hegemony? Assessing the Prospects for a Multipolar World,” pages 9-10.

Through the eyes of another understanding it now becomes imperative we re-orient our individual and collective assessments of the Nation of Palestine’s subjugation and the Zionist place in global domination. According to American founding father Benjamin Franklin the Zionist agenda represented a people who have built up a state within a state; and when opposed have tried to strangle that country to death financially.” Diary of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina. Constitutional ConventionFrom historical perspective we spy the unflinching determination of this body to seize and maintain power rather than negotiate transference of same.

Such as is eminently personified in 1980 when General Sharon signed an oath with his blood along with very many senior IDF officers who aligned themselves with the same blood oath throughout the years since, “In the event of a government of Israel seeking to withdraw from Judea and Samaria for peace with the Palestinians, the oath commits those who signed it to make common cause with the settlers and fight that government to the death.” See Alan Hart’s “Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews,” in a chapter titled ‘The Blood Oath.’ Here lies the underbelly of the beast. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races, our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.” –Menachem Begin (Israeli Prime Minister, 1977-1983)

Thus, strategic necessity required preserving on the global stage what some have come to term as ‘The Religion of the Holocaust” as the foundational tenant for advancement of the Menachem Begin global agenda. Hence, deeper and more meaningful significance can be assigned to understanding the political brute force and beatings for challenging tenants of the Holocaust by French Professor Robert Faurisson who suffered at the hands of ‘The Sons of the Memory of the Jews.’ Later Professor Faurisson was subsequently prosecuted and fined after the French passed the Gayssot Act; which in effect silenced any and all opposition to taking issues with the published tenants of the Holocaust and he consequently was removed from his university pulpit position.

While we also find rendition of Ernest Zundel from American soil and his seven year incarceration under German laws literally synonymous to the Gayssot Act. Such, brings justification for European outcry of undue Israeli influence on their political systems. And additionally upon the laws governing the courts of Belgian: a universal tribunal where Zionist goons are susceptible to prosecutions for crimes against humanity.

In particular it becomes critical in our assessment of facts and motives to gauge the dynamics and lend greater significance to the gravity and outcomes of Zionist influence on Germany and France. Published to have been central in opposing a too rich, too influential and too Muslim a Turkey – who did in the most honorable manner – attempt to become a part of the European Union (EU). We see more fully the destabilizing influence of Israel’s assignments when we consider the published works of Jeff Gates and How Israel is Destabilizing Pakistan.Of a certainty we are compelled to not overlook the powerful significance of the digital algorithms of Israel’s game theory warfare employed by the children of the Holocaust.

From these we can extract and identify a symbiotic relationship between a predatory ruling class striving for global domination and the parasite of Zionism who sucks the blood of the US Hegemony’s ruling class, while not so secretly going about the business of biting off the hand that feeds them. Rationale can now be assigned to understanding the never ending, “some day there are going to be real negotiations to restore the Nation of Palestine and the people of Gaza being empowered and made able to dwell securely in a land that rightfully belongs to them anyway.”

One is able to discern ever so quietly the workings of a good cop bad cop scenario rearing its ugly head and assembling its cronies around the negotiation table, which is no negotiation. Whereby, the good cop seemingly comes to the rescue of the open air prison inmates and offers them a cup of coffee with a smile while the bad cop is beating the head of the victims until they are bloodied; made compliant, and unable to build a nation themselves.

What further becomes evident for me as an African American, are the devices now being employed since the Middle Eastern oil boom and subsequent OPEC embargo of the 1970’s. Strategic aims of US Hegemony, runs parallel with the enslavement and exploitation of Black Africa in whose design the slave economy even now sustains itself.

In 1712 Willie Lynch left his West Indies plantation and traveled to the Colony of Virginia in the United States where he outlined a method to control black slaves. His fool-proof method involved outlining the number of differences amongst the slaves and then making them bigger. Willie used fear, trust, and envy for control purposes and encouraged the mobilization of every mommy, every daddy and every institution to carry out the social engineering.

Willie Lynch discourse states, “On the top of my list is “Age”, but it is there because it only starts with an “A”; the second is “Color” or shade; there is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantations, attitude of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South, have fine or coarse hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action–but before that, I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust, and envy is stronger than adulation, respect, or admiration. The Black Slave, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self refueling and self generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

Don’t forget, you must pitch the old Black vs. the young Black male, and the young Black male against the old Black male. You must use the dark skinned slaves vs the light skinned slaves, and the light skinned slaves vs. the dark skinned slaves. You must use the female vs. the male, and the male vs. the female.

You must also have your servants and overseers distrust all Blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect, and trust only us. My plan is guaranteed, and the good thing about this plan is that if used intensely for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful.”

Samir Amin wrote in his 1982 work “The Arab Economy Today” that in the Arab world there was no Arab economy, rather each of the Arab states integrated as a separate unit into the world capitalist system. Where we are now able to discern opportunity was instantly provided for the US ruling class to utilize historical differences in the Middle East as a mechanism of control.

Palestinian plight becomes a necessary tenant to distract the eyes of Arab and global aspiration to the wrong villain through a slight of hand spawned by craft and deception. Confusion, issues, dissemination and media spawned outrage born of Zionist game theory, creates a cloudy sphere of chaos wherein hides the true criminals agenda

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UK-IRAQ INQUIRY TOLD TO ” PROTECT US INTERESTS”

NOVANEWS

Alex Plough, 30 November 2010, 17.07 GMT

The Ministry of Defence decided to influence the official inquiry into the Iraq War in order to “protect US interests”, according to a classified US diplomatic cable released by whistleblower website Wikileaks.

A dispatch sent by Ellen Tauscher, the US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, describes a conversation with Jon Day, the MOD Director General for security policy, in which he “promised that the UK had’put measures in place to protect your [US] interests’ during the UK inquiry into the causes of the Iraq War.

Day made the admission in late September 2009, during one of a series of meetings between Tauscher and senior British officials attending the London P5 Conference on Confidence Building Measures Towards Nuclear Disarmament.

The UK delegation also included David Miliband, then Foreign Secretary, although there is no evidence in the cable that he was aware of Day’s assurances.

On 6 January 2010, Day was called as a witness to the Iraq Inquiry where he was questioned about the MOD’s policy decisions from 2007 to 2009.

Day’s apparent knowledge of Whitehall interference into the Inquiry prior to his testimony contradicts the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s claim that it would be both “fully independent of Government” and “unprecedented” in scope.

At the news conference launching the Inquiry, chairman Sir John Chilcot was asked by Guardian Journalist Andrew Sparrow if the panel planned on taking evidence from American officials.

Chilcot replied, “Discussions and evidence sessions are not necessarily the same thing, and of course we have no power to compel witnesses here, let alone people in foreign governments. Nonetheless, I accept the thrust behind your question, that the Anglo-American relationship is one of the most central parts of this inquiry, and how that was conducted is something that we need to get a very strong understanding of.”

Between 17 and 21 May 2010, members of the committee held a series meetings in Washington DC with officials from the former and current US administrations. However, as the meetings were not formal evidence sessions, there is no published record of the discussions.

The Iraq Inquiry plans to deliver its final report at the end of the year.

www.wikileak.ch

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STRAWBERRY FIELD FOREVER

NOVANEWS

 

This week the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced the “beginning of the export –

season” in the Gaza Strip. “The export season” entails the continuation of a short-

term program, sponsored – from planting through to distribution –

by the Dutch government. The program allows a few farmers in Gaza to sell

 strawberries and flowers in European markets. So far this week, 7 trucks have

left the Strip.

As has been the case in every year since June 2007, the export of flowers and straw-

berries is the exception that proves the rule. While in 2005 Palestinian residents of

 Gaza exported approximately 70 truckloads per day to Israel, the West Bank and

abroad, and while Israel promised, in the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access,

to permit the transfer of 400 outbound trucks daily from Gaza, since June 2007,

only 262 trucks have left Gaza – a daily average of one-third of a truck.

The overall export is summed up in the following table:

Trucks leaving Gaza on average per day, June 14, 2007 – Dec. 1, 2010

agreement_till_today_eng

This year, the Ministry of Defense promised an increase in the levels of export:

up to 10 trucks a day of strawberries and flowers during the winter, and for the

first time since 2007, within the framework of the Dutch project, Israel is cons-

idering permitting export of cherry tomatoes and red peppers. The general ban

on export – of furniture, clothes, and other agricultural produce – remains in

place.

It is therefore not surprising that two-thirds of the factories in Gaza are not ope-

rating or operate at minimal capacity, and unemployment in the Strip hovers at

 around. 40%.

The continuation of the general ban on export raises questions regarding the

sincerity of Israel’s announcement that restrictions on goods entering and leaving

 Gaza will be limited to those necessary to address security concerns. If Israel can

check trucks loaded with strawberries and flowers, why can’t it check the goods

produced by factory workers in Gaza, as it did until June 2007?

Another restriction, which has a less than clear relationship to security, is the

refusal by the Ministry of Defense to allow Gaza residents to sell their products

in Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan, as they did until 2007.

If flowers enter Israel on their way to Europe, why does Israel refuse to allow

them to continue to the West Bank or Jordan or to flower shops in Israel?

The land crossings with Israel are the only way out for goods, because of Israel’s

ban on movement via Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters.

 

Photos: Mohammed Azaiza

Photos: Mohammed Azaiza

Perhaps the Defense Ministry has started to implement the plan announced 

by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: to close the crossings between Israel

and the Gaza Strip hermetically, thereby blocking all access between Gaza and

the West Bank. Instead of being sold to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan

(the main markets for Gaza’s agricultural produce until 2007), Gaza’s strawberries

and flowers have to make the long and expensive journey to Holland which leaves

farmers with little profit.

 

Munther budi Strawberries farms , Biet Lahia , 1-12-2010 49

Recently, Lieberman announced that “we will of course be happy, if we find

buyers that are interested in purchasing from Gaza” and “we are willing to

cooperate with anyone who is interested in investing money, and creating

a market for Gaza’s products” (clickhere for the statement in Hebrew).

Well, Minister Lieberman, the markets are waiting, and you don’t have to

invest money, just open the crossings!

 

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ODIOUS NGO MONITOR SMEARS ELECTRONIC INTIFADA

NOVANEWS

 

  1. Odious NGO Monitor smears Electronic Intifada, tries to cut funding

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Odious NGO Monitor smears Electronic Intifada, tries to cut funding

NGO Monitor was captured perfectly in The Forward by liberal jewish thinker

Leonard Fine who said it was “an organization that believes that the best way

to defend Israel is to condemn anyone who criticizes it.” But now, no longer

satisfied with its McCarthyite efforts to not just condemn, but actually 

take down respected human rights organizations, it is seeking to stop critical

funding of the Electronic Intifada, a key media source for information and

analysis about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Electronic Intifada (EI) is a pioneering online news outlet that has been an

essential resource for activists, scholars and journalists since its inception

in 2002.  Its coverage is unapologetically sympathetic to the Palestinian str-

uggle for human rights, grounded in an understanding of international law

and universal human rights. Years before the current proliferation of blogs

and alternate news sources, EI was there first, providing a much needed an-

tidote to one-sided mainstream news coverage of Israel and Palestine.

And they continue to provide original reporting and news and analysis you

still can’t get anywhere else.

Which perhaps is why NGO Monitor has made the preposterous claim that

EI is “an anti-Semitic website,” stunningly based on the fact that one staffer

is a supporter of the BDS movement and executive director, Ali Abunimah,

in his non EI-related speaking engagements, “calls for a one-state solution

to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and routinely uses false apartheid rhetoric.

” Really? This is what they’ve got? (They’d have to start throwing a lot of Jewish

 Israeli government officials into the anti-Semite dungeon if invoking ‘apartheid”

is officially verboten… and Abunimah’s one state is different in substance but

certainly similar in form to an increasing number of Israeli right-wingers who

also push for a “one state solution”. And then there’s the entirely reasonable

observation that we seem to already have a de-facto one state after 43 some

years of occupation.. but I digress) Yet another of thousands of such a ridiculous

claims would be laughable if NGO Monitor didn’t have a card up its sleeve–EI gets

about one third of its funding from a Dutch government-funded aid organization.

According to the Jerusalem Post, NGO Monitor’s unsubstantiated charges.

“prompted Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal to say on Thursday to

the Post, “I will look into the matter personally. If it appears that the

government subsidized NGO ICCO does fund Electronic Intifada, it will

have a serious problem with me.”

As EI has documented in this must-read report, NGO Monitor has very close

ties to the far-right. They use the language of NGO (non-governmental organization)

transparency to go after funding of Israeli and other human rights groups and

funders (including the New Israel Fund and Amnesty International) while remaining

completely silent on Israel’s funding-dependent and law-breaking settler groups. 

EI writes:

NGO Monitor is an extreme right-wing group with close ties to the Israeli

government, military, West Bank settlers, a man convicted of misleading

the US Congress, and to notoriously Islamophobic individuals and organ-

izations in the United States….

NGO Monitor’s attack on The Electronic Intifada is part of a well-financed,

Israeli-government endorsed effort to silence reporting about and criticism

of Israel by attacking so-called “delegitimizers” — those who speak about

well-documented human rights abuses, support boycott, divestment and

sanctions (BDS), or promote full equality for Palestinians. Last February,

The Electronic Intifada reported that a leading Israeli think-tank had

recommended a campaign of “sabotage” against Israel’s critics as a matter

 of state policy

 (”Israel’s new strategy: “sabotage” and “attack” the global justice movement,”

16 February 2010).

NGO Monitor has already been at the forefront of a campaign to crush

internal dissent by Jewish groups in Israel that want to see Israel’s

human rights record improved. The Jerusalem-based organization

poses as a project concerned with accountab- ility for nongovernm-

ental organizations (NGOs), but as Israeli human rights activist and

 journalist Didi Remez has stated, “NGO Monitor is not an objective

watchdog: It is a partisan operation that suppresses its perceived

ideological adversaries through the sophisticated use of McCarthyite

techniques — blackli- sting, guilt by association and selective filtering

 of facts” (”Bring on the transparency,” Haaretz, 26 November 2009).

There is good news here- thus far EI reports that no action has been taken

thus far to end their funding. Presumably anyone who does so would have

to actually subst- antiate NGO Monitor’s spurious charges. Good luck with

that.

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