Archive | December 8th, 2011



Dear friends,

In 24 hours our leaders may wave through a terrifying Merkel/Sarkozy plan that would permanently ban vital public spending — all to appease big banks. But we live in a democracy and should have the right to vote on any permanent changes to how Europe operates. Join the call now to save our democratic rights and stop this damaging plan for good:

Sign the petition!

In 24 hours, our leaders may wave through a terrifying Merkel/Sarkozy plan that would abolish our right to choose sane economic policies. But, together, we can stop our leaders trashing our democracy and our jobs.

Panicked by big banks, Europe’s governments want to change our constitutions and the EU treaty topermanently ban vital public spending. This is nuts: in the 1930s such spending was precisely what allowed Europe and the US to escape the Great Depression. Europe needs to toughen up and regulate the banks, not tie our governments’ hands to make them happy.

We live in a democracy — so Europe’s leaders should not be able agree to this plan themselves — they need to come up with solutions that have the approval of the people or our Parliament. We only have 24 hours to save our democracies from this attack — our massive call today can force leaders to respect democracy, regulate the banks, reject austerity, and invest in our future. Our demands will be delivered to the leaders and media outside tomorrow’s meeting. Click below to sign and send to everyone you know before the meeting:

The Merkel/Sarkozy plan bans governments from deficit spending over 3% of GDP. This is common practice of almost all governments and a needed tactic to allow for stimulus spending in hard times. It’s true that a few Eurozone countries have taken this too far and seriously over-spent, and Europe needs to stop that happening again. But the tough economic decisions Europe needs must be taken by strong, democratic, accountable institutions, not rammed down our throats during an economic crisis. Even Germany has repeatedly violated its own promises to limit its debt and deficit. Keeping those promises would have only made things worse in a tight economy.

The big banks who have the power to buy government bonds and bring calm to the markets, have already toppled three European governments — let’s make that the limit. If Germany allows it, the European Central Bank can do what other central banks do — intervene to guarantee government bonds and face down the markets. Since Italy isn’t bankrupt the bank can even make money on this. If the ECB buys time the EU can find a more sensible and democratic way out of the current crisis. Some of the Merkel Sarkozy proposals — for example a tax on financial speculation — start us off in that direction. They should build on that and rewrite the package.

This is about the survival of the European welfare state, which represents our core values and helps stabilise our economies when recessions hit. If the new constitutions and treaties are agreed to this week, some government would face referenda or Parliamentary votes, but others would simply implement the changes. This means many of our governments would have to keep cutting spending on unemployment insurance, pensions and health, worsening the recession. It’s a no brainer. For the sake of our democracies, our societies and our economies, we have to say no now, before it’s too late. Sign the petition: 

Reasonable people can disagree about the best way to protect us all from national overspending and crippling debt. But imposing austerity measures that we already know won’t work and tying the hands of our democracy is not the answer. Over and over again, our community has stood up and won real accountability from our leaders when they have tried to bypass us — now we must come together and demand to be heard once again.

With hope,

Alex, Emma, Ricken, Jamie, Pascal, Giulia, Stephanie, Laura and the rest of the Avaaz team.

More information:

Germany’s Denial, Europe’s Disaster (New York Times)

Merkozy EU Treaty plan faces obstacles (Der Spiegel),1518,802221,00.html

Eurozone warned of credit downgrades after Germany and France strike deal (The Guardian)

Killing the Euro (New York Times)

Is the euro zone’s flaw fatal? (Washington Post)

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on STOP TRASHING OUR DEMOCRACY






In 2009 the UN Human Rights Council appointed the South African Judge Richard Goldstone to head the fact-finding mission investigating possible Israeli war crimes committed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Aside from being a well-respected judge, Richard Goldstone could not easily be dismissed as anti-Semitic given his Jewish origin.

Goldstone probably had no idea what awaited him. After the Mission published its findings and conclusions, the judge quickly became the victim of a vicious slander campaign. Israel’s Information Minister said that the Goldstone Report was “anti-Semitic.” Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz informed the listeners of Israel Army Radio that Goldstone was “an evil, evil man” and “an absolute traitor,” a “man who uses his language and words against the Jewish people.” Dershowitz later apologised for calling Goldstone a traitor, saying he thought the term moser (Hebrew for informer, delator) meant “monster” (as if that was any less harsh).

“I wrote to the broadcaster, retracting my word ‘traitor,’” Dershowitz told the Forward. “But if you’re asking me deep in my heart and soul do I believe that the word fairly characterizes him, in light of the way he’s used his Jewishness, both as a shield and a sword? You know, if the shoe fits.”

In the end, it all became too much for the South African judge. He’s tried to retract parts of the report he co-authored, along with publicly defending Israel against ‘the Apartheid Slander’. And if the truth be told it seems that has never disengaged himself from Zionism. However, the damage has already been done and the greater part of the Jewish community simply has no trust in him anymore.

I came to think of Goldstone’s destiny as I was reading Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists. The book is an anthology with contributions from 25 Jewish activists living in different parts of the world who have come to see the conflict from the Palestinian point of view. For most Jews, criticising Israel comes at a price – relatives and Jewish friends regard it as treason, they are accused of being self-hating, and in some cases even of paving the way for another Holocaust. But these stories are not mainly about the price they have to pay for their activism; it’s about their personal journeys that led them from being (in many cases) completely uncritical supporters of Israel and Zionism into defenders of Palestinian rights.

The book is edited by Avigail Abarbanel, a psychotherapist residing in the United Kingdom. Born in Israel in 1964, Abarbanel grew up in an abusive family and was—just like most other Israelis—completely blind to Palestinians and their suffering. Instead, Jewish suffering was the ubiquitous issue. During her school years the fear of another Holocaust was “repeatedly raised and debated” and she “was taught that everyone in the world, including Arabs, hated us just because we were Jews.” Even though Palestinians make up a fifth of Israel’s population she never understood who they were. She recalls:

“I resented the Arab countries around us and our “enemy from within”—or the “fifth column” as the Palestinian citizens of Israel were sometimes called—that I thought wanted to “throw us into the sea”. I resented the world that didn’t seem to understand us and was against us all the time, for what I thought was no reason except our Jewishness. I didn’t understand why “they” couldn’t just leave us in peace. I thought the reason for our suffering, anxiety and insecurity was out there. Together with everyone else I felt hard done by, hassled and unsafe.”

Abarbanel later left Israel for Australia, where she earned a degree in psychotherapy. As a student she was forced to scrutinise her past. This, along with reading The Iron Wall by Avi Shlaim, led her to renounce her Israeli citizenship and eventually reject Zionism altogether.

Ronit Yarosky was also unaware of who the Palestinians were. Her family left Montreal for Israel when she was 14 years old. She did her military service and was stationed in the West Bank. The Palestinian residents served as background actor – they were there, yet unimportant. West Bank cities and towns she stayed in as a soldier “were nameless to me because they were “only” Arab towns, and therefore of no significance in my life,” she remembers.

Yarosky’s conversion began as she was working on her MA thesis back in Canada. It wasn’t until she read Benny Morris’s The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem that she realised that Jewish settlements were established on the ruins of Arab villages, and that her uncle was even living in a Palestinian house. When she brought this up with her mother, the latter replied: “Well, obviously.” But to Ronit the newly discovered facts was life-changing, and after she could no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening to the Palestinians.

For others like Peter Slezak, Zionism as such doesn’t appear to have been important in his childhood. As a Jew in Australia he felt as an outsider already in primary school. And with most of his relatives being Holocaust survivors, the Haggadah’s warning that “in every generation they [i.e. non-Jews] rise against us to destroy us….” can easily feel validated. Slezak, like many other Jews, used to worry that all non-Jews inevitably harbored anti-Semitic feelings, a worry that took many years to finally overcome. Instead of regarding the Holocaust as a crime against Jews and a proof of why a Jewish state is needed, he sees a universalistic message in Never again. Some Jewish friends have even cut all ties with Selzak, and he has in his own words ended up “becoming a pariah in my own community” because of his pro-Palestinian activism.

This culture of intolerance is well captured by American musician Rich Siegel when he describes himself as “a cult survivor.” There is something “very seriously wrong with Israel, and with the culture that supports it,” he writes. Siegel should know. He was an ardent Zionist as a teenager, even to the degree that he was out in the streets protesting Arafat’s appearance at the UN in 1974, this while singing along to lyrics such as “We’ll kill those Syrians.” For Siegel, the image of an innocent Israel threatened by Jew-hating Arabs first started to crack while waiting for his wife outside a train station in Rhode Island in 2004.

A few activists had a book stand outside the train station and he perused Phyllis Bennis’s Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer. He was left shocked after reading about Jews massacring Arabs at Deir Yassin, something he had never heard of. He kept on reading books about the conflict and came to understood what Zionism represented. Some of his friends and relatives are no longer part of his life, but he has no regrets.

I have here only presented glimpses from some of the 25 contributions, but they all deserve to be read in full. As a non-Jew it is difficult too fully relate to the sacredness of the Jewish state. However, all people and cultures have their taboos that cannot be disrespected without running the risk of being questioned, persecuted or excommunicated. On a personal level, we all have inner demons holding us back until we have the courage to face them.

Hardly surprising, fear is a reoccurring theme in the stories. Zionism thrives on fears – fear of the Arabs who want to kill the Jews just because of who they are; fear of the non-Jewish world that doesn’t understand Jews because there’s an anti-Semite living in every Gentile. It is only by challenging and facing their fears that Jews can detach themselves from Zionism.

In the afterword Abarbanel writes that she struggled with finding a common denominator for all 25 contributors. But eventually she did find one thing they all share, which she terms “emotional resilience.” She defines it as “the ability to tolerate uncomfortable feelings without avoiding them or trying to make them go away,” and adds that it includes “the ability to tolerate the experience of being disapproved of, disliked and rejected by others, sometimes even by relatives and close friends.” In plain English: to have the courage to stand up for what you believe in no matter the cost.

This is what makes the book so inspiring. 25 stories written by people who struggle because they feel what they are not supposed to feel, because they do things they are not supposed to do. They have the emotional resilience and sense of justice that Richard Goldstone lacks.

Kristoffer Larsson studies Economics at a Swedish university. He holds a BA in Theology and is on the Board of Directors of Deir Yassin Remembered. He can be reached at: krislarsson@comhem.seRead other articles by Kristoffer.





Union Jack inside Star of David


It came as no surprise today that Paul Flynn M.P. apologised for doubting the British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould’s loyalty to Britain. It was also nothing new that Zionist blog comments stated that the apology was “forced and not genuine” or “not enough” or “not sincere”, no one can ever satisfy the total submission to Israel demanded by Zionists. This sudden change of heart is the most recent in a long line of people who have done a U turn under extreme Zionist bullying and harassment, the most noteworthy example being Richard Goldstone and his report into operation Cast Lead. In reality Paul Flynn’s statement would indicate not that he has an issue with Matthew Gould being a Jew but his self professed Zionism and that his role in the Fox/Werrity pro attack Iran agenda is a cause for concern. The main issue for the Foreign Office appears to be that they might find themselves in contravention of equal opportunity employment laws.

It is interesting that here in the U.K. the Zionist bullying cells are still so effective, at least in extracting apologetic statements from Paul Flynn or the P.S.C. whilst over in the United States Zionist intimidation has so far not worked as Obama has refused to sack the American Ambassador to Belgium over his remarks about Israel’s inability to make peace with Palestine was a cause of Muslim Anti Semitism. It is easily provable that Israeli attacks such as Cast Lead and on the Mavi Marmara were a cause of more attacks on Jews. However, for once Obama is standing firm, but as we know it is a question of how long before he falls.

This week we also witnessed an attack by Alan Dershowitz on Gilad Atzmon’s book “The Wandering Who” when Dershowitz went on Fox News telling lie after lie about Atzmon and the book’s content . Despite the fact that Dershowitz was instrumental in ending Finkelstein’s academic career, both Richard Falk and John Meersheimer who endorsed Gilad’s book are standing firm in the face of the hate campaign against them. Gilad Atzmon’s book in fact provides all the theoretical background that is needed to support Howard Gutman’s remarks last week, for Gilad’s book argues that Jews should first self reflect on the actions that are made in their name, and by the people who claim to represent their communities.

It is becoming clear that at least for the representatives of Jewish lobbies in this country freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of expression are far from being precious values, in America people are aware of the First Amendment and its inherent value for the notions of personal liberty and democracy. In Britain, it seems as if we are reaching the point of no return, we are living under the tyranny of Zionist lobbies and have totally given up on those fundamental liberties and the fact that 80% of our Conservative M.P.s are Friends of Israel may explain it all.


The Wandering Who-A Study of Zionist and Hasbara tactics  or


Saudis: No More Virgins If Driving Ban is Lifted


Life for Saudi women just continues to get better.

According to a ‘scientific’ report, researchers claim relaxing the ban would also see more Saudis – both men and women – turn to homosexuality and pornography.

The startling conclusions were drawn by Muslim scholars at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University.

Their report assessed the possible impact of repealing the ban in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where women are not allowed behind the wheel.  Lifting a ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia would result in ‘no more virgins’, the country’s religious council has warned.

It was delivered to all 150 members of the Shura Council, the country’s legislative body.

The report warns that allowing women to drive would ‘provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce’. Within ten years of the ban being lifted, the report’s authors claim, there would be ‘no more virgins’ in the Islamic kingdom. And it pointed out ‘moral decline’ could already be seen in other Muslim countries where women are allowed to drive.

In the report Professor Subhi described sitting in a coffee shop in an unnamed Arab state.

‘All the women were looking at me,’ he wrote. ‘One made a gesture that made it clear she was available… this is what happens when women are allowed to drive.’

The astonishing report comes after Shaima Jastaniya, a 34-year-old Saudi woman, was sentenced to 10 lashes with a whip after being caught driving in Jeddah.

There has been strong protest in the country about the sentence – and about the law generally.

But resistance to reform and change remains strong among conservative royals and clerics.

Life for Saudi women just continues to get better.

According to a ‘scientific’ report, researchers claim relaxing the ban on women driving would also see more Saudis – both men and women – turn to homosexuality and pornography.

The startling conclusions were drawn by Muslim scholars at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University.

Their report assessed the possible impact of repealing the ban in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where women are not allowed behind the wheel.  Lifting a ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia would result in “no more virgins,” the country’s religious council has warned.

It was delivered to all 150 members of the Shura Council, the country’s legislative body.

The report warns that allowing women to drive would “provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.” Within ten years of the ban being lifted, the report’s authors claim, there would be “no more virgins” in the Islamic kingdom. And it pointed out “moral decline” could already be seen in other Muslim countries where women are allowed to drive.

In the report Professor Subhi described sitting in a coffee shop in an unnamed Arab state. “All the women were looking at me,” he wrote. “One made a gesture that made it clear she was available… this is what happens when women are allowed to drive.”

The astonishing report comes after Shaima Jastaniya, a 34-year-old Saudi woman, was sentenced to 10 lashes with a whip after being caught driving in Jeddah.

There has been strong protest in the country about the sentence – and about the law generally.

But resistance to reform and change remains strong among conservative royals and clerics.

Posted in Saudi Arabia1 Comment

Saudi Arabia – Moderate Voice or Draconian Monarchy?

by:  Clare M. Lopez

Saudi Arabia’s hardline ultra-conservative religious council, the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University, have just released a ‘scientific study’ that has come to some rather outlandish conclusions.

In response to the growing pressure from women’s groups in Saudi Arabia to lift the ban on women driving, the report has warned that doing so would “provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.” Within ten years of the ban being lifted, the report’s authors claim, there would be “no more virgins” in the Islamic kingdom. And it pointed out “moral decline” could already be seen in other Muslim countries where women are allowed to drive.

Just a few weeks earlier, the Kingdom’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has proposed a law to stop women from revealing their “tempting” eyes to the public. Should this law be passed, it would in effect, force Saudi women to more or less cover their entire bodies from head to toe – including their eyes.

The Saudi Kingdom clearly is passing through a stressful period: not because the Crown Prince died earlier this year and his likely successors are all tottering through their twilight years; not because the Kingdom’s arch rival, Iran, is driving for a deployable nuclear weapon; nor even because revolutionary forces are sweeping the region. No, to all indications in the international media, the real problem is all the Mutawain (Saudi morals police) jockeying for extra duty to select exactly which female eyes henceforth will have to be covered in public.

This is the absurdity of Saudi Arabia today. Even as its aging royal rulers (King Abdullah is 88 years old) observe fellow Arab regimes going down around them like ten pins, the Kingdom’s leadership knows it lacks the most basic resources of a modern state to meet the inevitable demands of its youthful population. It’s not that this brutal police state lacks the repressive security forces or material resources to deal with a popular protest movement. It’s that neither these, nor all the vast oil wealth in the Peninsula, can stop the sands of time which are rapidly counting down the hours on a regime decked in the gaudy glitz of modern excess but trapped in a savage mindset from the 7th century.

A new book  “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” presents a disturbing look at the realities of the Saudi Kingdom, whose rigid Wahhabist Islamic code locks it into a bigoted, jihadist, misogynist world view grounded in anti-Western. Without the Saudis’ key role in the global oil-based economy and calculated largesse to policymakers, think tanks, and universities to help smooth the way, it surely would be an uphill slog otherwise for their armies of well-heeled lobbyists. As it is, for decades the Saudis have counted on petro-dollars and Western cupidity to ensure official submissiveness in the face of blatant financial support to Muslim terrorist groups, mega-mosques and Islamic Centers, and the shariah-promoting literature and textbooks that stoke jihad in all of them.

Before the well-organized onslaught of the so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011, the Saudi Kingdom may well have believed its most critical challenges came from its Shi’ite Persian nemesis across the Gulf and Iran’s Sunni al-Qa’eda allies on the Peninsula (AQAP). In the space of months, however, it was no longer a question of escaping the turmoil but of damage control. Having dispatched three more-or-less secular dictatorships in 2011, the al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood forces on the march across North Africa have made no secret of their intent to take aim at “corrupt” monarchs next year. A young, restless population with inadequate opportunities for meaningful work, next to zero approved social outlets, and plenty of access to the latest technology toys with which to view how the rest of the 21st century world lives, leaves an unprepared Saudi leadership facing the inevitable clamor for expanded political and social rights.

Only the lack of an organized opposition characterized by the total absence of political parties or trade unions and real fear among the Saudi urban middle class that revolt against the House of Saud could set loose chaos that would split apart the country’s regional, religious, and sectarian fault lines have kept the place together this long. But it is Western, especially American, willingness to turn a blind eye to Saudi terror funding, support for the Da’wa stealth jihad campaign led by the Muslim Brotherhood, and backing for the spread of Shariah Compliant Finance that enables the charade of Saudi “partnership” to stand.

A few crumbs like King Abdullah’s September 2011 decree that Saudi women will be allowed to serve in parliament in 2012 and vote and stand as candidates in 2015 municipal elections are hardly enough to satisfy the pent-up energy of the 50% of the Saudi population whose every move in life remains chained to primitive, misogynistic and often violent notions of gender roles. Even as Saudi society deprives itself of intellectual and professional contributions from half its population, its aging, hypocritical rulers indulge in polygamous and hedonistic lifestyles  According to a WikiLeaks cable from 2008, the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh reported that King Abdullah “remains a heavy smoker, regularly receives hormone injections and ‘uses Viagra excessively.'”

Change is coming to the Saudi desert kingdom whether the Saudis are ready or not. All things considered, trends already in motion do not look good over the long-term for the House of Saud, no matter how many hundreds of billions the King hands out. Foreign policy outreach to establish a network of economic and political ties with potential global partners such as China, Japan, and Russia is not a bad idea either, just inadequate to deal with what is essentially an internal problem: how to unleash the potential of all Saudis to compete in the modern world and loose the shackles that have hobbled them since the dawn of Islam.

Saudi youth, both male and female, have some choices to make, choices their diminishingly lucid elders probably cannot make, about what kind of society they want to live in. U.S. and Western leaderships have some shackles of their own to cast off, beginning with energy dependence and willful blindness about the Saudi commitment to shariah Islam, jihad, and the subjugation of Dar al-Harb (the non-Muslim world) to Dar al-Islam (the Muslim world) Absent is the realization that equality, individual liberty, minority protection, pluralism, rule of man-made law, and tolerance are the building blocks of civil society that undergird a true democracy, and that these things are not necessarily genetically coded in human beings but must be defended and nourished, neither the House of Saud nor American exceptionalism can expect to weather intact the storms ahead.

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Saudi Arabia – Moderate Voice or Draconian Monarchy?

IsraHell Is Only A Democracy If You Are A Jew. – Vanunu


by Eileen Fleming

Both Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta have now gone public with concerns over Israel’s growing isolation in the Middle East and are urging that regime to take diplomatic steps to address the issue.

Israeli Government ministers reacted to Clinton’s criticism of democracy Israeli style on Sunday at a weekly cabinet meeting.

In 2006, Israel’s Nuclear Whistleblower, Mordechai Vanunu explained why “Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew.”

Both Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta have now gone public with concerns over Israel’s growing isolation in the Middle East and are urging that regime to take diplomatic steps to address the issue.

During a closed forum in Washington on Saturday, “Clinton criticized recent legislative attempts in Israel to restrict left-wing organizations and expressed shock over growing discrimination against Israeli women. She mentioned cases of IDF soldiers leaving during performances of female singers and the fact that females sit in the back of buses in certain places in Israel. Clinton said that some of these phenomena reminded her of Iran.” [1]

On Sunday at a weekly cabinet meeting, Israeli Government ministers reacted to Clinton’s criticism of democracy Israeli style.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz claimed Clinton’s comments were “completely exaggerated” and “Israeli democracy is alive, liberal and breathing. I don’t know many better democracies in the world. It is of course necessary to fix things sometimes. The matter of excluding and segregating women is completely unacceptable and needs to be put to a stop, but there is a great distance between this and the argument that there is a threat to Israeli democracy.” [Ibid]

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that the Knesset passes laws after thorough checks and “Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East. I assume that everything done here will be done within the law and I am not concerned by that.” [Ibid]

“Everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and it was ‘illegal’ to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.”-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On 28 May 1993, Ariel Sharon explained:

“The terms ‘democracy’ or ‘democratic’ are totally absent from the Declaration of Independence. This is not an accident. The intention of Zionism was not to bring democracy, needless to say. It was solely motivated by the creation in Eretz-Isrel of a Jewish state belonging to all the Jewish people and to the Jewish people alone. This is why any Jew of the Diaspora has the right to immigrate to Israel and to become a citizen of Israel.”

Israel is an ETHNOCRACY and “An ethnocracy is the opposite of a democracy, although it might incorporate some elements of democracy such as universal citizenship and elections. It arises when one particular group-the Jews in Israel, the Russians in Russia, the Protestants in pre-1972 Northern Ireland, the whites in apartheid South Africa, the Shi’ite Muslims in Iran, the Malay in Malaysia and, if they had their way, the white Christian fundamentalists in the US-seize control of the government and armed forces in order to enforce a regime of exclusive privilege over other groups in what is in fact a multi-ethnic or multi-religious society. Ethnocracy, or ethno-nationalism, privileges ethnos over demos, whereby one’s ethnic affiliation, be it defined by race, descent, religion, language or national origin, takes precedence over citizenship in determining to whom a county actually ‘belongs.’” [2]

Recently Netanyahu’s Likud faction and the Yisrael Beiteinu party of foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, proposed a new law that would censor the human rights community in Israel.

The bill divides non-governmental organizations (NGOs) into two kinds: those defined by the right as pro-Israel and those seen as “political”, or anti-Israel.

“The “political” ones – meaning those that criticize government policies, especially relating to the occupation – will be banned from receiving funds from foreign governments, their main source of income. Donations from private sources, whether Israeli or foreign, will be subject to a crippling 45 per cent tax. The grounds for being defined as a ‘political’ NGO are suitably vague: denying Israel’s right to exist or its Jewish and democratic character; inciting racism; supporting violence against Israel; supporting politicians or soldiers being put on trial in international courts; or backing boycotts of the state.

“One human rights group warned that all groups assisting the UN’s 2009 report by Judge Richard Goldstone into war crimes committed during Israel’s attack on Gaza in winter 2008 would be vulnerable to such a law. Other organizations like Breaking the Silence, which publishes the testimonies of Israeli soldiers who have committed or witnessed war crimes, will be silenced themselves. And an Israeli Arab NGO said it feared that its work demanding equality for all Israeli citizens, including the fifth who are Palestinian, and an end to Jewish privilege would count as denying Israel’s Jewish character.” [3]

Justice minister, Yaacov Neeman, has backed a bill “designed to skew the make-up of a panel-selecting judges for Israel’s supreme court. Several judicial posts are about to fall vacant, and the government hopes to stuff the court with appointees who share its ideological worldview and will not rescind its anti-democratic legislation, including its latest attack on the human rights community. Neeman’s favored candidate is a settler who has a history of ruling against human rights organizations.” [Ibid]

Other non-democratic measures include increasing government intimidation of the Israeli media and academia, a crackdown on whistleblowers and critics of the settlements and how Israel changes the rules to justify injustice.

In this 2006 interview with Vanunu he explains why “Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew”

“30 Minutes with Vanunu” Part 1

In part two, Vanunu explains why Israel refused his appeal seeking to revoke his Israeli citizenship five years ago:

“30 Minutes with Vanunu” Part 2

On November 24th, the Israeli Government responded to Vanunu’s May 2011 appeal seeking to revoke his citizenship under their new Citizenship Revocation Law, which was targeted to rid Israel of Arab-Israelis [indigenous Palestinians who did not flee the land -and their descendents- and received Israeli citizenship] who had been convicted of treason.

In 2011, the Israeli government refuses to revoke Vanunu’s citizenship under their new law because his “case is old”

Vanunu Mordechai asking ,CANCEL,Revoking my Citizenship-M…

Vanunu will announce on his YouTube Channel when his third historic trial in Israel begins:

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

Read about Vanunu’s first and second historic trials in BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010

  1.  Government Ministers React Sharply to Clinton’s Criticism of Israel’s Democracy

  2. Jeff Halper, “An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel” Page 74.

  3. Israels Grand Hypocrisy

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Occupy Wall Street Must Liberate America


The occupy movement needs to take a cue from Egypt, where the main protest is held in Tahrir [“Liberate”] Square and where the real enemy is openly identified. In short, “Occupy Wall Street” needs to evolve into “Liberate America.”

by Greg Felton

If Americans are ever to take back their country, they need to take back control of their money and that means exposing and reversing the Zionist occupation of Wall Street.

If the U.S. were a genuine republic, Congress would pass laws to protect the public, not exploit it, and the police would uphold the law and keep the peace, not break the law and foment unrest. Based on this rather obvious depiction of recent events, we may safely conclude that the U.S. is not a republic in any democratic sense of the word.

As I show in my book The Host and the Parasite, the U.S. has degenerated into a police state run by a cabal that worships corporate greed and owes a prior allegiance to a foreign state—Israel. As This Israeli occupation, though, is the real story behind the “Occupy Movement,” not the burgeoning, populist protest. Yet somehow the absurdity of a politically and economically disenfranchised American public occupying an already occupied country has escaped the media’s notice.

Leaving aside the pro-Israel bias built into the mainstream media, the name “Occupy Wall Street” is part of the problem. It focuses attention on the occupiers of Wall Street not the reason for the occupation. It allows the authorities to misrepresent the protestors as disaffected radicals who are interested only in pushing an anti-establishment agenda against the interests of the nation.

If looked at properly, the occupy movement is really a liberation movement aimed at rescuing some semblance of American republicanism from the pre-existing Israeli occupation. Imagine if the country’s money supply were controlled by the publicly owned Treasury Department, not a privately owned pro-Israel corporation (The Federal Reserve); if foreign policy were made in the U.S.’s national interest, not Israel’s; and if the rule of law were defended, not subverted. In such a world the “occupy” movement need never have arisen.

The occupy movement needs to take a cue from Egypt, where the main protest is held in Tahrir [“Liberate”]Square and where the real enemy is openly identified. In short, “Occupy Wall Street” needs to evolve into “Liberate America.” As a word, “occupy” is static and self-referential, and does not speak to anything outside of itself. “Liberate” speaks to a positive outcome beyond the present protest, and, most importantly, calls attention to the need for liberation, and this in turn invites investigation into those who are denying Americans their liberty.

Admittedly,“Liberate Wall Street” doesn’t have the right ring and sounds incongruously sympathetic to those responsible for the banking fiasco, yet it would be to call attention to the real occupation, because the acceleration of zionist control of the U.S. that came with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 neatly coincides with the beginnings of the banking crisis. University of Connecticut law professor Patricia McCoy identifies two pieces of legislation from these early Reagan years that are directly responsible for the current banking/mortgage crisis.

The first is the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 (DIDMCA). It abolished state usury caps that limited the interest rate banks could charge on primary mortgages, and made possible predatory lending to vulnerable, poor Americans whose credit would normally have disqualified them from home ownership loans.

The second, and more serious, piece of legislation was the Alternative Mortgage Transactions Parity Act of 1982 (AMTPA). It allowed banks to offer more than conventional fixed-rate, amortizing mortgages stipulated by law. With usury laws now rendered impotent, banks now engaged in the kind of irresponsible lending that sent millions of Americans into foreclosure:

  • Adjustable-rate mortgages, where the interest rate float after a number of years;

  • Balloon-payment mortgages, which have an oversized payment when the loan comes due.

  • Interest-only mortgages, which require only interest payments during the first few years then hit borrowers with crushing monthly payment resets.

  • And the option-ARM, which allows borrowers to underpay by as much as they want during the first few years, but the unpaid monthly interest gets tacked onto the end of the loan, so a $300,000 mortgage can turn into a $350,000 loan in a hurry, thus destroying equity.

These heretofore illegal lending practices grew even more illegal after 1999 when the 1933 Glass-Steagal Actwas repealed. The act formally separated the activities of investment banks (which issued securities) and commercial banks (which accept deposits), and prohibited investment bankers from serving in the boards of commercial banks. The 1999 passage of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act essentially decriminalized these conflicts of interest, with the result that bloated composite banks with bad mortgage debts would set off a chain of failures throughout the entire banking industry.

It’s hard to connect corrupt banking practices directly with the zionization of the U.S., but by duping the American lower classes the banks did end up serving Israel by distracting the nation from the invasion of Iraq. In The Wandering Who—a masterful critique of Jewishness, Zionism and Israel—musician and philosopher Gilad Atzmon made the connection:

“The overall U.S. homeownership rate increased from 64 percent in 1994 to a peak in 2004 with an all-time high of 69.2 percent. Real estate had become the leading business in America; more and more speculators invested money in the business. During 2006, 22 percent of homes purchased (1.65 million units) were for investment purposes, with an additional 14 percent (1.07 million units) purchased as vacation homes.

“These figures led Americans to believe that their economy was indeed booming. And when an economy is booming, nobody is really interested in foreign affairs, certainly not in a million dead Iraqis. But then the grave reality dawned on the many struggling, working class Americans and immigrants, who were failing to pay back money they didn’t have in the first place.”

For a detailed analysis of Israel’s powers of financial and political extortion over the U.S. see the analysis by the Council for the National Interest in Veterans Today. Most disturbing from a financial point of view is that the Congress pays out all of Israel’s aid [sic] in one lump sum at the beginning of the year into an interest bearing account at the Federal Reserve. That means the U.S. forces its citizens to pay interest on the money it gives to Israel, while Israel makes a profit, and keeps it at the same private corporation that controls the U.S. money supply!

The American public will do without jobs, health insurance, housing or food, but Congress has ensured that Israel will never want for anything.

If Americans are ever to take back their country, they need to take back control of their money and that means exposing and reversing the Zionist occupation of Wall Street.


Writes author Greg Felton, “The United States became midwife to a war crime when it endorsed the creation of Israel in 1948 and blackmailed European nations into supporting it. From this time forward, the Zionist parasite began leaching off the U.S.” According to Felton, “The September 11 attack was to the Zionist junta what the Reichstag fire was to the Nazis. It created the seminal moment of contrived paranoia that allowed the junta to pass the Orwellian USA PATRIOT Act, by which the U.S. became a de facto police state, a necessary step to put the junta above the law so that it could bastardize the constitution to serve the greater good of Israel. The demonization of Muslims is the key tactic that makes mass murder, torture and gross violations of civil liberties possible. Al Qaida is a myth concocted to manufacture a common enemy so that people would accept invasions of privacy and tolerate the mistreatment of Muslims.”

“A lucid and timely compilation of information and questions that should be the fodder of discussions in America and beyond. Readers will find this book a worthwhile acquisition even when they may not agree with everything stated.” –Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, Yale University

“Greg Felton, an erudite journalist and historian, exposes the duplicity and hypocrisy of George W. Bush’s ‘war on terrorism.’ His analysis of the alliance of neo-conservatism and Christian/Jewish Zionism is highly informative and well researched, a subject our media keep untold.” –Ismail Zayid, President, Canada Palestine Association

“The Host and The Parasite is a profound reading of today’s world. It forcefully brings to the surface historical injustices; injustices that today’s powers-to-be buried in the trash bin of history, along with the hopes and dreams of entire peoples.” –Sam Bahour, Ramallah, Palestine

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Crippling Iran: Questions for Mr Hague


Pitt the Younger

by Stuart Littlewood

Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague has written a widely acclaimed 576-page biography of William Pitt the Younger, who became prime minister in 1783 at the tender age of 24. Pitt was the war leader during Britain’s running battles with Napoleon, but it is said that he was uncomfortable in such a role and considered war got in the way of trade and prosperity. 

It is a pity that Pitt’s abhorrence of war and preference for trade has not, apparently, rubbed off on Hague.

We see our foreign secretary rushing around the international stage drumming up support for sanctions intended to cripple another country – a country that could and should have been a strong trading partner and valuable ally – on the mere suspicion of some nuclear skullduggery.

And he does this without adequate debate, sensible explanation or popular mandate.

Mr Hague said last week’s ransacking of the embassy in Tehran was carried out “with regime consent”. But I read that US Vice President Joe Biden told Reuters that he had no indication the attack was orchestrated by the Iranian authorities.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the incident was clearly in retaliation for Britain’s leading part in orchestrating sanctions that will damage the Iranian economy and collectively punish the country’s civilian population.

To this is added a burning resentment of Britain’s past sins.

Perhaps Mr Hague should pause to reflect and answer a few questions… 

(1) Have we so easily forgotten the cruel and devastating effect of sanctions on civil society, especially children, before we reduced Iraq to rubble?

(2) Would the Foreign Secretary kindly explain the reasons for his hostility towards Iran?

(3) What concrete proof is there of Iran’s military application of nuclear technology?

(4) Why is he not more concerned about Israel’s nuclear arsenal, the threat it poses to the region and beyond, and the mental attitude of the Israeli regime?

(5) Why is he not seeking sanctions against Israel for its refusal to sign up to the NPT or engage constructively on the issue of its nuclear and otherWMDprogrammes, not to mention its repeated defiance of international and humanitarian laws in the Holy Land?

(6) How many times has a British foreign secretary visited Tehran in the 32 years since the Islamic Revolution?

(7) Did Mr Hague make the effort before embarking on his punitive programme?

(8) Britain’s abominable conduct towards the Iranians in 1951-53 when a previous Conservative government, in cahoots with the USA, snuffed out Iran’s democracy and reinstated a cruel dictator, the Shah, was largely responsible for bringing about the Islamic Revolution and setting the pattern of future relationships. Is it not shameful that this Conservative government is spoiling for another fight? Shouldn’t the Foreign Office focus on exerting influence through trade and co-operation?

(9) Iran’s administration, like many others, may not be to our liking but nor was Dr Mossadeq’s democracy 60 years ago. In any event, what threat is Iran to Britain? And why is Mr Hague leading the charge?

(10) By pulling our people out of Tehran and kicking Iran’s people out of London Mr Hague has shut the door on diplomacy. How can he now communicate effectively and build bridges with a nation he seems determined to goad into becoming an implacable enemy?

It is difficult to understand how this escalation against Iran is in the British national interest. Do the British people want it? If Mr Hague’s purpose is to help preserve the balance of power in the Middle East so that a lawless, racist regime – Israel – remains the dominant threatening military force, he must be called to explain the wisdom of it.

Messrs Hague and Cameron both voted enthusiastically for the Iraq war, a supremely irresponsible decision based on neo-con lies. It has cost well over a million lives and caused utter ruination for the survivors and the destruction of much of their heritage. What possessed us to go to war on shoddy intelligence and inflict ‘shock and awe’ on good people? 

We want no repetition.

William Hague, according to the Jewish Chronicle, told David Cameron when he became Conservative party leader in 2005 that a deep understanding of the Middle East would be crucial if he wished to be taken seriously as a statesman. “We have to be steeped in the Middle East, way back to historical matters. Because you can’t understand it without the history. That’s been one of the failings sometimes with the Western governments.”

In which case the pair of them ought to know better.

Mr. Cameron and William Hague took in New York’s Christmas lights with mayor Michael Bloomberg

A reminder to the foreign secretary seems appropriate. Most people realise that Westminster’s neo-con friends in Washington have war with Iran on their agenda.  But Mr Hague’s job is to make friends for Britain not enemies. Genuine friends in the Middle East are becoming scarce, millions more innocent people may die and the cost of oil is likely to rocket if the West’s aggressive tactics and double standards continue .

More from Littlewood

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America and Pakistan – Questions and Answers


“Two Veteran Today Columnists with Questions and Answers”

by Ken Smith and Brig Asif H. Raja

Two VT columnists, one from America and one from Pakistan exchanged ideas, concepts and concerns.  This posting reflects questions and answers that are important to both of our countries.  Brig Asif Haroon Raja and Ken Smith share their personal ideas and suggestions on how our two countries can move forward in 2012

Here are 10 questions that each collumnist answers.   Look for the common ground in each answer.

1.      ” Do you have any comment or examples on the Perception that America favors India over Pakistan?”

Answer from Brig Asif H. Rajas:  No examples, but in Pakistan there is no doubt about it. The US favored India when it was on the wrong side of the fence and Pakistan was its most allied ally. Since 1990, India is a strategic partner of USA. If USSR had not fragmented in the early 1990′s, India would have continued to remain in its orbit. While India holds a special position in the US security paradigm, just like Israel, Pakistan doesn’t figure out in the NWO.  Pakistan is at best a tactical partner for a short term only and then it will be dumped as had happened on several occasions in the past. Even during the ongoing honeymoon, the US has been treating Pakistan like a foe and not like an ally. The US finds all the faults in the world in Pakistan and none in itself or in India.

Answer from Ken Smith:  I somewhat agree here with Brig. Asif H. Raja.  I do think that America’s relations with India are significantly different than those with Pakistan and wonder if that is a perception or a reality?  I am almost sure that India does not receive as much financial support as we provide to Pakistan, but perception can become reality in some peoples minds.

2.       “Do you feel that America didn’t announce the raid to get Bin Laden because they were fearful that Pakistan would alert him to the raid?”

Answer from Brig Asif H. Rajas:   I do not agree with this assumption. CIA had secretly established its forward base at Abbottabad and the alleged compound of OBL was under its close scrutiny. Hence there was no possibility of OBL slipping away even if ISI had alerted him. You will agree that it is still very doubtful whether OBl was actually present there on 2 May or it was stage-managed. There are many in USA who are convinced that OBL died long time back.

Answer from Ken Smith:  It’s hard to express the feeling that Pakistan couldn’t be trusted to keep a secret that Bin Laden was in Abbottabad without sounding smug, but what could have been the alternatives?  If  the Pakistani military and ISI were alerted, and if Bin Laden did in fact get away, the US public would have exploded with anger at a whole country when that news was released.  Many in  Pakistan still don’t believe that OBL was present in that compound, even after senior members of the Pakistani Military were briefed with forensic evidence to the contrary.   Pak intelligence was handed the wives of OBl and yet nothing has ever been announced about any intelligence findings there, so, how can we prove that OBL was there in that compound beyond belief to the average citizen in Pakistan?  What if we did?  How would they react? Would it matter?  Here I disagree with my colleague.

3.       How do you feel about the perception that Pakistan’s (ISI) is helping the Taliban?

Answer from Brig Asif H. Raja:  I put a counter question. How do you feel about the widely held perception in Pakistan that the TTP led by Hakimullah in FATA and Baloch rebels in Baluchistan are aided by CIA and RAW? While the ISI may have some reason to be affiliated with Taliban because of old connections and neighborhood affiliations. But CIA has no moral justification to support anti-Pakistan outfits. Don’t forget that Pakistan ditched Taliban regime and helped the US in occupying Afghanistan and also arrested dozens of Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders and handed them over to USA.

Answer from Ken Smith:  I would think, that the perception in Pakistan that the TTP, led by Hakimullah in FATA and the Baloch rebels in Balochistan are aided by the CIA and RAW would be something that needs to be further explained to the average American who sees the complexities of the region in very simple terms.  They hear from our media that we are fighting the Taliban and of course al qaeda in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and yet, the whole region is tribal and there are many battles within battles of tribes that have been at war with each other for centuries.   I have no knowledge to answer your counter question.

4.       What could be done to increase the military cooperation between Pakistan and America?

Answer from Brig Asif H. Raja:  Pak-US relations date back to 1953-4 when Pakistan became a member of SEATO, CENTO. Military officers of two countries have been attending courses in Pakistan and USA regularly and both have enjoyed excellent relations. Military relations soured only when the US stabbed Pakistan in the back on 2 May and secretly set up a CIA network to destabilize Pakistan.

Answer from Ken Smith: May 2 is a point of contention that is far reaching and one that has two sides to the story.  Most US military commanders respect the military commanders of Pakistan from what I have been told by unit commanders in the field, but higher up the ladder, some American commanders are fearful of sharing intelligence on some subjects, as they believe that elements of the Pak Military are anti-American and look for any way to point a finger.  There have been terrible mistakes that I have researched and found, mistakes committed by both sides, and both sides need to find a common ground from which to start, and from that common ground, build a trust.  The military of Pakistan is a proud institution and should not be treated with disrespect.  Saying that the US stabbed Pakistan in the back on May 2 is not an opinion that is shared by many Americans.  Most Americans see May 2 as the day that America found and killed one of the most hated men in our history.  The military did it by violating a countries borders and did it without permission from anyone.  Americans believe that hunting for this killer superseded any agreements with any country.  Would the US have alerted MI6 if they knew OBL was in London?  I would venture to say yes.  Now, it is common for those in Pakistan to share the suffering of her people and highlight the innocents who have been killed on both sides of the battle, but here in the US, OBL changed everything about everything.  In the US, 9-11 is still so very fresh to us, even 10-years later.  Americans see that day as the start of a war upon us, one that was kept from them, alerting Americans to the danger  by so many in our own intelligence community.  My readings on Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah outline how his charisma and diplomacy had made him a great national leader and the most visible supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity. His strong belief in gradual and peaceful change was in contrast to the civil disobedience strategies of Mohandas Gandhi, and in the ’30s Jinnah broke from the Indian National Congress to focus on an independent Muslim state. In 1940 he demanded a separate nation in Pakistan and by 1947 he managed to get it from the British and India. Through civil wars,  and millions of displaced refugees, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (“the great leader”) pretty much built a country from scratch.  I would imagine, that while we have George Washington, and you have Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah as our founders, neither one of them would want us to be in the position we find ourselves today.  Distrustful and wondering what the other is going to do before they do it, and not capable of asking each other a simple question without wondering about the answer.

5.       Do you feel that anti-American sentiment in Pakistan is fueled by either the military or the government of Pakistan ?

Answer from Brig Asif H. Raja :   Anti-Americanism is neither fueled by military or civil govt, but is the outcome of unjust and discriminatory policies of Washington.

Answer from Ken Smith:  Here I disagree, as I think anti-Americanism and anti-Pakistani sentiments are fueled by both the military and the government of both sides.   Pakistan does this and so does Washington.  The solution?  I would think that acceptance of the differences and acknowledgment of the similarities would help.  Why isn’t the US broadcasting on national TV in Pakistan explaining our positions to the people of Pakistan?  I think that a spokesman for Pakistan should be explaining the same things to Americans without the urge to blame each other for actions.

6.       If the perception in the US is that Pakistan is helped by drone attacks,  who is helped?  Military leaders or political leaders?

Answer from Brig Asif H. Raja:   Drones have become a choice weapon of USA. It is detested in Pakistan since it amounts to a breach of sovereignty and it also fuels terrorism. 300 drone strikes have killed 97% innocent men, women and children.

Answer from Ken Smith:  Drone attacks are explained here in the US  as  weapons against an enemy that hides behind borders that are not transparent nor marked.  I would tend to agree that innocents are killed in these attacks and wonder what other methods can or could be used to counter the cross border strikes from both sides against both sides.  In any war the innocents are who pay the price.   Pakistan has experienced this and so has the US.

7.       Does Pakistan acknowledge the attackers of Mumbai 26/11 were from Pakistan?

Answer from Brig Asif H. Raja:  Pakistan does not acknowledge that attackers in Mumbai on 26/11 were from Pakistan. The general perception is that it was a put up show with ill-motives against Pakistan.

Answer from Ken Smith:  Hatred is hatred.  Indians are convinced the attackers came from Pakistan and Pakistan is convinced otherwise.  There are technical methods to review and monitor the conversations that were ongoing during this attack by the attackers.  Here in the US there is a saying ” If it quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, its a duck”, but again, hatred is hatred, and this hatred needs to be bridged before any dialog can begin.

8.       What is the solution in your opinion on the status of Kashmir?

Answer from Brig Asif H. Raja:  Giving Kashmiris right of self determination as provided for in UN Resolutions.

Answer from Ken Smith:  I have read the UN Resolution dated August 13, 1948 and agree here with my colleague.  Kashmiris need the right of self determination.

9.      One perception in the US , is that Pakistan has two faces, the face to the US in private and the face to the world in public, agree or disagree?

Answer from Brig Asif H. Raja :  I disagree. In Pakistan the general view is that the US is playing a double game.

Answer from Ken Smith:  It’s hard to argue with anyone who honestly believes that your playing a double game.  This answer belies the underbelly of the relationship.  Pakistan does not trust nor believe America and it seems that the same is also true going the other way.

10.   If you could speak to the American public via our TV systems, what would you say?

Answer from Brig Asif H. Raja : I would say that Pakistan’s huge sacrifices must be acknowledged and it should be respected, trusted and treated like an ally rather than a target.

Answer from Ken Smith:  I would attempt to tell the Pakistani people that Americans are not what they have  seen or been told by the media or religious leaders of Pakistan.  Most Americans are somewhat like Pakistani’s, they have families, they have work they do and they struggle to get things done.   America is a better friend than an enemy.  We would like the people of Pakistan to understand that in America our differences are what makes us strong.  We are not all Muslims, we are not all Hindu, nor are we crusaders as portrayed by some in the Pakistani press.   We value the differences in our neighbors and live by the rule of law.  We protect those who are weak and cherish our young as Pakistani’s do the same.  We value education and want each of our citizens to prosper.  We are not perfect and we make mistakes and when we do, we hope to have the courage to admit that mistake and ask for forgiveness.

Please submit your comments and additional questions that you would like answered by both columnists.

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Forrest Gump on the Grassy Knoll


by  Jim Fetzer

As a huge fan of actor Tom Hanks, I have admired him in many roles, including inCharlie Wilson’s War and Saving Private Ryan. I am also a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, who became a worldwide phenomenon in Titanic.

But I was distressed and dismayed to learn that they had committed to films about the death of JFK – in Tom’s case, one based on Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History (2008), and in Leonardo’s, based on Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann’s Legacy of Secrecy(2008) – which are indefensible books.

According to Bugliosi, the Warren commission got it right: Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed “the lone assassin,” where he claims to have refuted alternative “conspiracy theories.”

According to Waldron and Hartmann, JFK was planning to assassinate Fidel, when the mob learned of the plan and took JFK out first, using its insider’s knowledge of the plot against Fidel to silence Bobby and preclude his pursuit of the guilty. The problem is that both theories are false.

Not only am I a fan of these actors but I have met Vincent Bugliosi. In my library downstairs, for example, I have a framed photo of Jesse Ventura, Vince and me at dinner in a restaurant in Minneapolis, when he came to present a lecture at the Hamlin University School of Law on 7 April 2003.

We had a great time, and I admire many of his books, from Helter Skelter (about the Charles Manson case) andOutrage (why O.J. Simpson was guilty of killing both Ron and Nicole) to The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder (for war crimes and other atrocities).

I like most of his books and have greatly admired him in the past. Similarly, I enjoy listening to Thom Hartmann over our local progressive radio station, “The Mic” at 92.1 FM in Madison, including his “Brunch with Bernie” Friday segments. I share many beliefs and values with Vince and with Thom about truth, justice and the American way. But on JFK, they are trading in fiction, not fact.


I know because I organized a research group consisting of the best-qualified students to ever study the case, including Robert B. Livingston, M.D., a world-authority on the human brain and an expert on wound ballistics; David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., who is board certified in radiation oncology and an expert on the interpretation of X-rays; a physician, Charles Crenshaw, M.D., who had attended the moribund president when he was brought to Parkland Hospital after the shooting and then, two days later, his alleged assassin after he, too, had been shot; a legendary photo-analyst, Jack White, who testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) when it reinvestigated the case in 1977–78, explaining a dozen or more indications that the infamous “backyard photographs” were fake; and another Ph.D. in physics, John P. Costella, whose specialization in electromagnetism, the properties of light, and the physics of moving objects enabled him to help prove the Zapruder film is a fraud.

On 3 March 2010, The Huffington Post published a piece about Tom Hanks, which included his comments about producing a television mini-series based on Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History: “We’re going to do the American public a service,” Hanks says. “A lot of conspiracy types are going to be upset. If we do it right it’ll perhaps be one of the most controversial things that has ever been on TV.”

Whether or not he knew it, I knew that I was one of those he had in mind, having published three books on the assassination, chaired or co-chaired four national conferences about it, and given hundreds of lectures and interviews about it.

On more than one occasion, I appealed to Vince not to publish his book on JFK, but to no avail. Even though he did acknowledge that mine are the only three “exclusively scientific” books about the death of our 35th president – in which I publish studies on different aspects of the case by qualified experts – he sailed ahead in reckless disregard for our findings.

The Falsifying Findings

According to The Warren Report (1964), a lone, demented former Marine named Lee Oswald fired three shots from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository, with a World War II vintage Italian-made, 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano, scoring two hits and killing JFK.

Originally, the FBI and the Secret Service concluded that all three shots had hit, one striking JFK in the back about 5.5 inches below the collar, the second hitting Texas Governor John Connally in the back, and the third hitting JFK in the head.

When it was discovered that one shot had missed and pieces of curbing had slightly injured bystander James Tague, the commission had to revise those findings and claim that the bullet that hit JFK in the back actually struck the base of the back of his neck and had exited his throat and injured Connally – a bullet that emerged virtually pristine and has come to be known as the “magic” bullet.

Our research has demonstrated, however, that this account cannot possibly be true:

  • According to The Warren ReportThe HSCA Final Report, and articles in the Journal of the AMA, our 35th president was killed by high-velocity bullets, which have muzzle velocities of 2,600 fps or higher. The Mannlicher-Carcano only has a muzzle velocity of 2,000 fps, however, which means that it is only a medium velocity and not a high-velocity weapon, as other authors – Harold Weisberg, Whitewash (1965), Peter Model and Robert Groden, JFK: The Case for Conspiracy (1976), and Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone, High Treason (1989) – have also observed. Insofar as this is the only weapon that Oswald has ever been alleged to have used to shoot JFK, if those official  sources are correct, then he cannot possibly have fired the bullets that killed him; and if they are wrong, then how could they be regarded as reliable on any other aspect of the case?

  • According to The Warren ReportThe HSCA Final Report, and other sources, the assassin was situated in the south-west corner of the Book Depository during the assassination, which took place at 12:30 PM on 22 November 1963. William Shelly, however, saw Oswald on the 2nd floor near the lunchroom when he (Shelly) came down to eat lunch; at Noon, Eddie Piper saw him on the 1st floor, when he (Oswald) told him (Piper) he was going up to eat; at 12:15 PM, Carolyn Arnold, the executive secretary to the Vice President, saw him sitting in the lunchroom; and again at 12:25 she observed him, but on the 1st floor near the front door. Within 90 seconds after the assassination, Motorcycle Officer Marrion Baker confronted him in the lunchroom and held him in his sights until Roy Truly, his supervisor, assured the officer that he belonged there. They both reported that Oswald was not breathing heavily or perspiring but acting normally – not what would be expected if he had run down from the 6th floor.

Jesse Ventura’s “Conspiracy Theory”

  •  Later, when she was interrogated, his wife, Marina, stated that Lee admired JFK and bore him no malice. During his recent “Conspiracy Theory” program on the assassination, broadcast on TruTV on Friday, 19 November 2010, Jesse Ventura had the opportunity to talk with Marina, who did not want her face shown on television because she lives in fear for the life of her children – nearly 50 years later. Jesse had 2.5 hours to talk with her, however, and she said that, although at one time she had thought Lee had done it, she was now convinced he was innocent and had been working undercover for the government. This conjecture had even been confirmed by the Attorney General for Texas, Waggoner Carr, who had launched his own investigation and found that Lee was working as an informant for the FBI, had been assigned informant number 179, and was being paid $200 per month right up to the time of the assassination. That may be why his W-2 forms have never been released, as if the IRS couldn’t get hold of them, which is a unique event in American history!

More Problems for Bugliosi

What this means is that the man The Warren Commission fingered for the crime had neither the means, the motive nor the opportunity to have committed the crime. Most of what I have just said, however, has long been known to serious students of the assassination as long ago as the book by Mark Lane, Rush To Judgment(1967).

The reason why it has been so difficult to crack is that the government produced X-rays and photographs that suggested the two bullets that hit JFK had been fired from above and behind – the official location of the shooter. It would not be until 1992 when David W.

Mantik began to study the X-rays in the National Archives and discovered that they had been altered and Robert B. Livingston announced that the brain shown in diagrams and photographs could not be the brain of JFK – based upon his study of the doctors’ reports from Parkland Hospital – that the case the commission had endorsed began to suffer its most significant damage.

Mantik obtained permission to study the autopsy X-rays, borrowing a technique from physics known as optical densitometry that enabled him to identify regions of the X-rays that were abnormal, including a region on the right lateral-cranial X-ray (of his skull taken from the side), which had been “patched” to conceal a massive blow-out at the back of the head, which corroborated the reports from the Parkland physicians that he had a major defect at the back of his head.

When he studied the anterior-posterior X-ray (of the skull taken from the front), he found a 6.5mm slice of metal, which had apparently been added to the X-ray (in the darkroom) after they were taken from the morgue by Secret Service Agent Roy Kellerman.

So the reason the HSCA had discounted more than 40 eyewitness reports of a massive blow-out at the back of his head was wrong and could no longer be defeated by the X-rays.

David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D.

Livingston studied the reports from the physicians at Parkland, who, unlike the pathologists at Bethesda, were well-experienced with gunshot wounds. One after another – including Charles Crenshaw, M.D., Marion Jenkins, M.D., Charles Carrico, M.D., Malcolm Perry, M.D., Robert McClelland, M.D., Charles Baxter, M.D., and Kemp Clark, M.D., the Director of Neurosurgery – they reported that both cerebral and cerebellar tissue had been extruding from the wound.

When Livingston compared their consistent and detailed reports with the diagrams and photographs of a brain at the National Archives, which shows only slight damage and a completely intact cerebellum, he was obligated to conclude that the brain shown in the diagrams and photographs could not be the brain of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Once they had “patched” the massive defect to the back of the head, where was no place for that tissue to go, so they simply substituted another man’s brain.

These discoveries were astonishing enough, but an even more important discovery would follow from them: that the home movie of the assassination (associated with Abraham Zapruder) had been edited to conceal the true causes of JFK’s death.

There were reasons to suspect the film had been re-created – by removing some events and adding others – since there were more than 59 witnesses who reported that the vehicle either had slowed dramatically or had come to a complete stop. It had to slow dramatically as it came to a complete halt, where some saw more, some less.

The back-and-to-the left motion of the body, moreover, was not reported by any of the witnesses in Dealey Plaza, even though it is the most striking feature of the extant film. And his brains had been blown-out to the left-rear and had struck a motorcycle patrolman with such force he thought he himself had been shot. Yet the film shows brains bulging out to the right-front, giving the impression of a shot from above and behind.

He Should Have Known Better

What bothers me is that these crucial findings – for which we have adduced abundant proof – had been published in Assassination Science (1998), Murder In Dealey Plaza (2000), and The Great Zapruder Film Hoax(2003) at least five years before Bugliosi published his massive tome. As David W. Mantik observes in his review of Reclaiming History, although I had laid out “16 smoking guns” in Prologue to Murder, “authentic discussion of our paradoxes was, by and large, quite off limits.

There was a lot of palaver about many other things but little at all about the central 16 – or [his] “20 Conclusions[after nine visits to the National Archives].” Nor did he take up the challenge of defeating our argument about the fabrication of the film, which includes a visual tutorial by John P. Costella explaining how we know that the film has been faked. This means our major findings remain unchallenged.”

Instead, Vince placed his faith in an argument about several bullet fragments that had been found in the front floor of the limousine. The claim that neutron-activation analysis (NAA) had shown the fragments to have come from allotments of WWII Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition (on the basis of the analysis of its trace mineral composition with respect to their percentage of zinc, arsenic, lead and other elements) had convinced Robert Blakey, Executive Directory of the HSCA, that Oswald had been the lone assassin.

Alas, as Mantik explains, the assumption of homogeneous composition of the Italian ammunition – which used recycled lead – was seriously flawed and therefore NAA could not be used to justify claims about their common origin. (Indeed, a recent article by Gary Aguilar, M.D., “Is Vincent Bugliosi Right that Neutron Activation Analysis Proves Oswalds Guilt?” has put the final nail in its coffin.)

And, as I observed in my review of Bugliosi’s book, had they come from a Mannlicher-Carcano or even from the same weapon, that would not have proven the location from which they were fired or by whom. But this means that Bugliosi’s principal scientific argument was misconceived from the beginning.


Indeed, Bugliosi contends that Oswald was too unstable and insufficiently reliable for the CIA or the Mafia to have depended upon him to carry off the biggest murder in American history.

After all, given the official story, he had defected to the Soviet Union, slashed his wrist trying to commit suicide, behaved erratically in New Orleans, and lived the life of a loner. Why would the CIA or the Mafia have trusted him?

If Lee had been part of a conspiracy, as soon as he departed from the building, a car would have been waiting to take him to his death. Instead, he becomes the first successful assassin in history to make his escape by public transportation!

Bugliosi, alas!, appears unable to appreciate that the same reasons he offers for why Oswald might not have been an appropriate choice to serve as an assassin are excellent reasons why he would have made a great selection in a conspiracy to serve as the patsy!

Jesse Ventura made this point with devastating effect during his stunning exposure of Vince during their confrontation in the JFK segment of “Conspiracy Theory”.

Impending Disaster

If the planned mini-series based upon Reclaiming History starring Tom Hanks should make it to the small screen, his own remarks (“A lot of conspiracy types are going to be upset. If we do it right it’ll perhaps be one of the most controversial things that has ever been on TV”) are going to play out in ways he no doubt did not intend, an opinion shared by many other experts.

On 19 November 2010, alas, an announcement appeared that Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star in and produce “Legacy of Secrecy”, a movie based on the book by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The authors claim that JFK and RFK were planning a covert coup in Cuba, that the mob got wind of it and wacked JFK, then covered its back by threatening to expose the coup plans if RFK went after them. And they insist that LBJ and the FBI were not complicit in the crime. It has received rave praise, such as the following:

“I believe Waldron’s heavy-to-lift book is actually all but the last word on these troubling assassinations which have been so wildly speculated about since 1963 . . . Lamar Waldron, indefatigable public servant and author deserves his own Pulitzer Prize for his great work.” – Liz Smith, New York Post

“They’ve done a service by digging up the deepest, darkest, most disturbing archival evidence to support their Mob hit theory.” – Ron Rosenbaum

“Staggering!” – Mark Crispin Mill

“Exhaustively researched” – New York Observer

“[Legacy of Secrecy contains] over 800 pages of intricately documented data. Their findings add pieces to one of our most perplexing puzzles, and suggest where the key missing pieces may be found.” – Ronald Goldfarb, Daily Beast

Unfortunately, their scenario is completely ludicrous.

(1) After the abortive “Bay of Pigs” fiasco, JFK had entered into agreements with the Soviet Union that the US would not invade Cuba, which he could not have broken, even covertly, without profoundly tarnishing his reputation and that of the US.

(2) There are more than 15 indications of Secret Service complicity in setting him up for the hit.

(3) The autopsy X-rays were altered to conceal a massive blow-out to the back of the head and by adding a 6.5 mm metallic slice.

(4) The home movie of the assassination was re-created to remove incriminating evidence, including that the driver, William Greer, brought the limousine to a halt after bullets began to be fired.

Once JFK was dead, RFK was rendered powerless, sandwiched between his powerful superior, LBJ, and his nominal subordinate, J. Edgar Hoover, both of whom appear to have been deeply involved in planning for JFK’s death and then covering it up. None of this could have been arranged by the mob.

Jesse Ventura, Vince Bugliosi, and Jim Fetzer

No doubt, the mob wanted to regain control of its resorts and casinos in Havana, where it had been running the largest money-laundering operation in the Western Hemisphere. If JFK and RFK were going to take out Castro, the mob would have waited until after that had been accomplished.

The book appears to have been inspired, in part, by a misunderstood contingency plan for an operation of this kind, one that was filed and forgotten. Even Robert McNamara had never even heard of it; yet its execution was allegedly only weeks away when the mob took Jack out.

The idea that JFK could be planning something like this without the knowledge of his close and trusted Secretary of Defense verges on the absurd. And, as other, more qualified sources, including Robert Dalleck, An Unfinished Life (2003), have also explained, JFK was planning to promote a new era of less stressful and far more peaceful relations with the USSR, including the normalization of relations with Cuba.

Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio have now embarked upon a voyage into the unknown, which is rife with hazards of which they appear to be blithely unaware. Bugliosi is an impressive prosecutor, but he knows very little about the alteration of X-rays or the fabrication of films.

He produced a brilliant brief in his zeal to convince his readers that Oswald committed the crime. If Oswald didn’t do it, then the Mafia would be a serious alternative, which Robert Blakey pushed when The HSCA Final Report(1979) appeared.

But the mob could not have altered X-rays under control of medical officers of the US Navy, agents of the Secret Service, or the president’s own personal physician. Neither pro- nor anti-Castro Cubans could have substituted another brain for that of JFK.

And even if the Soviets had the capacity to fabricate movies comparable to that of the CIA and Hollywood, it would have been unable to get its hands on the Zapruder film. These things could only have been done with complicity from the highest levels of the American government.

There are books worth producing as mini-series and as films, especially ones by James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable (2008), and by Phillip Nelson, LBJ: Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination (2010). The situation is not unlike that of those who controlled a magnificent ship, thought to be unsinkable, steaming blissfully ahead and unaware of its destiny. They bought the wrong books.

Special thanks to David W. Mantik for his comments and suggestions on this article.

Posted in USAComments Off on Forrest Gump on the Grassy Knoll

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