Archive | December, 2013

Top 10 Anti-Semitic Slurs of 2013

NOVANEWS

Edited by Pandora Pushkin

 

Sourced from The Jerusalem Post
and presented with pictures, captions and comments by Pandora Pushkin

Why are people still saying such bad things about the Jews? Isn’t it time to grow up and be nice and friendly? Let’s hope 2014 will be an improvement on 2013!

Ayatollah-Ali-Kham_1551415c

IRAN’S SUPREME LEADER AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI:

Voted in by the Simon Wiesenthal Center as No.1 Anti-Semite of 2013.

“Israel is a rabid dog in the region,” he raged.
“Its leaders look like beasts and cannot be called human!”

(If you are deeply shocked by this deeply shocking comment, please read no further)

The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced on Monday its 2013 top-10 list of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slurs, giving the top two slots to the leaders of Iran and Turkey.

The list underlined the failure of the international community to confront contemporary anti-Semitism by citing state-sponsored drives to attack Jews and Israel and the role of a UN official, authors, academic and church groups and celebrities in stoking Jew-hatred.

The center, an international human rights organization best known for combating modern anti-Semitism and bringing World War II Nazis to justice, topped the list with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s “genocidal threats against the Jewish state.”

In November, Khamenei described Israel as the “rabid dog in the region,” adding, “Its leaders look like beasts and cannot be called human.” Khamenei said shortly before the Iranian election that “Zionists” were the real agents in control of the United States – an accusation with which he was “updating the old canard of a global Jewish conspiracy,” according to the center.

PANDORA PUSHKIN comments: It was very wrong of Mr Khamenei to say this. This horrid Persian should shut up, and study his history a bit more, before he opens his big bearded mouth!  The idea that Jews control America is just absurd. Everyone knows that AIPAC has no influence on Congress whatever! As for a “Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world”, golly gosh! I never heard such poppycock since reading The Protocols of the Elders of Zion!  

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Anti-Semite No. 2 of 2013... not clear what he said to offend the Jews... but he looks a real mean character, doesn't he?

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Anti-Semite No. 2 of 2013… not clear what he said to offend the Jews… but he looks a real mean critter, doesn’t he?

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan garnered the second spot on the list for blaming the actions of the June anti-government Turkish demonstrators, who sought greater democracy, on the “interest rate lobby,” which Erdogan’s deputy said was “The Jewish Diaspora.” The Wiesenthal center said Erdogan had suggested that Israel engineered the ouster of Egypt’s Islamic president Mohamed Morsi.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday from Herzliya via telephone, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the aim of this year’s list was “to get across the point” that people who have credentials or are prime minister or the Supreme Leader should not receive free passes because of their positions of power.

“The rest of the world should not be so friendly with them. It is not correct to have meetings with the prime minister of Turkey when he is a common bigot,” Hier said.

Pandora Pushkin comments: Quite right too! Wasn’t it this same anti-Semitic Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan, who had the gall to protest at the “murder” of nine Turkish citizens aboard the ship Mavi Marmara in the Mediterranean Sea in May 2010? This was when Brave Little Israel decided to attack the pirate vessel, cunningly disguised as part of a “humanitarian flotilla”, as it chugged toward terrorist-ridden Gaza, armed to the teeth with deadly kitchen knives and teaspoons.

Hier criticized the Geneva photograph of euphoric foreign ministers celebrating the Iran nuclear deal in November as a dismissal of Khamenei’s threats against Israel. “The jubilant mood” took place, he said, days after Iran’s leader called for “the elimination of the state of Israel, making it clear that Iran’s singular foreign policy is the elimination of Israel.” ” WE HOPE THAT HAPPEN’S VERY SOON”. ” SHOAH”

Also notable on this year’s list was the presence of two anti-Israel Jewish Americans whose language contributes to anti-Semitism, according to Hier. Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, occupied the third spot and the journalist Max Blumenthal scored ninth place.

Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories and himself a Jew is No. 3 Anti-Semite of 2013. His offense? His bizarre belief  that the Palestinians could  have also "human rights".

Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, is No. 3 Anti-Semite of 2013. His offense? His bizarre belief that the Palestinians could also have “human rights”.

Rabbi Hier told the Post that he considers Falk and Blumenthal to “absolutely” fall in the category of Jewish anti-Semites.

“It is not the first time in the history of the Jewish people” that Jews have made anti-Jewish rants, Hier said. He stressed that one has to “judge people by their words. You can be an anti-Semite if you talk like anti-Semites.”

Hier continued, “Richard Falk should not be given a free pass because he is Jewish. We think he, Richard Falk, is an outright anti-Semite.” Likewise, Hier said of Blumental, “we judge him by what he wrote. He crossed the line into outright anti-Semitism.”

According to the Wiesenthal list, Blumenthal uses chapter titles in his book Goliath to equate Israel with the Nazi regime. Chapters in his book are entitled “Summer Camp of Destruction,” “Date with the Devil,” “There Is No Dream,” “The Concentration Camp,” “The Night of Broken Glass” and “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People.” The center noted that “he quotes approvingly characterizations of Israelis soldiers as ‘Judeo-Nazis.’”

Pandora Pushkin comments: Tsk, tsk! this comparison of Israelis with “Nazis” is most inappropriate! The Nazis were good-looking guys by all accounts — “blonde beasts”, handsome hunks of humanity who are reported to have swept ton loads of  French women off their feet in Occupied France during World War II. Sorry, I just can’t see the Israelis doing that! 

Dr. Eric Alterman, a prominent professor of English in New York City, wrote that Blumenthal’s “book could have been a selection of a hypothetical Hamas Book of the Month Club.” Alterman penned his critical review of Blumenthal’s book in the left-wing magazineThe Nation, where he is a columnist.

Speaking from Washington with the Post, Josh Block, a former Clinton administration spokesman who is CEO of The Israel Project, said of Blumenthal: “I am sure his colleagues at the Hezbollah newspaper where he was a writer for years are pleased and not at all surprised to see their guy on this list… Turns out the anti-Semites of Al-Akhbar and Iran’s Press TV discovered this modern- day Jewish Father Coughlin before anyone else.”

The Wiesenthal Center said Falk had argued that Israel might be organizing a Nazi-like Holocaust, and had defended Palestinian terrorism as “the right of resistance” because suicide attacks would inflict significant pressure on Israel.

Pandora Pushkin comments: The idea that Israel might be organizing a “Nazi-like Holocaust” of the Palestinians is of course manifestly absurd when we consider Israel’s exemplary behaviour during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza (Dec 2008-Jan 2009). During this trying period, Israel  killed a mere 1400 evil Palestinian terrorists, mostly women and children, using the kindest of weapons available to it, including skin-melting white phosphorus bombs. Don’t forget, too, that Israel was to lose as many as 11 heroic martyrs during this humanitarian exercise.

European cartoonists from Norway, Germany and France landed the seventh slot for their depictions of Israel and Jews. In Germany in particular, the center cited “cartoons in two different newspapers (the Badische Zeitung and the Stuttgarter Zeitung) depicting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu poisoning peace talks.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, told the Post, “It is especially galling and outrageous in the midst of all this that two German newspapers would publish cartoons that – consciously or otherwise – deploy deep-rooted European anti-Semitic imagery of the Jew as poisoner. Those images do the poisoning and also validate [a] toxic attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people.”

Henryk M. Broder, a leading German author and an expert on new forms of anti-Semitism, praised the list for classifying the Badische Zeitung cartoon as anti-Semitic. He told thePost that “it hit the nail on the head.”

The German-Israel friendship society in Freiburg, where the Badische Zeitung is published, wrote in a statement to the Post, “In view of this ranking, we would appreciate if the editorial team of the Badische Zeitung could reconsider their statement about the cartoon. We hope that in the future the Badische Zeitung will exercise more care when it comes to the release of anti-Semitic depictions. In this context, we would like to mention that anti-Semitism can also be disguised as anti-Zionism.”

Should anti-Semitic cartoons like this be permitted?  We call for an IMMEDIATE ban on all such cartoons!

Should anti-Semitic cartoons like this be permitted?
We call for an IMMEDIATE ban on all such cartoons!

Fourth on the list were political and church groups, along with Pink Floyd’s cofounder, Roger Waters. The center said that Waters slandered “Israel as an apartheid state, compares it to Nazi Germany and denies that the Iranian regime poses any threat to the Jewish State.”

The American Studies Association was cited for singling out Israel for a boycott. A right-wing extremist Hungarian political party called for a registry for Jews for “security reasons.”

The United Church of Canada was listed because “As Christians suffer in Syria, [are subject to] ethnic cleansing in Iraq and threatened in Egypt, The United Church of Canada endorsed the boycott of Israel – the only Middle East state that guarantees full religious freedom and protection to all faiths.”

The Pine Bush New York school district occupied the eighth spot for failing to protect Jewish pupils from “anti-Semitic slurs and physical abuse by bullies.”

The glorification of Hitler in Muslim-majority countries and elsewhere was listed sixth.

Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Alice Walker was co-listed as ninth for her latest book, Pin in the Cushion, which “is a diatribe against the Jewish state. Walker depicts Hamas-ruled Gaza as a benign place” and compares Israelis to the Nazis.

European anti-Semitism and racism in sports stadiums captured the tenth spot on the list.

The list included a call on NBA star Tony Parker to apologize for a Nazi-like salute.

Pandora Pushkin concludes: 2013 has been a bumper year for anti-Semitic comments. Like my old granny used to say, “Under every rock their lurks a nasty anti-Semitic insect!” Let’s hope 2014 will see a radical improvement in anti-Semitic attitudes.
This will depend to a large extent, of course, on Israel continuing to behave with its exemplary restraint in the Middle East. Israel must really try harder to steal less Palestinian land next year and kill a few less Palestinians. That would obviously help.
And Jews on the whole could also do a bit more to make themselves more popular: like, for example, by not spitting in Christians’ faces, as they do in the Holy Land on a regular basis — and by generally learning to make themselves more cuddly and lovable. 

Posted in Europe, ZIO-NAZI1 Comment

Syria’s Assad urges fight against Zio-Wahhabi religious ideology

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President Bashar al-Assad giving an interview with Venezuelan television station TeleSUR in Damascus in this picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on September 25, 2013
  • AFP/SANA/AFP/File – President Bashar al-Assad giving an interview with Venezuelan television station TeleSUR in Damascus in this picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on September …more 

Syria‘s President Bashar al-Assad Monday called for a battle against Wahhabism, the political and religious ideology embraced by the Saudi government, a key backer of the uprising against his regime.

The comments came amid ongoing tensions between the two countries, which are fiercely opposed to each other.

“President Assad said that extremist and Wahhabi thought distort the real Islam, which is tolerant,” state news agency SANA said.

“He underlined the role of men of religion in fighting against Wahhabi thought, which is foreign to our societies,” the agency said.

Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative Muslim tradition, which is predominant in Saudi Arabia and applied to both religious and political life.

Assad’s remarks during a meeting with religious clerics from Lebanon come a day after Saudi King Abdullah accused the Syrian leader of “destroying his country”.

The monarch, who is hosting French President Francois Hollande, also accused Assad of having attracted Islamic extremists to Syria.

Groups affiliated with and loyal to Al-Qaeda are now among those fighting on the ground against Assad’s government.

Saudi Arabia is a key backer of the rebels fighting against Assad’s regime, and the Damascus government accuses the kingdom of funding “terrorists” seeking to destroy Syria.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, SyriaComments Off on Syria’s Assad urges fight against Zio-Wahhabi religious ideology

ZIO-NAZI YA’ALON: ” CLARE SHORT AT RISK OF ARREST ”

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Clare Short at risk of arrest in I$raHell, warns defence minister Moshe Ya’alon

Council for European Palestinian Relations that former International Development Secretary chairs has been outlawed in Israel

Former International Development Secretary Clare Short could be arrested the next time she lands in Tel Aviv after the Palestinian organisation she is a director of was declared an “illicit organisation” by Israel’s Defence Minister on Tuesday.

Moshe Ya’alon, former IDF chief of staff, outlawed the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) – a Belgian non-profit organisation that lobbies on behalf of the Gaza Government – using emergency defence regulations.

CEPR Members also include Labour MEP Richard Howitt, a member of the House of Lords and two other European MPs who are now in danger of prosecution if they land at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Ms Short, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said she was unsurprised by the decision. She told The Independent: “As CEPR is Palestinian led, and given Israel’s track record, the Defence Minister’s action is not surprising, but it is yet more evidence that Israel’s claim to be a democracy is eroding very fast.”

Ms Short added: “I’ve never been with CEPR via Israel, been to Gaza a number of times but always via Rafah.”

The Brussels-based NGO, which also has an office in London, describes itself as having been established “to promote dialogue and understanding between European, Palestinian and Arab parliamentarians and policy-makers.”

The CEPR website says: “It seeks a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on justice and the restoration of Palestinian rights in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law.”

The not-for-profit organisation’s director is London-based Dr Arafat Shoukri who Harretz reported on Tuesday “has been active for many years in various organisations working against the State of Israel, and was one of the leaders of the campaign calling for the lifting of the siege against Gaza”.

Ms Short, who was Tony Blair’s Interational Development Secretary from 1997 until her resignation in protest over the Iraq War in 2003, has been a member of several CEPR delegations in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. In the past three years the CEPR has organized six delegations of European MPs, who visited Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. In 2010 Shoukri met with the then-chairman of the EU Parliament.

Mr Ya’alon had already declared the CEPR “an outlawed organisation” two weeks ago, which means Israel can confiscate money related to the group and try its members or those who provide them with services.

Haaretz reported on Tuesday: “In the past Israel has declared isolated European groups illegal, but still this is an unusual declaration.”

As well as Mr Howitt, who has been an official EU election monitor for both Palestinian presidential and legislative elections, the remaining MEPs are German representative Alexandra Thein, Swiss MP Geri Müller and Lord (Norman) Warner, a health minister under Mr Blair and who now serves on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Palestine in Westminster.

The four are now in danger of arrest and trial if they visit Israel or try to reach the West Bank via Israel.

Israel’s Shin Bet security services said that the CEPR was recently declared an illegal organisation “in light of the fact that it is Hamas’ leading organisation in Europe, which carries out its activity under cover of being a pro-Palestinian organisation”, adding that  “the organisation is headed by senior Hamas activists, including Arafat Shoukri and Rami Abdo,” Haaretz reported.

The newspaper added: “In reply to the question as to whether the Shin Bet intends to take steps against the (politicians) if they arrive in Israel, they said that ‘The Shin Bet does not usually discuss activities in which it engages for the purpose of fulfilling its mission’.”

Dr Shoukri told The Independent the CEPR will take legal action. He said: “The decision of the Israel defense minister is based on false accusations and has no shred of truth and we will challenge it through the legal means.

“The CEPR is a non profit organisation and is not affiliated to any political party whether inside or outside Palestine.

“Our main aim is to achieve peace and justice in the Middle East according to international law.

“We also believe that the international community should respect the democratic and transparent elections that took place in Palestine 2006 and engage with all representatives of the Palestinian people.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on ZIO-NAZI YA’ALON: ” CLARE SHORT AT RISK OF ARREST ”

Book about killing gentile children becomes bestseller in I$raHell

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Posted by 

JERUSALEM – A Jewish rabbi has issued a book giving Jews permission to murder non-Jews, including babies and children, who may pose an actual or potential threat to Jews or Israel. “It is permissible to kill the Righteous among non-Jews even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation,” Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement in the occupied West Bank, wrote in his book “The King’s Torah.”

He argues that goyem (a derogatory epithet for non-Jews) may be killed if they threaten Israel.

“If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments – because we care about the commandments – there is nothing wrong with the murder.”

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro – co-author of the book

Shapiro, who heads a small Talmudic school at the settlement of Yitzhar near Nablus, claims his edict “is fully justified by the Torah and the Talmud.”

The anti-goyem edict seems to come in response to the arrest by Israeli police of a Jewish terrorist who has confessed to having murdered two Palestinian shepherds in the West Bank.

The terrorist, an American-born immigrant named Yaakov Teitel, also confessed to have tried to assassinate leftist Jewish figures.

Police considered the arrest an important achievement in combating Jewish terrorism, which experts contend thrives on religious edicts issued by rabbis affiliated with the religious-Zionist camp.

Nearly 16 years ago, a Jewish terrorist named Yigal Amir assassinated then Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin.

Moreover, numerous innocent Palestinians have also been murdered in cold blood by Jewish terrorists.

In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a notorious Jewish terrorist, murdered 29 Muslim worshipers inside Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank town of al-Khalil.

Non-Humans

The controversial edict is backed by numerous rabbis affiliated with the so-called national-religious camp as well as the Talmudic seminary in West Jerusalem, known as Merkaz Ha’rav.

Among the rabbis who have publicly supported the edict are Yitzhak Ginsburg and Ya’akov Yosef.

Ginsburg had written a leaflet glorifying murderer Goldstein and called him a “saintly figure.”

Shapiro’s views on how Palestinians and non-Jews in general ought to be treated according to Jewish religious law (halacha) are widely looked at as representing the mainstream not the exception in Israel.

During the Israeli onslaught against Gaza earlier this year, Mordecahi Elyahu, one of the leading rabbinic figures in Israel, urged the army not to refrain from killing enemy children in order to save the lives of Israeli soldiers.

He had even petitioned the Israeli government to carry out a series of carpet bombing of Palestinian population centers in Gaza.

“If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand. And if they do not stop after we kill a thousand, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop, we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to stop them.”

According to Israel Shahak, author of “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: the Weight of Three Thousand years,” the term “human beings” in Jewish law refers solely to Jews.

Many Jewish orthodox rabbis, especially within the national-religious sector, view international conventions incriminating the deliberate killing of civilians and destruction of civilian homes and property as representing “Christian morals” not binding on Jews.

In 2006, the Rabbinic Council of Jewish Settlements in the West Bank urged the army “to ignore Christian morals and exterminate the enemy in the north (Lebanon) and the south (Gaza Strip).

Such manifestly racist and hateful edicts don’t raise many eyebrows in Israel, neither among the intelligentsia nor in the society at large.

Source

The article is also available on Israeli website Haaretz.

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ZIO-WAHHABI TRAINING ANTI-SYRIA NATO RAT’S

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Anti-Syria Zio-Wahhabi Rat’s receiving intensive training from US Marine Corps personnel in Saudi Arabia, and the Zionist regime of Jordan.

IHS source said the United States and Wahhabi regime have agreed to train around 1,500 insurgents. The programme began a few months ago and most of the personnel will be trained by the end of this year.

The courses last for 100 days and include fighting in built up areas (FIBUA). The most recent intake that arrived from Jordan on 13 October consists of around 40% from insurgent groups operating inside Syria, with the rest recruited from refugees in neighbouring countries.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, SyriaComments Off on ZIO-WAHHABI TRAINING ANTI-SYRIA NATO RAT’S

15 Palestinians die from hunger in Syrian camp

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  • 1388042670231293700_0.jpg

    A Palestinian man carries the body of 3-year-old Hala Abu Sebakha in a mosque during her funeral in the Gaza Strip, in this Dec. 25, 2013 photo. (AP)

BEIRUT: At least 15 Palestinians have died of hunger since September in a besieged refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees told AFP on Monday.
“Reports have come in over the weekend that at least five Palestinian refugees in the besieged refugee camp of Yarmuk in Damascus have died because of malnutrition, bringing the total number of reported cases to 15,” UN Relief and Works Agency spokesman Chris Gunness told AFP.
He warned of a deteriorating situation in the camp, where some 20,000 Palestinians are trapped, with limited food and medical supplies.
“Since September 2013 we have been unable to enter the area to deliver desperately needed relief supplies,” Gunness said.

“The continued presence of armed groups that entered the area at the end of 2012 and its closure by government forces have thwarted all our humanitarian efforts.”
Most of the Yarmuk camp in southern Damascus is under the control of the armed opposition, and it has been under a siege by troops loyal to President Bashar Assad for around a year.
The blockade has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, and the exodus of tens of thousands of the camp’s 170,000 residents.

On Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights NGO reported five people in the camp had died of malnutrition, including an elderly man, a disabled man and a woman.
UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi addressed the situation earlier this month, warning that conditions in Yarmuk had “progressively deteriorated.”

“If this situation is not addressed urgently, it may be too late to save the lives of thousands of people including children,” he warned.
Gunness said UNRWA was calling “all parties to immediately heed their legal obligations and facilitate the urgent provision of humanitarian assistance to Yarmuk and other Palestinian refugee camps.”

Syria is officially home to nearly 500,000 Palestinian refugees, around half of whom have been displaced by the deadly conflict that broke out in March 2011, becoming refugees for a second time.
More than 126,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on 15 Palestinians die from hunger in Syrian camp

SYRIA: Beyond Camps, Aiding Syrians Is Even Harder

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Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Syrians Living as Outsiders, as Squatters or in Camps: About 2.3 million refugees have fled the civil war, but only about one-fifth of them live in refugee camps, making it harder for aid to reach them.

By 

BAALBEK, Lebanon — In a typical refugee camp, the tents or trailers would probably be all white and bear the donor’s logo. Here, the shacks that hundreds of Syrian refugees have built themselves are draped with discarded billboard tarps that, in their second lives, still go on advertising the Emirates airline, Silkor Laser Medical Center, Sea Pros Yachts and Khoury Home Wedding List.

Selwa Sairafy, a Syrian, lives with four children and her husband in a schoolroom in Naameh, Lebanon. The school has been overtaken by refugees.

A Lebanese charity called Sawa equipped some of the shacks with toilets and water reservoirs. But most of the Syrians on the outskirts of Baalbek, a town in central Lebanon with one of the highest concentrations of refugees, were on their own.

Of the 2.3 million people who have fled Syria’s civil war, only about 20 percent live in camps. The rest are what aid organizations call urban refugees, whether they are in cities, towns or villages. In Lebanon, where there is no single formal refugee camp, 850,000 registered refugees are scattered throughout the country in 1,600 locations.

In one settlement, 33 families were squeezed into 30 shacks. None of the children were going to school. Only a quarter of the residents were registered with the United Nations refugees agency and thus eligible for food assistance, the refugees said.

To a certain extent, the situation in Lebanon is a result of policy choices. Generally, the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations have in recent years moved refugees outside camps, which often become crucibles of social problems. The theory was that urban refugees would lead healthier, more normal lives, and keep acquiring skills that would help them after their eventual return home. Services could be provided, just as inside a camp.

But the scale of Syria’s refugee crisis has also shown the difficulties and cost of catering to a largely urban refugee population, and now the United Nations is pressing for the establishment of camps in Lebanon.

Aid groups have strained to provide the kind of basic services found in all camps to the more than 1.8 million registered urban refugees dispersed throughout Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and elsewhere. Yet neither the United Nations nor governments know how many urban refugees there really are. Hundreds of thousands remain unregistered.

“The Syrian crisis poses a real challenge for the humanitarian agencies, which are much more used to dealing with refugees inside camps, where everybody is in one place,” said Jeff Crisp, a senior director at Refugees International, an advocacy group in Washington, and the former head of policy development at the United Nations refugees agency.

While Ninette Kelley, the agency’s representative in Lebanon, said refugee camps should be “a last resort,” the United Nations, overwhelmed with the influx of Syrians, has been lobbying the Lebanese government to establish them. So far, Lebanon has refused, citing its tortured history with its Palestinian camps.

Direct comparisons are hard to make. But in Jordan, where a fifth of the refugee population resides in camps, the United Nations has appealed for help equivalent to about $980 per refugee; in Lebanon, that number is $1,210.

Part of the extra cost goes to helping communities overwhelmed by the flood of refugees, who end up competing with local people for apartments, jobs and services. In Turkey, the richest of the host nations, the presence of a cheap, though illegal, foreign work force may be tacitly encouraged.

But in the smaller, fragile economies of Lebanon and Jordan, jobs are scarcer.

Mohammed Mafaalani, 35, a refugee from Dara’a in southern Syria, lived for six months in an area north of Amman, the Jordanian capital, paying about $240 a month for a two-room apartment for his wife and two sons. He found sporadic work as a house painter but was called in several times by the Jordanian authorities for working illegally — exposed, he believed, by Jordanian house painters angry that he was willing to work for less.

Unable to afford his rent, Mr. Mafaalani and his family stood in Zaatari, the huge refugee camp run by the United Nations in Jordan, waiting for a bus to the Syrian border. The family was going back to Dara’a despite the fighting there. “I’m scared and happy at the same time,” his wife, Maha, 29, said.

The family did not consider staying in Zaatari, which, as the refugees agency itself has acknowledged, is lawless in many ways, with criminal and rebel groups operating beyond the control of agency officials.

While the legions of urban refugees present challenges to humanitarian groups, the conditions inside the camps are generating an array of other problems. As the United Nations and regional governments work on the assumption that Syria’s civil war will last years and are ready to open new camps or expand existing ones, many worry that the worst camps are becoming incubators of despair and Islamic extremism.

“If I were in Zaatari, I’d become a jihadist,” said Hassan Abu Hanieh, a Jordanian expert on Salafist jihadism.

A small camp in Jordan, Mrajeeb al-Fhood, financed by the United Arab Emirates and run by the Emirati Red Crescent, prides itself on catering to all the needs of its 3,000 residents. Token jobs are available, but officials do not allow the refugees to set up small businesses. By far the most organized, cleanest and safest of the camps, it also has the tightest security and is the strictest in granting permits to leave, even for a day.

“Zaatari is dirty and dangerous, so we are happy to be here,” said Sahar Karazan, 37, who was living there with her five children.

But Ziyad al-Heimid, 40, beckoned a reporter to his trailer to complain about the lack of freedom. “I want to go to Zaatari,” said Mr. Heimid, who had a cellphone store in Dara’a before the war. “There I’ll be free. I can start my own business.”

Talib Abu Talib, an Emirati Red Crescent official who had been listening to the conversation, said: “Think of your wife and daughters. You’re being selfish. You don’t know what Zaatari is like.”

In Turkey, the government has spent $2 billion to house 200,000 refugees in 21 camps. It directly manages the camps and allows very limited access to outsiders.

In Kilis, a Turkish border town, about 14,000 refugees live in trailers and have access to a full range of facilities in what is considered one of the best camps. Entrepreneurship is permitted.

Mazin Murad, 24, a maker of dental appliances in Syria before the war, was now operating a small stand selling scarves. Every morning, he crosses into Syria to stock up and then opens his stand in Turkey by late morning. Mr. Murad said he also fought regularly in Idlib, Syria, for a battalion under the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.

Mr. Murad’s example underscores a prominent criticism of the Turkish camps. Tightly controlled by the Turkish government, which backs the rebel movement against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, they effectively serve as rear bases for Syrian rebels and have few, if any, Alawites, members of the Shiite offshoot who tend to support Mr. Assad.

“We support Bashar, and everybody else in the camps is going to fight him,” said Mohammed al-Mahmoud, 27, who had gathered with other Alawites at a center in Istanbul. “I don’t think we could hide the fact that we are Alawites inside the camps.”

Posted in Lebanon, SyriaComments Off on SYRIA: Beyond Camps, Aiding Syrians Is Even Harder

Bomb Attacks in Russia Echo Threats by Chechen Insurgent

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Reuters

A bomb on a bus in Volgograd, Russia, on Monday killed at least 15 people. It was the second fatal blast in the city in two days.

By 

Twin terrorist attacks in the city of Volgograd within 24 hours injected new urgency on Monday into Russia’s long, ruthless effort to contain a diffuse Islamic insurgency on its southern border, one nominally led by a veteran, battle-scarred Chechen often called Russia’s Osama bin Laden.

Doku Umarov

The attacks, coming only six weeks before the opening of the Olympics just 400 miles away, sowed widespread fear across the country. On Monday morning, a suicide bomber gutted a crowded electric trolley bus in Volgograd a little more than a mile and a half from the city’s main railroad station, where a similar attack took place on Sunday.

The death toll in the two attacks continued to rise on Tuesday as victims died while being treated in hospitals. A Health Ministry spokesman told Interfax that 18 people had now died as a result of the bombing at the train station, while 16 died in the trolley bus attack.

The investigation into the bombings is just getting underway, but the attention of the Russian security services is already focused on the republic of Dagestan, which has become the hub of Muslim separatist violence in recent years, and on connections to the insurgent leader,Doku Umarov. He is a mysterious, almost mythical figure who fought in both Chechnya wars, which began nearly two decades ago and have come to symbolize the radicalization of a movement that began as a struggle for independence.

Mr. Umarov’s influence had seemed to be waning in recent years, until he surfaced in a video in July, ordering his followers to do whatever was possible to attack Russia as it prepared to be the host of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Volgograd, Mr. Umarov’s threats, largely ignored at the time, suddenly seemed ominous, chillingly citing Russia’s transportation networks as potential targets.

Now, experts say, the question is whether the suicide bombings in Volgograd and one previous attack there are the first volleys in Mr. Umarov’s promised campaign to disrupt the Olympic Games and discredit the government of President Vladimir V. Putin.

“The big question is will there be this sort of wave,” said Gordon M. Hahn, a senior associate with the Center of Strategic and International Studies who has written extensively on Islamic terror groups in the Caucasus. “This is already a pretty high level — the fact that they pulled off three suicide bombings in Volgograd in two months. If their idea is to build up a crescendo, they have to take it easy because they’ll have to do something really big.”

The attacks prompted false reports of other bombings in Volgograd and the brief evacuation of Red Square here in Moscow after a woman left a package or bag near St. Basil’s Cathedral. They also called into question Russia’s preparedness for an international sporting event that Mr. Putin and others intend to be a showcase of the country’s revival since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Putin, who has made no public remarks since Sunday’s attack, ordered the tightening of security across the country after holding a series of meetings with government and security officials, according to the Kremlin. He dispatched the director of the Federal Security Service, Aleksandr V. Bortnikov, to Volgograd to oversee the investigation and enhanced security measures.

“I think we will be able to solve these crimes, particularly because we have some clues,” Mr. Bortnikov said after arriving there, without elaborating on the trail of evidence investigators were pursuing. He said that additional security had been deployed at public places, including transportation and energy facilities in Volgograd, a city of about a million people formerly known as Stalingrad. At the same time, security officials in the city launched a security sweep that detained at least 12 people.

Vladimir I. Markin, a spokesman for the main national criminal investigation agency in Russia, the Investigative Committee, said a man carried out Monday’s attack, detonating a bomb with more than eight pounds of explosives on trolley bus No. 15, which witnesses said was full of morning commuters. In a statement, Mr. Markin said the bombs used in both attacks were similar, packed with shrapnel to make them more lethal. He cited that as evidence that the two attacks were connected. “It’s possible they were prepared in one place,” he said of the bombs.

Mr. Umarov has previously claimed responsibility for some of the most devastating suicide attacks in recent years, including ones that struck the Moscow subway system in 2010 and the city’s Domodedovo Airport in 2011. Neither he nor his organization has claimed responsibility for the Volgograd bombings.

Mr. Umarov was crushed after the second war in Chechnya by Mr. Putin’s defiant refusal to negotiate with fighters he dismissed as terrorists. In response, he repurposed himself as a proponent of global jihad, declaring himself the tactical and inspirational leader of a Caucasus Emirate that few people in the region embrace. Then, in July, he issued his manifesto on the Sochi Games.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Monday denouncing “provocative appeals” by terrorists like Mr. Umarov, while blaming unspecified politicians and others around the world for “flirting” with them. Mr. Umarov and his group have been declared terrorists by the United Nations, and, since 2011, the State Department has offered a reward of $5 million for information leading to his arrest.

The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, released a statement on Monday condemning the attacks but expressing confidence that Russia would adequately secure the Sochi Games. “I am certain that everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all the participants of the Olympic Games,” he said.

Aleksandr D. Zhukov, the president of Russia’s Olympic Committee and the first deputy speaker of Parliament, said that all necessary security measures had been taken to protect athletes and visitors in Sochi. “No additional security measures will be taken in Sochi in light of the terrorist attack,” he said, according to the Interfax news agency. “Everything necessary has been done.”

His remarks did not address the threat outside of Sochi, however. With security already heavily tightened there, experts have warned that those who want to disrupt the Olympics might turn to “softer” targets elsewhere.

For a time, Mr. Umarov’s group observed a sort of cease-fire that he attributed to the public protests that followed Mr. Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012. With the protests having largely fizzled out, Mr. Umarov declared his new wave of terror.

Monday’s attack was the third suicide bombing in Volgograd in recent months, in addition to at least two other attempted strikes, including a blast at the police station in August. In October, a woman identified as Naida Asiyalova detonated a vest of explosives aboard a bus in the city, killing herself and six others.

In that case, the authorities said she was linked by marriage to an explosives expert working with an Islamic group in Dagestan, in southern Russia, where the police have struggled to suppress Islamic extremism that, according to experts, is only loosely linked with Mr. Umarov’s organization. A month later, the authorities announced that they had killed her husband and four others in a raid.

Dmitry Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said that Mr. Umarov’s leadership role could be overstated, underscoring the complexity of the extremist threat facing Russia.

“It’s more decentralized than a lot of people think; it may be Umarov and his network,” he said, or people active in other groups. “In the field of terrorists,” he added, “we have a lot of franchises.”

Posted in RussiaComments Off on Bomb Attacks in Russia Echo Threats by Chechen Insurgent

2014: International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

NOVANEWS

In a little noted initiative the General Assembly on November 26, 2013 voted to proclaim 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was requested to organize relevant activities in cooperation with governments, the UN system, intergovernmental organizations, and significantly, civil society. The vote was 110-7, with 56 abstentions, which is more or less reflective of the sentiments now present in international society.  Among the seven opponents of the initiative, in addition to Israel, were unsurprisingly its three staunchest supporters, each once a British colony: the United States, Canada, Australia, with the addition of such international heavyweight states as Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. Europe and assorted states around the world were among the 56 abstentions, with virtually the entire non-West solidly behind the idea of highlighting solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for peace with justice based on rights under international law.

 

Three initial observations: those governments that are willing to stand unabashedly with Israel in opposition to the tide of world public opinion are increasingly isolated, and these governments are under mounting public pressure from their own civil societies that seeks a balanced approach that is rights based rather than power dominated; the West, in general, is dominated by the abstaining governments that seek the lowest possible profile of being seen as neither for or against, and in those countries where civil society should now be capable of mobilizing more support for the Palestinian struggle; and the non-West that is, as has long been the case, rhetorically in solidarity with the Palestinian people, but have yet to match their words with deeds, and seem ready to be pushed.  

 

What is also revealing is the argumentation of UN Watch, and others, that denounce this latest UN initiative because it unfairly singles out Israel and ignores those countries that have worse human rights records.  Always forgotten here are two elements of the Israel/Palestine conflict that justify singling it out among others: Israel owes its existence, to a significant degree, to the organized international community, starting with the League of Nations, continuing throughout the British Mandate, and culminating with the Partition Plan of 1947, as set forth in GA Res. 181. The latter overrode the decolonizing principle of self-determination with a solution devised and imposed from without; such antecedents to the current Israel/Palestine situation also expose the colonialist foundations of the current struggle as well as call attention to the settler colonial elements that are associated with Israel’s continuous expansion of territorial, resource, and ethnocratic claims far beyond what the Western dominated international community had proposed, and then approved of,  after the end of World War II.

 

To be sure there were delicate and complex issues all along that make this problematic role of the international community somewhat more understandable. Up to 1945 there was a generalized acceptance of European colonial administration, although in the Middle East, colonial legitimacy was balanced for the first time against an obligation by the colonial powers to prepare a dependent people to stand eventually on its own, an ambivalent acknowledgement of the ethos of self-determination if not yet in the form of a legal norm. This affirmation of self-determination, as an alternative to colonial rule, was the special project of the American president, Woodrow Wilson, who insisted that such an approach was a moral imperative, especially in dealing with the regional aftermath of the Ottoman Empire that had long ruled over many diverse ethnicities.

 

Beyond this, the Jewish experience during the reign of fascist regimes throughout Europe, culminating in the Holocaust, created a strong empathetic urge in Europe to endorse the Zionist project for a Jewish Homeland in Palestine.  As is known, this empathy although genuine in many quarters,  also exhibited a deferred sense of guilt on the part of the Western liberal democracies that had done so little to challenge the genocidal policies of Hitler and the Nazis, refusing to act at all until their national interests were directly engaged by German aggression. European support was also forthcoming because the Zionist proposed solution for the Jewish Problem, which has long been present in Europe, could be enactedelsewhere, that is, at the expense of non-Europeans. This elsewhere was far from empty and was coveted by others for various reasons. Palestine was a land long lived in mainly by Arabs, but also by some Jews and Christians, and associated centrally with the sacred traditions of all three monotheistic religions. Normally in the modern world, the demographics of residence trump biblical or other claims based on claims of national tradition, ethnic identity, and ancient historical presence. Yet despite these factors, there were ethical reasons in the aftermath of such extreme victimization of the Jewish people to lend support to a reasonable version of the Zionist project as it had evolved in the years since the Balfour Declaration, even if from a variety of other perspectives it was deeply unfair to others and disruptive of peaceful relations, and throughout its implementation, produced an unfolding catastrophe for most nonJewish Palestinians.

 

Taking account of this historical and moral complexity what seems evident is the failure of the UN to carry out its responsibility in a manner that was effective and responsive to the human circumstances prevailing in Palestine. The UN overall record is quite disappointing if considered from the perspective of accommodating these contradictory clusters of consideration in a manner that was reflective of international law and global justice. The military prowess of Zionist forces in Israel inflicted a major defeat on the Palestinian people and neighboring Arab governments, and in the process expanded the territorial dominion of Israel from the 55% decreed by the UN in its partition plan to 78% where the green line established an armistice arrangement in 1948. Such an outcome was gradually endorsed by a geopolitical consensus, exhibited through the admission of Israel to the UN without any solution to the underlying conflict, leaving the Palestinians out in the cold and allowing Israel to constitute itself within borders much larger than what the UN had a mere year earlier decreed as fair.

 

This situation was further aggravated by the 1967 War in which Israel occupied all of the remaining territory of historic Palestine, purporting even to annex East Jerusalem while greatly enlarging the area of municipal Jerusalem by incorporating land belonging to the West Bank. Since 1967 this Palestinian territorial remnant has been further decreased by the massive settlement phenomenon, including its network of settler only roads, carried out in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, by the separation wall constructed and maintained in defiance of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, and by a variety of moves to change the demography of East Jerusalem. In other words, Israeli forces on the ground in what had been Palestine have undermined the vision set forth in the partition plan which was itself a controversial UN solution to the conflict that was rejected by Palestinians and by neighboring countries.

 

Despite much propaganda to the contrary, the Palestinian leadership has over most of the period of their struggle, shown an unusual readiness to abandon maximal goals, and put forward forthcoming proposals in recognition of the realities of a situation that had become unfavorable for the realization of their earlier hopes. Palestinian willingness, expressed formally since 1988, to accept Israel as a legitimate state within the green line borders of 1967 remains more than twenty-five years after its articulation an unacknowledged and unreciprocated major initiative for peace. That such a proposal has been ignored and continuously undermined by Israel with de facto Western acquiescence, and in the face of feeble UN rhetorical objections, displays the inability of the UN to fulfill its responsibilities to the people of Palestine.

 

As might be expected, Palestinians have long become disillusioned about the benefits of having UN authority and international law on their side. Over the years the backing of international authority has failed to bring about an improvement in the life circumstances and political position of the Palestinian people. The UN is helpless, and designed to be helpless, whenever a UN position is effectively resisted by a combination of military force and geopolitical alignment. Israel’s military capabilities and American geopolitical leverage have completely nullified the expressed will of the United Nations, but have not overcome the sense of frustration or excused the Organization from its failure to act responsibly toward the Palestinian people.

 

In light of this background, the wonder is that the UN has done so little to repair the damage, not that it has done so much, or more than it should in relation to Israel/Palestine. Arguably, yes, there are a variety of other situations in which the abuse of human rights has been worse than what is being attributed to Israel, but the rationale for focusing on Palestine is not only a question of the denial of rights, it is also an issue of fundamental justice, of the seemingly permanent subjugation of a people, partly due to arrangements that were devised and endorsed over a long period of time by the organized international community.  Yet, witnessing the dire current emergency plight of the people of Gaza, makes it perverse to contend that the human rights challenges facing this large and vulnerable Palestinian community is not among the worst human rights abuses in the entire world, and makes us wonder anew why the UN seems unwilling and unable to do more!

 

We can hope at the dawn of 2014 that the UN will be vigorous in giving the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People a political meaning that goes beyond words of empathy and support. There is an opportunity to do more. The UN resolution calls for working with civil society. Recent moves in America to join boycotts of Israeli academic institutions and in Europe to hold corporations responsible under international law for dealing commercially with Israeli settlements are major successes of civil society activism, being led by the BDS Campaign that has the important legitimating virtue of Palestinian leadership and backing. The UN can help build a momentum in the global solidarity movement that encourages nonviolent militant forms of coercive action that alone will give ‘solidarity’ a good name.

 

Palestinians are starting to win the Legitimacy War that is being waged against unlawful Israeli policies and on behalf of the attainment of Palestinian rights. The turning point in world public opinion can probably be traced back to the way Israel waged the Lebanon War of 1982, especially the avowed reliance on disproportionate force directed at residential neighborhoods, especially in south Beirut, a tactic that became known as the Dahiya Doctrine. The tipping point in shifting the Israeli collective identity from that of victims and heroic underdogs to that lawless perpetrators of oppressive warfare against a totally vulnerable people came in Operation Cast Lead, the sustained assault with high technology weaponry on the people of Gaza for three weeks at the end of 2008. After these developments, the Palestinians were understood more widely to be a victimized people, engaged in a just struggle to gain their rights under international law, and needing and deserving an international movement of support to offset the Israeli hard power and geopolitical dominance.

 

Israeli leaders and think tanks try their hardest to discredit this Palestinian Legitimacy War by falsely claiming that it is directed against the legitimacy of Israel as a state rather than is the case, against the unlawful policies of the Israeli state. This is a crucial difference, and the distinction seems deliberately obscured by Israeli propaganda that inflated what Palestinians are seeking so as to make their activism appear hyperbolic, with unreasonable and unacceptable demands, which makes it easier to dismiss than by addressing critically the Palestinian grievances in their actual form. It is to be hoped that the International Year of Solidarity in its work clarifies this distinction between Israel as a state and Israeli policies. Within such a framework the UN will deserve credit for contributing to victories throughout the world that advance the agenda of the Legitimacy War being waged by and on behalf of the Palestinian people, and by so doing, move the debate somewhat closer to the realization of a just and sustainable peace for both peoples.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on 2014: International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

A Criminal Government at Work

NOVANEWS

by ALFREDO LOPEZ

As the people of this country, and much of the world, observe the year-end holidays, we can look back on 2013 as the year when any illusion of genuine democracy was dashed by the remarkable revelations about the police-state surveillance that watches us. Last week, we saw a deeply disturbing stroke added to that incrementally developing picture.

In the ever-expanding and groan-provoking saga of the NSA’s attack on our privacy, it was revealed that the agency paid a major Internet security firm to insert a flawed encryption formula into the company’s software. The news, sparked by leaks from Edward Snowden and first reported by Reuters [1], raises serious questions about the security of popular encryption programs and indicates that the U.S. government was consciously involved in massive and very destructive fraud.

The revelations indicate that the NSA paid $10 million to RSA, one of the most prominent encrytion software companies in the world, to include the NSA’s own encryption formula in a very popular and heavily used encryption product called “Bsafe”. While Bsafe offers several encryption options, the default option (the one you use if you don’t specifically choose any) is the NSA’s own code.

The massive attack on encryption by the NSA has been reported before but this recent revelations about payments made demonstrate an intentionality to defraud and a complete disregard for the law, honesty and people’s rights. RSA offered a partial and fairly weak statement[2] of defense. The NSA has yet to comment.

“Encryption” is a computerized function, ubiquitous on the Internet, that scrambles data so it can’t be read unless the reader has a “key”, a small piece of computer code that the encryption program uses to “decrypt” the data and render it readable. Some of us use it to encrypt email, do Internet chat or voice-over-IP communications (an Internet telephone protocol). Most of us have probably used it to send data like credit card numbers when we purchase something. It’s the thing that makes private communications on the Internet private.

Nothing revealed indicates that encryption itself doesn’t work. In fact, the NSA’s attack on encryption is proof of strong encryption’s usefulness and security. The agency didn’t “crack” encryption; it apparently can’t. Rather it developed its own, faulty encryption code that allowed it to read data encrypted using that code. Then it paid RSA to use that code in its products. To understand how this works, we have to understand RSA standard encryption.

The fact that it’s called RSA encryption shows how prominent the products of this company are. RSA encryption uses a two-key system. When you start working with the encryption program, it generates your public key (a string of numbers and letters) and an accompanying “private key”. You let everyone know your public key; mine is on my business card. You *never* let anyone know your private key.

If I want to send you an encrypted message, I get your public key and use software that will encrypt the data using that key — encryption software lets me keep a library of people’s public keys so it can do the encryption automatically. You receive what I sent and then apply your private key (which is stored on your server or computer) to decrypt the data and read it. All of this happens in seconds and it is absolutely foolproof — unless, of course, the company that made the software uses a key generating method that allows it to decrypt the message without having anyone’s private key.

It’s like building door locks that can all be opened with a special key. That’s what the NSA designed and it paid RSA to include that “backdoor” in its software and offer that version of the encryption scheme as the default on its Bsafe programs.

What’s disturbing is that millions of computers use Bsafe (and many more use some RSA-based encryption method). What is even more disturbing is that many of the programs that use “Bsafe” are for Androids and other cell phones: devices rapidly becoming the information device of choice for many people all over the world. But what’s most disturbing is that this piece of technological flim-flam may not be limited to Bsafe or even to RSA programs. Other companies that build widely-used encryption include Symantec, McAfee, and Microsoft and experts now suspect the NSA may have bribed them as well.

“You think they only bribed one company in the history of their operations?” asked Bruce Schneier, one of the world’s premier information security experts [3]. “What’s at play here is that we don’t know who’s involved. You have no idea who else was bribed, so you don’t know who else you can trust.”

The NSA has frequently said its only purpose in data capture and analysis is to catch criminals and terrorists. Most Americans would consider that a legitimate, even laudatory, goal of law enforcement. But when you capture information on everyone to catch the criminal, law enforcement is operating like a police state. Captured information is usually stored and having information on everyone’s communications is against the law and there’s a reason for that. When a government decides that legal activity you’re involved in is now illegal, it can use that data to repress that activity and the history of governments is that they will frequently declare illegal such activities as organizing against their policies.

That’s why the Constitution stricty forbids this type of data gathering under the First and Fourth amendments: the states that united to approve the constitution didn’t trust a central government with the power to intrusively and massively gather information on its citizens.

The use of encryption means that the intent of the data exchange, particularly with email, is to be private. People speak to each other in privacy all the time and nobody would argue that a private communication means that there is illegal activity. Moreover, privacy is our right and why we go private is not the business of anyone but the people we are speaking with privately. It’s certainly not the government’s business. In fact, this concept of “privacy” has long been a pillar of Internet communications which is why encryption programs are so popular on-line.

But this a step beyond the “capture all information” programs the NSA has admitted to and been sharply criticized for: the subject of the recent report by the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies [4] that found that the NSA had “over-stepped” its mandate and rights.

Devising a fraudulent system of encryption, building a back-door into it and then paying companies to offer this to the public as a fool-proof, default assurance of privacy is hardly over-stepping. It’s a conscious, cynical, fraudulent and extremely dangerous attack on the principle of Internet privacy, reflecting our government’s complete disdain for our rights.

It also demonstrates the dangers of relying on corporate-developed encryption when there are several free and open source alternatives costing nothing and involving the work of developers whose only purpose is their commitment to a free Internet. Brad Chacos of PC World wrote an article last September [5] with several excellent suggestions but finding solutions is really a matter of doing Internet searches for this. Using those solutions now becomes not a choice but a necessity.

Posted in USAComments Off on A Criminal Government at Work

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