Archive | July 3rd, 2016

Nazi Rabbi Yisrael: All Palestinians Must Be Killed, Men, Women, Infants and Beasts

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By: KhamakarPress

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen is the head of the Tzomet Institute in Alon Shvut

Nazi Rabbi Yisrael Rosen is the head of the Tzomet Institute in Alon Shvut

This was the religious opinion issued one week ago by Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, director of the Tsomet Institute, a long-established religious institute attended by students and soldiers in the Israeli settlements of the West Bank. In an article published by numerous religious Israeli newspapers two weeks ago and run by the liberal Haaretz on 26 March, Rosen asserted that there is evidence in the Torah to justify this stand. Rosen, an authority able to issue religious opinions for Jews, wrote that Palestinians are like the nation of Amalekites that attacked the Israelite tribes on their way to Jerusalem after they had fled from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. He wrote that the Lord sent down in the Torah a ruling that allowed the Jews to kill the Amalekites, and that this ruling is known in Jewish jurisprudence.

Rosen’s article, which created a lot of noise in Israel, included the text of the ruling in the Torah: “Annihilate the Amalekites from the beginning to the end. Kill them and wrest them from their possessions. Show them no mercy. Kill continuously, one after the other. Leave no child, plant, or tree. Kill their beasts, from camels to donkeys.” Rosen adds that the Amalekites are not a particular race or religion, but rather all those who hate the Jews for religious or national motives. Rosen goes as far as saying that the “Amalekites will remain as long as there are Jews. In every age Amalekites will surface from other races to attack the Jews, and thus the war against them must be global.” He urges application of the “Amalekites ruling” and says that the Jews must undertake to implement it in all eras because it is a “divine commandment”.

Rosen does not hesitate to define the “Amalekites of this age” as the Palestinians. He writes, “those who kill students as they recite the Torah, and fire missiles on the city of Siderot, spread terror in the hearts of men and women. Those who dance over blood are the Amalekites, and we must respond with counter-hatred. We must uproot any trace of humanitarianism in dealing with them so that we emerge victorious.”

The true outrage is that most of those authorised to issue Jewish religious opinions support the view of Rabbi Rosen, as confirmed by Haaretz newspaper. At the head of those supporting his opinion is Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, the leading religious authority in Israel’s religious national current, and former chief Eastern rabbi for Israel. Rosen’s opinion also has the support of Rabbi Dov Lior, president of the Council of Rabbis of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed and a candidate for the post of chief rabbi of Israel. A number of political leaders in Israel have also shown enthusiasm for the opinion, including Ori Lubiansky, head of the Jerusalem municipality.

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There is no dispute among observers in Israel that the shooting in Jerusalem three weeks ago that killed eight Jewish students in a religious school was pivotal for Jewish authorities issuing religious opinions of a racist, hateful nature. The day following the Jerusalem incident, a number of rabbis led by Daniel Satobsky issued a religious opinion calling on Jewish youth and “all those who believe in the Torah” to take revenge on the Palestinians as hastily as possible. A week following the operation, a group of leading rabbis issued an unprecedented religious opinion permitting the Israeli army to bomb Palestinian civilian areas. The opinion is issued by the “Association of Rabbis of the Land of Israel” and states that Jewish religious law permits the bombing of Palestinian civilian residential areas if they are a source of attacks on Jewish residential areas. It reads, “when the residents of cities bordering settlements and Jewish centres fire shells at Jewish settlements with the aim of death and destruction, the Torah permits for shells to be fired on the sources of firing even if civilian residents are present there.”

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The opinion adds that sometimes it is necessary to respond with shelling to sources of fire immediately, without granting the Palestinian public prior warning. A week ago, Rabbi Eliyahu Kinvinsky, the second most senior authority in the Orthodox religious current, issued a religious opinion prohibiting the employment of Arabs, particularly in religious schools. This religious opinion followed another that had been issued by Rabbi Lior prohibiting the employment of Arabs and the renting of residential apartments to them in Jewish neighbourhoods. In order to provide a climate that allows Jewish extremist organisations to continue attacking Palestinian citizens, Rabbi Israel Ariel, one of the most prominent rabbis in the West Bank settlement complex, recently issued a religious opinion prohibiting religious Jews involved in attacks against Palestinians to appear before Israeli civil courts. According to this opinion, they must instead demand to appear before Torah courts that rule by Jewish religious law.

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Haaretz newspaper noted that what Rabbi Ariel was trying to achieve through this religious opinion has in fact already taken place. The first instance of such a court in Kfar Saba ordered the release of a young Jewish woman called Tsevia Teshrael who attacked a Palestinian farmer in the middle of the West Bank. And there are Jewish religious authorities that glorify killing and praise terrorists, such as Rabbi Yitzhaq Ginsburg, a top rabbi in Israel who published a book entitled Baruch the Hero in memoriam of Baruch Goldstein, who committed the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994 when he opened fire and killed 29 Palestinians as they were performing the dawn prayer in Hebron in the southern West Bank. Ginsburg considers his act “honourable and glorious”.

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The danger of these religious opinions lies in the fact that the religious authorities issuing them have wide respect among religious Jewish youth. And while only 28 per cent of Israel’s population is religious, more than 50 per cent of Israelis define themselves as conservative and grant major significance to opinions issued by Jewish religious authorities. According to a study conducted by the Social Sciences Department of Bar Elon University, more than 90 per cent of those who identify as religious believe that if state laws and government orders are incongruous with the content of religious opinions issued by rabbis, they must overlook the former and act in accordance with the latter.

What grants the racist religious opinions a deeper and far-reaching impact is the fact that for the last decade followers of the Zionist religious current, who form nearly 10 per cent of the population, have been seeking to take control of the army and security institutions. They are doing so through volunteering for service in special combat units. The spokesperson’s office in the Israeli army says that although the percentage of followers of this current is low in the state’s demographic makeup, they form more than 50 per cent of the officers in the Israeli army and more than 60 per cent of its special unit commanders. According to an opinion poll of religious officers and soldiers supervised by the Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya and published last year, more than 95 per cent of religious soldiers and officers say that they will execute orders from the elected government and their leaders in the army only if they are in harmony with the religious opinions issued by leading rabbis and religious authorities.

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Wasil Taha, Arab Knesset member from the Tajammu Party led by Azmi Bishara, says that these religious opinions lead to the committal of crimes. He mentions religious opinions issued by a number of rabbis in mid-1995 that led to the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at that time. “If that’s what happens when religious opinions urge attacks against Jewish leaders such as Rabin, what will the situation be like when they urge attacks against Palestinian leaders and the Palestinian public?” he asks. “We, as Arab leaders, have begun to feel a lack of security following this flood of religious opinions, and we realise that the matter requires a great deal of caution in our movements as we are certain that there are those who seek to implement these opinions,” he told Al-Ahram Weekly.

Taha dismisses those who ask about the role of the government and Israeli political cadre in confronting these extremist religious opinions. “The ministers in the Israeli government and the Knesset members compete to incite against the Palestinian public and don’t hesitate to threaten expulsion of the Palestinians who live on their land in Israel and carry Israeli citizenship outside of Israel’s borders, just as former deputy premier Avigdor Lieberman and representative Evi Etam did,” Taha said. He notes that Palestinian citizens within Israel have begun to take extreme precautionary measures since the issue of these religious opinions, including security measures around mosques and public institutions and informing officials of public demonstrations so that members of Jewish terrorist organisations can be prevented from attacking participants. Taha holds that the sectors of the Palestinian population most likely to be harmed by these religious opinions are those living in the various cities populated by both Jews and Palestinians, such as Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramleh and Jerusalem.

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Palestinian writer and researcher Abdul-Hakim Mufid, from the city Um Fahem, holds that the religious opinions of rabbis have gained major significance due to the harmony between official rhetoric and that of the rabbis. Mufid notes that official Israeli establishments have not tried to confront the “fascist” rhetoric expressed in these religious opinions even though they are capable of doing so. “Most of the rabbis who issue tyrannical religious opinions are official employees in state institutions and receive salaries from them. And the state has not held these rabbis accountable or sought to prohibit the issue of such opinions,” he told the Weekly.

Mufid points out that when the official political institution is in a crisis, the Zionist consensus behind these religious opinions grows more intense, and offers as an example the religious opinions relied upon by Rabbi Meir Kahane in the early 1980s to justify his call to forcefully expel the Palestinians. Mufid adds that Israel in practice encourages all those who kill Palestinians, and points to the way that the Israeli government dealt with the recommendations of the Orr Commission that investigated the Israeli police’s killing of 13 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship in October of 2000. The government closed the file even though the commission confirmed that the police had acted aggressively towards the Palestinian citizens. Mufid suggests that what makes the racist rhetoric the rabbis insist upon influential is the silence of leftist and liberal voices, and the lack of any direct mobilisation against it.

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Corbyn: Clowns to the left of him, Jokers to the right

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By Stuart Littlewood 

A political beacon is about to be extinguished unless he breaks with the doomed Labour Party and sets up on his own.

Well, I don’t know why I came here tonight
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.
Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right…

— Lyrics from ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’, a 1972 recording by Stealers Wheel

Only last December I was writing a piece titled ‘You have better things to do than captain a sinking ship – Message to Corbyn: dump the baggage, build from new’.

That message said:

Commiserations, comrade.

Last Wednesday – ‘Let’s Bomb Syria Day’ – was a day of infamy. Tomorrow you’ll need to come to terms with the UK Labour party’s unswerving death-wish.

Its integrity is in tatter, brand image beyond repair, and the very voters it needs to win round regard it as a joke. And the thousands who became your supporters in the heady days of the leadership campaign, exhilarated and inspired by the promise of better politics, are dismayed that their high hopes can never be delivered through such a bitterly divided party machine.

In that debate on bombing Syria senior Labour MPs and shadow ministers supported the Tory warmongers. In particular Hilary Benn (son of the illustrious Tony) played on human fears, ignored operational shortcomings and discounted the risk of reprisals against ‘soft’ targets on our streets. His scare tactics were exactly what the warmongers wanted to hear and his speech was triumphantly applauded by Tory Government benches and praised in the media. The party’s Blairite rump, who had shamed the nation by blindly voting for the Iraq war 12 years earlier, trooped into the lobbies to vote for war in Syria.

In a recent speech to Labour Friends of Israel Benn, the shadow foreign secretary, dishonestly called the rogue state “a vibrant democracy”, talked of shared values and claimed the bonds between it and the Labour party were “strong and run deep”. The puzzle was how Jeremy Corbyn could have appointed such a person to that key post. Earlier this week Corbyn finally sacked him, a move that set off a vengeful chain reaction.

Only 10 months ago Corbyn came from nowhere and panicked the Westminster Establishment by winning the Labour leadership with nearly 60% of first-choice votes. His nearest rival mustered only 19% so he had sufficient mandate to silence plotters who threatened a coup if he won. They have smouldered ever since.

The Conservatives reacted by broadcasting that Corbyn and Labour were “a serious risk to our nation’s security, our economy’s security and your family’s security. Whether it’s weakening our defences, raising taxes on jobs and earnings, racking up more debt and welfare or driving up the cost of living by printing money – Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party will hurt working people.”

So slender was his support in the Parliamentary Labour Party (as opposed to the party membership) that his shadow team inevitably included many critics. Mounting an effective opposition has thus been near impossible with so many colleagues willing him to fail, although he has chalked up a number of successes. Of course, the effectiveness of a leader depends in large measure on the performance of his senior colleagues.

Just lately the pressure on Corbyn to step down has been ratcheted-up, with accusations that he didn’t try hard enough to galvanise the Remain vote in the EU referendum. The official party line is pro-EU but ‘Old Labour’ Corbyn has been opposed to the EU for decades and knew perfectly well that at least one-third of Labour supporters would vote Leave.

This week there were mass resignations from his shadow team, at such regular intervals that they were clearly orchestrated for maximum effect. Replacements were hurriedly appointed. In the House of Commons David Cameron made an unusually good joke of it. Welcoming the newly elected Labour MP for Tooting he advised her to “keep her mobile switched on – you might be in the shadow cabinet by the end of the day”.

On Corbyn’s referendum effort Cameron quipped: “I know he says he put his back into it. All I’d say is, I’d hate to see him when he’s not trying.” That might have been funny except that Cameron, when setting up the referendum, couldn’t be bothered to appoint a team to examine the way forward in the event of a Brexit win. Hence the damaging post-Brexit confusion that will probably go on for months.

Then, very rudely, Cameron turned on Corbyn, telling the House: “It might be in my party’s interest for him to sit there, it’s not in the national interest and I would say, for heaven’s sake man, go!”

To illustrate the depths of silliness to which the campaign to oust Corbyn has sunk, the Labour Party today released a report on antisemitism. In a speech introducing it Corbyn said: “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.”

Fair comment, you might think. But it was eagerly seized on for wild accusations that he was making direct comparison between the Israeli government and Isis, which calls itself the Islamic State, although several other terrorist groups use the same name. A Labour councillor said on Twitter: “For that alone, he should resign. I am red with fury.”

The Telegraph quoted a statement by Lord Sacks in which the former Chief Rabbi accused the Labour leader of comparing the State of Israel to ISIS and “demonisation of the highest order, an outrage and unacceptable”.  He added: “Israel is a democratic state with an independent judiciary, a free press and a diverse population of many cultures, religions and creeds. ISIS is a terrorist entity whose barbarities have been condemned by all those who value our common humanity.”

No, you couldn’t make it up.

And the current Chief Rabbi is reported calling Corbyn’s comments “offensive, and rather than rebuilding trust among the Jewish community, are likely to cause even greater concern”.

On top of everything Ruth Smeeth, a Labour MP, stormed out of the press conference complaining she was verbally abused by a Corbyn supporter who accused her of being part of a ‘media conspiracy’, and Corbyn failed to intervene. “I call on Jeremy Corbyn to resign immediately and make way for someone with the backbone to confront racism and antisemitism in our party and in the country,” she announced. Reports omit to mention that Smeeth is a former director of BICOM, a pro-Israel propaganda organisation.

So the picture is bleak for Jeremy.

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am…

That song is possibly running through his mind repeatedly, and won’t go away.

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Ban Ki-moon’s farewell to the occupied Palestinian territories

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On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon finished his farewell trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. He is due to step down in December and used the occasion to urge some political will for a two-state solution as “the only way to meet the national aspirations of both peoples.” Ban also criticised the blockade of Gaza which, he said, “Suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts.” Interestingly, he added that it is “collective punishment for which there must be accountability.”

Speaking in Ramallah, the UN chief expressed an understanding of Palestinian frustration: “I’m aware that many Palestinians question the feasibility of reaching a just and lasting peace with Israel. They hear talk of peace but they see violence. They still live a life of checkpoints, permits, blockade, demolitions and profound economic hardships faced with growing indignities and the humiliating occupation that will soon enter its 50th year.”

During his time as Secretary General, Ban has condemned the status quo verbally but the organisation he leads has failed to take concrete action. Under his tenure, Gaza has been strangled by a tight blockade and its residents have witnessed three major Israeli offensives. In over half of his time at the top of the UN, the West Bank settler population has grown by 23 per cent (from the beginning of 2009 until the beginning of 2014), and at least two rounds of direct talks have failed. In 2014, more Palestinians were killed by Israel than in any other year since 1967. Violence and fatalities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, meanwhile, were at their highest since the beginning of his tenure in 2007.

Following the most recent Israeli war against Gaza in 2014, a UN inquiry found that Israel was responsible for striking seven official sites used by the organisation as civilian shelters, during which 44 Palestinians were killed and 227 others were injured. Releasing the report, Ban condemned the attacks “as a matter of the utmost gravity.” He noted that it was the second time during his tenure as secretary general that he had been obliged to establish a board of inquiry into incidents involving UN premises and personnel in Gaza that have occurred during the course of “tragic conflicts” in the Gaza Strip. Concerning the children killed in the war, he commented during an earlier visit, “I met so many of the beautiful children of Gaza. More than 500 were killed in the fighting – many more were wounded. What did they do wrong? Being born in Gaza is not a crime.”

However, his inaction during the conflict forced 129 organisations and distinguished individuals to sign an open letter to him. “Until today,” they wrote, “you have taken no explicit and tangible measures to address the recent Israeli attacks in the occupied Palestinian territories since 13 June. Moreover, your statements have been either misleading, because they endorse and further Israeli false versions of facts, or contrary to the provisions established by international law and to the interests of its defenders, or because your words justify Israel’s violations and crimes.”

The number of Palestinian children killed during the 2014 war led to efforts to include the Israel Defence Forces on a UN list of serious violators of children’s rights. However, while the UN chief should have supported that inclusion made by Leila Zerrougui, the UN special envoy for children and armed conflict, he didn’t. He was accused of caving into pressure and omitting the Israeli military from the list. UN sources described the decision to override Zerrougui’s recommendation as “unusual”, while Human Rights Watch called it “a blow to UN efforts to better protect children in armed conflict.”

On his farewell visit to Gaza, Ban Ki- Moon told residents that,The UN will always be with you.” As the two-year anniversary of the beginning of the 2014 Gaza war draws near, most of the 11,000 homes destroyed and 6,800 severely damaged or rendered uninhabitable remain in ruins, largely as a result of the Israeli-led blockade. As his time as UN leader comes to a close, the Palestinians will be hoping that his successor will give them more than words.

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Nazi continues to besiege Palestinian towns, breach international law in occupied West Bank

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Occupied Palestine: In the last three days Nazi military forces have implemented several blockades isolating the cities of Yatta and Bani Na’im south of Hebron. It is reported that cement roadblocks, earth mounds, gates and checkpoints have been installed across the region, with no timeline for when they may be removed.

The blockades are only implemented to restrict the movement of Palestinians as illegal Jewish Nazi settlers can still pass the checkpoints. This discrimination is a clear apartheid strategy and limits Palestinians to not only being unable to attend work but also reaching basic human services such as hospitals. This strategy clearly violates Palestinian’s right to freedom of movement (Art.13 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

By enforcing these illegal blockades Nazi regime is also restricting Palestinian movement during the final days of the holy month of Ramadan where thousands of Muslims wish to travel to the most significant religious sites for prayer and visit their families.

This act is also another example of Nazi regime using collective punishment techniques, which are also illegal under international law. Nazi forces continually use collective punishment in the form of revoking travel and work permits, blockading cities and punitive house demolitions.

Operation Dove have compiled the following interactive map to illustrate the extent of the blockade.

The innocent people who are living under siege in Yatta and Bani Na’im are significantly impacted by the Nazi forces implementing such blockades, which have been condemned internationally by human rights organisations and NGOs.

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MH-17 Probe’s Torture-Implicated Ally

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Exclusive: The Ukrainian intelligence service at the center of the inquiry into who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is accused by a top U.N. official of blocking a probe into Ukrainian government torture, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

A senior United Nations official has accused Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service of frustrating U.N. investigations into its alleged role in torture and other war crimes, even as the SBU has been allowed to guide the international investigation into the shooting down of Malaysia Airline Flight 17 for nearly two years.

On June 29, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic criticized various “armed groups” in Ukraine for engaging in torture and arbitrary detention, adding that “The Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) is also not always providing access to all places where detainees may be kept. … OHCHR (the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights) also continues to receive accounts about torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary and incommunicado detention by the SBU, especially in the conflict zone.

A photograph of a Russian BUK missile system that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt published on Twitter in support of a claim about Russia placing BUK missiles in eastern Ukraine, except that the image appears to be an AP photo taken at an air show near Moscow two years earlier.

A photograph of a Russian BUK missile system that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt published on Twitter in support of a claim about Russia placing BUK missiles in eastern Ukraine, except that the image appears to be an AP photo taken at an air show near Moscow two years earlier.

“Torture and threats to members of the families, including sexual threats, are never justifiable, and perpetrators will be held to account sooner or later. … War crimes, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of human rights cannot be the subject of an amnesty.”

In late May, U.N. inspectors called off their Ukraine torture investigation because the SBU denied the team access to detention facilities where human rights groups had found evidence of torture.

“This denial of access is in breach of Ukraine’s obligations as a State party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture,” according to the U.N. statement at the time. Sir Malcolm Evans, head of the four-member U.N. delegation, said: “It has meant that we have not been able to visit some places where we have heard numerous and serious allegations that people have been detained and where torture or ill-treatment may have occurred.”

Yet, the SBU, which is also responsible for protecting state secrets, has strongly influenced the direction of the supposedly Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team trying to determine who was responsible for shooting down MH-17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing 298 people.

Conflict of Interest

Although Ukrainian military units are among the logical suspects in the case, Ukraine was made one of five countries responsible for the inquiry and granted what amounts to veto power over what information the JIT can release. A recent internal report on how the JIT operates also revealed how dependent the investigators have become on information provided by the SBU.

President Barack Obama and President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine talk after statements to the press following their bilateral meeting at the Warsaw Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine talk after statements to the press following their bilateral meeting at the Warsaw Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

According to the report, the SBU has helped shape the MH-17 investigation by supplying a selection of phone intercepts and other material that would presumably not include sensitive secrets that would implicate the SBU’s political overseers in Ukraine. But the JIT report seems oblivious to this conflict of interest, saying:

“Since the first week of September 2014, investigating officers from The Netherlands and Australia have worked here [in Kiev]. They work in close cooperation here with the Security and Investigation Service of the Ukraine (SBU). Immediately after the crash, the SBU provided access to large numbers of tapped telephone conversations and other data. …

“At first rather formal, cooperation with the SBU became more and more flexible. ‘In particular because of the data analysis, we were able to prove our added value’, says [Dutch police official Gert] Van Doorn. ‘Since then, we notice in all kinds of ways that they deal with us in an open way. They share their questions with us and think along as much as they can.’”

The JIT report continued: “With the tapped telephone conversations from SBU, there are millions of printed lines with metadata, for example, about the cell tower used, the duration of the call and the corresponding telephone numbers. The investigating officers sort out this data and connect it to validate the reliability of the material.

“When, for example, person A calls person B, it must be possible to also find this conversation on the line from person B to person A. When somebody mentions a location, that should also correlate with the cell tower location that picked up the signal. If these cross-checks do not tally, then further research is necessary.

“By now, the investigators are certain about the reliability of the material. ‘After intensive investigation, the material seems to be very sound’, says Van Doorn, ‘that also contributed to the mutual trust.’”

Long Assignments

Another concern about how the SBU could manipulate JIT’s investigation is that the long assignments of investigators in Kiev over a period of almost two years could create compromising situations. Kiev has a reputation as a European hotbed for prostitution and sex tourism, and there’s the possibility of other human relationships developing over long periods away from home.

A Malaysia Airways' Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

A Malaysia Airways’ Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

According to the JIT report, four investigating officers from Australia are stationed in Kiev on three-month rotations while Dutch police rotate in two teams of about five people each for a period of a “fortnight,” or two weeks.

The relative isolation of the Australian investigators further adds to their dependence on their Ukrainian hosts. According to the report, “The Australian investigators find themselves a 26 hour flight away from their home country and have to deal with a large time difference. ‘For us Australians, it is more difficult to get into contact with our home base, which is why our operation is quite isolated in Kiev’, says [Andrew] Donoghoe,” a senior investigating officer from the Australian Federal Police.

The JIT’s collegial dependence on the SBU’s information has not led to a quick resolution of the mystery of MH-17. Almost two years after the tragedy, the JIT has struggled to even pin down where the suspected anti-aircraft missile was fired, bringing down the passenger jet en route between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur. The location of the alleged missile firing was something that U.S. officials claimed to know within days of the crash but have kept secret.

The snail’s pace of the investigation and the curious failure of the U.S. government to share usable data from its own intelligence services have caused concerns among some family members of MH-17 victims that the inquiry has been compromised by big-power geopolitics.

Immediately after the shoot-down, the U.S. government sought to pin the blame on ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and their Russian government backers, a charge that was crucial to getting the European Union to adopt economic sanctions against Russia. But – as more evidence emerged – the possible role of a Ukrainian military unit became more plausible.

According to the Dutch intelligence service in a report released last October, the only anti-aircraft missiles in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, capable of hitting a plane flying at 33,000 feet belonged to the Ukrainian military.

Twists in the Investigation

After CIA analysts had time to evaluate U.S. satellite, electronic and other intelligence data, the U.S. government went curiously silent about what it had discovered, including the possible identity of the people who were responsible. The U.S. reticence, after the initial rush to judgment blaming Russia, suggested that the more detailed findings may have undercut those original claims.

A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane.

A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane.

A source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the CIA’s conclusion pointed toward a rogue Ukrainian operation involving a hard-line oligarch with the possible motive of shooting down Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official plane returning from South America that day, with similar markings as MH-17. But I have been unable to determine if that assessment represented a dissident or consensus view inside the U.S. intelligence community.

Although the JIT also includes Belgium and Malaysia, the key roles have been played by the Netherlands, Australia and Ukraine, with Ukraine’s SBU arguably the most influential party as it feeds the other investigators leads to pursue.

Given the SBU’s legal responsibility to shield Ukrainian government secrets, you might think the question would have arisen whether the SBU would supply any data that might implicate some powerful political figure connected to the regime in Kiev. But there was nothing in the JIT’s update to suggest any such suspicion.

Regarding the SBU’s refusal to grant access to the U.N.’s torture investigators in May, Ukraine’s deputy justice minister Natalya Sevostyanova said the U.N. team was denied access to SBU centers in Mariupol and Kramatorsk, frontline towns in the simmering civil war between the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government and Russian-supported eastern Ukrainian rebels.

SBU director Vasyl Hrytsak said the reason for barring the U.N. team was to protect Ukrainian government secrets, adding: “If you arrive, for example, in the United States and ask to come to the C.I.A. or the F.B.I., to visit a basement or an office, do you think they will ever let you do it?”

[For more background on this controversy, see Consortiumnews.com’s “More Game-Playing on MH-17.”]

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How Western Military Interventions Shaped The Brexit Vote ‘Video’

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Michael Hudson argues that military interventions in the Middle East created refugee streams to Europe that were in turn used by the anti-immigrant right to stir …

Via Youtube

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Old Men Start Wars, Young Men Die In Them

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“OLDER MEN START WARS, BUT YOUNGER MEN FIGHT THEM.” ~ ALBERT EINSTEIN

“OLDER MEN DECLARE WAR. BUT IT IS THE YOUTH THAT MUST FIGHT AND DIE.” ~ HERBERT HOOVER

“I’M FED UP TO THE EARS WITH OLD MEN DREAMING UP WARS FOR YOUNG MEN TO DIE IN.” ~ GEORGE S. MCGOVERN

One hundred years ago today—on July 1, 1916—thousands of young men died after older men decided, again, to send them to war. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the British army suffered 57,470 casualties, of which 19,240 were deaths, the French had 1,590 casualties, and the Germans had over 10,000. It was the single greatest day for casualties in British military history. By the time the Battle of the Somme ended in November, the British had around 420,000 casualties, the French about 200,000, and the Germans about 500,000.

One would think that when almost 20,000 of your young men in the prime of their life die in one battle on one day that the British would simply say “enough is enough” and just tell the army to quit fighting and go home. But no, the British army continued to execute men for desertion like the hundred or more that suffered that fate in the two years before the Battle of the Somme.

Myths, Misunderstandings and Outright lies about owning Gold. Are you at risk?

It is senseless slaughter like the Battle of the Somme that led Ernest Hemingway, who was an ambulance driver in Italy toward the end of World War I, to say:

THEY WROTE IN THE OLD DAYS THAT IT IS SWEET AND FITTING TO DIE FOR ONE’S COUNTRY. BUT IN MODERN WAR THERE IS NOTHING SWEET NOR FITTING IN YOUR DYING. YOU WILL DIE LIKE A DOG FOR NO GOOD REASON.

NEVER THINK THAT WAR, NO MATTER HOW NECESSARY, NOR HOW JUSTIFIED, IS NOT A CRIME.

Over 115,000 American soldiers would go on to die like dogs for no good reason after the United States foolishly and senselessly entered World War I in April of 1917. The thousands of U.S. troops who in more recent times died in Iraq and Afghanistan likewise senselessly died in vain and for a lie.

How do you prevent such senseless slaughter? How do you stop young men from dying in vain? How do you prohibit young men from dying for a lie? How do you stop making widows and orphans? How do you thwart young men dying like dogs? How do you stop young men from dying for no good reason? How do you end the war once and for all?

It is an uphill battle.

Governments, presidents, politicians, and military officers will continue to send young men to fight and die.

The military establishment will continue to want more money and more weapons of war to try out.

Legislatures will continue to fund bloated military budgets.

Defense contractors—merchants of death—will continue to lobby for more armaments, more military interventions, and more wars.

Uber-patriots, neocons, armchair warriors, just war theorists, progressive hawks, reich-wing nationalists, red-state fascists, pro-lifers for mass murder, and bloodthirsty conservatives will continue to cheer on the military.

Christian Coalition moralists, Old Testament Christians, evangelical warvangelicals, theocon Values Voters, imperial Christians, nuclear Christians, Religious Right warmongers, God and country Christian bumpkins, sniper theologians, and members of the Christian axis of evil—all claiming to worship the prince of peace—will continue to support the troops no matter what.

Some libertarians will continue to write me and say that although they agree with everything I say about the follies of U.S. foreign policy and military interventions none of it is the fault of the troops and I should quit criticizing them even though they enlisted in the U.S. war machine of their own free will.

So, how do you end the war once and for all? Easy. Young men simply need to stop joining the military. It is just as Einstein said:

NOTHING WILL END WAR UNLESS THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES REFUSE TO GO TO WAR.

THE PIONEERS OF A WARLESS WORLD ARE THE YOUTH WHO REFUSE MILITARY SERVICE.

“War has never been possible,” writes Robert Meagher in Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War, “ unless men have been willing to kill each other and, while they’re at it, possibly to be killed.” And as I have said over and over again: you can’t have a war without soldiers. It is only by young men not enlisting or refusing to enlist that war can be ended once and for all.

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Murder By Drone: Obama To Announce Civilian Death Toll Numbers, But There’s A Catch

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President Barack Obama is expected to announce the number of civilians killed by “illegal” US drone strikes Friday, but only in countries where the world’s biggest military hasn’t officially declared war.

Several news outlets reported, citing leaks from US officials, that the number is expected to be just 100, a tiny fraction of those estimated by investigative journalists and human rights groups who track theviolations of international law.”

The White House will only reveal civilian casualties in countries that are technically not at a US battlefield, like Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

Those killed by US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria will not be featured in the total. The US has deployed thousands of drones in these countries.

Jennifer Gibson from the human rights organization Reprieve, which has brought drone survivors to the US to testify, estimates more than 4,000 people have been killed by drones including hundreds of children and said the Obama administration’s estimation of casualties “is unlikely to be worth the paper it’s printed on.”

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates more than a thousand people killed in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

Thousands of drone strikes have been conducted in these regions since 2009, with more than 300 occurring in Pakistan alone.

The administration delayed the release of its conservative estimates after originally announcing it in March, when it said it would be in the “coming weeks.”

Obama is also expected to issue an executive order that will require annual tallies of innocent people killed by drones to be made public, although he is not expected to charge those responsible for killing innocent adults and children, including himself, with war crimes.

He promised to be more forthcoming about drones during a 2013 speech at the National Defense University, where he was confronted by Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin on the issue.

The Democrat plans to reveal details of the Presidential Policy Guidance, the so-called legal framework used to determine when assassination by drone can be carried out, even though any attacks of this type outside of the battlefield violates international law, according to Mary Ellen O’Connell writing in the New York Times last year.

The professor from Notre Dame University’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, which was set-up by the heiress of the McDonald’s fortune in 1985, wrote, “No court may lawfully issue torture warrants or permit drone attacks.”

“THE LAW ON DRONES IS CLEAR: US PREDATOR AND REAPER DRONES LAUNCH THE HELLFIRE MISSILE. HELLFIRE MISSILES WERE ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED TO DESTROY TANKS. THEY ARE BATTLEFIELD WEAPONS. UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW THEY MAY BE USED IN SITUATIONS OF ARMED CONFLICT HOSTILITIES, WHICH MEANS THE ACTUAL FIGHTING OF AN ARMED CONFLICT AS DEFINED UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW — LIMITED GEOGRAPHICAL SPACES WHERE ORGANIZED ARMED GROUPS ARE ENGAGED IN ACTUAL FIGHTING OF SOME INTENSITY.”

The government had previously admitted to a handful of civilian casualties, but it considers any military-age men killed in drone strikes to be combatants, rejecting the “innocent before proven guilty” pillar of US domestic law and reducing the total of“innocents” killed.

Revelations from The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill in 2015 uncovered the scope of the program than had previously been surrounded in secrecy.

He revealed the US method of counting all unknown deaths as enemies killed in combat and that nearly 90 percent of those killed by drone strikes are civilians.

The drone program uses a “non combatant casualty cutoff value”sliding scale to decide whether civilian casualties are permitted, based on the value of killing the intended target.

Despite assurances that drone assassinations are more precise and“clean” than traditional warfare, the US has “accidentally” killed at least seven of its own citizens among its collateral damage.

Those that oppose the drone program highlight how the killings radicalize communities victimized by the Hellfire missiles from the sky, citing evidence of the countries targeted by drones becoming more militant, breeding resentment, and being used as a recruitment tool by terrorists.

It is unlikely the drone attacks will stop under the next US president as all three major candidates, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, have said they would continue what Bush started and Obama ramped up.

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The United States: Land Of Terrorists And Massacres

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The updated 2016 Roots historical chronicle finally got it right. Africans have resisted European/American terrorism from the moment it reared its ugly head to present day struggle against state sponsored police murders of African peoples. The current version of Roots reminds us that beheadings, lynchings, rapes, kidnappings, selling children, working and boiling people to death did not start with ISIL — these perverted and psychopathic practices constituted the building blocks of the American empire.  The carnage in Orlando bleeds our hearts with the senseless murder of many innocent lives.  Our rapacious thirst for lethal weapons spells future dooms. Yet, we march on desensitized to the violence and injustice in our nation and world.

We seem to be truly bewildered when blood flows on the streets of America. Often, some of these incidents of late, can contextually be linked to murderous US foreign policy adventures in the Middle East. Malcolm X would have noted that US foreign policies have resulted in “chickens coming home to roost.” The ability to contain violence in foreign theaters has become an unattainable goal for the Empire. Therefore, everyday citizens are now targets of combat. Whether the latest mass murderer is insane or not, what is clear is that US citizens must decide whether they will allow murder and plunder across the globe to continue in their names. And, perhaps, more importantly, whether they are prepared to accept the consequences.  Certainly one does not want to wade into the quagmire of comparing tragedies but to completely ignore the validity of other massacres and the loss of other lives seems to compound the tragedy.

The news media has framed the latest massacre in Orlando as the largest mass murder in US history. Some members of the media with a measure of intellectual integrity will add that the Orlando Massacre is the largest “post 911.” Regardless, human beings lost their lives and communities are in mourning.  However, historical…

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Clinton Is The Most War Mongering Of All US Candidates

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Many prominent Republican Party war hawks are publicly endorsing Hillary Clinton because she is the most war mongering of all the US presidential candidates, an American political analyst and activist says.

Myles Hoenig, a Green Party candidate for Congress, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday, following the release of the Quinnipiac University poll which shows Clinton has a slender national lead over Trump in the race for the White House.

“Although polls can show trends, often they are more of a snapshot at the moment in how people feel. It’s not surprising that Clinton leads Trump at this point but that it’s by only 2 points is interesting. Trump has had a lousy week and Clinton, on the other hand, has not had a lot of Sanders’ attacks to diminish her in the eyes of the general public,” Hoenig said.

“Recent reports are out that Trump never expected to win and that he was hoping for coming in second as a…

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