Permalink The Israel Lobby (Marije Meerman, VPRO Backlight 2007)

For many years now the American foreign policy has been characterized by the strong tie between the United States and Israel. Does the United States in fact keep Israel on its feet? And how long will it continue to do so? In March 2006 the American political scientists John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) and Steve Walt (Harvard) published the controversial article 'The Israel Lobby and US foreign policy'.

In it they state that it is not, or no longer, expedient for the US to support and protect present-day Israel. The documentary sheds light on both parties involved in the discussion: those who wish to maintain the strong tie between the US and Israel, and those who were critical of it and not infrequently became 'victims' of the lobby. The question arises to what extend the pro-Israel lobby ultimately determines the military and political importance of Israel itself. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (Colin Powell's former chief-of-staff) explains how the lobby's influence affects the decision-making structure in the White House.

With political scientist John Mearsheimer, neocon Richard Perle, lobby organization AIPAC, televangelist John Hagee, historian Tony Judt, Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth, colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Democrat Earl Hilliard, Israeli peace negotiator Daniel Levy and investigative journalist Michael Massing.

Permalink Fresh violence hits Syrian town - Video

Deraa hit by shelling and heavy gunfire, as funeral processions for scores of people killed in protests get underway.

The south Syrian flashpoint town of Deraa has been hit by fresh shelling and heavy gunfire, as residents bury people killed in Friday's "day of rage" protests against the government, a witness tells Al Jazeera. The army has been firing at protesters in neighbourhoods in Deraa's old town and at least four houses in the Karak neighbourhood have been damaged by shelling, according to the witness.

"We are totally besieged. It is a tragedy. Many houses are levelled by shelling from the army. For the past six days we haven’t seen an ambulance," the witness said via telephone, while gunfire rang out in the background. "We are keeping the bodies of the dead in refrigerator trucks, but many bodies are still lying in the streets. Many of the bodies are bloated and are reeking."

A second witness confirmed that tanks as well as armoured personnel carriers had entered Deraa this morning as well as helicopters flying soldiers into the town.

"They are shooting at houses, both the tanks and the soldiers. The most intense fire is at the Omari Mosque," he said, the sound of gunfire audible over the phone line. "The bullets are flying straight over my head as we are talking: It's so close. The humanitarian situation is very bad: There's no food, no medicine, no electricity. We are collecting rain water to drink," the second witness said.

Stephen Lendman: US Intervention in Syria

Permalink B’Tselem Demands IDF Cease Using Attack Dogs on Palestinian Day Laborers

Calling the IDF practice of siccing K-9 attack dogs on undocumented Palestinian workers (Hebrew) a “terror policy,” the Israeli NGO B’Tselem is appealing against its use to the army senior command. It should be noted that the victims are not security suspects, but rather day laborers seeking to enter Israel to find work and who do not have the proper permits to do so (which are practically non-existent anyway).

Permalink American Hellholes

The U.S. economy is dying and we are heading for the next Great Depression.

The talking heads in the mainstream media love to spin the economic numbers around and around and they love to make it sound like the economy is improving, but the truth is that it doesn't take a genius to see what is happening to the U.S. economic system. All over the nation many of our greatest cities are being slowly but surely transformed into post-apocalyptic wastelands. All over the mid-Atlantic, all along the Gulf coast, all throughout the "rust belt" and all over the entire state of California cities that once had incredibly vibrant economies are being turned into rotting, post-industrial hellholes.

In many U.S. cities, the "real" rate of unemployment is over 30 percent. There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment that you drive into them. It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities. If you live in one of those American hellholes you know what I am talking about. Sadly, it is not just a few cities that are becoming hellholes. This is happening in the east, in the west, in the north and in the south. America is literally being transformed right in front of our eyes.

If you still live in an area of the United States that is prosperous, do not mock the cities that you are about to read about. The cold, hard reality of the matter is that economic decline and economic despair are spreading rapidly and they will come to your area soon enough.

The Economic Collapse: 24 Signs Of Economic Decline In America

Permalink BP releases toxic pollution in Texas City

BP's refining operation, along with a refinery operated by Valero Energy Corporation, in Texas City, Texas, has once again polluted the air of local residents, this time with a discharge of 150,000 pounds of pollutants.

The releases by Valero and BP were caused by power troubles that forced the companies to shut down their operations. Texas City officials said the emissions did not reach harmful levels, although residents were warned to stay indoors following the industrial events. Some residents reported experiencing health effects, and at least 25 people went to the hospital.

Patrick Martin: Oil bosses rake in record profits as US economy stalls

Permalink Lithuanian president: military actions in Libya exceeded the UN mandate

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has criticised military operations in Libya as their gone beyond the UN mandate. “The military operations clearly exceeded the UN mandate. It was only intended to establish a no-flying zone and defend the population. With any regime, we should first of all seek a political decision. Southern Africa also has a number of violent dictators; however, military interference is not discussed. Why was this necessary in Libya?” president said Austrian daily newspaper Die Presse earlier this month, Presidential web site reported.

Permalink Superman No Longer U.S. Citizen...but from now on a citizen of the NWO

In the pages of the milestone Action Comics #900, longtime American icon Superman has renounced his citizenship of the United States. However, what the the mainstream media is failing to report is that Superman is doing so not as an act against the U.S., but as an effort to help it. In light of the recent Obama/birth certificate madness, it's rather amusing that a fictional political environment has become so worthy of discussion.

In the brief back-up tale called "The Incident," Supes involves himself in a conflict in the Middle East that Iran ultimately takes as an act of war because of Superman's association with the States. To avoid further conflicts like this, Superman reveals that he'll be letting go of his citizenship to operate on a wider scale.

This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about in a recent Hero Worship column; a much needed update of Superman's ethics. Superman has long since moved on from being merely an American icon -- he belongs to the world. Nevermind that, but this move also makes sense from a logistical storytelling standpoint. Plus, it follows in the footsteps of Bruce Wayne forming Batman, Incorporated, giving the DC heroes a global presence.

Permalink Facebook accused of removing activists' pages

Facebook has removed dozens of profiles from its site, causing an outcry from campaigners trying to organise anti-austerity protests this weekend.

The deactivated pages include UK Uncut, and pages created by students during last December's university occupations. A list posted on the Stop Facebook Purge group says Chesterfield Stop the Cuts, Tower Hamlet Greens, London Student Assembly, Southwark SoS and Bristol Uncut sites are no longer functioning. Administrators for the profiles say hundreds of links between activists have been broken in the run up to the May Day bank holiday. When users click on URL links the message "the page you requested was not found" now appears.

Guy Aitchison, 26, an administrator for one of the non-functioning pages, said: "I woke up this morning to find that a lot of the groups we'd been using for anti cuts activity had disappeared. The timing of it seems suspicious, given a general political crackdown because of the wedding. It seems that dozens of other groups have also been affected, including some of the local UK Uncut groups."

Permalink Libyan opposition rejects Gaddafi truce offer

NATO also reacts with scepticism to latest offer of conditional ceasefire and negotiations from Libyan leader.

Libya's opposition has rejected leader Muammar Gaddafi's latest offer of a conditional ceasefire and negotiations upon an end to NATO attacks. The opposition joined NATO on Saturday in dismissing Gaddafi's offer, saying the time for compromise had passed. "Gaddafi’s regime has lost all credibility," Abdul Hafidh Ghoga, vice president of the opposition Transitional National Council, said in a statement. The rejection came hours after Gaddafi announced in an address on state television that he would not leave Libya. But he added that he was ready for a truce once "all sides" are involved and NATO stops attacking his forces.

The Telegraph: Libya: Gaddafi clings to power in TV speech - Video


Permalink Criminal State - Part 1 of 3: A Closer Look at Israel's Role in Terrorism

We've posted this video before (March, 2010) but it is such an important one, that we now would like to give our newer readers an opportunity to watch it. For those who have watched it and understand its message: please bear with us!

What I tell people is that our specialty is enabling people to grasp “how” this duplicity operates in plain sight and, to date, with impunity. With that knowledge, they can sort out for themselves Who and Why. Absent that knowledge, they’re left adrift in the domain of conspiracy theorists, hate-mongers and such. We see this knowledge as essential in the transition to the Knowledge Society. ~ Jeff Gates

This series is based on an article by Jeff Gates, who is a widely acclaimed author, attorney, merchant banker, educator and consultant to governments worldwide, who served for seven years as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He is the author of Guilt by Association, Democracy At Risk and The Ownership Solution. See his website http://criminalstate.com/

Criminal State - Part 2 of 3: A Closer Look at Israel's Role in Terrorism
Criminal State - Part 3 of 3: A Closer Look at Israel's Role in Terrorism

Permalink “The Murder of Muammar Qaddafi Is Planned For May 2, 2011″

ORIENTAL REVIEW publishes a note-worthy report by a Russian blogger on the fate of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. In few days we will check the credibility of this analysis.

It was reported by a Russian source that the special divisions and army units of France, Great Britain and USA will take part in the special operation aimed to assassinate informal Libyan leader before coming Monday, May 2, 2011. This urgent decision was taken due to a chain of failures that have ruined original plans by anti-Libyan coalition: successes of regular Libyan army, the joining of Bedouin tribes to pro-Qaddafi forces and the creation of “second front” in Benghazi. This front consists of the armed groups of civil militia, ordinary citizens who are seeking restoration of the rule of law in Benghazi. They declared that they wouldn’t stand so-called “rebels” any more in their city, who are fighting each other and expose violence on city’s population. The main reason for so fast-track preparations of the assassination of Libyan leader is the recent decision of Italian parliament to discuss the course of anti-Gaddafi company during a special session, which will be held on May 3, 2011. Now the matter is still handled by Silvio Berlusconi’s party. Emerging disagreements in the ruling coalition of Italy on the issue of war in Libya may lead to the decay of the Italian coalition next week. In this case Berlusconi will lose his post of Prime Minister and Italy would leave anti-Libyan coalition for some time or maybe even forever. Source (in Russian): Бортовой журнал

Permalink In Afghan war, 13 US-led soldiers killed

Separate violent incidents have killed at least 13 US-led foreign troops in various parts of Afghanistan since Wednesday, the Western military alliance says.

According to NATO, three US-led foreign soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan on Thursday. Two US-led soldiers were killed in southern and eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday. Meanwhile, 8 American soldiers were killed after an Afghan Army pilot opened fire on them at a Kabul airbase two days ago. The deaths take to 48 the number of US led foreign forces killed so far this month compared to 33 in April 2010. At least 156 foreign soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in 2011. According to official figures, more than 2,437 US-led soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001. The increasing number of troop casualties in Afghanistan has sparked widespread anger in the US and other NATO member states, undermining public support for the continuation of the Afghan war.

PressTV: 3 US-led soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Permalink A Painfully Coy And Awkward Interview With Donald Trump About His Actual Net Worth

A few years ago Donald Trump sued a reporter for saying he was worth only $150 million (he claims to be worth over $7 billion). During the deposition that followed, Trump gave an incredible sustained performance, with the help of his lawyer, of dancing around any questions related to his actual net worth. The deposition was posted alongside Sheelah Kolhatkar's Businessweek profile, in which Trump displays more of the same coyness. The upshot is that this man probably would never reveal his tax returns and run for president.

Permalink US: Zionist lawmakers warn against Palestinian unity

BLACKMAIL on behalf of terrorist Israel

The new Palestinian unity deal could imperil hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid if it gives a more prominent role to Hamas, legislators in Washington said Thursday. After Hamas and the Western-backed Fatah party announced their reconciliation agreement on Wednesday, Democratic and Republican lawmakers warned US funding could not flow to a government that includes a group still on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the powerful Republican chairwoman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and a staunch defender of Israel, said US law required a halt to support for the Palestinian Authority: "US taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten US security, our interests and our vital ally, Israel." Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. Nita Lowey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that approves foreign assistance, said any Palestinian unity deal with an unreformed Hamas "will be a death blow to the peace process." (Photo: M. Abed/AFP/Getty)

IMEMC: Rival Palestinian Factions Reach Reconciliation Agreement
PressTV: Hamas, Fatah to sign unity deal in Cairo
Stephen Lendman: Palestinian Unity Deal Announced

Permalink Exiled Tibetans elect political heir to Dalai Lama

Tibetan exiles elected a Harvard law scholar as their political leader, who is likely to bring in a more radical government-in-exile to challenge China after the Dalai Lama moved to relinquish his political role.

The new prime minister, the 42-year old Lobsang Sangay, polled 27,051 votes, 55 percent of the total electorate, to beat two other secular candidates. "The Election Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has declared Dr Lobsang Sangay as the third kalon tripa," Chief Election Commissioner Jampal Thosang told a news conference, using the Tibetan title for the prime minister. The handover of power will give the prime minister's role greater clout as the region seeks autonomy from China and could stave off a possible crisis of leadership in the event of the Dalai Lama's death.

Permalink WikiLeaks cable notes Harper's Senate 'about-face'

WikiLeaks released hundreds of U.S. documents on Thursday, including those with comments about the Harper government's "about-face" on Senate appointments, remarks on the Liberals' "muted" response to the prorogation crisis and criticism of Canada's failure to enact copyright reform.

A leaked cable from December 2008 suggests that U.S. Embassy officials in Ottawa saw Stephen Harper's appointment of senators as "a major about-face for a PM and a party that long campaigned for an elected upper chamber. The cost of the eighteen new senators also conflicts with political messaging about the need for official belt tightening." The cable goes on to say, however, that "Harper will not pay a real political price. The staunchest advocates of Senate reform are Conservatives in western Canada."

Permalink Free Ai Weiwei!

World-famous and beloved Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been "disappeared" by China's state security forces. Every trace of Ai's life and art have been erased from the Chinese internet, and his only hope may be a global outcry for his release.

52,812 have signed the petition. Help us get to 300,000

World-famous and beloved Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been "disappeared" by China's state security forces. Every trace of Ai's life and art have been erased from the Chinese internet, and his only hope may be a global outcry for his release.

Fearful of the pro-democracy protests sweeping the world, the government has cracked down on hundreds of free-thinking Chinese artists, intellectuals, students and citizens. But across the world, artists and art-lovers have begun to speak out in solidarity with Ai.

Chinese elites love buying contemporary art, and are planning a huge art fair in Beijing. If international galleries and artists withdraw from the fair, they'll send shockwaves through the regime. Let's build a massive global wave of support for top gallerists and artists to stop exhibiting in China until Ai Weiwei is freed. We’ll deliver it at the Venice Biennale exhibition soon, and publish the reactions of major galleries and artists.

AWIP: Thousands march in Hong Kong to demand release of China's Ai

Permalink Islamist group calls for "Day of Rage" in Syria

(CBS/AP) BEIRUT - The banned Muslim Brotherhood urged Syrians to take to the streets on Friday as activists called for a "Day of Rage" against President Bashar Assad's regime, which has stepped up its deadly crackdown on protesters by unleashing the army along with snipers and tanks.

The government warned against holding any demonstrations. Syrian state television said the Interior Ministry has not approved any "march, demonstration or sit-in" and that such rallies seek only to harm Syria's security and stability. Activists in Syria are planning nationwide protests following Muslim prayers in solidarity with more than 50 people killed in the last week alone in Daraa, a southern city at the heart of the revolt. An eyewitness said Friday that security forces opened fire on a demonstration in the coastal city of Latakia, wounding at least five people. The witness said about 1,000 people were holding an anti-government rally in the coastal city when plainclothes security agents with automatic rifles opened fire. The witness asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals.

Permalink The Bipartisan Citizen Beat Down and the End of Democracy

Both political parties are manifestly hostile to citizens. This hostility reduces electoral participation to just over 50% of the voting age population for presidential elections and less than 40% for off-year congressional elections. The absence of 50% to 60% of those eligible to vote creates minority rule and threatens the legitimacy of any ruling party. Truly, every election ratifies the rejection of both parties.

The forbidden fact about public rule in the United States is simple and obvious: it is nothing more than perpetual battle between two minority factions that consistently fail citizens. Major changes in power represent voter punishment of the most recent failed rulers, while the largest faction, non-voters, consistently make the most profound statement about governance - it's not worth the trouble of voting.

Permalink Guantanamo: Files Reveal Many Inmates Were Minors

Guantanamo Bay’s detention center hasn’t just been home to aging militants, like 89 year old Mohammed Sadiq, who was described in his 2002 assessment as suffering from senile dementia. It is also the home to many children. Of course we all know the Omar Khadr case, the Canadian citizen and child soldier who was put up before a military tribunal at the detention center. But the story doesn’t begin and end with Khadr, and the leaked files released by WikiLeaks show that the facility has hosted over 60 detainees who were under the age of 18 when captured.

Permalink Former Miss USA winner: TSA agent ‘touched my vagina’

During a stopover at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, agents required Castillo to undergo an invasive pat down after she chose to opt out of a full body scan.

"I'm a frequent flyer and don't wish to be irradiated more than I already am on flights," she explained on her blog. "So I will always 'opt out' of going through these body scanners, especially since the long-term effects of radiation are quite well documented: it mutates our cells, often in irreversible ways, and causes cancer." "The pat down at Dallas airport was completely different than the one I got at LAX," an emotional Castillo explained in a video recorded after the ordeal. "I'm sure this woman was just doing here job but she actually felt -- touched my vagina. And so, I think that's why I'm crying."

Permalink Humbling

"One of the greatest if not the greatest tornado outbreaks in American history" [says the Weather Channel].

They may be correct. The south has been hit so hard that we'll be days finding out the extent of the devastation. The talk on what this all really is about will go on for much longer.

The world seems to have become a "disasters r' us" super store. Equal opportunity for all. Few of us are safe, we all know it and there's not much we can do. Find some peace within ourselves, love on our family and friends and keep our eye on the sky and the horizon may be about it.

The CO2 global warming crowd are already nodding their heads in confirmation of their beliefs with today's climate events. I'm not buying it. Neither am I going with the current crop of Christian Armageddon cultists who see God's wrath or fulfillment of their convoluted prophecies in every negative life changing event.

From our limited perspectives in our short lifetimes we can't deny that there is climate change going on. In the big picture of the known and little known history of the earth we also may be aware that there's nothing new under the sun. All of what we are experiencing has most likely happened before in the cycles of change. It may be as simple as the earth is shaking, shifting, moving, expanding and being influenced by the sun and cosmic forces as it always has been. If that's the case then it's possible we ain't seen nothing yet. Of course there's the chance that all is not the result of nature.

Naomi Spencer: Tornadoes kill at least 290 in US South - Over 290 people were killed after dozens of huge tornadoes tore through the Deep South of the US April 28. Hundreds more were injured and many victims remain trapped in rubble. It is the worst tornado disaster in the United States in 40 years. Alabama was hardest hit, reporting 184 deaths. The Alabama Hospital Association reports that it has treated 1,500 injured patients in storm-affected areas as of Thursday.

PressTV: US storms kill 313 across 9 states


Permalink POLICE STATE: Talk show host Nicole Sandler arrested at tea party Rep’s town hall - Video

At a town hall meeting last night in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., staged by Rep. Allen West (R-FL), liberal talk show host Nicole Sandler was taken out of the event hall and arrested on camera. She was initially just being removed from the hall, but Sandler shouted at the officer to take his hands off of her as they were escorting her out, likely providing a trigger for the arrest. Confronted by Sandler's boyfriend, the officer did not say why he was arresting her. Similar to other recent Republican town hall meetings, this event was loud and angry, with numerous hecklers hammering Rep. West on his vote to cut Medicare.

Permalink Nato fire 'kills Misrata rebels'

At least 11 rebel fighters have been killed in a Nato air strike in the besieged Libyan port city of Misrata, say reports. A rebel commander and witnesses told reporters a Nato warplane had carried out Wednesday's bombing, but Nato refused to confirm or deny the reports. A doctor told Reuters news agency seven rebels had also been killed in fire from government forces. There has been intense fighting over Misrata's strategically crucial port. Rebel fighters, backed by Nato air strikes, claim they have driven back soldiers loyal to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

BusinessWeek: NATO Strikes Forces Near Misrata Amid Reports of Rebel Deaths
Jason Ditz: US Envoy: Libya Death Toll Could Be 30,000 (Says Reliable Numbers Will Come Once Troops Are 'On the Ground')

Permalink Wikileaks media partner, Andy Worthington on the Guantanamo Files and the War on Terror

Andy Worthington is a journalist, blogger, and author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison. He is also co-director of a new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”.

In 2009, Worthington revealed information about the demise of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi the former US 'ghost prisoner' whose alleged suicide death in a Libyan jail is still under suspicion. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi's testimony, which was obtained under torture and coercion, and later recanted, was cited by the George W. Bush Administration in the months preceding the 2003 invasion of Iraq as evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. The head of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch stated al-Libi was "Exhibit A" in hearings on the relationship between pre-Iraq War false intelligence and torture. Confirmation of al-Libi's location came two weeks prior to his death. Most recently, Worthington partnered with WikiLeaks on its latest release of thousands of pages of documents regarding the cases of 758 out of 779 Guantanamo detainees dating between 2002 and 2008. The documents consist of memoranda from JTF-GTMO, the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo Bay, to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida.

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