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Month: January, 2016

The United States Should Admit It No Longer Has a Middle East Policy – Stephen Walt/Foreign Policy

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Do you know what the United States should do in the Middle East? The answer to that question used to be pretty obvious, but not anymore. For most of the past half-century, U.S. leaders knew who their friends and enemies were and had a fairly clear sense of what they were trying to accomplish. No longer. Today, there is greater uncertainty about U.S. interests in the region, more reason to question the support it gives its traditional partners, and no consensus on how to deal with the dizzying array of actors and forces that are now buffeting the region.

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JFK’s Secret Societies Speech

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The Prez jokes for 6+ minutes before his incredible and profound speech begins.

A Russian Diplomat’s Take on the World – Gilbert Doctorow/Consortiumnews

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As the West’s mainstream media portrays Russia as a crazy rogue state, Moscow’s thoughtful critiques of world affairs are ignored, not fitting the propaganda theme. Such was the case when Foreign Minister Lavrov explained why there would be no more “business as usual” with the West, as Gilbert Doctorow describes.

On Jan. 26, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held an important year-in-review press conference before an audience of about 150 journalists, including the BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg and many other well-known representatives of mainstream Western media. The purpose of this annual event is to look back at issues faced by his Ministry over the past year and to give his appraisal of results achieved.

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A People’s History of American Empire – Howard Zinn

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Narrated by Viggo Mortensen/Art by Mike Konopacki/Video editing by Eric Wold

Italian scholars boycott Israeli academic institutions – Dalia Hatuqa, Patrick Strickland/Al Jazeera English

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Signatories accuse universities of being complicit with Israel’s state violence and human rights violations.

A group of Italian professors and researchers are planning to boycott Israeli academic institutions, saying the schools are complicit in “violations of international law and human rights”.

Some 170 scholars from more than 50 Italian universities and research organisations have signed a pledge committing to the boycott. The signatories described themselves as “a solid critical block of scholars” who were “no longer willing to tolerate Israeli academic complicity with Israel’s state violence”.

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You have now landed in Geneva, Syria — Pepe Escobar/RT

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The alleged Syrian peace process now enters its Geneva charade stage. This could last months; get ready for lavish doses of posturing and bluster capable of stunning even Donald Trump.

The notion that Geneva may be able to impersonate Damascus in a suit-and-tie pantomime is ludicrous to begin with. Even the UN envoy, the sartorially superb Staffan de Mistura, admits the Sisyphean task ahead – even if all relevant players were at the table.

Then we have Syrian “opposition figure” George Sabra announcing that no delegation from the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee will be at the table in Geneva. As if Syrians needed an “opposition” instrumentalized by Saudi Arabia.

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Roger Waters love letter to French BDS activists: ‘you have my unequivocal respect and love’ – Editors/Mondoweiss

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MONDOWEISS

Two days ago we posted about the brave pushback in France against legislation that makes it a crime to advocate for boycott of Israel. We were then informed that Roger Waters had sent a letter to the French people, via a French news agency, on this very subject some weeks ago that has never been published. We are publishing it here. – Editors.

Mes Cher Citoyens,

Along with most thinking, feeling and compassionate members of global civil society, I deplore the occupation of Palestine and the subjugation of all of its non-Jewish peoples. The State of Israel’s anti-Palestinian discrimination since 1947/8 is unacceptable.

I am anti-racist, anti-colonialist, anti-war, anti-oppression, and anti- discrimination.

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Palestinian Kids Dodge Settler Attacks

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Congress is sneakily trying to rewrite American policy on Israeli settlements. It must be stopped – Emily Hauser/TheWeek

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For as long as Israel has been building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, the U.S. has expressed unequivocal opposition to them.

The Johnson White House called settlements “contrary to the Geneva Conventions.” Former Secretary of State James Baker said they “violate United States policy.” Former President George W. Bush demanded “settlement activity in occupied territories must stop.” And the Obama Administration has said repeatedly that settlements are “illegitimate.” The fact that American opprobrium hasn’t slowed Israel’s land grab — that, indeed, the U.S. government has tacitly encouraged settlement expansion by failing to exact a diplomatic price for its continuation — doesn’t change the policy.

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Israel, Mired in Ideological Battles, Fights on Cultural Fronts – Steven Erlanger/The New York Times

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JERUSALEM — There have been fights over books, music, plays, funding for the arts and academic awards. This being Israel, they have been underpinned by fierce rhetorical exchanges about democracy, fascism and zealotry, identity, the future of the state and the fate of Jews.

A new front in the culture wars opens nearly every week, ripple effects of shifts in Israeli demographics, attitudes and politics that are shaking the society.

The latest was an attack on Wednesday by a far-right group on beloved leftist literary icons including Amos Oz, A. B. Yehoshua and David Grossman, writers who have been considered the voice — and conscience — of the state for years. The group, Im Tirtzu, began a poster campaign calling the writers “moles in culture,” which prompted accusations of McCarthyism.

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EU refugee crisis: Stop illegal wars, don’t blame the victims — Finian Cunningham/RT

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Europe is on a dangerous, slippery slope of increasing xenophobia and racism engendered by the influx of refugees. Denmark’s new confiscation law is a sign of the brooding, baleful climate.

But the real answer to the problem is dealing with Europe’s support for Washington’s criminal wars.

In other words, citizens of Europe should be addressing the root cause of the problem, not reacting to the symptoms. We should be shaming the villains, not blaming the victims.

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Germany and the UNO against Syria – Thierry Meyssan/Voltairenet.org

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The neo-conservatives and liberal hawks who have been preparing the war against Syria since 2001 have been relying on several states from the UNO and the Gulf Co-operation Council. While we know about the role played by General David Petraeus in launching and pursuing the war until today, two personalities – Jeffrey Feltman (number 2 at the UNO) and Volker Perthes (Director of the main German think tank) – have remained in the shadows. Together, with the support of Berlin, they have been using and are still manipulating the United Nations in order to destroy Syria.

In 2005, when Jeffrey Feltman – then the US ambassador in Beirut – supervised the assassination of Rafic Hariri, he relied on support from Germany, both for the assassination itself (Berlin supplied the weapon) [1], and for the UNO Commission charged with accusing Presidents el-Assad and Lahoud (prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, police commissioner Gerhard Lehmann and their team). The international campaign against the two Presidents was notably led by the German political analyst Volker Perthes [2].

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Israel’s Image Issue – Roger Cohen/The New York Times

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This is an interesting moment in relations between the United States and Israel. Call it a poisonous lull. The vitriol around the Iran nuclear deal has subsided. But something is rotten in the special bond.

The American ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, was recently dismissed as a “little Jew boy” by a former aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for saying that “two standards” seem to apply in the way the law is applied to Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and that “too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked.”

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Dueling billboards debate U.S. aid to Israel – Susan Jacobson/Orlando Sentinel

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Dueling billboards — one supporting America’s relationship with Israel, the other decrying it — have popped up this week in east Orange County.

StandWithUs, which favors continued U.S. financial aid to Israel, put up a billboard on University Boulevard east of Forsyth Road telling motorists that “The U.S.-Israel Relationship Creates Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs in America.”

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Israel Hit by ‘Severe’ Cyberattack – Jay Bennett/

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The country’s Electric Authority discovered the virus on Monday and are still taking steps to neutralize it.

Israel’s Electric Authority is currently combating what Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz called a “severe cyberattack.” Steinitz announced the attack on Tuesday at the Cybertech Conference in Tel Aviv, according to The Times of Israel. The Energy Minister said a virus was discovered on Monday and software was developed shortly after to neutralize it, but for now many computer systems are still not functioning properly.

The Israel National Cyber Bureau is assisting with efforts to counteract the virus. Officials warned in July that Israel would be targeted by a significant cyberattack, but the country hasn’t announced whether or not they have identified any suspects. A warning has been issued for all government ministries and security agencies to watch for changes in their computer systems.

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A Crazy Establishment Demands ‘Sanity’ – Robert Parry/Consortiumnews

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EXCLUSIVE  As support grows for anti-Establishment candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, a frantic Establishment is demanding that Americans “stay sane” and vote for one of its approved candidates. But is it sane to follow advice that has led to endless wars and a disappearing middle class, asks Robert Parry.

With ever-growing hysteria, the Establishment is begging, cajoling and warning American voters not to elect a rogue President from the Right or the Left, neither Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders, but to accept instead one of the “sane” mainstream options. Yet, the unspoken truth is that the American Establishment has been off its rocker for decades.

It was, after all, Official Washington’s Establishment – led by the neoconservatives and their sidekicks, the liberal interventionists – that embraced President George W. Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, as costly as that decision was in terms of blood and money and cascading chaos – now destabilizing Europe – the Wise Men and Women imposed virtually zero accountability on themselves or other chief culprits.

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UN’s Ban in new swipe at Israel over ‘stifling’ occupation – AFP

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United Nations – Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday renewed his criticism of Israel’s “stifling” occupation of Palestinian territories, a day after similar hard-hitting remarks by the UN Secretary-General angered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The UN chief made clear that he would not retreat from the broadside he directed at Israel over its expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

UN diplomats said privately that Ban had upped the pressure on Netanyahu in a final bid to revive hopes for peace before he steps down as secretary-general at the end of the year.

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Presidential Crimes Then And Now – Paul Craig Roberts/InformationClearingHouse

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Not much remains of the once vibrant American left-wing. Among the brainwashed remnants there is such a hatred of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan that the commitment of these two presidents to ending dangerous military rivalries is unrecognized. Whenever I write about the illegal invasions of other countries launched by Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, leftists point to Chile, Nicaragua and Grenada and say that nothing has changed. But a great deal has changed. In the 1970s and 1980s Nixon and Reagan focused on reducing Cold War tensions. Courageously, Nixon negotiated nuclear arms limitation agreements with the Soviet Union and opened to China, and Reagan negotiated with Gorbachev the end of the dangerous Cold War.

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Moscow Snowbound, Litvinenko Poisoned, and the Syrian War – Israel Shamir/The Unz Review

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shutterstock_166350926

TOP NEWS: Feeling Pinch of Oil Collapse, Some Russians Take to Streets, reported The New York Times. Indeed, at that time thousands of Russians were queuing in Central Moscow. The enormous line snaked around in the park, despite frost and snow. People stood three and four hours, braving winter weather: old ladies in furs and gentlemen in greatcoats, young people in anoraks, all sort of Russians from Moscow and from provinces. Do you think they were queueing for a fire sale to buy discount products or to change their depreciating roubles for dollars or whatever these desperate people were supposed to desire? Nope. This was the queue for the retrospective exhibition of Valentin Serov’s paintings, a Russian fin-de-siècle painter, in the New Tretyakov Gallery.

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Palestinian Woman Kicked in Head as Jewish Mob Debates Whether to Kill Her – Intifada Palestine

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Whatever else the Palestinian intifada may be accomplishing, it does seem to be driving average Israelis into a frenzy, apparently even triggering hallucinations in their heads in some cases. In the above video we see a young Palestinian woman being held to the ground while a mob debates whether or not to kill her. “Why are you playing around? They are coming to murder our children!” one of them screams at one point–while at another the young girl is kicked in the head. The incident apparently took place on October 12.

Today it was reported that the young woman did not have a knife after all. The whole thing was for nothing. This of course comes just a day after Israeli forces shot to death an unarmed Eritrean man in the mistaken belief that he was a Palestinian.

Palestinian Woman Kicked in Head as Jewish Mob Debates Whether to Kill Her – Intifada Palestine

China deploys in the Near East – Thierry Meyssan/Voltairenet.org

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The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has embarked on a tour of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Officially, he will not be speaking of politics, but only of economy. China is proposing that the states of the Near East participate in the construction of a new « Silk Road » in order to enhance their development and liberate themselves from Western colonialism.

The Arab world today is dominated by the United States, who are intent on exploiting it and hindering its development. However, numerous revolts, in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahreïn, attest to a will to resistance which is in contrast to the voluntary servitude of the Europeans.

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‘Ohio is infested with Zionism’: College activists spark alarm over alleged anti-Semitic attacks – Lindsey Bever/The Washington Post

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This flier, which was purportedly pinned to a bulletin board in Oberlin College student union during the 2013-14 academic year, was part of a massive racism hoax intended to evoke a reaction from the students. The photo has been cropped to omit a racial epithet.

Alumni and students from a prominent college in Ohio are concerned that pro-Palestinian student activists have taken their political views too far — creating an anti-Semitic culture on campus with comments that Israel is a “violent apartheid state” and “Ohio is infested with Zionism.”

As a result, they say, pro-Israel advocates on campus are being harassed for their allegiance to Israel.

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Imperial Pax Americana – CrossTalk Debate

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Stephen Gets A Straight Answer Out Of Donald Rumsfeld

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Putin Is Winning The Final Chess Match With Obama – Tyler Durden/ZeroHedge

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The world press is filled with violence and sexual attack horror stories about the Islamic refugees escaping from Syria and other war torn countries of the Middle East to Greece and consequently flooding into all areas of Europe. It is actually very easy to travel from Syria to Lebanon and then take the ferry to Turkey and from there to Greece and subsequently the mainland overland to Europe. This is now big business organized like a one-way tour package from the Middle East to Europe.

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How China Is Building Bridges With the Middle East – Ting Shi/Bloomberg Business

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Chinese President Xi Jinping covered a lot of ground in his first swing through the Middle East, announcing $55 billion in aid and giving a speech to the Arab League in which he vowed not to seek proxies, a thinly veiled jab at U.S. history in the region.

Xi’s most interesting stop was in Iran, where he planted a flag for Chinese business and cast his country as a more accommodating alternative to the West. As the first major world leader to visit Tehran since U.S. and European sanctions were lifted, Xi sought to present China’s commitment as long term, agreeing on Saturday to a pact pledging economic cooperation for the next quarter century. The two sides also signed a strategic partnership that covers military and security cooperation.

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LGBT Conference in Chicago Turns Violent From Anti-Israel Protesters – Paul Miller/Observer.com

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Anti-Israel protestors stormed Friday’s gay rights Creating Change Conference at the Chicago Hilton, hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force, forcing the cancellation of an event hosted by A Wider Bridge, an organization that advocates growing the relationship between the “LGBTQ communities of North America and Israel.”

Reportedly chanting “no justice, no peace,” protesters displayed signs equating the Jewish state with apartheid and Zionism with racism, targeting a reception featuring Israeli LGBT rights activists Sarah Kala-Meir and Tom Canning of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, an Israeli LGBT advocacy group.

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Israel’s Netanyahu blames children’s shows for Palestinian terror – Willian Booth/The Washington Post

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JERUSALEM — There’s been a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis over the last four months, violence that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says is spurred by incitement from Palestinian officialdom.

The Israeli leader and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan have been showing foreign diplomats a short video of clips taken from kiddie shows, alongside speeches and interviews by Palestinian leaders, that the Israelis say is evidence the Palestinian Authority is stoking “a culture of hate.”

Netanyahu said he personally showed the video posted here to Secretary of State John F. Kerry last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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Arab Spring Generation – Afrah Nasser/HuffPo

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arab_spring_poster_girl

I happened to be in Tunisia on the 14th of January, which not only marks the 5th anniversary of the Tunisian 2010 revolution; a date that sparked all the 2011 Arab countries’ uprisings, but which also marks the 5th anniversary of interrogating my generation: the Arab Spring generation. Despite my excitement for visiting Tunis for the first time, the anniversary matter poured existential questions all over me; and the fact that I was in Tunis to take part in a two-weeks training course on Human Rights advocacy along with a number of participants from several Arab countries did not ease my troubled mind. “Has Tunis revolution achieved anything?” headlines of newspapers, TV programs, radio shows, etc asked on and on that day. “Has the Arab Spring achieved anything, for that matter?”

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With help of corporate law firm, small pro-Israel group derails historic UAW union vote endorsing boycott – Ben Norton/Salon.com

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With help of corporate law firm, small pro-Israel group derails historic UAW union vote endorsing boycott

The United Auto Workers International Executive Board nullified the vote of a major California union that endorsed a boycott of Israel on behalf of Palestinian rights, even while admitting that the vote was thoroughly democratic.

Documents obtained by Salon show how UAW executives cited political reasons in their opposition to the local’s vote.

Further records show how the small pro-Israel opposition appealed and derailed the landslide vote with the help of a prominent law firm that has defended powerful multinational corporations like Wal-Mart, Amazon, Apple and Chevron.

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