Sunday, 20 May 2018

Orde Wingate: Shitstain on Humanity, Hero of Zionism...

It was during “the Arab Revolt” in 1936 and, thereafter, that he encountered his true “calling” as it were, which he always knew he had — to lead a Jewish Army into battle; and, while there, many consider that he laid the foundations for the Israeli Army to come — if not totally ‘the Army,’ certainly many of its future officers like Moshe Dayan and Yigal Allon and its fighting methods. He even said as much at one of the “Training Sessions” he organized (with future Field Marshall Archibald Wavell’s blessing) in 1938, i.e., “we have come here to lay the foundations for the Jewish Army.” Of course, for most run-of-the-mill English officers, who were largely pro-Arab anyhow and against more Jewish immigration to Palestine at this crucial time, such language was blasphemous bordering on “treason” and just increased the number of enemies he always seemed to accumulate at GHQ’s.
Not for Wingate. He taught Jewish settlers and Haganah enlistees to go out from their previous closed-in and defensive-like stockade enclosures, fearlessly at night like their enemies, to often blindly track the land with nothing but a compass, a flashlight, and a topographical map to hunt and ambush marauders and terrorists. He felt that Jewish soldiers could be as good or better than any British and, reporting the same to “Cousin Rex,” he founded the combined units known as “Special Night Squads” (SNS) composed of mixed Jewish and British personnel.
Always hated at GHQ too for his sloppy dress, his lack of respect for authority, his eccentricity (often he would sit in his tent naked with nothing but a pith helmet or stand in front of his recruits reading passages from the Bible — usually about his favorite character Gideon, who only wanted to fight with ‘picked men’ and in whose environs, Daburiyyah, he did much of his fighting — and actually called his force in Ethiopia, when he arrived there, “Gideon Force”), and seemed to revel in either shocking or affronting his superiors; he was so successful in protecting the pipelines and stopping cross-border raids that he was finally expelled from Palestine at the instigation of the Mufti and his confreres and most of the other anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish-settlement Headquarters rank and file officers in 1939, just at the time it was most needed, with the proviso — never to return to Palestine.
He never did, but before he left, he even urged his Jewish friends and associates, by whom he was called “the Yedid” — “the Friend” (he was very close to Chaim Weizmann) — to start the Uprising against the British right then and there by themselves raiding the oil refinery at Haifa — again virtual “treason”; but in the face of Hitler’s pronouncements and depredations, he felt this was the only way they would be able to “save” their European Jewish brethren. In this, he turned out to be, sadly, almost completely correct — even prophetic. He even volunteered to lead them — he felt that strongly about the situation.
Who knows, perhaps if he had known or made contact with the Jabotinsky Revisionist faction at the time, he might have been more successful. Even the later Altalena tragedy or fiasco between Labor and Revisionist Zionists (recently written about in the Jerusalem Post) might have been avoided — again, who knows? But he did not. He left the country in disgrace, never to return (except on one airplane-refueling stop on his way to India and Burma later); but he never gave up the idea of returning to found a Jewish Army, which he thought would be the best in the world since he considered the Jewish fighting man, when properly trained, to be the best; and perhaps under his leadership it would have. Wingate never lost a battle in his life.

HuffPo.

Friday, 18 May 2018

American Gulag

IN A MAY 7 BRIEFING to Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, also obtained by The Intercept, Crosby asserted that during Nashiri’s torture “unauthorized techniques were always used with authorized techniques.” Crosby stated that she could not discuss these “unauthorized techniques” because they remain classified. She cited a public statement from one of the CIA contractors who developed the enhanced interrogation program, psychologist James Mitchell, who said he witnessed an interrogator “dousing Nashiri with cold water while using a stiff, bristled brush to scrub his ass and balls and then his mouth and then blowing cigar smoke in his face until he became nauseous.” She offered to brief senators with appropriate security clearances on other classified unauthorized techniques.

“The bottom line on the Haspel nomination,” said Wyden, “is that the vast amount of information about her background could be declassified without compromising sources and methods, and that really does a disservice to the American people.”

Crosby told Senate staffers that the CIA’s “methodology consisted of strategic assaults — multiple traumas inflicted simultaneously, as well as consecutively, in a manner designed to instill terror and maximize harm in the prisoners.” The interrogation program, she stated, showed that “torture is not just a crime of physical violence, but a way of destroying someone’s humanity.” Crosby added: “It is important to note that the barbarity of the torture methods used were shrouded and concealed in sterile euphemisms.”

In the briefing, Crosby described the torture in graphic, albeit unclassified, terms:

The terror of being kept naked in pitch-black, shackled to the ceiling while music blared, covered in urine and feces while insects crawled on their bodies, in dank cells that were freezing cold or unbearably hot. The horrific conditions in between interrogations were in some cases as bad as the interrogations. These torture methods were inflicted for hours and days, for weeks at a time, over the course of years. The men became disoriented with no sense of when the abuse would stop. Some of the men wished for death.

She concluded her briefing: “The devastating human cost to this torture program cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, this toll is largely hidden due to ongoing secrecy and control that the CIA exercises. This is what I can say due to security restrictions.”

Crosby, who is currently at the Guantánamo prison examining Nashiri, told The Intercept that she could not offer further details because they are classified and, for the same reason, cannot speak about Haspel’s specific role in Nashiri’s torture. However, a brief prepared by Crosby’s organization, Physicians for Human Rights, asserts:

The CIA site in Thailand formed the blueprint for the rest of the CIA torture program. After her assignment there, Haspel continued to hold senior operational roles in the program, where presumably she would have been in a position to know about other abuses at other sites. Moreover, she was an enthusiastic supporter of the program and worked to protect it from criticism. This included drafting a cable ordering the shredding of videotapes depicting torture sessions, despite a court order staying their destruction. This act of cover-up should have led to Haspel’s dismissal – and should most certainly disqualify her from the role of leading the CIA.

Jeremy, Scahill.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Ecuador back under the US's boot?

A lengthy article about Assange in the Intercept may reveal something about Moreno's Ecuador:

During his presidency, Correa was particularly assertive about defending the sovereignty of his country from intrusions by more powerful states, particularly the U.S. In 2007, he ordered a U.S. military base on Ecuadorian soil closed unless the U.S. was willing to allow Ecuador the reciprocal right to establish a military base in Miami.
But earlier this month, Correa’s successor, the current Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno, announced that it had “recently signed an agreement focused on security cooperation [with the U.S.] which implies sharing information, intelligence topics and experiences in the fight against illegal drug trafficking and fighting transnational organized crime.” Many in Ecuador viewed that as a prelude to a return to the days when the U.S. dominated Ecuador, including with new military bases, a suspicion Moreno’s government denies.
But to Correa, Moreno is returning Ecuador to the days when it was subservient to the dictates of the U.S. government. “Everyone in Latin America knows what this agreement with the U.S. means control, intervention, spying,” he said. Given the submissive posture of the current Ecuadorian president, Correa said it would not shock him if they submitted to American and British demands regarding Assange. Correa also cited the Moreno government’s recent decision to terminate peace talks between the Colombian government and rebels on Ecuadorian soil, which the ex-president believes was done at the behest of the U.S.

@TI

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Tail.Wag.Dog

U.S.-Israel relations have been described in a variety of ways. Politicians refer to Israel as the U.S.\’s most reliable ally in the Middle East, if not the world.

Others speak of Israel as a strategic ally. Some speak of Israel and the U.S. sharing common democratic values in the war against terrorism. On the Left, critics speak of Israel as a tool of U.S. imperialism for undermining Arab nationalism, and a bulwark against fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. A few writers point to the “excess influence” which the Israeli governments exercise on U.S. government policy via powerful Jewish lobbies and individuals in media, financial and governmental circles.
While there is a grain of truth in much of the above there is a unique aspect in this relationship between an imperial power like the U.S. and regional power such as Israel. Unlike Washington’s relation with the EU, Japan and Oceana, it is Israel which pressures and secures vast transfer of financial resources ($2.8 billion per year, $84 billion over 30 years). Israel secures the latest arms and technology transfers, unrestrictive entry into U.S. markets, free entry of immigrants, unconditional commitment of U.S. support in case of war and repression of colonized people and guaranteed U.S. vetoes against any UN resolutions.
From the angle of inter-state relations, it is the lesser regional power which exacts a tribute from the Empire, a seeming unique or paradoxical outcome. The explanation for this paradox is found in the powerful and influential role of pro-Israeli Jews in strategic sectors of the U.S. economy, political parties, Congress and Executive Branch. The closest equivalent to past empires is that of influential white settlers in the colonies, who through their overseas linkages were able to secure subsidies and special trading relations.
The Israeli “colons” in the U.S. have invested and donated billions of dollars to Israel, in some cases diverting funds from union dues of low paid workers to purchase Israel bonds used to finance new colonial settlements in the occupied territories. In other cases Jewish fugitives from the U.S. justice system have been protected by the Israeli state, especially super rich financial swindlers like Mark Rich and even gangsters and murderers. Occasional official demands of extradition from the U.S. Justice Department have been pointedly ignored.
The colonized Empire has gone out of its way to cover up its subservience to its supposed ally, but in fact hegemonic power.
The U.S.-Israeli relationship is the first in modern history in which the imperial country covers up a deliberate major military assault by a supposed ally. In 1967, the U.S. Liberty a communications and reconnaissance ship was bombed and strafed by Israeli fighter planes in international waters for nearly an hour, killing and wounding hundreds of seaman and officers. Intercepted Israeli messages as well as the clearly displayed U.S. flag demonstrates that this was a deliberate act of aggression. Washington acted as any Third World leader would faced with an embarrassing attack by its hegemon: it silenced its naval officers who witnessed the attack and quietly received a compensation and pro-forma apology. Apart from the fact this was an unprecedented action in U.S. military and diplomatic relations with an ally, there is no case in record of an imperial country covering up for an assault by a regional ally. On the contrary, similar circumstances have been followed by diplomatic and bellicose responses. This apparent anomaly cannot in any way be explained by military weakness or diplomatic failures: Washington has far superior armaments and its diplomats are capable of forceful representation to allies or adversaries, when the political will is present. The Jewish-American lobby, Congress people, media and Wall Street moguls strategically located in the U.S. political economic system ensured that President Johnson would act as a docile subject. No direct pressures were necessary, for a hegemonized political leadership, acts, seemingly on its own beliefs, having learned the rules of the political game. Israel-U.S. is a unique relationship, that not even an unprovoked military attack should call into question. Like all hegemonized powers, Washington threatened the U.S. Naval witnesses with a court marital if they spoke out, while they coddled their attackers in Tel Aviv.
Another illustration of the asymmetrical relation is found in one of the most important espionage cases during the Cold War involving an Israeli agent, Jonathan Pollard and the Pentagon. Over several years Pollard stole and duplicated bagfuls of top secret documents about U.S. Intelligence, counter-intelligence, strategic plans, military weaponry and turned them over to his Israeli handlers. This was the biggest case of espionage carried out against the U.S. by any ally in recent history. Pollard and his wife were convicted. The U.S. Government privately protested to the Israeli government. The Israeli’s on the other hand, through their Jewish-American allies organized a lobby to propagandize in his favor. Eventually all top Israeli leaders and Jewish-American lobbyists campaigned for his pardon, and almost succeeded with President Clinton.
The unequal relation is clearly evident in the case of a major fugitive from justice, Marc Rich. A financier and trader, he was indicted in the U.S. federal court on several counts of swindling and defrauding clients. He fled to Switzerland and subsequently obtained an Israeli passport and citizenship, investing hefty sums of his ill begotten wealth into Israeli industries and charities. Despite the seriousness of his offense, Rich hobnobbed with top political leaders in Israel and its economic elite. In the year 2000, the Prime Minister of Israel and numerous pro- Israeli Jewish personalities, including Rich’s ex-wife convinced Clinton to pardon him. While an outcry was raised about a linkup between the Rich pardon, and his wife’s $100,000 plus contribution to the Democratic Party, the underlying relationship of subordination to Israeli influence and the power of the Israeli lobby in the U.S. was clearly more important. It is worth noting that it is extraordinarily unusual for a U.S. President to consult with a foreign ruler (as Clinton consulted with Barak) in dealing with an accused swindler. It is unprecedented to pardon an indicted fugitive who fled his trial and never served any sentence.
The power of Israel is manifested in the numerous annual pilgrimages which influential U.S. politicians make to Israel to declare their loyalty to the Israeli state, even during periods of intensive repression of rebellious subject people. On the contrary, U.S. satraps of the Israeli’s mini-empire applauded the Jewish state’s invasion of Lebanon, its bloody repression of the Intifada I and II and opposed any international mediation to prevent further Israeli massacres, sacrificing any credibility in the United Nations.
In votes in the United Nations, even in the Security Council, despite overwhelming evidence of human rights violations presented by EU allies, Washington has toiled in the service of its hegemon. Sacrificing international credibility and deliberately alienating 150 other nations Washington labeled criticisms of Israeli racism as “anti-Semitism”. This does not mark the high point of Washington’s servility to Israel.
The most recent and perhaps the most important instance of U.S. servility occurred in the months preceding and following the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. On December 12, 2001 Fox news learned from U.S. Intelligence sources and federal investigators that 60 Israelis engaged in a long-running effort to spy on U.S. government officials were detained since 9/11. Many of those arrested are active Israeli military or intelligence operatives. They were arrested under the Patriot Anti-Terrorism Law. Many failed polygraph questions dealing with surveillance activities against and in the United States. More seriously federal investigators have reason to believe that the Israeli operatives gathered intelligence about the September 11 attacks in advance and did not share it with its Washington ally. The degree of Israeli involvement in September 11 is a tightly guarded secret. A highly placed federal investigator told Fox news there are “tie-ins”. When asked to provide details, the federal investigator refused “Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information.”

Moar words!.

Monday, 14 May 2018

On Nakba day...

... and while the Israelis celebrate moving the Embassy of Mordor to Jerusalem, 38 Palestinians (to date and this date isn't over yet) have been killed and 1,703 have been injured by the Israeli 'Defence' Forces.

It appears the Chosen Ones are exempt from the 'Thou Shalt not Kill' command...

The rest of the world in the mean time does nothing:

Recent history indicates that Israel can “get away with” a great deal. It long ago closed Gaza’s port, airport and land border. The Palestinians’ traditional supporters in the Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt, ignore them. Russia and China express sympathy while doing nothing. Nominal aid comes from Iran in the form of mostly ineffectual weapons for Hamas, a rare instance of the Shiite theocrats arming Sunni fundamentalists. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin spoke for most of his countrymen when he said of Gaza, “If only it would just sink into the sea.”

Sunday, 13 May 2018

So Israel wins Eurovision 18...

... whilst its Israeli Occupation Forces continues to pick off Gazan civilians (including some journalists) with live fire.

The MSM seem largely to have lost interest: this top ranking Guardian article is about a month old!

Mondoweiss:

The protest is scheduled to end on the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, in which approximately 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes during the 14-month Israel-Arab war.
On Friday, Israeli snipers killed a Palestinian and wounded 170 protesters in Gaza, local medical workers said. Dozens more were overcome by tear gas.
Forty-five protestors have been killed and more than 4,000 injured by Israeli fire since the rally kicked off in late March.
A report released by Save the Children on Friday said that at least 250 children in Gaza have been hit with live bullets during the protests, and nearly 700 children have been injured overall.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Abdel Hakim Belhaj’s rendition: Whodunnit?

Jack Straw, then foreign secretary and responsible for MI6, told MPs in 2005: “Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States … there simply is no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition.”
We now know, on the government’s own admission, that far from indulging in conspiracy theories, some of us were telling the truth. Thanks to Nato air strikes, and perhaps British bombs, clear evidence emerged that MI6 was directly complicit, indeed had helped to set up, the rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a leading opponent of the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and Belhaj’s pregnant wife, Fatima Boudchar.
The bombs destroyed the Tripoli office of Gaddafi’s foreign intelligence chief, Moussa Koussa. His files were scattered. They included a letter from Mark Allen, MI6’s counter-terrorism chief, dated March 2004 – a year before Straw was assuring MPs – congratulating Koussa on the “safe arrival” of Belhaj.
Allen added: “This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over recent years.” Though he noted that the CIA had provided the aircraft for the rendition operation [my emph.], “the intelligence … was British”.
When the evidence emerged of British involvement in the operation, Straw explained: “No foreign secretary can know all the details of what its intelligence agencies are doing at any one time.” He said today: “In every case where my approval was sought I assumed, and was entitled to assume, that the actions for which my approval was sought were lawful.”
Shortly before the rendition, in which Belhaj was shackled and his wife bound from head to toe throughout a 17-hour flight from Bangkok to Tripoli, Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, led a high-powered delegation of intelligence officers to discuss close cooperation with Gaddafi and his security chiefs.
Whitehall officials have described the rendition of Belhaj and his wife as the result of “ministerially authorised government policy”. After a four-year police investigation, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service announced that neither Straw nor Allen would face charges, because of insufficient evidence [my emph.]; though it said Allen had “sought political authority for some of his actions, albeit not within a formal written process nor in detail…”.
For six years government lawyers fought tooth and nail in the courts to prevent the disclosure of any more incriminating evidence. After today’s statement to MPs by the attorney general, Jeremy Wright, we are none the wiser about where the responsibility lies. In what he called an out-of-court “full and final settlement”, Wright emphasised that there was “no admission of liability”.
Despite Wright’s clear implication that British officials had not acted “in line with our values and in accordance with the rule of law”, no member of the Blair government, and no member of MI6 or anyone else in Whitehall’s security establishment, is going to take responsibility for what Theresa May, in her letter to Belhaj, described as “deeply troubling and appalling treatment”.
Instead, we had mealy-mouthed references to how British intelligence officers “should have done better to reduce the risk of ill-treatment”. MPs were told how MI6 was slow to understand the practices of “our partners” – a reference in particular to torture and the CIA.
This is a tired excuse that has been used before. And it is scarcely credible, given that MI5 and MI6 chiefs were made aware soon after the 9/11 attacks on the US in September 2001 how the CIA was going to treat “terror suspects”.
But to make sure that ministers – then and now – will be protected from any blame, Wright told MPs that “cultural” and “behavioural changes” as well as “system” changes were needed in Britain’s intelligence agencies. It is not the first time we have heard that; ministers have said the very same for decades whenever MI5 or MI6 has been caught in a scandal.
When he was prime minister, David Cameron set up a judge-led inquiry under Peter Gibson into evidence that MI5 and MI6 were colluding in the rendition of British citizens and residents to the US military jail at Guantánamo Bay. They received millions of pounds in compensation in out-of-court settlements designed to prevent incriminating evidence from being disclosed.
The Gibson inquiry was halted when evidence of the Belhaj case emerged. Cameron decided to hand it all over to the prime minister’s intelligence and security committee of MPs and peers. That committee, which meets in private, is no match for a judge-led public inquiry or an open trial in the courts. It seems we will never know who was responsible for the torture of Belhaj and his pregnant wife.

Grauniad.