Monday, 28 May 2018

Margaret Atwood on The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale has not been out of print since it was first published, back in 1985. It has sold millions of copies worldwide and has appeared in a bewildering number of translations and editions. It has become a sort of tag for those writing about shifts towards policies aimed at controlling women, and especially women's bodies and reproductive functions: "Like something out of The Handmaid's Tale" and "Here comes The Handmaid's Tale" have become familiar phrases. It has been expelled from high schools, and has inspired odd website blogs discussing its descriptions of the repression of women as if they were recipes. People – not only women – have sent me photographs of their bodies with phrases from The Handmaid's Tale tattooed on them, "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum" and "Are there any questions?" being the most frequent. The book has had several dramatic incarnations, a film (with screenplay by Harold Pinter and direction by Volker Schlöndorff) and an opera (by Poul Ruders) among them. Revellers dress up as Handmaids on Hallowe'en and also for protest marches – these two uses of its costumes mirroring its doubleness. Is it entertainment or dire political prophecy? Can it be both? I did not anticipate any of this when I was writing the book.
I began this book almost 30 years ago, in the spring of 1984, while living in West Berlin – still encircled, at that time, by the Berlin Wall. The book was not called The Handmaid's Tale at first – it was called Offred – but I note in my journal that its name changed on 3 January 1985, when almost 150 pages had been written.
That's about all I can note, however. In my journal there are the usual writerly whines, such as: "I am working my way back into writing after too long away – I lose my nerve, or think instead of the horrors of publication and what I will be accused of in reviews." There are entries concerning the weather; rain and thunder come in for special mentions. I chronicle the finding of puffballs, always a source of glee; dinner parties, with lists of those who attended and what was cooked; illnesses, my own and those of others; and the deaths of friends. There are books read, speeches given, trips made. There are page counts; I had a habit of writing down the pages completed as a way of urging myself on. But there are no reflections at all about the actual composition or subject matter of the book itself. Perhaps that was because I thought I knew where it was going, and felt no need to interrogate myself.
I recall that I was writing by hand, then transcribing with the aid of a typewriter, then scribbling on the typed pages, then giving these to a professional typist: personal computers were in their infancy in 1985. I see that I left Berlin in June 1984, returned to Canada, wrote through the fall, then spent four months in early 1985 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I held an MFA chair. I finished the book there; the first person to read it was a fellow writer, Valerie Martin, who was also there at that time. I recall her saying: "I think you've got something here." She herself remembers more enthusiasm.
From 12 September 1984 to June 1985 all is blank in my journal – there is nothing at all set down, not even a puffball – though by my page-count entries it seems I was writing at white-hot speed. On 10 June there is a cryptic entry: "Finished editing Handmaid's Tale last week." The page proofs had been read by 19 August. The book appeared in Canada in the fall of 1985 to baffled and sometimes anxious reviews – could it happen here? – but there is no journal commentary on these by me. On 16 November I find another writerly whine: "I feel sucked hollow." To which I added: "But functional."

Continued here.

Friday, 25 May 2018

The Islamophobia Industry

Across the United States, there has been a growth in organizations that portray Islam as a threat.
Over two years, the number of groups that make up what’s become known as the Islamophobia industry has more than tripled.
This investigation reveals the tactics these groups use to instigate a fear of Islam, including how they manipulate social media to create a false narrative that Muslims are trying to take over the country.
Anti-Muslim messages proliferate social media with bought-in followers, fake accounts and robotic amplifiers.
The investigation also shows how these organizations try to suppress the rise of a Muslim political voice in America. It uncovers the “dark money” that has fuelled the rapid growth of Islamophobia Inc. - tens of millions of dollars which is funnelled through secretive, anonymous donor funds.
We unveil the donors of the dark money and ask; what do they ultimately hope to achieve?

Al Jazeera.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Justice for Noura

Sudanese teenager Noura only has days to live. The clock is ticking before she is hanged. Noura’s crime: killing her rapist in self-defence.
Noura was just 16 when her family forced her into a marriage. She said when she refused to sleep with her husband, he had his relatives hold Noura down while he raped her. Noura was trapped, and when the man tried to rape her again, she defended herself and killed him. Now Sudanese courts have sentenced her to be executed in just days.
Right now there is a global movement on that is working around the clock to share Noura’s story and save her life. Noura’s circumstances would have been invisible to the world if it wasn't for 16 year old Zaynub starting a petition from her home in France and engaging millions of people. Zaynub saw herself in Noura. And she couldn't just stand by and watch a girl, of the same generation, be sentenced to death under these circumstances. So, after seeing the news, she turned to her laptop and started the #JusticeforNoura campaign.
Today we need your help to ensure those trying to stop injustice continue having a loud voice.

Become a Subscriber today to help power critical campaigns like Noura’s, and many more.

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.


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.


Wednesday, 16 May 2018


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!


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.


Thursday, 10 May 2018

I endorse Gina Haspel as Bosswoman of the Gestapo of Mordor!

Was the CIA's use of torture immoral?
Don't ask Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's nominee to run the agency, because she doesn't have a clear answer -- or, at least, not one she was willing to offer publicly and under oath on Wednesday. Called upon repeatedly during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill to address whether the CIA's post-9/11 detainee interrogation techniques were morally objectionable, Haspel demurred, refusing over and over again to address the question directly and without qualification. "My parents raised me right," she said, at one point, after being scolded by a Democratic senator for addressing "fundamentally moral questions" with "very legalistic" explanations. "I know the difference between right and wrong."
Haspel, who has spent more than three decades with the CIA, entered the room with a clear plan. First, she pledged that the agency, under her leadership, would not "restart ... a detention and interrogation program" like the one since banned by Congress. But Haspel, who reportedly led a CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 where harsh interrogations now considered torture were conducted, and served as chief of staff to the CIA's top operations officer, Jose Rodriguez, in 2005, when he ordered the destruction of hundreds of hours of videotaped interrogations, often hedged her remarks when quizzed about her own feelings and some very specific potential challenges up ahead.

Haspel declined to say if torture techniques are 'immoral'(video).

Heinrich Himmler would have been a better candidate still but he wasn't available...

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Trumpeldumb bows to Netanyahu

Neocons Have Trump on His Knees

After slapping Donald Trump around for several months to make him surrender his hopes for a more cooperative relationship with Russia, the neocons and their liberal-interventionist allies are now telling the battered President what he must do next: escalate war in the Middle East and ratchet up tensions with nuclear-armed Russia.
Star neocon Robert Kagan spelled out Trump’s future assignments in a column on Sunday in The Washington Post, starting out by patting the chastened President on the head for his decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at an airstrip in Syria supposedly in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack blamed on the Syrian government (although no serious investigation was even conducted).
Trump earned widespread plaudits for his decisive action and his heart-on-the-sleeve humanitarianism as his voice filled with emotion citing the chemical-weapons deaths on April 4 of “small children and even beautiful little babies.” The U.S. media then helpfully played down reports from Syria that Trump’s April 6 retaliatory missile strike had killed about 15 people, including nine civilians, four of whom were children.
However, for Kagan, the missile strike was only a good start. An advocate for “regime change” in Syria and a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century which pushed for the Iraq War, Kagan praised Trump “for doing what the Obama administration refused to do,” i.e. involve the U.S. military directly in attacks on the Syrian government.
Full text by Robert Parry.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Trumpeldumb: spreading fake news again...

The suggestion by Donald Trump that guns are part of the solution to knife crime in London is ridiculous, a trauma surgeon in the capital has said. The US president told the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas on Friday that a “once very prestigious hospital” in London was like a “warzone”.
He appeared to be referring to reported comments by Martin Griffiths, a lead trauma surgeon at the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, who likened the spate of stabbing victims coming through the doors to scenes in a military hospital.
Prof Karim Brohi, another surgeon at the hospital and the director of London’s major trauma system, said knife violence was a serious issue for London. “We are proud of the excellent trauma care we provide and of our violence reduction programmes,” he said in a statement on Saturday. “The Royal London hospital has cut the number of our young patients returning after further knife attacks from 45% to 1%.
In response to comments on Twitter, Griffiths wrote:
Happy to invite Mr Trump to my (prestigious) hospital to meet with our mayor and police commissioner to discuss our successes in violence reduction in London.
Charlie Falconer, a former justice secretary, wrote:
4.88 per 100000 murdered in US per annum, 0.92 per 100000 in UK. Implication UK has similar murder rate to US except knives not guns obviously false. Trump lies on everything, but lots of people in US now believe London a knife-armed war zone.


Yes, Mr Trump, guns are FAR more lethal than knives. That's not rocket science, now is it??? STOP LYING COMPULSIVELY!!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The dirty little 'secret' the Zionists don't want you to know!

When History Today published, in January 1980 a front page article, ‘A Nazi Travels to Palestine’ there was uproar from the Zionists in Britain. The last thing these people wanted was a reminder of the days when Zionists and Nazis were the best of friends.
This particular episode concerns the visit that the head of the Jewish desk at the SS, Baron von Mildenstein paid to Jewish Palestine in the company of Kurt Tuchler of the German Zionist Federation together with their wives.
After the ascent of Hitler to power the Zionist Federation of Germany [ZVfD] had focussed on winning over the Nazis to the Zionist cause.
On 21st June 1933 the ZfVD sent a memo to Hitler explaining that there was an ideological congruity between Nazi and Zionist ideology. Although they don’t like to admit it now, the fact is that there was little disagreement between the Nazis who argued that Jews were not part of the German Volk (people) and the Zionists who agreed that the Jews formed a separate people.

Long, full story here.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Is our children learning?

YouTube stars are paid to convince millions of young followers to cheat at school by getting 'super smart nerds' in Ukraine to do their homework

YouTube stars have been accused of promoting cheating at schools and universities after promoting essay writing services on their popular channels.
Children are being encouraged by the stars to use the work of 'super smart nerds' in Ukraine, rather than do their own homework. Some of those who have marketed the services have millions of followers.
EduBirdie, a Ukranian company, can be enlisted to 'help' students all over the world by doing their work for them.
A BBC investigation found more than 250 channels are promoting EduBirdie through adverts or verbal endorsement.

Example of a (hyper kinetic) UToober endorsing EduBirdie:

Mail video

Source (Daily Hate Mail).

Tuesday, 1 May 2018


WE HEAR A great deal from liberals in the West these days about the rise of authoritarian and illiberal governments across the world: from Putin’s Russia to Orbán’s Hungary; from Trump’s America to Erdogan’s Turkey; from Modi’s India to Duterte’s Philippines.
We don’t hear so much about Netanyahu’s Israel — despite the fact that the country, as former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami has conceded, “is succumbing to its deepest ethnocentric impulses” and is “now well on its way to joining the growing club of illiberal democracies, and it has Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to thank.”
Some might say “on its way” is an understatement. According to Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, the Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, the Jewish state could be considered a founding member of that particular club because it has enjoyed a “significant head start” on the rest. For example, the practice of “describing the opposition and specifically human rights organizations as traitors, and then also calling for their criminal investigation … may sound familiar to listeners from various countries … in which authoritarian governments are on the rise,” he tells me on the latest episode of Deconstructed, “but, hey, Israel has been there way before.”
Consider the array of “anti-democratic” laws that have been passed by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, over the past decade; laws which have had a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression. In 2011, there was the “Boycott Law,” which made any Israeli individual or organization that calls for a boycott against Israel liable to be sued for damages. There was also the “Nakba Law,” which authorized the Israeli finance ministry to cut state funding from institutions that reject Israel’s character as a “Jewish” state or mark the country’s Independence Day as a “day of mourning.” In 2015, there was the “NGO Law,” which targets foreign-funded human rights organizations inside Israel and was described by Meretz politician Mossi Raz as a “semi-fascistic law that harms democracy and silences dissent in a way that is reminiscent of Putin’s Russia.” (Of 27 organizations threatened by this law, 25 of them are left-wing or human rights groups.)
Then there is Israeli public opinion, in which the shift to the authoritarian and racist right has been remarkable in recent decades. According to polling by Pew, nearly half (48 percent) of Israeli Jews now support expelling Arabs from Israel, while the vast majority of them (79 percent) believe that they are entitled to deserve “preferential treatment” over non-Jewish minorities in Israel.

Find out the answer and read it all @TI.