Saturday 23 November 2019

Rethinking National Security: CIA and FBI Are Corrupt, but What About Congress?

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Philip Giraldi
November 21, 2019
The developing story about how the US intelligence and national security agencies may have conspired to influence and possibly even reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election is compelling, even if one is disinclined to believe that such a plot would be possible to execute. Not surprisingly perhaps there have been considerable introspection among former and current officials who have worked in those and related government positions, many of whom would agree that there is urgent need for a considerable restructuring and reining in of the 17 government agencies that have some intelligence or law enforcement function. Most would also agree that much of the real damage that has been done has been the result of the unending global war on terror launched by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, which has showered the agencies with resources and money while also politicizing their leadership and freeing them from restraints on their behavior.
If the tens of billions of dollars lavished on the intelligence community together with a “gloves off” approach towards oversight that allowed them to run wild had produced good results, it might be possible to argue that it was all worth it. But the fact is that intelligence gathering has always been a bad investment even if it is demonstrably worse at the present. One might argue that the CIA’s notorious Soviet Estimate prolonged the Cold War and that the failure to connect dots and pay attention to what junior officers were observing allowed 9/11 to happen. And then there was the empowerment of al-Qaeda during the Soviet-Afghan war followed by failure to penetrate the group once it began to carry out operations.
More recently there have been Guantanamo, torture in black prisons, renditions of terror suspects to be tortured elsewhere, killing of US citizens by drone, turning Libya into a failed state and terrorist haven, arming militants in Syria, and, of course, the Iraqi alleged WMDs, the biggest foreign policy disaster in American history. And the bad stuff happened in bipartisan fashion, under Democrats and Republicans, with both neocons and liberal interventionists all playing leading roles. The only one punished for the war crimes was former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed some of what was going on.
Colonel Pat Lang, a colleague and friend who directed the Defense Intelligence Agency HUMINT (human intelligence) program after years spent on the ground in special ops and foreign liaison, thinks that strong medicine is needed and has initiated a discussion based on the premise that the FBI and CIA are dysfunctional relics that should be dismantled, as he puts it “burned to the ground,” so that the federal government can start over again and come up with something better.
Lang cites numerous examples of “incompetence and malfeasance in the leadership of the 17 agencies of the Intelligence Community and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” to include the examples cited above plus the failure to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. On the domestic front, he cites his personal observation of efforts by the Department of Justice and the FBI to corruptly “frame” people tried in federal courts on national security issues as well as the intelligence/law enforcement community conspiracy to “get Trump.”
Colonel Lang asks “Tell me, pilgrims, why should we put up with such nonsense? Why should we pay the leaders of these agencies for the privilege of having them abuse us? We are free men and women. Let us send these swine to their just deserts in a world where they have to work hard for whatever money they earn.” He then recommends stripping CIA of its responsibility for being the lead agency in spying as well as in covert action, which is a legacy of the Cold War and the area in which it has demonstrated a particular incompetence. As for the FBI, it was created by J. Edgar Hoover to maintain dossiers on politicians and it is time that it be replaced by a body that operates in a fashion “more reflective of our collective nation[al] values.”
Others in the intelligence community understandably have different views. Many believe that the FBI and CIA have grown too large and have been asked to do too many things unrelated to national security, so there should be a major reduction-in-force (RIF) followed by the compulsory retirement of senior officers who have become too cozy with and obligated to politicians. The new-CIA should collect information, period, what it was founded to do in 1947, and not meddle in foreign elections or engage in regime change. The FBI should provide only police services that are national in nature and that are not covered by the state and local jurisdictions. And it should operate in as transparent a fashion as possible, not as a national secret police force.
But the fundamental problem may not be with the police and intelligence services themselves. There are a lot of idiots running around loose in Washington. Witness for example the impeachment hearings ludicrous fact free opening statement by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (with my emphasis) “In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire.”
And the press is no better, note the following excerpt from The New York Times lead editorial on the hearings, including remarks of the two State Department officers who testified, on the following day: “They came across not as angry Democrats or Deep State conspirators, but as men who have devoted their lives to serving their country, and for whom defending Ukraine against Russian aggression is more important to the national interest than any partisan jockeying…
“At another point, Mr. Taylor said he had been critical of the Obama administration’s reluctance to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other lethal defensive weapons in its fight with Russia, and that he was pleased when the Trump administration agreed to do so
“What clearly concerned both witnesses wasn’t simply the abuse of power by the president, but the harm it inflicted on Ukraine, a critical ally under constant assault by Russian forces. ‘Even as we sit here today, the Russians are attacking Ukrainian soldiers in their own country and have been for the last four years…’ Mr. Taylor said.”
Schiff and the Times should get their facts straight. And so should the two American foreign service officers who were clearly seeing the situation only from the Ukrainian perspective, a malady prevalent among US diplomats often described as “going native.” They were pushing a particular agenda, i.e. possible war with Russia on behalf of Ukraine, in furtherance of a US national interest that they fail to define. One of them, George Kent, eulogized the Ukrainian militiamen fighting the Russians as the modern day equivalent of the Massachusetts Minutemen in 1776, not exactly a neutral assessment, and also euphemized Washington-provided lethal offensive weapons as “security assistance.”
Another former intelligence community friend Ray McGovern has constructed a time line of developments in Ukraine which demolishes the establishment view on display in Congress relating to the alleged Russian threat. First of all, Ukraine was no American ally in 2014 and is no “critical ally” today. Also, the Russian reaction to western supported rioting in Kiev, a vital interest, only came about after the United States spent $5 billion destabilizing and then replacing the pro-Kremlin government. Since that time Moscow has resumed control of the Crimea, which is historically part of Russia, and is active in the Donbas region which has a largely Russian population.
It should really be quite simple. The national security state should actually be engaged in national security. Its size and budget should be commensurate with what it actually does, nothing more. It should not be roaming the world looking for trouble and should instead only respond to actual threats. And it should operate with oversight. If Congress is afraid to do it, set up a separate body that is non-partisan and actually has the teeth to do the job. If the United States of America comes out of the process as something like a normal nation the entire world will be a much happier place.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

A literary prize was withdrawn from the writer Camila Shamsi for her support of the boycott movement

سحب جائزة أدبية من الكاتبة كاميلا شمسي لدعمها حركة المقاطعة

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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«Israeli» Ex-Soldiers Depict Life in IOF: Troops Are «Drunk On Power and Boredom»

«Israeli» Ex-Soldiers Depict Life in IOF: Troops Are «Drunk On Power and Boredom»
Former “Israeli” soldiers depict their life in the military; day-to-day memories of their time in the military that continue to jolt them in post-army life. Regular house searches, arrest and hours at checkpoints fill their minds when they look back and wince.
When several dozen ex-combatants were asked about a time that most affected them, former First Sergeant Omry Balely remembered weeks of boredom at a roadblock near the parched Palestinian city of Ariha [Jericho].
“The general feeling was that it was a quiet and very safe area,” he says. “When you’re at a checkpoint, you’re in a daily routine of controlling the lives of other people. Who enters and who doesn’t is in your hands – a 19-year-old kid with power.”
They would get agitated and taunt the Palestinians, denying entry or exit to those who said the “wrong” thing, or cuffing one to a barrier for having incorrect documentation. Looking for amusement, his unit handwrote bogus VIP permits for the Palestinians who crossed regularly. They were legally meaningless but added some fun to the long hours in the sun.
Once, an older man in his 50s arrived. He had one of these paper VIP permits, but that day, he came with a donkey. “Where was the donkey’s VIP pass? the soldiers demanded.
“We all laughed at the situation, including the Palestinian,” says Balely, now 30. “But looking back a few years later, I realize what being drunk with power combined with boredom can do to you. You toy with the life and livelihood of a person for entertainment.”
Testimonies like these from 52 “Israel” Occupation Forces veterans are being displayed this month at a gallery in Tel Aviv alongside their portraits for an exhibition called EXPOSE[D]. For a decade, Quique Kierszenbaum, a news photographer and journalist, has been documenting those who agreed to speak out about the abuses they saw and often perpetrated. He did this with the help of Breaking the Silence, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2004 that has been collecting personal military stories, hoping it will show the public the reality of everyday life for Palestinians.
The whistleblower organization, widely derided in “Israel”, says abuse is systematic and institutionalized – an unavoidable part of five decades of occupation – rather than the rare the rare anomalies that such incidents are often explained away as. To date, Breaking the Silence has meticulously collected testimonies from more than 1,200 soldiers, although the vast majority do not have their identities revealed. This has led to the army and others questioning the accuracy of their accounts.
Yehuda Shaul, an ex-combat soldier, was one of the group’s founders and still runs it. His portrait forms part of the exhibition, one of the first people Kierszenbaum photographed. The accompanying text is a story he has shared for more than a decade, from his time in the early 2000s during the street fighting of the second intifada.
“I would shoot directly at Palestinian neighborhoods using a grenade launcher in response to Palestinian fire towards the [Jewish] settlements in the city,” the text reads. “It’s clear to me that many civilians were hurt by this fire. We did it without any identification of the sources of shooting from the Palestinian side.” A decision was later made to carry out what he calls “deterrent firing”, shooting every day before the Palestinians had even started attacking.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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NGOs Stand Against «Israeli» War Machine Invading Canadian Universities & Recruiting Students

NGOs Stand Against «Israeli» War Machine Invading Canadian Universities & Recruiting Students
Beirut – The words “Free Free Palestine!” rang out. The chant once unheard grew louder, livelier and stronger. No, this wasn’t in Palestine. It wasn’t in some Middle Eastern country either. This was halfway across the globe in faraway Canada!
On November 20, the prestigious York University, Canada’s third largest, hosted an on-campus event featuring reservists from the “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF].
The event on Wednesday night, which included a panel discussion featuring “Reservists on Duty” – a group made up of former IOF soldiers, advertised the “Israeli” army’s strength and morale.
Meanwhile, prior to the event, activists and social media users called for a protest against the arrival of IOF members. Many denounced the university for hosting those who were tasked with upholding an illegal occupation, enforcing apartheid, murdering protesters and committing war crimes.
Canadian Defenders for Human Rights [CD4HR] – a registered non-profit organization dedicated to defending the rights of people of all backgrounds, color, and faith – was among those that spoke up.
The group’s director Firas Al Najim slammed the atrocious behavior of the Zionists in Canada.
A video clip shows Al Najim protesting against the event on campus and joining ranks with another demonstration held by York’s Students against “Israeli” Apartheid [SAIA]. He was crying out:
We condemn the Zionist regime.
You’re a bunch of cowards! You kill children! You kill senior citizens! You kill everybody!
You have the audacity to say a word!
You are a danger to the Canadian society!
Zionism is terrorism!
Holding up the Palestinian flag during the protest, Al Najim stressed his organization’s solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people of different religious backgrounds. He further condemned the “Israeli” occupation of the Holy Land of Palestine, calling for the “dismantlement of the illegitimate Zionist regime”.
Al Najim rejected the presence of the IOF, whom he called “a bunch of mercenaries from everywhere in the world”, promoting their “evil agenda”, hatred and their war crimes.
The Canadian activist further urged his government and its officials to condemn “Israeli” violations, thanking Canadian PM Justin Trudeau for his recent move and stance in condemning “Israel” and standing up for international law.
The Trudeau government on Tuesday reversed course and voted in favor of a United Nations resolution condemning the apartheid “Israeli” entity for its occupation of Palestinian territories.
Meanwhile, Al Najim’s chants blended with those of students and SAIA members who came out to oppose the visit of IOF soldiers on campus, while yelling:
All Out! No “Israeli” soldiers on our campus!
They wanted to send a message that “Israeli” war criminals actively participating in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and violating their human rights are not welcome on their campus.
The “Israeli” entity has recently admitted to murdering Palestinian children in their homes and bombing residential buildings after the latest violence in occupied Palestinian territories.
To say that no one is above the law is to say that laws must be applied to everyone equally regardless of race, gender, status or any other consideration.
However, it appears that, as understood by Western capitals, there are people and institutions that are above the law; today’s war criminals in the Middle East – who portrayed themselves as yesterday’s “oppressed” minority, have a privileged status that shields them from indictment.
A pen is mightier than a sword! But in this case, even a word is mightier than the whole “Israeli” arsenal altogether.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

‘Israeli’ AG Indicts Netanyahu for Bribery, Fraud and Breach of Trust

‘Israeli’ AG Indicts Netanyahu for Bribery, Fraud and Breach of Trust
‘Israeli’ attorney general Avichai Mandelblit on Thursday charged Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in all three corruption cases.
Mandelblit decided to indict Netanyahu on charges which include bribery, fraud and breach of trust. It is the first time in the history of the Zionist entity that a sitting premier faces a criminal trial.
The indictment represents a heavy blow to Netanyahu’s hopes to remain in office although he is not required to resign. He has called the accusations part of a witch hunt, lashing out against the media, police, prosecutors and the justice system.
According to the indictment, Netanyahu accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends, offered to trade favors with a newspaper publisher and used his influence to help a wealthy telecom magnate in exchange for favorable coverage on a popular news site.
The most serious charges were connected to Case 4000 and include bribery, fraud and breach of trust. In the case Netanyahu is accused of passing regulations that gave his friend, telecom magnate Shaul Elovitch, benefits worth over $250 million to his company Bezeq.
In return, Bezeq’s news site, Walla, published favorable articles about Netanyahu and his family. Shaul Elovitch and his wife Iris have also been charged with bribery by the attorney general.
In Case 2000, in which Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth and Ynet owner Arnon Mozes discussed mutual assistance to promote one another’s interests during private meetings that began in 2009 and lasted for several years, Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust.
Charges of fraud and breach of trust also signify Case 1000, in which Netanyahu’s gifts of champagne from billionaires Arnon Milchan and James Packer turned into a sort of supply line.
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ما هو المطلوب من الحراك في لبنان؟

نوفمبر 22, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يزدادُ تأثير الدور الخارجي على الحراك في لبنان بشكل يبدو الجزء المطلبي منه، تائهاً الى حدود الضياع السياسي والاغتراب عن الواقع الوطني.

ما يؤكد هذه الإشكالية هو الصمت المطبق لأهل الحراك انفسهم على سلسلة مواقف أميركية وأوروبية وإسرائيلية تتعلق بدورهم وأهدافهم الى جانب تسلل قوى داخلية لبنانية اليهم تنفذ حركات شارعية خاصة بها، تخدم إصرارها على قيادة الطبقة السياسية الطائفية، انما بسلسلة مواربات لغوية توحي وكأنهم من قلب الحراك.

وهذا يهدّد استمرار الحراك كحركة مطلبية تريد إلغاء الطائفية السياسية والفساد السياسي وتطمح الى قانون انتخابات على اساس الدائرة الوطنية الموحّدة.

البداية هنا، مع آخر برامج العمل الاخوية التي أطلقها سفير أميركا السابق في لبنان جيفري فيلتمان على منبر الكونغرس، مشيداً بالحراك اللبناني على اساس انه قوة محلية تريد انتزاع لبنان من مخالب الإرهاب الإيراني وسلاح حزب الله. واعتبر ان لبنان مهدّد بالانهيار السياسي والاقتصادي إذا لم يستجب سياسيّوه لمطالب الحراك وأولها حكومة تكنوقراط ونزع سلاح حزب الله وحماية اسرائيل عبر تطبيق القرار الدولي 1701 الذي ينص على سحب كل ما له علاقة بحزب الله من خط الحدود مع فلسطين المحتلة بعمق لبناني الى حدود الستين كيلومتراً متوعّداً بوقف الاستثمارات الغربية والخليجية في لبنان ومنع توظيف اللبنانيين في الخليج، وتوقيع عقوبات اقتصادية قاتلة على لبنان، لأن المطلوب بموجب فيلتمان، حكومة تكنوقراط من اهل الحراك اللبناني بقيادة سعد الحريري تمنع حزب الله من التدخل في موضوع اتفاق إسرائيلي لبناني على اقتسام آبار النفط عند الحدود البحرية للبنان مع الكيان المحتل، مع تسليم الحفر والاستثمار لشركات أميركية والتعهد بإبقاء النازحين السوريين على الأراضي اللبنانية والامتناع عن أي علاقات مع سورية.

هذا ما يريده فيلتمان، فهل هذا هو مشروع الحراك اللبناني، كما يقول فيلتمان؟ وهل يقبل هذا الحراك بعريضة وقعها 240 نائباً من الكونغرس الأميركي طالبوا فيها بضمان أمن إسرائيل ؟ وبالتالي تجريد حزب الله من سلاحه وإسقاط ما أدعوه من مشروع إيراني في الشرق الأوسط.

كما أن إسرائيل أيدت الحراك اللبناني، وكذلك السعودية التي تصرّ على انتخابات مسبقة في بلاد الأرز، علماً بأن آل سعود لا يعرفون معنى الانتخابات ولا يطبّقونها في بلدانهم حيث الوراثة والقرون الوسطى والحرية بحد السيف هي السائدة حتى إشعار آخر.

لناحية اوروبا، فإن معظم بلدانها تريد تسوية سياسية في لبنان إنما على قاعدة أمن إسرائيل البري والمهدّد من إرهاب إيران وسلاح حزب الله.

لذلك عندما اقترح أمين عام حزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله بضرورة انفتاح لبنان اقتصادياً على الصين وروسيا وإيران، إنما كان يردّ على تحذيرات أميركية بشكل مسبق، كانت ترده معطياتها من مصادر دولية، وبالفعل يعتبر الخبراء أن الدواء في اقتراح السيد الوحيد الذي بوسعه مجابهة التهديدات الأميركية والحرص على سيادة لبنان واستقراره.

وإذا كان هناك قسم أساسي من الحراك ينتمي الى الفئات الطبقية الوطنية فإن القسم الأكبر من منتحلي صفته، يعملون على تدمير الاستقرار الوطني الذي بناه حزب الله بمجابهة اسرائيل منذ 1982 حتى 2016، وتحالفه مع العماد عون في كنيسة مار مخايل الشهيرة، التي أمنت هذا الاستقرار حتى 2019 وسط اضطرابات كبيرة تجتاح العالم العربي بأسره والجوار المباشر.

وهذا واضح في تسلل أحزاب القوات اللبنانية والاشتراكي والمستقبل الى الحراك، وسيطرتها على اسمه، وإقفال طرقات المقاومات التي تربط بيروت بالجنوب والبقاع على أيدي جماعات جنبلاط الاشتراكية وخط الرينغ – الكورة من قبل القوات لصاحبها جعجع، أما اخطر الحركات فاستعمال مناطق صيدا والبقاع الغربي وعكار وطرابلس كنقاط للتجييش المذهبي عبر انتحال اسم الحراك والاختباء في عباءته من قبل حزب المستقبل. فكلما تضايق الحريري في مفاوضاته وابتعدت عنه رئاسة الوزراء كان يضخ سياسات التحشيد في هذه المناطق ويؤلبها مذهبياً.

للتوضيح، فإن هذه الأحزاب طائفية ومتّهمة بأكبر فساد سياسي في تاريخ لبنان ومرتبطة بالخط السعودي الأميركي، وبعضها لديه روابط مع اسرائيل .

لذلك فإن أضعف الإيمان من الجناح الأصلي للحراك أن يصدر بياناً يستنكر ما قاله فيلتمان والكونغرس والسعودية مصراً على سلاح المقاومة ودورها في الاستقرار الوطني وهزيمة الارهاب.

كما أن على الحراك أن يتبرأ من التسلل الجنبلاطي الحريري الجعجعي الكتائبي، معلناً أنه لا يقبل بأي تحالف مع هذه القوى الطائفية التي تستثمر في الأحياء والأموات والأوطان ومصالح الطبقات والفئات.

وبذلك يستطيع الحراك أن يطالب بالتغيير السياسي ويصدقه الجميع عندما يرفض الادوار الطائفية الكامنة، ونصائح فيلتمان وتحيات اسرائيل ، وبوسعه التيقن أن سلاح المقاومة حريص على الأمن الوطني والحقوق السياسية والاقتصادية والطبقية والاجتماعية لكل اللبنانيين.

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.Report Showing ‘Iranian Military’ Hit by the Israeli Air Raid Near Damascus!


Beit Saber Damascus western countryside - israeli missile strikes house killing civilians

Everything Israel bombs in Syria sells it to the fools who believe its propaganda as ‘Iranian military targets’, and especially ‘Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ facility, as if that is not a breach of international law by itself.
On the ground and in reality it’s totally the opposite. Everything you hear from Israeli sources reflects totally the opposite to cover their crimes.
The US Taxpayers should watch this following report to see how their money is used by Israel. They must be satisfied with the ‘achievements’ of their 51st unofficial state living completely on their account.
Mohammad al-Khodr from the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news channel paid a visit to the village of Beit Saber, an agricultural village about 50 kilometers from the Syrian capital Damascus which was struck by one of the Israeli missiles two days ago, and also visited Qudsayya, another suburb near Damascus which was hit by another Israeli missile and this is their findings: 

The video is  available on BitChute: saber damascus countryside israel missile strike house killing civilians

Israel was always present to lend a hand to terrorists fighting their unholy fake ‘jihad’ war against the Syrian state and the Syrian people under the US leadership. Whenever they need support help comes from their brethren in the IDF terrorist organization, and whenever the US wants to increase the pressure on Syria, the terrorist attacks would mount, foreign parties would increase their negative intervention, EU stooges will increase their sanctions against Syria, and Israel will be there for the dirty work.
From yesterday’s NATO terrorist attacks against Aleppo which never stopped throughout the Syrian crisis:

Note that Israel carries out its bombings against all targets after midnight, and from across borders, and in many cases hiding behind civilian airlines, showing the heinous nature of its war criminal leaders.
Those who believe Israeli media, similarly to who believed other Pentagon mainstream propagandists and fell for the Iraqi WMDs lie, then Libya lie, then countless other lies across the planet will continue to fall for the same lies by the same liars. There is a saying in America: Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, so big shame on the US fools.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Trump Accepts Israeli ‘Realities on Ground’ – Realities Funded by His Administration

Image result for Trump Accepts Israeli ‘Realities on Ground’ – Realities Funded by His Administration
Finian Cunningham 
November 21, 2019
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week announced yet another radical shift in Washington’s policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by way of saying that the United States “was accepting realities on the ground”.
What the mendacious and cynical Pompeo omits to add is that the Trump administration has been dramatically fueling the change in “realities” – specifically the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory and the demolition of Palestinian homes.
This week the top US diplomat declared that Washington would no longer adopt the international consensus position, backed by several UN resolutions, that Israeli settlement-building and occupation of Palestinian territory was a violation of international law. Washington is henceforth recognizing Israeli settlements as legitimate.
The move overturns more than four decades of official US policy which adhered to the UN-backed position of condemning Israeli occupation in the Palestinian West Bank and in East Jerusalem as illegal and a violation of the Geneva Convention.
Since the 1967 Six War, successive Israeli governments have overseen a relentless process of annexing Palestinian territory. Over that period, Palestinian lands have diminished and become increasingly fragmented with little contiguity that would be normal for a future state. There are estimated to be around 200 Israeli new-build settlements of towns and villages with a population of 600,000 Jewish settlers who have usurped Palestinian land and properties. The UN has repeatedly condemned the annexation and occupation as illegal, to no avail.
The latest move by the Trump administration is a flagrant repudiation of UN resolutions and international law. It follows previous declarations by President Trump recognizing Israeli claims to Jerusalem as its capital, as well as Israel’s annexation of Syrian territory in the Golan Heights.
“Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace,” said Pompeo on Monday. “The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.”
That is an astounding dereliction of international law by the American government. The “hard truth” that Pompeo ignores is that US administrations have constantly undermined “judicial resolution of the conflict” because they have, to varying degrees, over the decades pandered to Israeli criminal occupation of Palestinian lands.
What the Trump administration is doing is not entirely unprecedented. Successive American presidents have merely paid lip service to a supposed peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, declaring their support for a “two-state solution” and presenting Washington as some kind of “honest broker”. The reality is that Washington has consistently undermined Palestinian national rights by its systematic bias towards Israel, indulging the latter’s criminal policies of occupation and military aggression towards Palestinian population.
However, Trump and his coterie of Middle East aides have taken the American bias and complicity with Israel to naked levels. Part of that is no doubt payback for the multi-million-dollar funding of Trump’s 2016 election campaign by Jewish-American billionaire and arch-Zionist Sheldon Adelson.
Israeli peace groups have recorded a surge in Israeli expansion of settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the past three years of the Trump administration. Demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli bulldozers are at a record high.
There is an imperative business reason for this. President Donald Trump has personally invested in Israeli settlements, as have his ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and the White House’s special envoy to the region, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.
One of those settlements is at Beit El which is described as “one of the most aggressive” in terms of expansionist scope. It overlooks the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank which is supposed to be the administrative seat of the Palestinian Authority.
Trump, Friedman and the Kushner family have in the past funneled millions of dollars into Beit El and other Israeli settlements. In return, Israeli financial companies have made huge investments in Jared Kushner’s family real-estate business back in the US. For example, Menora Mivtachim, a pension and insurance firm, invested $30 million in apartments in Maryland owned by the Kushner family.
Jared Kushner officially stepped away from his family’s property conglomerate when he was appointed by his father-in-law as special envoy on the Middle East “peace process”. But few would believe his future wealth will not benefit from investments in and from Israel. He is still a beneficiary of trusts that have holdings in Kushner properties, notes Haaretz newspaper.
It seems incredible given this blatant conflict of interest that Kushner has been tasked with producing a “peace plan” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which Trump had previously boasted about as being the “deal of the century”. That plan has since wilted to non-existence. The media don’t even talk about its expected publication, so far off the radar is it.
The latest move by the Trump administration to effectively reward and accelerate further Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory has American self-interest and profit written all over it. It mirrors Trump’s declaration in March this year recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, where there is irrefutable evidence that Trump and the Zionist clique in the White House have major business interests in oil exploration and production in that contested region.
Russia warned this week that Washington’s policy is inflaming further conflict amid an intensification of air strikes by Israel on Gaza where more than 30 people have been killed over the past week, including one Palestinian family of three adults and five children. The bloodshed makes Pompeo’s announcement all the more repulsive.
The Arab League and the European Union have also condemned the unilateral rejection of international law by the US. Jordan, Egypt and other Arab states said the United States has forfeited its right to act as a peace broker in the region.
The “reality on the ground” – to use a talking point favored by Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and now Mike Pompeo – is that the US is an accomplice in Israel’s illegal occupation and war crimes. Even more heinous, the US policy is being driven by Trump’s family business profits.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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أسئلة حول الانهيار المالي وعيد الاستقلال والحراك

ناصر قنديل

– يظن الكثيرون أو يقولون على الأقل إنهم يظنون، بأن لبنان دخل الانهيار المالي، ويرفضون أي كلام عن علاقة للسياسة بذلك، إلا من زاوية ما صنعت بسياسات مالية بنيت على تثبيت سعر الصرف باستجلاب الديون ومراكمتها، وإنفاق أموال تمّت استدانتها بلا أولويات ودراسات ولا ضوابط ووفقاً لمحاصصات نفعية يلؤها الفساد وتوزيع المغانم، ويرافقها توظيف عشوائي يستنزف المال العام بلا حدود، أما السياسة التي تأتي بالديون وتقرّر وقفها، وتتفرّج على الفساد تشجعه وتفتح عينها عليه حسب المواسم، وتضع الشروط لاستئناف التمويل، فهي لا تستحق التوقف أمامها طويلاً. والأرجح أن هذا الإغفال المتعمّد لهذه السياسة، نوع من الهروب من حقيقة أن الانهيار المالي كان وهو باقٍ تحت السيطرة، لأن بيد الغرب ومن وراءه بقرار أن يضخ المزيد من المال ويعوّم النظام ذاته القائم على الفساد والمحاصصة والعشوائية والفوضى من جديد، لكن بشروط تمس الاستقلال، ونحن نحتفل بعيد الاستقلال، فماذا عن المال لقاء التوطين، وماذا عن المال لقاء إبقاء النازحين السوريين رهائن للعبة الغرب في سورية، وماذا عن المال لقاء ترسيم الحدود البحرية بما يُرضي «إسرائيل»، وماذا عن المال لقاء ضمانات تتصل بالصواريخ الدقيقة للمقاومة؟

– الذين يرفضون فكرة وجود خطة لدفع لبنان إلى حافة الانهيار، وتوقع انفجار الغضب الشعبي بسبب ذلك، والسعي لتوظيف هذا الغضب للضغط من أجل أثمان تدفع من رصيد الاستقلال الوطني، ويتّهمون كلّ من يدّعي للتفكير بذلك بشيطنة الحراك، يتجاهلون الحقائق الدامغة عن دور العقوبات التي لاحقت الاغتراب اللبناني من أميركا الجنوبية إلى أوروبا وأفريقيا وصولاً للخليج حتى انخفضت تحويلات الاغتراب من 12 مليار دولار إلى مليارين فقط خلال ما يقارب العشرين عاماً، ويتجاهلون أن القيمة الإسمية للبضائع والخدمات المتداولة في لبنان لا تعبر عن قيمتها الفعلية، ولا يتساءلون لماذا في لبنان أغلى أسعار الدواء وأغلى خدمات الهاتف والإنترنت، وأغلى أقساط المدارس والجامعات، ومثلها الكثير الكثير في أسعار وإيجارات العقارات وخدمات الفنادق والمطاعم، ومثلها أسعار الفوائد المصرفيّة. وهذا معناه في الاقتصاد وحيد وهو الاحتكار المحميّ بهوامش لم يفرض الجمود والركود تخطيها وضربها، والأسعار هي مؤشر اقتصادي لا يُستهان به في الدلالة على حقيقة ما يجب على الشعب الاهتمام به وأوله التصدي الغائب عملياً، لكل تسعير بغير العملة الوطنية، ومساره الطبيعي هو الضغط لضرب الاحتكارات وتعزيز المنافسة، وتفعيل الرقابة الشعبية والرسمية، والأهم إدراك أن هذه الهوامش تشكل نصف حجم الأرقام التي تتشكّل منها الحركة الاقتصادية، واختزالها إلى ما يشبه أحوال الأسواق الطبيعية في البلدان الأخرى، والمجاورة خصوصاً، يعني فرصاً لانتعاش الاقتصاد، بمثل ما يحدّد وجهة التغيير المطلوب.

– الخوف هو من عودة التمويل الخارجي بقرار سياسي دولي عربي، بشّر به جيفري فيلتمان وديفيد شينكر وقبلهما كريستوف فارنو وبيار دوكين كممثلين للحكومة الفرنسية، والعودة التي لم يفلح الضغط على المقاومة ورئيس الجمهورية بالحصول على ثمن سياسي لها على حساب الاقتصاد، لن تكون أيضاً قلقاً على لبنان، بل خشية على أمن إسرائيل التي تعيش أسوأ أيامها، وتجب إحاطتها بالتهدئة في الجوار الخطر الذي يمثله لبنان، وخشية من انقلاب موقع لبنان في معادلات المنطقة نحو الصين وروسيا، وخسارة الغرب قاعدة حضور فيه، لأن ذلك عندما يحدث وترافقه عودة التسويات السياسية التي بقيت ممنوعة لشهر ونيّف، سيعني تراجع الكثير من حيوية الشارع مع عودة النشاط المالي والاقتصادي، مهما قال البعض عن أن الثورة ماضية نحو أهدافها، وستعني ضياع فرصة كانت متاحة لتلاقي الحراك والمقاومة في فرض تغييرات جذرية تطال مكافحة الفساد وتطوير بنية النظام الاقتصادي نحو الإنتاج بدلاً من الريعية وسياسة الديون. ولعل هذا هو ثمن قطع الطرقات وشعار استقالة الحكومة، بدلاً من البقاء في الساحات وفرض التنازلات تلو التنازلات على الحكومة، عسى ألا يحدث ذلك، وأن يحدث بالعكس نضج في الحراك يجعل الفاعلين فيه ينتبهون في ذكرى عيد الاستقلال، إلى أن حماية الاستقلال وحماية حقوق الناس لا يفترقان، وكلام فيلتمان وشينكر عن ترسيم حدود النفط والغاز خير دليل.

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!