Posts tagged Israel

US and Russia Reach Agreement on Syria Weapons — Can The US Stop Arming the Jihadists Now?

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Source: http://ronpaulinstitute.org

Written by Daniel McAdams

 

US and Russia Reach Agreement on Syria Weapons — Can The US Stop Arming the Jihadists Now?

 

Kerry-LavrovThe US and Russia yesterday reached what looks to be a solid agreement on how to proceed with the dismantling of the chemical weapons stores of the Syrian government as well as destruction of Syria’s production capabilities. Syria agreed to the Russian-proposed deal (with a little inspiration from US Secretary of State John Kerry) with the understanding that giving up its chemical weapons would avert a US military attack.

The agreement seems full enough of ambiguities regarding the consequences of less than full Syrian compliance to allow the US government some face-saving saber rattling about retaining the option to strike unilaterally, while being vague enough in defining what exactly constitutes non-compliance to make difficult a clear cut case for a UN Chapter 7 use of force resolution. In other words, seemingly win-win.

The process of identifying and destroying the Syrian cache of chemical weapons is supposed to be completed by next year, but adhering to such a timeline can be difficult. In 1997, the US promised to destroy its vast stores of chemical and biological weapons in ten years. Thirteen years later, the US retains some 2,611 tons of mustard gas and 524 tons of other chemical weapons, including sarin gas.

The US and Russian side have both indicated a new determination to bring the Syrian government and the insurgents fighting to overthrow it to a new round of talks in Geneva, optimistically by October. This is unlikely, however, as although the Russian side had managed to secure agreement to attend on the part of the Syrian government, with which it maintains cordial relations, the US has been completely unable to secure any agreement with the various insurgent factions it is supporting.

Western media and governments claimed that the armed Syrian rebellion started because the Syrian government fired on peaceful demonstrators. That has been proven false many times over, as it became clear that the Islamist extremist struggle against the secular Assad regime had been planned well in advance by forces outside Syria and had been armed from the start.

That Assad retains a level of popularity among the Syrian population — particularly the Christian minority that has come under attack by the insurgents — has been confirmed by polls and by the simple fact that two years into an insurgency heavily supported by outside powers he has managed to retain his position. If his government were as unpopular as was claimed, it would have been impossible to withstand the internal and external pressure.

The US/Russia agreement takes the WMD issue off the table for the US and its regime change allies in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, and elsewhere. US action is required, it has been claimed, because the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stores are a threat to the region and beyond. Those are to be secured by the UN.

So by what justification does the United States continue to arm and train, in violation of international law, the insurgents that seek to overthrow the Syrian government?

The answer is that there is no justification, as should be obvious at this point. Will the media begin asking these questions? Don’t hold your breath, but there is a sense that a profound shift in the “unipolar moment” that has categorized the post-Cold War period has taken place. There is a sense that the tectonic plates of the existing world order have shifted slightly. History shows us that when a shift occurs, in plate tectonics and in world balance of power, the resulting earthquake can be sudden and profound.

Flickr/Secretary of Defense

Who Benefits From A War Between The United States And Syria?

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

Who Benefits From A War Between The United States And Syria?

 

Saudi-Arabia-Photo-by-Keepscases-300x300Someone wants to get the United States into a war with Syria very, very badly.  Cui bono is an old Latin phrase that is still commonly used, and it roughly means “to whose benefit?”  The key to figuring out who is really behind the push for war is to look at who will benefit from that war.  If a full-blown war erupts between the United States and Syria, it will not be good for the United States, it will not be good for Israel, it will not be good for Syria, it will not be good for Iran and it will not be good for Hezbollah.  The party that stands to benefit the most is Saudi Arabia, and they won’t even be doing any of the fighting.  They have been pouring billions of dollars into the conflict in Syria, but so far they have not been successful in their attempts to overthrow the Assad regime.  Now the Saudis are trying to play their trump card – the U.S. military.  If the Saudis are successful, they will get to pit the two greatest long-term strategic enemies of Sunni Islam against each other – the U.S. and Israel on one side and Shia Islam on the other.  In such a scenario, the more damage that both sides do to each other the happier the Sunnis will be.

There would be other winners from a U.S. war with Syria as well.  For example, it is well-known that Qatar wants to run a natural gas pipeline out of the Persian Gulf, through Syria and into Europe.  That is why Qatar has also been pouring billions of dollars into the civil war in Syria.

So if it is really Saudi Arabia and Qatar that want to overthrow the Assad regime, why does the United States have to do the fighting?

Someone should ask Barack Obama why it is necessary for the U.S. military to do the dirty work of his Sunni Muslim friends.

Obama is promising that the upcoming attack will only be a “limited military strike” and that we will not be getting into a full-blown war with Syria.

The only way that will work is if Syria, Hezbollah and Iran all sit on their hands and do nothing to respond to the upcoming U.S. attack.

Could that happen?

Maybe.

Let’s hope so.

But if there is a response, and a U.S. naval vessel gets hit, or American blood is spilled, or rockets start raining down on Tel Aviv, the U.S. will then be engaged in a full-blown war.

That is about the last thing that we need right now.

The vast majority of Americans do not want to get embroiled in another war in the Middle East, and even a lot of top military officials are expressing “serious reservations” about attacking Syria according to the Washington Post

The Obama administration’s plan to launch a military strike against Syria is being received with serious reservations by many in the U.S. military, which is coping with the scars of two lengthy wars and a rapidly contracting budget, according to current and former officers.
 
Having assumed for months that the United States was unlikely to intervene militarily in Syria, the Defense Department has been thrust onto a war footing that has made many in the armed services uneasy, according to interviews with more than a dozen military officers ranging from captains to a four-star general.

For the United States, there really is no good outcome in Syria.

If we attack and Assad stays in power, that is a bad outcome for the United States.

If we help overthrow the Assad regime, the rebels take control.  But they would be even worse than Assad.  They have pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda, and they are rabidly anti-American, rabidly anti-Israel and rabidly anti-western.

So why in the world should the United States get involved?

This war would not be good for Israel either.  I have seen a number of supposedly pro-Israel websites out there getting very excited about the prospect of war with Syria, but that is a huge mistake.

Syria has already threatened to attack Israeli cities if the U.S. attacks Syria.  If Syrian missiles start landing in the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel will respond.

And if any of those missiles have unconventional warheads, Israel will respond by absolutely destroying Damascus.

And of course a missile exchange between Syria and Israel will almost certainly draw Hezbollah into the conflict.  And right now Hezbollah has 70,000 rockets aimed at Israel.

If Hezbollah starts launching those rockets, thousands upon thousands of innocent Jewish citizens will be killed.

So all of those “pro-Israel” websites out there that are getting excited about war with Syria should think twice.  If you really are “pro-Israel”, you should not want this war.  It would not be good for Israel.

If you want to stand with Israel, then stand for peace.  This war would not achieve any positive outcomes for Israel.  Even if Assad is overthrown, the rebel government that would replace him would be even more anti-Israel than Assad was.

War is hell.  Ask anyone that has been in the middle of one.  Why would anyone want to see American blood spilled, Israeli blood spilled or Syrian blood spilled?

If the Saudis want this war so badly, they should go and fight it.  Everyone knows that the Saudis have been bankrolling the rebels.  At this point, even CNN is openly admitting this

It is an open secret that Saudi Arabia is using Jordan to smuggle weapons into Syria for the rebels. Jordan says it is doing all it can to prevent that and does not want to inflame the situation in Syria.

And Assad certainly knows who is behind the civil war in his country.  The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Assad

Of course it is well known that countries, such as Saudi Arabia, who hold the purse strings can shape and manipulate them to suit their own interests.
 
Ideologically, these countries mobilize them through direct or indirect means as extremist tools. If they declare that Muslims must pursue Jihad in Syria, thousands of fighters will respond. Financially, those who finance and arm such groups can instruct them to carry out acts of terrorism and spread anarchy. The influence over them is synergized when a country such as Saudi Arabia directs them through both the Wahhabi ideology and their financial means.

And shortly after the British Parliament voted against military intervention in Syria, Saudi Arabia raised their level of “defense readiness” from “five” to “two” in a clear sign that they fully expect a war to happen

Saudi Arabia, a supporter of rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, has raised its level of military alertness in anticipation of a possible Western strike in Syria, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
 
The United States has been calling for punitive action against Assad’s government for a suspected poison gas attack on a Damascus suburb on August 21 that killed hundreds of people.
 
Saudi Arabia’s defense readiness has been raised to “two” from “five”, a Saudi military source who declined to be named told Reuters. “One” is the highest level of alert.

And guess who has been supplying the rebels in Syria with chemical weapons?

According to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak, it has been the Saudis

Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.
 
“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack,” writes Gavlak.

And this is a guy that isn’t just fresh out of journalism school.  As Paul Joseph Watson noted, “Dale Gavlak’s credibility is very impressive. He has been a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press for two decades and has also worked for National Public Radio (NPR) and written articles for BBC News.”

The Voice of Russia has also been reporting on Gavlak’s bombshell findings…

The rebels noted it was a result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them.
 
“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.
 
As Gavlak reports, Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels died in a weapons storage tunnel. The father stated the weapons were provided to rebel forces by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, describing them as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”
 
“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K’. “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”
 
“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.
 
Gavlak also refers to an article in the UK’s Daily Telegraph about secret Russian-Saudi talks stating that Prince Bandar threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin with terror attacks at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if Russia doesn’t agree to change its stance on Syria.
 
“Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord,” the article stated.
 
“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Saudi Prince allegedly told Vladimir Putin.

Yes, the Saudis were so desperate to get the Russians to stand down and allow an attack on Syria that they actually threatened them.  Zero Hedge published some additional details on the meeting between Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Russian President Vladimir Putin…

Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. … As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”
 
It is good of the Saudis to admit they control a terrorist organization that “threatens the security” of the Sochi 2014 Olympic games, and that house of Saud uses “in the face of the Syrian regime.” Perhaps the next time there is a bombing in Boston by some Chechen-related terrorists, someone can inquire Saudi Arabia what, if anything, they knew about that.
 
But the piece de resistance is what happened at the end of the dialogue between the two leaders. It was, in not so many words, a threat by Saudi Arabia aimed squarely at Russia:
 
As soon as Putin finished his speech, Prince Bandar warned that in light of the course of the talks, things were likely to intensify, especially in the Syrian arena, although he appreciated the Russians’ understanding of Saudi Arabia’s position on Egypt and their readiness to support the Egyptian army despite their fears for Egypt’s future.
 
The head of the Saudi intelligence services said that the dispute over the approach to the Syrian issue leads to the conclusion that “there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate. We believe that the Geneva II Conference will be very difficult in light of this raging situation.”
 
At the end of the meeting, the Russian and Saudi sides agreed to continue talks, provided that the current meeting remained under wraps. This was before one of the two sides leaked it via the Russian press.

Are you starting to get the picture?

The Saudis are absolutely determined to make this war happen, and they expect us to do the fighting.

And Barack Obama plans to go ahead and attack Syria without the support of the American people or the approval of Congress.

According to a new NBC News poll that was just released, nearly 80 percent of all Americans want Congress to approve a strike on Syria before it happens.

And according to Politico, more than 150 members of Congress have already signed letters demanding that Obama get approval from them before attacking Syria…

Already Thursday, more than 150 members of Congress have signaled their opposition to airstrikes on Syria without a congressional vote. House members circulated two separate letters circulated that were sent to the White House demanding a congressional role before military action takes place. One, authored by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), has more than 150 signatures from Democrats and Republicans. Another, started by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), is signed by 53 Democrats, though many of them also signed Rigell’s letter.

But Obama has already made it perfectly clear that he has no intention of putting this before Congress.

He is absolutely determined to attack Syria, and he is not going to let the U.S. Congress or the American people stop him.

Let’s just hope that he doesn’t start World War III in the process.

Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

New Egyptian War: Americans Lose, Again

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Source: http://ronpaulinstitute.org

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Ron Paul

New Egyptian War: Americans Lose, Again

 

Looking at the banners in the massive Egyptian protests last week, we saw many anti-American slogans. Likewise, the Muslim Brotherhood-led government that was deposed by the military last week was very critical of what it saw as US support for the coup. Why is it that all sides in this Egyptian civil war seem so angry with the United States? Because the United States has at one point or another supported each side, which means also that at some point the US has also opposed each side. It is the constant meddling in Egyptian affairs that has turned Egyptians against us, as we would resent foreign intervention in our own affairs.

For more than 30 years, since the US-brokered Camp David Accord between Israel and Egypt, the US supported Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. Over that period the US sent more than $60 billion to prop up Mubarak and, importantly, to train and seek control over the Egyptian military. Those who opposed Mubarak’s unelected reign became more and more resentful of the US, which they rightly saw as aiding and abetting a dictator and denying them their political aspirations.

Then the US began providing assistance to groups seeking to overthrow Mubarak, which they did in 2011. The US continued funding the Egyptian military at that time, arguing that US aid was more critical than ever if we are to maintain influence. The US Administration demanded an election in Egypt after Mubarak’s overthrow and an election was held. Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood won a narrow victory. The US supported Morsi but kept funding the Egyptian military.

After a year of Morsi’s rule, Egyptians who did not approve of his government took to the streets to demand his removal from power. The US signaled to the Egyptian military that it would not oppose the removal of Morsi from power, and he was removed on July 3rd. With the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government came the arrest of many politicians and the closure of many media outlets sympathetic to them. Then the US government warned the same Egyptian military that undermined democracy that it needed to restore democracy! Is it any wonder why Egyptians from all walks of life are united in their irritation with the United States?

Despite the Egyptian government being overthrown by a military coup, the Obama Administration will not utter the word “coup” because acknowledging reality would mean an end to US assistance to the Egyptian government and military. That cannot be allowed.

Instead, we see the same Obama administration that is on a worldwide manhunt for pro-transparency whistle-blower Edward Snowden demand that the Egyptian military exercise “political transparency” in its dealings with the ousted Muslim Brotherhood-led government.

So, successive US administrations over the decades have supported all sides in Egypt, from dictator to demonstrator to military. There is only one side that the US government has never supported: our side. The American side. It has never supported the side of the US taxpayers who resent being forced to fund a foreign dictatorship, a foreign military, and foreign protestors. It has never supported the side of the majority of Americans who do not wish to get involved in the confusing internal affairs of countries thousands of miles away. It has never supported the side of those of us concerned about blowback, which is the real threat to our national security. Unfortunately, US administrations continue to follow the same old failed policies and Obama is no different. More intervention, more foreign aid, more bullying, more empire.

Copyright © 2013, The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The Snowden Case What You’re Not Being Told

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The Snowden Case What You’re Not Being Told

 

6-27-2013 6-32-29 PM

 

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Published by StormCloudsGathering

Visit our website: http://StormCloudsGathering.com

H/T wchild

When the mainstream media shows you something with their right hand, watch what the left hand is doing.

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Cheney calls Snowden a traitor… ah the irony: http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/06/16/…

Snowden is on the run seeking asylum in Ecuador: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/23/pol…

Information regarding NSA domestic spying dating back to 2005: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/…

2006: http://www.wired.com/science/discover…
2007: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontli…
2008: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12051…
andhttp://arstechnica.com/security/2008/…
2009: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/06…
2010: http://boingboing.net/2010/03/31/nsas…
2011: www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/05/new-yo

­rker-on-thomas-drake/
2012: http://www.computerworld.com/s/articl…
These are just a fraction of the articles available.

A more revealing leak:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06…

U.N. Launches an investigation: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/…

U.N. says the gas was used by the rebels: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middl…

Then France claims rebels used Sarin: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middl…

The U.S. gov. likes version angle, so they’ll run with it. CIA to arm and train the rebels: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/…

Iran sending troops to Syria: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wor…

China warns against use of force in Syria and Iran: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/wor…
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The Real Meaning of President Obama’s National Security Speeches

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Source: http://ronpaulinstitute.org

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/

By Ron Paul

The Real Meaning of President Obama’s National Security Speeches

 

This past Thursday and Friday, President Obama delivered two speeches designed to outline his new thinking on national security and counter-terrorism. While much was made in the media of the president’s statements at the National Defense University and the US Naval Academy suggesting that the most active phase of US military action overseas was coming to an end, this “new” approach is but the same old policy wrapped in new packaging. In these addresses, the president panders to the progressives, while continually expanding and solidifying the “enabling act” principle.

The president will continue and even expand drone attacks overseas because they are “less deadly” than ground invasions. He promises to be more careful in the future.

He is entertaining the introduction of “kill courts” which will meet in secret to decide who is to be executed without trial or charge. He promises these will have sufficient oversight.

He will seek a new and updated Authorization for the Use of Military Force to expand his legal authority to wage war wherever and whenever he wants. He promises it will one day be repealed.

He will continue to indefinitely detain at Guantanamo individuals who have been neither charged nor convicted of any crime, and who cannot even be tried because they were tortured and thus the evidence is tainted. He promises to “commit to a process of closing GTMO.”The speech speaks of more war and more killing and more interventionism all masked in the language of withdrawal.

The president warns of the threats of the new al-Qaeda affiliates that have sprung up in places like Iraq without explaining that it was the US invasion of Iraq that opened the door to their entry in the first place. There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein, just as there was little extremism in Libya before the US attack on that country in 2011.

The president claims that “unrest in the Arab world has also allowed extremists to gain a foothold in countries like Libya and Syria.” However, it was the US-led attack on Libya that resulted in extremists gaining power there, with many fighters afterward spreading unrest and destruction by joining the wars against the Syrian and Malian regimes. The extremists brought to de facto power in places like Benghazi were responsible for the murder of the US ambassador, yet the president says nothing about that unintended consequence of his interventionist policies.

He calls for even more interventionism in the future, but he promises that it will be a different kind of interventionism. He wants the US to shape democratic transitions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya while actively supporting those seeking to overthrow the government in Syria.

He wants to take nation-building to a whole new level, urging that the US “help countries modernize economies, upgrade education, and encourage entrepreneurship.” He promises to battle extremism overseas by “training security forces in Libya, maintaining peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors, feeding the hungry in Yemen, building schools in Pakistan, and creating reservoirs of goodwill that marginalize extremists.”

What the president does not seem to understand is that we do not have the money to build schools, upgrade education, modernize economies, and encourage entrepreneurship overseas at a time when our national debt is $16 trillion. And besides, isn’t it a deeply flawed idea that the US government can achieve all of these remarkable results overseas when we know what a disaster these big government undertakings have produced at home? What we reject at home as Soviet-style central planning is fully embraced as effective foreign policy overseas. Should it really be the US government’s role to “modernize economies” or “encourage entrepreneurs” anywhere? Those are activities best left to the private sector, whether here at home or in far off lands.

President Obama’s speech is not at all what it seems. It is a call for more empire and more power to the executive branch. The president promises that “this war, like all wars, must end.” Unfortunately the war on the American taxpayer never seems to end. But end it will, as we are running out of money.

Written by Ron Paul

The Saturday Night Live Skit that Was Censored

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H/T: http://www.lptn.net

Protesters Evicted From Brennan CIA Confirmation Hearings

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Posted by NextNewsNetwork

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Headline news covering topics regarding the CIA confirmation hearing of Brennan, drone actions, the lose of Canadian citizenship and much more.

 

Has WWIII already begun? Gerald Celente breaks down the Past, Present, and Future

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http://youtu.be/wuKposMraNU

 

Gary Franchi and Next News Network interview Trends forecaster Gerald Celente covering our current condition and future paths.  Topics discussed cover the economy, the power play behind ever expanding wars and the natural resources involved, Wall Street and the government blessing to the “too big to fail” organizations plus the recent gun control moves by the administration and the history behind it all.

Neil Macdonald: U.S. media complicit in Obama’s drone doctrine

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Source: http://www.cbc.ca

By Neil Macdonald, CBC News

Posted: Feb 6, 2013

Some say U.S. president is waging a ‘war on whistleblowers’

Neil Macdonald
Senior Washington Correspondent

In 2001, when Israel started killing militant Palestinian enemies (and, often, innocent bystanders) with missiles fired from helicopters hovering so high you could barely see them, foreign reporters were urged by the Israeli government to call the practice “targeted killing.”

Most of us, including many of my American colleagues, preferred the term “extrajudicial assassination.” We felt we were in the news business, not the euphemism business.

Today, 12 years later, the Washington Post carries a front-page headline about the U.S. drone program titled, “Targeted killings face new scrutiny.”

Yet another government document has been leaked, this time a so-called “white paper” in which the U.S. Department of Justice lays out the administration’s justification for killing American citizens it suspects of belonging to Al-Qaeda.

U.S. media outlets, it seems, are perfectly comfortable with the term “targeted killing,” now that it is a major tool for the Pentagon and CIA.

It’s also clear American media outlets are comfortable suppressing news the government does not want published. Today’s story reveals not just that the Americans have operated a secret drone base for years in Saudi Arabia, but that the Post, along with various other news organizations, have been keeping that fact to themselves at the government’s request.

History of suppressing sensitive information

It isn’t the first time such information has been suppressed. In 2005, bowing to the White House, the New York Times for months kept confidential the fact that the Bush administration had been carrying out warrantless wiretapping. The revelations eventually provoked Congress to pass a new law.

Reports on the U.S. drone program, also based on leaks, have described how Barack Obama’s administration has become ever more dependent on remote-controlled killing. Obama himself reportedly signs off personally on each target.

Some say U.S. president is waging a 'war on whistleblowers'

U.S. President Barack Obama, who once denounced George W. Bush-era security measures, has not just amplified Bush’s programs, but has begun hunting down and prosecuting officials who leak details. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

The American public has been largely unconcerned with the program, except when the person killed has been an American citizen. (The U.S., unlike many other countries, accords its citizens special protections from government intrusions.)

That is the focus of the latest leak. The “white paper” in today’s story appears under the arid title “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qaeda or an Associated Force.”

The term “senior operational leader” appears to be key. An American citizen who is a low-level fighter would appear to enjoy a legal immunity that does not extend to foreign nationals suspected of planning or involvement in attacks on Americans.

As the Post story rather dryly notes, “The number of attacks on Americans is minuscule compared with the broader toll of the drone campaign, which has killed more than 3,000 militants and civilians in hundreds of strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”

There is an accompanying article today on the astonishing fact that 54 countries, including Canada, have participated in or enabled the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program of sending suspected militants to be interrogated, sometimes under torture, in secret prisons and by totalitarian regimes worldwide.

Twelve years ago, reporters had a different term for that sort of thing, too: kidnapping.

Obama’s ‘war on whistleblowers’

All these hardened security measures were begun under the Bush administration. President Obama, who once denounced them and even, as president, ordered Bush legal memos be made public, has not just amplified Bush’s programs, but has begun vigorously hunting down and prosecuting officials who leak details.

And that is one initiative the American media is not so comfortable with.

Some are calling it Obama’s “war on whistleblowers.” Current Attorney-General Eric Holder has prosecuted more officials for leaking information to reporters than any of his predecessors since the Second World War.

The government has hunted down intelligence officials who leaked details of expensive programs to spy on internet traffic, wiretaps placed in the Israeli embassy in Washington and of Obama’s personal involvement in selecting drone targets.

The lawyer for one of those officials said Holder’s prosecutors “don’t distinguish between bad people – people who spy for other governments, people who sell secrets for money – and people who are accused of having conversations and discussions.”

Several news outlets have noted, rather acidly, that the administration seems fairly expert at leaking classified material that makes the government look good.

None of this makes Obama different from any previous president. It just demonstrates his ability to keep the nation’s media on board, and mete out punishment when they publish the wrong sorts of secrets.

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Republished with permission

BREAKING: Israel must remove all Jewish settlers from occupied West Bank – UN inquiry

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Source: http://rt.com

Jewish settlers hold Israeli flags near the West Bank city. (Reuters / Ronen Zvulun)

A UN human rights inquiry has called on Israel to remove all Jewish settlers from the West Bank and cease expansion. The report said the settlements violate international law, and are an attempt to drive out Palestinians through intimidation.

­“Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions,” the report read, adding that Israel must immediately begin to withdraw all settlers from the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT).

The 1949 Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer of a civilian population into an occupied area – such an act could constitute war crimes if brought before the International Criminal Court. Following the UN’s de facto recognition of Palestine last December, Israel announced plans to build thousands of homes in the OPT.

“The mission believes that the motivation behind this violence and the intimidation against the Palestinians as well as their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands and allow the settlements to expand,” said the report.

In response, Palestine wrote to the UN warning that Israel planned to commit more war crimes by expanding its settlements further into the occupied territories.

The UN investigators interviewed over 50 people who were driven from their homes. They described how their livelihoods were destroyed and their land was confiscated, and how they were subjected to continuous violence from Jewish settlers.

The report has the potential to significantly worsen the UN’s already-strained relationship with Israel, particularly after Israeli representatives failed to appear at a UN human rights review two days ago.

The Israeli government has repeatedly ignored international condemnations of its settlements in the occupied territories, and continues to bar the entry of a Human Rights Council probe to assess the impact of the settlements. Israel has insisted that the organization is biased in favor of the Palestinians, and claimed that historic and biblical ties justify its claim to the territories.

 

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