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Journal Archives

Likud Party Calls For De-Facto Annexation Of Israeli Settlements


LOD, Israel (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party unanimously urged legislators in a non-binding resolution on Sunday to effectively annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, land that Palestinians want for a future state.

By enacting civilian law over settlements, the move could streamline procedures for their construction and expansion. That land is currently under military jurisdiction and Israel’s defense minister has a final say on building there.

The settlers are subject to Israeli civilian law.

“We will now promote the recognition of our sovereignty of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). ... We must begin to enact this sovereignty, we have the moral right and obligation towards our settler brothers,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told a meeting of Likud’s Central Committee.

Netanyahu is not bound to follow the resolution. He did not attend the meeting, which attracted several hundred delegates including ministers, legislators and party officials. The Likud Central Committee is the party’s governing body.

At least two previous Likud Central Committee decisions have been ignored by party leaders:

In 2002, it voted against the creation of a Palestinian state, but then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would act as he saw fit and Netanyahu in 2009 voiced conditional support for the establishment of a Palestinian state in a landmark speech.


German Jews May Require Police Protection As Anti-Semitism Escalates...

30 Dec 2017

Former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Charlotte Knobloch claims that Jews are increasingly under threat in public and may require police protection to lead a normal life without harassment and violence.

Ms Knobloch, who is now the President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, said that Jews are increasingly under threat, Die Welt reports.

“Aggressive anti-Semitism, from verbal hostility on the Internet and in the analogue world to desecration and destruction to physical attacks are commonplace in Germany,” she said.

“Jewish life can only take place in public under police protection and the strictest security precautions, or it must be completely cancelled for security reasons,” Knobloch added.

The Jewish leader spoke about several recent anti-semitic cases including the vandalism of a Menorah in the city of Heilbronn, and the cancellation of a public Menorah lighting in Mülheim/Ruhr due to security issues.

“Anti-Semitism is strengthening on the right and the left, in the Muslim community and also in the middle of society. That’s why we need an anti-Semitism commissioner,” Knobloch said, requesting that the German Federal government appoint an official with “strong powers”.


Mattis: The War Is Not Over in Iraq and Syria

Published: Dec 30, 2017'

Declarations of victory over ISIS by both Iraq and Syria, along with Russia, are not having an impact on US military policy in the region, according to Defense Secretary James Mattis, who insisted on Friday that “the war is not over.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis Which isn’t to say that the US is determined to keep fighting a war against ISIS, as such, but rather that there’s definitely going to be a war against somebody in those countries. Mattis in particular has been keen to talk up the idea of an “ISIS 2.0” emerging in areas ISIS has been expelled from.

Mattis’ comments are very interesting in the context of other Pentagon statements, which have insisted that US troops would stay in Iraq and Syria long after the ISIS war has ended. This had long been assumed to be just a quiet, permanent garrisoning of the two countries, particularly controversial in Syria since they don’t welcome a US military presence.

Instead, Mattis seems to be presenting this as not just an open-ended deployment, but an open-ended war against an ever-changing collection of enemies. In Syria in particular, this is likely to mean a shift away from Islamist rebels and toward pro-government militias.

In Iraq, the continuation of the war is likely to be very much like the last US occupation of Iraq, fighting with any and all forces that are aligned in opposition to the Iraqi government, or against the occupation itself.

More... ... is-not-over-in-iraq-and-syria

israel wouldn't have it any other way...

'So Much Meddling, So Little Time': Vintage Lavrov at his best on Russian late-night talk show

Post Date: 2017-12-30 06:02:53 by Tatarewicz

Russia's FM has lightheartedly shared Moscow's 'international achievements' with the host of a Russian satirical show. With many elections to interfere in, only the Japanese emperor managed to buy more time in power, Lavrov said.

Recalling the elections in France, the Catalonia independence referendum and the Brexit vote, the seasoned diplomat, known for his sense of humor, was asked to share Moscow's foreign policy plans for next year.

"You haven't mentioned all we've done. What about Sweden, Denmark, Montenegro, Macedonia and Austria? We've worked hard, isn't that easy," Lavrov joked on NTV channel's 'Mezhdunarodnaya Pilorama' ('International Sawmill') show.

Russia got so involved in other states' affairs, it didn't have enough time for other important things.

"For instance, to develop cultural ties with Japan, we had to organize a big and successful festival there ," Russia's Foreign Minister said. "However, so far, we've failed to take down the Japanese Emperor."

READ MORE: Japan clears way for emperor to step down in 1st abdication in 200 years

Apparently, the Japanese leader still "has two more years.” “We did everything to speed up the process, but he managed to beg for some more time," Lavrov said sarcastically.


In holiday message to Trump, Putin looks forward to cooperation in 2018


In a holiday greeting to President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin said constructive dialogue between the two nations was key to addressing global threats.

Putin emphasized the importance of equality and mutual respect in bilateral relations, the Kremlin said in a statement Saturday.

“This would allow us to make progress in promoting pragmatic cooperation designed for the long term,” the message said according to a summary posted on the Kremlin's website.

The optimistic New Year's greeting comes a day after Putin’s spokesman said that Moscow views the continued strain on Russian-U.S. relations as a major disappointment of the year.

Asked about the Kremlin’s biggest disappointments of 2017, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that worsening relations with the U.S. were “certainly” on the list.


State Department Hints At Iran Overthrow: Are We Witnessing The Early Stages Of Regime Change?

The US State Department has issued a formal condemnation of the Iranian government following two days of economic protests centering in a handful of cities, calling the regime “a rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos” while announcing support for protesters.It fits a familiar script which seems to roll out when anyone protests for any reason in a country considered an enemy of the United States (whether over economic grievances or full on calling for government overthrow).

The statement by spokesperson Heather Nauert (another ex Fox News blonde bot- my add) , released late on Friday, further comes very close to calling for regime change in Iran when it asserts the following: On June 14, 2017, Secretary Tillerson testified to Congress that he supports “those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.” The Secretary today repeats his deep support for the Iranian people.

The media is already promoting a regime change narrative

As we noted during our initial coverage of Thursday’s protests, Israeli as well as Iranian opposition media commentators (and of course pundits in the US mainstream) have generally appeared giddy with excitement at the prospect that protests could spread inside Iran, potentially culminating in society-wide resistance and possible change in government.

It goes without saying that Iran has been enemy #1 for the United States and Israel since the Islamic Revolution and embassy hostage crisis beginning in 1979.

Consider for example this major Israeli international broadcast network, which in an English language interview segment covering the very beginnings of (relatively small and limited) protests Thursday quickly linked the Tehran government with use of chemical weapons in Syria, supporting the “biggest butcher in this region Bashar al-Assad“, and facilitating the killing of civilians:

America's Imperial Decline Might Be Our Last, Best Hope to Salvage Our Democracy

Painful as it will be, it's a necessary precondition to creating a more just country.

By Jacob Bacharach / AlterNet December 29, 2017, 1:46 PM GMT

When the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution asking nations not to build any more diplomatic missions in Jerusalem only to be drubbed 128-9 in the General Assembly, which voted on a similar non-binding resolution last week, America’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, loudly proclaimed that the United States would be “taking names.” Her warning fell on deaf ears, although the U.S. and Israel did manage to cajole that titan of geopolitics, Guatemala, to come around to the American view.

The whole pitiful episode merely confirmed what the Trump administration has made readily apparent: Haley, like the president, has internalized the same impossible tale conservatives have been selling to Fox News grandmas for decades now: that the U.S. is a font of beneficent foreign aid; that the State Department outspends the Pentagon; and that billions and trillions in cash flow ever outward from our vaults and into the greedy hands of ungrateful minor nations that would sink without it. They think, in other words, that we have leverage where we do not.

When the UN announced a reduction in its budget for next fiscal year—something commonplace and long in the works—the U.S. government crowed that this was its doing. No one cared. But in an odd way, combative and stupid as they are, Trump and his circle intuitively grasp something that the mandarins of America’s post-war foreign policy consensus either won't or can't: that the institutions the United States built in order to camouflage and maintain its worldwide empire are increasingly unresponsive to the imperial will. In this respect, their strident nationalism is partially, if accidentally, correct. We ain’t what we used to be.

While our commuter trains leap from their aging tracks, tactical victories in the so-called war on terror produce not a glimpse of distant victory but only the enervating glimmer of a long-strategic defeat. The already barely tolerable oligarchy of late 20th-century capitalism has given way to a high-tech feudalism of the darkest speculative fiction, ruled by a tiny global class of billionaires—soon, probably, to include trillionaires—as its once-comfortable middle class stagnates and rising sea levels threaten its coastal cities, not to mention those of the rest of the world.

The American Empire shepherded the world to this point, sometimes clumsily and sometimes accidentally, but most often deliberately. The project of global dominion, of commercial leverage, of seeding client states with “S.O.B.s, but our S.O.B.s” was a project of very bad but very capable men. They knew what they were doing. Maybe American imperialism was once spoken of in hushed tones, but then some dummy in the Dubya era went and said it out loud: “We’re an empire now; we make our own reality.”

But empires don’t really make reality; they revolve around it like a planet around a star, and even their relatively minor gravity makes the star wobble. Now no one is very shy when talking about America as a center of imperial power and ambition, a global economic and military hegemon with almost 800 military outposts scattered across the world and concentric rings of omnipresent planes, drones, and satellites overhead—a vast network of industrial and financial influence, the world center of a pop culture that produces not only global taste but maintains English as the global lingua franca. Ironically, this new openness about empire coincides with the deepening sense that the empire itself is now in a state of inexorable decline.

The loss of global respect and prestige seems to stick particularly in the throats of centrist liberals and the Beltway's tiny clutch of moderate Republicans, hashtag-resistance sorts who consider Trump an appalling Caligula, a grotesque called into being by the fevered prejudices of the less educated corners of their nation, or else willed into existence by the Odoacer of our little Roman drama, Vladimir Putin. They pine for Obama, a man who always seemed to imagine himself a kind of Eisenhower; he uttered all the correct soothing phrases, and he didn’t fart and gallivant like a toddler when called upon to perform on the world stage. They want the quiet order of Bretton Woods and the G20, balmy joint declarations and hot wars all around the Eurasian periphery that never cause us to break a sweat. They want national prestige. This is why the whole Jerusalem-at-the-UN debacle so upset them: not because they especially care about the status of Jerusalem, which the U.S. has been fecklessly proclaiming the “eternal and undivided” capital of Israel for decades now, nor because they give one iota about Palestinians, but because they believe, in a strange reflection of the maddest madmen of the GWB era, that appearance is reality.

Trump throws these absurdities into stark relief. An aging creature of pure id, he doesn’t know or care enough to hew to genteel fictions. The decline of America’s ability to bend its traditional clients to its will and whims was already evident under Bush Junior when he failed to cobble together a truly international coalition in Iraq. Obama plainly knew it and hoped to slow the entropy; his internationalism, his “pivot to Asia,” his long-term military priorities were all attempts to stanch the bleeding, but his inability to really extricate the country from its Middle Eastern and South Asian quagmires—not to mention domestic opposition from a GOP whose leaders failed to recognize him as a potential ally, and who sealed their own irrelevance by turning to a ravenous and deeply racist base—doomed his presidency to painting around the edges.

Trump practically wandered into the Oval Office, his reality-show campaign aided and abetted by his predecessor's forceful favoring of finance over his indebted citizenry, and the most incompetent Democratic presidential campaign imaginable. Obama alumni and Clinton dead-enders view Trump as an extraordinary outlier. “This,” they keep saying, “is not normal.” But Trump is just the natural end result of decades of policy—not an aberration, but an apotheosis. He represents a heretofore invincible society recognizing that something is distinctly not right.

The opposition to Trump has divided into two camps: one that pines for a reversion to the mean, a painless transition back to incrementalism at home and see-no-evilism abroad; and another that recognizes the very rot that let a man who is both Fool and Lear in one howling figure stumble into the presidency. This latter faction, which ranges from the modest social democracy of Bernie Sanders to a far more radical and openly anti-imperial left, sees in the present crises an opportunity to wrench back some kind of national democracy from imperialism. It sees the fact that the United States has, for nearly two decades now, spent $250 million a day on war as both a crime and an opportunity to redirect those resources. (To put that figure in perspective, it would be enough to operate a modest regional hospital for a year.)

In the broader sense, this corner of the opposition, the folks who are organizing at the street level, writing about the failures of post-recession economic policies and talking about truly universal healthcare, recognizes that while even a carefully managed decline will mean real pain and dislocation, it represents a necessary precondition to the construction of a fairer, better, more just country than the one we have. It understands that the militarization of police and the financialization of the whole economy are inextricably linked with a militant and aggressive foreign policy and an endless succession of debt-financed wars. It suspects, in fact, that the desperately tragic gun violence in America is at least as much a product of the desensitizing march of military violence, the endless production of movies and television glorifying a national policy of vigilantism, war, and death, as it is of the problematic availability of guns; that even the reemergence of an impolite racism is in some ways tied to the necessary production of terrifying foreign others to justify endless foreign conflicts.

Every bit of power retained by the old consensus, which despite its seeming slide into abeyance retains a tremendous amount of institutional influence, will ultimately marshal itself to combat any turning away from our status as the One Indispensable Nation. They’re gonna tell you that a hegemonic China will...well, do something very bad, that Putin is hiding in your closet, that the US has some actual interest in resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict; and that only the U.S. can resolve it. They’re gonna tell you that unless Tim Kaine wins in 2020, Donald Trump will disband the, uh, CIA. They’re gonna use a subtler but no less dangerous language of cultural dissipation to warn that any relative decline in America’s global position will mean the end of it all. They’re wrong. Comrades, why can’t it be a beginning?

Existence Of Advanced UfO's 'Beyond Reasonable Doubt', Says Ex-pentagon Official Who Ran Secret US..

‘I think it's pretty clear this is not us, and it's not anyone else, so one has to ask the question where they're from’

Tom Embury-Dennis @tomemburyd

The existence of unidentified flying objects using technology more advanced than human capabilities has been proved “beyond reasonable doubt”, the former head of a secret US government programme has said.

Luis Elizondo, who quit as head of the Advanced Threat Identification Programme (AATIP) two months ago, warned nations now “had to be conscious” of the potential threat posed by UFOs.

The unit, which the Department of Defence (DoD) insisted was terminated in 2012, produced documents that described sightings of aircraft travelling at extremely high speeds with no visible signs of propulsion.

“In my opinion, if this was a court of law, we have reached the point of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. I hate to use the term UFO, but that’s what we’re looking at,” Mr Elizondo told The Telegraph.

“I think it’s pretty clear this is not us, and it’s not anyone else, so one has to ask the question where they’re from.”

Mr Elizondo told the newspaper there were geographical “hot spots” – sometimes around nuclear facilities and power plants – which emerged during AATIP’s investigations, as well as common factors between UFO sightings.

He said: “It was enough where we began to see trends and similarities in incidents. There were very distinct observables. Extreme manoeuvrability, hypersonic velocity without a sonic boom, speeds of 7,000mph to 8,000mph, no flight surfaces on the objects. A lot of this is backed with radar signal data, gun camera footage from aircraft, multiple witnesses.


Unarmed Wichita Man Killed By Police After False Hostage Report Was 'Murdered' - Mother

Fri 29 Dec ‘17 16.39 EST First published on Fri 29 Dec ‘17 15.15 EST

The mother of a Wichita, Kansas, man who was killed by police responding to a false report of a homicide and hostage situation has said her son was “murdered”.

Police are investigating whether the call that led police to the home was a so-called “swatting” prank, in which someone makes up a false report to get a Swat team to descend upon a home.

Such pranks are common among online gamers. Lisa Finch, the mother of the dead man, said he did not play video games.

Lisa Finch told the Wichita Eagle 28-year-old Andrew Finch, the father of two young children, was unarmed when he opened the door to the family home on Thursday night after hearing something.

She said he screamed and was shot.

The family then was forced outside barefoot in freezing cold, she said, her granddaughter being forced to step over her dying uncle. Family members were handcuffed, she said, placed in separate police vehicles and taken in for questioning.

“What gives the cops the right to open fire?” Finch asked. “Why didn’t they give him the same warning they gave us? That cop murdered my son over a false report.”

Deputy police chief Troy Livingston earlier said the officer who fired the fatal shot was responding to a report that someone had been accidentally fatally shot and that the shooter was holding three people hostage.


How not to talk with the FBI (or any other LE)


** by Peter Maass ** December 28 2017 ** The Intercept

IN LATE JANUARY, George Papadopoulos did what a lot of Americans do when FBI agents ask for a few minutes of their time — he agreed to talk. It’s a decision he likely regrets, because in October the former adviser to President Donald Trump’s election campaign pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI. He is now a key figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The court files in the Papadopoulos case say little about the conditions of his chat with the two FBI agents. We don’t know how long it lasted, where in Chicago it took place, what its tenor was, or whether Papadopoulos was aware the agents probably knew the answers to most questions they asked. One thing, though, is clear: Papadopoulos engaged in a form of self-harming behavior that defense lawyers always advise against — saying “yes” when a pair of friendly FBI agents knock on your door and ask to chat.

His interrogation was recorded but the transcript has not been released, so it’s impossible to know precisely what the FBI agents might have said that gave Papadopoulos the impression it would be in his interests to talk and to lie. But in another high-profile case, involving former NSA contractor Reality Winner, the government released a transcript of the interrogation. It provides a verbatim example — and a rare example — of how FBI agents ingratiate themselves with unsuspecting suspects and intimidate them into saying things that bring doom upon them.

The interrogations of Winner and Papadopoulos were what the FBI likes to call “noncustodial,” so they were not read their Miranda rights — because, the FBI claims, they were not arrested or detained at the time of the interrogation. (Winner’s lawyers have argued in court filings that she was effectively detained and should have been Mirandized.)

By avoiding the obligation to inform suspects of their right to a lawyer and the right to stay silent, the FBI makes it easier to get Americans to say things — whether truths or lies — that will be used against them.

The Fifth Amendment protects people from testifying against themselves, of course, and the Sixth Amendment provides the right to legal counsel, but law enforcement authorities get around these constitutional protections by contending that some interrogations are noncustodial. The result is that suspects are enticed into talking before they realize the jeopardy they face and the rights they possess.

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