Puppet Masters

Star of David

U.S. 'charities' subsidize Israeli settlements on top of U.S. gov 3 billion per year

© Peter Dejong/Associated Press
US Evangelist John Hagee, center, leads a march of Christians in support of Israel in Jerusalem, Monday April 7, 2008.
"These settlements, and the occupation more broadly, are financially unsustainable on their own, and must be propped up by far right-wing Jewish and Christian Zionist funds from abroad," a member of a group campaigning against the practice told MintPress News.

As U.S. taxpayers prepare to send to Israel another $3.1 billion of their earnings, plus loan guarantees, discounted weaponry and other perks, two campaigns aim to shed light on organizations funding the Israeli occupation by their own initiative — and at taxpayer expense, no less.

The groups, opponents say, are deeply complicit in Israel's violations of international law and the human rights of Palestinians.

U.S. government assistance to Israel does not end with the $121 billion in direct aid it has provided since 1949. U.S. charities also send billions of dollars, funded, in part, by taxpayers as a whole through the organizations' tax-deductible status.

The scale of their support cannot be determined. A 2014 study of over 3,600 Jewish organizations by the Jewish Daily Forward found they sent $1.7 billion, or 11.9 percent of their budgets, to Israel each year.

But like U.S. Zionism in general, organizations voluntarily funding Israel are not exclusively Jewish, nor did the Forward claim to have fully reviewed even the Jewish sector.

Further, under normal circumstances, identifying the overseas recipients of these grants can prove impossible, as U.S. organizations have no obligations to release them. Only if most charities choose to publicize their foreign projects will the taxpaying public have the opportunity to know what projects they're subsidizing.

Comment: Good luck on making the petition stick. AIPAC and other Zionist lobby groups will shut down any attempt to stem the flow of funds to Israel by threatening to cut campaign funds to the congress critters.

Eye 1

What an outrageous crock! NOAA demands $262,000 fee for looking at their 'public' data

© Blog.peopleperhour.com
Eric Worrall writes: It looks like NOAA have found a new way to stifle FOIA inquiries from the public. According to Steve Goddard, NOAA have just demanded a $262,000 administrative fee for zipping up a few raw data files.

© Stevengoddard.wordpress.com
Steve Goddard has published a scan of the outrageous fee demand he and fellow FOIA requestor Kent Clizbe received from NOAA administrator Maria S Williams. The letter, sent on March 17th, demands $262,000 by March 24th, or further communication - otherwise Maria says they will consider the matter closed.

Fee Notification Letter

The NOAA staff directory lists Maria Williams as the Chief of Staff Support Services Branch.

For the full story read Steve's post - Freedom Isn't Free.

As an IT expert with over 20 years of experience, my expert opinion on the claim by NOAA that it would require $262,000 to gather up a few computer files and send them to Steve is that it sounds like a complete crock. Even if some of the files are in printed form, they can just be run through a scanner - my automatic page feed scanner can process a page every few seconds, even cheap scanners can process thousands of pages per day. If the files are too big to put in an email (likely), for trivial cost NOAA could publish them on a password protected web page - it would take at most a day to set up such a web page, and add the files to it.

If NOAA's data files really are so poorly catalogued that several man years of effort would be required to find them, this is something NOAA should be fixing on their own time. If this is the case, NOAA should not be attempting to charge FOIA petitioners outrageous fees to cover NOAA's own incompetence.

Comment: Climategate Redux: NASA and NOAA have been falsifying climate reports for years

Snakes in Suits

Monsanto lobbyist who claims 'safe to drink a quart of pesticide' bolts when offered a glass

© www.roundup.com
A lobbyist for Monsanto claimed that it was safe to drink "a quart" of the company's Roundup pesticide, but pointedly refused to try even a sip when offered a glass during an interview with French TV before storming off the set.

Patrick Moore told a Canal+ journalist that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world's most widely used weed killer, was not responsible for an increase in cancer rates in Argentina.

"You can drink a whole quart of it and it won't hurt you," he insisted.

When the journalist informed him that a cup of the herbicide was prepared for him, Moore bristled, saying: "I'm not stupid."

But when pressed by the interviewer if the substance was dangerous, Moore replied: "It's not dangerous to humans." He added that many try to commit suicide by drinking Roundup, but "fail regularly."

He then walked off set, calling the interviewer a "jerk."

Comment: Moore speaks with a forked tongue and when called out on it, has a temper tantrum. Reminds us of certain types of individuals called psychopaths.

Gold Seal

A Once and Future Revolution: The Legacy of Hugo Chávez

The rich and reactionary in Venezuela and their allies in Washington celebrated when Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez died two years ago on March 5, 2013. US President Barack Obama did not even make the customary and common courtesy of sending his condolences for the passing of a head of state.

Instead the US empire stepped up its demonization campaign against Chávez's legacy in order to bury his Bolivarian Revolution. In contrast to his treatment of Chávez, Obama was effusive in his praise of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who died in January 2015 and was the leader of a country which Amnesty International rightly labels one of the most tyrannical and repressive regimes in the world.

¡Yo Soy Chávez!

So why did poor and progressive people in Venezuela, throughout Latin America, and indeed all over the world mourn Chávez's passing and proclaim ¡Yo soy Chávez! ('I am Chávez')?

Lisa Sullivan, a School of the America Watch activist who has lived in the barrios of Venezuela where she brought up her three children, had this to say at the time of Chávez's passing: "Let there be no doubt: the Venezuelan people have come of age. Chávez is gone, but what resonates on every street and every plaza today: Yo soy Chávez. I am Chávez. I am the leader, the dreamer, the visionary, the teacher, the defender of justice, the weaver of another world that is possible."

Comment: In the end, as much as it pains us to say it, it's a sad indictment of socialism - at least as it was applied in Venezuela - that in the time period in which Chavez and Putin were given to transform their respective countries, the one who succeeded was the one who worked discretely within the given capitalist-financial order.

Perhaps, however, this is an unfair comparison. Russia had far more resources and a much bigger head-start over impoverished and perennially-enslaved Venezuela, which, in the face of sabotage, subversion, coup attempts and outright economic warfare, has been under relentless pressure from the 'owners' of the Americas to cave in and submit.

Hugo Chavez was a rare breed of leader: one with a conscience. From his conscience came his strength of character and his creative vision. The positive political transformation he effected in Venezuela was truly one of the most remarkable sociological events of our time, perhaps made all the more spectacular because of how improbable it seemed in the 1990s.

The reptiles in Washington absolutely HATED him for it. He mocked them in return, but he also forgave them because he understood that they were sick with greed.

You are sorely missed, Commandante.

Eye 2

The US vampire: How US differs from conventional empires

© Munch
'Vampire' by Munch

To the growing army of critics of US military intervention, who also reject the mendacious claims by American officials and their apologists of 'world leadership', Washington is engaged in 'empire-building".

But the notion that the US is building an empire, by engaging in wars to exploit and plunder countries' markets, resources and labor, defies the realities of the past two decades. US wars, including invasions, bombings, occupations, sanctions, coups and clandestine operations have not resulted in the expansion of markets, greater control and exploitation of resources or the ability to exploit cheap labor. Instead US wars have destroyed enterprises, reduced access to raw materials, killed, wounded or displaced productive workers around the world, and limited access to lucrative investment sites and markets via sanctions.

In other words, US global military interventions and wars have done the exact opposite of what all previous empires have pursued: Washington has exploited (and depleted) the domestic economy to expand militarily abroad instead of enriching it.

Why and how the US global wars differ from those of previous empires requires us to examine (1) the forces driving overseas expansion; (2) the political conceptions accompanying the conquest, the displacement of incumbent rulers and the seizure of power and; (3) the reorganization of the conquered states and the accompanying economic and social structures to sustain long-term neo-colonial relations.

Empire Building: The Past

Europe built durable, profitable and extensive empires, which enriched the 'mother country', stimulated local industry, reduced unemployment and 'trickled down' wealth in the form of better wages to privileged sectors of the working class. Imperial military expeditions were preceded by the entry of major trade enterprises (British East India Company) and followed by large-scale manufacturing, banking and commercial firms. Military invasions and political takeovers were driven by competition with economic rivals in Europe, and later, by the US and Japan.

The goal of military interventions was to monopolize control over the most lucrative economic resources and markets in the colonized regions. Imperial repression was directed at creating a docile low wage labor force and buttressing subordinate local collaborators or client-rulers who facilitated the flow of profits, debt payments, taxes and export revenues back to the empire.

Imperial wars were the beginning, not the end, of 'empire building'. What followed these wars of conquest was the incorporation of pre-existing elites into subordinate positions in the administration of the empire. The 'sharing of revenues', between the imperial economic enterprises and pre-existing elites, was a crucial part of 'empire building'. The imperial powers sought to 'instrumentalize' existing religious, political, and economic elites' and harness them to the new imperial-centered division of labor. Pre-existing economic activity, including local manufacturers and agricultural producers, which competed with imperial industrial exporters, were destroyed and replaced by malleable local traders and importers (compradors). In summary, the military dimensions of empire building were informed by economic interests in the mother country. The occupation was pre-eminently concerned with preserving local collaborative powers and, above all, restoring and expanding the intensive and extensive exploitation of local resources and labor, as well as the capture and saturation of local markets with goods from the imperial center.

Comment: It's devolution baby! Destination nowhere under the stewardship of psychopaths


US upset over China's banking technology restrictions

© Reuters / David Gray
Washington is questioning Beijing's latest restrictions limiting the sale of foreign technology to Chinese banks, claiming the measures would hurt global trade, according to a filing with the World Trade Organization.

Comment: Sure, it will reduce US's economic advantage from spying.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission's (CBRC) guidelines for IT security equipment used in banks has raised new trade concerns with the United States, according to a document published by the World Trade Organization on Thursday. The concerns were made public during the first Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee meeting of 2015, when the US was supported by the European Union and Canada. They claim China's new rules announced in December go beyond the usual practice for the regulation of information and communication technology equipment in the commercial banking sector.

Comment: Business as usual doesn't mean it is always right in light of the security breaches now rampant.

Comment: Good on China. It seems the US is having a hissy fit because this action by China will reduce US's ability to spy on China.

Eye 2

Saudi-US-UK airstrikes kill 39 civilians in Yemen

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah fighters inspect the damage at the scene of Saudi airstrikes near the airport in the capital, Sana’a, on March 26, 2015.

Nearly 40 civilians have lost their lives as neighboring Saudi Arabia pushes ahead with its airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in Yemen, health officials say.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP on Friday that twelve of the 39 victims were killed when Saudi warplanes struck residential areas close to al-Samaa military base, north of the capital city of Sana'a.

The military base is used by army units believed to be loyal to former Republican Guard Commander Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Three airstrikes also targeted the presidential compound in southern Sana'a in the wee hours of Friday, witnesses said.

The Saudi military aircraft also pounded an army brigade controlled by Ansarullah forces in Yemen's western province of Amran as well as arms depots in the Malaheez region in the northwestern city of Sa'ada, located 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Sana'a.

Comment: And so the Axis of Evil invades yet another Middle Eastern country because it doesn't like its new leaders.


Saudi Arabia invades Yemen with US-UK backing

Saudi Arabia, in an unprecedented act of unprovoked unilateral military aggression against Yemen by the autocratic absolute monarchy, was allegedly triggered in a US-backed attempt to restore what Riyadh is calling the "legitimate government of Yemen."

What exactly constitutes a legitimate government is not clear for a despotic regime where elections are not held, women cannot drive, and enemies of the state are beheaded in medieval displays of public barbarism not entirely unlike their ideological ambassadors among the so-called "Islamic State" or ISIS.

The Yemeni Houthi militias are in fact the only viable force fighting Al Qaeda and its affiliates in the Persian Gulf State located at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. With their recent successes on the battlefield leaving US-backed proxies in shambles, including apparently Al Qaeda itself, the West has decided it must take whatever measures necessary to stop them and reassert US interests in the region.

Comment: The U.S. can't have some ragtag fighting force winning victories against its proxy "IS" goons. That's just embarrassing.

Comment: The stench of hypocrisy is all over the Saudi invasion and U.S./UK support. Can they be any more transparent? It doesn't look like it! The West (and its brain-damaged lackeys, like Saudi Arabia) invades countries on a whim, and kills thousands of people. Russia legally occupies Crimea, where democratic elections are held, people vote to return to Russia, and no one is killed. How on earth is the former legal and the latter an 'invasion'?

Wall Street

U.S. banks have temper tantrum over Warren's calls to break them up

© YouTube
Big Wall Street banks are so upset with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren's call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Representatives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have met to discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, to soften their party's tone toward Wall Street, sources familiar with the discussions said this week.

Bank officials said the idea of withholding donations was not discussed at a meeting of the four banks in Washington but it has been raised in one-on-one conversations between representatives of some of them. However, there was no agreement on coordinating any action, and each bank is making its own decision, they said.

The amount of money at stake, a maximum of $15,000 per bank, means the gesture is symbolic rather than material.

Comment: A warning shot.

Comment: Hopefully this action won't deter Elizabeth Warren's pursuit against Wall Street.


New Mexico nuke waste site shutdown by cat litter, responsible for $500m radiation leak

© wikipedia.org user@Leaflet
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), New Mexico.
Cat litter was among the "chemically incompatible" contents of a barrel of nuclear waste, which prompted explosive chemical reaction and a radiation leak at US's only underground nuclear waste repository, an investigation has found.

Just one barrel of waste leaked radiation that prompted the whole of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, suspend its operations indefinitely, the US Energy Department said in a report Thursday about an incident in February 2014.

The ill-fated drum of waste was packed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory near Santa Fe. It was there that an erroneous decision to use organic cat litter, instead of non-organic one, was made.

Cat litter is routinely used in storing nuclear waste for absorbing liquids. The organic one apparently does not mix well with the nitrate salts inside barrels.

"A series of ever-increasing heat releasing reactions occurred, which led to the creation of gases within the drum," the team of independent scientists wrote in a 277-page report, cited by AP. "The resulting buildup of gases within the drum displaced the drum lid, venting radioactive material and hot matter that further reacted with the air or other materials outside the drum."