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WikiLeaks documents expose Israeli racism, hypocrisy and double standards

© LaTuff
WikiLeaks documents expose Israeli racism, hypocrisy and double standards

The issue of Al-Aqsa [Mosque] will remain in the public conscience and the truth about Israeli transgressions will come to light with or without WikiLeaks. At long last WikiLeaks documents have focused on something other than the defunct "peace process" and Israel's war against Hamas. The latest release of diplomatic cables highlights Israeli concerns about the Islamic movement in the country, its leadership and its influence among Israel's 1.5 million Palestinian citizens. The picture that emerges is one of crass racism, hypocrisy and double standards.

While the overt views of Israeli officials and their American allies are hardly well-kept secrets, the cables shed additional light on their intent and attitudes. According to the record of a meeting with the US ambassador on 31 January 2006, for example, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman advocated the adoption of the Cyprus model to ensure Israel's security and Jewish identity. Thus, just as Greeks and Turks on the island were separated, so too Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs must be kept apart.

Despite the obvious draconian nature of Lieberman's proposal, it did not evoke a word of protest or any sense of apprehension from the ambassador. There was no reference to what the views of the people affected might be or, indeed, that they would even be consulted. The manner in which one-fifth of Israel's population were dismissed as irrelevant suggests that they are regarded as pawns on a political chess board; so much for America and its alleged commitment to democracy around the globe.


How the Surveillance State Protects the Interests Of the Ultra-Rich

© Unknown
As a global protest movement rises and spreads within the US, expect surveillance tactics honed in the "war on terror" to be used in the defense of wealth.

In the aftermath of the riots that rocked London this summer, the Conservative prime minister's first response was to crackdown on social networking.

Despite data collected by call for a the Guardian showing a strong correlation between poverty and rioting, the government denied that its brutal austerity policies contributed to the desperation and rage of its young people. A researcher found that the majority of rioters who have appeared in court come from poor neighborhoods, 41 percent of them from the poorest in the country - and 66 percent from neighborhoods that have gotten poorer between 2007 and 2010.

Of course, we don't have widespread rioting in the US yet. But even at a relatively calm, peaceful protest in San Francisco, Bay Area Rapid Transit shut down cell phone towers in the subway system in order to stymie a mass action planned after another shooting by a BART police officer. (It was the police killing of a young man that kicked off London's riots as well.)

War Whore

The FBI Goes Rogue

fbi terrorism informants
© Unknown
Terrorism suspect Najibullah Zazi is arrested by FBI agents in Aurora, Colo.
One neoconservative argument against American Muslims is that there is a correlation between mosques and FBI terror investigations. But that may be circular logic since the FBI targets mosques with paid informants trying to detect potential "lone wolves" and lure them into terrorist acts, as Lawrence Davidson observes.

Here is an important question: What single organization is responsible for more terror plots in the USA than any other?

Possible answers: Al Qaida. That would no doubt be the popular answer but it would be wrong. The KKK. Way past their prime, so that is not it. The Jewish Defense League. Good guess, but still not it. So what is the correct answer?

It is the Federal Bureau of Investigation, AKA the FBI. Don't believe me? Well, just read Trevor Aaronson's expose entitled "The Informants" published in the September/October 2011 issue of Mother Jones.
Aaronson looked at over 500 terrorism-related cases taken up by the FBI and found that over half of them involved the Bureau's stable of 15,000 informants. Many of these are ex-felons and con men who are often paid well if their efforts result in an arrest and conviction.

So what, you might say. Using informants to obtain information about criminal activity is an old and legitimate tactic. Yes, however, that approach to information gathering is not exactly how the FBI uses all of its informants.

Indeed, the Bureau has a program, misnamed "prevention" which encourages its agents to get creative in the use of informants. How creative? Well, if they can't find any terrorist activity going on, they have their informants instigate some. Where are they doing this? Mainly in our country's Muslim communities.


Chomsky: U.S. has 'extreme contempt for democracy'

In a new video, MIT professor Noam Chomsky discusses the nature of U.S imperialism as it compares to campaigns of violence carried out by other nations and groups.

Ultimately he drives the point home, suggesting the U.S. has an "extreme contempt for democracy" at home and around the world, and is not above resorting to violence to protect its interests.

"As long as the dictators back us, it doesn't matter what the population thinks. If there's a campaign of hatred against us among the populations and the dictators are in control, everything's fine. Euphoric headlines."

The interview is part of a series published by Histories of Violence, a "multi-media forum dedicated to exploring the theoretical, empirical and aesthetic dimensions to violence." The full site is planned to launch on Sept. 11, 2011.

This video is from Histories of Violence, published to YouTube on August 31, 2011.

Source: Stephen C. Webster

Comment: Chomsky avoids many very touchy topics and often misses the crux of the matter, but now and again, he manages to write things that are meaningful for individuals at the first stage of awakening.


Democrats Distancing Themselves From Obama

© Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Aug., 3, 2011.
It's been a tough summer for swing-district Democrats seeking reelection in 2012 with a president at the top of the ticket whose approval ratings are in the weeds.

As these members begin to focus on their reelection bids after Labor Day, they are increasingly calculating how close is too close to an unpopular President Obama.

Take Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., who represents a district that nearly went for Republican George W. Bush in 2004. In a recent local TV interview, DeFazio said of Obama that the word "fight" isn't "in his vocabulary" -- and he then repeated the criticism to constituents at a town hall. Or Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., who won a Republican-friendly district in a special election last year and pointedly declined to endorse the sitting president last week.

The president's dismal poll ratings, should they continue into next year, could sink Democratic hopes for reclaiming ground in the House and retaining control of the Senate -- especially in battleground states and swing districts.

"If he is where he is now, it's not going to work for Democrats," said Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., who opted earlier this year not to seek reelection in his competitive district.


Berlusconi vows to leave 'shitty' Italy in conversation recorded by police

© European Press Association/Alessandro Di Meo
Silvio Berlusconi looks on at the Chamber of Deputies in Rome, Italy, 22 June 2011.
Transcripts from blackmail investigation reveal the Italian prime minister's frustration with his country

In a sign of his frustration at the investigations into his alleged crimes and misdemeanours, Silvio Berlusconi vowed in July to leave Italy, which he described as a "shitty country" that "sickened" him.

The Italian prime minister's astonishing remarks are contained in the transcript of a telephone conversation secretly recorded by police investigating claims he was being blackmailed about his sex life.

At dawn on Thursday, police swooped on a flat near Via Veneto - one of Rome's most expensive streets - to arrest Giampaolo Tarantini, a central figure in a scandal that threatened to bring down Berlusconi two years ago.

Tarantini's wife, Angela Devenuto, was also taken into custody and a search launched for a third person. The arrest warrant shows that the three are accused of extorting at least €500,000 (£440,000) "as well as other benefits of economic significance". Berlusconi has admitted paying the couple, but said he did so voluntarily.

Two years ago, Tarantini, a businessman from Bari in southern Italy, said he supplied 30 women for parties at the prime minister's Roman palazzo. He told police at least six women spent the night there.


U.S. Is Set to Sue a Dozen Big Banks Over Mortgages

© Joshua Lott/New York Times
A foreclosed home in Arizona. The Federal Housing Finance Agency suits will argue that banks failed to perform due diligence and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were inflated or falsified.
The federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble, and seeking billions of dollars in compensation.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency suits, which are expected to be filed in the coming days in federal court, are aimed at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to three individuals briefed on the matter.

The suits stem from subpoenas the finance agency issued to banks a year ago. If the case is not filed Friday, they said, it will come Tuesday, shortly before a deadline expires for the housing agency to file claims.

The suits will argue the banks, which assembled the mortgages and marketed them as securities to investors, failed to perform the due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers' incomes were inflated or falsified. When many borrowers were unable to pay their mortgages, the securities backed by the mortgages quickly lost value.

Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, in part as a result of the deals, losses that were borne mostly by taxpayers.

Wall Street

U.S. government to sue major banks over mortgages

bank of america

The United States plans to file lawsuits against more than a dozen big banks over mortgage-backed securities seen to have fueled the 2008 economic crisis, the New York Times said.

The lawsuits are set to be filed Friday or early next week against Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and others, the newspaper reported, citing three unnamed individuals briefed on the matter.

The lawsuits will accuse the banks of bundling toxic mortgages -- held by borrowers with inflated or falsified incomes -- as securities and marketing them to investors.

Bizarro Earth

Obama Biggest Recipient of BP Cash

© Reuters
BP has also spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy.
While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they've taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company's political action committees - $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying - including $15.9 million last year alone - as it has tried to influence energy policy.

During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.

An Obama spokesman rejected the notion that the president took big oil money.

Bizarro Earth

Exxon Mobil Clinches Arctic Oil Deal with Rosneft

© AP Photo
Exxon Mobil boss Rex Tillerson was at the signing ceremony with Russian PM Vladimir Putin
US oil major Exxon Mobil has clinched an Arctic oil exploration deal with Russian state-owned oil firm Rosneft.

The venture seemingly extinguishes any remaining chance of BP reviving its own deal, which lapsed in May.

The agreement was signed on Tuesday in the presence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a Rosneft spokesman said.

Prime Minister Putin said that it would also allow Rosneft to develop fields in the Gulf of Mexico and Texas, according to local media reports.

"New horizons are opening up. One of the world's leading companies, Exxon Mobil, is starting to work on Russia's strategic shelf and deepwater continental shelf," he said.