... The average American never has anything whatsoever to do with the "diplomacy" that gets us into never-ending, perpetual wars for perpetual peace ... Contrary to what Limbaugh insinuates and what Barack Obama has similarly declared, the government is not us. The government is the government; it is the largest instrument of organized plunder ever known to man. We are the plundered, duped, and misled into catastrophic, bankrupting war after war that has nothing to do with "national defense.” What really set Limbaugh off was Michael Scheuer’s mockery of the standard neocon line that "they hate us because of our freedoms." ...
Every dog goes to heaven and every former president should get a shot at repairing his legacy, especially when it's as tattered as George W. Bush's. With the opening of his presidential library and museum this week, observers from former Bush officials to mainstream outlets were taking a fresh, rosy look at the Bush legacy ... It’s been almost half a decade since the 43rd president left office, and he's looking as bad as ever. Of course, that won't stop a small circle of admirers (many of whom used to be on his payroll) from trying, so here's your guide to taking on the five biggest specious pro-Bush talking points put forward this week ...
… There is a policy open to this nation that will lead to success -- a policy that leaves us free to follow our own way of life, and to develop our own civilization. It is not a new and untried idea. It was advocated by Washington. It was incorporated in the Monroe Doctrine. Under its guidance, the United States became the greatest nation in the world. It is based upon the belief that the security of a nation lies in the strength and character of its own people … The time has come when those of us who believe in an independent American destiny must band together, and organize for strength. We have been led toward war by a minority of our people. This minority has power. It has influence. It has a loud voice. But it does not represent the American people.
According to figures published yesterday, the number of unemployed workers in Spain and France has reached all-time highs, as Europe’s economic collapse accelerates under the impact of the global economic crisis and austerity measures imposed throughout the continent ... The record figures in Spain and France are part of a broad rise in unemployment throughout the EU, centered on countries that have undergone EU bank bailouts since the outbreak of the global economic crisis in 2008. The EU economy has lost roughly 1.8 million jobs over the last year — leaving a total of 26 million EU citizens, or 12 percent of the work force, without a job.
Reports that the late German actor Horst Tappert, best known for his longtime role as dapper TV sleuth Stefan Derrick, served in a feared Nazi SS unit prompted at least one European broadcaster to announce Saturday that it would drop the show's reruns from its schedule. Dutch TV station MAX pulled reruns of the show, which was produced from 1974 to 1998, after daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published documents Friday showing the actor had been in the SS during World War II. "Derrick" was one of the most widely syndicated German TV shows, broadcast in over 100 countries including China, Australia, France and Norway.
In a dramatic vote that was emotional for all sides, the ASUC [Associated Students of the University of California] Senate voted 11-9 to divest from companies affiliated with Israel’s military early Thursday morning [April 18]. The heated debate began Wednesday evening and carried on for ten hours, continuing into Thursday. Anna Head Alumnae Hall overflowed with hundreds of UC Berkeley students, faculty and community members engaging in a contentious debate regarding the bill, SB 160.
... The lobby has thrown itself into the case. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs has been emailing its friends urging them to write Landgraf to get him to veto the measure. The last time divestment passed in 2010, that is what befell it: the student government president vetoed the measure ... The campaign is being co-sponsored by the largest Jewish charitable organization in the U.S., the Jewish Federations (which represents 154 Jewish Federations and over 300 "network communities"-- the official Jewish community). The Federation/JCPA appeal praises efforts by "Jewish faculty" to block divestment.
Hungary's parliament has overwhelmingly approved a modified plan to restrict the display of Nazi and communist symbols such as the swastika and red star. Similar rules were declared unconstitutional in February because they were found to be too broad and an excessive restriction on freedom of speech. But lawmakers believe they have clarified the rules to pass constitutional muster.
George W. Bush basked in warm praise from President Barack Obama and three fellow former U.S. presidents on Thursday as Bush's library was dedicated in a ceremony that emphasized his resolute response to terrorism while skirting controversies such as his decision to invade Iraq. Obama and fellow Democrats Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, along with Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, came together on the campus of Southern Methodist University to honor one of their own.
George W. Bush presided over an international network of torture chambers and, with the help of a compliant Congress and press, launched a war of aggression that killed hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. However, instead of the bloody details of his time in office being recounted at a war crimes tribunal, the former president has been able to bank on his imperial privilege – and a network of rich corporate donors that he made richer while in office – to tell his version of history at a library in Texas being opened in his name. Kill a few, they call you a murderer. Kill tens of thousands, they give you $500 million for a granite vanity project and a glossy 30-page supplement in the local paper.
Hitherto unseen evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry by British intelligence has revealed that former prime minister Tony Blair was told that Iraq had, at most, only a trivial amount of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that Libya was in this respect a far greater threat. Intelligence officers have disclosed that just the day before Mr Blair went to visit president George Bush in April 2002, he appeared to accept this but returned a "changed man" and subsequently ordered the production of dossiers to "find the intelligence" that he wanted to use to justify going to war.
With the onset of war in Europe [in 1914], hostilities began in the North Atlantic which eventually provided the context - or rather, pretext - for America's participation ... In their reply to the State Department note, the Germans observed that submarine warfare was a reprisal for the illegal hunger blockade; that the Lusitania was carrying munitions of war; that it was registered as an auxiliary cruiser of the British Navy; that British merchant ships had been directed to ram or fire upon surfacing U-boats; and that the Lusitania had been armed.
The most complete and cogent summary of the revisionist controversy over the causes of the First World War. Total debunking of the war-guilt myth, and a ruthless exposure of the disgraceful complicity of America's establishment historians in the frenzied jingoism and German-baiting that led to Versailles and the decades of misery and injustice which followed. Introduction by William L. Neumann. With source references and an index.
Susan Rice said a major part of her work as US ambassador to the United Nations is defending Israel’s legitimacy. “It’s a huge part of my work to the United Nations,” Rice said Sunday evening, launching this year’s Consultation on Conscience, an event for Reform movement social activists organized by the Religious Action Center. She likened the volume of work to her efforts to coordinate Syria’s isolation and to contain violence and abuses in Sudan. She said she often works in “lockstep” with the Israeli delegation. “We will not rest in the crucial work of defending Israel’s security and legitimacy every day at the United Nations,” Rice said.
... America’s professed concern for human rights in Iran is especially hypocritical so long as the United States continues what I would call its “dirty war” against the Islamic Republic — including economic warfare targeting civilians (through sanctions), cyber-attacks, and support for groups doing things inside Iran that, in other places, Washington condemns as “terrorism.” ... I hope that my country will not engage in overt military aggression against the Islamic Republic. If, however, the United States is so foolish as to launch another war in the Middle East, to disarm yet another Middle Eastern state of weapons of mass destruction it does not have, I believe that the blowback to U.S. interests in the region will be disastrous for America’s strategic position.
... Technology has come a long way since 1885, when Alexander Graham Bell was tinkering with sound recordings in his Washington, D.C. lab ... The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History today released a recording of Bell testing his audio-recording technology - the first time his voice has ever been heard. The museum houses 200 of the earliest audio recordings ever made inside Bell's Washington, D.C., Volta laboratory. But until now, it was unclear which recording featured Bell's voice ... His voice sounds as though it's off in the distance and perhaps underwater, but it's quite the feat given that it was recorded more than 128 years ago.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday called the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in 1915 "one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century," but again broke a 2008 campaign promise to label the tragedy a "genocide." Doing so would have angered NATO ally Turkey. ... Obama, who called the massacre "genocide" during his 2008 run for the White House and vowed to use the term as president, stopped short of doing so in his statement, as he has in the past. Turkey, a NATO member, fiercely disputes the genocide charge and has warned that formal U.S. steps to use the term will hamper relations.
Barack Obama has been accused of reneging on his disarmament pledges after it emerged the administration was planning to spend billions on upgrading nuclear bombs stored in Europe to make the weapons more reliable and accurate. Under the plan, nearly 200 B61 gravity bombs stockpiled in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey would be given new tail fins that would turn them into guided weapons that could be delivered by stealth F35 fighter-bombers. "This will be a significant upgrade of the US nuclear capability in Europe," said Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of Nuclear Scientists. "It flies directly in the face of the pledges Obama made in 2010 that he would not deploy new weapons."
Today marks the 20-year anniversary of the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Called “a living memorial to the Holocaust,” and hailed as groundbreaking, its unsparing narrative – populated with artifacts, oral and video histories, and conversations with survivors – has attracted nearly 35 million visitors. Two days of formal anniversary observances kick off next week with a National Tribute Dinner April 28 and a National Tribute to Holocaust Survivors and World War II Veterans April 29 featuring former President Bill Clinton, and Founding Chairman Elie Wiesel.
Hard by the Washington Monument, within clear view of the Jefferson Memorial, an easy stroll down the Mall to the majestic Lincoln Memorial, has arisen, on some of the most hallowed territory of the United States of America, a costly and dangerous mistake … In the deceptive guise of tolerance, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum promotes a propaganda campaign, financed through the unwitting largesse of the American taxpayer, in the interests of Israel and its adherents in America.
Since it first opened ten [twenty] years ago, one of Washington, DC’s most popular attractions has been the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, located adjacent to the National Mall … Now  American taxpayers provide some 67 percent of the Holocaust Museum’s annual budget, this year to the tune of $38.4 million. Its funding for fiscal year 2004 was increased to $39,997,000 … Then-President Bill Clinton signed legislation granting the museum permanent status as a federal agency, in effect locking in federal support.
A provocative ten-minute cartoon story about a “reformed,” anti-racist Adolf Hitler. After decades of quietly living in Argentina, he emerges to tell the world that he’s repudiating his racist views. To prove his sincerity and atone for his sins, he launches a dynamic anti-racist campaign that wins broad, enthusiastic support. Showing special concern for Israel, he persuades Israeli Jews to embrace a comprehensive program of love, diversity and tolerance. The predictable result is the rapid ethnic-religious transformation of the country, and its demise as a Jewish state.
History can be deceptive. It’s fair to say that some of the sensational never-published-before documents, in this book [51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis], will shock those who have accepted Zionism and its supposed history, at face value, as a political movement that was the hope of the Jews. Lenni Brenner, the intrepid author of “Zionism in the Age of Dictators,” reveals disturbing new evidence in his latest effort, that suggest just the opposite. In fact, he makes a compelling case that the Zionist record was “dishonorable.” … For openers, Brenner showed how the Zionists had a long history of shameless cooperation with the Nazis, especially after the dictator Adolph Hitler came to power in 1933.
Australia's population surpassed 23 million on Tuesday. And as the country's numbers change, so does its image - you can forget Crocodile Dundee, for a start ... The "average Australian" still is born in Australia, as were her parents. But in this polyglot nation, with such a rich multicultural flavour, that is likely to change soon. More than a quarter of Australians are already born overseas - 26% - and only 54% have parents who were both born within these shores. The changing face of the Australian cricket team illustrates some of the demographic shifts.
When the German newsweekly Stern announced in April 1983 that it had acquired Hitler's previously undiscovered diaries, the magazine's exclusive prompted a worldwide sensation. The editors promised to later hand over 60 handwritten volumes to West Germany's Federal Archives for posterity. Instead the magazine's scoop turned into a publishing debacle, when it was quickly discovered that the purported diaries were forgeries. Now, in an unlikely coda 30 years later, fake history was formally enshrined as real history on Tuesday when Germany's Federal Archives said it would accept a collection of the forgeries from Stern as news media rather than Nazi history.
... By 2010 or so, I finally got around to reading a few books about the Holocaust controversies ... Denying History [by Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman] blew my mind – but not in the way its authors presumably intended. It consists mostly of weak ad-hominem attacks against “Holocaust deniers.” Its arguments about the actual issues – the questions of pre-planned total extermination, cyanide gas chambers, and six million Jewish victims (or was that six million total victims?) – were not nearly as strong as I had expected. In fact, they were surprisingly flimsy ... People like Deborah Lipstadt, and the other keepers of Holocaust orthodoxy, irrationally deny that the Holocaust is history, and therefore open to free and fearless rational-empirical debate. For them, the Holocaust is emotion-saturated sacred myth, not history.
Czech President Milos Zeman repeated in an interview for the APA Austrian press agency yesterday his previous opinion that the postwar transfer of Sudeten Germans from then Czechoslovakia was a more moderate punishment for their high treason than death penalty. However, he praised the "ten percent" of Sudeten Germans who stood up against Hitler's policy. The Sudeten Germans were transferred under the decrees signed by Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes.
Edvard Benes, President of Czechoslovakia and an important figure of the World War Two Allied coalition, calls on May 16, 1945, for the "liquidation" of Germans and Hungarians in post-war Czechoslovakia. From the Czech documentary "Zabijeni po cesku" or "Killings Czech style," 2010. Runtime: 1:27 mins.
The use of threats and isolation against Iran and North Korea is a bizarre, perilous way to conduct foreign relations / ... If it is offensive for North Korea to talk of launching a nuclear strike at the United States (a threat that is empty because the country has no system to deliver the few nuclear weapons that it has), how is it less offensive for the US to warn Iran that it will be bombed if it fails to stop its nuclear research? Both states would be resorting to force when dialogue is a long way from being exhausted. They would also be acting against international law.
... Jewish power is actually far more sophisticated than simply a list of Jewish lobbies or individuals performing highly developed manipulative skills. Jewish power is the unique capacity to stop us from discussing or even contemplating Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse and criticism in particular. Contrary to popular belief, it is not ‘right wing’ Zionists who facilitate Jewish power, It is actually the ‘good’, the ‘enlightened’ and the ‘progressive’ who make Jewish power the most effective and forceful power in the land.
… For decades the US has, uniquely, provided the Zionist state with crucial military, diplomatic and financial backing, including more than $3 billion each year in aid. This unparalleled level of support for Israel is strikingly reflected in the United Nations. In the UN Security Council, the United States, time and time again, has vetoed resolutions critical of Israel’s policies, resolutions that have support from nearly the entire world community … By supporting Israel and its policies, the United States betrays not only its own national interests, but the principles it claims to embody and defend.
... The answer is that a different agenda is at work, which we believe has little or nothing to do with Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons. The US and its European clients are driven by a different compulsion: the humiliation and eventual destruction of Iran’s Islamic regime. Confrontation with Iran is unnecessary. As the settlement proposed by the Iranians at the Quai d’Orsay suggests, Iran is prepared to deal with the West. It is the West that has repeatedly refused to accept the peace entreaties of the Iranian and refused to deal with Iran on reasonable terms.
... In their new book, the Leveretts (who have between them worked in the National Security Council, the CIA and the State Department) make an ironclad case that President Barack Obama not only can, but must, “go to Iran” to establish normal diplomatic relations ... Going to Tehran is a reasoned, methodical critique of the ideological folklore that prevents Washington from setting up normal diplomatic relations with Tehran. For instance, the myth that mullahs want nukes to wipe out Israel ... The year is young but Going to Tehran is likely the most important book on U.S. foreign policy in 2013.
The tenth anniversary of the start of America’s illegal and aggressive war against Iraq should not pass without recalling that the mainstream news media eagerly participated in the Bush administration’s dishonest campaign for public support. It is no exaggeration to say that most news operations were little more than extensions of the White House Office of Communications. Abandoning even the pretense of an adversarial relationship with the government, the media became shameful conduits for unsubstantiated and outright false information about Saddam Hussein’s alleged threat to the American people.
... The current drumbeat in the media about Iran sounds suspiciously like what we once heard about Iraq. Iraq was depicted wrongly by nearly all the mainstream media as a threat to the United States and as complicit in 9/11, with hardly anyone challenging the assumptions that were being made to justify the war.
... Bush and Cheney not only lied about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, they also deceived, covered-up, corrupted or intimidated the mass media, bullied an abdicatory Congress, and delivered a false address to the United Nations with the now regretful Secretary of State Colin Powell. Two secretary generals of the UN subsequently declared Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq to be a violation of international law ... The American people have yet to come to terms with the reality that presidents are above the law. Presidents can commit repeated crimes in an outlaw presidency so long as they can invoke, however falsely and vaguely, national security ...
Visits by Cabinet ministers and lawmakers to a shrine honoring Japan’s war dead, including 14 World War II leaders convicted of atrocities, signal Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s determination to pursue a more nationalist agenda after months of focusing on the economy. Nearly 170 Japanese lawmakers paid homage at Yasukuni Shrine on Tuesday. A day earlier, visits by three Cabinet ministers, said by the government to be unofficial, drew protests from neighbors South Korea and China over actions they view as failures to acknowledge Japan’s militaristic past.
A French Jewish group that sued Twitter for hosting antisemitic content lodged a fresh complaint against the social networking service. The latest complaint by the Union of Jewish Students of France, or UEJF, was filed on April 12 with the Paris Public Prosecutor’s office against Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. UEJF and another group, J’Accuse, said in the complaint that Costolo was “responsible for racial defamation and publicly inciting to discrimination, hate or violence toward Jews.” The complaint concerns tweets that call for killing Jews and praising the Holocaust.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced new U.S. arms sales to Israel on Monday, amid fears of war over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. "The Obama administration has made not just maintaining, but enhancing and improving Israel's qualitative military edge a top priority," Hagel said in Tel Aviv, after meeting Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. The weapons include missiles and radar systems for fighter jets and re-fueling planes, which could be used in any Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Israel sees Iran's nuclear program as a threat to its existence and it has warned that if international sanctions fail, it might take military action on its own against the Islamic Republic.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will finalize a huge arms deal with Israel during his visit starting Saturday, under which Israel will for the first time be permitted to purchase US aerial refueling planes and other ultra-sophisticated military equipment that could prove vital to any Israel strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The deal is to be finalized during Hagel’s visit — his first stop on his first overseas trip since taking over from Leon Panetta — during his talks with Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
The importance of the new arms deal between Israel and the United States cannot be overstated. The arrival of an as yet undisclosed number of KC-135 aerial refuelling aircraft will give the Israeli Air Force (IAF) the range to attack any target in Iran that it deems necessary in order to suppress the Iranian nuclear program. This is quite simply a game changer. Up until now just about every expert and pundit, not to mention former chief of staff of the IDF has known that Israel simply couldn’t launch an attack against Iran on its own and that all talk to the contrary was more bluster than threat. That is no longer the case or rather it will no longer be the case once the tankers arrive and our pilots have been trained in their use.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel held out hope Sunday for a nonmilitary way to ending the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, but he also emphasized Washington’s willingness to let Israel decide whether and when it might strike Tehran in self-defense ... In an interview with reporters on his flight from Washington, Hagel said the United States and Israel see “exactly the same” threat from Iran, which he described as a toxic combination of nuclear ambition and support for terrorism.
... All of these hazards are inherent in a draft joint resolution that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved this week ... The resolution is an open invitation to Israel to start a war with Iran and to drag the United States into that war. The resolution may accurately be referred to as either the “Backdoor-to-War Resolution” or the “Green Light Resolution.” Once passed by both houses of Congress — which, if Congress stays true to form, it surely will be — the resolution will repeatedly be cited by proponents of a war as policy and as a commitment ... In short, the postulated Israeli attack would be thoroughly unjustified and even unconscionable. It would be nothing that the United States should condone, let alone invite or support.
Until not long ago the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) was on the list of the U.S. State Department's terrorist organizations. On April 11, that seemed like a distant memory as the group celebrated the opening of its Washington office just a block away from the White House, with tea and Iranian snacks. The opening of the office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella group dominated by the MKO (aka the People's Mujahedin of Iran), was attended by several former U.S. officials ...
Ammunition sellers and manufacturers say there’s been a run on bullets and they can’t keep their shelves stocked. Jeff Dillard who runs National Armory in Pompano [Florida] says it’s the worst he’s ever seen. “I have never seen ammo so impossible to get,” said Dillard. He said demand for ammunition has been growing and spiked over the past couple of days.
A major ceremony is under way in the Polish capital Warsaw to honour Jews who fought overwhelming Nazi German forces 70 years ago in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Sirens wailed and church bells tolled in the city, where several hundred Jews battled the Nazis in World War II.
Each year, around April 19, the media and politicians commemorate what they call the Warsaw ghetto 'uprising,' 'revolt' or 'insurrection.' In journalistic accounts the affair has taken on increasingly epic and symbolic proportions. At a Holocaust ceremony in New York in April 1993, American Vice President Al Gore declared: 'The story of the Warsaw ghetto is sacred text for our time.' In fact, this 'story' is a legend based only partially on historical reality.
It is probably the single most widely recognized and memorable Holocaust image of all: a frightened and apparently doomed young boy, his arms upraised, standing with other Warsaw ghetto Jews under the watch of an armed German soldier … Contrary to legend, though, the “ghetto boy” was not killed. He survived wartime internment in Warsaw and in a German concentration camp. Several decades after it was taken, a New York physician, Tsvi C. Nussbaum, revealed that he was the lad in the famous photograph.
Young women fighters rounded up during the 1943 German action against the Warsaw ghetto are shown in this widely-reproduced photograph. Like the famous “ghetto boy” photo, this was included in the 1943 “Stroop report.” The original caption read: “Women of the He-halutz movement, captured with weapons.” … The young woman at the right is Malka Zdorjewicz. Years later, she recalled the circumstance behind the taking of this photograph.
On Israel's 65th Independence Day, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted "Senate Resolution 65," stipulating that the US will assist Israel diplomatically, economically and militarily if the Jewish state is compelled to take military action against Iran “in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sponsored Tuesday's resolution, which garnered a bipartisan group of 79 co-sponsors.
... Israel refuses to relinquish this discriminatory practice of exclusion toward Americans, even as it seeks to enter the US's visa-free program for the benefit of Israeli citizens. As a result, at the behest of Aipac, Democrat Barbara Boxer, joined by Republican Roy Blunt, has introduced a bill that would provide for Israel’s membership in the program while vesting it with a right that no other country in this program has: namely, the right to exclude selected Americans from this visa-free right of entrance ... In sum, it is as pure and blatant an example of prioritizing the interests of the Israeli government over the rights of US citizens as one can imagine, and it's being pushed by Aipac and a cast of bipartisan senators.
Nine-Eleven would not have occurred if the U.S. government had refused to help Israel humiliate and destroy Palestinian society. Few express this conclusion publicly, but many believe it is the truth. I believe the catastrophe could have been prevented if any U.S. president in recent decades had had the courage and wisdom to suspend all U.S. aid until Israel withdrew from the Arab land seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The U.S. lobby for Israel is powerful and intimidating, but any determined president could prevail and win overwhelming public support for the suspension of aid by laying these facts before the American people …
The head of Russia's Catholic Church has welcomed a book documenting the cases of hundreds of Catholics killed or jailed under communist rule ... A 1995 Russian government commission said more than 200,000 mostly Orthodox priests and nuns were killed. Many others were imprisoned or deported in Stalinist purges, in the greatest persecution in Christian history. The commission confirmed that many Christian clergy were crucified on church doors by communist “terror squads” or doused in water and left to freeze in winter. Russian school textbooks say 20 million Soviet and East European citizens perished in communist-era labor camps, while around 15 million more died in mass executions, deportations, and officially orchestrated “terror famines.”
... Debating with Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said, "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of ... making voters or jurors of Negroes nor of qualifying them to hold office nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality." ... The Emancipation Proclamation was not a universal declaration. It detailed where slaves were freed, only in those states "in rebellion against the United States." Slaves remained slaves in states not in rebellion — such as Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware.
Scores of archaeologists working in a waterlogged trench through the wettest summer and coldest winter in living memory have recovered more than 10,000 objects from Roman London, including writing tablets, amber, a well with ritual deposits of pewter, coins and cow skulls, thousands of pieces of pottery, a unique piece of padded and stitched leather – and the largest collection of lucky charms in the shape of phalluses ever found on a single site.
Israelis have a reputation for straight-talking, a quality that visitors are not always prepared for. But what lies behind it? There's an old joke in which a reporter says to an Israeli, a Russian and an American, "Excuse me, can I get your opinion on the food shortage in Africa?" The Russian says: "What's an opinion?" The American says: "What's a shortage?" and the Israeli says: "What's 'Excuse me'?" ... On a recent reporting trip to Israel, I did encounter that special trait for which Israelis have gained a bit of a reputation - a certain, shall we say, straightforwardness, a brusqueness of manner, so familiar to frequent visitors to Israel that they treat it as a source of humour.
Anti-Semitism is high among teenagers in the Polish capital, according to an opinion survey conducted in the run-up to Friday's 70th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, the AFP news agency reports. The poll of students from 20 Warsaw high schools, published Tuesday, found that 44 percent of respondents said they would be unhappy to have a Jewish neighbor. In the survey of 1,250 students commissioned by the Jewish Community of Warsaw, the Homo Homini polling institute also found that two in five said they would not like to have a Jewish classmate, and 61 percent said they would be upset if their partner turned out to be a Jew.
A panel of former senior American officials and outside experts, including several who recently left the Obama administration, issued a surprisingly critical assessment of American diplomacy toward Iran on Wednesday, urging President Obama to become far more engaged and to reconsider the likelihood that harsh sanctions will drive Tehran to concessions. In a report issued by the Iran Project, the former diplomats and experts suggested that the sanctions policy, rather than bolstering diplomacy, may be backfiring.
The administration of President Barack Obama should put more emphasis on diplomacy in its quest for a satisfactory resolution of Iran’s nuclear programme, according to a major new report released by The Iran Project. Endorsed by nearly three dozen former top U.S. diplomatic, military, and intelligence officials, the report calls for Washington to “rebalance” its dual-track policy toward Tehran by strengthening the diplomatic track ... It was signed by, among other prominent foreign-policy figures, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski; the former Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Richard Lugar; and one of the most highly decorated diplomats of his generation, former Amb. Thomas Pickering, a core member of The Iran Project.
What’s happening between the U.S. and North Korea to produce such headlines this week as “Korean Tensions Escalate,” and “North Korea Threatens U.S.”? ... The U.S. won’t budge. Why not? Washington wants to get rid of the communist regime before allowing peace to prevail on the peninsula. No “one state, two systems” for Uncle Sam, by jingo! ... In the interim, the existence of a “bellicose” North Korea justifies Washington’s surrounding the north with a veritable ring of firepower in the northwest Pacific close enough to almost, but not quite, singe China. A “dangerous” DPRK [North Korea] is also useful in keeping Japan well within the U.S. orbit.
... Trotsky and Stalin were just two of a number of men who lived in central Vienna in 1913 and whose lives were destined to mould, indeed to shatter, much of the 20th century. It was a disparate group. The two revolutionaries, Stalin and Trotsky, were on the run. Sigmund Freud was already well established ... Then there was the 24-year-old from the north-west of Austria whose dreams of studying painting at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts had been twice dashed and who now lodged in a doss-house in Meldemannstrasse near the Danube, one Adolf Hitler ...
… By the late 1930s Hitler had three separate libraries for his ever-expanding collection. At his apartment he removed a wall between two rooms and installed bookshelves. For the Berghof, his Alpine retreat near Berchtesgaden, Hitler built a second-floor study with handmade bookcases; color photographs of the finished space show an elegant setting with Oriental carpets, two globes, and bookcases fitted with glass doors and brass locks … By his own admission, Hitler was not a big fan of novels, though he once ranked Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Don Quixote (he had a special affection for the edition illustrated by Gustave Doré) among the world's greatest works of literature.
... If that’s how “containment” played out in Iraq, how is it going to turn out for Iran when even “containment” is considered too dovish? The US has already imposed a cruel set of sweeping economic sanctions aimed at “crippling” the Iranian economy, waged cyber-warfare, aided and abetted terrorist groups advocating the overthrow of the regime, and supported Israel as it carried out illegal assassinations of Iranian scientists. The international negotiations are so far going nowhere, primarily because the US clearly isn’t interested in a deal.
... From the original revolution in 1979 until the most recent national elections, Iranians have consistently reaffirmed the current form of government. Washington’s belief that the Islamic Republic cannot be legitimate until it adopts a secularized Western-style of governance is, “deeply flawed [and] dangerously misleading as guides for policy making” ... Only when there is this level of sober understanding regarding Iran – its government, its leaders, its citizens, its interests – can the United States, according the Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, mend a relationship with a regionally important nation who needs us as much as we need them.
Federal prosecutors are trying to prevent a jury from hearing evidence that a multimillion-dollar fraud at a non-profit which processes Holocaust claims is even more widespread than the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office have so far revealed. The prosecutors, from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, are also trying to prevent defense lawyers from arguing that the German government and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany were negligent and therefore partially to blame for the alleged $57 million fraud that will be the subject of the trial.
Two more infants have contracted the herpes virus after undergoing an ultra-Orthodox Jewish type of circumcision, which has been linked to the spread of the potentially deadly virus to newborn boys, according to the New York City Health Department. In the ritual, known as metzitzah b'peh, after removing the foreskin of the penis the person performing the procedure places his mouth briefly over the wound, sucking a small amount of blood out, which is discarded ... Since 2000, there have been 13 reports in New York City of infants contracting HSV-1, two of whom died from the virus.
From the hysterical TV portrayals of goose-stepping North Korean troops, breathless news reports of North Korean warnings of war, and maps depicting the range of imminent missile launches (complete with retired U.S. generals explaining the targets), you might think there is a crisis on the Korean Peninsula. But there is no crisis, only a farce ... The notion of a “crisis” — as in the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis— is nonsense. The world is not on the brink of an imminent nuclear confrontation. North Korean troops and artillery are not about to pour across the Demilitarized Zone. This is all nothing more than political theater. Kim may be dangerous, but he is not crazy: North Korea is not suicidal. Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests are not really “provocations.”
A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it. The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.”
In a secret wartime memorandum, Winston Churchill told his advisers that he wanted to "drench" Germany with poison gas. Churchill's July 1944 memo to his chief of staff Gen. Hastings Ismay was reproduced in the August-September 1985 issue of American Heritage magazine … Churchill's directive bluntly stated: "I want a cold-blooded calculation made as to how it would pay to use poison gas ... One really must not be bound within silly conventions of the mind whether they be those that ruled in the last war or those in reverse which rule in this."
PRIME MINISTER'S PERSONAL MINUTE [6 July 1944 ] ... It is absurd to consider morality on this topic ... I want a cold-blooded calculation made as to how it would pay us to use poison gas, by which I mean principally mustard. ... It may be several weeks or even months before I shall ask you to drench Germany with poison gas, and if we do it, let us do it one hundred per cent. In the meanwhile, I want the matter studied in cold blood by sensible people and not by that particular set of psalm-singing uniformed defeatists which one runs across now here now there.
Two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson is among three dozen actors, directors and writers protesting the inclusion of an Israeli theater company at an upcoming Shakespeare festival in England. Recent Tony winner Mark Rylance and seven-time Oscar nominee Mike Leigh are among the other artists who signed a letter expressing “dismay and regret” that Tel Aviv’s Habima theater will be participating in Globe to Globe, a six-week festival taking place at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London ... “We ask the Globe to withdraw the invitation so that the festival is not complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonisation of occupied land.”
Goldman Sachs paid its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, $21 million last year – and granted him a further $5 million in bonus shares in January. The Wall Street bank handed Blankfein $13.3 million in restricted shares and a $5.7 million cash bonus on top of his $2 million annual salary last year. His total 2012 pay was $9 million more than in 2011, and the highest since the $68 million he received in 2007, before the financial crisis struck. The payout, disclosed in a filing with the US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) makes Blankfein, 58, the world's best paid banker.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has called for the suspension of a Polish historian who wrote that Jews were also to blame for the Holocaust ... The centre that tracks down Nazi war criminals demanded the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) "suspend anti-semitic member" Krzysztof Jasiewicz ... Referring to the 1941 Jedwabne massacre, in which hundreds of Jews were burned alive inside a barn by their Christian Polish neighbours, Professor Jasiewicz speculated that the perpetrators were "motivated by great fear of the Jews". "These desperate murderers may have told themselves that they were doing terrible things, but that their grandchildren would be grateful to them," he wrote.
A drugs baron jailed for trying to smuggle £35 million worth of cocaine into Britain is suing his prison for not giving him kosher food. Orthodox Jew Simon Price, 68, is accusing the prison service of 'institutionalised anti-Semitism' and alleges that both Muslim and vegetarian criminals get more favourable treatment behind bars. The career criminal is serving 28 years after being found guilty of smuggling 700 kg of cocaine hidden inside drums of syrup.
A self-confessed pedophile who sexually abused several boys in Sydney is being harbored by a leading Los Angeles Jewish welfare group. The man, who is being investigated by NSW detectives over several sexual assaults at Bondi's Yeshiva school in the 1980s, has been shielded from exposure and scrutiny by Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles ... E-mails obtained from US sources show that since mid-2011 its board members have been aware of the man's sexual abuse history in Australia but have not reported him to authorities in Sydney or the US.
... Students at Albany [New York] High School were given an alarming thought puzzle: How do I convince my teacher that I think Jews are evil? That question was posed to about 75 students on Monday by an unidentified 10th-grade English teacher as a “persuasive writing” exercise. The students were instructed to imagine that their teacher was a Nazi and to construct an argument that Jews were “the source of our problems” using historical propaganda and, of course, a traditional high school essay structure.
... The relentless drive for efficiency at U.S. companies has created a new harshness in the workplace. In their zeal to make sure that not a minute of time is wasted, companies are imposing rigorous performance quotas, forcing many people to put in extra hours, paid or not. Video cameras and software keep tabs on worker performance, tracking their computer keystrokes and the time spent on each customer service call ... Although the economy is improving, companies are still squeezing labor costs to contend with global competition and boost profits, aided by an array of technologies and management strategies.
... The good news is that Netanyahu has made everything so clear. He has no interest in peace, negotiations, any kind of territorial withdrawal or even freezing settlements. Like Shamir, he just wants to buy time until it will be absolutely impossible to create a Palestinian state, if it isn't already. As for the United States, Netanyahu is not interested in what it wants ... There is no possibility of serious negotiation so long as Binyamin Netanyahu is prime minister of Israel. None.
... The lead story, published in Poland’s best-selling weekly news magazine, the conservative Uwazam Rze, was provoked by a high-budget World War II miniseries called Our Mothers, Our Fathers filmed and broadcast last month by [German] state-owned station ZDF. Although the 14 million euro series claimed to put human drama ahead of politics, it has aroused anger in Poland for the portrayal of Polish resistance fighters as anti-Semites. In one scene a partisan says “we drown Jews like rats”, and in another, upon intercepting a convoy of prisoners destined for Auschwitz, the underground fighters let it proceed, once they discover the prisoners are Jews.
An organisation which hunts Nazi war criminals has criticised Australia and several other countries for failing to do enough to bring alleged perpetrators of the Holocaust to justice. In its 12th annual report, the Israel branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre accuses a raft of nations of failing to prosecute or investigate alleged Nazis ... Only the United States scored an "A" on the report, with Canada, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Serbia each earning a "B". At the bottom of the table, Australia, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Norway, Sweden and Syria were all given "F" grades.
About 50 men in their 90s are to stand trial for their service as guards in the Auschwitz Nazi death camp during World War II. The WAZ German news website reported that legal proceedings will be opened against the suspects who will be charged with accessory to murder ... The cases against the 50 suspects lack eyewitnesses. Nevertheless, the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes (COINS) hopes written records from the Nazi period will suffice for a conviction – as they did in Demjanjuk's case.
A look at the decades-long ordeal of John Demjanjuk, and the outrageous record of fraud and vengeful, one-sided “justice” of the US government’s “Nazi hunting” agency. In this “Worldwatch" broadcast, Weber also looks at Washington’s shameful campaign against Kurt Waldheim, Frank Walus, and other “Nazis.” This entire campaign, says Weber, is an expression of the privileged status in the US for Jewish concerns and interests, and of the Jewish-Zionist grip on America’s cultural and social-political life.
... Officially, the Iranian regime distinguishes between Judaism as a religion, which it says is legitimate, and Zionism, which it says is the embodiment of the national Jewish idea and must be uprooted. Senior regime officials boast of the freedom of worship afforded to the Jews in Iran, and maintain that their anti-Zionist statements are not against Jews or their religion but an expression of legitimate revulsion at Zionism and the State of Israel ... Despite these claims by the regime, it is possible to identify anti-Semitic messages coming from senior officials and from the major Iranian media. These messages typically denounce Jews at large, attribute to them unique negative characteristics, and depict them as an eternal force for evil and the root of evil in the world since ancient times ...
In recent years prominent American politicians and other influential public figures have spoken repeatedly of the alleged danger of Iran’s nuclear program, and have again and again threatened war against this Middle East nation of 75 million ... How real is this “threat”? How dangerous is Iran? What’s behind the campaign for war? And what does all this mean for Americans? In fact, the so-called Iran “crisis” is artificial ... Often ignored amid the clamor for war are the sober warnings of informed scholars, historians, specialists, analysts, and military leaders, who point out some basic, key facts: Iran is not building nuclear weapons, Iran is not a threat to the US ...
One of the most annoying aspects of spending time in the United States, as I have just done during a month’s working visit there, is to follow news coverage of Iran in the mainstream American media. Well, calling it “news” coverage is a bit of a stretch, because the mainstream media is not really reporting news about Iran, but rather repackaging ideological attacks and threats that emanate primarily from the American and Israeli governments ... The coverage is inevitably based on assumptions, fears, concerns, accusations and expectations that are almost never supported by factual and credible evidence.
The Iraq War might seem a thing of the past. But nearly ten years after combat began, the United States and its allies are using policies to address the Iranian nuclear challenge that are eerily similar to those it pursued in the run-up to Operation Enduring Freedom. Just as they did with Saddam Hussein, concerned governments have implemented economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and low-level violence to weaken the Iranian regime and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, with the long-term objective of regime change. In Iraq, and seemingly now in Iran, diplomacy and inspections became a means to an end: building up a casus belli. The strategy failed miserably in Iraq a decade ago. It probably will in Iran, too.
An archaeological dig in the City [central London] has been hailed as “the Pompeii of the north” for the treasures that have revealed new details about life in London during Roman times. More than 10,000 artefacts and an entire streetscape have been found at the site in Bank, where waterlogging by the long-lost Walbrook river created perfect conditions for their preservation for nearly 2,000 years. The finds include 100 wax tablets, which are written records and which experts hope will reveal the names of Roman Londoners and the streets they lived on.
Phallic good luck charms, wooden buildings, an amber gladiator amulet, even documents -- all these are among a huge trove of Roman artifacts preserved by a lost river in London's financial district, archaeologists said Wednesday. The find has given an extraordinary glimpse into the bustling everyday life of Londinium, as the Roman city was known ... The team has removed 3,500 metric tons of soil by hand and revealed some 10,000 finds covering the entire period of the Roman occupation of Britain, from around 40 AD to the early 5th century. Among them are leather objects and wooden walls standing to shoulder height, as well as timber plank floors.
A New York state teacher is facing disciplinary action for assigning students to argue Jews were to blame for the problems of Nazi Germany. The Albany High School teacher asked students to assume they were convincing a Nazi official of their loyalty. A third of the students refused to complete the English class assignment. The school system's superintendent says she believed that the teacher bore no ill intent but that the assignment should have been worded differently ... Measures could range from a letter of counsel to dismissal.
A far-right Hungarian priest said an "anti-Zionist" demonstration will be held in Budapest on the first day of the World Jewish Congress' General Assembly. Lorant Hegedus Jr., a Calvinist priest and member of the ultrarightist, anti-Semitic Jobbik party, announced that an "Anti-Bolshevik and anti-Zionist people's gathering" will be held in the Hungarian capital on May 4 ... The demonstration is being seen as a revenge of sorts for the ban of an anti-Semitic rally planned for the same day as the April 21 Holocaust memorial march in Budapest. Hungarian lawmakers this week banned the demonstration, dubbed "Give gas," that was being organized by bikers.
France’s Grand Rabbi, the leader of the country’s Jewish community, has resigned. Gilles Bernheim left his post with immediate effect after admitting to plagiarism and lying about an academic status on his CV. The scandal erupted last month when he was accused of using text from the late French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard. Initially Bernheim claimed it was Lyotard who was the plagiarist. Joel Mergui, the president of the central consistory, called on Jews not to judge Rabbi Bernheim too harshly ...
A suburban Stockholm politician resigned after questioning the Holocaust, becoming the third public figure in Sweden to be embroiled in controversy involving anti-Semitism in recent weeks. Alexander Kieding, an alderman in Jarna, resigned last week from his rightist Swedish Democrats party and the City Council hours after the publication of an interview in which he said the Holocaust may have never happened, or that “Israel inflated the number” of victims.
... Iran, according to the National Intelligence Estimate, doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. And Iran is being closely monitored. However, the U.S. still pushes for more, and Iran still faces crushing sanctions and constant threat of war. When the whole world, though, asks Israel to have her nuclear weapons program monitored and to be brought within the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the U.S. votes no. For the Iranians, this American U.N. vote must be the most glaring example of hypocrisy of all.
In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 12, 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reaffirmed what the U.S. intelligence community has been saying for years: Iran has no nuclear weapons program, is not building a nuclear weapon and has not even made a decision to do so ... With these findings in mind – assessed and reaffirmed as they are year after year -- it is alarming indeed that journalists, pundits, establishment think tank analysts, and a wide array of government officials continue to parrot the claim that Iran is “the world’s most dangerous state” and “one of the gravest threats to international security.” Such hysteria and fear-mongering, as always, is simply not borne out by the facts.
A senior Israeli official has called on world powers to threaten Iran with military action if it refuses to curb sensitive nuclear work within a "few weeks, [or] a month." Speaking to Israel's Army Radio on Sunday, Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said it is time for Iran to face a "military threat, a form of red line or unequivocal ultimatum" from the entire world, particularly the United States and the West. Israel, the United States and their allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian program, a charge Tehran denies.
Franklin Roosevelt enjoyed the overwhelming support of American Jews during his presidency, and the reasons are clear. In his three-plus terms from 1933 to 1945, he led the war against Hitler, supported a Jewish homeland in Palestine, appointed a Jew to the Supreme Court, chose another to be his secretary of the Treasury and surrounded himself with Jewish advisers who helped shape the laws that revolutionized the role of government in American life -- what some critics sneeringly called the “Jew Deal.” ... What, exactly, did he do in his twelve years in office to protect the Jews of Europe from Nazi genocide? And the answer, many now believe, is: Not nearly enough.
... In 1923, as a member of the Harvard board of directors, Roosevelt decided there were too many Jewish students at the college, and helped institute a quota to limit the number admitted. In 1938, he privately suggested that Jews in Poland were dominating the economy and were therefore to blame for provoking anti-Semitism there. In 1941, he remarked at a Cabinet meeting that there were too many Jews among federal employees in Oregon. In 1943, he told government officials in Allied-liberated North Africa that the number of local Jews in various professions "should be definitely limited" so as to "eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore towards the Jews in Germany."
Most of the important information assembled in this significant book has already been presented and evaluated by others … But in The Abandonment of the Jews, David Wyman goes further than any other historian to accuse the Allied wartime leadership of passive complicity in the Holocaust … As a result of this kind of coverage, The Abandonment of the Jews may have already put a real dent in the Roosevelt iconography. The book's greatest significance, though, is probably as an expression of a growing trend to shift the collective guilt for what is regarded as history's most evil deed from Hitler and the Germans to all of non-Jewish humanity, including the Americans.
... He [President Obama] is surrounded by Zionist Jews. They are his closest advisors, his friends and his experts on the Middle East. Even from mere contact with them, he obviously absorbed much of our sensitivities ... The Occupation is not an abstract matter. It is a daily reality for two and a half million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - not to mention the restrictions on Gaza! It does not concern only the individuals practically denied all human rights. It primarily concerns the Palestinians as a nation. We Israelis, perhaps more than anyone else, should know that belonging to one’s nation, in one’s own state, under one’s own flag, is a basic right of every human being.
... Ten years to the day after American and British troops launched an unprovoked attack on a false pretext – and more than a year since the last combat troops were withdrawn – the conflict they unleashed shows no sign of winding down. Civilians are still being killed at a rate of at least 4,000 a year, and police at about 1,000 ... Global opinion against the Iraq war is long settled – including in Britain, the US and Iraq. The invasion was a flagrant act of aggression against a broken-backed state, regarded as illegal by the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion. The onslaught triggered a death toll which certainly runs into hundreds, rather than tens, of thousands.
... He is part of a battalion of priests who have come to France from abroad — from places like Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, but also Vietnam and Poland — who now represent about ten percent of France’s declining clerical ranks. The Catholic Church in Western Europe and the United States has been coping with a severe shortage of priests in the last few decades, as many abandoned the priesthood or passed away ... The flow of Catholic missionaries, who used to leave France, Italy, Ireland and the United States for the developing world, has now been largely reversed.
The United States is the most hated country in the world, followed closely by Israel, and then by nobody ... The hostility puzzles many Americans, who genuinely believe their country to be a force for good, a pillar of democracy, a defender of human rights. To the rest of the world, none of this is even close ... This is why they hate us – meddling, bombing, invading, droning, telling them how to run their countries. No, George, it is not because of our freedoms.
... The poor, limited quality of debate over Iraq policy from the ’90s is happening all over again with Iran, as the “debate” tends to focus on whether U.S. policy should give priority to impoverishing Iranians or to killing them more quickly. The foundations for terrible policy decisions are often laid years before the final decision is taken, and if we don’t pay attention to how those foundations are laid we won’t be prepared to stop the next awful policy in the future.
... If the lies about Iraq have taught us anything, it is that we must pay due attention to the massive campaign of disinformation and lies that has been waged against Iran for over three decades, in order to “justify” a war with that nation ... The biggest lie about Iran, which has been perpetuated since at least 1984, is that Iran is only a few months or a year or two away from a nuclear bomb, which has not materialized after nearly 30 years ... The campaign of lies about Iran is much deeper and broader than the Iraq campaign, far better organized, and much better funded ...
Will launching a catastrophic military offensive against the Islamic Republic of Iran be the defining moment of US President Obama’s two-term presidency? Against all common sense and uncommon wisdom, it looks increasingly possible that Barack Obama, the Democratic leader who once-upon-a-campaign seduced the world by pledging to “sit down and talk with America’s enemies,” will resort to armed conflict to stamp out Tehran’s nascent nuclear program. Or were Obama’s comments on Iran this week the latest bluff in the geopolitical poker game known as the Middle East?
... Politically, the Establishment — which includes most members of both parties and almost all office-holders — cannot come to grips with America’s decline. It can act only within a narrow range, limited by controlling interests at court that feed off the country’s decay. Its range of action is too narrow to conceive and implement policies that might reverse decline. Intellectually, the Establishment has been reduced to parroting the shibboleths of political correctness ... After 1945, America was the West’s great hope. Undamaged by the world cataclysm, she rose to vast heights. But the 1950s proved to be her last normal decade. The counterculture revolution of the 1960s undermined her institutions: the family, the schools, even the churches.
According to a new Pew poll, 64 percent of Americans believe that it’s “more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons than to avoid a military conflict.” They point out that “majorities across nearly all demographic groups” agree — 80 percent of Republicans prioritized preventing a nuclear Iran over avoiding military conflict, but a majority of Democrats, 62 percent, did too ... It appears the American public is ready to support the president if he decides a military intervention against Iran is necessary.
In 1938 Theodore Andrica, Nationalities Editor of the Cleveland Press and author of the "Around the World in Cleveland" column, visited Third Reich Germany. During this visit he made this astonishing color film, which shows not only “official” Gemrany, including scenes from the annual NS Party Congress in Nuremberg, Hitler’s Berchtesgaden home, and even some shots of Hitler himself, but also remarkable footage of ordinary, daily life in rural and urban Germany.
A selection of color photos, especially of soldiers and military life, from Third Reich Germany and other European countries during World War Two. These were taken by one or more German photographers, with the rights apparently later acquired by Life magazine.
… Will's rigid bias with regard to the Holocaust story and Israel is no secret. Even William Buckley, himself a staunch friend of Israel and Zionist interests, has taken note of what he calls Will's "perverse" partisanship with regard to these matters. With regard to the Holocaust issue, wrote the founder of National Review magazine, "Will is losing sight of rather a lot of things." Buckley took exception to a reference by Will to the "Vatican's contemptible behavior toward the Holocaust." … The self-righteous and almost reverential way he writes about "the Holocaust" is not merely fashionable these days, it is all but obligatory -- particularly for a successful commentator on current affairs.
... According to the Congressional Research Service, the amount of official US aid to Israel since its founding in 1948 tops $112 billion, and in the past few decades it has been on the order of $3 billion per year. (In 2011, for example, this amounted to over $8.2 million every single day.) But this money is only part of the story. For one thing, Israel gets its aid money at the start of each year, unlike other nations. This is significant: It means Israel can start earning interest on the money right away.
Americans by a wide margin support Israel but do not want the United States to take the lead in an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a new poll shows. Fifty-five percent of Americans, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday, sympathized more with Israel than with the Palestinian Authority. Nine percent sympathized more with the P.A., 14 percent sympathized with neither side and 18 percent had no opinion on the question. Sixty-nine percent of respondents, though, said the United States should leave peace talks to the Israelis and Palestinians, while 26 percent said the U.S. should lead the negotiations.
Pakistani youth favour Sharia [Islamic] law over democracy, a British Council survey suggests. More than half of 5,000 18-29 year-old Pakistanis polled said democracy had not been good for them or the country. Furthermore, 94% said Pakistan was going in the wrong direction - a figure up from 50% in 2007. Making up almost a third of registered voters, the under-30s are expected to play a big part in Pakistan's general elections in May. When asked to pick the best political system, both Sharia law and military rule were favoured over democracy.
A new survey from Pew Research Center finds more than half of Americans believe the government threatens their personal rights. The national survey, conducted in mid-January, marks the first time a majority viewed the government as a threat since Pew began tracking public opinion on the subject in 1995. This year 53 percent of the poll's respondents answered 'yes' when asked if the federal government "threatens your personal rights and freedoms." This year's poll also found more people viewed the government as a "major threat" than ever before. All of the survey's highest perceptions of the threat of government have come since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.
A new poll shows that 73 percent of Americans distrust the decisions made by the federal government – a number that has been steadily increasing throughout the last two administrations. At its highest point, which occurred during President Obama’s first term, 80 percent of Americans lacked faith in the federal government. While former President George W. Bush fared slightly better, his administration witnessed a steady decline in trust that began in 2002, according to the new data from the Pew Research Center. The data, which was collected from a survey conducted in January, shows that all demographics and political groups have seen a rise in government distrust.
Most voters still get their news from television and consider the news reported by the media generally trustworthy ... Fifty-six percent (56%) of all voters regard the news reported by the media as at least somewhat trustworthy, but that includes just six percent who think it is Very Trustworthy. Forty-two percent (42%) don’t trust the news media, with 12% who believe the news it reports is Not At All Trustworthy.
At the end of World War II, huge swaths of Europe and Asia had been reduced to ruins. Borders were redrawn and homecomings, expulsions, and burials were under way. But the massive efforts to rebuild had just begun. Here is a collection of 45 striking photos from the end of the Second World War, and its tumultuous and often violent aftermath.
... The very qualities that made him charming and convivial underscored the absurdity of entrusting him, or any man, with the awful power of the American presidency. The superlatives his adulators heap on him seem as wide of the mark as the exaggerations of his detractors: he was really quite an ordinary man, and he never pretended to be anything else ... Many principled conservatives saw through Reagan long before I did -- if I ever did. He had a way of convincing sentimentalists like me that he shared our passions, despite any appearances to the contrary.
Many Americans regard Ronald Reagan as one of the greatest presidents of the twentieth century. While the eight years of his presidency was a period of modest economic growth, his legacy is largely one of broken promises and empty rhetoric. In spite of his often repeated criticisms of "big government," he actually increased the size and scope of Washington's power. His economic, fiscal and tax policies brought a drastic increase in US long-term debt. Destructive trends in American cultural life, and the drastic demographic transformation of large sections of the country, continued with undiminished velocity.
... The only victor has been Israel, whose nuclear domination of the region has been assured once the great bluffer Saddam was removed ... Nearly five thousand young Americans lost their lives and at least 30,000 were wounded, some grievously, blind, without limbs, and needing hospitalization for the rest of their lives ... Bush, Cheney, and Blair belong behind bars for waging war against a sovereign nation that had absolutely no involvement with 9/11. They belong behind bars for having ordered the invasion of Iraq by using false evidence of Saddam’s WMD.
On the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war, Abby Martin talks with US Congressman Dennis Kucinich about the origins and aftermath of the conflict. He also speaks out on other issues, underscoring his reputation as someone who is most definitely not a typical establishment politician. He speaks about the grip of corporate power in America, the lack of accountability in the US political system, and an “Orwellian inversion of reality” in the US that disregards facts and truth.” Runtime: 12:29 mins.
Ten years after the U.S.-led invasion to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the geopolitical winner of the war appears to be their common enemy: Iran. American military forces are long gone, and Iraqi officials say Washington's political influence in Baghdad is now virtually nonexistent. Hussein is dead. But Iran has become an indispensable broker among Baghdad's new Shiite elite, and its influence continues to grow. The signs are evident in the prominence of pro-Iran militias on the streets, at public celebrations and in the faces of some of those now in the halls of power ...
The United States and the two feuding Koreas could blunder into a real war unless both Pyongyang and Washington cease provoking one another ... Now might be a good time for Washington to ease rather than keep tightening sanctions on North Korea. Pyongyang’s real objectives are to gain a non-aggression treaty with the US and direct, normal relations. Washington won’t hear of this, though it deals with other repellant regimes. American neocons are determined to overthrow North Korea’s regime, fearing it will send advanced arms to Israel’s Mideast foes ... Diplomats, not air force generals, should be running this largely manufactured crisis.
The Associated Press, close on the heels of their adjustments to the terms “husband” and “wife,” has made another announcement today: They’ll no longer sanction the term “illegal immigrant” in news stories. Here’s what they said: “The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term `illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that `illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”
A judge has approved the California city of Stockton's bankruptcy filing, making it the most populous US city ever to enter bankruptcy protection. A federal judge said without bankruptcy protection, Stockton would be unable to provide basic government services. The city of 290,000, 90 miles east of San Francisco, saw its tax base plummet in the US housing market crash ... Stockton's unemployment and violent crime rates now rank among the worst in the nation. The city's case was being watched closely by other struggling US cities and towns that may also seek bankruptcy protection.
Ex-CNN reporter Amber Lyon revealed that during her work for the channel she received orders to send false news and exclude some others which the US administration did not favor with the aim to create a public opinion in favor of launching an aggression on Iran and Syria. Lyon was quoted by the Slovak main news website as saying that the mainstream US media outlets intentionally work to create a propaganda against Iran to garner public opinion's support for a military invasion against it. She revealed that the scenario used before launching the war on Iraq is being prepared to be repeated where Iran and Syria are now being subject to constant 'demonization'.
... To be sure, Obama’s assertion that Israel is America’s "eternal ally" and "greatest friend" makes one cringe, but it appears to be part of what is required to keep Israel’s friends off one’s back, politically speaking ... In the case of Israel, the president is very much backed into a corner on his options by an all-pervasive Israel Lobby supported by a subservient congress and media ... So the president can’t do anything to stop Israeli policies that he knows are self-destructive and serve no conceivable American interest.
The main news story of President Obama’s Middle East trip was his intensive focus on engineering an emotional reset with both the leadership and people of Israel. His two prepared texts (the speech to Israeli youths at the Jerusalem Convention Center and his toast to President Shimon Peres upon receiving Israel’s Medal of Distinction) stand alongside his 2011 U.N. General Assembly speech as the most powerful endorsements of Zionism ever delivered by an incumbent president – not just a defense of Israel, but an embrace of its founding ideology.
... The U.S. government had several governments in South America round up Japanese residents, who were then shipped to the U.S. The government put them in concentration camps. These camps received no publicity. One of them was in Crystal City, Texas. This was kidnapping, pure and simple ... These people were sent to Japan after the war ... That’s just part of it. The U.S. government insisted that about 5,000 Germans also be rounded up by Latin American governments and shipped here. Some of them were Jews.
Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the secretary of war to designate military zones within the U.S. from which "any or all persons may be excluded." The order was not targeted at any specific group, but it became the basis for the mass relocation and internment of some 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, including both citizens and non-citizens of the United States.
In the months following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, many [Americans] expected an immediate attack against the West Coast. Fear gripped the country and a wave of hysterical antipathy against the Japanese engulfed the Pacific Coast … The Japanese were sent to concentration camps not by a group of West Coast racists seeking economic advantage, but by a popular and powerful government run by democratic liberals. At the top of the list of those responsible for not only authorizing the program, but also for keeping it in operation was President Franklin Roosevelt.
First and foremost, Stalin was a communist, who believed that the sacred cause justified the most extreme measures: what non-believers would call unparalleled barbarity. This central message in Robert Gellately’s masterly new book [Stalin’s Curse] is an uncomfortable one for those who believe that Stalinism was an aberration, or a reaction to mistakes made by the West ... Aside from the chief villain, Western leaders too come in for quiet but deserved scorn. Both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman failed to grasp their counterpart’s malevolence. Winston Churchill made casual deals that consigned millions of people to slavery and torment.
... Today, however, things seem very different. Like many White Nationalists, I see the United States as an evil empire, a soft totalitarian system built on lies and repression and pursuing global domination. Indeed, our system is built on the same lie as Communism: human equality. Furthermore, Russia is now the principal bulwark against American global domination ... Contrary to the old Right-wing American canard that the United Nations was a communist conspiracy to destroy American sovereignty, the United Nations actually sought to establish a genuine world government under US control at the end of the Second World War ...
… At least 40 million victims, not including 20 million war dead. Kaganovitch and many senior OGPU officers (later, NKVD) were Jewish. The predominance of Jews among Bolshevik leaders and the frightful crimes and cruelty inflicted by Stalin's Checka on Ukraine, the Baltic states and Poland led the victims of Red Terror to blame the Jewish people for both communism and their suffering. As a direct result, during the subsequent Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe, the region's innocent Jews became the target of ferocious revenge by Ukrainians, Balts and Poles.
... This glorification of Stalin’s militaristic expansionism adds only a tiny fresh dose of poison to Russian-Finnish relations, but it speaks volumes about Putin’s perception of the modern world and Russia’s place in it. The authorities are currently waging a massive campaign of “patriotic” reinvention of Russian history, religion and even literature. ... Putin’s idea of a “strong” Russia that should mobilize itself under his leadership in order to meet the challenges of the immanently hostile world has some currency among most of the electorate, which is fearful of fast and confusing change and seeks reassurance in the past.
In an extraordinarily emotive visit here aimed at rallying Israel’s current and future leaders to seize the chance for peace, U.S. President Barack Obama doubled down on U.S. security support with a new agreement to extend annual military aid through 2027. The pending ten-year military aid package would commit Washington to provide up to $40 billion in additional Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant assistance to Israel, sources here say. It would automatically kick in at the conclusion of the current ten-year, $30 billion agreement signed in 2007 under President George W. Bush and would bind Obama’s successor to continued military aid to Israel.
President Obama received glowing praise from Israelis for a Jerusalem speech last week in which he reaffirmed his support for the two-state solution. But with the new Israeli cabinet's first working meeting today, a government that could lower the prospects of an eventual Palestinian state is taking the helm. As a result of the strong electoral showing by the nationalist Jewish Home party, which earned it a place in the governing coalition, key ministries and other government positions will be held by settlers and their allies, who are determined to make the Israeli presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem irreversible.
.... The third Netanyahu government has one clear goal: enlarging the settlements and achieving the vision of "a million Jews living in Judea and Samaria." This magic number will thwart the division of the land and prevent once and for all the establishment of a Palestinian state ... Netanyahu's key task will be buying some quiet on the Palestinian issue to permit the expansion of the settlements at the small price of international condemnation. He will continue with the successful ploy from his previous term: threatening an attack on Iran and Syria, which are drawing American attention.
The Russian lower house has received a new bill suggesting up to five years in prison for publicly denying the Holocaust or portraying Nazis as heroes ... The new bill suggests amending the Criminal Code article on inciting hatred or humiliation of human dignity. The current draft would criminalize the rehabilitation of Nazism, portraying Nazis or their aides as heroes, Holocaust denial and also humiliating the dignity of individuals or groups on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, language, background, religion or belonging to a social group. These offenses would be prosecuted if committed in public or in mass media.
The Russian lower house is considering a new bill proposing to five years in prison for publicly denying the Holocaust or portraying Nazis as heroes, the Russian RT.com website reported, but Feedbacks revealed overwhelming anti-Jewish hate. The current Russian law only outlaws Nazi movements and incitement of racial and ethnic hatred ... The new bill would also allow for the imposition of a fine from $3,300-$10,000 in addition to jail, for portraying Nazis or their aides as heroes, for Holocaust denial and for humiliating the dignity of individuals or groups on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, language, background, religion or belonging to a social group.
... Christie was skilled in making this system actually provide the guarantees of fairness that it promised. He cared rather little for the judge whom, if necessary, he let know that his role ought to be more like that of a referee … He shunned legal quibbling and, turning to the laymen, spoke to them in a language that was robust, direct and precise. He was captivating in his ability to provide a definition, or examples. He was impassive. He would have none of any showing-off. He liked the simple and concrete. He struck with his bold way of going straight to the burning heart of the matter to be dealt with.
… To conclude, Israeli decision makers are confident that if things go bad, the US will not leave them at their peril. Neither the US, whose most difficult decisions are usually taken in the second presidential term, nor other international powers would leave Israel alone unaided or accept an Israeli defeat. Iranian decision makers are also aware of the fact that initiating a major war would lead to an eventual American intervention and an inevitable confrontation with the world's biggest military might.
... There is not yet any indication that Iran has chosen to build a bomb, but as its nuclear program steadily advances, detecting and stopping a rush to weaponize will become more difficult ... The case for war with Iran is not very strong. Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will only end when its strategic anxieties are assuaged. A bombing campaign merely pushes the question back a few years. A more aggressive U.S. negotiating strategy is a better solution.
The 2,600-year-old clay cylinder, almost the size of an American football, was made on the order of the Persian King Cyrus after he captured Babylon in 539 BC. Referred to by some scholars as the "first bill on human rights", the cuneiform inscriptions on the cylinder appear to encourage freedom of worship throughout the Persian Empire and to allow deported people to return to their homelands ... But the greatest discovery for many people, Mr MacGregor said, is "the importance of Cyrus to those who wrote the constitution of United States".
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern about a decision by the Hungarian government to honor journalist Ferenc Szaniszlo, who has made bigoted public statements about Jews and Roma [Gypsies]. Hungary’s Tancsics Prize, which is an award given to journalists named after the 19 th century journalist Mihaly Tancsics, is awarded yearly on Hungary’s national day.