July 2013

The Huffington Post

Los Angeles could be two to three years away from the same kind of bankruptcy that Detroit faces, says Daniel Pellissler, president of California Pension Reform, a political organization dedicated to fixing California’s pension crisis. "I think your city of Los Angeles is probably two to three years away from being in the same position that Detroit is where there is not enough money to pay the bills," Pellissler said to HuffPost Live host Jacob Saboroff Tuesday. "[LA] can't project, going forward, a stable budget because they face the same pension problems that everyone else in the country does."

Video

The King David Hotel bombing (July 22, 1946) was a bomb attack against the British Mandate government of Palestine and its armed forces by members of the Irgun, a militant Zionist organization, which was led at the time by Menachem Begin, a future Prime Minister of Israel ... In July 2006, Israelis including former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former members of Irgun attended a 60th anniversary celebration of the bombing ... The British Ambassador in Tel Aviv and the Consul-General in Jerusalem dissented, saying "We do not think that it is right for an act of terrorism, which led to the loss of so many lives, to be commemorated."

The Guardian (Britain)

... The firestorm was so strong that it turned streets into wind tunnels. I saw roofs flying through the sky; it was like a film, like science fiction, but real. Wherever there was asphalt, it was burning and melting. I saw two women, a younger and an older one, running across the asphalt and their shoes getting stuck in the boiling asphalt. They pulled their feet out of their shoes – which turned out to be impractical, however, as they now had to walk across the boiling asphalt barefoot. They collapsed and just lay there. Like flies in hot candle wax.

Video

A British presentation, with English-language narration, of the Allied aerial assault on Hamburg in late July 1943. The British-American “Operation Gomorrah” bombings killed 42,600 civilians and wounded 37,000. It created a 1,500-foot-high tornado of fire, a firestorm. A million civilians fled the city. This was an example of Allied “area bombing,” which targeted for death all Germans -- including all women and children. British prime minister Winston Churchill himself wrote in a memo of the Allied policy of “bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror.”

Mark Weber – Podcast

Putting Nine Eleven in historical perspective, Weber takes a look at terrorism in history. He compares and contrasts the Nine Eleven horror with the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the British-American fire-bombing of Hamburg in July 1943, which took the lives of 40,000 civilians. Weber compares how Americans marked the tenth anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack with the tenth anniversary remembrance of Nine Eleven, and explains why the national commemorations have been so different.

RT (Russia)

The Russian lower house [of parliament] 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.

Institute for Historical Review

... This [IHR] get-together could well be called "the Conference of the Persecuted.” Six of our speakers this weekend have been punished as “thought criminals" -- with imprisonment, court-ordered fines, or travel bans -- for publicly expressing dissident views on history ... The IHR stands, and will continue to stand, as a beacon and a bulwark, not only for truth and reason in understanding the past, but for sanity in tackling the challenges of the future.

The Telegraph (Britain)

... It now seems increasingly likely that, far from being forced from office, President Assad will retain control of much of the country. Certainly the recent successes recorded by pro-Assad forces appear to have had a disastrous impact on the morale of rebel fighters, with hundreds deciding to take advantage of an amnesty offered by Damascus to surrender their weapons and give up the fight ... With President Assad and his backers in Moscow and Tehran looking increasingly confident, those powers that demanded his overthrow – such as Britain, France and the US – look impotent and weak.

C. Zdanowicz - CNN

Thomas Jefferson may not have penned the Second Amendment, but the paradoxical Founding Father comes galloping into the present whenever there's a gun debate. Quotes attributed to him and tied to the right to bear arms litter the social sphere. But how did a man 200-plus years past his prime become today's gun-debate darling? ...

RT (Russia)

Russia is remembering its victory in the Battle of Prokhorovka, the greatest tank engagement in history and a turning point of World War Two, which halted the Nazi assault on the Soviet Union and sent the warfare steamroller back towards whence it came. Seventy years on, commemorations are underway, with festivities and memorial services planned throughout the day at the scene of the epic engagement that took place around the small settlement of Prokhorovka, some 90 km southeast of the south-western Russian city of Kursk.

Mark Weber – Podcast

Important evidence has come to light in recent decades that shatters the official, endlessly repeated view that Hitler, bent on world conquest, launched a treacherous surprise attack against a peaceful Soviet Union. In 1941 Soviet dictator Stalin deployed an enormous strike force on the western Soviet frontier in readiness for a massive attack against Germany that would roll on to overwhelm central and western Europe. Hitler’s ‘Barbarossa” attack, say a growing number of historians in Russia, Germany and other countries, was actually a preventive war to forestall an imminent Soviet strike.

Foreign Affairs

War makes for strange bedfellows. Among the oddest pairings that World War II produced was the bringing together of William “Wild Bill” Donovan, head of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) -- a precursor to the CIA -- and a group of German Jewish Marxists he hired to help the United States understand the Nazis … What came to be known as the Frankfurt School combined an unorthodox brand of Marxism with an interdisciplinary approach to research that stressed the pivotal roles played by culture, law, politics, and psychology in buttressing injustice.

Yara Sa'di

Various Israeli academic institutions have introduced courses and programs on hasbara -- the Hebrew-language term used to describe Israel’s attempts to re-brand its image as its occupation and military aggression makes it increasingly unpopular worldwide. A new report from the Academic Watch Project shows that instead of promoting critical thought and inquiry, these courses at academic institutions serve to promote the policies of the State of Israel and the whitewashing of its crimes ...

The Canadian Jewish news

A new course at the University of Haifa will teach students how to use new media to reclaim Israel’s narrative from its detractors. Eli Avraham, a senior lecturer at Haifa U’s communications department who leads the program, said when false claims are made about Israel, such as labelling it an apartheid state, people need to be equipped with knowledge and tools to speak out against those claims. “The main idea is that this is about how to use the new media to reclaim Israel’s narrative and promote Israel’s point of view,” Avraham said.

Ali Abunimah

The National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS) has become a full-time partner in the Israeli government’s efforts to spread its propaganda online and on college campuses around the world. NUIS has launched a program to pay Israeli university students $2,000 to spread pro-Israel propaganda online for five hours per week from the “comfort of home.” The union is also partnering with Israel’s Jewish Agency to send Israeli students as missionaries to spread propaganda in other countries, for which they will also receive a stipend.

Michael Snyder

... One of the greatest cities in the history of the world is just a shell of its former self. The following are 25 facts about the fall of Detroit that will leave you shaking your head: ... There are lots of houses available for sale in Detroit right now for $500 or less ... At this point, there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city ... About one-third of Detroit's 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict ... An astounding 47 percent of the residents of the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate. ... Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point ... 40 percent of the city’s street lights do not work. ... The violent crime rate in Detroit is five times higher than the national average.

The Telegraph (Britain)

Disillusioned by the Islamist twist that the "revolution" in Syria has taken, exhausted after more than two years of conflict and feeling that they are losing, growing numbers of rebels are signing up to a negotiated amnesty offered by the Assad regime. At the same time, the families of retreating fighters have begun quietly moving back to government-controlled territory, seen as a safer place to live as the regime continues its intense military push against rebel-held areas. The move is a sign of the growing confidence of the regime …

Juan Cole

... Here are the reasons not to pay attention to the recent round of saber-rattling by Netanyahu, who never met a war (including the illegal one on Iraq) he didn’t love: One: Everyone knows that the real reason Netanyahu keeps squawking about Iran is that he is trying to take the focus off the Israel campaign of ethnic cleansing and Apartheid policies toward the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Likewise, Netanyahu takes attention off of Israel’s own 400 nuclear warheads.

CNN

Journalists covering last week's economic summit [Nov. 2011] overheard French President Nicolas Sarkozy blasting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "liar" during a talk with U.S. President Barack Obama, according to published reports. The private conversation was inadvertently carried by open microphones before an Obama-Sarkozy news conference on the sidelines of the Group of 20 economic summit in the French resort of Cannes. "I can't stand him. He's a liar," Sarkozy said of Netanyahu, according to the website. Obama replied, "You're tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him every day," the site reported.

RFE/ RL

More than 120 members of the U.S. Congress have signed a letter calling on President Barack Obama to reengage Iran diplomatically over its nuclear program following the election of the Islamic republic's next president ... The letter has the signatures of about a quarter of the members of the House of Representatives and is being described as an important move for diplomacy with Iran. Yet analysts say it doesn't represent a dramatic shift of opinion within Congress, which has been pushing for tough measures against Iran ... The letter also warns against taking "provocative actions" that could weaken Rohani, who has promised moderation in Iran and abroad.

Der Spiegel (Germany)

In the 1930s, many English families sent their daughters to finishing school in Nazi Germany. Rachel Johnson, sister of the London mayor, interviewed several for her most recent book. / ... They said: "We had the best time of our lives." They felt fantastic being in Germany during the Third Reich. "It was the highlight of my life," one told me. To them, it was a rich experience, because England was very stuffy at that time -- lots of unemployment, terrible food and nasty weather. In Bavaria they had the crisp mountain air, a healthy life, the opera, the mountains and handsome Germans in uniform. They couldn't believe their luck! No chaperons, no parents. They had everything, including sex.

The Associated Press

An extreme-right political party in Greece played a Nazi anthem during a charity event Wednesday that authorities had attempted to ban. A Greek version of the Horst Wessel song – known as "keep the banner flying" in Greek – was played on loud speakers outside the central Athens offices of the Golden Dawn party, where members handed out bags of food and clothing. A video of the event, including the sound of the song, was posted on the party's website. The song remains banned in Germany, along with Nazi symbols. Party members distributed the food parcels after checking recipients' identity cards to insure that non-Greeks were excluded.

Deutsche Welle (Germany)

As suspected Nazi war criminal Laszlo Csatary has been arrested in Budapest, Hungarian society continues to struggle with anti-Semitism and ongoing investigation of crimes against Hungarian Jews in World War II ... Gabor isn't the only one expressing doubt in the Csatary case. The Hungarian public is also quite divided about the way in which the Csatary was discovered and represented in last Sunday's edition of the British tabloid The Sun, as the "most wanted Nazi war criminal in the world." ... To now present the old man as a high-ranking war criminal is false and misleading, he said.

The Associated Press

The Simon Wiesenthal Center launched a poster campaign in several German cities Tuesday appealing for help in tracking down the last surviving Nazi war criminals not yet brought to justice, and promising compensation to those who provide useful information. About 2,000 posters depicting the entrance gate of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz were put up in the cities of Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne asking the public to come forward with information that may lead to the arrest of Nazis some seven decades after the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.

Eric Margolis

... Israel holds all the cards, and knows it. Jewish settlements, roads, and security walls are roaring ahead, relentlessly gobbling up the occupied West Bank, Golan and their water resources. West Bank Palestinians are being crammed into future native Bantustans patterned after South Africa’s apartheid-era reservations for blacks ... Equally important, Israel, through its American supporters, effectively guides much of America’s Mideast policy ... Netanyahu probably exerts more influence over the US Congress than President Obama.

RT (Russia)

Russian MPs are drafting a new bill proposing up to five years in prison for justifying the crimes of Nazis and their collaborators as well as questioning the actions of the allies during World War II ...The formula of the crime is defined as “denial of the sentence passed by the [Nuremberg] international military tribunal, as well as the denial of the fact that the actions of the anti-Hitler coalition were aimed at preserving the international peace and security.”

Gary Sick - CNN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not a subtle man. When he has an objective in mind, he is not above resorting to hyperbole, exaggeration, or apocalyptic scenarios to make his point. He has been crying wolf nearly as long as he has been in politics. For a very good reason: It works. And it works. And it works ... More than 20 years ago, Mr. Netanyahu solemnly informed us that, unless someone intervened, Iran would have a nuclear weapon within five years ... We have a choice between the frayed talking points of the past, which point only toward a third U.S. war in the Middle East, or toward a newly energized diplomatic initiative that offers the Iranian leadership a way out of the strategic dead-ends of the past.

Ali Abunimah

Israeli soldiers had a “fun” time making what they called “Rachel Corrie pancakes.” Photos of the event were posted on the Facebook page of the “Heritage House,” a settlement in occupied East Jerusalem ... Above the photos of young men, some in Israeli army fatigues or apparently carrying guns, is the caption “Afternoon of ‘rachel corrie’ Pancakes and fun!” Rachel Corrie is the young American woman murdered by an Israeli soldier who crushed her to death with a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family home in the occupied Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003.

Deutsche Welle (Germany)

The Jerusalem branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center plans to unveil posters in three German cities to trace the last surviving Nazi death camp guards. Rewards are to be offered for leads from the public. The Jerusalem-based director of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center, Efraim Zuroff, told the German newspaper WAZ on Saturday that he believed that about 60 former Nazi death camp guards were still alive, "the majority in Germany." ... Rewards worth up to 25,000 euros ($32,800) would be offered to informants. Zuroff told the news agency Reuters that the center had been encouraged by the arrest in Germany in May of Hans Lipschis, a 93-year-old suspected former Auschwitz guard.

Charles Lutton - Institute for Historical Review

During both the First and Second World Wars, the nations warring against Germany and her allies portrayed their fight as a "world war for humanity." Despite the opening of hitherto closed government archives and the testimony of political participants, the general public, with rare exceptions, still believes in these wartime propaganda images of "the good guys" versus "the bad guys." … Although the Allies, including Stalin's Russia, continued throughout the war to invoke the principles embodied in the Atlantic Charter, those principles were in practice ignored …

The Associated Press

Helen Thomas, the irrepressible White House correspondent who used her seat in the front row of history to grill ten presidents and was not shy about sharing her opinions, died Saturday. She was 92 ... Her refusal to conceal her strong opinions, even when posing questions to a president, and her public hostility toward Israel, caused discomfort among colleagues. In 2010, that tendency finally ended a career which had started in 1943 and made her one of the best known journalists in Washington. On a videotape circulated on the Internet, she said Israelis should "get out of Palestine" and "go home" to Germany, Poland or the United States. The remark brought down widespread condemnation and she ended her career.

Zoë Carpenter - The Nation

During a confirmation hearing today that was largely a test of her willingness to submit to foreign policy dogma, Samantha Power [President Obama’s nominee for Ambassador to the United Nations ] …repeatedly asserted her commitment to “stand up for Israel and work tirelessly to defend it” against the “disproportionate” criticism she said it receives at the United Nations … Power refused to answer Senator Rand Paul’s question about whether Congress or the President had the power to authorize intervention … “I would never apologize for America,” Powers said repeatedly. “America is the light to the world.”

Daily Mail (Britain)

The children of German neo-Nazis could soon be removed from their families and taken into care -- in a bid to beat a rise in the glorification of Hitler and the Third Reich. German authorities are becoming increasingly concerned with the number of summer camps and special schools brainwashing youngsters into worshipping a movement that killed six million Jews in the Holocaust.

RT

Approval for Barack Obama’s foreign policy has dropped to an all-time low, with just 40 percent of Americans backing the president’s handling of international affairs, while 52 percent disagree with his performance on the global stage, a new poll reveals. The survey, released by Quinnipiac University on Thursday, shows that overall assessments of Obama’s foreign policy are equally bleak when broken down on an issue-by-issue basis. Only 33 percent of Americans support Obama’s proposed path on dealing with Syria, with the majority opposed to intervention.

V. de Rugy - Mercatus Center

... The United States spent $728 billion on its military in 2010, about 45% of the world’s $1.6 trillion total (blue portion). U.S. spending amounts to more than the next fourteen largest military spending countries combined (bar chart). In fact, the U.S. spends nearly six times more than the next largest military spender, China. In addition, most of the top-spending countries are American allies.

King Abdullah I of Jordan (1947)

... The world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing of the true case for the Arabs ... We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side. There are many reasons for this. You [Americans] have many millions of Jewish citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise in the ways of publicity ... I believe that you do not realize how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism.

Robert John -- Institute for Historical Review

The Balfour Declaration may be the most extraordinary document produced by any government in world history. It took the form of a letter from the government of His Britannic Majesty King George the Fifth, the Government of the largest empire the world has even known, on which -- once upon a time -- the sun never set; a letter to an international financier of the banking house of Rothschild who had been made a peer of the realm … Malcolm's belief in the Balfour Declaration as a means of bringing the United States into the war was confirmed by Samuel Landman, secretary to the Zionist leaders Weizmann and Sokolow, and later secretary of the World Zionist Organization.

Reuters

An exhibition chronicling the Nazi party's rise to power draws tens of thousands of visitors. Millions of TV viewers tune in to watch a drama about the Third Reich. A satirical novel in which Hitler pops up in modern Berlin becomes an overnight bestseller. German interest in the darkest chapter of their history seems stronger than it has ever been as the country marks several key anniversaries this year linked to the Nazi era. On TV talk shows, in newspapers and online, people endlessly debate the Nazi era ...

Courthouse News Service

An auction house that sold an Adolph Hitler watercolor and relics of Mussolini and Goering didn't pay the owner the $81,600 it has coming, the consignor claims in court ... The trust consigned the property to Alexander Historical Auctions on Nov. 18, 2012, and the auction was held on Jan. 30 and 31 this year. Among the 20 items sold, according to the complaint, were: A Hitler watercolor of a church interior, which went for $11,000; a "presentation sword that would determine Mussolini's political philosophy," which brought $52,000; a "Mein Kampf 'Gauleiter' Edition," for $9,000;

J. Schuessler – The New York Times

The soldiers who landed in Normandy on D-Day were greeted as liberators, but by the time American GIs were headed back home in late 1945, many French citizens viewed them in a very different light. In the port city of Le Havre, the mayor was bombarded with letters from angry residents complaining about drunkenness, jeep accidents, sexual assault — “a regime of terror,” as one put it, “imposed by bandits in uniform.” This isn’t the “greatest generation” as it has come to be depicted in popular histories. But in “What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American G.I. in World War II France,” the historian Mary Louise Roberts draws on French archives, American military records, wartime propaganda and other sources to advance a provocative argument ...

Video

Remarkable film footage, much of it in color, of France during the four years of German occupation, 1940-1944. Noteworthy are scenes of daily life in Paris, of ordinary French men and women, and of friendly relations between Germans and French. Daily life continued, in spite of wartime privations including shortages of gasoline and some food items. No sound or narration. Runtime: 56 mins.

Paul Eisen

... We've already seen how the disproving of key tenets of the Holocaust narrative, e.g. the official downgrading of the number of Auschwitz fatalities, has had little or no effect on the Holocaust religion. Because the Holocaust is a religion, albeit a decidedly godless one. And this surely is the point: the Holocaust, like all ideologies, needs no proof, just faith. As quoted in a previous post, few would hold the Exodus from Egypt to be literal truth but note its enduring power, an emblem of all liberation struggles.

BBC News

In the late 19th Century a group of German Christians called the Templers settled in the Holy Land on a religious mission. What began with success though ended three generations later ... Initially the Templers concentrated on farming - draining the swamps, planting fields, vineyards and orchards, and employing modern working techniques unfamiliar to Palestine (they were the first to market "Jaffa Oranges" - produce from their Sarona settlement near Jaffa). They operated steam-powered oil presses and flour mills, opened the country's first hotels and European-style pharmacies, and manufactured essential commodities such as soap and cement - and beer.

Mark Weber

... The ever more obvious symptoms of social decay are inevitable in a nation as unhealthy as today’s America. We understand that a nation guided by false principles, wishful thinking and unrealistic notions about society and history cannot and will not survive; that a society as inwardly sick as this one will not last ... On this anniversary of American independence, it is altogether fitting that we recall the sacrifices and the outlook of the men who acted boldly out of principle, and risked everything in following the dictate of their conscience.

V. Davidzon - Tablet (New York)

... The Right Club was one such secret society, part of a constellation of reactionary right-wing social clubs that existed in England prior to the beginning of World War II. A “patriotic society” whose upper- and middle-class members would gather for dinners ... One of the last members to join the Right Club was an American named Tyler Kent. A 29-year-old cipher clerk at the American Embassy in London ... Kent, meanwhile, was pilfering copies of top-secret private telegrams between Churchill and Roosevelt, which were being passed by way of embassy back channels.

BBC Newsnight – Video

Tyler Kent looks back to explain how, as a 29-year-old code clerk at the US embassy in London, he decided to collect secret documents that proved deceitful and critinal behavior by the US government. Although President Roosevelt pledged to keep the US out of the European war, secret communications monitored by Kent showed that he was doing everything he could to get the US into the conflict. This 24-minute documentary by Robert Harris was made in 1982 for the BBC television show “Newsnight.” It also describes Kent’s arrest, secret trial and imprisonment.

Saman Mohammadi

... Kent knew Roosevelt was lying, and he wanted to expose his war aims and war preparations to the American people. But he was stopped from performing a Herculean historical feat by the British government in collaboration with the Roosevelt administration and the U.S. ambassador ... I see Kent as an American patriot who kept his oath and respected the will of the American people. He tried to stop America from blindly committing itself to the European tragedy. WWII was not a good war, as historians absurdly claim. Roosevelt had his virtues but the fact of the matter is that he sacrificed millions of young Americans in a war in which America's national security was not at stake.

Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly to launch a new, last-ditch effort in the next few days to persuade the United States to credibly revive the military option against Iran. If this proves unsuccessful, Channel 2 reported, Netanyahu will have to decide whether to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities by this winter at latest, because after that, the report indicated, the assessment is that Israel’s window for military intervention will close.

Paul R. Pillar - The National Interest

... For Netanyahu's government, one of the purposes of ringing alarm bells about Iran as the “real problem” in the Middle East is to divert attention from these truths about the conflict with the Palestinians and to divert energy from any diplomacy aimed at ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory ... He [Netanyahu] ignores that the only existential threat that a nuclear weapons state in the Middle East poses to another state in the region is the threat that Israel poses to Iran, and he ignores that the only threats of military attack in that duopoly are the threats that Israel is making against Iran rather than vice versa.

World Jewish Congress

The revisionist British historian David Irving has been turned away by an association of German hotels. The Berlin chapter of the Dehoga hotel and restaurant association warned members not to book a room for Irving during his planned visit to the German capital in September. Irving had been banned from entering Germany for 20 years until last March and plans to travel to Berlin to address guests at dinner with a US$ 120 cover charge, the newspaper ‘Der Tagesspiegel’ reported. The location has not yet been divulged, and only advanced bookings would be accepted, it wrote.

Times of Israel and AP

The European Union on Friday formally published new guidelines explicitly banning any EU funding of and cooperation with Israeli institutions operating in territories beyond the pre-1967 lines, amid vigorous Israeli objections. The new directive, to take effect at the start of 2014, requires the EU and its members to cease any joint activity or funding with Israeli entities working over the Green Line in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and in the Golan Heights. The measure also require any future agreements between Israel and the EU to include a clause in which Israel accepts the European Union’s position that all territory over the Green Line does not belong to Israel — a requirement that is anathema to Israel.

Times of Israel

Israel’s prime minister insisted Sunday that he would act to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and also that he would not allow “dangerous weapons” to reach Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorists – following reports that Israel recently carried out an airstrike in northern Syria against a shipment of advanced missiles ... Netanyahu called on the US to harden its position toward Iran until Tehran stops all nuclear enrichment and dismantles the Qom reactor, among other steps. “If sanctions don’t work,” he urged, “then they have to know that you’ll be prepared to take military action.”

John Glaser - The Washington Times

Contrary to dominant thinking in Washington, Iran poses no immediate threat to the U.S. In fact, our Middle Eastern allies, eager to have America do their fighting for them, wildly inflate the supposed threat from Iran ... In reality, the current consensus in the U.S. intelligence community is that Iran has no active nuclear weapons program and has made no decision as to whether to pursue the bomb ... Hyping the Iranian threat serves Israeli purposes because Iran is the one state in the region vehemently and vocally opposed to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, a position that yields it considerable “soft power” throughout the Muslim world.

RT – Video

Russell Tice, former US intelligence analyst and original NSA whistleblower, talks with RT host Abby Martin about how recent NSA scandal revelations spotlight only a small part of massive surveillance operations. Tice says that he saw orders for spying on Barack Obama before he was even a presidential candidate, as well as on Supreme Court justices and other prominent Americans. The motive for the surveillance of Obama and others, Tice and Martin suggest, might be blackmail.

The New York Times

In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say. The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court’s classified decisions.

Foreign Policy

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.

The Associated Press

Authorities in central Indonesia will ask a restaurant owner to explain his reasons for opening a Nazi-themed cafe that has sparked controversy among locals and tourists, an official said Thursday. Soldatenkaffee includes a red wall of Nazi-related memorabilia, including a large flag with the swastika and a giant picture of Adolf Hitler. Its wait staff dresses in SS, or Schutzstaffel, military uniforms, and can be seen posing in front of the cafe on its Facebook page. The cafe, located in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung, one of Indonesia’s tourist destination cities, has been open since April 2011.

The Associated Press

Once the very symbol of American industrial might, Detroit became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy Thursday, its finances ravaged and its neighborhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing. The filing, which had been feared for months, put the city on an uncertain course that could mean laying off municipal employees, selling off assets, raising fees and scaling back basic services such as trash collection and snow plowing, which have already been slashed ... The result is a metropolis where whole neighborhoods are practically deserted and basic services cut off in places.

Jim Hightower

... On many crucial measures of national achievements, our Good Ol’ U.S. of A has slipped in recent years. A simple-minded assertion that we’re No. 1 doesn’t make it so. For example, the U.S. rate of educational improvement – a bedrock indicator of a nation’s future ability to thrive – has tumbled to 25th place among rich and newly developing nations ... Yes, America remains the world’s richest nation. Yet our wealth is more concentrated in the hands of a rich elite than most other nations. Even China has a more democratic distribution of riches than our society does. Health care? We’re in 37th place and ranked dead last among wealthy democracies. The quality of America’s infrastructure ranks a poor 25th.

International Business Times

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is so concerned about the NSA spying scandal that he thinks it has essentially resulted in a suspension of American democracy. “America does not at the moment have a functioning democracy,” he said at an event in Atlanta on Tuesday ... The 39th U.S. president also said he was pessimistic about the current state of global affairs, wrote Der Spiegel, because there was “no reason for him to be optimistic at this time.” Among the developments that make him uneasy, Carter cited the “falling of Egypt under a military dictatorship.”

Daily Mail (Britain)

Twitter has agreed to hand over the details of people who post racist and anti-Semitic abuse anonymously on the micro-blogging site, it emerged today. Following a long legal battle, the US-based company said it would cooperate with authorities in France who want to bring alleged criminals to justice. The breakthrough is a significant test case for the millions who use social media to express hatred and anger without revealing their identities. Prosecutors in Paris argued that Twitter had a duty to expose wrong-doers, despite its insistence that people had a right to anonymity.

Bloomberg

Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, disavowed her decade-old critiques of American foreign policy and promised to root out anti-Israel “bias” at the international body. Power said she will “work tirelessly to defend” Israel in an organization where many countries don’t recognize it, and to lobby for the Jewish state to have a rotating seat on the Security Council for the first time ... “Israel’s legitimacy should be beyond dispute, and its security must be beyond doubt,” Power said. She blamed anti-Israel attitudes at the UN on the fact that fewer than half of its members are democratic nations.

VOA News

The steady growth of support for the gay rights movement and same sex marriage equality within the United States has been accompanied by increased U.S. government support for gay rights around the world. The U.S. foreign policy to promote equal rights, no matter sexual orientation, has sparked criticism both abroad and at home ... The United States is also using diplomacy and aid to support gay rights ... Senegalese President Macky Sall said his Muslim majority country would not change its laws.

Rep. Ron Paul

... Why is it that all sides in this Egyptian civil war seem so angry with the United States? Because the United States has at one point or another supported each side, which means also that at some point the US has also opposed each side. It is the constant meddling in Egyptian affairs that has turned Egyptians against us, as we would resent foreign intervention in our own affairs ... Unfortunately, US administrations continue to follow the same old failed policies, and Obama is no different. More intervention, more foreign aid, more bullying, more empire.

The Associated Press

Thailand's premier university has apologized for displaying a billboard that showed Adolf Hitler alongside Superman and other superheroes, saying it was painted by ignorant students who didn't realize Hitler's image would offend anyone. The huge billboard was placed outside the art faculty of Chulalongkorn University as part of a tribute to this year's graduating class ... The billboard was up for two days before being removed on Saturday in response to criticism. Online photographs showed graduating students in their robes, mimicking Hitler's raised-arm salute.

Reuters

South American leaders had strong words for Washington on Friday over allegations of U.S. spying in the region and defended their right to offer asylum to fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden ... Capping two weeks of strained North-South relations over the Snowden saga, presidents from the Mercosur bloc of nations met in Montevideo. Complaints against the United States were high on the agenda ... “We repudiate any action aimed at undermining the authority of countries to grant and fully implement the right of asylum," Mercosur said in a statement at the close of Friday's summit.

The Guardian (Britain)

Future agreements between the European Union and Israel must include the explicit exclusion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, according to a new EU directive described by an Israeli official as an "earthquake". The EU guidelines, adopted on 30 June, will prohibit the issuing of grants, funding, prizes or scholarships unless a settlement exclusion clause is included. Israeli institutions and bodies situated across the pre-1967 Green Line will be automatically ineligible.

UPI

Hotels in Berlin are refusing to allow British writer and Holocaust denier David Irving to book a room in September for a speaking engagement, officials said. The 75-year-old Irving, who was banned from Germany for ten years, plans to attend a Sept. 10 meeting where attendees will pay $119 to hear him speak, The Local.de reported Tuesday. Green Party manager Volker Beck said he got in touch with Berlin hotels when he learned of Irving's planned speaking engagement. Most of the large downtown hotels that belong to the German hotel association are boycotting Irving. However, smaller guesthouses might take his reservation.

Judicial Watch (Washington, DC)

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained documents in response to local, state, and federal records requests revealing that a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, Florida, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman ... Set up under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the DOJ’s CRS, the employees of which are required by law to “conduct their activities in confidence,” reportedly has greatly expanded its role under President Barack Obama.

Mark Weber – Podcast

The great D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944, was a high point of World War II and of the US role in defeating Hitler's Germany. The anniversary of this greatest amphibious assault in history is a good opportunity to take a sober look at some comfortable falsehoods and myths about the "good war." The familiar American portrayal of World War II, and the "good war" mythology of the US role in it, is not just bad history. It has helped greatly to support and justify a series of arrogant US foreign policy adventures, with harmful consequences for both America and the world.

Times of Israel

The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned Thailand’s Chulalong University and its faculty Friday for displaying a mural depicting Adolf Hitler along with a group of superheroes on the wall of one of its buildings. The huge mural, featuring Hitler prominently along with the likes of Superman and Batman, is outside the University’s Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts building. It has become something of an attraction in recent days with passersby getting their picture taken in front of it, some while performing a Nazi salute.

Euro News (France)

Israel has reacted with outrage to the decision of the Polish parliament to uphold a ban on ritual slaughter. Citing animal cruelty, the parliament rejected a government backed bill to reinstate the right to produce meat in accordance with Jewish law. The Polish Chief Rabbi has threatened to resign and Israel’s Foreign Ministry summoned Poland’s ambassador to register a formal protest.

The Associated Press

Russia's U.N. ambassador said Tuesday that Russian experts determined that Syrian rebels made sarin nerve gas and used it in a deadly chemical weapon attack outside Aleppo in March. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin blamed opposition fighters for the March 19 attack in the government-controlled Aleppo suburb of Khan al-Assal, which he said killed 26 people, including 16 military personnel, and injured 86 others. The rebels have blamed the government for the attack. The U.S. Britain and France have said they have seen no evidence to indicate that the opposition has acquired or used chemical weapons.

The New York Times

The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the lowest-level job ... Economists have referred to this phenomenon as “degree inflation,” and it has been steadily infiltrating America’s job market. Across industries and geographic areas, many other jobs that didn’t used to require a diploma — positions like dental hygienists, cargo agents, clerks and claims adjusters — are increasingly requiring one ...

The Sociocide of Iraq by Bush/ Cheney Ralph Nader

... The Bush/Cheney war was also unconstitutional, never declared by Congress, as Senator Robert Byrd eloquently pointed out at the time. Moreover, many of the acts of torture and brutality perpetrated against the Iraqi people are illegal under various federal statutes. Over one million Iraqis died due to the invasion, the occupation and the denial of health and safety necessities for infants, children and adults. Far more Iraqis were injured and sickened ... Compare the Watergate break-in and obstruction of justice by Nixon with the horrendous crimes coming out of the war against Iraq – a nation that never threatened the U.S. but whose destruction takes a continuing toll on our country.

Haaretz (Israel)

In the past decade, wealthy businessmen from the former Soviet Union have flocked to Israel in private planes via the Moscow-Tel Aviv route. Once here, they buy mansions in wealthy communities and get around in luxury cars. Most of them have come to Israel to escape the grasp of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They live below the radar, zealously guarding their privacy and hiding their assets and Israeli citizenship.

Mark Weber - Podcast

Charles Lindbergh became an instant world celebrity at the age of 25 when he made a grueling 33-hour flight from New York to Paris. His daring flight, and his aviation pioneering afterwards, made him, for some time, the most admired man in America. He was also a prolific, prize-winning author, inventor, explorer, and social activist. But his greatest act of courage was in speaking out -- eloquently and frankly -- against the deceitful campaign to push the United States into war. Lindbergh deserves to be remembered and honored today, not only as an authentic American hero, but also because much of what he wrote and said is instructive and relevant in our own age.

The Washington Post

For Western officials trying to determine what kind of leader they’ll face in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, his thoughtful 2011 memoir reveals much about the man who will lead the Islamic republic ... Unlike many militant ideologues, he belongs to a more tempered wing of the theocracy that sees the nuclear debate in the larger context of Iran’s international relations. Iran’s new president was a persistent critic of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s inflammatory rhetoric. In the recent presidential race, Rouhani stressed the importance of the economy — in particular, Iran’s declining standard of living.

Gareth Porter – IPS

France and Germany were prepared in spring 2005 to negotiate on an Iranian proposal to convert all of its enriched uranium to fuel rods, making it impossible to use it for nuclear weapons, but Britain vetoed the deal at the insistence of the United States, according to a new account by a former top Iranian nuclear negotiator. Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who had led Iran’s nuclear negotiating team in 2004 and 2005, makes it clear that the reason that offer was rejected was that the George W. Bush administration refused to countenance any Iranian enrichment capability, regardless of the circumstances.

The New York Times

... With more than $1 trillion in student loans outstanding in this country, crippling debt is no longer confined to dropouts from for-profit colleges or graduate students who owe on many years of education, some of the overextended debtors in years past. As prices soar, a college degree statistically remains a good lifetime investment, but it often comes with an unprecedented financial burden. About two-thirds of bachelor’s degree recipients borrow money to attend college, either from the government or private lenders ... For all borrowers, the average debt in 2011 was $23,000 ...

Stanley Hornbeck

In The Culture of Critique, Kevin MacDonald advances a carefully researched but extremely controversial thesis: that certain 20th century intellectual movements – largely established and led by Jews – have changed European societies in fundamental ways and destroyed the confidence of Western man. He claims that these movements were designed, consciously or unconsciously, to advance Jewish interests even though they were presented to non-Jews as universalistic and even utopian. He concludes that the increasing dominance of these ideas has had profound political and social consequences that benefited Jews but caused great harm to gentile societies.

Salon

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s new book, “Strategic Vision,” imagines a world without American power. He envisions profound instability, faltering international cooperation and weak states falling prey to their more dominant neighbors ... [The former US National Security Adviser] thinks the Obama administration “should have stuck to its guns in promoting a fair settlement” in the Middle East. A longtime foe of Israel’s partisans in the United States, he says the Obama team “fumbled by getting outmaneuvered by the Israelis.” Then he gets blunter: “Domestic politics interceded: The Israelis have a lot of influence with Congress, and in some cases they are able to buy influence.”

O. Kessler - The Tower

Egyptian television during Ramadan has long leaned toward the anti-Semitic, but this year’s sampling is virulent even by the country’s usual standards. Set to broadcast during the season is the Egyptian television series “Khaybar” … According to Yusri al-Gindi, the director of the new series, Jewish “treachery and conspiracies” remain current in contemporary life. He adds that, “These people have not changed one bit.”

Der Spiegel (Germany)

Over 20 years ago, a landscaper in eastern Germany discovered a formation of trees in a forest in the shape of a Swastika. Since then, a number of other forest Swastikas have been found in Germany and beyond, but the mystery of their origins persists ... In 2000, a professor of folklore found a swastika of evergreen Douglas firs planted backwards in a deciduous forest in Wiesbaden. In fact, reports soon started emerging about tree swastikas all over Germany. In Sept. 2006, the New York Times also reported on a complete forest near the remote village of Tash-Bashat, in Kyrgystan, shaped as a swastika.

AFP

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre on Wednesday condemned plans by Latvian nationalists to mark a World War II event that led to the massacre of a town's Jewish population ... Thursday's event is organised by nationalist groups including Visu Latvijai! (All For Latvia!), a junior partner in the Baltic state's three-party coalition government ... The nationalists also organise controversial annual ceremonies in March honouring members of the Latvian Legion, two local divisions of the Waffen-SS.

Video

The people of Riga, Latvia, joyfully welcome German troops as liberators from Soviet oppression, July 1, 1941. From the weekly German wartime newsreel, “Deutsche Wochenschau.” With English subtitles. Runtime: 8:29 minutes.

The Atlantic

Reuters photographer Carlos Barria spent time documenting Mongolian neo-Nazi group Tsagaan Khass, one of several ultra-nationalist groups that have expanded in the country. As these 16 photos show, the 100-plus members of Tsagaan Khass have recently shifted their focus from activities such as attacks on women it accuses of consorting with foreign men to environmental issues. The group is rebranding itself now as an environmentalist organization fighting pollution by foreign-owned mines, seeking legitimacy as it sends Swastika-wearing members to check mining permits.

JTA

The Hungarian government ended a yearlong freeze of money transfers to Holocaust survivors through the Claims Conference. The decision to resume paying reparations to Hungarian Holocaust survivors living outside the country was announced Saturday by Janos Lazar, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff. Lazar said $5.6 million would be transferred to the Jewish Heritage of Hungary Public Endowment, or Mazsok, and be ready to be distributed by Tuesday.

NBC News

More than half of American voters say self-declared NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower not a traitor, according to a poll published Wednesday. The fugitive, believed to be holed up in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, was supported by 55 percent of those surveyed by researchers at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut. About one-third (34 percent) of those polled said they believed Snowden had betrayed his country.

Eric Margolis

The real story behind the military coup in Cairo led by General al-Sissi is much more complex than the western media is reporting. Far from a spontaneous uprising by Egyptians, – aka “a people’s revolution” – what really happened was a putsch orchestrated by Egypt’s “deep government” and outside powers – the latest phase of the counter-revolution against the so-called Arab Spring ... Washington has supplied Egypt with just enough arms to control its population and intimidate small neighbors, but not enough to wage war against Israel ... The counter-revolution of Egypt’s “deep government” was financed and aided by the US and Saudi Arabia, cheered on by Israel, the UAE, Britain and France.

Euro News (France)

Latin American anger continues to fester over the Snowden affair. The heads of state of Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay and Suriname closed ranks with Bolivia’s Evo Morales last week. It was a gesture of defiance aimed at Washington, and of disgust with European countries. According to La Paz, they wouldn’t let Morales fly over them because someone suspected the US whistleblower was on board his plane returning from Moscow ... Evidently, they said in the President’s plane there was a person exercising his right to asylum.”

As-Safir (Lebanon)

... The Russian President addressed the leaders participating in the G8 meeting, saying: ... “You lie to your own peoples so as to further your interests. This is none of our business. But it is impermissible for you to lie to us and to the countries and peoples of the world, because the international stage is no longer yours alone. Your ability to monopolize it the way you did two decades ago is now gone for good.” ... The diplomatic report indicates that the leaders gathered at the summit were surprised then when German Chancellor Angela Merkel supported every word that Putin said in his address.

JTA

Two leaders of Ukraine’s ultranationalist Svoboda Party have been banned from entering the United States for their open antisemitism, a Ukrainian daily reported. Svoboda leaders Oleh Tyahnybok and Igor Miroshnichenko were declared persona non grata in the United States earlier this year, following talks with Jewish leaders including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, according to a report published Wednesday in the Kiev-based Sevodnya daily ... A U.S. State Department report this month singled out Ukraine, along with Hungary and Greece, as places of “concern” because of growing anti-Semitic political parties.

Charley Reese

As you watch the presidential election unfold, I thought you might find it useful to read the qualities of a good leader as listed by an ancient Chinese emperor in the Tang Dynasty .. He lists the following qualities necessary for good governance: respect for those with wisdom and virtue; caring for the people as if they were your own children; promoting the development of industry; and establishing friendly relations with people abroad ... The Republicans seem to be competing to be the chief warmonger. The Democrats are following the script written for them by the Israeli lobby.

Charley Reese

It's time for another pop quiz on America's favorite region of the world -- the Middle East. Let's get started with the subject of nuclear weapons. Which country in the Middle East actually possesses nuclear weapons? Israel ... Which country in the Middle East occupies land belonging to other people? Israel, which occupies a piece of Lebanon, a larger piece of Syria, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza ... Which country in the Middle East has the most powerful lobby in the U.S.? Israel. Which country in the Middle East are most American politicians, journalists and academics afraid to criticize? Israel.

Daily Mail (Britain)

A Chicago-based newspaper syndicate issued an apology to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) after being accused of publishing an anti-Semitic crossword clue. Tribune Media Services printed a clue asking for a three-letter word meaning Shakespeare's 'Shylock' from Merchant of Venice. The answer, 'Jew.' In response the ADL quickly issued a statement urging the paper to print an apology and refrain from writing future puzzle clues the perpetuate negative cultural stereotypes.

The Associated Press

A German court said a 92-year-old former member of the Nazis' Waffen SS will go on trial in September on allegations he executed a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944. Dutch-born Siert Bruins, who is now German, already served time in Germany in the 1980s for the wartime murder of two Dutch Jews. The Hagen state court said in a statement Monday he would go on trial Sept. 2 on charges he killed resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in September 1944.

CNN

With signs of patriotism abounding for the Fourth of July, a new survey indicates seven in ten Americans think the Founding Fathers would be disappointed by the way the United States has turned out, 237 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But that doesn't mean Americans themselves are displeased. The same poll, released Thursday by Gallup, shows the number who say they're very or extremely proud to be American remains steady at 85% ... Despite the high level of patriotism, 71% of Americans think the signers of the Declaration of Independence wouldn't be pleased with the nation today. That number has steadily risen since 2001, when the number stood at 42%.

The Wall Street Journal

Food-stamp use rose 2.8 percent in the U.S. in April from a year earlier, with more than 15 percent of the U.S. population receiving benefits. One of the federal government’s biggest social welfare programs, which expanded when the economy convulsed, isn’t shrinking back alongside the recovery ... Though annual growth continues, the pace has slowed since the depths of the recession. The number of recipients in the food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is at 47.5 million, or nearly one in six Americans.

Paul Pirie - The Washington Post

The easiest way of assessing whether the United States would have been better off without its revolution is to look at those English-speaking countries that rejected the American Revolution and retained the monarchy, particularly Canada, which experienced an influx of American refugees after the British defeat ... This year the United States tied for 14th in “life satisfaction” on an annual quality-of-life study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That puts the United States behind Canada (eighth) and Australia (12th) ... In these senses, the American Revolution was a flop. Perhaps it’s time for Americans to accept that their revolution was a failure and renounce it.

Bruce Levine - The Washington Post

... One of the most pernicious and energetically propagated myths about the Civil War. According to that myth, anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 Southern blacks -- both free and enslaved -- served voluntarily, loyally, consistently and as fully fledged combatants in the South. Most of those who make these claims do it to bolster another, bigger myth -- that most Southern blacks supported the Confederacy.

The Associated Press

A German newspaper has expressed regret after publishing a cartoon that appeared to depict the state of Israel as a ravenous monster. Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung says the picture appeared Tuesday alongside two reviews of books about Israel. The caption suggested that the Jewish state was seen by its enemies as akin to Moloch — a monstrous deity from the Old Testament to whom followers sacrificed their children. Israel’s ambassador in Berlin criticized the picture and Jewish groups denounced it as anti-Semitic. The newspaper said in a brief statement on its website Wednesday that it regretted “misunderstandings” caused by the caption and that publishing the cartoon “was a mistake.”

Mark Weber - Podcast

The Nuremberg Tribunal of 1945-46 — the most spectacular judicial enterprise in history — was meant to prove that the defeated German regime had been one of unique and monstrous deceit, rapaciousness and evil. But in fact the Tribunal dispensed not justice, but injustice. The four Allied powers that organized and ran it were themselves guilty of some of the very same crimes they accused the German defendants of having committed. The Tribunal was an illegal enterprise that operated on the basis of “ex post facto” law created after the fact expressly for the occasion, and which the Allies applied only to the defeated. The hangings of German leaders ordered by the Tribunal were little more than murders glossed over with a veneer of makeshift, hypocritical pseudo-legality.

Press TV (Iran)

A shocking video has emerged on the Internet showing US-backed Takfiri militants in Syria brutally beheading two Christians including a priest in the western city of Homs. In the gruesome footage recently posted online, the militants who are said to be members of the terrorist al-Nusra Front, cut off the heads of two handcuffed men, including Father Francois Murad, with a small knife in front of a crowd of people. This is not the first time that the US-backed terrorists who are fighting against the Syrian government commit such grisly crimes against innocent civilians in the war-torn country

The New York Times

... Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images. Together, the two programs show that postal mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail.

The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

The German Green Party’s legislative action to label Israeli products from the West Bank has cast a spotlight on the role that former Nazis played in creating the party. Academic and journalistic research over the past five years shows the key role of Nazi figures in the party’s founding and development.

JTA

Polish politician Janusz Korwin-Mikke said the murder of millions of people was not Adolf Hitler’s goal, and that he probably did not know about the Holocaust. “Killing millions of people was not the purpose of Hitler. Show me even one sentence that will prove the fact that he knew about the extermination of the Jews,” Korwin-Mikke, the leader of the Congress of the New Right Party, said in an interview published this week in Do Rzeczy magazine. “If he had to have a trial today he would have been acquitted. Hitler should be hanged, but not for this.”

T. Geoghegan - BBC News

James Buchanan is often saddled with the title of "the worst US president", blamed for not averting the Civil War - but efforts are being made to reassess his legacy. How bad was he really? ... Buchanan consistently ranks bottom in lists of "best presidents"... The majority view, that Lincoln was the best and Buchanan was the worst, results from shortcomings in the way US historians rate presidents, says Ivan Eland, author of Recarving Rushmore. Eland thinks presidential ratings are too easily swayed by charisma, activism and service during a crisis.

Forward (New York)

... [John] Connelly [in his recent book] identifies a number of these converts (some were converts from Protestantism). Perhaps the most visible was John Oesterreicher, a Jewish-born German and convert to Catholicism who was a leading figure in shaping the pro-Jewish aspects of Vatican II. What emerges in “From Enemy to Brother” is that the [Jewish- born] converts pressed for a new approach to thinking about covenant; that the relation between Judaism and Christianity was no longer to be understood as competitive or successive, with Judaism being a mere preparation for Christianity, but complementary.

K. R. Bolton

... Reductio ad Hitlerum is the technique of undermining a debate by accusing the opponent of being a Nazi ... It is against this background that the “horrors of Nazism” have been used to obscure and suppress the achievements of that regime on a range of issues that gravely afflict the world today. Because of the one-eyed dogma on all things Hitlerian, some vital discoveries and achievements have been buried under a pile of figurative corpses which prevents the world from a sober, scholarly assessment of achievements in such areas as health, ecology and banking, or alternatively, as mentioned, puts serious alternatives on the defensive by comparing them with “Nazism.”

Mark Weber – Podcast

Third Reich Germany was a world leader in public health policy and medical research. The regime's "war on cancer," for example, was the most vigorous anywhere, and included restrictions on the use of asbestos, bans on carcinogenic pesticides and food dyes, and restrictions on public smoking and cigarette advertising. Years ahead of their colleagues in the US, Third Reich researchers were the first to prove definitively that smoking was the major cause of lung cancer. Hitler's Germany was also a pioneer in promoting healthier and better quality foods, environmentalism, holistic medicine, animal welfare, and healthier living generally.

Robert W. Merry - The National Interest

... We must pause here over this doctrine of progress. It may be the most powerful idea ever conceived in Western thought — emphasizing Western thought because the idea has had little resonance in other cultures or civilizations. It is the thesis that mankind has advanced slowly but inexorably over the centuries from a state of cultural backwardness, blindness and folly to ever more elevated stages of enlightenment and civilization — and that this human progression will continue indefinitely into the future ... [John] Gray [in his new book] rejects it utterly. In doing so, he rejects all of modern liberal humanism ... The underlying nature of humans is bred into the species, just as the traits of all other animals are.

Patrick Cockburn - The Independent (Britain)

Every time I come to Syria I am struck by how different the situation is on the ground from the way it is pictured in the outside world. The foreign media reporting of the Syrian conflict is surely as inaccurate and misleading as anything we have seen since the start of the First World War. I can't think of any other war or crisis I have covered in which propagandistic, biased or second-hand sources have been so readily accepted by journalists as providers of objective facts. A result of these distortions is that politicians and casual newspaper or television viewers alike have never had a clear idea over the last two years of what is happening inside Syria.

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

In an excellent report released last month, the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) offered a thoroughly documented — and devastating — critique of [US and British] mainstream media coverage of the Iranian nuclear issue ... Coverage of Iran’s nuclear program reflected and reinforced the negative sentiments about Iran that are broadly shared by U.S., European, and Israeli publics ... In this way, news coverage of Iran’s nuclear program is reminiscent of news coverage of the run-up to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Guy Somerset - Taki’s Magazine

John McCain may be the most treasonous man who ever lived ... Some believe Hitler betrayed his people by leading them into conflicts they could not win. But at least Adolf had the ambition (or excuse) of reunifying historic borderlands. There is no evidence he ever entertained serious notions of attacking South America, central Africa, or conquering the Arab world. Not so John McCain, who has called for military intervention in each. John jokes we should “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” that Venezuela should be forcefully instructed in practicing democracy, and he fully supports any means by which America can exert destructive influence over central Africa.

The College Fix

Babson College apologized this week for anti-Semitic acts surrounding a soccer game with a rival campus that took place in 1978 – 35-years ago – and announced it will launch anti-bias training for its students and faculty starting this fall because of the infamous incident of long ago ... Students and faculty will go through the training, called “A Campus of Difference” and led by the Anti-Defamation League ...

The Daily Caller

At small, private and notably business-focused Babson College in the suburbs of Boston, school president Leonard A. Schlesinger apologized last week for some anti-Semitic antics surrounding a 1978 soccer game. Schlesinger also announced that 500 first-year students will be saddled with an anti-bias program during orientation because of the incident, which occurred during the Carter administration, 17 years before most of the freshmen were even born. In addition, reports Boston.com, there will also be a week of training for professors and staff members.

The Telegraph (Britain)

Official plans to commemorate 100 years since the First World War will let people make up their own minds about who was to blame for the conflict, Maria Miller [Britain’s cultural affairs secretary] has said. / Maria Miller said the Government would not take a judgemental position on the cause of WWI, as this is the job of historians. Her comments come amid accusations from campaigners that the Government is being too anxious to avoid appearing patriotic and triumphalist for fear of upsetting the Germans. Historians have criticised the current plans for failing fully to recognise the achievement of British forces and skipping over their biggest victories in an effort to emphasise the futility and carnage of the war.

Arthur Ponsonby

A series of extracts will give the record of one of the most revolting lies invented during the First World War, the dissemination of which throughout not only Britain but the world was encouraged and connived at by both the [British] government and the press. It started in 1917, and was not finally disposed of till 1925 ... The story had a world-wide circulation and had considerable propaganda value in the East. Not till 1925 did the truth emerge.

Jacob Heilbrunn - The National Interest

... One of the proximate causes of the renaissance of the de facto alliance between liberal hawks and neocons has been the sorry fact that there really is no accountability when it comes to American foreign policy. It’s possible to make catastrophic predictions and decisions, as in Iraq, and then go on to make fresh and equally sweeping predictions with impunity ... The absence of debate over intervention in Syria in Congress is striking ... Congress has largely become a doormat for the presidency when foreign affairs is the subject. As the White House becomes inexorably drawn into Syria, its abdication is a further sign of the corrosion of American democracy even as its champions urge exporting it abroad.

James Bamford

... Geis was shocked by what he heard next. "President Lyndon Johnson came on with a comment that he didn't care if the ship sunk, he would not embarrass his allies." Geis told Lieutenant Commander David Lewis, head of the NSA group on the Liberty, about the comment but asked him to keep it secret until after Geis died. It was a promise that Lewis kept ... Despite the overwhelming evidence that Israel had attacked the ship and killed the American servicemen deliberately, the Johnson administration and Congress covered up the entire incident. Johnson was planning to run for president the following year and needed the support of pro-Israel voters.

Forward (New York)

A memorial to Austrian poet Josef Weinheber (1892-1945) stands in Vienna’s First District, the city’s business and historic core. While it honors his literary contribution to his homeland, there’s no mention of his Nazi past – or pro-Hitler works. But that may soon change. A team of Vienna-based artists launched an “intervention” June 28 aimed at “recontextualization and artistic reconfiguration” of the monument, according to Eduard Freudmann, an instructor at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and one of the instigators.

Reuters

A Mongolian neo-Nazi group has rebranded itself as an environmentalist organisation fighting pollution by foreign-owned mines, seeking legitimacy as it sends swastika-wearing members to check mining permits. Tsagaan Khass, or White Swastika, has only 100 or so members but it is one of several groups – others have names including Dayar Mongol (Whole Mongolia), Gal Undesten (Fire Nation) and Khukh Mongol (Blue Mongolia) – that are linking nationalism and resources as foreign firms seek to exploit the mineral wealth of the vast country, landlocked between Russia and China.

Tyler Kent -- Institute for Historical Review

… In 1940, an obscure cypher clerk at the American Embassy in London came across documents which, in his judgment and that of many reputable historians subsequently, proved conclusively that Roosevelt both directly and through his agents was engaged in activities designed to foment a war and eventually to compel American participation in it. I was that cypher clerk … The new basic law of nations requires only one clause, very simply: "It pays to be on the winning side."

The Guardian (Britain)

US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest 'top secret' US National Security Agency documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target ... The list of "targets" includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey.

CNN

European officials reacted with fury Sunday to a report that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on EU offices. The European Union warned that if the report is accurate, it will have tremendous repercussions. "I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations," European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in a statement. "If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations."

Mark Weber - Institute for Historical Review

In recent weeks there’s been quite a lot in the news about revelations that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted tax exempt groups for special scrutiny because of their views or outlook. Outrage over this profiling led to an apology by the IRS, and the agency’s chief was obliged to resign his post ... Fifteen years ago the federal tax agency responded to Jewish-Zionist pressure by targeting the IHR for similar special scrutiny -- but in this case no apology was ever issued, and no one ever resigned.

Enormous crowds of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square vent their anger at the Morsi government. The banners and placards (in English) pictured here also show the outrage of many Egyptians over America’s intrusive pro-Zionist policies. The US media has ignored this fervent anti-Obama and anti-US sentiment.

Ynet News (Israel)

Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung publishes caricature of Israel as horned monster in attempt to question Germany’s military aid to Israel; ADL: Image reminiscent of Nazi propaganda / The image is a caricature published by the ... daily newspaper, criticizing Germany’s military aid to Israel. The paper attempted to express the manner Israel is viewed by its enemies ...”The characterization of the Jewish state as a ravenous Moloch – an idol to whom children were sacrificed – is a blatant anti-Semitic canard,” Rabbi Cooper of the [Wiesenthal] center added.

Toronto Sun (Canada)

An Alberta MP has succeeded in his bid to repeal a section of the Canadian Human Rights Act long seen by free-speech advocates as a tool to squelch dissenting opinions. Conservative MP Brian Storseth saw the Senate give third and final reading late Wednesday to his Bill C-304 which repeals Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, an act that had been used to, among other things, attack the writings of Sun News Network's Ezra Levant and Maclean's columnist Mark Steyn. Section 13 ostensibly banned hate speech on the Internet and left it up to the quasi-judicial human rights commission to determine what qualified as "hate speech." But, unlike a court, there was no presumption of innocence of those accused of hate speech by the commission.

Jonathan Kay - National Post (Canada)

... Till the middle part of the last decade, the Canadian punditariat was dominated by professional columnists who were socially, ideologically, and sometimes professionally, beholden to the academics, politicians, and old-school activists (from Jewish groups, in particular) who’d championed the human-rights industry since its inception in the 1960s ... Laws such as the Canadian Human Rights Act now comprise a greater threat to our liberty than the harms they were meant to address. The repeal of Section 13 of the CHRA represents a good, albeit belated, first step at reform.

ABC News

Hundreds of pages of the long-lost diary kept by one of Adolf Hitler's advisors were recovered by federal officials, who said today they hope the discovery will be an "important record" of crimes perpetrated during the Holocaust. The diary, which was penned by Alfred Rosenberg, is roughly 400 pages of loose-leaf paper and spans from 1936 to 1944 ...

Businessweek

... They may have been part of a model railway set owned by Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man in the Nazi party and commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe. He owned two train sets together covering 400 square meters (4,305 square feet) at his country estate ... Today, they sit on a shelf in a government depot in Berlin, where Angelika Enderlein, an art historian employed by the government, is researching the ownership of a trove of unclaimed paintings, sculptures and other items.