May 2014

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

The sad saga of civil liberties in the United States during the Second World War begins well before Pearl Harbor. The popular impression is that the Japanese surprise attack in December 1941 caught the U.S. government totally unaware ... For the U.S. government was, without a doubt, better prepared to fight World War II than any previous war in its history ... The Second World War is still today widely regarded as the U.S. State's last "good war." ... The Roosevelt Administration established virtually all the precedents for Cold War political harassment. If this is what we can expect from a "good war," we can only tremble at the thought of what the next "bad war" might bring.

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News (Israel)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly revealed at a Likud conference on Wednesday some remarkable facets of the Basic Law he submitted last Thursday, which would enshrine Israel's status as the nation-state of the Jewish people ... The new law also would establish the Talmud, the core work of Jewish law, as an official basis for Israeli state law ... Netanyahu also promised that "we will define in the law the Gemara as a basis for the Israeli legal system," referencing the Jewish legal text analyzing the Mishnah, a legal work of the Jewish sages, which together form the Talmud.

Nu'man Abd al-Wahid - Mondoweiss

Nothing more exemplifies the historical whitewash of British rule in Palestine between 1917 and 1948 than the response (or lack of) to David Cameron’s speech in the Israeli Knesset in March 2014. Therein he briefly propounded the much overlooked fact that Britain was the main western supporter of the Zionist colonial experiment in Palestine from the very beginning ... Cameron clearly defined the Balfour declaration as the moment Israel went from “a dream to a plan.” ... He then, somewhat self-incriminatory, said that British imperialism “played a proud and vital role in helping to secure Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people.”

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.

J. Pincott - Psychology Today

... Over evolutionary time, the ability to quickly extract information from faces has given us an edge in predicting character and behavior. It helps us to discern who's sick and whom to trust, who's flirtworthy, and who might blow up at a moment's notice. To get a sense of others' religiosity, sexual orientation, promiscuity, aggressiveness, competence, intelligence, and even trustworthiness, you might think that you should focus on how they act, not how they look. But then you'd neglect your swiftest insights. Snap judgments about faces are not fail-safe, but they are far too accurate to ignore ...

Sheldon Richman

Americans could be enjoying cultural and commercial relations with Iranians were it not for U.S. “leaders,” who are more aptly described as misleaders. Because of institutional, geopolitical, and economic reasons, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton were not about to let that happen. They thought America needed an enemy, and Iran filled the bill ... The Bush administration did everything in its power, including lying, to stop the more realistic British, French, and Germans from reaching agreement with an Iranian government eager to ensure the transparency of its nuclear program and, in return, have economic sanctions lifted. Let’s hope President Obama doesn’t let the neocons destroy the current chance at reconciliation.

Ynet News (Israel)

An insider in Israel's nuclear program believes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is employing needless fearmongering when it comes to Iran's atomic aspirations, in order to further his own political aims. Brigadier General (res.) Uzi Eilam, who for a decade headed the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, does not believe that Tehran is even close to having a bomb, if that is even what it really aspires to. "The Iranian nuclear program will only be operational in another ten years," declares Eilam, a senior official in Israel's atomic program. "Even so, I am not sure that Iran wants the bomb."

Mark Weber - Podcast

On Memorial Day we remember all those who have suffered, sacrificed and died while serving in our country’s armed forces. But time and again, American political leaders, supported by much of the media, have sent young people to their deaths, and have ruined the lives of many more, in foreign wars that were promoted and justified on the basis of deceit and lies. A good example is the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, which has cost more than four thousand American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, and has brought death to many tens of thousands of Iraqis.

Daily Mail (Britain)

... In Britain we remember the great crusade against the Nazis as our finest hour. But as the historian Keith Lowe shows in an extraordinary, disturbing and powerful new book, Savage Continent, it is time we thought again about the way the war ended. For millions of people across the Continent, he argues, VE Day marked not the end of a bad dream, but the beginning of a new nightmare ... In Prague, captured German soldiers were ‘beaten, doused in petrol and burned to death’. In the city’s sports stadium, Russian and Czech soldiers gang-raped German women.

Jo Nesbo – The New York Times

... Perhaps the best-known example of the law and judicial principles’ having to yield to the man in the street’s need for revenge can be seen in Norway after the Second World War. In 1940, Norway was occupied by Germany and a new German-friendly government was installed. Compared with most other occupied countries, life went on fairly peacefully ... After liberation in 1945 came the day of reckoning, and Norway faced a dilemma. The people wanted their revenge on the collaborators, but Norway had capitulated in 1940 and if the country, technically speaking, had been a German dominion in the war years, how could you convict collaborators of treason?

Santa Cruz Sentinel (California)

The Bay Area author of an upcoming book shatters the image of California's historic missions as idyllic sites where Franciscan friars and Indians lived in harmony ... Elias Castillo, author of "A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanish Missions," said in reality the missions were "death camps.” "More than an estimated 62,000 Native Americans died within California's 21 missions," said Castillo, a former San Jose Mercury News reporter. "Indigenous people were held captive and treated brutally by Franciscan friars from 1769 to 1833."

Nicholas Wade - Time

A longstanding orthodoxy among social scientists holds that human races are a social construct and have no biological basis. A related assumption is that human evolution halted in the distant past, so long ago that evolutionary explanations need never be considered by historians or economists. In the decade since the decoding of the human genome, a growing wealth of data has made clear that these two positions, never at all likely to begin with, are simply incorrect. There is indeed a biological basis for race. ...

M. Wente - Globe and Mail (Canada)

... Mr. Wade argues that human history has also been profoundly influenced by genetics. Part of his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, is a summary of new findings in genetic science, and part of it is highly speculative. All of it is bound to be deeply unpopular among social scientists, because it challenges their entrenched belief that race is nothing more than a social construct. ... You can be sure that quite a lot of people do not want to have this conversation, or even admit that it might be legitimate. They do not want to entertain the thought that genetics could be a reason why human societies differ. Sure, they believe in evolution – except when it comes to us.

Bloomberg

U.S. high school seniors, whose school years have encompassed the sweeping education initiatives of two presidents, failed to demonstrate improvement in math or reading on a national exam. Only 38 percent of those tested in 2013 scored as proficient readers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” released today by the Education Department. Three-quarters failed to show math proficiency. The scores were little changed from 2009, when the test was last given ... Tests are also given in science, history and other subjects. Just twelve percent of 12th-graders were proficient in American history, according to a 2011 report.

Philadelphia Inquirer - Philly.com

The culture of cheating was so blatant at Cayuga Elementary, authorities said, that the principal broadcast orders to tamper with tests over the loudspeaker. Five educators were arrested Thursday and accused of tampering with public records, forgery, conspiracy and other crimes – the first such charges brought in a Pennsylvania cheating investigation expected to yield more arrests ... Sources with knowledge of the probe say the Cayuga charges are just the beginning. They drew parallels between Philadelphia's cheating scandal and one in Atlanta, where 35 educators from 44 schools were indicted.

Boston Globe

... Testimonials like these from sexual assault victims — some writing anonymously, others stepping fully into the spotlight — have poured out in student newspapers and on blogs on one campus after another in the past year and a half from Emerson, MIT, Brandeis, Brown, and others across the country ... The Education Department revealed for the first time the full list of colleges under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assaults, currently 55 schools, including six in Massachusetts.

Ray McGovern - Consortium News

The U.S. mainstream media portrays the Ukraine crisis as a case of Russian “imperialism,” but the reality is that Moscow has been reacting to aggressive moves by Washington to expand NATO to Russia’s border in violation of a post-Cold War pledge / ... Lavrov said U.S. and NATO reneged on a series of commitments: not to enlarge the Alliance; then (after NATO was expanded contrary to that commitment), not to deploy substantial forces on the territories of new NATO members; and then not to move NATO infrastructure to the Russian border ... Now, with events quickly spinning out of control in Ukraine, some policymakers need to tell President Obama that there can be even bigger trouble ahead, if Russia’s national security interests are not taken into account.

Ron Paul

... Even though the Russian president followed US demands and urged the eastern Ukrainians to hold off on the vote, the US State Department announced that the US would apply additional sanctions on Russia if the vote is held! Does this make any sense? The real question is why the US government is involved in Ukraine in the first place. We are broke. We cannot even afford to fix our own economy. Yet we want to run Ukraine? ... Has the arrogance of the US administration, thinking they should run the world, driven us to the brink of another major war in Europe?

The Australian Jewish News

Claims from Malcom Fraser that Israel deliberately bombed the USS Liberty in June 1967 is a “mad, demented conspiracy theory”, Australia/ Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) national chairman Mark Leibler said this week. The former prime minister made the assertion while promoting his new book Dangerous Allies during an interview with ABC Radio Melbourne broadcaster Jon Faine last Friday, during which he also said former foreign minister Bob Carr was “absolutely correct” in his view that the pro-Israel lobby wielded too much power.

Paul Craig Roberts

… The USS Liberty suffered 70% casualties, with 34 killed and at least 171 wounded … It is now established fact that the attack on the Liberty was intentional and was covered up by President Johnson and every administration since. There has never been a Congressional investigation, nor have the majority of survivors ever officially testified. Moreover, testimony that conflicted with the coverup was deleted from the official record … Liberty survivors say it is difficult to know which is worse: Israel’s intentional attack on an American ship or the U.S. government’s participation in a conspiracy with Israel to keep the truth from the American people.

CTV (Canada)

The winning design team for Canada’s National Holocaust Monument includes architect Daniel Libeskind, who helped create the Ground Zero Memorial in New York City, the federal government announced Monday. The Ottawa-based monument will be made of six triangular, concrete figures arranged in the shape of the Star of David, meant to represent the millions of Jews who were forced to wear the insignia as an identifying mark during the Holocaust.

Video

The performance of the winning team in a recent national collegiate debate championship underscores the drastic decline in America of academic standards, accepted norms of civil discussion, and regard for reason, logic and evidence. The showy, juvenile and hyper-emotional presentations of the winning teams in this year’s Cross Examination Debate Association's national championship, held in March 2014 at Indiana University, along with media and academic praise given to these “champions,” point up the accelerating breakdown of American cultural and intellectual life. It’s no wonder that people around the world increasingly regard the US with contempt or pity, and that, here at home, more Americans than ever view their country’s future with anxiety.

Downtrend

In a sign that our academic standards have bottomed out, an all-black all-female team from Towson University won the Cross Examination Debate Association 2014 national championship with a frenetic rant, laden with hyperventilation and liberal use of the n-word. “They say the n*gga’s always already queer, that’s exactly the point…the body of the n*gger is not able to survive,” says Ameena Ruffin debating the restriction of presidential war powers authority ... I don’t think it’s possible to describe how insane this debate competition is ... The traditional style of debate in which participants research a subject and argue the merits of the facts has been replaced by free-form rap lyrics and personal insults. ... The rules are out the window as well.

The Atlantic

... These days, an increasingly diverse group of participants has transformed debate competitions, mounting challenges to traditional form and content by incorporating personal experience, performance, and radical politics. These “alternative-style” debaters have achieved success, too, taking top honors at national collegiate tournaments over the past few years ... Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format ... The new style has received mainstream acceptance, sympathy, and awards.

CNN

One in four adults worldwide are "deeply infected with anti-Semitic attitudes," the Anti-Defamation League announced, in releasing results of an unprecedented global survey. Nearly half have never heard of the Holocaust, and only a third believe historical descriptions are accurate, the survey found ... The survey included 102 countries representing 88% of the world's adult population. In native languages, it asked people whether certain traditionally anti-Semitic statements are probably true or false, including that Jews have too much power over international markets, global media, and the U.S. government; ...

Anti-Defamation League (New York)

... Only 54 percent of those polled globally have ever heard of the Holocaust. Two out of three people surveyed have either never heard of the Holocaust, or do not believe historical accounts to be accurate ... The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is: “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in.” Overall, 41 percent of those surveyed believe this statement to be “probably true.” This is the most widely accepted stereotype in five out of the seven regions surveyed ... The second most widely accepted stereotype worldwide is “Jews have too much power in the business world.” ... The Middle Eastern country with the lowest anti-Semitism Index Score is Iran.

Philip Giraldi

... Kerry’s reluctance to speak the truth unambiguously is not surprising as is the use of anonymous quotes to register displeasure with Israeli behavior. The White House operates under the shadow of powerful international Jewish organizations that appear to regard Israel as something that has to be protected at all costs and by any means no matter how it misbehaves ... America’s “greatest ally” Israel is touted shamelessly on Capitol Hill and the White House giving it near mythic status while it is privately regarded by the US intelligence agencies as the greatest threat to US interests in the Middle East ... In all seriousness, Israel is no friend to the American people and it should not be listened to when it tries to manipulate US domestic politics to serve its own interests ...

The Associated Press

Palestinians marched in the West Bank and Gaza on Thursday to commemorate their displacement in the 1948 Mideast war that followed the establishment of the state of Israel. Sirens wailed at noon in Ramallah and elsewhere across the West Bank for 66 seconds to symbolize the number of years since the "Nakba," or "catastrophe" in Arabic - the term Palestinians use to describe their defeat and displacement in the war.

The Washington Post

This is the month of clashing narratives in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Last week, Israel held a remembrance day for its war dead and celebrated 66 years of statehood. On Thursday, the Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, or the catastrophe, marking the flight and expulsion of an estimated 700,000 Palestinians from Israel more than six decades ago. Most Israeli Jews tend to ignore Nakba Day, which is marked in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, just as Palestinians in Nablus or Hebron pay little mind to fireworks celebrating the 1948 birth of Israel. But nowadays, Nakba commemorations by Palestinian citizens of Israel are becoming more public and more assertive.

Jonathan Cook

For 66 years Israel’s founding generation has lived with a guilty secret, one it successfully concealed from the generations that followed. Forests were planted to hide war crimes. School textbooks mythologised the events surrounding Israel’s creation. The army was blindly venerated as the most moral in the world. Once, “Nakba” – Arabic for “Catastrophe”, referring to the dispossession of the Palestinian homeland in 1948 – would have failed to register with any but a small number of Israeli Jews. Today, only those who never watch television or read a newspaper can plead ignorance.

Rachelle Marshall

... Because the myth of Israel's birth was so closely linked to the horrors of the Holocaust, to question its truth was for years as unthinkable as doubting the truth of the Holocaust itself. But today a new breed of historians is challenging much of that myth. Palestinian and other Arab scholars, Western Middle East specialists, and non-Zionist Jews such as Elmer Berger, Alfred Lilienthal, and Norman Finkelstein have already published well-documented refutations of the official version of Israel's history. The current debunking process, however, is being carried out for the first time by Israeli Jews a younger generation of historians with impeccable credentials as Zionists, patriotic Israelis and scholars.

The Associated Press

The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land urged Israel to crack down on vandals behind a spate of hate crimes aimed primarily at Christian and Muslim sites on Sunday, weeks before Pope Francis visits. Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal said that the vandalism "poisons the atmosphere of coexistence" for the papal visit at the end of May. He asked why the vandals haven't been caught. He spoke two days after another church was defaced. It was the latest in a series of attacks believed to be the work of fringe Jewish radicals. Churches, mosques, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been hit by the vandals.

Red Ice Radio (Sweden)

The organized Jewish community wields greater power and influence in the US than any other ethnic or religious group, says Mark Weber, director of the IHR, in this extended interview with Henrik Palmgren, host and founder of Sweden-based "Red Ice Radio." Weber begins by reporting on the Zionist campaign, headed by a New York politician, against the IHR. Weber goes on to talk about the dangers of applying “morality” to international policy, which in practice means using noble-sounding slogans to justify war and hegemony. Runtime: 55:48 mins.

AFP

The author of a global best-selling Holocaust memoir who later admitted it was pure fantasy has been ordered by a US court to repay $22.5 million to her publisher. US-based Belgian writer Misha Defonseca's "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years" told the supposedly true tale of a Jewish girl who was cared for by a pack of wolves and killed a Nazi soldier during World War II. Published in 1997, it became an instant hit in Europe, was translated into 20 languages and made into the 2007 movie "Surviving With Wolves."

Robert Parry - Consortium News

... What has gripped Official Washington and the U.S. news media is a full-blown “group think.” The facts and context of the Ukrainian events have been forgotten or bowdlerized to such an extent that the American people are being systematically misled ... We have seen this movie many times before – as has John Kerry – when the American people were snookered into the Vietnam War via the Gulf of Tonkin deception, when we were sold on Iraq’s non-existent WMD, and when we were told “facts” about the Syrian gas attack that have since proved false, just to name a few of the times propaganda has dominated American discourse around war or peace.

Scott McConnell - The American Conservative

... I don’t think any fair minded person can fail to conclude that Israel’s present government just doesn’t want to allow the Palestinians to have a state under any circumstances. What happens next? Perhaps a third Palestinian intifada, in which the Palestinians pay a huge price in blood to get international attention focused on their dispossession. More optimistically, we could see an increased scope for European diplomacy: Europe holds a number of diplomatic carrots and sticks it could deploy with Israel ... Once Israel’s occupation is perceived as permanent, the Israel lobby will need some extremely innovative phrase-making to persuade the world that Palestinians should not have the right to vote for the government which rules their territory, while Israelis do.

The Huffington Post

Nearly half of Americans want to see the country play less of a role on the world stage, according to an NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday [April 30]. Forty-seven percent of Americans say the U.S. should be less active in world affairs, while 30 percent think it should remain at its current level. Just 19 percent want to see the country become more involved. Those opinions represent a stark change from just after the 9/11 attacks. In September 2001, 37 percent of Americans thought the country should be more active, and only 14 percent wanted it to take a less active role

Reuters

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif survived a censure vote in parliament on Tuesday for his refusal to deny the Holocaust, in the latest battle with hardliners trying to undermine President Hassan Rouhani's overtures to the West ... In Tuesday's hearing, broadcast live on state radio, 75 Islamic hardliners in the 290-member assembly questioned him on a range of issues ... The foreign minister turned the questions into an attack on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. To bursts of applause, he said: "Netanyahu shamelessly claims Iran denies the Holocaust, that we are after a nuclear bomb to create another Holocaust. As long as I am foreign minister, I will not allow the Holocaust to be exploited to ruin our national image and dignity."

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

... For three years, we have argued that Iran is an indispensable player in any serious effort to negotiate a political settlement in Syria — and that such a settlement will necessarily be reached between the Syrian government, headed by President Bashar al-Assad, and those elements of the opposition who understand that they cannot defeat Assad either on the battlefield or at the ballot box. In other words, a political settlement may reform Syria’s current political order — but it won’t overturn that order. Now, events of the ground are providing ever more abundant evidence that our analysis is correct. ... At this point, it seems that the Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing a much smarter and more effective strategy in Syria than the United States and its partners.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi (Iran)

... Many Iranians are convinced that their country's offers for reconciliation have been rejected by Washington and its Western partners because of Iran's opposition to apartheid in Palestine and the enormous influence of the Zionist lobby in the US ... President Barack Obama and other senior US officials continue to threaten Iran with military strikes and to refrain from explicitly acknowledging Iran's full nuclear rights. This has increased suspicions among Iranians that the US still clings to a destructive, zero-sum worldview and that it believes it can somehow force Rouhani to sign away Iran's sovereign rights. This is a potentially dangerous misunderstanding of the Iranian president's position ...

Walter E. Williams

... Let’s use some common sense and look at some differences between men and women that may have a bearing on earnings ... There are inequalities everywhere. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Asian men and women have median earnings higher than white men and women. Female cafeteria attendants earn more than their male counterparts. Females who are younger than 30 and have never been married earn salaries eight percent higher than males of the same description.

F. Rost van Tonningen - Institute for Historical Review

... I still count our meetings with Adolf Hitler as highlights in my life. For us he was a leader who dedicated, and sacrificed, himself for his people, one who eminently fulfilled his life's mission. He united his countrymen, of all classes and stations, from the aristocracy to the farmers and laborers, as had no man before him. His soldiers fought heroically to the last, particularly the men of the Waffen SS, not only Germans but from across Europe. Like my beloved brother, who died in combat in the ranks of the SS, and my husband, I think of Adolf Hitler as the first European.

AFP

Israel spies on the United States more than any other ally does, and these activities have reached an alarming level, Newsweek magazine reported on Tuesday. The main targets are US industrial and technical secrets, the weekly said, quoting classified briefings on legislation that would make it easier for Israeli citizens to get visas to enter America. Newsweek said a congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony "very sobering ... alarming ... even terrifying" ... Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected the allegations. “We’re talking about lies and falsehood, simply libel which is baseless and unfounded," he said.

The New York Times

Putting his personal seal on the annexation of Crimea, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia arrived in the naval port of Sevastopol on Friday, where he used the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany to assert that Moscow had the right to take over the Black Sea peninsula. Over the past decade, Mr. Putin has gradually turned Victory Day into a celebration of resurgent Russian power and nationalism ... Speaking for less than four minutes, he ran through Sevastopol’s history: its naming by Catherine the Great 230 years ago; the 225 days of bloody Nazi occupation the city endured; and its vote to rejoin Russia in March.

CNN

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea on Friday to take part in Victory Day celebrations in Sevastopol, in what is his first visit to the disputed territory since Russia annexed it from Ukraine ... The Russian President's first Victory Day appearance was in Moscow, where the annual display of nationalistic fervor was heightened by Russia's annexation of Crimea. Tanks, rocket launchers and even intercontinental ballistic missiles were paraded through the capital's Red Square in a Soviet-style show of military might, as tens of thousands of people watched and cheered, waving Russian flags.

A. Taylor – The Washington Post

It'd be tough to overstate how much World War II still resonates in Russia. Take its naming: It's no "Second World War" in Russia, it's The Great Patriotic War ... This week, that's especially important. Remember that in Russia, May 9 is Victory Day: the anniversary of the day that the Soviet Union announced that Nazi Germany had surrendered. And Victory Day isn't just a big day for Russia. It's a big day for all former members of the Soviet Union who fought together in the war. This year, it may be an exceptionally complicated day for one country in particular: Ukraine.

Sheldon Richman

... Those four former members of the defunct Soviet bloc are now members of NATO, the very active alliance established after World War II ostensibly to keep the Red Army out of Western Europe. One might have expected NATO to disappear along with the Soviet Union ... The U.S. government’s and news media’s demonization of Putin (who’s no saint) should not be allowed to overshadow the fact that America’s rulers have needlessly provoked the Russians, the coup in Kiev being just the latest example. In 1998, the architect of the postwar containment policy, George Kennan, warned that humiliating Russia by expanding NATO “is a tragic mistake.” Must we learn this the hard way?

Mark Weber

… Most Americans -- whether they call themselves conservative or liberal -- like to regard World War II as "the good war," a morally unambiguous conflict between Good and Evil … The hubris of Clinton's portrayal of history is not merely an affront against historical truth, it is dangerous because it sanctions potentially even more calamitous military adventures in the future. After all, if the United States was as righteous and as successful as the President says it was in "saving the world" in two world wars, why would anyone oppose similar world-saving crusades in the future?

Courthouse News Service

A woman who fabricated a Holocaust memoir must forfeit her share of a $32.4 million judgment that she won from her publishers, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals ruled. Misha Defonseca struck a deal in 1995 with Mt. Ivy Press and the publisher's principal, Jane Daniel, for the release of "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years." Defonseca spun a tale of survival that included her killing a Nazi soldier and adoption by a pack of wolves that provided her with food and companionship ... It was a bestseller in Canada and Europe. The story was translated into 18 languages and was made into a movie in France ...

AFP

Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked a 2011 peace agreement he had secretly negotiated with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas. Peres said he and Abbas had finalised a draft agreement in a series of secret meetings in neighbouring Jordan but the draft was rejected by Netanyahu's right-leaning government. "We had gone through all of the points and the agreement was ready," Peres told Israel's Channel Two television in an interview on the occasion of Israel's independence day.

The Times of Israel

Israel’s aggressive and widespread espionage activity in the US is increasingly angering American government officials and has “crossed red lines,” Newsweek reported Tuesday. The report anonymously quotes senior intelligence officials and congressional staffers who have been privy to information on Israeli spying activities. Staffers called the extent of Israeli espionage “sobering” and “shocking,” far exceeding similar activities by any other close US allies. Some of the spying was allegedly industrial in nature, conducted by Israeli companies or individuals. But a significant amount appeared to be state-sanctioned reconnaissance gathering, according to the report.

The Telegraph (Britain)

Germans are more interested in Adolf Hitler that at any time since the end of the Second World War, a new study has concluded. The German Media Control research group, which monitors broadcasting, found that documentaries about Hitler are aired twice a day on German television channels and that books and films about the Nazi leader are being produced in record numbers ... Sociologists have attributed the rise of interest in Hitler and the Nazis to the fact that the majority of today's Germans have had no experience of the Second World War, are less ashamed of the period than previous generations and more eager to learn about it.

Robert Fantina - CounterPunch

... As a result of this generous largess by the U.S., Israel has the most sophisticated weapons of offense and defense that exist in the world today ... It has long been known that the U.S. government, the so-called elected representatives of the people, has been bought by the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Can there be any other reason that unspeakable human rights abuses are not only allowed, but actually funded, by the U.S. government? In the U.S., government officials pay homage to the lobbyists, and the lobbyists with the deepest pockets get the most reverence. And few of the U.S.’s representatives will bite the hand that so generously feeds them.

Eric Margolis

Did anyone really think that John Kerry’s nine-month effort to produce a Palestinian mini-state would ever work? ... This sickening tale of dirty money and an American political process totally corrupted by now unlimited money explains why Israel has no intention of signing a peace deal with the Palestinians. Why should it? ... Israel holds all the cards. US Mideast policy is determined by the potent Israel lobby ... Israel’s American allies, known as neocons, engineered the Iraq war that destroyed Israel’s most capable Arab enemy.

Uri Avnery (Israel)

... The performance of John Kerry can only be described as pitiful ... The whole exercise revolved around one simple question: was President Obama ready to confront the onslaught of the united forces of AIPAC, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Republicans, the Evangelicals, the right-wing Jewish establishment and the Israeli propaganda machine? If not, Kerry should not have even started. This week, in a private meeting, Kerry stated the obvious: that if Israel continues with its present policy, it will become an apartheid state.

Matt Carr

With a noisy sucking of bubbles, the last dregs of the Israeli-Palestinian peace ‘process’ have disappeared down the plughole ... This latest nine-month-old, US-brokered effort has been one of the most singularly fruitless and redundant phases in the history of the Oslo Process. On one level it represents a total and ignominious failure of American diplomacy, and for the hapless John Kerry in particular. Throughout the process, Kerry has been unable or unwilling to put any serious pressure on Israel to make meaningful concessions regarding key Palestinian demands, while the onus has remained as always on the Palestinians to ‘recognize’ an Israeli occupation that has continued to expand its settlement program even when talks were going on.

The Guardian (Britain)

A day after intense fighting in eastern Ukraine, the region remained on the brink of civil war as a diplomatic initiative to end the confrontation floundered, with Russia insisting that the rebels holding much of the south and east of the country should be included in talks on equal terms with the Kiev government. The French president, François Hollande, warned that "chaos and the risk of civil war" were looming in Ukraine, while the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said "we are not far from a military confrontation". Nato's top commander, General Philip Breedlove, said that Nato will have to consider permanently stationing troops in eastern Europe as a result of the increased tension.

Seumas Milne – The Guardian (Britain)

The threat of war in Ukraine is growing. As the unelected government in Kiev declares itself unable to control the rebellion in the country's east, John Kerry brands Russia a rogue state ... After Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, the bulk of the western media abandoned any hint of even-handed coverage. So Putin is now routinely compared to Hitler ... There may be few global takers for Putin's oligarchic conservatism and nationalism, but Russia's counterweight to US imperial expansion is welcomed, from China to Brazil. In fact, one outcome of the crisis is likely to be a closer alliance between China and Russia ...

Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Monday making the denial of Nazi crimes and distortion of the Soviet Union's role in the World War Two a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in jail ... It has become increasingly risky for Russians to dispute an official line that glorifies the wartime achievements of the Soviet leadership and plays down its errors. The new law would ban "wittingly spreading false information about the activity of the USSR during the years of World War Two".

RAPSI (Russia)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a law that introduces criminal liability for whitewashing or glorifying Nazism, and spreading false information about the Soviet Union’s role in World War II. The perpetrators will face a 300,000 ruble fine ($8,328), or three years in prison ... The term "rehabilitation of Nazism and glorification of Nazi criminals and their accomplices" is interpreted as "the restoration of the rights, the issuance of state or public awards and the provision of other state and public incentives for Nazi criminals and their accomplices, the public justification of the Nazi ideology and practices, and the public promotion of the Nazi ideology or any other public actions glorifying Nazi criminals."

Interfax (Russia)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill imposing criminal liability for public rehabilitation of Nazism ... It reads: "Denial of the facts established by the [Nuremberg] international military tribunal for trying and punishing the main war criminals from the European nations of the Axis, approval of the crimes established by the said verdict, and the spread of knowingly false information about the Soviet activities during the Second World War, coupled with a public accusation of committing the crimes established by the said verdict, will be penalized by a fine of up to 300,000 rubles or imprisonment of up to three years."

The Associated Press

Whether the Holocaust happened is no longer up for debate at Southern California's Rialto Unified School District. The initial assignment given to eighth-graders in the San Bernardino County district was to do some research and write an essay explaining whether they believed the Holocaust was a real historical event or a political scheme to influence public emotion and gain. "It was an error," district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said Monday.

CBS LA (Los Angeles)

School district officials in Rialto [southern California] have received death threats in connection to a class assignment instructing students to debate the veracity of the Holocaust, according to reports Monday ... The controversial question in the assignment read: “…write an argumentative essay, based upon cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe this was an actual event in history or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth …”

The Washington Post

Democrats face serious obstacles as they look to the November elections, with President Obama’s approval rating at a new low and a majority of voters saying they prefer a Congress in Republican hands to check the president’s agenda, according to a new Washington Post- ABC News poll. Obama’s approval rating fell to 41 percent, down from 46 percent through the first three months of the year and the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC News polls. Just 42 percent approve of his handling of the economy, 37 percent approve of how he is handling the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and 34 percent approve of his handling of the situation involving Ukraine and Russia.

Townhall

There are more than 300 of them in New York – violent crews of dozens of 12- to 20-year-olds with names such as Very Crispy Gangsters, True Money Gang and Cash Bama Bullies. Police say these groups, clustered around a particular block or housing project, are responsible for about 40 percent of the city’s shootings, with most of that violence stemming from the smallest of disses on the street, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram ... The trend of smaller, younger crews has also been seen in Chicago and Northeast cities over the last few years as police have cracked down on bigger, more traditional gangs, experts said.

Reuters

Police used water cannon on Sunday to disperse a crowd after authorities banned a rally in Brussels that a French comedian accused of anti-Semitism was due to address. Eric Tomas, mayor of the Brussels suburb of Anderlecht, told Reuters he had issued an order prohibiting the "First European Dissidents' Congress" scheduled to be held in the area on Sunday because there was a clear risk of a disturbance to public order. The event, organized by a small far-right group, "Stand up Belgians!", was to have been addressed by speakers including French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, according to the group's web site.

European Jewish Press

Belgian police used water cannon to disperse an anti-Semitic gathering after authorities on Sunday banned the rally in Brussels that French comedian Dieudonne, convicted for anti-Semitism, was due to address. Earlier on Sunday, the mayor of the Brussels suburb of Anderlecht, Eric Tomas, issued an order prohibiting the "First European Dissidents' Congress" ... Several hundred people who had planned to attend the meeting gathered in Anderlecht, watched by a line of riot police, while the organisers appealed to Belgium's top administrative court, which did not immediately rule. After a standoff lasting several hours, the police moved in with water cannon to disperse the crowd.

Rasmussen Reports

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending April 27 ... Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters now think the country is headed down the wrong track, up three points from last week ... Those 40 and over are even more pessimistic about the country's direction than younger voters are. Fifty-one percent (51%) of black voters think the country is heading in the right direction. Seventy-one percent (71%) of whites and 61% of other minority voters disagree.

Yuliya Komska

I grew up with war loot. There were no Caravaggios, van Goghs or Mondrians on the walls of my family's apartment in Lviv, Ukraine. Instead, there were little things -- silverware or knickknacks --­ that my grandfather, then a 21-year-old Soviet Army lieutenant, brought home from Germany in June 1945 ... Some 70 years after the end of the Second World War, the time is ripe to revisit how we regard these objects ... In the age when drones and nuclear missiles make armed conflict deceptively disembodied and distant, war loot ­-- Soviet or any other --­ reminds us of the war's visceral physicality.

S. Rustin – The Guardian (Britain)

... The horrors inflicted by and on ground troops, Fussell believes, are almost never acknowledged. "American readers needed someone to tell them what war was really like," he says, "because by the 1970s the romanticising of the second world war had already begun. And so I tried to cut away parts of it - tell them what a trench smelt like and what dead GIs smelt like and so forth." ... Under no illusions about the cruelty of frontline troops (in Doing Battle he describes how his own platoon murdered weeping, surrendering German soldiers, and elsewhere reflects on the fashion among American troops in the Pacific for collecting Japanese skulls), he regards the torture of Iraqi prisoners as "absolutely predictable” ... Sadism, he says, is ordinary in war ...

Dwight D. Murphey

… The American public has long thought of the Allied effort in World War II as a “great crusade” that pitted good and decency against Nazi evil. Even after all these years, it is likely that the last thing the public wants to learn is that vast and unspeakable wrongs were committed by both the Western Allies and the Soviet Union during the war and its aftermath. It flies in the face of that reluctance for MacDonogh to tell “the brutal history” at great length [in his book, After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation]. That willingness is commendable for its intellectual bravery.

AFP

The Israel branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre on Sunday gave Germany and the United States top marks in its annual report on efforts to hunt down Nazi war criminals ... It specifically praised Germany for implementing a legal strategy that "paves the way for the conviction of practically any person who served either in a Nazi death camp or in the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units)." ... The survey gave Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Finland, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia an E, the grade given to countries where "no practical steps have been taken to uncover new cases."

Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iran Foreign Minister)

... Given the pressing challenges that it faces today, Iran will also focus on a number of more urgent aims. The top priority is to diffuse and ultimately defeat the international anti-Iranian campaign, spearheaded by Israel and its American benefactors, who seek to “securitize” Iran -- that is, to delegitimize the Islamic Republic by portraying it as a threat to the global order. The main vehicle for this campaign is the “crisis” over Iran’s peaceful nuclear program -- a crisis that, in Iran’s view, is wholly manufactured and therefore reversible ... Westerners, especially Americans, need to modify their understandings of Iran and the Middle East and develop a better grasp of the region’s realities, avoiding the analytic and practical mistakes of the past.

The New York Times

... In all, approximately 3,000 first-, second- and third-generation American Jews fought for the Confederacy. (About 7,000 fought for the Union.) ... The idea of Jews fighting or rooting for the South is bewildering to many Jews today, especially those descended from Russian Socialists who came to America with ideas of class and economic equality and who identified with blacks and other excluded groups.

The Associated Press

... The Tokyo shrine and the memorial hall in Nanjing, as Nanking is now called, are physical embodiments of divergent views of history that still strain China-Japan relations, 70 years after the war. They complicate America's objective of maintaining peace and stability in the Pacific, as President Barack Obama starts a four-country Asian tour in Japan this week. The implications are potentially serious, particularly over contested uninhabited islands called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China.

Institute for Historical Review

Werner Pfeifenberger, a German professor of political science, took his life in Austria on May 13, 2000, a few weeks before he was to go on trial in Vienna for an allegedly revisionist and "neo-Nazi" essay published five years ago. The 58-year-old scholar was scheduled to appear on June 26 before a district criminal court, where he faced up to ten years imprisonment for a 1995 writing that allegedly violated Austria's anti-Nazism law. His attorney said that Pfeifenberger, fearing an unfair trial, had announced his intention to take his life.

Rasmussen Reports (New Jersey)

... A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is fair to say that neither party in Congress is the party of the American people ... Just 28% disagree, while 19% are not sure ... Just six percent of voters now think Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Seventy-two percent (72%) say it would be better for the country if most incumbents in Congress were defeated this November ... Interestingly, 52% of Republicans and a plurality (44%) of Democrats agree that neither major political party is the party of the American people. But 65% of voters not affiliated with either party feel that way.

Robert Parry – Consortium News

It is a mark of how upside-down Official Washington has become over facts and evidence that Secretary of State John Kerry, who has developed a reputation for making false and misleading statements about Syria and Russia, rushes to apologize when he speaks the truth about the danger from Israeli “apartheid” ... The only problem with AIPAC’s umbrage – and with Kerry’s groveling – is that Israel has moved decisively in the direction of becoming an apartheid state in which Palestinians are isolated into circumscribed areas, often behind walls, and are tightly restricted in their movements, even as Israel continues to expand settlements into Palestinian territories.

Gilad Atzmon

... Secretary of State John Kerry did what for many of Israel’s supporters is the unthinkable and used the A-word: apartheid. Apparently for many Jewish groups, the suggestion that the Jews only State is, or even could be, an ‘Apartheid State’ is unthinkable. But far more interesting is the fact that the Jewish Lobby in America believes that it can dictate to the Secretary of State what terms to use and what words to avoid ... In truth, Kerry is actually slightly wrong - Israel is not an Apartheid State. It has never been so and never will be. Apartheid is a racially driven system of exploitation. But Israel doesn’t want to exploit the Palestinians, it wants them gone! Israel is racist, nationalist and an ethnic cleanser.

Arutz Sheva (Israel)

President Barack Obama has released an official statement in honor of Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Hashoah), vowing Monday to fight anti-Semitism worldwide. "On this Yom HaShoah, I join people of all faiths in the United Sates, in the State of Israel, and around the world in remembering the six million Jews – innocent men, women and children – who were senselessly murdered during the Holocaust, as well as all the victims of Nazi brutality and violence," Obama stated ... “On this Yom HaShoah, let us recommit ourselves to the task of remembrance, and to always oppose anti-Semitism wherever it takes root," he continued. "Together, we must give enduring meaning to the words 'Never Again’.”

Haaretz (Israel)

U.S. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation Wednesday proclaiming May 2014 Jewish American Heritage Month. In the proclamation issued by the White House Obama stressed the contributions of Jewish Americans in the field of science, arts and business and especially the part Jews played in the Civil Rights Movement together with African American activists. In his proclamation Obama also touched on the special relationship with Israel, saying Jewish American Heritage Month was also an opportunity to “renew our unbreakable bond with the nation of Israel. It is a bond that transcends politics, a partnership built on mutual interests and shared ideals."

Reuters

Russia staged a huge May Day parade on Moscow's Red Square for the first time since the Soviet era on Thursday, with workers holding banners proclaiming support for President Vladimir Putin after the seizure of territory from neighbouring Ukraine ... Many banners displayed traditional slogans for the annual workers' holiday, like: "Peace, Labour, May". But others were more directly political, alluding to the crisis in neighbouring former Soviet republic Ukraine, where Russian troops seized and annexed the Crimea peninsula in March, precipitating the biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War. "I am proud of my country," read one. "Putin is right," said another.

BBC News

Like fellow movements around the world, the US Communist Party suffered a crippling blow with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But a small group of die-hard members persevered. Not far from Wall Street, on the seventh floor of an elegant eight-storey building on West 23rd Street, is the headquarters of an improbable political survivor - the Communist Party USA ... The party claims 2,000-3,000 members nationally. It has just two salaried staff ... In its heyday in the 1930s and 1940s it had a strong network across the country ...

AFP

Israeli police on Thursday challenged Washington's inclusion of Jewish extremist attacks on Palestinians in a global terror report, saying such incidents could not be likened to militant attacks. For the first time, the State Department's 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism, published Wednesday, included a reference to a growing wave of racist anti-Palestinian vandalism, euphemistically known as "price tag" attacks. "Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property, and places of worship in the West Bank continued and were largely unprosecuted," the report said, citing UN and NGO data.

Reuters

Israeli forces demolished several structures, including a mosque, in a Palestinian village on Tuesday, the day a deadline for a deal in now-frozen peace talks expired. A Reuters correspondent saw several hundred soldiers deployed in Khirbet al-Taweel, in the occupied West Bank, around daybreak. They guarded six bulldozers that reduced to rubble buildings that were constructed without Israeli permits. Palestinians say such documents are nearly impossible to obtain.

Charles Lutton – Institute for Historical Review

... 340,000 British and French troops were evacuated [in May-June 1940] from the besieged port of Dunkirk. At the time the event was portrayed by the British government and press as a kind of victory ... "Far from being betrayed by their Allies, the British military commanders in France and Belgium practiced on them a methodical deception which enabled the British to get away with their rear defended." ... The British were responsible for crimes against both German soldiers and Allied civilians ... French and Belgian civilians fared little better than the Germans at the hands of their British confederates. Looting was common and "stealing from civilians soon became official policy." British military authorities executed without trial civilians suspected of disloyalty.

G. Greenwald – The Guardian (Britain)

A bill introduced by the California Democrat would uniquely exempt Israel from long-standing requirements imposed on all other nations / ... Israel has a practice of routinely refusing to allow Americans of Arab ethnicity or Muslim backgrounds to enter their country or the occupied territories it controls; it also bars those who are critical of Israeli actions or supportive of Palestinian rights ... 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.

The Associated Press

A campaign to allow Israelis to enter the United States without a visa is gaining steam in Congress, but is still running into a brick wall with the Obama administration over the U.S. government's most elementary demand: that the Jewish state provide the same treatment at its borders to all Americans, even if they are Arab or Muslim ... Israel's push to join the prestigious club of 38 mainly European and Asian nations is a top priority for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC and pro-Israel lawmakers. And because Israel currently meets few of the criteria for membership, the issue has become a sensitive diplomatic and legislative one in Washington, where officials and lawmakers don't want to offend a close friend and ally.

The Times of Israel

The world turned a blind eye to the rising Nazi threat over 75 years ago, and today Iran is being allowed to develop its nuclear program and menace Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday as the country marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. Declaring that Iran was determined to acquire nuclear weapons, and urging international negotiators to insist that Iran’s enrichment and other nuclear capabilities be completely dismantled, Netanyahu warned ... Netanyahu wrote on Twitter Sunday that Iran was seeking to wipe out the Jewish people as the Nazis did some 70 years ago. He also drew a line to Gazan terror group Hamas, which he said was denying the Holocaust while trying to create a new one.

Video

In this edgy skit, a gutsy young Israeli woman who personifies “the Holocaust” (“Shoah”) visits the country’s central Holocaust memorial center to call on Israel’s Jews to gratefully acknowledge that she has been very good for the Jewish state. The “Shoah,” she reminds them, has served to justify Israel’s wars, its nuclear weapons arsenal, and its imposed “ghetto of three million” Palestinians. Concept, script and performance by Natali Cohen Vaxsberg. With English subtitles. Runtime: 7:58 mins.

RT News (Russia)

Hundreds took part in a march to mark the anniversary of the formation of the Ukrainian SS division, which fought for the Nazi’s against the Soviet Union during World War II, in the city of Lvov in the western Ukraine. Around five hundred neo-Nazi supporters took to the streets in the center of the city on Sunday to celebrate the creation of the 14th SS-Volunteer Division ‘Galician’ on April 28, 1943. Many of the participants wore embroidered national Ukrainian shirts and held SS Galician divisional insignias (a yellow lion and three crowns on a blue background) in their hands.

Robert Parry - Consortium News

... The Russians already have tried the West’s “shock therapy” under drunken President Boris Yeltsin – and they saw the cruel ugliness of “free market” capitalism. Putin’s autocratic nationalism was a response to the near-starvation levels of poverty that many Russians were forced into as they watched well-connected capitalists plunder the nation’s wealth and emerge as oligarchic billionaires. For all Putin’s faults, it was his pushback against some of those oligarchs and his defense of Russian interests internationally that secured him a solid political base.

Science Daily (USA)

The ability to stay positive when times get tough -- and, conversely, of being negative -- may be hardwired in the brain, finds new research led by a Michigan State University psychologist. The study, which appears in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, is the first to provide biological evidence validating the idea that there are, in fact, positive and negative people in the world ... The study focused on women because they are twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety related problems and previously reported sex differences in brain structure and function could have obscured the results.