Illegal immigration is a threat to Hungary and all of Europe, with the biggest risk coming from hundreds of millions of people from the "depths of Africa" looking to escape poverty, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Saturday. Over 90,000 migrants and refugees have reached Hungary so far this year, and it is building a four-meter (13-foot) high fence on its border with Serbia to stem the flow ... Orban accused the European Union of failing to defend its citizens from the "masses of illegal immigrants," who he said threatened the cultural identity of European countries and contributed to increased terrorism, unemployment and criminality ... "The question now is not only what kind of Europe we Hungarians would like to live in," Orban said. "Rather, will all that we now call Europe exist at all?"
European values, the lifestyle of European citizens, the survival of nations and Europe as a whole are at stake today, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said ... The question today is not what sort of Europe we Hungarians wish to live in, but rather whether what we call Europe will even exist, the prime minister said referring to Europe’s migration crisis. “Our response is clear: we want Europe to remain European,” he said. Orban said the modern migration wave resulted from political developments ... Orban said the European Left sees migration as an “opportunity rather than a threat”. Orban said the Left believes the growing influx of migrants could severely weaken or even “abolish” the concept of nation states, helping to achieve its long-standing goal.
[ Text of address given in Stockholm, April 2015 ] ... In spite of its relative economic prosperity, Europe today is in greater danger than ever before in its history. Far worse than the consequences of military defeat, a terrible war, or a devastating plague, Europe is threatened with cultural, ethnic and racial extinction ... The current malaise of the West is the entirely predictable result of policies based on the premises about life and society of the prevailing egalitarian-individualist ideology ... We must not permit intimidation, malicious smears or threats to keep us from affirming what is true, and doing what is right, strengthened by the confidence that future generations will respect us, and history will vindicate us.
... Ostracised within the Swedish parliament, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats are the country’s fastest-growing political force ... Reminders of the party’s neo-fascist roots are a regular occurrence, but a substantial swathe of the Swedish electorate does not seem to care. The SD gained 12.9 percent of the vote at the election, more than doubling its share and making it Sweden’s third-largest political movement ... In these turbulent times a seismic upheaval is also taking place in the normally sedate world of Scandinavian politics ... In Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, the populist right is on the march – and it is wearing the traditional battle armour of the Nordic left.
The leader of the populist Finns Party has so far remained silent after a prominent MP called on his followers to "fight until the end" against the “nightmare called multiculturalism". Olli Immonen, member of parliament for the northern Finnish town of Oulu, posted his remarks in English on Friday night on Facebook and on the website of the nationalist organisation Suomen Sisu, of which he is the chair. The MP, an outspoken opponent of immigration who on his website describes the need to fight the “Islamification” of Finland, predicted in his post “'The ugly bubble that our enemies live in will soon enough burst into a million little pieces.” He added that “We will fight until the end for our homeland and one true Finnish nation.”
Migrants arriving at a new shelter outside Rome needed riot police to protect them from far-right activists and furious residents. In the north, locals vandalized a home to keep asylum seekers from moving in. Traditionally a nation of emigrants, Italy is now struggling to absorb a ceaseless influx of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is under pressure to stem the flow and his government is fighting to calm tensions. Migrant arrivals have already exceeded 85,000 this year, following 170,000 in all of 2014. While many of the newcomers look to move swiftly to wealthier northern Europe, some 85,000 are housed in Italian shelters - up from 60,000 last year.
... Despite its past achievements, the EU now suffers from growing tensions and several self-inflicted wounds. The EU is likely to experience repeated crises and internal divisions, and one cannot rule out a gradual and irreversible decline in its cohesion and influence ... As the euro’s critics emphasized early on, the EU lacked the political and institutional mechanisms needed to make a currency union work ... Instead of an “ever closer union,” therefore, the EU is more likely to simply muddle through. It will keep applying Band-Aids to contain the euro crisis and will hope that trade deals with the United States and China will provide an economic boost ... The EU will stay in business, but robust growth will remain elusive, support for the union will decline, and Europe’s global influence will continue to wane.
Is the military option finally off the table regarding Iran? If, as seems likely, President Barack Obama retains enough support to complete the nuclear deal with Iran, it will be largely because enough members of the House and Senate are persuaded by his argument that the only other real option is war ... Since then, Israeli media have been pressing hard to restore the military option to its accustomed place "on the table." ...
But in the wake of last week's accord with Iran in Vienna, it is possible now to hope that the "military option" is finally off the table — in reality, if not in occasional rhetorical palliatives for Israel. Most Americans have no idea of how close we came to making war on Iran in 2008, the last year of the Bush/Cheney administration.
Iran hit out on Friday against the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, accusing him of threatening military action against Tehran if it fails to respect a historic nuclear deal sealed on 14 July. “Unfortunately the US Secretary of State once again talked about the rotten rope of ‘the ability of the US for using military force’,” said the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a statement. Zarif decried what he called the “uselessness of such empty threats against the nation of Iran and the resistance of the nation of Iran” and said such remarks should be consigned “to the last century” ... Several US officials, including the Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter, have signalled that military force remains on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
It is a world few Americans are aware of. But tens of thousands of American children are thought to be sexually exploited every year. It's believed that every night hundreds are sold for sex. The FBI says child sex abuse is almost at an epidemic level, despite the agency rescuing 600 children last year ... The vast majority of children bought and sold for sex every night in the United States are American kids. We have heard from a number of women from the East coast to the Mid-west who have frighteningly similar and horrific stories. Neglected, abused, exploited and often ignored starting from a young age ... The stories we have heard suggest they are only scratching the surface of one of America's best-kept and darkest secrets.
The United States risks a collapse in its future negotiating credibility if it walks away from the Iranian nuclear deal, according to US secretary of state John Kerry, who argues Congress now has little choice but to back the plan. In his starkest warning yet to critics on Capitol Hill, Kerry also predicted the international coalition behind economic sanctions would quickly collapse, and leave Iran even closer to developing an atomic bomb if the US sought to renegotiate terms ... “If Congress rejects this, Iran goes back to its enrichment. The Ayatollah will not come back to the table ... the sanctions regime completely falls apart,” he said ... The secretary of state was adamant that the deal was the best available and was no longer up for negotiation. “If we walk away, we walk away alone,” he said. “Our partners are not going to be with us” ...
The American political class has failed the country, and should be fired. That is the clearest message from the summer surge of Bernie Sanders and the remarkable rise of Donald Trump ... But Trump has connected to an even more powerful current. That is the issue of uncontrolled and illegal immigration, the sense America’s borders are undefended, that untold millions of lawbreakers are in our country, and more are coming ... Moreover, the politicians who have talked about this for decades are a pack of phonies who have done little to secure the border ... He is boastful, brash, defiant, unapologetic, loves campaigning, and is putting on a great show with his Trump planes and 100-foot-long stretch limos ... Compared to Trump, all the other candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, are boring. He makes politics entertaining, fun.
One of the most controversial campaigns of the Second World War was the bombing offensive against Germany. British, and to a lesser extent American, air commanders believed that Germany could be defeated by bombing alone. Max Hastings, a distinguished British war correspondent, has written a masterful history of the British Bomber Command ... Bomber Command launched a massive series of assaults against the Ruhr, Hamburg, and Berlin during 1943 and early 1944. Thousands of acres were burned and hundreds of thousands of Germans were killed. The RAF lost over 4,100 bombers. Yet German arms production increased ... An Associated Press dispatch reported that the "Allied air chiefs" had begun "deliberate terror bombing of German population centers ..."
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.” Runtime: 2:20 mins.
... 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.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has established himself as the biggest enemy of peace in the Middle East. His thoroughly unwelcome and error-marred speech to Congress on Iran, his last-minute racist scare tactics on election eve in Israel, and his disingenuous post-election statement that he really does support a two-state solution all reveal a man who fears a just Middle East peace and will do everything he can to thwart it ... This is a man who will say and do whatever it takes to preserve his power and keep the Palestinian people in a subordinate place ... Unless and until the Israel Lobby is reined in, significant change in US policy is hard to imagine.
... Here is a brief summary of Israel's dependence on the US: it gets from it the bulk of its heavy arms and does not have to pay for them, it can depend on it to veto all UN Security Council resolutions that condemn Israel's deeds and misdeeds, it receives from it billions of dollars every year although the Israeli economy is flourishing ... For an Israeli prime minister to start a quarrel with the President of the US looks like sheer lunacy - as indeed it is ... Another plausible explanation for Netanyahu's behavior may be his genuine belief that no US senator or representative would ever dare to buck AIPAC's orders, knowing that this would be the end of his (or her) political career. Like the worst of the anti-Semites, Netanyahu believes that the Jews rule the world, or at least the US Congress.
Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday it would be a huge mistake if Israel decided to take unilateral military action against Iran over its nuclear program in the future. Kerry was asked in an NBC “Today” show interview if the nuclear deal reached last week would make it more likely that Israel might attempt a military or cyber attack on Tehran. “That’d be an enormous mistake, a huge mistake with grave consequences for Israel and for the region, and I don’t think it’s necessary,” Kerry said. He warned later on Friday that if Congress failed to approve the deal agreed last week between world powers and Iran to curb Iran's nuclear program then Israel could be worse off. Congress has until Sept. 17 to approve or reject the agreement.
Most American Jews want Congress to approve the deal reached between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program, a poll released on Thursday [July 23] showed. According to the poll, sponsored by the L.A. Jewish Journal, 53 percent of those surveyed said Congress should approve the deal, while 35 percent said Congress should oppose it, compared to 41 percent and 38 percent, respectively, in the general population. In answer to the direct question "Do you support or oppose the Iran deal," however, 49 percent answered in the affirmative to 31 percent against. According to the L.A. Journal, the survey's results reflect a significant divide between the positions of most of the main Jewish groups, such as AIPAC and many Jewish Federations, and the majority of U.S. Jews.
Bill Kristol is the epitome of the neocon mindset: cultivating a staid and urbane image while writing the most unhinged and mendacious claptrap. In his utterly predictable denunciation of the successful Iran nuclear talks, Kristol frames the issue in the crudest terms ... Oh, and, writes Kristol: "Munich!!!" That is obligatory any time diplomacy supplants neocon lust for war. That Kristol remains a favored foreign policy "expert" on stations like FoxNews and ABC says very little about the quality of his analysis and much more about his saying what the mainstream media want their audiences to hear ... The timeline of his faulty predictions would no-doubt span the equator. Imagine any other profession where one can be so consistently wrong and still be considered (and handsomely remunerated as) an expert.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder and former leader of France's far-right National Front party, will appear before a judge for saying that gas chambers in concentration camps were a detail of World War II. In France, it is illegal to deny the Holocaust or any of the established facts surrounding Nazi crimes against humanity. Failure to comply with the law can carry a penalty of huge fines and even jail time. Le Pen's comments have caused a rift in his party and sparked broader conversations about the tradition of free speech in France ... The law under which Le Pen will be prosecuted, the Gayssot Act, is 15 years old. The law was passed in 1990, and it makes it illegal to deny the Holocaust or to deny any of the details as they are described under the London Charter of 1945.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday that Israel has been providing aid to Syrian rebels, thus keeping the Druze in Syria out of immediate danger. Israeli officials have previously balked at confirming on the record that the country has been helping forces that are fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad. During a briefing with Israel’s diplomatic correspondents at the IDF’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, Ya’alon said that Israel’s ongoing humanitarian assistance to Syrian rebel fighters, a source of growing conflict between Israel and its own Druze population, safeguards the minority population in Syria.
Jonathan Pollard, the former Naval intelligence analyst whose conviction of spying for Israel stoked fierce international passions, has been granted parole and will be released from prison in November after nearly 30 years. The decision to free Pollard from his life sentence, announced Tuesday by his lawyers and then confirmed by the Justice Department, caps an extraordinary espionage case after decades of legal and diplomatic wrangling. Critics have condemned the American as a traitor who betrayed his country for money and disclosed damaging secrets, while supporters have argued that he was punished excessively given that he spied for a U.S. ally. Pollard is due to be released on Nov. 21, three decades after he was arrested while trying to gain asylum at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
... Tenure in the economics departments of the nation’s leading universities requires dogmatic adherence to the bromides in the economist David Ricardo’s utopian theories about a perfect world with no tariffs ... There is an important free-trade element in NAFTA — the elimination of Mexican tariffs on imported American corn — that has driven hundreds of thousands of small farmers and agricultural laborers off their land. Unable to compete with mass-produced corn from Nebraska, many of these Mexicans head north to find low-paying factory work on the border. When they tire of making $2.50 an hour over a 48-hour week, large numbers of them jump the border so they can make $3 or $4 an hour illegally in the United States ... The fix was in from the beginning, despite the revolt.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is likening the agreement on an Iranian nuclear deal to "marching the Israelis to the door of the oven," a reference to the Holocaust. The former Arkansas governor made the tweet Sunday, a day after first making the comparison when denouncing President Barack Obama for his role in the agreement reached July 14 by the United States and five other world powers with Tehran. Responding, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Huckabee's statement was "grossly irresponsible" and called on him to apologize.
A 21-year-old Russian beauty queen lost her title after an examination of her social media accounts revealed she is a neo-Nazi. Olga Kuzkova was chosen to represent her favorite soccer team, CSKA Moscow, in an annual beauty pageant held by the top 16 soccer teams in Russia. Kuzkova missed out on the top prize, but was voted “Miss Charming.” Her reign with the title was abruptly cut short, however, when people started taking a look at her social media accounts and discovered, if the photos she posts there are any indication, that she’s an avowed fascist and racist. In one photo she was seen wearing a swastika armband and making a Nazi salute with her hand.
In Fayoush, Yemen this morning [July 6], just outside of Aden, “a massive airstrike” hit a marketplace and killed at least 45 civilians, wounding another 50 ... The bombing was carried out by what is typically referred to as a “Saudi-led coalition”; it is rarely mentioned in Western media reports that the U.S. is providing very substantial support to this “Saudi-led” war in Yemen, now in its fifth month, which has repeatedly, recklessly killed Yemeni civilians. Because these deaths of innocents are at the hands of the U.S. government and its despotic allies, it is very predictable how they will be covered in the U.S ... This media imbalance is a vital propaganda tool.
Companies, pension funds, even governments in countries around the world have thrown their support behind the Israeli boycott. / ... T he BDS [boycott, divestment, sanctions] movement has scored notable tactical successes in the decade since it was launched by Palestinian activists, claiming 100 victories in the U.S. alone. Here are some of its gains: ... Europe: Governments have issued guidance notices to their citizens and businesses advising them against involvement in Israeli projects in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem ... More than 1,200 Spanish university staff joined an academic boycott of Israel, along with Belgian students and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland. The American Studies Association and three other major U.S. academic groups endorsed an academic boycott of Israel.
... On Tuesday night, long after the ink had dried on the 159-page document outlining the pact, it took me three hours and nearly ten conversations with shoppers, diners, and passersby at a Midwestern megamall, inside a nearby Applebee’s Bar and Grill, and on an Uber ride to find an average, everyday American — the most bandied about voter group so far during the 2016 cycle — who cared, or even knew, about the Iran nuclear deal. Things are actually far worse than that. As it turns out, 75 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can’t locate Iran on a map ... Like Wallace and Lynch and Winter and Stark, she and her daughter couldn’t identify Iran on a map, and I had to break the news to them about the deal.
The Reagan administration in the 1980s was buffeted by two policy drives toward Iran. On the one hand, Reagan ally Saudi Arabia supported Iraq, which illegally launched a war on the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1980 in order to steal its oil-rich Khuzistan Province. Reagan in 1983 sent Donald Rumsfeld, then CEO of Searle pharmaceuticals, to make friends with Saddam Hussein in Iraq ... At the same time, to prolong the war and make sure no regional power obtained an absolute victory, Reagan shared satellite photos of Iraqi positions with Iran ... Then Reagan had his people steal hundreds of T.O.W. anti-tank missiles from the Pentagon warehouses and illegally ship them to Khomeini’s Iran, then on the US terrorist watch-list.
One of the greatest moments of U.S. diplomacy in the 20 th century was Nixon’s [1971-72] opening to China. It was a surprise, a breathtaking opportunity, and a true game-changer. It was also one of the strangest political matches of all time. A president who had established his political bona fides as an anti-Communist crusader shocked everyone by establishing relations with a Communist state led by one of the world’s most ruthless politicians (in a century densely populated by such tyrants) ... The recent nuclear agreement with Iran, the culmination of months of laborious negotiation, could represent this century’s equivalent of Nixon’s détente with China.
... “Trust” ought to be irrelevant at this point in the process. If we all trusted each other to use our nuclear programs for Good and not Evil, or to treat each other kindly and with good intentions at all times, we wouldn’t need to negotiate agreements like this in the first place ... While we’re on the subject, though, if it helps Democratic fence-sitters then they should know that the Iranians don’t trust America either, and for plenty of reasons. ... You only need to go back to Washington’s decision to back Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.
Do the trees of East Prussia still whisper in German when the wind blows in from the Baltic and across the featureless plain? ... A little over two million Germans lived here in 1940. Now there are just 10,000 ‘of German descent’ ... By the late 13th century one of Europe’s strangest political entities had been created: a monastic territorial state administered by the Knights from the massive red brick fortresses they raised in emblematic domination over a population which had become Christian in religion and German in culture ... East Prussia’s distinctively frontier mentalité — its sense of being cosily encircled while also living on the edge — has now vanished, and its territories were parcelled out after 1945 between Poland and Russia.
Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson are history in Connecticut. Under pressure from the NAACP, the state Democratic Party will scrub the names of the two presidents from its annual fundraising dinner because of their ties to slavery. Party leaders voted unanimously Wednesday night in Hartford to rename the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner in the aftermath of last month’s fatal shooting of nine worshipers at the historic black church in Charleston, S.C. The decision is believed to be unprecedented and could prompt Democrats in other states with similarly-named events to follow suit ... Democrats cited Jefferson and Jackson’s ownership of slaves as a key factor in the decision, as well as Jackson’s role in the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern U.S. in what was known as the Trail of Tears.
The US is planning to offer Israel a wide-ranging arms deal to ease anger in Jerusalem over the Iranian nuclear agreement, according to Israeli media reports ... In order to ease Israeli concerns over the deal, Washington is now considering signing off on one of the biggest deals in the two nations' history, an arms deal which Israel's Channel 2 called “unprecedented” if it comes to fruition. The Israeli television channel reported that the Obama administration has already briefed top Israeli officials on the potential deal, which would include advanced weaponry and technology that the Israeli military does not already own.
... Today we have a new paradigm for chutzpah: the Israeli government's demand for "compensation" from the American taxpayers for the Iran nuclear agreement.
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the Times of Israel that during U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter's visit the Israeli government would discuss “the compensation that Israel deserves in order to maintain its qualitative [military] edge” over Iran. The Obama administration of course is amenable. Why does Israel deserve compensation (in addition to its $3 billion in U.S. aid every year)? If anything, Israel should compensate American taxpayers! Iran is not – and was not going to become – a nuclear threat. American and Israeli intelligence have said so repeatedly.
... One doesn’t want to overestimate the possibilities for such cooperation, which may turn up empty. But it is obvious that Iran is much more than the “world’s number one sponsor of terrorism,” the agitprop phrase which Israel has sought to wrap it in ... If Iran is willing to cut a deal that effectively provides a guarantee against a weaponization of its nuclear program, and that deal is acceptable to the president of the United States of America, why would Netanyahu not take yes for an answer? The reason lies in Netanyahu’s broader view of Israel’s place in the region: the Israeli premier simply does not want an Islamic Republic of Iran that is a relatively independent and powerful actor.
The nuclear agreement with Iran is good for two reasons: it reduces the chance of war, and it promises relief from sanctions for the Iranian people. Although American officials still say that war is an option, the chance has now shrunk. Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows that his military alone cannot deal a death blow to Iran. For that he needs America, and he’s far less likely to find a willing partner now ... It’s especially outrageous for Israel, which has aggressed against its neighbors, to stand in judgment of Iran. Iran signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and was subject to inspections before the latest negotiations. Israel will not sign the treaty.
... The clearest political turning point in the American understanding of freedom came during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt ... On January 6, 1941, he gave his famous “Four Freedoms” speech, promising citizens freedom of speech, freedom of worship — and then he got creative: “The third [freedom] is freedom from want … everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear … anywhere in the world.” Proclaiming a goal of freedom from fear meant that the government henceforth must fill the role in daily life previously filled by God and religion ... Commenting on foreign policy, Roosevelt praised Soviet Russia as one of the “freedom-loving Nations” and stressed that Marshal Stalin was “thoroughly conversant with the provisions of our Constitution.”
Why is President Obama’s deal to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon — a plan also supported by all the other major world powers — arousing such opposition in the United States and Israel? The reasons given by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and by the war hawks in the U.S. Senate are bogus, rejected even by U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies ... Iran is not militarily belligerent. Though the Islamic Republic has sought — like all its neighbors — to influence events in the region, it has never initiated military action anywhere (in stark contrast to both the United States and Israel). All of Iran’s military activity has been defensive, and it is not planning to launch an unprovoked attack on Israel or any other country. This reality has been consistently confirmed by Western intelligence and military authorities.
And what if the whole drama was only an exercise of deception? What if the wily Persians did not even dream of building an atomic bomb, but used the threat to further their real aims? What if Binyamin Netanyahu was duped to become unwittingly the main collaborator of Iranian ambitions? Sounds crazy? Not really. Let's have a look at the facts ... Netanyahu's nightmare of an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel is just that – a nightmare (or daymare) of an ignorant dilettante. Israel is a nuclear power with a solid second-strike capability. As we see, the Iranian leaders are hard-boiled realists ... One by-product of the situation is that Israel is again at loggerheads with the entire political world. The Vienna treaty was signed not just by the US, but by all leading world powers.
... The Ynet website translated an op-ed by Efraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad, published earlier this week in Hebrew ... When such past custodians of Israel’s security speak out so strongly against the prime minister, one might think that major U.S. Jewish organizations might pause and ponder a little before plunging into a campaign that will almost certainly do damage to their influence and relationship with the Obama administration, not to mention with the more enduring Democratic Party, which still holds the loyalty of a strong majority of the Jewish community in this country.
... Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes the Iran nuclear deal is a “stunning historical mistake.” ... But many former senior intelligence and national security officials in Israel disagree. While they think the deal is flawed and that Netanyahu deserves credit for raising the alarm on Iran years ago, they also believe that the historic agreement is — on balance — in the national security interest of the State of Israel. I spoke recently with Ami Ayalon, a former head of Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service, and a former chief of the Israeli Navy. Even as he explained that the issue “is not black and white,” he reeled off a list of former defense ministers and chiefs of Shin Bet and Mossad who agree with him that “when it comes to Iran's nuclear capability, this [deal] is the best option.”
Romania's president has signed into law legislation that punishes Holocaust denial and the promotion of the fascist Legionnaires' Movement with prison sentences of up to three years. President Klaus Iohannis signed the amendments to existing legislation, approved by Parliament last month, on Wednesday. The legislation also bans fascist, racist or xenophobic organizations and symbols, and promoting people guilty of crimes against humanity by up to three years in prison. Holocaust denial refers to refuting Romania's role in exterminating Jews and Roma between 1940 and 1944 ... Romania has a few right-wing fringe groups such as Noua Dreapta, or New Right, which could be affected by the new law.
Photographs that show the Duke of Windsor raising his hand in the Nazi salute are to be auctioned. The latest pictures show the Duke mixing with senior Nazis during an unofficial trip to Germany in 1933 and raising his hand in the official ‘Heil Hitler’ salute. The sale follows the publication, by the Sun newspaper, of images and a home video showing the current Queen seemingly giving a Nazi salute when she was a child. Buckingham Palace has suggested it may seek legal action over the leak.
Austria has launched a new crackdown on the use of hidden neo-Nazi codes in personalised car number plates. The country has ordered a complete ban on combinations such as SS, Nazi, or HJ (for Hitler Jugend or Hitler Youth). Such obvious examples would already have been illegal under existing laws prohibiting “ridiculous or offensive” plates. But the new rules are intended to crack down on more subtle codes used by neo-Nazis. These include 88, which represents Heil Hitler, 1919, which refers to the SS ... For the first time, the authorities are publishing a complete list of banned combinations of letters and numbers. Under the new legislation, the letters ISIS or IS will be also banned as referenced to the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
... The agreement has reduced the chance of a US attack on Iran, which is a great development. But the interventionists will not give up so easily. Already they are organizing media and lobbying efforts to defeat the agreement in Congress ... Let’s not forget that the Iran crisis started not 31 years ago when the Iran Sanctions Act was signed into law, not 35 years ago when Iranians overthrew the US-installed Shah, but rather 52 years ago when the US CIA overthrew the democratically-elected Iranian leader Mossadegh and put a brutal dictator into power ... As we know from our own CIA National Intelligence Estimate of 2007, the stories about Iran building a nuclear weapon were all lies. Though those lies continue to be repeated to this day.
... It’s now time to begin dispelling the miasma of lies about Iran promoted by neoconservatives and their house media. First, Iran has never had nuclear weapons, though polls show many Americans believe they did. The same fib factory that spread lies about Iraq’s non-existent nuclear weapons has churned out a steady stream of disinformation about Iran that was as shameless as it was false ... Israel, whose secret nuclear program was begun with help from France and aided by technology and uranium stolen from the United States, has the chutzpah to warn the world about Iran, which has so far only a civilian nuclear energy program. Israel is believed to have 80-100 nuclear warheads ...
Almost half of Israelis would support a unilateral strike to prevent Iran obtaining the atomic bomb, an opinion poll carried out after a nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers found. Nearly three-quarters of respondents in the poll published by the Maariv newspaper today said they thought the agreement would accelerate Iran's development of a nuclear weapon, not prevent it as claimed by the powers. Asked "Do you support independent military action by Israel against Iran if such action is needed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?" 47 percent said yes, 35 percent said no and 18 per cent expressed no opinion. Asked: "In your view, does the agreement that was signed bring Iran closer to obtaining a nuclear weapons capability?" 71 per cent said yes.
The Queen and Queen Mum raise a Nazi salute in an astonishing home movie shot at Balmoral ... The film shows the then Princess Elizabeth, just seven, larking about in 1933. Egging on her sister Margaret, three, is their uncle Prince Edward, Prince of Wales. He was a sympathiser towards Hitler’s Nazi Germany and become King Edward VIII ... The astonishing clip lay hidden for eight decades. The grainy home movie is thought to have been shot in 1933 or 1934, as Hitler rose to supreme power in Germany.
.. .. Nearly 400,000 Britons died. Millions more were scarred by the experience, physically and mentally. But was it worth it? Her answer - and the answer of many of her contemporaries, now in their 80s and 90s - is a resounding No. They despise what has become of the Britain they once fought to save. It's not our country any more, they say, in sorrow and anger ... They feel, in a word that leaps out time and time again, 'betrayed' ... "Those comrades of mine who never made it back would be appalled if they could see the world as it is today." ... "Our British culture is draining away at an ever increasing pace," wrote an ex-Durham Light Infantryman, "and we are almost forbidden to make any comment."
Mass migration threatens European civilisation, Hungary's controversial Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Tuesday. "Today mass migration is taking place around the globe that could change the face of Europe's civilisation. If that happens, that is irreversible," Orban said at a conference in honour of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who recently turned 85. "There is no way back from a multicultural Europe. Neither to a Christian Europe, nor to the world of national cultures," Orban added. He insisted that migration needs to be addressed seriously. "If we make a mistake now, it will be forever," Orban, 52, said.
Residents in a chic Rome suburb and a northern Italian village staged angry anti-immigrant protests on Friday, with villagers setting mattresses ablaze in a bid to stop authorities from housing migrants. Authorities in the village of Quito plan to accommodate 101 immigrants in empty apartments, but several residents broke into one of the buildings, removed camp beds, mattresses and televisions intended for the newcomers and set them on fire outside. The protesters then put up tents, with the Corriere della Sera newspaper quoting them as saying: "We aren't going home until they leave -- this is an invasion."
... The crisis is immensely complicated. However, it looks to me quite simple ... It boils down to this: the Greeks owe a lot of money. A huge lot of money. It is now immaterial how this huge debt came about, and who is to blame. Europe (the very name is Greek) has no chance of getting the billions back. But they'll be damned if they will pour more money into this bottomless pit. How can Greece survive without more money? I don't know. I strongly suspect that no one else does, either ... The first lesson of the crisis is that the creation of a currency union presupposes a readiness of all member states to give up their economic independence. A country that is not prepared to do so cannot join such a union ... Today that is quite clear. Unfortunately, it was not clear to the founders of the Euro bloc.
... The human and financial costs of these [US] interventions have been staggering. Hundreds of thousands dead with many more maimed; whole cities that took generations to build wrecked; perhaps $5 trillion of U.S. taxpayers’ money spent; and the whole area turned into a no man’s land. Aren’t those consequences something we should learn from? Yet, I see no signs that any lessons have been learned ... The hard truth is that U.S. officials had no feasible post-intervention plan in Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya ... Yet, when the next foreign policy crisis arises, U.S. officials do the same destructive things all over again. In short, it would have been difficult to design policies more calculated to destroy our sense of well-being.
... This brief moment of clarity and honesty made eleven years ago is almost quaint in comparison to how Obama administration officials now describe progress in the war on terrorism. They no longer pretend the war can be won, or that it will even end. The expansion and growth of terrorist organizations that the United States claims it will destroy, and state of perpetual warfare are just something that Americans should accept and get used to. As CIA Director John Brennan noted this April, “It’s been a war that has been in existence for millennia … So this is going to be something, I think, that we’re always going to have to be vigilant about.” In short, the war on terror has always been with us, and it always will be.
... I have recently found that many conservatives and even libertarians now tend to shy away from serious debate on national security issues. They have become particularly nervous about discussing Israel’s role in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy ... I find that progressive events tend to be commendably much more focused and even aggressive but also aimed almost exclusively at the choir with little attempt to reach out to a broader audience ... In other words, a voting majority actually exists to challenge current policies but it has to come together ... If you want an end to the continuous global warfare syndrome and also pari passu [along with that] want to get Israel out of our politics it is past time to start communicating those interests unambiguously and with everyone who is willing to listen.
In July 1944 a group of German conspirators tried to kill Hitler and violently seize power in Berlin. In the US and Germany today, the anti-Hitler conspirators are portrayed as men of exemplary courage, conscience and principle. This prevailing, “politically correct" idealization, Weber explains, is a gross distortion of reality. By today's standards, von Stauffenberg and the other leading conspirators were "Nazis." They supported the policies and principles of the National Socialist government for at least five years, and only belatedly turned against the Hitler regime. Runtime: 50 mins.
A quick look at the list of top political donors for 2014 reveals a striking fact: At least a third of the most generous 50 mega-givers were Jewish. In fact, contributions from Jewish billionaires and multi-millionaires dominated the top ten spots on the list. Striking, yet unsurprising. Political activists have known for years that members of the Jewish community are over-represented in the field of political contributions. And now, with the 2016 election cycle beginning to warm up, these Jewish donors are on the minds of all prospective candidates ... For Republicans, the race for donors is in full force, with Jewish political contributors in front row seats ... And, of course, the top prize — Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has shown he will use his fortune to support his candidates massively.
... Though largely excluded from U.S. media discussions, there is also substantial debate among Iranians about the virtues of the deal, with most viewing it positively due to the economic benefits it is expected to provide, but with many holding the view that it unfairly impinges on Iranian sovereignty in exchange for very few legitimate concessions ... There are some noble exceptions, but the general exclusion of Iranian voices from establishment U.S. media coverage, whether by intent or otherwise, has had a very distortive effect on how Iran is perceived, allowing them to be depicted as primitive, irrational, apocalyptic religious fanatics. While that caricature arguably applies to the U.S.’s closest allies in the regime, and to some of the most extremist Iranian (and Israeli and American) fringes, it is wildly inapplicable to Iran as a whole.
... The agreement marks a moment of success for the affirmation of steady diplomacy, the international rule of law, mutual respect, simultaneous political concessions and the shunning of hysteria from regional parties. A new era is possible, and we should hope that the U.S. and Iran pursue this process for further gains that can serve all the people of the region and the rest of the world. The alternative, in retrospect, was stupid to the point of criminality ... The world can only celebrate if the US stops blindly submitting to the exaggerated fears and extremist policies of Israeli expansionist Zionism and Saudi Arabian hard-line Wahhabism. The breakthrough on Iran’s nuclear sector and ending international sanctions is important for many reasons, but four in particular deserve appreciation.
Nearly 65 percent of Americans believe Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons program should be officially acknowledged. Almost 55 percent believe the program should be subject to international inspections. The IRmep poll, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percent, was fielded June 4-6 by Google Consumer Surveys and received 1,518 responses ... In May the US, UK and Canada blocked a United Nations initiative to create a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East in order to avoid any review of Israel, which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In contrast, the new poll finds broad popular American support for bringing the region's only existing program out of the shadows ... Since the Nixon administration, American presidents have enforced a gag policy in the US.
... True or false, the Iranian threat was one of the main flags - at times it has been the only one - which Netanyahu carried since he was reelected in 2009. He invested in this issue not only his political and oratorical (some would add demagogical) skills ... Netanyahu clearly still hopes that he will be able to fight the deal with Iran in the US Congress. In order to defeat the agreement, a two-thirds majority in the Senate is needed. Netanyahu can count on his Republican friends, but it seems very unlikely that they will succeed in convincing at least 13 Democrats to kill an agreement to which not only their president is fully committed, but also the EU, France, Britain, China and Russia. In a certain way, it's Netanyahu and his Republican friends against the whole world. Seldom has Israel looked so isolated.
... The massacres and butchery in Syria is unprecedented in the Mideast. The carnage even exceeds the many horrors of the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war. Street fighting is destroying many of Syria’s villages, towns and cities ... Washington’s fatuous claims it is deploying “moderate” jihads is a sour joke. The US is fully backing the region’s extremists against one of its oldest secular regimes. Who will finally win this multi-faceted civil war remains unclear. But it is clear that Syria has been largely destroyed. It joins Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia in ruins and mourning – all examples of states that defied the American Raj. The plight of some eleven million Syrian refugees huddled in tents, drowning in the Mediterranean, or fleeing for their lives must be laid directly on Washington’s doorstep.
U.S. Central Command’s latest figures on its aerial bombardment of Iraq and Syria reveal that this is the heaviest U.S. bombing campaign since President George W. Bush’s “Shock and Awe” campaign against Iraq in 2003. In the campaign’s first ten months from August 2014 to May 2015, the U.S. and its allies conducted 15,245 air strikes, or an average of 51 air strikes per day. This is only the latest campaign in a 15-year global air war, largely ignored by U.S. media, in which the United States and its allies have conducted at least 118,000 air strikes against other countries since 2000.
They were known as Panfilov’s 28 Guardsmen -- a legendary unit of Soviet soldiers written into the pantheon of national heroism after they died battling German tanks just two hours outside Moscow as the freezing winter of 1941-1942 set in. ... The only trouble is, the legend looks to be a lie. Some of the soldiers said to have died valiantly, in fact, lived on for years after the alleged feat, according to new documents that have come to light ... President Vladimir Putin’s government bristles at attempts to question its black-and-white narrative of World War II and the victory over Nazi Germany, a source of immense pride in a country that lost millions of soldiers and civilians.
Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the US, said this is a recent interview: “... The depth to which Jews, American Jews were involved in policymaking not just in this administration but even in the previous administration … was immense ... The founding fathers of Zionism – and mothers of Zionism – did not anticipate the American Jewish success … They could not foresee a situation that I encountered regularly, which is, six Jews sitting in the White House, three Israelis and three American Jews, discussing the Palestinian state. It happens all the time. Very often the only non-Jewish person in the room was the vice president or the president. The American Jewish story is a huge success story which doesn’t fit into some of our deepest Zionist impulses and ideology.”
Michael Oren, the former ambassador of Israel to the United States, got some attention in the last day for comments he made about U.S. Jews in positions of power. He noted the enormous influence of Jews over policymaking — Barack Obama or Joe Biden was often the only non-Jew in the room when a Palestinian state was being discussed at the White House, he said – but the American Jews were not able to fully understand Israel, in part because they are assimilating or intermarried. He called on American Jews to exhibit a greater sense of shared “peoplehood” and obligation to Israel.
... So the main back story of the nuclear agreement is that it was Iranian counter-pressure on the United States through its nuclear programme that finally compelled the Obama administration to change its strategy of relying mainly on coercion and begin the negotiations that Iran had wanted for more than two decades ... The basic inequality of power of the two main protagonists, which would normally have allowed the United States to prevail on the issue, had been reduced dramatically by two factors ... The Iran nuclear agreement thus illustrates the elemental importance of the distribution of power but also the possibility of a weaker state achieving its vital interests in negotiations with the hegemonic power against what might appear to be very long odds by exploiting their source of leverage to the maximum with patience, courage and careful calculation.
Here’s the thing to keep in mind about most critics of the Iran nuclear deal that was signed Tuesday morning: Their objections have nothing to do with the details of the deal ... What worries these critics most is not that Iran might enrich its uranium into an A-bomb ... What worries them much more deeply is that Iran might rejoin the community of nations, possibly even as a diplomatic (and eventually trading) partner of the United States and Europe ... What [Israel’s] Netanyahu and [Saudi] King Salman want Obama to do is to wage war against Iran — or, more to the point, to fight their wars against Iran for them. That is why they so virulently oppose U.S. diplomacy with Iran — because the more we talk with Iran’s leaders, the less likely we are to go to war with them.
Israel wants a “permanent stand-off” with Iran and would reject any deal on the country’s nuclear programme, Britain’s Foreign Secretary has said. Philip Hammond said Israel’s stance on its neighbour was against the interests of the UK and of the wider Middle East region as a whole ... Mr Hammond warned that failure to reach a deal would have ultimately led to military conflict. “The real alternative to a deal that prevents Iran building a nuclear bomb almost at some stage would have been war. What we have averted with this agreement is the threat and a prospect of a war.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Iran poses more of a threat to the West than the ultra-radical Islamic State group, and that Tehran is planning to “take over the world.” “Iran’s growing aggression is several times more dangerous than that of IS, which is dangerous enough,” Netanyahu told a memorial ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, marking 111 years since the death of Theodor Herzl, the visionary forefather of modern Zionism. “And this aggression, which aims to reach every corner of the world, has the ultimate true aim of taking over the world,” he added.
... For those interested in the two goals of an Iran free of nuclear weapons and free of religious fascism, perhaps it is also a moment of opportunity. Iran is about to undergo a kind of opening to the world. Taking advantage of that is now a vital goal for Western intelligence and public diplomacy ... Western businessmen are already flooding into Iran seeking deals, selling all manner of wares in exchange for Iranian cash. Those businessmen, the various branch offices they will establish, and the goods they will sell, represent an important opportunity for Western intelligence agencies to gather information and to subvert the Iranian regime ... Perhaps even Western music, literature, and movies to subvert repressive traditional values ... Access to Iran’s people also raises the potential to eventually inspire them to overthrow the repressive theocratic fascist regime.
... Republicans seem to be unable to grasp the changes that have taken place in this century. With the Arab Spring, the fall of half a dozen regimes, the rise of al-Qaida and ISIS, civil wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, we have a new Middle East ... But, we are reminded, Iran’s regime is founded upon ideological hatred of America. But, so, too, were Mao’s China and Stalin’s USSR. Yet Nixon forged a detente with Mao, and FDR partnered with Stalin. And Ronald Reagan negotiated a strategic arms deal with the "evil empire" of his time ... All Iran had to do was prove it had no bomb program, which was not difficult, as U.S. intelligence had repeatedly said Iran had no bomb program. Then the Iranians proved it ... Remarkable. Iran agrees not to build a bomb it had already decided not to build, and we agree to lift all sanctions. And they pulled it off.
... Children who speak out in class against homosexuality could be viewed as potential extremists under [British] government guidelines intended to prevent Islamist terrorism, Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, has suggested. Mrs Morgan said comments by children that they consider homosexuality to be “wrong” or “evil” could “trigger” concerns from teachers under guidance designed to help schools detect possible radicalisation. Traditionalist Christians said Mrs Morgan’s remarks implied that anyone who raised their children in line with conservative religious teaching on sexuality would now be viewed with suspicion. It follows moves to close two Christian schools after they were judged to have failed the government’s new “British Values” tests ...
Germany's main national history museum has launched an exhibition tracing 150 years of gay history in the country, including the first uses of the term "homosexual," the brutal Nazi-era repression of gays, and gradual moves toward legal equality starting in the 1960s. The exhibition at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, which is staging it together with the capital's privately run Gay Museum, has been four years in the planning but is opening amid a new debate in Germany over whether to allow full-fledged marriage for same-sex couples.
In a rare rebuke to his bullying, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to stop the United States and five other world powers from reaching an agreement to constrain but not eliminate Iran’s nuclear program ... Netanyahu’s reference to “Iran’s aggression,” which is now becoming a conventional-wisdom talking point in Official Washington, was curious since Iran has not invaded another country for centuries. In 1980, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – at the urging of Saudi Arabia – invaded Iran. But Iran has not invaded any of the four countries that Netanyahu cited ... So, there is little truth and much exaggeration to Netanyahu’s depiction of what is going on in the Middle East. Yet, the U.S. mainstream media mindlessly reprises Netanyahu’s falsehood about Iran “gobbling up” nations.
... The agreement is the Obama Administration’s boldest foreign-policy initiative. It marks the first success in dealing with Iran since its 1979 revolution and the prolonged seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran ... As a result of the deal, lifting various punitive economic sanctions will open up Iran’s consumer-hungry citizens to international markets. The country’s population has more than doubled since the revolution, to almost eighty million people. A Western envoy in Iran described it to me as “the last gold mine on Earth.” But U.S. businesses will still find Iran largely off-limits, because other U.S. sanctions, tied to human-rights practices and support for terrorism, remain in place. Iran will be able to reclaim more than a hundred billion dollars of its oil revenues trapped in foreign banks by sanctions.
... There is one takeaway from this treaty that transcends the bluff and bombast: Iran is coming in from the cold. That’s what’s sending, well, shivers down the spines of neocons in Washington, not to mention Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. For all his machinations, Netanyahu is the biggest loser of the deal ... The rest of the world is moving on from the U.S.-Iran conflict ... In a Middle East experiencing tumultuous upheaval, the moment has arrived for a new and innovative approach that doesn’t see Iran as an enemy but an adversary that, to borrow from Margaret Thatcher, we can do business with. The time has arrived to open up shop when it comes to Iran.
The deal just struck between the U.S., world powers, and Iran is an historic achievement that decreases the likelihood of an Iranian nuclear weapon and forestalls the risk of another costly U.S. war in the Middle East ... The debate over Iran diplomacy was really two debates, in which each side was arguing over something different. On the one side was a strikingly broad consensus of nearly the entire arms control community, which recognizes what the deal can achieve in terms of nonproliferation and regional stability. On the opposing side is the Iran hawk community, which focused less on the nuclear issue than on finding ways to isolate and ultimately destroy Iran's clerical regime, by military force if necessary, nuclear program or not.
Critics of the nuclear agreement with Iran are at odds with "99 percent of the world and the majority of nuclear experts", US President Barack Obama has said. He challenged critics of Tuesday's deal to present a better alternative - seen as a veiled reference to his Republican opponents in Congress ... But Mr Obama said: "If 99% of the world community and the majority of nuclear experts look at this thing and they say this will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, and you are arguing either that it does not or that even if it does, it's temporary then you should have some alternative."
In just a few weeks, the mass influx of illegal migrants has overwhelmed the capacity of this migrant camp in Debrecen, Hungary. A fight broke out between different groups in the camp, and then spilled out on to neighboring streets. As this two-minute video clip shows, enraged migrants attacked passing cars, and set trash cans on fire. Since the beginning of the year an unprecedented number of illegal immigrants has arrived in Hungary, which is now the primary route for such people into the European Union. This year alone, more than 75,000 migrants arrived illegally in the country. In Europe, Hungary now has the highest number of incoming immigrants per citizen.
A bitter corporate showdown with implications for the future of South Korea’s largest conglomerate took an unexpected twist in recent days, with screeds appearing in media outlets warning of the “ruthless and merciless” power of a nefarious “Jewish alliance.” ... Some South Korean journalists began to note the fact that the most prominent rabble-rouser jeopardizing the merger, Elliott Associates, had a Jewish owner and chief executive, Paul Singer ... Among these was a Sunday column by journalist Kim Ji-ho, who framed the Elliott-Samsung feud in stark terms. “Jews are known to wield enormous power on Wall Street and in global financial circles,” Kim began. “It is a well-known fact that the US government is swayed by Jewish capital.”
Atticus Finch, the crusading lawyer of To Kill a Mockingbird, has emerged as "a bigot" in Harper Lee's eagerly awaited 1950s novel Go Set a Watchman. Early reviews for Lee's novel, which was written before her masterpiece To Kill A Mockingbird, reveal Finch was originally penned as a segregationist. "This story is of the toppling of idols," wrote Sam Sacks in the Wall Street Journal. The New York Times said the revelation could "reshape Ms Lee's legacy". "The depiction of Atticus in Watchman makes for disturbing reading, and for Mockingbird fans, it's especially disorienting,” writes Michiko Kakutani in her review. "How could the saintly Atticus - described early in the book in much the same terms as he is in 'Mockingbird' - suddenly emerge as a bigot?"
A re-established and self-declared Israeli Sanhedrin, the religious High Court composed of 71 sages, has declared that it is putting Pope Francis on trial unless he retracts his statement that the Jews have no right to the land of Israel or to Jerusalem. In February 2013, the Vatican officially recognized the “State of Palestine” ... The trial and judgment will be on September 20th, 2015. If Pope Francis chooses to ignore the summons, he will be judged in absentia ... The Sanhedrin has no political or legal status, and clearly has no authority over the Vatican. However, it is comprised of some of the greatest rabbis of the modern Jewish nation ...
World leaders hailed the nuclear accord signed Tuesday between Iran and major powers with the intention of curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, after 18 days of intense negotiations in Vienna. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the “historic” agreement, saying it could help bring peace to the Middle East ... Russian President Vladimir Putin said the deal with Iran brought the world “a sigh of relief.” ... Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, described the deal as historic, saying it “secures our fundamental aim — to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon — and that will help to make our world a safer place.” He said the deal required leadership, courage and determination and that it was time to move forward and put it into place.
Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has denounced the historic deal on Iran’s nuclear programme as it became clear that Israel would continue to pressure allies in the US Congress to derail the agreement. Heading a chorus of condemnation from Israeli politicians – including members of his rightwing coalition – Netanyahu said the agreement was a “capitulation” and a mistake of historic proportions ... Netanyahu led a procession of senior Israeli politicians seemingly bent on outdoing each other with their rhetoric over the deal as Israel remained markedly alone in the stridency of its criticism ... Netanyahu’s is determined to encourage allies in the US Congress to try to block the deal.
President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic achieved all four objectives it was seeking throughout intensive nuclear talks with six world powers. "We were following four objectives in these negotiations. As part of today's agreement and under this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, all the four objectives have been achieved," Rouhani said in a televised address on Tuesday after the conclusion of talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries. He enumerated the objectives as Iran's ability to go ahead with its nuclear activities, lifting of "cruel and inhumane sanctions," annulment of all "illegal" sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council against Iran, and the withdrawal of Iran's nuclear dossier from the Security Council.
... One fact many may not know about San Francisco's fog is that in 1950, the US military conducted a test to see whether it could be used to help spread a biological weapon in a "simulated germ-warfare attack." This was just the start of many such tests around the country that would go on in secret for years. The test was a success, as Rebecca Kreston explains over at Discover Magazine, and "one of the largest human experiments in history." But, as she writes, it was also "one of the largest offenses of the Nuremberg Code since its inception." ... The unsuspecting residents of San Francisco certainly could not consent to the military's germ-warfare test, and there's good evidence that it could have caused the death of at least one resident of the city, Edward Nevin, and hospitalized ten others.
Descendants of Joseph Goebbels, Adolph Hitler’s propaganda minister, are to be paid royalties for extracts from his diaries published in a new biography, following a bitter legal battle. The publishers of the biography, Random House Germany, had resisted demands to pay Goebbels’ estate, arguing that copyright laws should be overturned on moral grounds. But the Munich district court ruled against the publisher on Thursday, although it said the rights to Goebbels’ literary estate expire at the end of 2015 and similar cases are not expected “to any significant extent in the future”. Cordula Schacht – a lawyer whose father, Hjalmar Schacht, was Hitler’s minister of economics – represented the Goebbels estate in taking legal action against Random House Germany and its imprint Siedler.
The largest association of psychologists in the United States is on the brink of a crisis, the Guardian has learned, after an independent review revealed that medical professionals lied and covered up their extensive involvement in post-9/11 torture. The revelation, puncturing years of denials, has already led to at least one leadership firing and creates the potential for loss of licenses and even prosecutions. For more than a decade, the American Psychological Association (APA) has maintained that a strict code of ethics prohibits its more than 130,000 members to aid in the torture of detainees while simultaneously permitting involvement in military and intelligence interrogations.
The scope of a conspiracy to defraud the world’s largest Holocaust reparations organization, uncovered in 2009, was much greater than previously believed, a former senior official has alleged. This is one of several recent revelations that are causing a shake-up behind the scenes at the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. Writing to the Claims Conference’s board last week, recently terminated ombudsman Shmuel Hollander asserted that, while reports had said organizational insiders had siphoned off $57 million in German taxpayer funds meant for survivors, “the final sum is in all probability much higher.” ... For over a decade, a criminal ring within the organization embezzled tens of millions of dollars through false restitution claims.
Pope Francis on Thursday urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a "new colonialism" by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the "sacred rights" of labor, lodging and land. In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope also asked forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic Church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the "so-called conquest of America." ... “Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," the pope said, decrying a system that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature."
Nearly a century after it first emerged in Egypt, political Islam is redefining the Muslim world. Also called Islamism, this potent ideology holds that the billion-strong global Muslim community would be free and great if only it were pious -- that is, if Muslims lived under state-enforced Islamic law, or sharia, as they have done for most of Islamic history ... Although modern Muslims are neither purely secularist nor purely Islamist, the average Muslim in the Middle East and North Africa leans Islamist. A 2013 poll by the Pew Research Center showed that large majorities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and the Palestinian territories wished to see sharia as the law of the land ... Political Islam, like many competing ideologies of old, is not monolithic. Although Islamists share a general devotion to sharia, they come in many stripes ...
... The sad fact is that while whistleblowers have been imprisoned for revealing government criminality, no one in the federal bureaucracy has ever actually been punished for the crimes of torture, kidnapping and assassination committed during the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama presidencies ... No matter how one tries to avoid making comparisons between 1939 and 2015, the American invasion of Iraq was a war of aggression, precisely the type of conflict that the framework of accountability provided by Nuremberg was supposed to prevent in the years after 1946 ... Many Americans would now consider the leading figures in the Bush Administration aided and abetted by many enablers in congress from both political parties to be unindicted war criminals.
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 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.
... In writing this “intimate look at the origins and conduct” of the 1945–1946 International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Irving has relied heavily on many hitherto neglected papers and documents ... As Irving shows [in his book, Nuremberg: The Last Battle], the victorious Allies who sat in judgment at Nuremberg were guilty of many of the same actions or crimes for which they tried (and hanged) the German defendants. Indeed, the Allies very probably outdid the Germans in crimes and atrocities ... In some cases, the Nuremberg defendants were charged with or held guilty of crimes that were actually committed by the Allies ... Irving tells the story of the Nuremberg Tribunal with great style and verve, painting a broad and vivid portrait.
The Saudi-American war against Yemen, led by a coalition of the richest Gulf monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, etc. along with their servants like Egypt and Morocco) against the poorest Arab country, enters its fourth month. According to the United Nations, it has killed more than 3,100 and wounded 15,000, displaced one million and created 245,000 refugees, and created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis ... This war remains largely ignored by the mainstream media, both in the West and in the Arab-Muslim world (with the exception of Iran and the media close to Hezbollah in Lebanon). The US sponsors this illegal and criminal military intervention that they provide full support for, putting all their resources at the service of the Gulf monarchies who have acquired the most modern weapons …
Norman Finkelstein is an unpopular man. Norman Finkelstein has always been an unpopular man, but for decades he had a cult following among leftists and supporters of the Palestinian cause. Since coming out in 2012 against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, however, he has alienated his core followers ... He accused BDS activists of “inflating the numbers” of Palestinian refugees and “want[ing] to create terror in the hearts of every Israeli” rather than resolve the conflict. “I’m not going to tolerate what I think is silliness, childishness, and a lot of left-wing posturing,” he said. The reaction among his supporters was disbelief and fury ... Noam Chomsky has also come out against BDS in support of Israel’s existence.
Retired Gen. (and former CIA Director) David Petraeus — who despite recent scandals is (according to CNN) still advising the White House — was asked at a recent Aspen Institute event about Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal and replied “I can’t comment.”
This seems to be part of long-standing U.S. and Israeli government policy not to confirm the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal. This policy has apparently taken the form of official gag orders on the issue ... Senior U.S. officials from both the Republican and Democratic parties decline to confirm that Israel possesses nuclear weapons.
When he was five years old, Kevin Wheatcroft received an unusual birthday present from his parents: a bullet-pocked SS stormtrooper’s helmet, lightning bolts on the ear-flaps ... Wheatcroft is now 55, and according to the Sunday Times Rich List, worth 120 million pounds ... The ruling passion of his life, though, is what he calls the Wheatcroft Collection – widely regarded as the world’s largest accumulation of German military vehicles and Nazi memorabilia ... There is no official record of the value of Wheatcroft’s collection, but some estimates place it at over 100 million pounds ... Wheatcroft owns a fleet of 88 tanks – more than the Danish and Belgian armies combined.
... The spokeswoman of the Israeli embassy in Berlin met a few months ago with a group of Israeli reporters. What was said in the room only they know, but according to Haaretz, she openly admitted that it's in Israel's interest to maintain German guilt about the Holocaust. Seeking full normalization of relations is not a goal, she allegedly stated during the closed briefing ... Suggesting that Israel benefits from German guilt is, in many ways, stating the obvious. Guilt is the reason Germany is building submarines for Israel and selling them far below cost, guilt is the reason Berlin often avoids criticizing Israel even when its European partners strongly condemn the Jewish state, and guilt was the reason chancellor Angela Merkel unprecedentedly defined Israel's security as part of Germany's raison d'état.
Ten years ago, a small group of Palestinian activists had a novel idea: Inspired by the anti-apartheid movement, they called for a global boycott movement against Israel as a nonviolent method to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence. Long confined to the sidelines, the so-called BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement appears to be gaining momentum — so much so that Israel has identified it as a strategic threat on a par with Palestinian militant groups and the Iranian nuclear program. While Israel says the movement is rooted in anti-Semitism, its decentralized organization and language calling for universal human rights have proven difficult to counter, resulting in a string of recent victories that have alarmed Israeli leaders.
The Israeli government believes it is locked in an epic struggle to save Israel from the growing movement calling for an international boycott. Benjamin Netanyahu warns that Israel must “rebrand” itself to avoid pariah status. Ordinary Israelis are therefore being conscripted into an army of spin doctors in a campaign termed “hasbara” – Hebrew for “public diplomacy” or, most literally, propaganda. In the latest offensive, the education ministry has launched a compulsory hasbara course for students travelling abroad ... The students must challenge those who “seek to delegitimise Israel” ... For years the Israeli government has relied on paid workers – and thousands of volunteers – to surf the net posting pro-Israel comments.
Members of Argentina’s Jewish community and the Anti-Defamation League expressed outrage after President Cristina Kirchner compared investment funds contributing to the mounting national debt to William Shakespeare’s villain Shylock, in a perceived anti-Semitic slur. Kirchner tweeted the remarks, made on a July 2 visit to a Buenos Aries school, where she told students that to better understand Argentina’s economic crisis, they should read Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. One of the protagonists, Jewish moneylender Shylock, is portrayed as scheming, vindictive and greedy ... Kirchner did not apologize. Instead, she posted a number of tweets criticizing the DAJA and tweeted a program of an Israeli production of the Shakespeare play.
A majority of Americans support the broad outlines of an agreement with Iran to limit its nuclear program to civilian uses, according to results from the May 25-June 17, 2015 Chicago Council Survey. While the public prefers a diplomatic solution, majorities also appear willing to use force to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state. Six in ten Americans favor the framework of an agreement with Iran; Two thirds support using US troops to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons; Nearly six in ten support US airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities if Iran violates the deal.
There is an overwhelming consensus among non-proliferation, nuclear policy, and national security experts that a negotiated accord is the best, and likely the only, way to ensure that Iran never builds a nuclear weapon. But you would not know that if you relied on congressional hearings or most media coverage of the negotiations. No sooner had the ink dried on the April framework agreement to freeze and roll back Iran’s nuclear program than critics began decrying its supposed shortcomings ... In truth, the expert opinion is decisively in favor of the negotiating effort. For example, a bipartisan group of more than 50 former national security and military leaders signed a letter in April applauding the negotiators and urging Congress to refrain from impeding ongoing talks.
Among the many groups engaged in advocacy over a potential deal between Iran and world powers, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) stands apart as by far the most mysterious ... UANI draws on a deep well of resources to fund fretful warnings about the dangers of compromising with Iran’s nuclear negotiators ... According to the “Schedule B” filing that tax-exempt nonprofits must submit to the IRS, the top donors to UANI are a pair of trusts associated with the billionaire Thomas Kaplan and a family foundation operated by Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam. Together, the funding associated with Kaplan and Adelson accounted for more than three-quarters of the group’s total revenue of $1.7 million for the 2013 tax year.
German soldiers grappled for nine hours with an unusual task: trying to remove a Second World War tank found in the cellar of a villa. Almost 20 soldiers struggled to remove the tank from a villa on Thursday in a wealthy suburb of Kiel in northern Germany, after police searching the property discovered the tank, a torpedo, an anti-aircraft gun and other weapons in the cellar on Wednesday. Police raided the home in the town of Heikendorf under instructions from prosecutors, who suspected that the villa's 78-year-old owner held the weaponry illegally ... The army was called in to try to remove the 1943-vintage Panther tank, and struggled for nine hours to tow it out using two modern recovery tanks designed to haul damaged battle tanks off the field.
A French scholar looks at the occupation of Iceland by British and then American military forces during World War II, and afterwards. Local civilians were victims of violent assault, brawls and vandalism by occupation troops. “American soldiers, particularly sailors and the regular army enlisted men, are belligerent with the Icelanders,” one official protested. “Very often the soldiers trail Icelanders for several blocks endeavoring all the while to pick a fight. Attacks are usually without provocation and seemingly without motive.” “The reception of British and Canadian troops in Iceland was anything but warm,” Time magazine reported. “The Icelanders so resented them that soldiers had to go out in parties of three, well-armed and on their guard against stabbing and shootings.”
... Having covered 14 conflicts and observed the world’s problems and woes for decades, I never forget that the greatest miracle I have ever seen was the profound reconciliation between historic foes France and Germany ... The EU’s biggest mistake to date has been its too rapid expansion to encompass nations that were not ready for membership or association. Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania were prime examples ... The financial Grim Reaper has now arrived ... So what if Greece stumbled out of the EU? Initial panic from always volatile financial markets and a Greek chorus of doomsayers. But Europe would quickly return to normal once the shock had abated.
A U.S. general ranked Russia and China as the number one and two threats to the United States national security. “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security,” Marine General Joseph Dunford said Thursday during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Russia’s behavior is “nothing short of alarming,” he added. Asked whether the United States should provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, Dunford said that from a military standpoint, it would be a “reasonable” response ... Asked about China, Dunford said he would rank that country as the second potential threat to the U.S. national security ... Dunford also listed North Korea and the so-called Islamic State militant group among other top threats ...
... We are today risking a collision with Russia in the Baltic States and Ukraine, where no vital U.S. interest has ever existed and where our adversary enjoys military superiority ... Before we schedule a NATO confrontation with Russia, we had best look behind us to see who is following America's lead. According to a new survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, fewer than half of the respondents in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain thought NATO should fight if its Baltic allies were attacked by Russia. Germans, by a 58-38 margin, did not think military force should be used by NATO to defend Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, though that is what Article 5 of the NATO charter requires of Germany ... Only one in five Germans and Italians favor arming Ukraine ...
The demographers agreed: At some point in 2014, Latinos would pass whites as the largest ethnic group in California ... The official confirmation had to wait until new population figures were released by the Census Bureau this summer. The new tally, released in late June, shows that as of July 1, 2014, about 14.99 million Latinos live in California, edging out the 14.92 million whites in the state. The shift shouldn't come as a surprise.
The World Jewish Congress has called on a central Hungarian city to abandon plans to honor a government minister who supported the Nazis. Balint Homan served as Minister of Religion and Education under Nazi-allied World War II Hungarian leader Miklos Horthy and the Arrow Cross regime from October 1944 to March 1945 during which up to 15,000 Hungarian civilians, mostly Jews, were killed and 80,000 deported to Nazi concentration and death camps. Municipal leaders in Székesfehérvár, which with a population of 100,000 is one of Hungary’s largest cities, are planning to erect a life-size bronze statue in honor of Homan. It will be funded in large part through a grant from the Hungarian Justice Ministry, according to WJC.
For the world’s six major powers, getting to a nuclear deal with Iran has been torturous ... Campaigns against a deal are already in full swing in both Washington and Tehran. If an agreement eventually emerges, both parties will have to sell it to constituencies that remain skeptical because of the even more tortured history between the two countries ... Tehran’s political response is a mirror image of Washington’s. In recent weeks, Iranian legislators warned President Hassan Rouhani against succumbing to American demands ... Two-thirds of Iran’s parliament was skeptical of long-term U.S. intentions, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee, told me in Tehran. Iranians view the matter of invasive inspections as a violation of sovereignty, and the right to nuclear technology as the key to modern development.
... As the negotiations grind on in the Austrian capital, frustrations have boiled over into decidedly undiplomatic confrontations. In one incident on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif could be heard shouting in nearby rooms ... In another meeting on the weapons embargo, Zarif erupted again when Western powers talked of Iran’s role in roiling the Middle East. “If we are talking about regional security, I should take every one of you to international courts for supporting Saddam,” Zarif said, referring to the U.S. backing for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after he invaded Iran in 1980. Another clash on Monday evening involved Zarif and Russia’s Sergei Lavrov telling Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, to lay off the “threats.”
Talks became heated as foreign ministers from Iran and the world's six major powers met in Vienna to push towards a final nuclear deal. After E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that talks should end if Iran does not want a deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reportedly said, "Never try to threaten the Iranians." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov added, "nor the Russians." ... The incident prompted Iranians to start a new hashtag on Twitter, #NeverThreatenAnIranian.
The United Nations called on Israel on Friday to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes committed in the 2014 Gaza massacre and cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s investigation. The U.N. Human Rights Council voted to adopt a resolution applying a recent U.N. report condemning Israel and the Palestinian liberation group Hamas over war crimes committed last year in Gaza. It also called for an end to the impunity of Israeli officials responsible for the 2014 massacre. Only Israel’s closest ally, the United States, voted against the resolution while 41 countries voted in favor. India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Macedonia abstained. All European Union member states of the Council, including Britain, France and Germany, voted in favor of the resolution and labeled Israel’s alleged self-defense assault on Gaza ‘disproportionate.’
With the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program in its final days ... The most serious impairment is the incessant urging by domestic critics that the U.S. administration should not show any of the flexibility that may be necessary to close the last few inches of the remaining gap between the parties, and to avoid having the whole negotiating enterprise suffer a crashing failure ... Many of those who have talked loudest about not making more concessions really don’t want any agreement with Iran ...
... A breakdown in the Iran negotiations would be a genuine tragedy, and would probably start the clock ticking inexorably towards war. There are powerful groups in the United States — everyone knows who they are — which actively hope for war with Iran and have for years. They were rebuffed in the latter years of George W. Bush’s presidency and early in Obama’s. But they are extremely well funded ... Iran is important: a successful nuclear agreement will reveal that Iran is the key to containing Islamic State terrorism and probably to maintaining American influence in the Mideast.
America’s overall image around the world remains largely positive. Across the nations surveyed (excluding the U.S.), a median of 69 percent hold a favorable opinion of the U.S., while just 24 percent express an unfavorable view. However, there is significant variation among regions and countries. The U.S. receives largely positive reviews among many of its key NATO allies. About two-in-three Canadians have a favorable opinion, as do large majorities in Italy, Poland, France, the UK and Spain. The outlier is Germany, where just 50% give the U.S. a positive rating, while 45% express a negative one. America’s image has become more negative in Germany over the last few years ...
The Pew Research Center recently released a study on how people in 39 countries around the world view the United States. One of the questions they asked was whether or not respondents had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the US. The results varied pretty widely. The US is very popular in sub-Saharan Africa: Five of the six countries with the highest net favorable views of the US were in that region. The US maintains positive approval ratings in most other regions as well, including Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The Middle East is more of a mixed bag ... As tensions build over economic sanctions and the simmering conflict in the Ukraine, Russians strongly disapprove of the US, with 81% unfavorable and just 15% favorable.
The Levada Center, an independent Moscow-based pollster, has tracked Russian attitudes toward the United States since the early 1990s, with the occasional gap in the first few years ... While it's hard to believe today, in the early 1990s a majority of Russians viewed the United States not only as the sole remaining superpower, but as an unequivocal role model and their main point of reference in foreign policy ... Several factors have contributed to today's record anti-Americanism. Above all, ever since demonstrations in favor of EU integration began in Ukraine in November 2013, Russian television channels have been perfecting a propaganda model that implies the protests are part of a U.S. conspiracy against Russia.
... A simple historical fact: since World War II, there is not a single instance of two states or two peoples voluntarily coming together in one state. But there are ample instances of multinational states breaking apart. Let's start with the Soviet Union, a mighty world power. Then Yugoslavia. Then Serbia. Czechoslovakia. Sudan ... Experience in many countries indicates that the ethnic identity will take precedence. In today's Israel, that is the rule.
Aside from listening in on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's phone calls, US spies also targeted top political and financial officials, according to new information released by WikiLeaks on Saturday. The whistle-blowing website published a National Security Agency list of 29 Brazilian government phone numbers that the American spy group monitored. "The publication proves that not only President Dilma Rousseff was targeted but also her assistant, her secretary, her chief of staff, her palace office and even the phone in her presidential jet," WikiLeaks said in a statement.
... The crisis of Europe is about more than budget deficits and bad debts. All the momentum toward One Europe -- the dream of the generation of Jean Monnet that drove Europeans toward ever-deeper union -- seems to have dissipated. The momentum is now toward separation and dissolution ... Our [European] allies have terrible memories of European wars that produced no comparable gains, and none of them, understandably, wants to fight again. They have another concern in common. Their continent is being invaded. From the failed states of the sub-Sahara to the war-torn nations of the Mahgreb and Middle East, the Third World is coming to occupy the Mother Continent.
... A more prosperous Greece, ran by the Greeks rather than by the EU must surely face up to the reality that a euro exit is both inevitable and desirable in order for a long-term economic recovery to truly begin ... The result is a tired, stumbling European Union that is dying on its feet before our very eyes. Credibility for the project is fading fast as citizens right across Europe awaken to the reality of its authoritarian instincts that seek to run roughshod over public opinion. With younger generations now turning against the EU project, we can see support for the EU's dream of a United States of Europe fading fast ... Far more important than this European Union is the concept of national democracy, of which this Greek referendum and its result are a beaming example of.
In this closely reasoned and spirited address, American historian Mark Weber examines the accelerating crisis of the West, and the factors behind the malaise, distrust and anxiety that have spread across the Western world. He looks at what this means for those who care about the heritage and future of the West, and outlines prospects for the future. Given at a meeting on April 18, 2015, in central Stockholm organized by Logik Förlag publishers (Sweden) in cooperation with Counter-Currents Publishing (USA). About 130 people, many in their twenties and thirties, gathered for this conference. Some attendees traveled from Norway, Denmark and Britain. Runtime: 34 mins.
The world will be unable to fight the next global financial crash as central banks have used up their ammunition trying to tackle the last crises, the Bank of International Settlements has warned. The so-called central bank of central banks launched a scathing critique of global monetary policy in its annual report. The BIS claimed that central banks have backed themselves into a corner after repeatedly cutting interest rates to shore up their economies. These low interest rates have in turn fuelled economic booms, encouraging excessive risk taking. Booms have then turned to busts, which policymakers have responded to with even lower rates.
American public opinion on the Confederate flag remains about where it was 15 years ago, with most describing the flag as a symbol of Southern pride more than one of racism, according to a new CNN / ORC poll. And questions about how far to go to remove references to the Confederacy from public life prompt broad racial divides. The poll shows that 57 percent of Americans see the flag more as a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism, about the same as in 2000 when 59% said they viewed it as a symbol of pride. Opinions of the flag are sharply divided by race, and among whites, views are split by education. Among African-Americans, 72% see the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism, [but] just 25% of whites agree. In the South, the racial divide is even broader.
German news weekly Der Spiegel charged Friday that it was spied on by US secret services and said it had filed a criminal complaint with the country's chief prosecutor. The Hamburg-based magazine has taken a leading role in reporting the disclosures of fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden on mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA). The case dates back to mid-2011 and predates the flight of Snowden and his NSA leaks, Der Spiegel reported online and in its magazine issue to be published Saturday. It said the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had warned Chancellor Angela Merkel's top spy services coordinator, Guenter Heiss, of a source Der Spiegel allegedly had inside the German government.
... [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel's office, it turns out, simply made a farce of the rule of law. As a target of the surveillance, Spiegel has requested more information from the Chancellery. At the same time, the magazine filed a complaint on Friday with the Federal Public Prosecutor due to suspicion of intelligence agency activity ... The fact that the CIA and NSA were prepared to reveal an ongoing surveillance operation to the Chancellery underlines the importance they attached to the leaks, say sources in Washington. The NSA, the sources say, were aware that the German government would know from then on that the US was spying in Berlin. As more details emerge, it is becoming increasingly clear that representatives of the German government at best looked away as the Americans violated the law, and at worst supported them.
Hungary's parliament has approved amendments tightening the country's asylum system, a response to the record number of migrants and refugees reaching the country over the past year. The plan, sharply criticized by the U.N.'s refugee agency, was approved Monday by lawmakers from the governing Fidesz party, its Christian Democrat allies and the far-right Jobbik party ... Lawmakers also approved a proposal facilitating the government's plan of building a four-meter (13-foot) -high fence on the border with Serbia to stem the flow of migrants and refugees.
There is perhaps no figure in psychology more contentiously scrutinized than Sigmund Freud. The Austrian neurologist best known for creating psychoanalysis has both been hailed as a revolutionary" and lambasted as a "fraud." ... In 1991, historian of science Dr. Frank Sulloway reviewed six of Freud's principal case studies on psychoanalysis and found them to be “rampant with censorship, distortions, highly dubious 'reconstructions,' and exaggerated claims.” Despite Freud's many misrepresentations, he couldn't mask the fact that half of his case studies ended in spectacular failure, with no relief for the patient whatsoever ... Rather than use data to construct meaningful theory, Freud theorized first, then attempted -- half-heartedly -- to produce data that fit
... It’s not that the Russians want war, but they are tired of their country being pushed to the wall, as they see it. They do not want an Empire for themselves, but they want to be heard and their demands considered. And they want their government to make their erstwhile partners, present adversaries, pay for each anti-Russian action ... On May 9th celebrations of the 70 th V-day were most lavish ever in people’s memory ... This year, the Russians stressed their victory rather than their victimhood, suffering and losses. The victory has been perceived as a Russian victory over Europe, not only over Germany; for practically all European nations from France, Spain and Italy to Hungary and Bulgaria fought on Hitler’s side against Russia. This is true, but this truth was rarely mentioned until this year.
“IQ tests just measure how good you are at doing IQ tests”. We’ve all heard this argument: it’s almost always made when intelligence testing is mentioned ... In fact, decades of well-replicated research point to IQ tests as some of the most reliable and valid instruments in all of psychological science ... An IQ score is highly predictive of how people will do in school ... But that’s just the beginning: higher IQ scores are predictive of more occupational success, higher income, and better physical and mental health ... We know from studies of twins, and from studies done directly on DNA, that intelligence test scores are heritable: that is, many of the intelligence differences between people are due to genetics ... Facts are facts, and the validity of intelligence test scores is amply backed by voluminous evidence.
For many in Europe, the end of the Second World War meant peace and healing. But for millions of Germans, “liberation” opened a new and terrible chapter. This hour-long British documentary reveals the appalling violence meted out to the defeated, especially to those ethnic Germans who had lived peacefully for centuries in neighbouring countries. Using rare and unseen archive film, this documentary tells a harrowing story of vengeance against German civilians. The Savage Peace includes the unique testimony of eyewitnesses and victims, who recall the horrors with searing clarity, their memories undimmed 70 years after the events took place. As the writer George Orwell said, the treatment of the defeated Germans was a terrible crime that has gone unpunished.
At the end of World War II, between twelve and fourteen million people, ethnic Germans, were forcibly expelled from Eastern Europe, or, if they had already fled, were prevented from going back to their homes ... Others were detained in appalling conditions in concentration camps for weeks, suffering from disease, starvation, and maltreatment, before they were brutally pushed out to the west. Long lines trudged towards Germany, with the weak succumbing to hypothermia and malnutrition. Altogether probably half a million and perhaps as many as a million perished in what was the largest action of what later came to be known as “ethnic cleansing” in history. This massive act of expulsion and forced migration is still largely unknown outside the countries most closely affected by it.
... MacDonogh [in his book, After the Reich] argues that the months that followed May 1945 brought no peace to the shattered skeleton of Hitler's Reich, but suffering even worse than the destruction wrought by the war ... The first 200 pages of his brave book are an almost unbearable chronicle of human suffering. His best estimate is that some three million Germans died unnecessarily after the official end of hostilities. A million soldiers vanished before they could creep back to the holes that had been their homes ... The two million German civilians who died were largely the old, women and children: victims of disease, cold, hunger, suicide - and mass murder.
Germany’s defeat in May 1945, and the end of World War II in Europe, did not bring an end to death and suffering for the vanquished German people. Instead the victorious Allies ushered in a horrible new era that, in many ways, was worse than the destruction wrought by war. In a sobering and courageous new book, After the Reich: The Brutal History of Allied Occupation, British historian Giles MacDonogh details how the ruined and prostrate Reich (including Austria) was systematically raped and robbed, and how many Germans who survived the war were either killed in cold blood or deliberately left to die of disease, cold, malnutrition or starvation.
Hitler is everywhere. It’s impossible to escape him. You just have to look online ... For Gavriel Rosenfeld [in his new book, Hi Hitler!], this wave of trivialisation goes together with new trends in academic history such as a tendency to regard the Nazi extermination of the Jews as just one genocide among many ... Nazi kitsch has been around for a long time, and Hitler has appeared in many films and TV dramas over the years ... Rosenfeld appears to object to depictions of Hitler as a person rather than a monster, in a process he describes disapprovingly as “humanisation”, but he never really explains why this is wrong. Viewing Hitler as a human being, which he undoubtedly was, is more challenging to our understanding, surely, than simply writing him off as a cartoon villain.
... Bridges are crumbling, buses are past their prime, roads badly need repair, airports look shabby, trains can't reach high speeds, and traffic congestion plagues every city. How could an advanced country, once the model for the world's most modern transportation innovations, slip so badly? The glory years were decades ago. Since then, other countries surpassed the U.S. in ease of getting around, which has implications for businesses and quality of life ... The situation is urgent. But where is the sense of urgency?
It sucks being young, male, and single. Don’t think so? Go to the Interactive Singles Map of the United States and see how it looks for the 20 to 39 age group. Almost everywhere single men outnumber single women. And the real picture is worse ... Finally, there’s a racial angle. This sex ratio is more skewed among White Americans than among African Americans ... It’s hard to avoid concluding that a lot of young white men are shut out of the marriage market … or any kind of heterosexual relationship ... Ideally, this gender imbalance should be dealt with at the societal level, but I see little chance of that happening in the near future. If anything, public policy decisions will probably worsen the current imbalance.
... Since the 1960s, white working-class America has suffered a catastrophic decline in virtue. Referring explicitly to Aristotle, [Charles] Murray [in his book, Coming Apart: The State of White America] defines virtue as the habits which people require to live satisfying lives and which communities require to function as communities ... Much of this decline is due to the erosion of social trust: the expectation that the people around you will do the right thing. Whites’ estimation of the trustworthiness, fairness and helpfulness of others has declined across the board ... A hardworking nation of harmonious families actively involved with one another and living according to the tenets of a generally accepted religious teaching — this is about the closest approach to blessedness compatible with the human condition.
... A little-known fact: The tattoo business as we know it was largely created by Jews. Lewis “Lew the Jew” Alberts, Charlie Wagner, Brooklyn Joe Lieber, William Moskowitz, Milton Zeis ... these are the founding fathers who created the art of American tattooing and the technology that helped establish an industry. ... The most artistically talented of this group, arguably, was Lew the Jew.
As long as we're on the subject of flags that should and should not be flown in states, let's take a moment to talk about state flags. Every state flag is wrong. If you don't believe me, look at them. Here are the 50 worst.
... United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), an organization bankrolled in large part by Republican super-hawk Sheldon Adelson, is stepping up in its typical role of spoiler, launching a new media campaign aimed at killed the pact ... The broader point of the UANI campaign, despite its “get tough with Iran” facade, is to prevent a deal entirely. Adelson, the casino-magnate whose foundation funds the group, has repeatedly called for the US to unilaterally attack Iran ... With Adelson’s backing, UANI has nigh-endless resources for this campaign, and also can expect the support of most of the Republican Congress, which is also eager to get on Adelson’s good side for the sake of juicy campaign contributions.
... In theory an agreement should have been reached long ago as the two basic elements are well understood: Iran wants an end to sanctions and the United States plus its negotiating partners want a verifiable end to existing and potential programs in Iran that could possibly produce a nuclear weapon. The devil would appear to be in the details, but that is not necessarily the case as the real problem is political. The talks have in fact been subject to a relentless media campaign by Israel and its friends in the U.S. to derail any possible agreement, to include a number of appearances by none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before both the United Nations and the U.S. Congress.
A major new poll of Iranian public opinion with important and fascinating results was released here and in Tehran Tuesday and deserves much more attention than it is likely to get (at least in the United States) ... Overwhelming majorities of Iranians continue to say that it is very important for Iran to have a nuclear program. The nuclear program is seen as one of Iran’s greatest achievements. A large majority continues to see the program as driven purely by peaceful goals, though one in five see it as being an effort to pursue nuclear weapons ... A large and growing majority of Iranians express opposition to nuclear weapons in various ways. Two thirds now say that producing nuclear weapons is contrary to Islam.
Some 57 percent of Iranians support a deal that would curtail Iran’s nuclear program for a number of years in exchange for sanctions relief, according to a new poll by the University of Tehran’s Center for Public Opinion Research (UTCPOR) and IranPoll.com, working in conjunction with the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) ... Iranians are optimistic about the prospects for an agreement. Some 49 percent believe the current talks are somewhat likely to result in a deal that is agreeable to both sides ... At the same time, 57 percent of Iranians say they distrust the P5+1 countries — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. Some 70 percent have an unfavorable view of the United States ...
Media analyst Mark Dice asks randomly selected people in southern California some basic questions about American Independence Day. These “man in the street” interviews on a sunny beach pier in San Diego show how little Americans really know of their country’s history. Runtime: 4:14 mins.
... This time around that “progressive” Democrat is self-proclaimed “socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont ... While Bernie may come across as sincere about class politics, make no mistake, he’s is a militarist that isn’t about to challenge U.S. supremacy. He supported the ugly war on Kosovo, the invasion of Afghanistan, funding for the endless Iraq disaster as well as the losing and misguided War on Terror ... As for Israel, Bernie has been a hawkish advocate that would never halt the $3 billion the U.S. government sends to the country every year. Last summer he backed Israel’s murderous bombing of Gaza ... It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that several former members of Bernie’s staff have also been employed by AIPAC ... His is a disgusting record. Want to change in the U.S.’s meddling in the Middle East? Bernie isn’t your guy.
Whistleblower Julian Assange implicated the United States – along with the Saudi Arabian government – in a plot to overthrow the Syrian government. Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, and Britain were involved in a secret 2012 deal to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Sunday ... Last week, Assange’s whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released a batch of more than 60,000 of what it said were classified Saudi diplomatic cables. The leak aimed to prove that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had a secret deal to topple Syria’s President Bashar Assad as far back as 2012.
The war in Syria was planned years in advance, and the motive was to overthrow a regime that Israel regards as hostile, says former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas. “I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria,” said Dumas in a recent interview with French television LCP. “This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and organized ...” Responding to a question on the motive behind the war, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives, Dumas said, "Very simple! With the very simple aim! To overthrow the Syrian government, because in the region, it's important to understand, that this Syrian regime has a very anti-Israeli stance. Consequently, everything that moves in the region -- and I have this from the former Israeli prime minister, who told me ‘We’ll try to get on with our neighboring states, but those who don’t get along, we will take them down’.”
Via Volokh Conspiracy, a disturbing criminal case out of Montana, where Flathead County resident David Lenio, 28, is being prosecuted for making disparaging remarks about Jews on Twitter and denying that the Holocaust happened. Say what? While this sort of prosecution is common in parts of Europe, Americans enjoy the protection of the First Amendment, which contains no exception for what's colloquially known as "hate speech." ... But under Montana's ridiculously broad defamation statute, “defamatory matter is anything that exposes a person or a group, class, or association to hatred, contempt, ridicule, degradation, or disgrace in society or injury to the person’s or its business or occupation."
The recent startling recovery of long-lost artworks made for Adolf Hitler and his chief architect, Albert Speer, began with a telephone call to a Berlin art dealer. Two large and imposing bronze horses by Josef Thorak — missing from a Soviet military base outside Berlin since some point in communism’s collapse — were available ... The discovery of the horses, and of several sculptures and reliefs created by another Hitler favorite, Arno Breker, stunned researchers who had long lamented their disappearance ... Art historians currently know much more about the art that Hitler did not like, he noted, than about works that the Nazis favored ... The horses, which adorned a courtyard in Hitler’s chancellery, were apparently so precious to the Führer that they were evacuated by 1943, when the first Allied bombs fell on Berlin.
One hundred fifty years after the Civil War began, we’re still fighting it — or at least fighting over its history ... Let’s first dispense with some of the more prevalent myths about why it all began. One. The South seceded over states’ rights. Confederate states did claim the right to secede, but no state claimed to be seceding for that right ... On Dec. 24, 1860, delegates at South Carolina’s secession convention adopted a “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.” It noted “an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery” and protested that Northern states had failed to “fulfill their constitutional obligations” by interfering with the return of fugitive slaves to bondage. Slavery, not states’ rights, birthed the Civil War.
France's foreign minister warned Monday that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can explode "at any moment," and the Islamic State extremist group can interfere at any time. Laurent Fabius told a group of reporters that "if and when it explodes, it's very, very, very problematic for the whole region and for the world." ... The Quartet — which includes the U.S., the European Union, the United Nations and Russia — was formed in 2002 to try to mediate an end to the decades-old conflict and encourage the formation of a Palestinian state. But peace efforts have been stalled for years and show no signs of resuming following the formation of Netanyahu's new government.
The top legislative body of the United Church of Christ voted Tuesday to divest from companies with business in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, in a sign of the growing momentum of a U.S. protest movement against Israeli policy. The denomination's General Synod endorsed the action on a vote of 508-124 with 38 abstentions during its meeting in Cleveland. The liberal Protestant group with 1.1 million members is the latest to take such action. Last year, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to sell stock in a few companies whose products are used by Israel in the territories ... The church also voted to boycott Israeli products made in the territories.
... Same-sex marriage is the law of the land, as the right of gays and lesbians to marry is right there in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1868. We just didn’t see it. [Supreme Court Justice] Tony Kennedy spotted what no previous court had detected ... A new generation will not only come to accept but to embrace what their fathers would have resisted to the death ... Until the early 1970s, the American Psychiatric Association regarded homosexuality as a mental disorder. Until this century, homosexual actions were regarded as perverted and even criminal. Now, homosexuality is a new constitutional right ... Did the Constitution change? No, we did ...
... The American Jewish Committee celebrated the Supreme Court ruling Friday extending marriage rights to gays throughout the United States ... emblematic of the glee with which much of the Jewish establishment reacted to the ruling ... Thirteen Jewish groups, among them organizations representing the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative streams, were among the 25 joining the amicus brief the ADL filed in Obergefell v. Hodges. The preeminence of Jewish groups among those backing the litigants was not a surprise. In recent decades, much of the Jewish establishment has embraced gay marriage as a right equivalent to the others it has advocated, including racial equality, religious freedoms and rights for women.
Puerto Rico's governor geared Monday to address the US territory's deepening financial crisis after admitting it cannot pay back its $72 billion in debt and warning that without economic growth it will fall into a "death spiral." Alejandro Garcia Padilla's admission in an interview with the New York Times rattled stock markets and quickly knocked ten percent off prices of Puerto Rican bonds. "The debt is not payable," Garcia Padilla told the paper ... On Monday the government released a study by ex-officials of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that says Puerto Rico's debt load is unsustainable and needs to be rescheduled. The country's "true fiscal deficit is much larger than assumed," it said.
French MPs on Wednesday approved a landmark deal with the United States in which France agreed to pay $60 million in overall compensation to foreign nationals deported to Nazi death camps on French trains in World War II. Several thousand people could now be eligible for compensation, including nationals of Israel and Canada as well as Americans who were deported from France to the death camps some 70 years ago ... The French government has already paid out another $60 million to French nationals who were victims of the Holocaust under a scheme set up in 1946. And the new deal will not be open to French nationals and their survivors ... In exchange, the United States would undertake to protect France's immunity with regard to any Holocaust deportation claims filed in the United States.
While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has received significant scrutiny over allegations that she unethically used her position for personal financial gain, current Secretary of State John Kerry is now being hit with similar charges ... Kerry allegedly pressured the Israeli government to make energy policy decisions which would be favorable to Noble Energy, a Texas oil company in which he holds as much as $1 million in stocks ... Kerry reportedly encouraged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "forgive" Noble and Delek, and his State Department also helped negotiate export deals between Noble and several countries near Israel.
“Things could have been much worse had the cataclysm of the Holocaust not happened,” said Dr. Jeffrey S. Gurock recently over lunch at a Jerusalem café. A statement like this is hard to swallow if you don’t realize that his new book, “The Holocaust Averted: An Alternative History of American Jewry, 1938-1967,” deals with counterfactual history, a speculative exploration of what-ifs ... What Gurock demonstrates in his book is that World War II was a major turning point in American Jewish history, and that many positive things came out of it for American Jews as well as for US-Israel relations ... The America presented in Gurock’s alternate history is a non-pluralistic one. It’s an America in which the price of acceptance is to give up one’s Jewishness.