July 2017

G. Greenwald, R. Grim - The Intercept

The criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West ... Now, a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine ... Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison ... The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members ...

Alison Weir

In a recent speech on the Senate floor, New York Senator Charles Schumer said that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. (In a 2010 speech Schumer said that God made him a 'guardian of Israel'). Schumer, the Senate minority leader, made his remarks at the end of a speech on health care. Schumer said he wanted to thank French President Emmanuel Macron for his recent comments claiming that anti-Zionism was antisemitism. Schumer claimed that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, an extremely diverse movement that includes many Jewish individuals and groups, is “antisemitic.” Schumer said: “The global BDS movement is a deeply biased campaign that I would say, in similar words to Mr. Macron, is a ‘reinvented form of anti-Semitism’ because it seeks to impose boycotts on Israel and not on any other nation.”

Geoffrey Macnab - The Independent (Britain)

... [Christopher] Nolan, who wrote and produced as well as directed Dunkirk, has made an intensely dramatic and moving film about what Winston Churchill called “a colossal military disaster.” He has managed to combine the epic and the intimate ... This is a juddering, nerve-fraying movie to sit through. Nolan doesn’t skimp from showing the blind terror and helplessness of the 400,000 British soldiers stranded on the beach in the summer of 1940, seemingly abandoned ... The filmmakers have gone to extraordinary lengths to portray the Dunkirk evacuation in as realistic a fashion as possible. At the same time, the film has a mythic dimension. Amid the suffering and squalor, it showcases the quiet heroism of pilots, sailors, soldiers and civilians alike.

Peter Travers - Rolling Stone

From first frame to last, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle (see it in IMAX if you can) that hits you like a shot in the heart. Leave it to a filmmaking virtuoso at the peak of his powers to break both new ground and all the rules – who else would make a triumphant war film about a crushing Allied defeat? And who but Nolan, born in London to a British father and an American mother, would tackle WWII without America in it? ... The cast is reliably superb, but this is not a film that needs or encourages star turns – it's as fine and unselfish a display of ensemble acting as you'll see anywhere ... Nolan's film is, above all, a celebration of communal heroism – the "Dunkirk spirit" that enabled these soldiers, despite heavy casualties, to fight another day.

Express (Britain)

A British writer believes he may have uncovered the mystery behind Hitler’s decision to stop German troops advancing on Allied Forces at Dunkirk – despite having them almost surrounded ... Hitler's attempt at a peace treaty with Britain was rejected by the Prime Minister on Oct. 10, 1939 ... but Mr Davis claims the dictator may have tried again during the Battle of Dunkirk. He added: “What is known is that on the day Hitler stopped the troops advancing his generals reported in their diaries that he was in very good humour and told them the war would be over within days or weeks. Ten days after the German tanks began to attack France, General Jodl wrote in his diary that the Führer was 'beside himself with joy,' adding that he was 'working on the peace treaty.' After which he [Hitler] told them he would make a `just peace’ settlement with Britain.”

Mark Weber -- Institute for Historical Review

Scholars of the life of Gertrude Stein were startled to learn that in 1938 the prominent Jewish-American writer had spearheaded a campaign urging the Nobel committee to award its Peace Prize to Adolf Hitler … Stein's seemingly paradoxical views about Hitler and fascism have never been a secret. As early as 1934, she told a reporter that Hitler should be awarded the Nobel peace prize.

Kevin Myers - The Catholic Herald (Britain)

Seventy-five years on from the Battle of Britain, the question remains: was Churchill right to reject peace overtures from Germany in 1940? Did the moral grounds for a continuation of the war – a just cause, a proportionate cost and a realistic likelihood of victory – exist? Was more war morally justifiable? … In 1940, Hitler had neither the means nor the intention of invading Britain … The British “Victory” of 1945 is largely mythic. The cost of not ending the war in 1940 included the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Britons, the ruination of most British cities, and a debt burden to the US that lasted three generations.

J. Gabriel – Richochet

… Despite the American people caring far more about health care than any other issue, the media has swamped the airwaves with Trump/Russia conspiracies to the detriment of nearly everything else. The difference between the people and the press was so jarring, I created a chart comparing the two studies ... Just six percent of Americans think Russia is the top issue, yet nightly newscasts devoted 75 percent of their airtime to the story. Meanwhile, Americans’ biggest concern, health care, only garnered four percent of the major networks’ total coverage. The media have shown how drastically out of step they are with their own audience. If they want to earn back their hemorrhaging Nielsen numbers, perhaps they can spend time on something other than Russia Russia Russia.

Newsweek

Turkey's state-run news agency leaked the positions of U.S. military bases and special forces stationed in northern Syria Tuesday as Ankara continues to vent its anger over Washington's support for Syrian Kurds on its southern border. Anadolu news agency reported that the U.S. has ten military points in northern Syria to assist the People's Protection Units, or YPG, in the fight against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) ... The news agency said the bases are "usually hidden for security reasons," but proceeded to list ten bases in the northern and northeastern Syrian districts ... The report goes on to list the U.S. areas of operation and the precise district in which they are stationed. It also provides the presence of U.S. and French special forces at particular bases, and the number of elite forces stationed there.

Daily Beast

In the latest display of Turkish anger at U.S. policy in Syria, the state news agency has divulged the locations of ten U.S. military bases and outposts in northern Syria where the U.S. is leading an operation to destroy the so-called Islamic State in its self-styled capital of Raqqa. The list published by the Anadolu news agency points to a U.S. presence from one end to the other of the Kurdish self-administration region — a distance of more than 200 miles. The Anadolu news agency even listed the number of U.S. troops in several locations ... The U.S. operation in Syria is in many respects an unusual case. Not only is the United States acting against the express wishes of NATO ally Turkey, which says its national security is directly endangered, it’s also operating without the permission of the Assad regime.

BCC News

... There is a growing crisis in the land of make-believe -- a soaring increase in the number of homeless people living on its streets. Homelessness in Los Angeles County soared by 23 percent in the past year and it shows. The problem has become tangible and inescapable, with makeshift tent encampments cropping up across the sprawling metropolis. Tourists are shocked to find themselves stepping over people draped in filthy blankets and begging on Hollywood's Walk of Fame ... The yearly homeless count in Los Angeles County rose to 58,000 in 2017, up from 46,874 in 2016. Neighbouring areas, such as Orange County, are also experiencing the same upwards trend .... Young people - aged 18-24 - are the fastest growing group of homeless people, up 64 percent. And children without a home increased 41 percent.

Stephen Miles

... The United States has tried its hand a lot at regime change. By one count, the US tried to overthrow 72 different governments during the Cold War alone — and that’s before the most recent misadventures in Iraq and Libya. It’s not exactly a track record of success: the United States failed most of the time to accomplish the fundamental goal of toppling the target. And a quick glance at Iraq is enough to remind you that even when America “succeeds,” it often really fails. Despite this track record, the Wall Street Journal opinion pages called for US-led regime change in North Korea and Iran on the same day. That’s the same Wall Street Journal that championed the Iraq War over and over again ...

Mark Weber – Video

On July 20, 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.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... Are we really at war with Russia? Is Russia really our enemy? ... What are the roots of this hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin, whom a Fox analyst called “as bad as Hitler”? During the Cold War, every president sought detente with a USSR that was arguably the most blood-soaked regime of the century ... Yet [now] hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin seem to exceed anything some of us remember from the worst days of the Cold War ... If America stumbles into a war with Russia that all our Cold War presidents avoided, the Russia baiters and Putin haters will be put in same circle of hell by history as the idiot war hawks of 1914 and the three blind men of Versailles in 1919.

C. Calacal - Alternet

Senior Israeli Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu believes the Israeli army should stop arresting Palestinians and execute them instead. “It must execute them and leave no one alive,” Eliyahu wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday, according to Defend Democracy Press. Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of the city of Safed, has a record of making racist remarks about Arabs and Muslims. He once said Israel should take “revenge” against Arabs, and that Palestinians, whom he once labeled enemies of Israel, must be “destroyed and crushed in order to end violence.” “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill 1,000,” Eliyahu told the Jerusalem Post in 2007. “And if they do not stop after 1,000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million.”

Days of Palestine

An Israeli Jewish rabbi described on Sunday the Palestinians as “monsters,” calling for slaughtering them to “get closer to God.” Chief Rabbi of Safed and Member of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate Council Shmuel Eliyahu said: “The Palestinians are monsters and killing them is a religious duty.” Speaking to the Israeli TV Channel 7, Eliyahu added: “Slaughtering the Palestinians getting us [Jews] closer to God.” He said that slaughtering the Palestinians is a “biblical duty and implementing it is as important as respecting Saturdays.” Eliyahu called on the “state of Israel to work on carrying out this duty.” In January this year, Eliyahu called for the Israeli army to stop arresting the Palestinians, but to execute them instead. Several other rabbis have issued similar orders calling for killing Palestinians, naming this a religious duty.

Press TV (Iran)

Enraged by Dublin’s financial aid to anti-Israel Palestinian rights groups, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at visiting Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney over his country’s pro-Palestine policy. Netanyahu’s office made the criticism in a statement issued on Tuesday after the premier’s meeting with Coveney in Jerusalem al-Quds. The premier “expressed his dissatisfaction over Ireland’s traditional stance” on Palestine, and urged Coveney to condemn what he called Palestinian “incitement,” the statement read. He also challenged the top Irish diplomat over Dublin’s assistance to the “NGOs that call for the destruction of Israel,” it added.

BBC News

Nelson Mandela said that the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi had helped to topple apartheid in South Africa ... Yet not all African leaders are inspired by the man known as the "Father of India". An online petition, which has been signed by more than 1,000 people, has been started by professors at the University of Ghana. They call for the removal of a statue of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi from the campus grounds in Accra. The academics say that Gandhi, who has been praised by public figures for leading India's non-violent movement to freedom from British colonial rule during the mid-20th century, had a "racist identity". The petition lists quotes from the writings of the Indian leader, in which he described Africans as "savages or the Natives of Africa" and "kaffirs" (an insulting racial slur for a black African).

New York Post

Iran’s top diplomat Sunday accused President Trump of violating the international nuclear deal. “The United States has failed to implement its part of the bargain,” Iran foreign minister Javad Zarif told CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” He pointed to Trump’s recent meetings in Germany with world leaders as evidence of the US violating the two-year-old deal. “President Trump used his presence in Hamburg during the G-20 meeting, in order to dissuade leaders from other countries to engage in business with Iran. That is violation of not the spirit but of the letter of the JCPOA, of the nuclear deal,” Zarif said. “I believe the United States needs to bring itself into compliance with its party of the obligation under the deal.” Trump campaigned on ripping up the “disastrous” Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated by President Obama’s administration.

DPA - The Local (Germany)

More than 40 crimes were recorded at a far-right music festival in Thuringia over the weekend, including participants giving the Hitler salute. The state's left-wing leader now wants such festivals banned. Police confirmed on Monday that they were investigating a video which they claim shows dozens of people repeatedly displaying the Hitler salute at the “Rock against Foreign Domination” music festival in the town of Themar. In the video the festival goers also appear to chant "Heil", a reference to the Nazi greeting "Sieg Heil." The displaying of Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany, as is denial of the Holocaust and glorifying the Nazi era. In total 46 crimes were recorded at the festival, at which around 6,000 people turned up.

Ilana Mercer

... Our Founding Fathers’ political philosophy originated with their Saxon forefathers, and the ancient rights guaranteed by the Saxon constitution ... If Jefferson begrudged the malign influence of the Normans on the natural law he so cherished, imagine how he’d view America’s contemporary cultural and political conquistadors -- be they from Latin America, the Arabian Peninsula, and beyond — whose customs preclude natural rights and natural reason! ... To Jefferson, early Americans were the contemporary carriers of the Anglo-Saxon project ... Like it or not, Thomas Jefferson, author of The Declaration, was sired and inspired by the Anglo-Saxon tradition.

Doug Bandow

Until recently, life in Qatar was quite pleasant. But then Saudi Arabia, backed by President Donald Trump, who has gone from critic to fan of the ruling royals there, led an effort to isolate its smaller neighbor. With supreme irony, Riyadh, whose people have done more to fund and man terrorist attacks on Americans than any other nation, accused Doha of backing terrorists ... The half-dozen Gulf states share a critical characteristic: all are essentially fake countries ... All contract out the hardest work, from manual to professional, to foreigners. Instead of being countries, they resemble country clubs, in which a dominant few ... Up to 90 percent (some estimates are a bit lower) of the residents of the United Arab Emirates are foreigners. Roughly 85 percent of Qatar’s population is foreign. Kuwait comes in at 70 percent.

Steve Chapman - Reason

... This is a reminder of the maxim that for many people, the only use of history is to disregard it. The United States has a long history of fomenting regime change in other countries — including Iran, in a CIA-sponsored coup in 1953 — and the results have generally been calamitous. Yet its appeal persists ... It was not Iran that spawned the scariest enemy now on the horizon — the Islamic State group. It was the U.S. occupation of Iraq after we invaded in 2003 to, yes, topple the government ... Relying on any means short of war to overthrow the government has little chance of working. Military force might be more effective, but it would mean full-scale war in Iran. Even if we were to win, the outcome would most likely yield more chaos, conflict and terrorism.

Alison Weir

My personal experience in writing about this issue for more than a decade and a half illustrates the very American tale of media omission on Palestine. Just last week another episode showed that the saga continues ... Most recently, Truthout, a progressive website with a large readership that publishes much excellent work, accepted an article I had submitted about government monitoring of Palestine activism. My piece went through the standard editing and fact-checking, and the next day the article was published on the website. Briefly. It was quickly removed when higher-ups saw it and the staff then told me courteously and apologetically it wasn’t “the right fit for Truthout.” I asked what this meant, exactly, but haven’t heard back.

The Guardian (Britain)

The Chilcot inquiry’s conclusion that the invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and undermined the United Nations requires the prosecution of [former British Prime Minister] Tony Blair, the high court has heard. In his opening argument calling for a war crimes trial in Britain, Michael Mansfield QC said that the offence of waging an aggressive war has effectively been assimilated into English law. The attempt to bring Blair – with the former foreign secretary Jack Straw and the former attorney general Lord Goldsmith – to court has been launched by the former Iraqi general Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat.

The Star (Canada)

A memorial for a lawyer who counted accused neo-Nazis and white nationalists among her clients went ahead at a Toronto Public Library branch Wednesday evening, despite calls from local politicians and human rights advocates for the library to cancel the event. “It certainly will discredit the Toronto library system,” said Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, who said he was “stunned” that the library agreed to rent space at its Richview branch in Etobicoke for a memorial in honour of Barbara Kulaszka ... Kulaszka represented some of Canada’s most famous far-right extremists, including German-born Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, who was deported back to his home country in 2005 after a Canadian judge deemed him a security threat.

Barbara Kulaszka

In recent years, considerable attention has been devoted to the supposed danger of "Holocaust denial." Politicians, newspapers and television warn about the growing influence of those who reject the Holocaust story that some six million European Jews were systematically exterminated during the Second World War, most of them in gas chambers. In several countries, including Israel, France, Germany and Austria, "Holocaust denial" is against the law, and "deniers" have been punished with stiff fines and prison sentences … Often overlooked in this controversy is the crucial question: Just what constitutes "Holocaust denial"?

Institute for Historical Review

The Washington, D.C., transit system has rejected an innocuous IHR advertisement that simply proclaims “History Matters!,” absurdly claiming it violates guidelines that prohibit ads “intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions,” and that “are intended to influence public policy.” The proposed digital display ad consists of the two words “History Matters!,” superimposed on an image of a globe, along with the name of the sponsoring organization and the IHR logo and website address. “By any rational standard,” says IHR director Mark Weber, “the guidelines cited by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority do not reasonably apply to this ad. If Washington Metro sees fit to ban a 'History Matters!' display, it can justify banning anything.”

Philip Giraldi - The American Conservative

... Number one on my little list is Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who is particularly dangerous as she is holding a position where she can do bad things. Haley has been shooting from the lip since she assumed office ... It is never clear whether she is speaking for herself or for the White House ... At various UN meetings Haley has repeatedly and uncritically complained of institutional bias towards Israel, asserting that the “days of Israel bashing are over,” without ever addressing the issue that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians might in part be responsible for the criticism leveled against it. Her description of Israel as an “ally” is hyperbolic and she tends to be oblivious to actual American interests in the region when Israel is involved.

Robert W. Merry - The American Conservative

In his Warsaw speech on Thursday, Donald Trump threw down the gauntlet on the meaning and essence of Western Civilization, and it fell at the feet of two writers for The Atlantic — Peter Beinart and James Fallows. They avidly took it up, and in the process distilled a fundamental debate of our time ... The debate centers on whether American values, however they may be defined, are a legacy of the Western heritage or whether America is “an idea,” as Fallows puts it, that transcends any concept of civilization or the people who created it. Indeed, in the Beinart-Fallows view, merely an overly abundant mention of “the West”’ or “our civilization” constitutes a kind of white nationalism or tribalism ... Essentially, it is about the definition of America ... This matter ... lies at the heart of the country’s current deadlock crisis. It isn’t going away anytime soon.

The Washington Post

Two thousand years ago, Roman builders constructed vast sea walls and harbor piers. The concrete they used outlasted the empire -- and still holds lessons for modern engineers, scientists say ... The harbor concrete, a mixture of volcanic ash and quicklime, has withstood the sea for two millennia and counting. What's more, it is stronger than when it was first mixed. The Roman stuff is "an extraordinarily rich material in terms of scientific possibility," said Philip Brune, a research scientist at DuPont Pioneer who has studied the engineering properties of Roman monuments. "It's the most durable building material in human history, and I say that as an engineer not prone to hyperbole." By contrast, modern concrete exposed to saltwater corrodes within decades. The mystery has been why the ancient material endured.

P. Danahar - BBC News

... Ambassadors in Washington are clueless these days, or rather clues are all they have, because, as this one was explaining to me, the usual avenues of diplomacy in the US capital have broken down. The same words were spoken by several ambassadors from across the globe that I've spoken to in DC recently ... America isn't taking one for the team anymore, because President Trump isn't a team player. So diplomats make sure they go into their meetings with an idea that Mr Trump can claim as a victory. It must be structured, as one diplomat put it, "so he can say to people, 'we scored a win here,' because for him it's all about winning" ... After laying out this elaborate strategy, the Western diplomat confessed, "but then there are those who say the most important thing is to be the last person to talk to him before he makes a decision."

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian - The Washington Post

... Bethlehem is the most heavily Christian city in Palestine. Its Arab Christian mayor, Vera Baboun, describes her hometown the “capital of Christmas” and says that between Bethlehem proper and the surrounding Bethlehem governate, there are upward of 38,000 Christian residents. Christmas celebrations there form an integral part of city life ... The existence of Palestinian Christians, and the difficulties they face under Israeli occupation in their homeland, is a blind spot for American Christians. Evangelicals in particular are often strong supporters of Israel and suspicious of Muslims but don’t seem to realize that those aren’t the only groups at play in the region.

E. Abrahamian - LobeLog

The State Department has finally released a much-awaited volume of internal documents from 1951 to 1954 ... Although many scholars of Iran anticipated new revelations about the actual overthrow of Mossadeq in August 1953, few expected such information ... It is a goldmine of astounding information — especially on three important arenas. First, it reveals how deeply the US — not just the CIA but also the US embassy headed by Ambassador Loy Henderson — was immersed in the nitty-gritty of internal day-to-day Iranian politics ... This meddling in internal politics may well explain why the State Department was so reluctant to release these embassy dispatches ... Anyone interested in the workings of imperialism in a semi-colonial state would learn much wading through this morass of badly written and turgid double-speak.

Paul R. Pillar - The National Interest

The Pew Research Center released last week the results of one of its periodic surveys of global views of the United States and its leadership and policies. More than 40,000 people were polled in 37 countries across six continents between February and May. The most salient finding is a dramatic drop in confidence in the United States and, more specifically, in the current U.S. leadership. When asked about “confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing in world affairs,” 22 percent of those surveyed expressed confidence in Donald Trump and 74 percent expressed no confidence ... As documented by the Pew survey, there is less confidence in Trump to do the right thing than in Xi Jinping of China or Vladimir Putin of Russia. The three adjectives that respondents most attached to Trump were “arrogant,” “intolerant,” and “dangerous”.

Tom Secker, Matthew Alford – Medium

... We have recently acquired 4,000 new pages of documents from the Pentagon and CIA through the Freedom of Information Act ... These documents for the first time demonstrate that the US government has worked behind the scenes on over 800 major movies and more than 1,000 TV titles ... A similar influence is exerted over military-supported TV, which ranges from Hawaii Five-O to America’s Got Talent, Oprah and Jay Leno to Cupcake Wars, along with numerous documentaries by PBS, the History Channel and the BBC. National Security Cinema also reveals how dozens of films and TV shows have been supported and influenced by the CIA ... In all, we are looking at a vast, militarised propaganda apparatus operating throughout the screen entertainment industry in the United States.

John Weir – The Journal of Historical Review

Ron Chernow has written a detailed and sometimes tedious history of one of the world's most prominent international banking families [The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family] ... Chernow provides insight into how Jewish patricians operate in society, and how their roles changed during the turbulent twentieth century ... If anyone can be called the father of the Federal Reserve Bank, the New York Times has rightly noted, it is Paul Warburg ... An international network of Jewish organizations and charities devoted to the well-being of Jewish communities around the world operated as a shadow government for this scattered, stateless population ... They also played an major role in domestic and international politics.

Jonathan Cook

If you wish to understand the degree to which the supposedly free western media are constructing a world of half-truths and deceptions to manipulate their audiences, keeping us uninformed and pliant, there could hardly be a better case study than their treatment of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. All of these highly competitive, for-profit, scoop-seeking media outlets separately took identical decisions: first to reject Hersh’s latest investigative report, and then to studiously ignore it once it was published in Germany ... Hersh’s version suggests that Trump acted against the intelligence advice he received from his own officials, in a highly dangerous move that not only grossly violated international law but might have dragged Assad’s main ally, Russia, into the fray.

Uri Avnery (Israel)

Conan Doyle, the creator of the legendary Sherlock Holmes, would have titled his story about this incident "The Bizarre Case of Bashar al-Assad" ... It concerns the evil deeds of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, who bombed his own people with Sarin, a nerve gas, causing gruesome deaths of the victims ... The first question Sherlock Holmes would ask is: What is the motive? Who has something to gain? Bashar had no motive at all. He could only lose by gas-bombing his citizens. Unless, of course, he is crazy. And nothing indicates that he is. On the contrary, he seems to be in full control of his senses ... One would like to believe that the world – and especially the "Western World" - is full of honest newspapers, which investigate thoroughly and publish the truth. That is not so ... They are unconscious prisoners of lies.

Alison Weir - If Americans Knew

The pro-Israel campaign in state legislatures against boycotting Israel just scored another victory in North Carolina. Last month corresponding bills were passed in Nevada, Ohio, and Kansas. Similar laws are also being passed in U.S. cities and at the federal level. Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives voted 96 to 19 and state Senators voted 45 to 3 for legislation that prevents state institutions from doing business with companies that boycott Israeli companies and/or products made in Israel ... Some of the other groups promoting the legislation are The Israel Project, a national pro-Israel organization; United for Israel, an international organization; and the American Jewish Committee, which created a letter opposing BDS that all 50 US governors signed. The AJC called it “a big win for Jewish advocacy and Israel.”

Associated Press

German lawmakers approved a bill on Friday aimed at cracking down on hate speech on social networks, which critics say could have drastic consequences for free speech online. The measure approved is designed to enforce the country's existing limits on speech, including the long-standing ban on Holocaust denial. Among other things, it would fine social networking sites up to 50 million euros ($56 million) if they persistently fail to remove illegal content within a week, including defamatory "fake news." ... Social media platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have become a battleground for angry debates about Germany's recent influx of more than one million refugees ... Among those cheering the law was Germany's main Jewish organization, which called it a "strong instrument against hate speech in social networks."

The Independent (Britain)

Saudi Arabia is the chief foreign promoter of Islamist extremism in the UK, a report has warned. The conservative Henry Jackson Society said there was a “clear and growing link” between Islamist organisations preaching violence and foreign state funding. In a new report entitled “Foreign Funded Islamist Extremism in the UK,” the thinktank calls for a public inquiry into extremism bankrolled by other countries. It suggests several Gulf states and Iran are responsible for much of the foreign funding of extremism in the UK, but that Saudi Arabia in particular had spent millions on exporting its conservative branch of Wahhabi Islam to Muslim communities in the West since the 1960s.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... Was the discovery of America and conquest of this continent from 1492 to the 20th century among the most glorious chapters in the history of man? Or was it a half-millennium marked by mankind's most scarlet of sins: the genocide of native peoples, the enslavement of Africans, the annihilation of indigenous cultures, the spoliation of a virgin land? ... Watching our Lilliputians tearing down statues and monuments, renaming buildings and streets, rewriting history books to replace heroes and historical truths with the doings of ciphers, are we disassembling the nation we once were?

Paul R. Pillar – The National Interest

A combination of circumstances has increased the risk that armed conflict will break out between the United States and Iran. Such a war is no certainty, but the chance that one will occur is greater today than it has been in years ... Politically potent interests have their own narrow reasons to keep U.S.-Iranian relations bad and to keep Iran isolated. Foremost among those interests is the right-wing government of Israel, for which Iran as chief bête noire serves to cripple a competitor for regional influence, to explain all regional trouble in terms that do not relate to Israel, to distract attention from matters (especially the occupation of Palestinian territory) the Israeli government would rather not discuss, and to keep the United States wedded to Israel as supposedly its only reliable regional partner.

Associated Press

U.S. President Donald Trump made his emotional address to the Poles speaking at the foot of the metal-and-stone Monument to the Warsaw Uprising, a heroic but failed 1944 uprising by Poland's clandestine Home Army against the occupying Nazi Germans. The monument stands near the still-existing entry into the city's sewer system that the insurgents and civilians used to flee the area as it was being overtaken by the Nazis. At least 150,000 Poles - both fighters and civilians - died in the fierce street fighting in the uprising ... It shows some fighters entering the sewer opening, while others are fleeing a wall that is collapsing after an explosion. It is a site of great emotions and pride for Poles.

G. Myrzayan - Sputnik (Russia)

...Trump distorted history in favor of Poland's view of things. Trump described how the Poles stood against the Bolshevik army in 1920 and saved Europe from Soviet conquest (despite the vexing fact that Poland's wish to annex the best pieces of Ukrainian and Belorussian territories actually inflamed conflict). He also said that in 1939, Poland was "attacked again – by Nazi Germany from the West and the Soviet Union from the East," this, despite the fact that Poland initially shared defeated Czechoslovakia with the Third Reich and then reaped what it had sown) ... Among those precise hits was also the Polish version of the Warsaw Uprising.

Video

General Bor, leader of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, meets with the German commander, SS General von dem Bach. After 63 days of fierce and heroic combat, in which many tens of thousands lost their lives, 9,000 Polish fighters surrender and turn in their arms. In ranks four abreast, they march into captivity with honor and pride. Portion of the German weekly newsreel, “Die Deutsche Wochenschau” of Oct. 18, 1944. With German-language narration.

Eric Margolis

... After Washington overthrew the rulers of Iraq and Libya, it became painfully apparent that small nations without nuclear weapons were vulnerable to US ‘regime change’ operations. The North Koreans, who are very eccentric but not stupid, rushed to accelerate their nuclear weapons and delivery systems ... Growing US hysteria over North Korea, a nation of only 25 million, recalls the propaganda storm launched by Washington to justify its invasion of equally small Iraq ... Would it not be easier and less expensive for grand deal-maker Trump to recognize North Korea, set up diplomatic relations, stop trying to overthrow the Kim regime, and finally end the Korean War?

The Washington Post

Two days after North Korea defied the international community by testing an intercontinental ballistic missile, hope for a unified response is fading as the Trump administration’s plans meet with firm opposition from Russia and China. President Trump warned Thursday that he’s considering “some pretty severe things” in response to what he called “very, very bad behavior” from the North, though he did not mention any specific plans. “Something will have to be done about it,” he said in a speech in Warsaw. At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley accused China and Russia of “holding the hands” of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Sputnik (Russia)

US officials say China has betrayed Washington in efforts to contain North Korea, citing a nearly 40 percent growth in trade between the two Asian countries. Chinese and Russian observers say the US doesn’t have its facts straight, and that Washington must work with, rather than ignore, Russian and Chinese initiatives on ensuring peace in the peninsula. US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has warned that Washington might use its “considerable military forces” against North Korea if necessary, and called on Russia and China to cut trade ties with the Asian country ... Russia and China used the emergency meeting to present their own joint initiative aimed at reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and urged Washington and Seoul to immediately suspend and abolish the deployment of THAAD missile defense on South Korean soil.

Philip Giraldi

... The fact is that Israel is extremely active in an enterprise that falls in the gray area between covert operations and overt governmental activity ... The practice is so systemic, involving recruitment, training, Foreign Ministry-prepared information sheets, and internet alerts to potential targets, that it is frequently described by its Hebrew name, hasbara, which means literally “public explanation.” It is essentially an internet-focused “information war” that parallels and supports the military action whenever Israel enters into conflict with any of its neighbors or seeks to influence public opinion in the United States and Europe ... That Israel is engaged in perception management on a large scale has more-or-less been admitted by the Israeli government ...

Jonathan Cook

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed cohorts of Israel loyalists in the United States by video link last week at the annual conference of Aipac, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. They should, he said, follow his government’s example and defend Israel on the "moral battlefield" against the growing threat of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. In Mr Netanyahu’s simple-minded language, support for Palestinian rights, and opposition to the settlements, is equivalent to "delegitimisation" of Israel. The current obsession with BDS reflects a changing political environment for Israel ... Israel will soon have to accept that the apartheid genie is out of the bottle – and it cannot be put back.

Common Dreams / Al Jazeera

A tape shows Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, discussing ways to undermine the Oslo Accords and calling the United States "easy" to manipulate. The video was filmed in 2001, apparently without Netanyahu's knowledge, during a meeting with Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. It aired on Friday night [July 16, 2010] on Israel's Channel 10, and several translations have been posted online ... Netanyahu - who did not hold political office when the recording was made - was dismissive of the United States, calling it easily manipulated. “I know what America is," Netanyahu said. "America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get in the way.” Netanyahu also spoke extensively about undermining the Oslo Accords, the agreement signed in 1993 ...

Eric Margolis

Bravo Monsieur le president Macron! You have gotten off to a most impressive start. France’s five-year national depression – known as ‘morosité – has lifted and been replaced by a sense that the republic is not doomed after all. In fact, quite the contrary. France’s new 39-year old president has astounded nearly everyone ... Emmanuel Macron declared himself and his new ‘En Marche’ party above politics and dedicated to ending the vitriolic battle between left and right that has wounded France since the 1930’s. French were sick of the left-right bickering and trench warfare of their professional politicians. Americans should take notice. Amazingly, France’s Socialist and Communist parties pretty much collapsed in the recent presidential election. So too the far right National Front and the center-right Republicans.

BBC News

... After Pearl Harbor there were consequences for another group: American citizens of Japanese ancestry. “The Japanese race is an enemy race," wrote Lieutenant General John DeWitt in Final Report, Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942. “While many second and third generation Japanese born on American soil, possessed of American citizenship, have become 'Americanized,' the racial strains are undiluted." In February 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, sending 120,000 people from the US west coast into internment camps because of their ethnic background. Two-thirds of them were born in America. There were ten camps across the US. On average, Japanese American internees spent three years behind barbed-wire fencing.

Phyllis Bennis - The Nation

Recent news reports describe a massive increase in civilian casualties at the hands of the US military or US allies ... The US claim is that of “self-defense”— that the Syrian warplane threatened US-backed rebel forces attacking ISIS-held areas. But the United States has no legal right to be in Syria — not under international law, and not even under US domestic law. Asserting the right to shoot down any plane supposedly threatening US troops anywhere in the world, regardless of the legality of those troops’ presence, is not a legitimate claim. Things could deteriorate very quickly, and the icy cold war between the United States and Russia could heat up very rapidly if more of these provocations take place.

Newsweek

Most Russians believe the Soviet military would have been able to win World War II without the efforts of the U.S. or its allies, a new poll finds. The Soviet Union suffered the most casualties in the conflict, and the issue is highly emotional for many Russians. Victory Day — the Soviet-style celebration of the end of the war— is one of Russia’s most popular holidays, behind only New Year’s Eve. Evidence of Soviet supremacy in forcing the Nazis into retreat on the eastern front was widely taught in Russian schools in Communist times, and most Russians still seem to hold on to that view. Two-thirds of Russians (63 percent) said the Soviet Red Army would have overwhelmed Germany’s troops regardless of the actions of the U.S., the U.K., France and their allies, according to the survey by the Levada Center, Russia’s largest independent pollster.

T. Durden – Zero Hedge

We’ve written quite a bit over the past couple of months about the pending financial crisis in Illinois which will inevitability result in the state’s debt being downgraded to “junk” at some point in the near future ... Unfortunately, the state of Illinois doesn’t have a monopoly on ignorant politicians … Since the end of World War II, those ignorant politicians have been promising American Baby Boomers more and more entitlements while never collecting nearly enough money to cover them all … it’s all been a massive state-sponsored scam ... Some of the largest of the many entitlement ‘scams’ in this country are America’s public pension funds. Up until now, these public pensions have been covered by stealing money set aside for future generations to cover current claims … it’s a Ponzi it’s a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions … $5-$8 trillion to be exact.

Philip Giraldi

... Sometimes referred to as America’s “civil religion,” one can also call it “American exceptionalism” or the “leadership of the free world” or even “responsibility to protect,” but the reality is that a broad consensus has developed in the United States that enables serial interventionism with hardly a squeak of protest coming from the American people ... We are already at war with Syria even though the media and Congress seem blissfully unaware of that fact. We are also making aggressive moves intended to create a casus belli for going to war with Iran, and are doubling down in Afghanistan with more troops on the way, so Donald Trump’s pledge to avoid pointless wars and nation-building were apparently little more than glib talking points intended to make Barack Obama look bad.

Reuters

A Bank of Japan policymaker praised Adolf Hitler’s economic policies on Thursday, but said they enabled the Nazi dictator to do “horrible” things to the world. Yutaka Harada, a member of the board of Japan’s central bank, said Western policymakers helped bring Hitler to power by being slow to apply John Maynard Keynes’ proposals to fight the Great Depression. Hitler had taken “wonderful” fiscal and monetary stimulus steps ... “Because Hitler had taken appropriate fiscal and monetary policy steps, tragedy resulted. What I’m saying is that someone should have taken appropriate fiscal and monetary policy steps before Hitler did,” said Harada, an academic-turned BOJ policymaker.

Japan Today

Japan's central bank issued a rare apology on Friday over a board member's praise for Adolf Hitler's economic policies. Yutaka Harada, a member of the board of the Bank of Japan, told a seminar on Thursday Hitler's economic policies had been "appropriate” and “wonderful" but had enabled the Nazi dictator to do "horrible" things to the world. "The Bank of Japan views with regret the fact that the remarks of one of its Board Members have become a source of misunderstanding, and will see to it that such incident will not repeat itself," the central bank told Reuters on Friday ... Harada said he had only been trying to express the importance of conducting appropriate economic policies at an early stage.

The Times of Israel

Germany’s national security council approved the sale of three more nuclear-capable submarines to Israel for a combined price of some $1.3 billion, in a deal marred by controversy surrounding corruption allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli Navy currently maintains a fleet of five state-of-the-art German underwater vessels of the Dolphin Class, which can be equipped with nuclear warheads, with a sixth due for delivery this year ... Submarines, unmatched in their ability to hide from enemy navies, have long been a major facet of Israel’s defense policy. Israeli subs are reportedly armed with cruise missiles topped with nuclear warheads, affording the tiny Jewish state “second strike” capabilities ...

Newsweek

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has been voted the most “outstanding” figure in Russia’s history, beating the country’s most beloved poet, Alexander Pushkin, and current Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The poll, by Russia’s independent Levada Center, is the latest to showcase the changing view amongst Russians of Stalin, who presided over mass deportations, a network of concentration camps — or gulags — and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of around 20 million Soviet citizens. But for many Russians it is Stalin's role in winning World War II that is remembered and encouraged in government propaganda. Recent approval ratings of Stalin and the man he succeeded — Vladimir Lenin — show that both enjoy majority approval in Russia.

VOA News

The United Nations said Thursday that Tehran is in compliance with its obligations under an international nuclear deal, but U.S. envoy Nikki Haley disputed that. "Today's meeting of the Security Council on the implementation of resolution 2231 is taking place against a backdrop of steady implementation, cooperation and progress," U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman said in his semi-annual briefing on the subject. The resolution was adopted in July 2015, endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that aims to ensure Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. The five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany negotiated the deal with Iran.

Mark Weber

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

John Feffer – FPIF

... Iran has loomed as the primary bogeyman of the Trump crowd. Fear of Iranian influence has prompted the administration to all but cancel the 2015 nuclear deal, intensify a number of proxy wars, consider pushing for regime change in Tehran, and even intervene in the mother of all battles between the Shia and Sunni variants of Islam. ... The conflict is escalating in Syria, where Iran backs the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and the United States supports a shifting set of anti-regime groups ... The Iraq War against Saddam Hussein begat the war against the anti-occupation forces, which in turn generated a war against the Islamic State, which now promises to escalate into a war against the axis of Russia, Iran, and Syria.

Politico

As the White House formulates its official policy on Iran, senior officials and key allies of President Donald Trump are calling for the new administration to take steps to topple Tehran’s militant clerical government. Supporters of dislodging Iran’s iron-fisted clerical leadership say it’s the only way to halt Tehran’s dangerous behavior ... “The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who speaks regularly with White House officials about foreign policy. “I don’t see how anyone can say America can be safe as long as you have in power a theocratic despotism,” he added ... Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to endorse subverting the Iranian regime during recent testimony ...

Associated Press

Once expunged from its official history, documents outlining the U.S.-backed 1953 coup in Iran have been quietly published by the State Department, offering a new glimpse at an operation that ultimately pushed the country toward its Islamic Revolution and hostility with the West. The CIA’s role in the coup, which toppled Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh and cemented the control of the shah, was well-known by the time the State Department offered its first compendium on the era in 1989. But any trace of American involvement in the putsch had been wiped from the report, causing historians to call it a fraud ... The 1,007-page report, consisting of letters and diplomatic cables, shows U.S. officials discussing a coup up to a year before it took place.

TeleSur (Venezuela)

Newly released documents by the US Department of State provide an inside look at the motivations and tactics used by the US Central Intelligence Agency in orchestrating the 1953 coup in Iran that toppled the democratically elected government of former Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, reinstating the rule of the U.S.-friendly Shah monarchy ... In documents taking stock of “western assets” in Iran months before the coup took place, the CIA notes that they were stockpiling “enough arms and demolition material to support a 10,000-man guerilla organization for six months.” They were also paying millions of dollars in bribes ... In the year leading up to Mosaddegh's removal and immediately following it, U.S. officials were keenly aware that one of their most important tasks was to affect public opinion through mass propaganda campaigns.

Epoch Times

A producer at CNN has said the theory about collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign is mostly false, and that the network has no significant proof, despite continuing to push the narrative ... The exchange was secretly recorded and released by the nonprofit Project Veritas. Since President Donald Trump won the vote in November, CNN has been at the forefront of sustaining the theory that Russia interfered with the election and colluded with the Trump campaign. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and MSNBC have placed the story line front and center for more than six months, though there is no sign of substantial evidence ... The recording also reveals that, according to Bonifield, CNN continued to pursue the false narrative solely because it yields ratings.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... Given the present risk of war, possibly involving nuclear weapons, it is absurd that we should be obligated to fight what Mattis says would be a “catastrophic” war, because of a treaty negotiated six decades ago by Eisenhower and Dulles. “The commonest error in politics,” Lord Salisbury reminded us, “is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.” But we should also tell South Korea that if she desires a nuclear deterrent against an attack by the North, she should build it. Americans should not risk a nuclear war, 8,000 miles away, to defend a South Korea that has 40 times the economy of the North and twice the population. No vital U.S. interest requires us, in perpetuity, to be willing to go to war to defend South Korea, especially if that war entails the risk of a nuclear attack on U.S. troops or the American homeland.

Associated Press

The World Jewish Congress and the leading Jewish group in Hungary objected Friday to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's praise for Miklos Horthy, the World War II-era leader who allied Hungary with Nazi Germany. WJC President Ronald Lauder said his organization would always condemn "deplorable actions" like Horthy's and rejected any attempts to excuse or justify them ... In a speech on Wednesday, just hours before he hosted Lauder in Parliament, Orban called Horthy and other Hungarian leaders "exceptional statesmen” for leading the country after the traumatic disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I ... Several busts and statues of Horthy have been erected [in Hungary] in the past few years, mostly on private property.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC)

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum condemns any attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of Hungary’s wartime leader, Miklos Horthy, who was a vocal anti-Semite and complicit in the murder of the country’s Jewish population during the Holocaust. On June 21, 2017, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban asserted at a public ceremony that the Hungarian nation was able to survive in the 1920s and 1930s due to “some exceptional statesmen like Regent Miklos Horthy ...” Identifying Horthy, who served as Hungarian head of state from 1920 to 1944, as an “exceptional statesman” is a gross distortion of historical fact and is the latest in a long series of propagandistic attempts of the Fidesz political party and the Hungarian government that Mr. Orban leads to rewrite Hungarian history.

Video

Hungary’s Regent and head of state, Miklos Horthy, along with his wife, visits Germany in August 1938. Together with German leader Adolf Hitler, Horthy reviews a large military parade in Berlin. Crowds of joyful Berliners watch. Horthy and wife drive along beflagged boulevards. Large crowds cheer Hitler, Horthy and Göring as they appear on a balcony. British “Movietone” newsreel. No narration. Runtime: 4:35 mins.