December 2011

Christmas in the Trenches: The 1914 Truce
Abby Zimet

The extraordinary story and pictures of the Christmas truce of 1914, wherein "enemy" German and English troops discovered their common humanity for a brief surreal shining moment. Set to John McCutcheon's stirring song.

US Blocks UN Move To Condemn Israeli Settlements
The Associated Press

The United States vetoed a U.N. resolution Friday that would have condemned “illegal” Israeli settlements and demanded an immediate halt to all settlement building, a move certain to anger Arab countries and Palestinian supporters around the world. The 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution, reflecting the wide support for the Palestinian-backed draft which had over 100 co-sponsors. ... The vote put President Barack Obama in a difficult position, both internationally and domestically. The U.S. veto was strongly opposed by Arab nations and much of the rest of the world, especially at a time of growing street protests in the Mideast, fueled by hopes for democracy.

Israel Plans More Than 1,000 New Housing Units in Occupied Land
Los Angeles Times

Israel's Housing Ministry announced Sunday that it would construct more than 1,000 housing units in the West Bank and Jerusalem area on land it seized during the 1967 Mideast war ... The U.N. and many countries consider such settlement construction illegal and have urged Israel to refrain from building on land that Palestinians hope to one day make part of their state.

Desecrating the Timeless Spirit of Christmas
Mark Weber - Podcast

The Christmas message of peace, good will and respect for others is not just a Christian or even narrowly religious one. These timeless principles are important for nations as well as for individuals. But because American cultural and political life is controlled by a small but powerful minority with its own partisan agenda, US foreign policy has all too often been arrogant, bellicose and oppressive -- with harmful long-term consequences for Americans and humanity.

Christmas Trees 'Provocative,' Says Jewish Mayor of Nazareth Suburb

The mayor of a Jewish suburb of Nazareth sparked outrage on Wednesday after refusing to allow Christmas trees to be placed in town squares, calling them provocative. Predominantly Jewish Nazareth Illit, or Upper Nazareth, is adjacent to Nazareth, where Christians believe Jesus spent much of his life. It has a sizable Arab Christian minority, as does mostly Muslim Nazareth itself. "The request of the Arabs to put Christmas trees in the squares in the Arab quarter of Nazareth Illit is provocative," Mayor Shimon Gapso told AFP.

Wiesel Words
Christopher Hitchens (2001)

Is there a more contemptible poseur and windbag than Elie Wiesel? I suppose there may be. But not, surely, a poseur and windbag who receives (and takes as his due) such grotesque deference on moral questions. ... This claim is a cheap lie and is known by Wiesel to be a lie. It is furthermore an utterly discredited lie, and one that Israeli officialdom no longer cares to repeat. Israeli and Jewish historians have exposed it time and again: ... And of course the lie is a Big Lie, because Expulsion-Denial lies at the root of the entire problem and helps poison the situation to this day.

Elie Wiesel: A Prominent False Witness
Robert Faurisson

Elie Wiesel passes for one of the most celebrated eyewitnesses to the alleged Holocaust. Yet in his supposedly autobiographical book Night, he makes no mention of gas chambers. He claims instead to have witnessed Jews being burned alive, a story now dismissed by all historians. Wiesel gives credence to the most absurd stories of other "eyewitnesses." He spreads fantastic tales of 10,000 persons sent to their deaths each day in Buchenwald. When Elie Wiesel and his father, as Auschwitz prisoners, had the choice of either leaving with their retreating German "executioners," or remaining behind in the camp to await the Soviet "liberators," the two decided to leave with their German captors.

British Book Seller Apologizes After Promoting Mein Kampf as 'Perfect' Present
The Jewish Chronicle (Britain)

Booksellers Waterstone's has apologised for inappropriately promoting Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf as a "perfect" Christmas present. But the UK's largest bookshop chain has denied it is attempting to bolster sales of the infamously antisemitic work, despite the JC discovering several stores deliberately and prominently displaying the book. Staff at Waterstone's in Huddersfield used a festive point-of-sale sticker to promote the book as "the perfect present" with an accompanying personal recommendation message by a staff member trumpeting the book as "an essential read for anyone".

Release of 'Air Jordan' Shoes Sets Off Nationwide Frenzy
The Associated Press

Scuffles broke out and police were brought in to quell unrest that nearly turned into riots across the United States following the release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes — a retro model of one of the most popular Air Jordans ever made. The frenzy over Air Jordans has been dangerous in the past. Some people were mugged or even killed for early versions of the shoe, created by Nike Inc. in 1984 ... The mayhem stretched from Washington state to Georgia Friday and was reminiscent of the violence that broke out 20 years ago in many cities as the shoes became popular targets for thieves.

Turkey Retaliates Over French 'Genocide Denial' Bill
BBC News

The Turkish prime minister has announced measures against France after MPs passed a bill criminalising denial of the 1915-16 Armenian "genocide". Ankara is recalling its ambassador and freezing political visits as well as joint military projects, including exercises, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. The bill was passed by the French National Assembly on Thursday and is due to go before the Senate next year. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has publicly opposed it. Under the bill, those publicly denying genocide would face a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($58,000). Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915-16.

Orthodox Jewish Sex Abuse Scandal
New York Post

He looks like a movie star, but many members of Brooklyn’s Jewish community believe he is a monster. Andrew Goodman, 27, who worked for Jewish social-service agencies, is charged with sexually abusing two Orthodox boys for years in Flatbush — one from age 11 to 15, the other from age 13 to 16 ... He’s one of an astounding 85 accused Orthodox child molesters that Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office says it has busted in the past three years in an initiative called Kol Tzedek, Hebrew for “voice of justice.” The cases involve 117 victims — a number that has the community reeling from the extent of the horrors of pedophilia.

The 'Jefferson Bible' Is On Display
Religious News Service

How would you feel about taking a razor blade to a Bible? Thomas Jefferson, apparently, didn't have any qualms about it. In his retirement, the nation's third president carried out a project he had contemplated for years: he literally cut and pasted passages from the four Gospels into one integrated narrative of Jesus' life -- minus the miracles and supernatural events. The result, he said, was "the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man." Judging by the wear and tear on the book, it appears Jefferson read it regularly. Known as "The Jefferson Bible," the 84-page patchwork book is on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Recovery Before Reform: 'Money Power' Hampers Banking Regulation
Robert Skidelsky

... For 50 years after the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the Money Power was held to account by the countervailing power of government. At the heart of the political check was America’s Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. Glass-Steagall aimed to prevent commercial banks from gambling with their depositors’ money by mandating the institutional separation of retail and investment banking. The result was 65 years of relative financial stability ... After prolonged lobbying by the financial-services industry, US President Bill Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall in 1999. From that point on, commercial and investment banks could merge, and the composite entities were authorized to provide a full range of banking services, including underwriting and other trading activities.

Nearly One in Three Americans Will Be Arrested by Age 23
USA Today

Nearly one in three people will be arrested by the time they are 23, a study published Monday in Pediatrics found. "Arrest is a pretty common experience," says Robert Brame, a criminologist at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and principal author of the study. The new data show a sharp increase from a previous study that stunned the American public when it was published 44 years ago by criminologist Ron Christensen. That study found 22% of youth would be arrested by age 23. The latest study finds 30.2% of young people will be arrested by age 23.

Brazil Overtakes Britain As World’s Sixth Largest Economy
BBC News

Brazil has overtaken the UK as the world's sixth largest economy, an economic research group has said. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said its latest World Economic League Table showed Asian countries moving up and European countries falling back. The CEBR also predicted that the UK economy would overtake France by 2016. It also said the eurozone economy would shrink 0.6 percent in 2012 "if the euro problem is solved", or two percent if it is not.

Top Ten Anti-Semitic Slurs of 2011
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (Los Angeles)

For the last two years, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights NGO, has compiled a list of the top ten anti-Israel and anti-Semitic slurs. The list continues to reflect the growing global anti-Semitism and de-legitimization of Israel coming from mainstream voices. It does not include statements by terrorist organizations, the lunatic fringe, or the government of Iran.

Germany Seeks to Ban Nationalist NPD Party
The Associated Press

Germany’s top security officials say they are formally launching an investigation to determine whether a far right party should be banned over its anti-democratic convictions. Germany’s Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said Friday he reached agreement with his counterparts from the country’s 16 states to gather material for a trial seeking to ban the NPD party. They say the National Democratic Party is “inhuman, hostile to democracy and anti-Semitic.”

Encircling Iran: US Military Bases in the Middle East
Bruce K. Gagnon

This map tells the whole story. Each star represents a U.S. military base. In the middle, in blue, is Iran. Iran has no military bases outside its borders. Just north of Iran is Georgia that has essentially become a U.S./NATO base. Turkey belongs to NATO. Iran has been checkmated. North of Georgia is Russia. Can there be any wonder why Russia is so alarmed about an attack on Iran? Imagine if we saw a map of the U.S. with Russian or Chinese military bases throughout Canada and Mexico along with their warships just off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The American people would be going ballistic. But when we do it to others, no one even blinks an eye.

British Schools Should End `Nazi’ Studies, Says Former Education Minister
The Telegraph (Britain)

British schools should no longer teach children about the Nazis because it makes them think less favourably of modern Germany, the architect of the National Curriculum has claimed. Lord Baker of Dorking, who spent three years as Margaret Thatcher’s education secretary, said that he would ban the topic and concentrate on British history instead. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said that schools should concentrate on teaching “the story in our own country” rather than the events of the Second World War, including the Holocaust. Lord Baker, who introduced the National Curriculum in the 1980s, said: “I would ban the study of Nazism from the history curriculum totally.”

Did President Roosevelt Provoke Pearl Harbor?
Patrick J. Buchanan

... Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light. It is Hoover’s explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West. Edited by historian George Nash, “Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath” is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war.

The Blunders of Statesmen: Former US President Reassesses World War II
Herbert Hoover

... The fourth abysmal loss of statesmanship was when the British and French guaranteed the independence of Poland and Rumania at the end of March 1939. It was at this point that the European democracies reversed their previous policies of keeping hands off the inevitable war between Hitler and Stalin. It was probably the greatest blunder in the whole history of European-power diplomacy. Britain and France were helpless to save Poland from invasion ... The fifth major blunder in statesmanship was when Roosevelt, in the winter of 1941, threw the United States into undeclared war with Germany and Japan in total violation of promises upon which he had been elected a few weeks before ... Indeed the greatest loss of statesmanship in all American history was the tacit American alliance and support of Communist Russia when Hitler made his attack in June 1941.

A Masterpiece of German Wartime Cinema: 'Opfergang'
Derek Hawthorne -- Counter Currents

... Like all great cinema, this film transcends its time and place. ... When I first saw Opfergang I was so impressed by its opening scenes that I cut it off after about a half hour and then re-watched it from the beginning. Then I watched it again the next night, and the next. And the next ... Composer Borgmann’s musical accompaniment for this scene is as strange and moving as the scene itself. A chorus wails a variation on the film’s dignified and funereal main theme.

'Opfergang': A Portion

From the wartime German film “Opfergang” (“Path of Sacrifice”). The main role here is played by the Swedish-born Kristina Söderbaum. Her husband, Veit Harlan, directed this beautiful production, with impressive performances and a haunting score. Released in 1944, this UFA production is in color. With English subtitles. This portion: 4:35 mins.

Swiss Museum Cancels Competition After Prize-Sponsor Lacoste Rejects Palestinian Artist
Annie Robbins -- Mondo Weiss

Here is a shocking story that tells us how the world is changing before our eyes. A Swiss museum staging a prestigious international art competition selects a Palestinian artist as one of eight finalists. The sponsor of the prize -- the Lacoste clothing company -- then demands that she be excluded. The museum wavers and tries to buy the artist off with a solo exhibition separate from the prize. She refuses. And the museum cancels the whole competition!

Wage Inequality 'Getting Worse' in Leading Economies
BBC News

The divide between the wages of the rich and the poor is growing in nearly all of the world's leading economies, according to think tank the OECD. Researchers examined 22 countries and found that inequality grew in 17 of them between the 1980s and the financial crisis of 2008. Chile, Mexico, Turkey and the United States were the most unequal nations. Inequality rose fastest in the the UK - it peaked in 2000, then fell, but is now rising again. Even traditionally egalitarian countries such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden have experienced a growing wealth gap in recent decades.

Seattle Couple Received Welfare, Lived in $1.2 Million Home
The Associated Press

A Seattle chiropractor and his wife live in a $1.2 million waterfront home and have spent the past eight years flying to Moscow, Paris, Israel, Turkey, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. All the while, federal authorities say, the couple was collecting more than $100,000 in welfare. Now, the U.S. attorney's office is suing David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova, accusing them of filing false claims and demanding that the couple pay back more than $135,000 in federal housing assistance since 2003 ... A report of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle for the 2010 fiscal year listed "Mila and Dr. David Silverstein" as donors.

The Real 'Invented' People
M. J. Rosenberg

It is hard to believe that anyone who defends Israel's legitimacy as a state would buy into former Speaker Newt Gingrich's argument that Palestine is an "invented nation". The singular triumph of the Zionist movement is that it invented a state and a people - Israel and the Israelis - from scratch. The first Hebrew-speaking child in 1900 years, Ittamar Ben-Avi, was not born until 1882. His father, the brilliant linguist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, created a modern language for him to speak by improvising from the language of the Bible. The founder of the Israeli state was Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) ...

Obama Renews Pledge of 'Unshakable' Commitment to Israel’s Security
Haaretz (Israel)

U.S. President Barack Obama gave the keynote address at the Union for Reform Judaism conference in Maryland on Friday, where he said that his administration has done more than any other to support Israel ... Obama has come under persistent attack from Republicans heading into the 2012 election, who say he hasn't done enough for Israel. However, in Friday's speech, Obama stressed his commitment to Israel and its security. "We stand with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state," he said. "America's commitment and my commitment to the security of Israel is unshakeable."

Gingrich Calls For ‘Joint Operations’ With Israel To Attack Iran’s Nuclear Program
Ben Armbruster -- Think Progress

Last month during the GOP presidential candidate foreign policy debate, Newt Gingrich suggested that he would order a military attack on Iran over its nuclear program. “You have to take whatever steps are necessary to break its capacity to have a nuclear weapon,” he said. Keeping with this militaristic tone — and perpetuating the GOP race for which presidential candidate loves Israel the most -- the former speaker told Wolf Blitzer yesterday on CNN that as president, he would help the Jewish state should it decide to attack Iran.

Prominent 'Holocaust Scholar' Blasts 'Holocaust Abuse' by US, Israeli Politicians
Haaretz (Israel)

Renowned Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt says that American and Israeli politicians who invoke the Holocaust for contemporary political purposes are engaging in “Holocaust abuse”, which is similar to “soft-core denial” of the Holocaust ... Lipstadt also lashed out at the "over-the-top pandering" of Republican presidential candidates, describing their fawning support for Israel as "embarrassing" and "unhealthy." Of last week’s appearance of the top Republican candidates at a Washington forum organized by the Republican Jewish Committee, she said: “It was unbelievable. It made me cringe. I couldn’t watch it.”

Obama Approves Law on Military Detention of US Terrorist 'Suspects' Without Trial
The Guardian (Britain)

Barack Obama has abandoned a commitment to veto a new security law that allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantanamo Bay. Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing ,,, The law, contained in the defence authorisation bill that funds the US military, effectively extends the battlefield in the "war on terror" to the US and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention.

Obama Directs US Government To Promote Gay Rights Worldwide
The Associated Press

The Obama administration is announcing a wide-ranging effort to use US foreign aid to promote rights for gays and lesbians abroad, including combating attempts by foreign governments to criminalize homosexuality ... “The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States' commitment to promoting human rights," Obama said in a statement. ... Obama's announcement is part of the White House's outreach to gays and lesbians, a core Democratic constituency.

US Income Has Fallen Lower Since Recession's End
The Associated Press

In a grim sign of the enduring nature of the economic slump, household income declined more in the two years after the recession ended than it did during the recession itself, new research has found. Between June 2009, when the recession officially ended, and June 2011, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent, to $49,909, according to a study by two former Census Bureau officials. During the recession — from December 2007 to June 2009 — household income fell 3.2 percent. The finding helps explain why Americans' attitudes toward the economy, the country's direction and its political leaders have continued to sour even as the economy has been growing.

Americans' Net Worth Plummets as Corporations Stockpile Cash
The Associated Press

Americans' wealth last summer suffered its biggest quarterly loss in more than two years as stocks, pension funds and home values lost value. At the same time, corporations raised their cash stockpiles to record levels. Household net worth fell four percent to $57.4 trillion in the July-September quarter, according to a Federal Reserve report released Thursday. It was the sharpest drop since the tumultuous period after the September 2008 bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman Brothers. And it was the second straight quarterly fall.

Half of Americans Now Classified as Poor or Low Income
The Associated Press

Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly one in two -- have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income. The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

Palestinians Light Christmas Tree in Bethlehem
The Associated Press

Hundreds of Palestinians have gathered in Bethlehem to light a Christmas tree ahead of the holiday festivities in the town where Jesus was born. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad pressed a button lighting up the decorations on the 50-foot tree Thursday, along with the lights illuminating the rest of the square outside the Church of the Nativity. Christmas brings the world's attention every year briefly to this West Bank town south of Jerusalem. Fayyad said Christmas was an opportunity to "celebrate the Palestinian identity of Jesus Christ."

False American Perceptions of Bethlehem
James Zogby

This time of year, hundreds of millions of Christians in the West turn their attention to Bethlehem. But what they think about is not the living, breathing and suffering Palestinian city that is real, but a Bethlehem that exists in their imagination. This gap between American perceptions of Bethlehem and its reality came through quite vividly in two studies issues this week ... When Americans think at all about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they do so through the prism of the Israeli narrative. They either do not see the Palestinian side of the story, or see a Palestine gutted of its human content.

Americans Not Sure Where Bethlehem Is, Survey Shows
Ekklesia (London)

Though their government plays a determinative role in the region, most Americans are not too sure about where Bethlehem is and who lives there... The surveys have put the spotlight on the plight of the town, which has been fast losing its indigenous Christian population since the construction of the Israeli wall plunged Bethlehem into economic crisis... While the Christians of Bethlehem overwhelmingly (78%) blame the exodus of Christians from the town on Israel's blockade, Americans are more likely (45.9%) to blame it on Islamic politics and are reluctant (7.4%) to blame Israel.

The Inevitable War With Iran
Philip Giraldi

... As part of the pro-Israel package, the same presidential hopefuls have made clear their willingness to go to war with Iran on behalf of Israel even if Israel is the initiator of the conflict, while the media and the Republican Party have together conspired to keep any contrary opinions on that issue marginalized and nearly invisible ... Claims of anti-Semitism fit every situation where Israel is even peripherally involved. The slightest suggestion of anti-Semitism is the ultimate weapon, intended to end every debate and to ease the way into yet another Middle Eastern war that the United States does not need to fight, cannot afford, and from which it will likely reap the whirlwind.

Half of US Voters Say Bomb Iran If Sanctions Fail

Fifty percent of Americans believe military action should be taken to stop Iran's nuclear program if sanctions do not work, a national poll released on Wednesday said. The Quinnipiac University survey also found that more Americans disapprove, by 50 percent to 44 percent, of the job President Barack Obama is doing -- although more people than not approve of the way he has handled foreign policy, including his management of thorny US relations with Tehran. ... The Quinnipiac survey also found that 46 percent of voters believed the United States should support Israel if it attacks Iran, with six percent saying Washington should oppose Israeli action and 44 percent saying the US should stay neutral.

Europe Row Recalls US Constitutional Union Clash
Bruce Ackerman

... Rhode Island was the Britain of its time — this small trading state was unwilling to give up its sovereignty to the federal colossus. It refused to send delegates to the Philadelphia Convention [of 1787], denouncing it as an illegal secessionist assembly, which is precisely what it turned out to be. After a summer of secret sessions, the Philadelphians went public with a document proclaiming that, despite the articles’ requirement of unanimous consent, the new Constitution would spring to life when only nine of the 13 states ratified ... These embarrassing facts have long been forgotten, even by most serious students of the U.S. Constitution. But they put the current crisis in a new light.

Jackie Mason Rips Obama Over Hanukkah Celebration, Jewish Disrespect
Huffington Post

Comedy legend Jackie Mason ripped President Obama on Monday, saying that the White House's Hannukah celebration earlier this month was a photo opportunity and a fraud. ... Mason continued his assault on the President, saying that the event was just a stunt to up his poll numbers with the Jewish community. "A bunch of advisors, most of whom are Jewish anyways -- because he has more Jews in his cabinet than Netanyahu. He's jammed up with Jews all around him -- and they told him, if you wanna get them back, Hanukkah is a good idea," he said.

The Dear Leader’s Death Create Dangers and Hopes
Eric Margolis

... The 24 million desperately poor North Koreans desperately need a revolution. On my recent visit to the Korean Peninsula to shoot a documentary, I was again appalled by the shattering poverty of the North. Its people are small and wizened compared to robust South Koreans. At night, few lights show from North Korea. The North seems a hostile, alien planet ... Caution, diplomacy, and tact are required in dealing with North Korea right now, not the kind of warlike, imperial bombast coming from many US Republican candidates. As the Chinese say: "great dangers; great opportunities." North Korea’s nuclear weapons are not a threat so long as the North is not attacked or invaded. Washington must drop its obsession with this issue and look beyond.

Criminal Code Is Overgrown, Legal Experts Tell Panel
The Wall Street Journal

The federal criminal code has grown so large it ensnares everyday citizens who have no idea they are violating the law, a bipartisan group of
legal experts told a House panel Tuesday. There are about 4,500 criminal statutes, said Edwin Meese, attorney general under President Ronald Reagan and now with the conservative Heritage Foundation. "This is in addition to over 300,000 other regulations that don't appear in the federal code but nevertheless carry essentially criminal penalties including prison," he said. ... The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts figures some 80,000 defendants are sentenced in federal court each year.

Invoking 'Appeasement,' Republican Candidates Blast Obama At Jewish Forum
Andrea Stone

... In speech after speech, five of the six invited GOP candidates invoked the specter of "appeasement," the pre-World War II policy that many historians say emboldened Adolf Hitler to conquer Europe and carry out a full-scale genocide of its Jewish population. U.S. President Barack Obama, the Republicans said, was making a comparable mistake by "appeasing" Iran, "appeasing" Islamist extremists, even "appeasing" other countries who want to take America's place in the world. ... Each called for a harder line against Iran and enemies of the United States or Israel.

Candidates’ Bidding for Jewish Support Shows Entrenched Corruption
Mark Weber - Podcast

Nothing more vividly underscores the depths to which American political life has fallen than the behavior of leading presidential candidates at a recent meeting of the “Republican Jewish Coalition.” They sought to outdo each other in bidding for support from the single most powerful and influential ethnic-religious group in the US. Such self-serving behavior is not new, but has long been an expression of the corruption of American political life.

Newt Gingrich: Serial Hypocrisy
Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Committee -- Video

This television ad, produced by the Ron Paul campaign, highlights the hypocrisy and untrustworthiness of Newt Gingrich. Runtime: 2:28 mins.

States of Mind: 'Invented' Palestinians and Israelis
Michael Kinsley

... It doesn’t really matter that Palestinian nationalism is a recent confection. People who want a state should have a state ... Israel also has its terrorist past ... “Jewish terrorists.” The label was considered obvious and beyond controversy. Gingrich said that Palestine had to be invented, and this is true. It is also true of Israel, which didn’t even have a name as it declared its independence in May 1948.

Iraq: Mission Accomplished?
Patrick J. Buchanan

... What kind of victory did we win if, eight years after we ousted Saddam Hussein and helped install a democratic government, Americans in Iraq should fear for their lives? Did we win the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people when they are burning American flags in Fallujah to celebrate our departure? Why was no parade held, so Iraqis could cheer departing Americans for having liberated them from the tyranny of Saddam? What did we accomplish if hatred of America is so widespread our diplomats live in constant peril?

How Maliki and Iran Outsmarted the U.S. on Troop Withdrawal
Gareth Porter

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s suggestion that the end of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq is part of a U.S. military success story ignores the fact that the George W. Bush administration and the U.S. military had planned to maintain a semi-permanent military presence in Iraq. The real story behind the U.S. withdrawal is how a clever strategy of deception and diplomacy adopted by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in cooperation with Iran outmaneuvered Bush and the U.S. military leadership and got the United States to sign the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement.

One In Ten Austrian Teens Think Hitler Did 'Good Things,' New Survey Shows
Daily Mail (Britain)

Austrians are shocked by a new survey which shows that one in ten young people think Adolf Hitler was not all bad and that he did some 'good things'. Many are also anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner despite years of multi-cultural teaching in schools. The country's Kurier newspaper called the findings by the Youth Culture Research Institute 'frightening' -- particularly as it is coupled with the general mistrust and dislike of non-Austrians. ... The new survey asked youngsters aged between 16 and 19 what they thought of the dictator. Pollsters were astonished when 11.2 per cent of them said that Hitler 'did many good things for the people'.

Austria Joins the German Reich

This portrayal of the 1938 union ("Anschluss") of Austria with the German Reich, includes contemporary film footage with recent English-language voiceover commentary. Runtime: 4:14 mins. For decades American officials and historians, along with the US media, have portrayed the union of Austria with the Reich as an act of "aggression" or "rape." The truth is exactly the opposite. Rarely in history has a historical event taken place with broader and more joyful popular approval.

Former Head of Goldman Sachs Doesn't Know Where $1.2 Billion Went
CBS News

Jon Corzine [former New Jersey Governor and US Senator, and Goldman Sachs CEO] told a congressional panel Thursday that he can't explain why nearly $1.2 billion disappeared from customer accounts managed by MF Global, the brokerage firm he managed before it went under this year. "I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date," he told the House Agriculture Committee, adding that he was "stunned" when he heard of the missing funds.

Obama, Biden Praise Corzine, Major Democratic Party Figure
Republican Party television ad - Video

Barack Obama and Joe Biden express confidence in Jon Corzine, a top Democratic Party personality, former New Jersey Governor and US Senator, and CEO of Goldman Sachs. Runtime: 1:18 mins.

US-Israeli War of Assassination And Bombings Against Iran Has Begun
The Telegraph (Britain)

Former US intelligence officials and Iran experts believe last month's explosion at a military base near Tehran was part of a covert effort by the US, Israel and other states to disable Iran's nuclear and missile programs, the Los Angeles Times reported late on Sunday. The huge explosion ripped through the Revolutionary Guard Corps base on November 12, leveling most of the buildings and killing 17 people, including a founder of Iran's ballistic missile program, General Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam. The newspaper said the goal of the covert effort is to derail Iran's quest for a nuclear weapons capability and to stave off an Israeli or US air strike to eliminate or lessen the threat.

Illegal Immigration Is a 'National Calamity,' Says Israeli Leader Netanyahu
Fox News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the infiltration of migrants into Israel is a "national calamity in all fields -- the economy, state security," Israel Radio reports. Saying that Israel has no obligation to advance illegal immigration into its borders, he explained that "if we do not act to stop the flood, we'll be washed away with it."

In Iraq, Thousands Celebrate US Troop Withdrawal

Iraqis burned American flags, brandished banners, and thronged the streets of the western city of Fallujah to celebrate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the former al-Qaida stronghold and site of some of the Iraq war's fiercest battles. An estimated 3,000 people flooded the mainly Sunni city carrying Iraqi flags, banners with "Fallujah: The City of Resistance" printed on them, and photos of Fallujah residents killed by U.S forces after the 2003 U.S-led invasion. Part of the crowd burned several U.S. flags in their celebrations over the American withdrawal.

Without Accountability, No Lessons Learned: Legacy of Iraq
James Zogby

... One main reason for this sorry state of affairs is our lack of accountability. Because we have not — and it appears will not — “call on the carpet” those who justified torture, fabricated the case for war in Iraq, and sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women into a country we did not know in order to engage in a conflict with no good end in sight, this same cast of characters are still polluting the policy debate. ... Those who abused the public’s trust and who lied us into a war that took so many lives and cost us all so dearly should be called to account for what they have done. To let them “off the hook” is both wrong and dangerous.

Why Do So Many People Angrily Condemn Historical Revisionism?
Robert Higgs

... When people are offended or otherwise greatly displeased by historical analysis, they often employ the term “historical revisionism” as a synonym for falsified, distorted, or doctored accounts that fly in the face of what they, their history teachers, and perhaps even the most respected university historians believe to have been the case. The irony of such use of the term “historical revision,” which makes it practically a swear word, is that revisionism is and always has been an integral part of historical research and writing.

Revisionism for Our Time
Murray N. Rothbard (1966)

... Revisionism teaches us that this entire myth, so prevalent then and even now about Hitler, and about the Japanese, is a tissue of fallacies from beginning to end. Every plank in this nightmare evidence is either completely untrue or not entirely the truth. If people should learn this intellectual fraud about Hitler's Germany, then they will begin to ask questions, and searching questions, about the current World War III version of the same myth. Nothing would stop the current headlong flight to war faster, or more surely cause people to begin to reason about foreign affairs once again, after a long orgy of emotion and cliché.

Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir
Thomas L. Friedman -- The New York Times

...Newt Gingrich took the Republican competition to grovel for Jewish votes - by outloving Israel - to a new low by suggesting that the Palestinians are an "invented" people and not a real nation entitled to a state. ... That's right. America's role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up. We have no interests of our own. And [Romney] this guy's running for president? ... I sure hope that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.

The 'Battle of the Bulge' – 1944
US War Department – Video

American newsreel on the “Battle of the Bulge,” the World War II German counterattack on the western front, which began on Dec. 16, 1944, and the American response. Titled “The Enemy Strikes,” it was produced by the US “Office of War Information” for viewing in movie theaters across the USA. Complete. Runtime: 7:59 mins.

The Ardennes Offensive
Die Deutsche Wochenschau – Video – Part 1

German forces launch the Ardennes offensive (“Battle of the Bulge”), the last major German offensive on the western front. Portion of German weekly newsreel (“Deutsche Wochenschau”) of Jan. 4, 1945. With English subtitles. Runtime: 5:03 mins.

The Ardennes Offensive - 2
Die Deutsche Wochenschau – Video – Part 2

More on the ill-fated German offensive of Dec. 1944. Includes dramatic scenes of aerial combat between American bombers and German fighter planes. Portion of “Deutsche Wochenschau” newsreel of Jan. 11, 1945. With English subtitles. Runtime: 5:08 mins.

Gingrich Fuels More Mideast Conflict, Say Palestinians

Palestinian leaders said on Saturday U.S. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich had invited more conflict in the Middle East by calling the Palestinians an "invented" people who want to destroy Israel. Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, described his comments in an interview as "despicable." Hanan Ashrawi, another top official, said Gingrich's "very racist comments" showed he was "incapable of holding public office." "This is the lowest point of thinking anyone can reach," Erekat, a close advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told Reuters.

Research Sheds New Light on Nazi-Era Art
The Art Newspaper (Britain)

Images documenting the Nazi-sponsored [Great German Art Exhibition] Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung (GDK) have been made available to the public for the first time in an online catalogue created by Munich’s Central Institute for Art History. More than 100,000 photographs, categorised by artist, genre, theme and, remarkably, buyer, have shed new light on the annual art exhibition, giving an insight into officially approved art of the Third Reich and the collecting taste of its citizens ... But the vast majority of the 40 rooms were filled with landscapes, still-lifes and genre paintings. “Our view that such [politicized] art is fairly uniform cannot be upheld because there is, in fact, no clear-cut image,” says Fuhrmeister.

Desk Used by Hitler Fetches $423,000 at Auction of Nazi Relics
Daily Mail (Britain)

Over 1,000 rare relics from the Third Reich are going under the hammer in one of the biggest ever auctions of Nazi war items. Macabre items including a love letter written to Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's secret accounts book and even the Nazi leader's personal desk are all part of the huge sale in Stamford, Connecticut. Top of the lots was the ceremonial brass desk belonging to Hitler which the Nazi leader used at the signing of the Munich Pact, which preceded the Second World War ... Auctioneers say the two-day sale of Third Reich items reflects a boom in the Nazi relic trade, which has been expanding the more the Second World War fades into history.

In California, Indian Tribes Are Casting Off 'Inauthentic' Members
The New York Times

... Ms. Dondero and her clan have joined thousands of Indians in California who have been kicked out of their tribes in recent years for the crime of not being of the proper bloodline ... “The tribe has historically had the ability to remove people,” said Kevin Bearquiver, the bureau’s deputy director for the Pacific region. “Tolerance is a European thing brought to the country. We never tolerated things. We turned our back on people.”

Inside Romania's Secret CIA Prison
The Associated Press

One of the CIA's most important secrets in the war on terrorism was hiding in plain sight, on a leafy residential street along a busy set of train tracks in Romania's capital. There, tucked in the basement of a government building, the CIA ran a clandestine prison, former U.S. intelligence officials said. For years, the building — codenamed Bright Light — housed some of the CIA's most important terror suspects ... The facility where harsh interrogation tactics were carried out. The Romanian prison was part of a network of so-called black sites that the CIA operated and controlled overseas in Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. All the prisons were closed by May 2006, and the CIA's detention and interrogation program ended in 2009.

Why Iran's Capture of US Drone Will Shake CIA
Frank Gardner -- BBC News

... Speculation is rife that this particular aircraft was flying deep inside Iran to gather intelligence and real-time video footage of Iran's nuclear sites. It was carrying an array of sophisticated sensors that will be of great interest to Iran and other countries ... This affair is both a political embarrassment and an intelligence setback for Washington. ... In the CIA Directorate of Intelligence at Langley, Virginia, eyes will be rolling skywards as analysts work out the long-term damage to US intelligence. Not only must they accept that some of their most successful and useful surveillance technology is now in the hands of the very people they were using it on, they will also have to think very carefully before sending anything else into Iranian airspace.

Archaeologists Make New Stonehenge 'Sun Worship' Find
BBC News

Two previously undiscovered pits have been found at Stonehenge which point to it once being used as a place of sun worship before the stones were erected. The pits are positioned on celestial alignment at the site and may have contained stones, posts or fires to mark the rising and setting of the sun. An international archaeological survey team found the pits as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project. The team is using geophysical imaging techniques to investigate the site.

Republican Candidates Woo Jewish Activists
Los Angeles Times

Republican presidential contenders took a brief respite from canvassing early battleground states Wednesday to come here [Washington, DC] to court Jewish activists and donors, with Newt Gingrich reveling in his newfound status as a front-runner and Rick Perry trying to clarify his stance on aid to Israel. Gingrich was bathed in applause from the crowd at a forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition ... Mitt Romney, who was warmly received by the crowd and who enjoys the support of prominent Jewish donors in the Northeast, criticized Obama for adopting a foreign policy of "appeasement" that "betrays a lack of faith in America."

Chosen People: Republican Candidates Fight It Out Over Who’s Good For The Jews
David Weigel - Slate

... The plan, for every candidate, was nearly identical. Find the sharpest adjectives to stab into Barack Obama. Promise the moon to the government of Israel. Agree that Iran was an “existential threat,” and explain — or, actually, just sort of muse about — the struggle it would take to defeat them... [Said Mitt Romney:] “I’ll travel to Israel on my first foreign trip. I will reaffirm as a vital national interest Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. I want the world to know that the bonds between Israel and the United States are unshakable ...”

The Matzorian Candidate: Republican Leaders Address Jewish Forum
Jon Stewart -The Daily Show - Video

Jewish comedian Stewart comments on the craven performance of presidential candidates at the recent “Republican Jewish Coalition” forum. “Jews commemorate the miracle of incredibly religious Christian presidential candidates fighting over who loves Jews more.”

Kennedy, Reagan: Loved for All the Wrong Reasons
Robert Dallek -- Bloomberg

... What gives Kennedy and Reagan such a strong hold on American imaginations is not what they did but what they said and still stand for. Both presidents are remembered as optimists promising better futures. Kennedy had the New Frontier; for Reagan, it was Morning in America. Both remain inspirational voices that in a time of doubt give people hope. And when you put either man alongside Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, they seem especially appealing. The national embrace of Kennedy and Reagan is at one with the attraction to nostrums. All we need is the right man with the right formula and all will be well again. If only it were that easy.

Exceptionalism More Fantasy Than Ever
Colman McCarthy -- National Catholic Reporter

...American exceptionalism is the belief that the American nation and its people are not only different from all others but are superior. Greatness is in our national gene pool. Our values are higher. We are leaders of the free world. No other nation can match our achievements. Our destiny is to be No. 1. We are the role model for the world ... Exceptionalism is little more than national pride gone wild, a nation overrun by leaders consumed with bragging rights. The mouthings of the Romneys and Albrights lie somewhere between wishful thinking and self-serving myths, with neither having any discernable ties to reality.

Iran’s First 'Great Satan' Was England
Stephen Kinzer -- The New York Times

...Once established in Iran, the British quickly began investing — or looting, as some Iranians would say. British companies bought exclusive rights to establish banks, print currency, explore for minerals, run transit lines and even grow tobacco. In 1913, the British government maneuvered its way to a contract under which all Iranian oil became its property. Six years later it imposed an “agreement” that gave it control of Iran’s army and treasury. These actions set off a wave of anti-British outrage that has barely subsided. Britain’s occupation of Iran during World War II, when it was a critical source of oil and a transit route for supplies to keep Soviet Russia fighting, was harsh. Famine and disease spread as the British requisitioned food for their troops.

Has U.S. Already Launched War Against Iran?
Jim Meyers -- Newsmax

A recent blast that ripped through an Iranian military base has increased suspicions that the United States and its allies are engaged in a covert effort to derail the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons program. The explosion and other anti-Iranian actions, coupled with what are seen as retaliatory moves by Iran, have raised the question: Has the war with Iran already begun? “... Many former U.S. intelligence officials and Iran experts believe that the explosion — the most destructive of at least two dozen unexplained blasts in the last two years – was part of a covert effort by the U.S., Israel and others to disable Iran’s nuclear and missile programs,” the Los Angeles Times reported ...

Has A War With Iran Already Begun?
Michael Hirsh -- The Atlantic

Two incidents that occurred on Sunday-Iran's claim of a shoot-down of a U.S. drone, and an explosion outside the British embassy in Bahrain-may have been unrelated. But they appear to add to growing evidence that an escalating covert war by the West is under way against Iran, and that Tehran is retaliating with greater intensity than ever. Asked whether the United States, in cooperation with Israel, was now engaged in a covert war against Iran's nuclear program that may include the Stuxnet virus, the blowing-up of facilities and the assassination or kidnapping of scientists, one recently retired U.S. official privy to up-to-date intelligence would not deny it. "It's safe to say the Israelis are very active," the official said ...

Israeli Attack on Iran Would Be 'Disaster', Warns Brzezinski
The Real News - Video

An Israeli attack against Iran would have very harmful consequences, for America, the world and even Israel, warns former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. The rest of the world -- including China, Russia and the European countries -- would not support such an attack, he says in this interview. It would be a “geopolitical disaster” for the US, and could well result in the US being “forced out” of the entire Middle East region. Runtime: 6:05 mins.

China Not Obliged To Besiege Iran
Editorial -- Global Times (China)

... Iran is an Islamic country with a democratic model, but its ardent religious passion has received little understanding and respect from the West for some time. Conflicts have been mounting because of the nation's reluctance to take orders from the West, which wants Iran to obey their rules ... China, as well as its mammoth neighbor Russia, should keep on high alert and adopt countermeasures if necessary. China should not shrink before a possible showdown with the West but seek a solution favoring itself. China will adopt concrete measures to show its determination to take its own path. Such a choice is important for China's interests.

CIA 'Secret Prison' in Romania Revealed
BBC News

The CIA operated a secret prison in the Romanian capital Bucharest where terrorism suspects were interrogated, an investigation by the Associated Press and German media has found. Former CIA operatives identified the building where, they said, detainees were held and tortured. The building belongs to a Romanian agency, Orniss, which stores classified information from the EU and Nato. Orniss has denied hosting a CIA prison and the CIA has refused to comment.

Russia Complains of European Court’s World War Two Revisionism
RIA Novosti (Russia)

Russia on Monday accused the European Court of Human Rights of going along with people who seek to rehabilitate Nazis by upholding Latvia's appeal in the case of a Soviet World War II veteran ... “The Grand Chamber of the Court in fact has fallen in line with those who strive to revise the results of World War II and rehabilitate the Nazis and their collaborators," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "We consider the decision of the Grand Chamber... an attempt to put in doubt a range of key political and legal principles, formed on the basis of the results of the World War II and the post-war settlement in Europe," the statement said.

How Hitler Consolidated Power in Germany
Leon Degrelle

“We have the power. Now our gigantic work begins." Those were Hitler's words on the night of January 30, 1933, as cheering crowds surged past him, for five long hours, beneath the windows of the Chancellery in Berlin. His political struggle had lasted 14 years. He himself was 43 ... Half a century later, few people understand the crisis Germany faced at that time ... During the preceding years, a score of "democratic" governments had come and gone, often in utter confusion. Instead of alleviating the people's misery, they had increased it, due to their own instability ...

The Nazi 'Economic Miracle'

Short documentary television report, produced after the war, on the astonishing success of the Hitler’s regime success in banishing mass unemployment, reviving the nation’s economic life, and restoring confidence. Runtime: 4:25 mins.

Wage Inequality 'Getting Worse' in Leading Economies
BBC News

The divide between the wages of the rich and the poor is growing in nearly all of the world's leading economies, according to think tank the OECD. Researchers examined 22 countries and found that inequality grew in 17 of them between the 1980s and the financial crisis of 2008. Chile, Mexico, Turkey and the United States were the most unequal nations. Inequality rose fastest in the the UK - it peaked in 2000, then fell, but is now rising again. Even traditionally egalitarian countries such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden have experienced a growing wealth gap in recent decades.

In Egypt, Islamist Parties Win More Than 60 Percent of Vote
Los Angeles Times

Islamist parties won more than 60 percent of the vote in the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections, according to official results reported Sunday by state media. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won 36.6 percent and the Salafis of the Al Nour party won 24.4 percent of the 9.7 million votes cast. The Brotherhood's dominance was expected, but the strong showing by the Salafis was a surprise, suggesting Egyptians were heavily influenced by the religious message and grass-roots organization of the Islamists.

Zionist Group Condemns Jewish Ambassador For Anti-Semitism Comments
European Jewish Press

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Tuesday called for the immediate dismissal of US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman after he stated last week that Muslim hatred for Jews stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. ZOA National President Morton A. Klein condemned the ambassador comments made at a conference on anti-Semitism in Brussels and said, "It is unacceptable for a US diplomat appointed by the President to categorize some anti-Semitic acts in Europe as being truly reprehensible, and others as more understandable because they supposedly stem from a hatred of Jews based on the Arab war against Israel and the Jewish people."

Suspect in N.J. Anti-Semitic Vandalism Reportedly is Jewish
JTA (New York)

A New Brunswick, N.J., man who was charged in the vandalism of several Jewish-owned shops in nearby Highland Park reportedly is Jewish. Richard M. Green, 52, was charged with numerous counts of bias intimidation and criminal mischief for allegedly smashing the windows of five Jewish-owned businesses. The vandalism took place at the end of November and Green was arrested Nov. 30. According to the New Jersey Jewish News, Green’s face was familiar to owners of Jewish establishments and institutions.

Ignorance and Arrogance of American Politicians
Mark Weber - Podcast

A striking expression of the corruption of America’s social-political life is the ignorance and arrogance of its prominent politicians. The presidential candidates who addressed a recent “debate” in Washington, DC (with the notable exception of Ron Paul) showed that they lack principle, a coherent worldview, or a reality-based understanding of history. Along with empty “feel good” rhetoric about “American exceptionalism,” they also showed a craven pandering to Jewish-Zionist power. In a healthy and educated society, such individuals would be considered unfit for any position of authority or responsibility.

The Republicans' Farcical Candidates: Liars, Demagogues and Ignoramuses
Marc Pitzke -- Der Spiegel (Germany)

... These eight so-called, would-be candidates are eagerly ruining not only their own reputations and that of their party, the party of Lincoln lore. Worse: They're ruining the reputation of the United States. They lie. They cheat. They exaggerate. They bluster. They say one idiotic, ignorant, outrageous thing after another. They've shown such stark lack of knowledge -- political, economic, geographic, historical -- that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein and even cause their fellow Republicans to cringe. ... All these dopes have to offer are ramblings that insult the intelligence of all Americans.

Republicans and Israel: Too Much Love Can Kill You
Chemi Shalev -- Haaretz (Israel)

... The contenders for the Republican presidential nomination -- with the glaring exception of the neo-isolationist Ron Paul -- are on record as saying that if America attacks Iran, it will be, first and foremost, in order to “save Israel," as Texas Governor Rick Perry framed it ... As the flurry of anti-Israeli tweets following last week’s CNN debate showed, many Americans were taken aback at what could easily be portrayed as the subornation of American foreign policy to Israeli interests, and the predominance of the Israel-Iran issue over such “minor” foreign policy issues as China, the Arab Spring or the Eurozone debt crisis, which weren’t even mentioned.

Gingrich's Version of American Exceptionalism Could Insult Our Allies
Jill Lawrence -- The Atlantic

... Conservatives nevertheless are on a tear to save American exceptionalism, or at least their view of it, from the likes of Obama. And Gingrich has been in the forefront. In June he published a book called "A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters." He and his wife, Callista, produced and co-star in a 2011 documentary called "A City Upon a Hill: The Spirit of American Exceptionalism." A trailer for the film describes exceptionalism as the idea that America is "more open, more vigorous, more optimistic than other nations." ... Gingrich's assertion that America is No. 1 in caring about those we send to war was just one of countless eyebrow-raising statements he's made in his decades-long political career.

Declassified Memo Hinted of 1941 Hawaii Attack
US News

Three days before the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt was warned in a memo from naval intelligence that Tokyo's military and spy network was focused on Hawaii, a new and eerie reminder of FDR's failure to act on a basket load of tips that war was near. In the newly revealed 20-page memo from FDR's declassified FBI file, the Office of Naval Intelligence on December 4 warned, "In anticipation of open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii."

Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War
Book by George Morgenstern, Available from IHR

This classic work remains unsurpassed as the best one-volume treatment of the background to the Day of Infamy. Indispensable introduction to the question of who bears the blame for the Pearl Harbor surprise, and, more important, for America's entry, through the "back door," into World War II. In his introduction to this attractive IHR edition, Dr. James Martin writes: "Morgenstern's book is ... still the best about the December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor attack, despite a formidable volume of subsequent writing by many others on the subject."

Pearl Harbor: Fifty Years of Controversy
Charles Lutton -- Institute for Historical Review

... Over the past half-century, Pearl Harbor revisionism has come of age. From the first writings of John T. Flynn, to George Morgenstern's masterful study, to the work encouraged by Harry Elmer Barnes, the testimony of participants in the events, and the latest findings of "second-generation" historians who are not satisfied merely to retell the standard accounts, this endeavor to uncover the truth has not been marked by paranoid "conspiracy theories" or reactionary "Roosevelt baiting." What revisionists have accomplished is a sober re-appraisal of the origins of the Pacific War, and the making of a strong case for remembering December 7, 1941 as President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy."

Obama Reassures Jewish Group of His Support for Israel
The Associated Press

President Barack Obama is reassuring Jewish supporters that his administration is committed to the security of Israel. He says: "We don't compromise when it comes to Israel's security." Obama was speaking to a group of campaign contributors at the Upper East Side home of Jack Rosen, a prominent businessman and chairman of the American Jewish Congress ... Obama said no ally is more important than the state of Israel.

President Obama Sees Popularity Boost in Israel
The Christian Science Monitor

If President Obama is looking for some relief from mediocre favorability numbers, he could take solace in a place where he might not have expected to find it -- Israel. In a new poll of Jewish and Arab Israelis, Mr. Obama earns a favorable rating of 54 percent from Israeli Jews – up an impressive 13 percent compared to last year. By contrast, Obama’s job approval rating at home is stuck in the low 40’s, according to Real Clear Politics, while just over half of Americans disapprove of the job the president is doing.

Ron Paul Not Invited To Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum
Huffington Post

The Republican Jewish Coalition declined to invite Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to its presidential candidates forum next Wednesday in Washington, citing his "misguided and extreme views." RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said Paul was not invited because the organization rejects his views. "He's just so far outside of the mainstream of the Republican party and this organization," he told Washington Jewish Week … Paul supported an amendment that would have ended all U.S. aid to Israel, along with Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan. The U.S. sends about $3 billion per year to Israel in military aid alone.

US Congresswoman Seeks Ban on Ads of German Company Over Wartime Role
McClatchy Newspapers

A congresswoman from Florida is pressuring National Public Radio stations, the cable television network CNBC and others to stop airing sponsorships and advertising by a giant German insurer that collaborated with the Nazis. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is pushing legislation that would allow Holocaust survivors to sue Allianz AG, has launched a letter-writing campaign aimed at blocking the insurer from advertising with any U.S. media until it pays off all Holocaust survivors’ life insurance claims. During World War II, Allianz insured concentration camp facilities and sent money to the Nazis instead of rightful Jewish beneficiaries.

National Library of Wales 'Risked Reputation' By Accepting Large Donation From Nazi Collaborator
Wales Online (Britain)

The Welsh government has accused the National Library of Wales of putting its reputation “at risk” after accepting a 300,000 pound donation from a known Nazi collaborator. Louis Feutren was a leading member of Breton groups who worked with the Nazis after their invasion of France during the Second World War. After he died in 2010, he bequeathed a collection of papers and tapes to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, along with a financial donation worth 300,000 pounds.

Neocons Preoccupied With Islamic Conspiracy Theories
Philip Giraldi

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, for all its flaws, is a genuine expression of the growing recognition in the United States that the government no longer serves the interests of the people ... So the unanimity on the part of many pundits and politicians in condemning the Occupy Wall Street movement can be explained in terms of their other interests. Damaging President Obama is a high priority, but Occupiers’ explicit or implicit criticism of U.S. foreign policy also challenges the Israel-centric view of American national security, and the demands that foreign aid be eliminated or cut pose a rather more direct challenge, as Israel is a major recipient of such assistance.

The Past Marches On
George Morgenstern (1953)

Add to these the operations of an organized propaganda capable, apparently, of doping Americans into belief in any myth, and there is formidable reason why public opinion should be so stupefied and stultified that the nation can be led from war to war in pursuit of ever retreating goals. Yet, despite the general numbness, Americans, surveying the results of half a century of intermeddling, dimly perceive that all is not well.

The Dark Side of the 'Good War'
Michael Bess -- Los Angeles Times

World War II is widely considered one of the most morally unambiguous military conflicts in history — the quintessential "Good War," as journalist Studs Terkel once described it... At the same time, 60 years of research and reflection have gradually brought to light numerous aspects of this conflict that do not fit a straightforward pattern of black-and- white moral clarity... Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo — entire cities, tens of thousands of noncombatant civilians at a time, incinerated or blasted to bits under a steady torrent of British and American bombs. The large-scale killing of children, women and old people had now become routine facets of Allied warfare.

Pakistan Has Had Enough
Simon Tisdall -- The Guardian (Britain)

... This latest outrage is another fateful signpost on the road to a potential security and geostrategic disaster that may ultimately make Afghanistan look like a sideshow. ... Since 2001, when the Bush administration bluntly told Islamabad it must take sides, be either "for us or agin us" in the newly declared "war on terror", Pakistan has struggled under a plethora of imperious American demands, démarches and impositions that are at once politically indefensible and contrary to the perceived national interest. The last year has been another humiliating one at the hands of the country's principal ally. ... The belief that weak, impoverished, divided Pakistan has no alternative but to slavishly obey its master's voice could turn out to be one of the seminal strategic miscalculations of the 21st century.

In Israel, Women’s Rights Come Under Siege
Ruth Marcus -- The Washington Post

Women are forced to board public buses from the back and stay there. Billboards with images of women are defaced. Public streets are cordoned off during religious holidays so that women cannot enter ... In recent years, and particularly in Jerusalem, an ultra-religious minority has sought to impose growing constraints on the less observant majority. As the numbers of these ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, have multiplied, so have their political influence — religious parties form a key part of the governing coalition — and the scope of their demands.

Mass Grave Discovery Reopens Controversy Over 1945 Killings of Germans
Czech Position (Czech Republic)

The discovery of human remains in a mass grave near the village of Dobronín in western Moravia in August 2010 led to the launch of a historical criminal investigation — and sparked an emotional and divisive national debate about reprisals against Sudeten Germans at the end of World War II in then-Czechoslovakia. Police now have the results of DNA tests on the remains of the 13 males between the age of 30 and 60 — allegedly the victims of a violent death — and samples from their potential descendents.

Anti-Semitism in Australia Has Increased, Jewish Group Says
Haaretz (Israel)

Study director Jeremy Jones says Internet forums allow for proliferation of anti-Jew behavior, denies link between incidents of anti-Semitism to actions of Israel or behavior of Jews. / Anti-Semitic violence in Australia has increased by 31% over the past year, a recent study that was presented Monday in Melbourne showed. "This year, ten times a week, every week, Jewish Australians were attacked or threatened,” said Jeremy Jones, the Director of Community Affairs for the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, who prepared the study ... Jones stipulated that the behavior of anti-Semites is not influenced by the actions of Jews, nor of Israel.

How Hitler Tackled Unemployment and Revived Germany’s Economy
Mark Weber

To deal with the massive unemployment and economic paralysis of the Great Depression, both the US and German governments launched innovative and ambitious programs. Although President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” measures helped only marginally, the Third Reich’s much more focused and comprehensive policies proved remarkably effective. Within three years unemployment was banished and Germany’s economy was flourishing. And while Roosevelt’s record in dealing with the Depression is pretty well known, the remarkable story of how Hitler tackled the crisis is not widely understood or appreciated.

Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing. The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

The Past Marches On
George Morgenstern (1953)

Add to these the operations of an organized propaganda capable, apparently, of doping Americans into belief in any myth, and there is formidable reason why public opinion should be so stupefied and stultified that the nation can be led from war to war in pursuit of ever retreating goals. Yet, despite the general numbness, Americans, surveying the results of half a century of intermeddling, dimly perceive that all is not well.

The Dark Side of the 'Good War'
Michael Bess -- Los Angeles Times

World War II is widely considered one of the most morally unambiguous military conflicts in history — the quintessential "Good War," as journalist Studs Terkel once described it... At the same time, 60 years of research and reflection have gradually brought to light numerous aspects of this conflict that do not fit a straightforward pattern of black-and- white moral clarity... Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo — entire cities, tens of thousands of noncombatant civilians at a time, incinerated or blasted to bits under a steady torrent of British and American bombs. The large-scale killing of children, women and old people had now become routine facets of Allied warfare.

New WikiLeaks 'Spy Files' Show Global Surveillance Industry

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has launched the website's new project - the publication of hundreds of files detailing a global industry that gives governments tools to spy on their citizens. They reveal the activities of about 160 companies in 25 countries that develop technologies to allow the tracking and monitoring of individuals by their mobile phones, email accounts and internet browsing histories. "Today we release over 287 files documenting the reality of the international mass surveillance industry - an industry which now sells equipment to dictators and democracies alike in order to intercept entire populations," Mr Assange said today.

Requiem For The 'Arab Spring'?
Stephen M. Walt

... In short, anybody who thought that the events that swept through the Arab world in 2011 were going to produce stable and orderly outcomes quickly was living in a dream world. To say this is not to oppose what has happened, or to believe that the old orders could or should have continued. Rather, it is to recognize that radical reform -- even revolution -- is a long, difficult, and uncertain process, and that the ride is likely to be a bumpy one for years to come. History also warns that outside powers have at best limited influence over the outcomes of a genuine revolutionary process.

Israel’s Grand Hypocrisy
Jonathan Cook

As protests raged again across the Middle East, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, offered his assessment of the Arab Spring last week. It was, he said, an “Islamic, anti-western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli, undemocratic wave”, adding that Israel’s Arab neighbours were “moving not forwards, but backwards”. It takes some chutzpah – or, at least, epic self-delusion – for Israel’s prime minister to be lecturing the Arab world on liberalism and democracy at this moment. In recent weeks, a spate of anti-democratic measures have won support from Netanyahu’s rightwing government, justified by a new security doctrine: see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil of Israel.

Islamists Say They Have Mandate in Egypt Voting
The New York Times

Islamists claimed a decisive victory on Wednesday as early election results put them on track to win a dominant majority in Egypt’s first Parliament since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the most significant step yet in the religious movement’s rise since the start of the Arab Spring. The party formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group, appeared to have taken about 40 percent of the vote, as expected … Analysts in the state-run news media said early returns indicated that Salafi groups could take as much as a quarter of the vote, giving the two groups of Islamists combined control of nearly 65 percent of the parliamentary seats.

Vienna Has Best Quality of Life, Mercer Survey Shows

Vienna has the best quality of life among more than 220 cities around the world, according to a report published by Mercer. Baghdad has the worst as well as being the most dangerous place to live. European cities dominate the rankings, with only two cities outside Europe, Auckland and Vancouver, in the top ten, said Mercer, the consulting unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos. European cities, headed by Luxembourg, also take the top seven places for personal safety. ... The top-ranked mainland U.S. city for quality of living is San Francisco in joint 30th place with Adelaide and Paris, eight places ahead of London. Singapore, which is ranked 25th, is the best-placed Asian city for quality of living and safety.

The Spanish Inquisition and the Jewish Question
Brian Chalmers -- The Journal of Historical Review

It is nearly impossible to dig into any chapter of Jewish history without uncovering lessons for our own age. Spain during the 15th and 16th centuries is a particularly striking example. Even today, our view of this period, and particularly of the Spanish Inquisition, colors our attitudes regarding relations between Jews and non-Jews. The Inquisition is considered one of Jewish history's darkest chapters -- and one of Christian history's most shameful.

Should Animals Be Stunned Before Slaughter?
BBC News

The slaughter of conscious animals was widely abandoned in the 20th Century and is now practised mainly in the Jewish and Muslim communities. Consumers increasingly expect animals to be stunned before death - but would banning other slaughter methods be an unacceptable violation of religious rights? / … Later this month, a bill that would effectively ban the slaughter of unstunned animals goes to the upper house of the Dutch parliament. Sponsored by the Party for the Animals, it has already been approved in the lower house, where it was backed by the anti-Islamic Freedom Party and opposed only by the Christian parties, which took a stand in defence of religious freedom.

War Clouds Form Over Iran
Wayne Madsen

... Israel has de facto control over the foreign affairs committees of Congress, so any White House notification of the need to contact Iranian officials would be instantly transmitted to Binyamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem and Israel would then circumvent any U.S.-Iranian contact. AIPAC, with its resolution, is further making the United States a vassal of the Jewish state .. President Obama is under tremendous pressure from the Israel Lobby during an election year to support an Israeli military strike on Iran, action that will inevitably lead the United States military in the Gulf region into war against Iran on behalf of the Tel Aviv/west Jerusalem regime.

Prof. Butz, 'Holocaust Denier', Still Teaches at Northwestern University
New Voices - Jewish Student Press Service (New York)

Students don't have too many nice things to say about Arthur R. Butz. He is a professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University, and according to his students, he is boring, his handwriting is too small to make out on the board and he leaves all the real teaching to the teaching assistants. While their words about Butz are harsh, students tend to keep their silence when it comes to a darker part of his work, one that extends far outside the realm of electrical engineering. Butz is a prominent Holocaust denier, but many students walk into his classes without knowing it.

David Duke Arrested in Germany
WWL TV (New Orleans)

David Duke, the former Louisiana lawmaker, white supremacist and Klu Klux Klan leader, has been arrested in Cologne, Germany, according to multiple news reports. Duke confirmed his arrest on his own website, but he wouldn’t elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the arrest. “I won’t go into many details of my arrest at this moment as a court case is yet to be fought, but I was imprisoned by a gross twisting of travel laws in a blatant attempt by the government to prevent a private and peaceful gathering of about a 100 German citizens eager to hear my message of heritage and freedom,” said Duke on his website.

The Roads To War And Economic Collapse
Paul Craig Roberts

... Obama had convinced the electorate that he would end the wars, stop the violation of law by the US government, end the regime of illegal torture, close the torture prison of Guantanamo, and attend to the real needs of the American people rather than stuff the pockets of the military/security complex with taxpayers’ money. Once in office, Obama renewed and extended the Bush/ Cheney/ neoconservative wars. He validated the Bush regime’s assaults on the US Constitution. He left Wall Street in charge of US economic policy, he absolved the Bush regime of its crimes, and he assigned to the American people the financial cost necessary to preserve the economic welfare of the mega-rich.

New Nixon Tapes Reveal Details of Meeting With Anti-War Activists
PBS Newshour

It's hard to imagine an American president in this intensely security-conscious age leaving the White House in the middle of the night to meet protesters on their turf. It happened in May 1970. President Richard Nixon was under intense criticism for widening the Vietnam War to Cambodia. Four Kent State University students had been killed by National Guardsmen just days before. Thousands of young protesters quickly mobilized and headed to Washington, D.C. Around 4:00 a.m. on May 9, Mr. Nixon abruptly decided to surprise a group gathered at the Lincoln Memorial. The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum has released a series of recordings, including dictation from President Nixon to his chief staff, H.R. Haldeman, describing his version of that night's events.

The Boys Who Cry 'Holocaust’
Gary Kamiya - Salon

... In American politics, you can get away with even the most cracked warmongering, as long as you claim to be “pro-Israel.” And the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for anything having to do with Israel is the Holocaust ... The Holocaust mind-set has led Israel into self-destructive policies. And its promiscuous invocation has helped ensure that Israel maintains a stranglehold over America’s Mideast policy. That stranglehold has always been harmful to America, but it is now actually dangerous.

A Day in November
Uri Avnery

... On Nov. 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted, by 33 votes against 13 (with 10 abstentions), the Palestine Partition Plan. This event has become a subject of endless debates, misinterpretations, and outright falsifications. It may be worthwhile to peel away the myths and see it as it was. ... We know now that [Zionist leader] Ben-Gurion did not dream of accepting the partition plan borders, and even less the Arab population within them. The famous army “Plan Dalet” early in the war was a strategic necessity, but it was also a solution to the two problems: it added to Israel another 22% of the country and it drove the Arab population out.

Iceland Recognizes Palestinian State
The Associated Press

Iceland has become the first western European country to recognize Palestine as an independent state. The Icelandic parliament said in a statement on its website that it had passed a motion with 38 of 63 votes in favor of a resolution to recognize Palestine "as an independent and sovereign state" based on borders predating the six-day war of 1967. "Iceland is the first country in western Europe to take this step," Ossur Skarphedinsson, the minister for foreign affairs, told RUV, the Icelandic national broadcasting service. He said the vote had given him the authority to make a formal declaration on the government's behalf, but before doing so he would discuss the move with other Nordic countries.

Iran and the IAEA
Seymour M. Hersh -- The New Yorker

... It remains apparent that a nuclear-armed Iran is still not imminent nor is it inevitable.” Greg Thielmann, a former State Department and Senate Intelligence Committee analyst who was one of the authors of the A.C.A. assessment, told me, “There is troubling evidence suggesting that studies are still going on, but there is nothing that indicates that Iran is really building a bomb.” He added, “Those who want to drum up support for a bombing attack on Iran sort of aggressively misrepresented the report.” ... The new report, therefore, leaves us where we’ve been since 2002, when George Bush declared Iran to be a member of the Axis of Evil — with lots of belligerent talk but no definitive evidence of a nuclear-weapons program.

Former Communist Leaders In Cambodia On Trial For Genocide
BBC News

Top Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea has defended his actions at a UN-backed court in Cambodia, on the second day of his genocide trial. A prosecutor said he and his two co-defendants had "murdered, tortured and terrorised" their own people. But Nuon Chea, Pol Pot's deputy, said he had worked to "serve the interests of the nation" by protecting it from colonialism and invaders. The trial opened on Monday in Phnom Penh. Nuon Chea, who was also known as Brother Number Two, is being tried alongside Khieu Samphan, the Maoist regime's former head of state, and Ieng Sary, its former foreign minister. Up to two million Cambodians died of starvation, overwork and execution during the four years of Khmer Rouge rule. The regime wanted to create an ideal communist society ...

Russia for Russians?
Russia Beyond the Headlines - Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia)

“Give Russia back to the Russians,” “Stop Feeding the Caucasus,” “Freedom, Nation, Order” – these were the slogans chanted by approximately 7,000 nationalists at a rally called the Russian March, which took place on the bleak outskirts of Moscow on Nov. 4, the day Russia officially celebrates National Unity Day ... Sociologist Lev Gudkov, director of the Levada Center polling agency, believes that as many as 60 percent of Russians support the nationalist slogan, "Russia for the Russians,” while about 50 percent of Moscow residents support limiting the flow of migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia to the city ... Another reason for the increase in nationalism, according to Nikolai Petrov of the Carnegie Moscow Center, stems from Russia's search for a national identity.

European 'Far-Right’ On The Rise Online
France 24 (France)

Inspired by the tens of thousands that have 'liked' far-right political groups such as France’s National Front party online, a new study published Monday examined who exactly are the supporters of Europe’s increasingly popular nationalist factions ... What they discovered was a growing support for hardline nationalist politics across Europe – particularly among men and the under 30s. Disillusioned with their own governments and the European Union, many of the survey’s respondents listed immigration, the perceived erosion of national culture and values, and Islamic extremism as their chief reasons for sympathising with far-right populist movements. More important still, the study also points out that the number of people supporting far-right political groups online often outweighs actual party membership.

Hezbollah, Iran Uncover CIA Informants

In an apparently serious setback for U.S. intelligence against a key adversary, Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi'ite militia, has succeeded in identifying and arresting informants within its ranks who were working for the CIA, current and former U.S. officials said. Separately, counterintelligence officers in Iran also succeeded in uncovering the identities of at least a handful of alleged CIA informants, the officials said ... Hezbollah, founded with Iranian help during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, has grown from a militia that fought Israeli forces in south Lebanon into the most powerful political and military force in the country. Hezbollah and its allies dominate the Lebanese government formed in June.