Trump’s New World Order


When the cameras are gone you can give me a hug!levhaolam.com

❝ Over time, President Obama and his advisers came to believe that Netanyahu had been playing them, occasionally feigning interest in a two-state solution while expanding settlements in the West Bank, thus making the creation of a viable Palestinian state increasingly difficult to conceive. By Obama’s second term, his aides no longer bothered to mask their frustration with the Israelis. “They were never sincere in their commitment to peace,” Benjamin Rhodes, one of Obama’s closest foreign-policy advisers, told me. “They used us as cover, to make it look like they were in a peace process. They were running a play, killing time, waiting out the Administration…”

❝ The Israelis already had ties to the Trump family: Netanyahu had a long friendship with Charles Kushner, the father of Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner. In recent years, the Kushners, Orthodox Jews who made their fortune in the real-estate business and hold conservative views on Israel, have donated large sums of money to Israeli causes and charities, including tens of thousands of dollars to a yeshiva in the Beit El settlement, in the West Bank. When Netanyahu visited the Kushners at their home in New Jersey, he sometimes stayed overnight and slept in Jared’s bedroom, while Jared was relegated to the basement…

❝ With Obama finally out of the way, Netanyahu could concentrate on getting the Trump team to embrace his grand strategy for transforming the direction of Middle Eastern politics. His overarching ambition was to diminish the Palestinian cause as a focus of world attention and to form a coalition with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to combat Iran, which had long supported Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and had taken strategic advantage of the American folly in Iraq and the war in Syria.

❝ On Inauguration Day, State Department buses carried members of the diplomatic corps to the Capitol. The ambassadors in attendance had radically different perspectives on the incoming Administration. The French Ambassador, Gérard Araud, had tweeted after the election, “A world is collapsing before our eyes. Vertigo.” The presence of Kislyak took some observers by surprise. One of the European ambassadors at the ceremony said to Kislyak, “You are the most important ambassador here today!” Kislyak smiled and gestured at Ron Dermer [from Israel]. Actually, Kislyak said, “he is the most important ambassador here today.”

There are more twists and turns. A worthy read. Imperial hats have changed over the years though not so much in Israel. Everything the Brits did to suppress the native Arab population in Palestine has been continued in spades – with consistent support from the United States regardless of which Tweedledee or Tweedledum inhabited the White House. Now, it’s TweedleDumber and Israeli policies can comfortably move as far as they might wish towards complete fascism without a peep from Pennsylvania Avenue.

Fifty Years Ago, Israel attacked an unarmed US Navy ship killing 34

❝ On June 8, 1967, an Israeli torpedo tore through the side of the unarmed American naval vessel USS Liberty, approximately a dozen miles off the Sinai coast. The ship, whose crew was under command of the National Security Agency, was intercepting communications at the height of the Six-Day War when it came under direct Israeli aerial and naval assault…an attack that would leave 34 Americans dead and 171 wounded.

❝ Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the assault on the USS Liberty, and though it was among the worst attacks in history against a noncombatant U.S. naval vessel, the tragedy remains shrouded in secrecy. The question of if and when Israeli forces became aware they were killing Americans has proved a point of particular contention in the on-again, off-again public debate that has simmered over the last half a century. The Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation proceedings following the incident were held in closed sessions, and the survivors who had been on board received gag orders forbidding them to ever talk about what they endured that day.

This INTERCEPT article has a couple of documents leaked by Edward Snowden as its core. Excepting these 2 documents, our patriotic spies still keep the entire event under security wraps. So much for transparency in a democracy. Even after a half-century.

A worthwhile read. Learn some real history, folks.

Thanks, Martyn

Arms sales around the world are the highest they’ve been since the end of the Cold War


Noah Seelam/AFP

❝ Global arms sales over the last five years reached their highest level since 1990, with India continuing to top the charts as the world’s largest defense importer, a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has found.

Between 2012 and 2016, India accounted for 13 percent of global arms imports, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Algeria, said SIPRI, which tracks global arms purchases. Between 2007 and 2011, India accounted for 9.7 percent of global imports, still more than any other country…

❝ Despite rising threats, and a ‘Make in India’ program to encourage local arms production, India’s domestic defense sector is not capable of meeting New Delhi’s growing requirements…

“They spend a lot of time and also money trying to develop weapons in India and things just go hopelessly wrong,” Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with SIPRI, said, adding that leaves them relying on imports…

❝ …The shift under Modi to rely more on private Indian companies for defense procurement, could lead to success. India signed an $8.7 billion contract to buy 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation SA…Analysts also warned that structural changes to India’s defense purchasing would take a long time, given the lengthy timelines involved in defense R&D and manufacturing, as well as the necessity of meeting the military’s pressing requirements for combat-ready equipment.

RTFA for the gory details. Getting caught in the same sort of military-industrial complex that only shares ownership of the US economy with fossil fuel barons doesn’t seem like forward-looking economic design or planning. India might have more of a chance at long-term economic success working at building a mutual relationship based on peace with neighbors in the region. After all, they all were shoved into the same trick bag by departing Imperial England back in the day.

Banksy opens hotel overlooking Bethlehem’s apartheid wall


Worst view in the worldQuique Kierszenbaum/Guardian

Click to enlarge

❝ The Walled Off hotel may sound utilitarian, even bleak. Its owner says it has “the worst view of any hotel in the world”, while its 10 rooms get just 25 minutes of direct sunlight a day.

But, nestled against the controversial barrier wall separating Israel from the Palestinian territories, the West Bank’s answer to the Waldorf offers travellers something more elusive than any luxury destination.

The lodging in Bethlehem is a hotel, museum, protest and gallery all in one, packed with the artworks and angry brilliance of its owner, British street artist Banksy.

❝ From the disconcertingly lavish presidential suite where water splashes from a bullet-strafed watertank into the hot tub, to the bunk-beds in the budget room scavenged from an abandoned army barracks, the hotel is playful and strongly political.

All the rooms look out on to the concrete slabs of the wall and some have views over it to pill boxes and an Israeli settlement – illegal under international law – on the hillside beyond.

❝ Banksy’s reputation is likely to keep all rooms fully booked, but he wants guests to leave with more than just a selfie. “It’s a three-storey cure for fanaticism, with limited car parking,” he added in the statement.

The hotel opens to guests on 20 March, with bookings via the website. The team hope Israelis, who rarely see the barrier wall up close or visit Palestinian towns, will be among the guests, even though visiting means breaking the law…

Israelis are banned from visiting Bethlehem and its famous sites. And although Banksy has chosen a site officially under Israeli military control – meaning it is legal for Israelis to stay there – all the roads to reach it involve an illegal journey through Palestinian-controlled territory.

RTFA. Learn a little more about life in what American politicians uniformly call the leading middle East democracy.

Thanks, Honeyman –

– and just because you’re now certified for Level 1 Superbikes doesn’t mean you can double the speed limits in Tasmania! 🙂

Fake news provokes Pakistan Minister to aim a nuclear threat at Israel

❝ A fake news article led to gunfire at a Washington pizzeria three weeks ago. Now it seems that another fake news story has prompted the defense minister of Pakistan to threaten to go nuclear.

The defense minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, wrote a saber-rattling Twitter post directed at Israel on Friday after a false report — which the minister apparently believed — that Israel had threatened Pakistan with nuclear weapons. Both countries have nuclear arsenals.

“Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh,” the minister wrote on his official Twitter account, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too.”

❝ Mr. Asif appeared to be reacting to a fake news article published on awdnews.com.

That story, with the typo-laden headline “Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops to Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack,” appeared on the website on Dec. 20, alongside articles with headlines like “Clinton is staging a military coup against Trump.”

The fake story about Israel even misidentified the country’s defense minister, attributing quotations to a former minister, Moshe Yaalon. Israel’s current minister of defense is Avigdor Lieberman.

❝ The Israeli Defense Ministry responded on Twitter to say the report was fictitious.

Legitimate news sources haven’t had much of a problem in decades with promulgating fake news. Perhaps, online profiteers might consider moving beyond copouts. Even a sleazy neighborhood bar requires proof of age. Algorithms could be a sufficient first-level challenge.

Israel gave Russia a farming drone and pissed-off Uncle Sugar, Spain, assorted military bureaucrats


Or would you rather have a cow?

❝ Never look a gift horse in the mouth, or so the saying goes. And it probably should have applied to the following laborious and comical international incident concerning a drone and Israel, Russia, and the United States.

❝ Uri Ariel, Israel’s agriculture minister, decided to give a $51,000 agricultural research drone to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on his recent visit to Israel’s Volcani agricultural research institute. “What a pleasant gesture,” you might be thinking, as the world creeps ever closer to an era where drone technology is used as international diplomatic currency.

But no. It turns out that the drone Medvedev took a liking to last week at Israel’s agriculture center may have contained US-manufactured components, and it certainly wasn’t Ariel’s to give. Researchers at Volcani were reportedly very disgruntled by Ariel’s autarchic decision — they claimed their entire research program had been compromised. Moreover, if the drone did indeed contain sensitive US-made technology, relations between the US, Israel, and Russia could be damaged…

❝ It turns out, this Israeli drone was actually manufactured by Alpha Unmanned Systems, according to the Jerusalem Post, a drone manufacturer based in Spain. The camera that Alpha Unmanned Systems had allegedly used on the drone was manufactured by US company Flir — famous for its infrared technologies. Did Alpha Unmanned Systems even have a license to use US-made Flir technology on a drone, which was then given to Israel, which subsequently ended up in Russian hands despite Putin’s existence on the short end of a NATO arms embargo?…

❝ A report…from Haaretz, though, cites an anonymous official in Jerusalem who’s saying that US embassy diplomats are now asking for clarification about the drone, and want to ensure it doesn’t contain any US technology.

The official said, “the “drone affair” has caused Israel significant diplomatic embarrassment with the Americans…”

To be continued…

I expect a made-for-TV movie for next years’s summer season on FOX. Who knows. Might become a series like Fargo?

Facebook decides whether Palestinian editors can publish — or not

Facebook is deciding how the media should do its job again, even though CEO Mark Zuckerberg has insisted it’s “not a media company.” This time, two Palestinian news organizations say one of their Facebook pages, and the personal accounts of seven editors and executives, were suspended, al Jazeera reported. This prevented them from accessing their organizations’ Facebook pages, which collectively have 11 million “likes.”

The news organizations allege that the suspensions were the result of an agreement Facebook struck with Israel earlier this month to monitor incitement to violence on the platform. Facebook says it was a mistake with the way it handles accounts that have been flagged for review.

❝ Facebook reinstated the accounts over the weekend (Sept. 24) and apologized…Blah, blah, blah.

I think it was a warning on behalf of the Netanyahu government.

I contributed – a while back – to a Facebook site that averages 5 million hits a week – that was periodically shutdown, blocked or otherwise had access limited because it was critical of Israel’s apartheid policies. None of this surprises me.

❝ The system has caused outrage before, as was the case recently in Norway, when it removed posts with a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph — the “napalm girl” of the Vietnam war — because it depicted a child’s nude form. Facebook reversed its position after Norway’s prime minister got involved.

Corporate politics, today, ain’t especially different from the class history of corporate politics. The reach is global, focused or broad in effect. Only the industries and sophistication have changed. Or not.

Senators try to block Billion$ U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia

Four U.S. senators introduced a joint resolution on Thursday seeking to block the U.S. sale of $1.15 billion of Abrams tanks and other military equipment to Saudi Arabia, citing issues including the conflict in Yemen.

The measure was introduced by Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee and Democrats Chris Murphy and Al Franken, the latest indication of strong disapproval of the deal among some U.S. lawmakers.

The Pentagon announced on Aug. 9 that the State Department has approved the potential sale of more than 130 Abrams battle tanks, 20 armored recovery vehicles and other equipment to Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which implements foreign arms sales, said that General Dynamics would be the principal contractor for the sale…

“Thousands of civilians are being killed, and terrorist groups inside the country, like al Qaeda and ISIS, are getting stronger. Until the Saudis’ conduct changes, the U.S. should put a pause on further arms sales,” Senator Murphy said in a statement.

And in case you hadn’t noticed…

U.S. President Barack Obama has offered a record US$115 billion in arms, weapons, military equipment and training to Saudi Arabia, according to a report from the Center for International Policy…

The report, due to be released publicly today, said that since Obama started his presidency in 2009, the arms offers were made in 42 separate deals including small arms, ammunition, tanks, missiles and ships.

It did not mention how many deals were accepted by Saudi Arabia, with the majority of equipment not being delivered [yet]. The deal amounts to biggest deal to the Saudi’s of any U.S. administration…

A joint letter signed by 64 members of Congress called for a delay in a controversial tank deal and called “the actions of the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen are as reprehensible as they are illegal. The multiple, repeated airstrikes on civilians look like war crimes.”…

The Saudi-led bombing is also believed to be using U.S. cluster munitions, which 119 countries have signed a treaty against their use. The United States and Saudi Arabia have not signed the treaty.

One more example of the historic differences between Republican and Democrat administrations ain’t worth a whole boatload when it comes to foreign policy.

Celtic fans raise money for Palestinian charities after protest — UEFA suits want to fine the football club

Celtic fans support Palestine
Click to enlargeRussell Cheyne/Reuters

UEFA began disciplinary proceedings against Celtic last week after a number of fans displayed Palestinian flags during their 5-2 home victory against Israeli club Hapoel Be’er Sheva in a Champions League qualifier. In an attempt to match an impending UEFA fine for displaying the flags, supporters of the Glasgow club have exceeded their initial target of raising £15,000 for Palestinian charities.

Since UEFA’s threat against the club went viral, supporters have now raised over £140,000 for Palestinian charities. Here’s the link if you wish to donate.

The Green Brigade group of supporters set up an appeal on the gofundme website on Sunday to match the anticipated fine. The fans are raising money for Medical Aid Palestine, which delivers health and medical care to those “worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement,” and the Lajee Centre, a cultural and sports project for children in Aida refugee camp, in Bethlehem.

BTW, the away leg was played in Israel, this week, and though Hapoel won the match, aggregate score gave victory to Celtic. Hapoel is now out of the tournament. In Israel’s “traditional spirit of fair play”, they limited the number of Celtic supporters allowed to attend the match to 250. They were searched by police before entering the stadium and threatened with arrest if they demonstrated support for Palestinians during the match.

#matchthefineforpalestine