Monday, January 25, 2016

Fwd: . . . on and on it goes

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Netanyahu Demands More Billions From America, Insults U.S. Envoy, Steals More Land


Truthdig | Jan 24, 2016

Juan Cole This post originally ran on Truthdig contributor Juan Cole's website.


At the Davos World Economic Forum, Israeli Prime Minister   Binyamin Netanyahu insisted that the deal between the UN Security Council and Iran limiting its enrichment program to purely civilian uses had made Israel less secure, and that it must therefore be granted tens of billions of extra military aid from the United States.


Netanyahu made the claim on the US taxpayer in the wake of his harsh words for the US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro.


Shapiro had addressed a conference earlier this week in which he said that the Obama administration now questions the commitment of Netanyahu's government to peace with the Palestinians.  Shapiro said that Israel wasn't acting credibly to curb the violence of Israeli squatters on the Palestinian West Bank against Palestinians, and that it should open more land to the Palestinians:  "Too much vigilantism goes unchecked, and at times there seems to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law, one for Israelis, and another for Palestinians. . . Hovering over all these questions is the larger one about Israel's political strategy vis-a-vis its conflict with the Palestinians."  He also criticized Palestinian violence.

Netanyahu slapped down Shapiro, calling his observations "unacceptable and incorrect", he added, "Israel enforces the law for Israelis and Palestinians."


Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked demanded that Shapiro take back his words.


A former aid to Netanyahu went on Israeli television on Tuesday and put Shapiro down as a yahudon or "little Jew boy," a deeply offensive epithet used by some far rightwing Israelis to characterize diaspora Jews they view as insufficiently Jewish or insufficiently supportive of Israel.


Then yesterday [Jan. 21] the Netanyahu government made Shapiro's point for him by announcing that it will steal 350 acres of Palestinian land near Jericho in the Jordan Valley.


So, to summarize:  Netanyahu tried to humiliate the president of the United States by addressing Congress and urging it to overturn Obama's Iran negotiations.  Then when he was defeated he turned around and demanded extra billions in military aid.  He and his friends insulted Ambassador Shapiro for daring criticize their vast land thefts and Jewish-only colonial policies in Palestinian territory.  Then they barefacedly announced that they are in fact going to steal another 350 acres from Palestinian owners.


Not sure if their shoplifting that land requires that we give them yet more billions.


A Jewish woman and a Palestinian woman protesting together in 1973, 1992, and 2001.




Report: NSA recorded members of Congress with Israeli leaders

Dec 30, 2015 12:28 PM EST


The National Security Agency's (NSA) continued surveillance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli leaders may also have swept up private conversations involving members of Congress, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night.


Although President Obama had promised to curb eavesdropping on world leaders who are U.S. allies after Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing the extent of the surveillance, there were a few leaders the White House wished to continue monitoring, including Netanyahu.


The original reason for the stepped up surveillance of Netanyahu, according to the WSJ, was the fear that he would "strike Iran without warning."  By 2013, that fear had dissipated. The administration then became concerned about the Iran nuclear deal that was being negotiated. U.S. officials believed that the Israelis were spying on the negotiations and would try to scuttle the deal, the report said.


Further, the Journal reports that intercepted conversations between Israeli leaders confirmed Israel's knowledge of the talks, as well as its intent to undermine any nuclear deal with Iran by leaking its details. When Netanyahu and his top aides came to Washington to talk with Jewish-American groups and members of Congress to lobby against the deal, the NSA was there to pick up the conversations.


Senior officials told the WSJ that those conversations collected by the NSA raised fears "that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress."  The White House wanted the information anyway, however, because it "believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu's campaign."


So in order to avoid leaving a trail, the White House left it to the NSA to figure out what to share, and the NSA obliged, deleting names of members and any personal attacks on the administration.


National Security Council Spokesman Ned Price wouldn't comment on the intelligence activities written about in the Wall Street Journal's story, but he said in a statement,  "[W]e do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike."


He added that the U.S. commitment to Israel's security is "sacrosanct" and "backed by concrete actions that demonstrate the depth of U.S. support for Israel."


The office of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said only that it was looking into the matter.


Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said the committee would also be looking into the report.


"The Committee has requested additional information from the [Intelligence Community] to determine which, if any, of these allegations are true, and whether the IC followed all applicable laws, rules, and procedures," Nunes said in a statement Wednesday.


Before a campaign event in Cisco, Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz said he wasn't surprised that the administration was trying to intercept Netanyahu's communications, or even that conversations including members of Congress may have been swept up by the NSA, "because this administration views Congress, Republicans and sometimes even Democratic members of Congress as their enemy....  At times, it seems like they view the American people as their enemy."


The allegations "are total nonsense," a spokesman for the Embassy of Israel in Washington told the WSJ.


Before Netanyahu came to address Congress, the NSA had intercepted Israeli messages that said Netanyahu wanted the "the latest U.S. positions in the Iran talks," the Journal wrote, signaling to to the administration that Netanyahu intended to use his address to reveal sensitive details about the negotiations. Secretary of State John Kerry then said as much to reporters on the eve of the speech.


Kerry justified his accusation by pointing to Israeli media reports, but those reports were a convenient source, given that "Intelligence officials said the media reports allowed the U.S. to put Mr. Netanyahu on notice without revealing they already knew his thinking.  The prime minister mentioned no secrets during his speech to Congress," wrote the Journal.


CBS News' Mark Knoller and Walt Cronkite contributed to this report.


Israel paid GOP senator $1m to sabotage Iran accord: Reports

Thu Jan 7, 2016 3:24AM


Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)


A Republican lawmaker at the US Senate was bribed one million dollars by Israel to try sabotaging negotiations between Tehran and the world powers, including the United States.

The name of Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) emerged on news outlets on Wednesday after a report revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had bribed the choosy lawmakers of the Republican Party so as to kill the accord.


Cotton received $960,250 from the Emergency Committee for Israel, a right-wing political advocacy organization based in the United States, for his senatorial campaign.

As the negotiations were continuing in March 2015, the freshman senator spearheaded an open letter, signed by 47 Republican lawmakers, to warn Iran that a GOP president would not remain committed to any agreement with Tehran.


"I'm pretty sure Bill Kristol (the owner of the Emergency Committee for Israel) did write this letter," American geopolitical commentator Dean Henderson told Press TV at the time.


Kristol has been notorious for backing Israel and as a leading proponent of US military intervention in Muslim countries, including the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, in order to further the Zionist interests.

Last July, Cotton likened the nuclear agreement to crucifixion of Jesus Christ and US top negotiator Secretary of State John Kerry to Pontius Pilate who let it happen.


"I will stand with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel and work with my colleagues in Congress to stop this deal," Cotton said during a visit to Israel later.


Despite such attempts, Iran and the world powers, which also included the UK, Germany, Russia, China, and France, reached a nuclear accord in June 2014, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Wiretaps uncovered by the Wall Street Journal recently revealed that the Israeli premier had asked the Republicans what they wanted in exchange for opposition against the JCPOA.


"Stepped-up NSA eavesdropping revealed to the White House how Mr. Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the US-Iran negotiations—learned through Israeli spying operations—to undermine the talks; coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts," read a WSJ report.





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