TBR News August 5, 2017

Aug 05 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., August 5 , 2017: “MERS claims to be a privately-held company and their function is keeping track of a confidential electronic registry of mortgages and the modifications to servicing rights and ownership of the loans.  However, if you dig deeper into MERS and their shareholders you will find the same crony bankers that have led our economy off the financial cliff.  Shareholders include AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, WaMu, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, GMAC, Guaranty Bank, and Merrill Lynch.  It is a stunner how these same players show up in every financial war we have been dealing with.

MERS was founded in 1995 under the pretext that it would lower the cost of recording an assignment of ownership in county land records.  By the way, as someone that has bought property in multiple states the filing fee is the lowest cost in acquiring a home.  If you cannot afford the tiny fee in recording the deed then you probably shouldn’t be buying a home.  The reality of course is MERS allowed for the mortgage backed security business to explode since it allowed mortgages to be shipped off to Wall Street to be minced into tiny tranches and sold off by the big investment banks to pensions, foreign investors, retail investors, and everyone else that wanted a piece of the mortgage bubble.”

Table of Contents

  • Is Trump’s Russia Policy Being Hijacked?
  • Has Seymour Hersh Debunked ‘Russia-gate’?
  • ROUGH TRANSCRIPT: Seymour Hersh on Seth Rich.
  • Alan A. Shapiro
  • US sanctions on Russia could endanger energy security for EU
  • What’s Worse: Trump’s Campaign Agenda or Empowering Generals and CIA Operatives to Subvert it?
  • Netanyahu’s former aide turns state’s witness in bribery cases
  • The Anna Frank Diary Fraud
  • Mecca, ruled by House of Saud, should belong to all Muslims

 Is Trump’s Russia Policy Being Hijacked?

August 4, 2017

by Patrick J. Buchanan


In crafting the platform in Cleveland on which Donald Trump would run, America Firsters inflicted a major defeat on the War Party.

The platform committee rejected a plank to pull us deeper into Ukraine, by successfully opposing new U.S. arms transfers to Kiev.

Improved relations with Russia were what candidate Trump had promised, and what Americans would vote for in November.

Yet, this week, The Wall Street Journal reports:

“The U.S. Pentagon and State Department have devised plans to supply Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry and are seeking White House approval … as Kiev battles Russia-backed separatists … Defense Secretary Mattis has endorsed the plan.”

As pro-Russia rebels in East Ukraine have armored vehicles, Kiev wants U.S. tank-killing Javelin missiles, as well as antiaircraft weapons.

State and Defense want Trump to send the lethal weapons.

This is a formula for a renewed war, with far higher casualties in Ukraine than the 10,000 dead already suffered on both sides.

And it is a war Vladimir Putin will not likely allow Kiev to win.

If Ukraine’s army, bolstered by U.S. weaponry, re-engages in the east, it could face a Moscow-backed counterattack and be routed, and the Russian army could take permanent control of the Donbass.

Indeed, if Trump approves this State-Defense escalation plan, we could be looking at a rerun of the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008.

Then, to recapture its lost province of South Ossetia, which had seceded in 1992, after Georgia seceded from Russia, Georgia invaded.

Putin sent his army in, threw the Georgians out, and recognized South Ossetia, as John McCain impotently declaimed, “We are all Georgians now!”

Wisely, George W. Bush ignored McCain and did nothing.

But about this new arms deal questions arise.

As the rebels have no aircraft, whose planes are the U.S. antiaircraft missiles to shoot down? And if the Russian army just over the border can enter and crush the Ukrainian army, why would we want to restart a civil war, the only certain result of which is more dead Ukrainians on both sides?

The Journal’s answer: Our goal is to bleed Russia.

“The point of lethal aid is to raise the price Mr. Putin pays for his imperialism until he withdraws or agrees to peace. … The Russians don’t want dead soldiers arriving home before next year’s presidential election.”

Also going neocon is Mike Pence. In Georgia this week, noting that Russian tanks are still in South Ossetia, the vice president not only declared, “We stand with you,” he told Georgians the U.S. stands by its 2008 commitment to bring them into NATO.

This would mean, under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, that in a future Russia-Georgia clash the U.S. could find itself in a shooting war with Russia in the South Caucasus.

Russia’s security interests there seem clear. What are ours?

Along with Trump’s signing of the new sanctions bill imposed by Congress, which strips him of his authority to lift those sanctions without Hill approval, these developments raise larger questions.

Is President Trump losing control of Russia policy? Has he capitulated to the neocons? These are not academic questions. For consider the architect of the new arms package, Kurt Volker, the new U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations.

A former CIA agent, member of the National Security Counsel, and envoy to NATO, Volker believes Russian troops in Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk are all there illegally – and U.S. policy should be to push them out.

A former staffer of Sen. McCain, Volker was, until July, executive director of the neocon McCain Institute. He has called for the imposition of personal sanctions on Putin and his family and European travel restrictions on the Russian president.

In the Journal this week, “officials” described his strategy:

“Volker believes … that a change in Ukraine can be brought only by raising the costs for Moscow for continued intervention in Ukraine. In public comments, he has played down the notion that supplying weapons to Ukraine would escalate the conflict with Russia.”

In short, Volker believes giving antitank and antiaircraft missiles to Ukraine will bring Putin to the negotiating table, as he fears the prospect of dead Russian soldiers coming home in caskets before his 2018 election.

As for concerns that Putin might send his army into Ukraine, such worries are unwarranted.

Volker envisions a deepening U.S. involvement in a Ukrainian civil war that can bleed and break Russia’s Ukrainian allies and convince Putin to back down and accept what we regard as a just settlement.

Does Trump believe this? Does Trump believe that confronting Putin with rising casualties among his army and allies in Ukraine is the way to force the Russian president to back down and withdraw from Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk, as Nikita Khrushchev did from Cuba in 1962?

What if Putin refuses to back down, and chooses to confront?


Has Seymour Hersh Debunked ‘Russia-gate’?

Hersh says Seth Rich contacted WikiLeaks

August 4, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


Journalist Seymour Hersh has given us good reason to believe what many have long suspected: that the “hacking” of the Democratic National Committee, which supposedly delivered the White House to Donald Trump, was an inside job. In a recorded phone conversation (here’s a transcript) with Ed Butowsky, a Republican operative who has been financing an investigation of the Seth Rich affair, Hersh told Butowsky that Seth Rich, who worked for the DNC and was murdered on July 10, 2016, was in contact with WikiLeaks, and wanted money for access to the DNC emails.

Hersh doesn’t buy the conspiracy theory surrounding Rich’s death: he sees it as a random event, one that wasn’t too unusual given the neighborhood Rich lived in – and yet this haphazard tragedy may have led to the unraveling of the mystery that is, today, at the core of our politics: the controversy over who delivered the DNC/Podesta emails to WikiLeaks.

The Democrats, the media, and the War Party contend that the Russians hacked into the DNC, and fooled John Podesta into handing the keys to his emails over to them: a full-fledged federal investigation, complete with a special counsel, is now busy trying to find evidence of the Trump campaign’s collusion with this nefarious plot. On the other hand, the case for Russian “hacking” has been fragile from the start, and has only gotten less tenable as time goes on. Now another blow has been delivered to the “Putin did it” conspiracy theory, one that may indeed prove fatal.

Hersh contends that, upon Rich’s death, the District of Colombia police went into his apartment – with a warrant — and examined his computer, but they couldn’t get into it. So they called in the DC cyber unit, which didn’t do much better, and so they called in the FBI’s Washington field office, the cyber unit, and they got in. “What I know came off an FBI report,” says Hersh. “Don’t ask me how. You can figure it out.” Well, yes, we can indeed. He goes on to say:

“And so what the report says is that sometime in late spring, we’re talking June you know summers in June 21st, late spring would be after, I presume, I don’t know, I’d just say late spring, early summer and he makes contact with WikiLeaks. That’s in his computer and he makes contact.”

Hersh notes that the last DNC/Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks are from late May 2016, or “early summer,” a timeline that fits in with the sequence of events: his contact with WikiLeaks followed by his death in what appears to be a random shooting. Hersh continues:

“So, they found what he’d done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC, and you know, by the way all this shit about the DNC, um, you know, whether it was hacked or wasn’t hacked, whatever happened, the democrats themselves wrote this shit, you know what I mean? All I know is that he [Seth] offered a sample, an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens of emails and said ‘I want money.’”

This note of realism – “I want money” – for the first time provides us with something that has previously been missing from the arguments of those who have claimed that the “hacks” were an inside job, and not a case of Russian cyber-warfare: motive. After all, why would Rich, supposedly a loyal employee of the DNC and a committed Democrat, hand over embarrassing emails that would hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign? Well, now here we have it. If true, this not only explains why Rich would do such a thing, but also why the Rich family is furiously denying that their son was in any way connected with the DNC/Podesta email revelations.

Hersh goes on to detail what is in the FBI report:

“Then later WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do, I mean you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know, he was certainly not a dumb kid. They got access to the Dropbox.”

And so, according to Hersh, WikiLeaks must have reached a deal with Rich, and the rest is history. It’s not clear to me what “They got access to the Dropbox” means: is Hersh talking about WikiLeaks, or the FBI? In any case, Rich apparently took precautions to cover his ass, as Hersh relates:

“He also, and this is also in the FBI report, he also let people know, with whom he was dealing, and I don’t know how he dealt, I’ll tell you about WikiLeaks in a second. I don’t know how he dealt with the WikiLeaks and the mechanism but he also, the word was passed according to the NSA report, ‘I’ve also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problem.’ Ok. I don’t know what that means.”

Well, something did happen to him, but we’ll pass over that and note that Hersh mentions “the NSA report.” So the FBI, in investigating this case, turned to the National Security Agency, which has access to everyone’s online communications, and came up with evidence confirming that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks, that he had a secure Dropbox, and that he was concerned that he might be in danger. Hersh says “the word was passed” – but to whom? There are more mysteries here than we can uncover with just these bits of information.

According to Hersh, a warrant exists for the DC police entry into Rich’s residence. There’s also a report from the FBI, which Hersh has not seen, as far as I can tell, but which has perhaps been read to him. As Hersh puts it:

“I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me.”

Hersh’s record speaks for itself: from exposing the My Lai massacre to ripping the lid off the false flag Syrian “chemical attack,” he’s made a career out of unmasking the lies and machinations of the War Party. I’ll take his word over the word of some anonymous spook leaking to the Washington Post any day of the week. And perhaps this is the time to point out that there’s just as much evidence for what Hersh is telling us as there is for the tall tales of “collusion” with Moscow that have been retailed by the “mainstream” media for a solid year.

The “Russia-gate” conspiracy theory never had any real evidence to support it aside from the arbitrary assertions of three US intelligence agencies: the “proof” they submitted to the public was laughable, as Jeffrey Carr and other cyber-warfare experts have pointed out. Yet we don’t have the actual evidence to support Hersh’s contentions, although if he’s right there is indeed a paper trail: the warrant, the FBI and NSA reports, and probably more.

However, it is an exercise in elementary logic to take the simplest explanation for how the DNC/Podesta materials got out – an insider with access did it for money —  rather than assume it was an elaborate Russian conspiracy involving teams of hackers, the Russian intelligence agencies, and Vladmir Putin himself. Apparently our brainless media, not to mention our not-very-intelligent “intelligence community,” have never heard of Occam’s Razor.

Hersh, who has been around the block several times, and is intimately familiar with how the intelligence community operates – as well as being personally familiar with the individuals involved – is onto the game that’s being play here. In his words:

“I have a narrative of how that whole fucking thing began, it’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and fucking the fucking President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, fucking cock-sucker Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean [it’s] all bullshit…. Trump’s not wrong to think they all fucking lie about him.”

It’s all bullshit: Russia-gate, the “collusion” gambit, and the whole avalanche of fake “news” that purports to describe a Russian conspiracy to “undermine our democracy.” It’s a lie, pure and simple. More than that: it’s an exact inversion of the truth. Because what’s happening is that a vast intelligence-gathering apparatus is being utilized to undermine an elected President and undertake what is in effect a “legal” coup d’etat. But then again, projection has always been an essential element of the War Party’s methodology.

I’m not surprised that Hersh’s revelations have been studiously ignored, even by some “alternative” news sites. Despite this ominous silence, there has been one attempt to cut Hersh off at the pass: National Public Radio ran a piece about the lawsuit Butowsky is being served with in which Hersh’s conversation is quoted. NPR tellingly edits out what Hersh actually said in that conversation, but does cite Hersh purportedly saying Butowsky misunderstood him.

However, it looks like Hersh didn’t know he was being recorded, because the recording directly contradicts both Hersh and what NPR is reporting. An email exchange between Butowsky and Hersh, in which the former pleads with the famous journalist to go public, has been published, and when a reporter called him for comment Hersh clammed up:

“‘I’m not going to comment about that stuff, I mean, come on, I live in the real world.’

“When asked to confirm that it was him speaking on the bombshell audio recording, he stated, ‘I’m not going to talk to anybody about that. No comment.’”

While Hersh is being called on to clear this matter up, there are several reasons why he might not do so, at least quite yet. He could be working on his own story, and – in the same vein – doesn’t want to burn his source, who would be understandably nervous about possibly being outed.

Whatever is going on here, Hersh’s contentions are now public. The truth, whatever it may be, is going to come out.


ROUGH TRANSCRIPT: Seymour Hersh on Seth Rich.

Fireworks at the end include NSA, BRENNAN, ROGERS, OBAMA AND NYT! (self.The_Donald)

submitted 2 days ago by candylotusKEK

This is ROUGH. It has taken much longer than I anticipated to casually transcribe. Any edits, improvements, additions welcome. This is loosey goosey but I wanted you guys to have something! Link to actual audio recoding available on both Cassandra Fairbanks and Wikileaks twitter account. Emphasis my own.

Here it is:

About the kid, I’ll tell you what I know. What I know comes off an FBI report. Don’t ask me how. You can figure it out, I’ve been around a long time. The kid, just, I don’t think he was murdered, I, I don’t think he was murdered because of what he knew. The kids a nice boy, 27, he was not IT expert, but he learned stuff. He was a data programmer, but he learned stuff. And so he’s living on one street, someone, in my eyes,- he’s living in a ruff neighborhood and in the exact where he’d been living, as I’m sure you know, there have been about 8 or 9 or 10 violent, uh not robberies, most of them with somebody brandishing a gun and it’s the kids hands, I’m telling you look, I’m sure you know what, his hands are marked up, the cops concluded he fought off the people, tried to run they shot him twice in the back with a 22 small caliper. And then, they, the kids that did it ran, they got scared, they didn’t take his wallet.

Ok. So what the cops do is this: And this is where nobody knows, what I’m telling you, and maybe you know something about it. When you have a death like that DC cops, if you’re dead, you don’t just generally go yep I know (unintelligible) you have to get in to the kids apartment and see what you can find. If he’s dead you don’t need a warrant but most cops get a warrant because they don’t know if they’ve guys has, has a, a roommate. You need a warrant. So they get a warrant. I’m just telling you, there is such a thing. They go in the house and they can’t do much with this computer. It’s (unintelligible) the cops don’t know much about it. So the DC cops they have a cyber unit in DC and they’re more sophisticated. They come and look at it. The idea is maybe he’s a series of exchanges with somebody who says I’m going to kill you motherfucker over a girl or… and they can’t get in. The cyber guys do a little better but they can’t make sense of it so they call the, they call the FBI cyber unit, the DC unit.

The Washington field office is a hot shit unit. The guy running the Washington field office he’s like, he’s like, you know, he’s like a three star at an army base he’s already looking for four, you know what I mean? He’s gonna go in a top job. There’s a cyber unit there that’s excellent, given. What you get in a warrant is, the public information you get in a warrant doesn’t include, uh, it does not include the affidavit underlying what, why you are you going in, what the reasons are that.. That’s almost never available, um, I, I can tell you that the existence of a warrant is a public document 99% of the time. So, um, on the same warrant, they call in the feds. The feds get through, and this is what they find. This is according to the FBI report. What they find is he makes cont- first of all this is what you have to know, you have to know some basic facts, one of the basic factors, in that there’s no DNC or Podesta emails that exist beyond May 22nd. May 21st, May 22nd is the last email from either one of those groups. And so what the reports says is that sometime in late spring, we’re talking June you know summers in June 21st, late spring would be after, I presume, I don’t know, I’d just say late spring, early summer and he makes contact with Wikileaks. That’s in his computer and he makes contact.

Now, I have to be careful because I, I’ve know, I, met Julian 10 or 12 years (ago?) I stay the fuck away from people like that, you know. He’s invited me, and when I’m in London I always get a message “Come see me at the Ecuadorian” but I say fuck no I’m not going there I’ve got enough trouble without getting photographed. And he’s under total surveillance by everybody but anyways. So, they found what he’d done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC, and you know, by the way all this shit about the DNC, um, you know, whether it was hacked or wasn’t hacked, whatever happened, the democrats themselves wrote this shit, you know what I mean? All I know is that he (Seth) offered a sample, an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens of email and said “I want money”. Then later Wikileaks did get the password, he had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do, I mean you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know, he was certainly not a dumb kid. They got access to the Dropbox. He also, and this is also in the FBI report, he also let people know, with whom he was dealing, and I don’t know how he dealt, I’ll tell you about Wikileaks in a second. I don’t know how he dealt with the Wikileaks and the mechanism but he also, the word was passed according to the NSA report, “I’ve also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problem”. Ok. I don’t know what that means.

I don’t know whether you- Anyways, Wikileaks got access, and before he was killed- I can tell you right now Brennan is an asshole. Uh, I’ve known all these people for years. Clapper is sort of a better guy but not rocket scientist, the NSA guy’s a fucking moron, and they don’t- you know the trouble with all of those guys is that the only way they’re going to make it to a board or two and get hired by (?) and get some fat cat contracts is if Hillary stayed in. With Trump they’re gone, they’re done, they’re going to live on their pension, they’re not going to make it. And I gotta tell you guys, they don’t want to live on their pension, they want to be on boards (?).

I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me. I have what they call in my business a long-form journalism, I have a narrative of how that whole fucking thing began, it’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and fucking the fucking President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, fucking cock-sucker Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean all bullshit. They were telling the studp- I worked at the New York Times for fucking years, and the trouble with the fucking New York Times is they have smart guys, but they’re totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (???) to actually believe it. I was actually hired at the time to write, to go after the war in Vietnam War in 72 because they were just locked in. So that’s what the Times did. These guys run the fucking Times, and Trump’s not wrong. But I mean I wish he would calm down and had a better a better press secretary, I mean you don’t have to be so. Trump’s not wrong to think they all fucking lie about him. I can tell you right n….

Alan A. Shapiro

August 5, 2017

by Harry von Johnston PhD

In certain circles now there is much being whispered about MERS, the Federal mortgage agency, and the unpleasant truth that because of peculations, deliberate and accidental, the bulk of MERS’s 70 million American mortgages are so sliced and diced that property owners can never, ever find out who actually holds there title and therefore, can never get clear title when the mortgage is paid off.

I have obtained an official U.S. government agency investigative file on the man behind what is one of the largest swindles in history, passing even his friend and co-religionist Bernie Madoff. This man helped organize the Mozillo Countrywide mortgage scams of a few years back in which many, many false credit reports were deliberately made by Mozillo’s co workers to enable people with no credit and little income to buy houses. The falsified mortgages were then packaged, like sausage, and sold by the bigger banks overseas. The man behind this is one Alan G. Shapiro and I am going to pass along some information about Alan.

Bernie got off with 65 billion, only some of which was recovered but Alan got off with nearly 200 billion, not one cent of which can ever be recovered because, like Bernie, he put his loot into Israeli banks and lending establishments from whence it will never return.

Here is some information on Alan for you:

The Shapiro’s family are Lithuanian, Orthodox Jewish, from Wilno and originally named Speyer. His father, Chaim, a rabbi , fled Lithuania in January of 1939 and went to Stockholm. While in Sweden, Chaim married Esther Domeratsky at Viborg on February 17, 1941. The family emigrated to Israel in September of 1949

Alan was born on September 8, 1958, in Tel Aviv and emigrated to the United States, through Canada,  in August of 1979. Alan was a supporter of the Israeli think tank, JINSA. the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs

Shapiro has been closely associated with the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidics, who follow the Qabala and hold very extremist and insulting views of non-Jews.

Shapiro was taught colloquial English as a child and when he was finished with his obligatory IDF service, he came to the United States to find his fortune and better serve his employers, the Israeli government and people. In due time, Alan became connected with a number of the Hebraic Illuminati in and around Washington, an area that has proven to be of rich pickings for some. At one period or another, Alan was:

  • An associate of William Kristol who published the Weekly Standard, a Rupert Murdoch-financed magazine that promotes the neocon credo a must-read in Cheney’s office.
  • Was a member of the Defense Department’s National Security Study Group, at the Pentagon
  • Worked closely with the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a Washington-based Israeli outfit which distributed articles translated from Arabic newspapers portraying Arabs in a bad light
  • Worked even more closely with top members of the Bradley Foundation, one of the largest and most influential right-wing organizations in America. It set up the PNAC led by William Kristol
  • Was heavily involved with Israeli think tank ‘The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)’ and worked very closely with the Israeli Embassy out of 3514 International Dr NW, Washington, DC 20008, dealing with a Lev Aedelstein, later identified as a senior Mossad operative
  • At one point in his career as a more successful Jonathan Pollard, Shapiro received both Top Secret-SCI (sensitive compartmented information) and Top Secret “NATO/COSMIC” security clearances.
  • And while reaping what other had sown, Alan also worked closely with Angelo Mozilla, head of Countrywide Mortgage which specialized in falsified credit backed mortgages. Countrywide was founded in 1969 as Countrywide Credit Industries
  • Alan G. Shapiro has often been confused with another Alan who owns TAG Inc. of Orange County, CA, Threat Assessment Group designed to prevents workplace violence. The latter Alan has nothing to do with his namesake.

Madoff founded the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in 1960, and was its chairman until his arrest on December 11, 2008. The Madoff family gained access to Washington’s lawmakers and regulators through the industry’s top trade group.

The Madoff family had long-standing, high-level ties to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), the primary securities industry organization. Bernard Madoff sat on the Board of Directors of the Securities Industry Association, which merged with the Bond Market Association in 2006 to form SIFMA. Former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt has estimated the actual net fraud to be between $10 and $17 billion. Erin Arvedlund, who publicly questioned Madoff’s reported investment performance in 2001, stated that the actual amount of the fraud will never be known, but is likely between $40 and $70 billion.

DHS investigations, based on computer searches conducted from their Frenso, California office, indicated that money stolen by Madoff has been traced directly to: Union Bank of Israel Ltd, Bank Massad Ltd, Leumi Mortgage Bank Ltd, Total Money International Ltd. Hadar Weitzman Group.

Bernie, like Alan, stole billions but the American authorities were never able to ascertain where much of the stolen money went. The U.S. investigative agencies strongly believed that all of it was safe in Israeli banks but could never figure out how the stolen m money got there. All banking wire transactions are automatically reported and the transfer of so much money would be easy to spot. What both Bernie and Alan did was to buy gold. They bought bar gold and coins with their money because, unlike paper money, gold will keep its value. And how did they get such enormous weights of gold to Israel? On a plane? No, in the hold of Alan’s yacht. His yacht, once called ‘The Polar Queen’ is large enough to carry all the gold in Ft. Knox across the Atlantic and in great comfort for her passengers. Here we include some technical information from the company(s) who built the yacht

“Offering the highest degree of luxury, PJ World is a unique 82m Ice Class  super yacht capable of traversing the most remote regions in the most challenging conditions.

Rolls Royce Marine and Palmer Johnson Norway have introduced a revolutionary approach whereby the vessel’s design is optimized to its operational profile ensuring a multitude of benefits. Peak performance, endurance, reliability, low ownership costs and maintenance efficiency have been the prime focus throughout the design process. Furthermore, her exceptional ‘Clean Design’ offers a host of environmentally conscious features which are beneficial to both cost and performance.

PJ World’s opulent interior and exterior layout features a fully equipped gym with spa, cinema, swimming pool, a heli aft-deck and an owner’s suite on the fifth deck with a breathtaking panoramic ocean view. Redefining the exploration-style vessel, PJ World breaks all boundaries.”…

And once the Mozilla scheme collapsed and the Bank of American rushed to buy up his Countrywide Mortgage company, Alan took quiet leave of his many friends and co-religionists in Washington and sailed into the sunrise. Is he now living in Israel, untouched and untouchable? No, Alan, untouchable because of his threats to expose half of Washington for various high crimes and misdemeanors, is now living in France. He lives in a beautiful villa located at Villefranch-sur-Mer near Nice on the Mediterranean French Rivera. The harbor there is big enough to take his yacht, now registered outside the United States, and Alan is thoroughly enjoying the loot he ripped off from millions of hard-working Americans. They were looking for the American Dream but Alan found it. And as the Bank of America said to Obama’s office when the bank learned that a DoJ investigation into their mortgage frauds was being planned, Alan said that if he went down, they all would go down. Isn’t the silence something to notice?


US sanctions on Russia could endanger energy security for EU

A new set of US sanctions against Russia is likely to hurt the EU. Experts feel that any such US penalties on Russia should be coordinated with the EU in the first instance.

August 5, 2017


The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) said that the latest set of US sanctions against Russia could threaten projects to ensure energy security in the European Union.

“Important projects for energy security could come to a standstill if German companies are prevented from participating in Russian gas pipeline projects,” Volker Treier, DIHK’s deputy chief executive, told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency.

Treier recommended that sanctions against Russia should only be applied “with caution.”

US failed to consult with EU first

US President Donald Trump signed legislation on August 2 imposing further sanctions on Russia over its alleged cyber interference in the US election as well its incursion into Ukraine.

The law includes measures that would punish companies in the US and elsewhere for any work on Russian pipelines – a move, which subsequently could affect infrastructure built for transporting energy resources to Europe via Ukraine, according to the European Commission. The US law was passed without any prior consultation with the EU.

A speaker for the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the implementation of the sanctions should take European concerns into consideration. While the bloc wants to phase out its dependence on Russia for its energy needs, it cannot cut ties altogether.

Moscow is dependent on oil and gas revenues and hopes that its two major pipeline projects – TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 – will allow Russia to increase its market share in Europe. A number of German companies have so far been involved in those projects as well.

What’s Worse: Trump’s Campaign Agenda or Empowering Generals and CIA Operatives to Subvert it?

August 5 2017

by Glenn Greenwald

The Interept

During his successful 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump, for better and for worse, advocated a slew of policies that attacked the most sacred prongs of long-standing bipartisan Washington consensus. As a result, he was (and continues to be) viewed as uniquely repellent by the neoliberal and neoconservative guardians of that consensus, along with their sprawling network of agencies, think tanks, financial policy organs, and media outlets used to implement their agenda (CIA, NSA, the Brookings/AEI think tank axis, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, etc.).

Whatever else there is to say about Trump, it is simply a fact that the 2016 election saw elite circles in the U.S., with very few exceptions, lining up with remarkable fervor behind his Democratic opponent. Top CIA officials openly declared war on Trump in the nation’s op-ed pages and one of their operatives (now an MSNBC favorite) was tasked with stopping him in Utah, while Time Magazine reported, just a week before the election, that “the banking industry has supported Clinton with buckets of cash . . . . what bankers most like about Clinton is that she is not Donald Trump.”

Hank Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO and George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary, went to the pages of the Washington Post in mid-2016 to shower Clinton with praise and Trump with unbridled scorn, saying what he hated most about Trump was his refusal to consider cuts in entitlement spending (in contrast, presumably, to the Democrat he was endorsing). “It doesn’t surprise me when a socialist such as Bernie Sanders sees no need to fix our entitlement programs,” the former Goldman CEO wrote. “But I find it particularly appalling that Trump, a businessman, tells us he won’t touch Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

Some of Trump’s advocated assaults on D.C. orthodoxy aligned with long-standing views of at least some left-wing factions (e.g., his professed opposition to regime change war in Syria, Iraq/Libya-style interventions, global free trade deals, entitlement cuts, greater conflict with Russia, and self-destructive pro-Israel fanaticism), while other Trump positions were horrifying to anyone with a plausible claim to leftism, or basic decency (reaffirming torture, expanding GITMO, killing terrorists’ families, launching Islamophobic crusades, fixation on increasing hostility with Tehran, further unleashing federal and local police forces). Ironically, Trump’s principal policy deviation around which elites have now coalesced in opposition – a desire for better relations with Moscow – was the same one that Obama, to their great bipartisan dismay, also adopted (as evidenced by Obama’s refusal to more aggressively confront the Kremlin-backed Syrian government or arm anti-Russian factions in Ukraine).

It is true that Trump, being Trump, was wildly inconsistent in virtually all of these pronouncements, often contradicting or abandoning them weeks after he made them. And, as many of us pointed out at the time, it was foolish to assume that the campaign vows of any politician, let alone an adept con man like Trump, would be a reliable barometer for what he would do once in office. And, as expected, he has betrayed many of these promises within months of being inaugurated, while the very Wall Street interests he railed against have found a very welcoming embrace in the Oval Office.

Nonetheless, Trump, as a matter of rhetoric, repeatedly affirmed policy positions that were directly contrary to long-standing bipartisan orthodoxy, and his policy and personal instability only compounded elites’ fears that he could not be relied upon to safeguard their lucrative, power-vesting agenda. In so many ways – due to his campaign positions, his outsider status, his unstable personality, his witting and unwitting unmasking of the truth of U.S. hegemony, the embarrassment he causes in western capitals, his reckless unpredictability – Trump posed a threat to their power centers.

It is often claimed that this trans-partisan, elite coalition assembled against Trump because they are simply American patriots horrified by the threat he poses to America’s noble traditions and institutions. I guess if you want to believe that the CIA, the GOP consulting class, and assorted D.C. imperialists, along with Bush-era neocons like Bill Kristol and David Frum, woke up one day and developed some sort of earnest, patriotic conscience about democracy, ethics, constitutional limits, and basic decency, you’re free to believe that. It makes for a nice, moving story: a film from the Mr.-Smith-Goes-to-Washington genre. But at the very least, Trump’s campaign assaults on their most sacred pieties was, and remains, a major factor in their seething contempt for him.

From the start of Trump’s presidency, it was clear that the permanent national security power structure in Washington was deeply hostile to his presidency and would do what it could to undermine it. Shortly before Trump was inaugurated, I wrote an article noting that many of the most damaging anti-Trump leaks were emanating from anonymous CIA and other Deep State operatives who despised Trump because the policies he vowed to enact –  the ones American voters ratified – were so contrary to their agenda and belief system. Indeed, they were even anonymously boasting that they were withholding secrets from Trump’s briefings because they decided the elected President should not have access to them.

After Trump openly questioned the reliability of the CIA in light of their Iraq War failures, Chuck Schumer went on Rachel Maddow’s show to warn Trump – explicitly – that he would be destroyed if he continued to oppose the intelligence community:

Although it is now common to assert – as a form of in-the-know mockery – that the notion of a “Deep State” in the U.S. was invented by Trump supporters only in the last year, the reality is that the U.S. Deep State has been reported on and openly discussed in numerous circles long before Trump. In 2010, the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Dana Priest, along with Bill Arkin, published a three-part series which the paper entitled “Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control.”

The Post series documented that the military-intelligence community “has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.” The Post concluded that it “amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight.”

In 2014, mainstream national security journalists Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady published a book entitled “Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Agency,” which documented – in its own words – that “there is a hidden country within the United States,” one “formed from the astonishing number of secrets held by the government and the growing ranks of secret-keepers given charge over them.”

Other journalists, such as Peter Dale Scott and Mike Lofgren have long written about the U.S. Deep State completely independent of Trump. The belief that the “Deep State” was invented by Trump supporters as some recent conspiratorial concoction is based in pure ignorance about national security discourse, or a jingoistic desire to believe that the U.S. (unlike primitive, inferior countries) is immune from such malevolent forces, or both.

Indeed, mainstream liberals in good standing, such as the New Republic’s Jeet Heer, have repeatedly and explicitly speculated about (and, in Heer’s case, warned of) the possibility of Deep State subversion of the White House:

That the U.S. has a shadowy, secretive world of intelligence and military operatives who exercise great power outside of elections and democratic accountability is not some exotic, alt-right conspiracy theory; it’s utterly elemental to understanding anything about how Washington works. It’s hard to believe that anyone on this side of a 6th Grade civics class would seek to deny that.

The last several weeks have ushered in more open acknowledgment of – and cheerleading for – a subversion of Trump’s agenda by unelected military and intelligence officials. Media accounts have been almost unanimous in heralding the arrival of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as White House Chief of Staff (pictured, top photo), widely depicted as a sign that normalcy is returning to the Executive Branch. “John Kelly Quickly Moves to Impose Military Discipline on White House,” the New York Times headline announced.

The current storyline is that Kelly has aligned with Trump’s National Security Advisor, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, to bring seriousness and order to the White House. In particular, these two military men are systematically weakening and eliminating many of the White House officials who are true adherents to the domestic and foreign policy worldview on which Trump’s campaign was based. These two military officials (along with yet another retired General, Defense Secretary James Mattis) have long been hailed by anti-Trump factions as the Serious, Responsible Adults in the Trump administration, primarily because they support militaristic policies – such as the war in Afghanistan and intervention in Syria – that is far more in line with official Washington’s bipartisan posture.

As the Atlantic’s Rosie Gray reports, McMaster has successfully fired several national security officials aligned with Steve Bannon and the nationalistic, purportedly non-interventionist foreign policy and anti-Muslim worldview Trump advocated throughout the election. As Gray notes, this has provoked anger among Trump supporters who view the assertion of power by these Generals as an undemocratic attack against the policies for which the electorate voted. Gray writes: “McMaster’s show of force has set off alarm bells among Bannon allies in the pro-Trump media sphere, who favored Flynn and regard the national-security adviser as a globalist interloper.”

In a bizarre yet illuminating reflection of rapidly shifting political alliances, Democratic Party think tanks and other groups have rallied behind McMaster as some sort of besieged, stalwart hero whose survival is critical to the Republic, notwithstanding the fact that, by all accounts, he is fighting to ensure the continuation of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and escalate it in Syria. As usually happens these days, these Democrats are in lockstep with their new neocon partners, led by Bill Kristol, who far prefer the unelected agenda of McMaster and Kelly to the one that Trump used to get elected.

It is certainly valid to point out that these Generals didn’t use tanks or any other show of force to barge into the White House; they were invited there by Trump, who appointed them to these positions. And they only have the power that he agrees that they should exercise.

But there’s no denying that Trump is deluged by exactly the kinds of punishments which Schumer warned Trump would be imposed on him if he continued to defy the intelligence community. Many of Trump’s most devoted haters are, notably, GOP consultants; one of the most tenacious of that group, Rick Wilson, celebrated today in the Daily Beast that the threat of prosecution and the tidal waves of harmful leaks has forced Trump into submission. The combination of the “Goldman Boys” and the Generals has taken over, Wilson crows, and is destroying the Bannon-led agenda on which Trump campaigned.

Whatever else is true, there is now simply no question that there is open warfare between adherents to the worldview Trump advocated in order to win, and the permanent national security power faction in Washington that – sometimes for good, and sometimes for evil – despises that agenda. The New Republic’s Brian Beutler described the situation perfectly on Friday:

Where the generals haven’t been empowered to run the show, they have asserted themselves nonetheless. “In the earliest weeks of Trump’s presidency,” the Associated Press reported Tuesday, Mattis and Kelly agreed “that one of them should remain in the United States at all times to keep tabs on the orders rapidly emerging from the White House.”

It would be sensationalizing things to call this a soft coup, but it is impossible to deny that real presidential powers have been diluted or usurped. Elected officials have decided that leaving the functioning of the government to unelected military officers is politically preferable to invoking constitutional remedies that would require them to vote.

Beutler is a full-scale, devoted enemy of Trump’s political agenda, and is clearly glad that something is impeding it. But he also recognizes the serious, enduring dangers to democracy from relying on military officials and intelligence operatives to serve as some sort of backstop, or supreme guardians, of political values and norms.

It’s particularly ironic that many of the same people who have spent the year ridiculing the notion that the U.S. has any kind of Deep State are now trumpeting the need for the U.S. military to save the Republic from the elected government, given that this, roughly speaking, is the defining attribute of all Deep States, at least as they depict themselves.

There have been some solitary Democratic Party voices expressing concern about these developments. Here, for instance, is what Barbara Lee had to say as most of her fellow Democrats were cheering the arrival of Gen. Kelly in the West Wing.

But hers was clearly the minority view: the military triumvirate of Kelly, Mattis and McMaster has been cast as the noble defenders of American democracy, pitted against those who were actually elected to lead the government.

No matter how much of a threat one regards Trump as being, there really are other major threats to U.S. democracy and important political values. It’s hard, for instance, to imagine any group that has done more harm, and ushered in more evil, than the Bush-era neocons with whom Democrats are now openly aligning. And who has brought more death, and suffering, and tyranny to the world over the last six decades than the U.S. National Security State?

In terms of some of the popular terms that are often thrown around these days – such as “authoritarianism” and “democratic norms” and “U.S. traditions” – it’s hard to imagine many things that would pose a greater threat to all of that than empowering the National Security State (what, before Trump, has long been called the Deep State) to exert precisely the power that is supposed to be reserved exclusively for elected officials. In sum, Trump opponents should be careful of what they wish for, as it might come true.

Netanyahu’s former aide turns state’s witness in bribery cases

August 4, 2017

by Dan Williams


JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A former chief of staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to provide testimony on behalf of the state in two graft cases in which the Israeli leader has been questioned as a suspect, court papers showed on Friday.

The decision by Ari Harow to turn state’s witness as part of a plea bargain in his own, separate corruption case adds a new dimension to a long-running investigation involving Netanyahu.

The four-term premier has denied any wrongdoing. His family spokesman said Netanyahu would withstand what he described as a “witch-hunt” designed to force him from office.

In a Facebook video posting, Netanyahu dismissed Friday’s developments as “the inevitable scandal-of-the-week”.

“I would like to tell you, citizens of Israel, that I do not heed background noises,” he said. “I continue to work for you.”

Netanyahu, 67, has been questioned under caution by police in two cases, one dealing with gifts given to him and his family by businessmen, and another related to conversations he held with an Israeli publisher.

An court injunction said the cases involved suspicion of the commission of the felonies of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, but did not specify who might be charged for the crimes.

Harow served two stints as Netanyahu’s chief of staff before resigning in 2015 amid allegations he had improperly handled private business affairs. The court injunction said he had turned state’s witness but barred publication of any details about what he would tell investigators or testify to.

Under the deal, Harow agreed to confess to fraud and breach of trust, the court injunction said. He will be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, commuted to community service, and a fine of 700,000 shekels ($194,000).

Even if eventually indicted, Netanyahu would not be obliged by law to resign. His opponents have called on him to do so.

In his 11 years of office, the conservative Netanyahu, who last won elections in 2015, has weathered several scandals and police inquiries. His approval ratings are generally solid, putting him ahead of potential challengers.

Police are also investigating Netanyahu’s wife over her use of official funds.

The cases in which Harow is expected to testify have been dubbed “1,000” and “2,000” by police.

Case 1,000 involves Netanyahu and family members receiving gifts on a regular basis from two businessmen. Israeli media have reported that the gifts included cigars and champagne.

Case 2,000 involves a deal Netanyahu allegedly discussed with the owner of one of Israel’s largest newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth, for better coverage in return for curbs on competition from a free paper owned by U.S. casino mogul Sheldon”The Frog”Adelson. The latter paper has long supported the prime minister.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Luke Baker and Jeremy Gaunt


The Anna Frank Diary Fraud

August 5, 2017

by Robert Cummings

As the result of a lawsuit filed by Otto Frank, father of Anna Frank, against two German writers who claimed the diaries were frauds, the German court ordered an investigation into the charges. The diaries were turned over to the German BKI for forensic review.

The Federal Criminal Police Office (the Bundeskriminalamt or BKA) in Wiesbaden, launched an investigation. In this investigation into the types of paper and ink used in the diary of Anne Frank it is stated that “ballpoint corrections” had been made on some loose sheets. The BKA’s task was to report on all the texts found among the diaries of Anne Frank, and therefore also on the annotations that were made in Anne’s manuscripts after the war. However, the Dutch investigation by the Forensic Institute in the mid-1980’s shows that writing in ballpoint is only found on two loose pages of annotations, and that these annotations are of no significance for the actual content of the diary. They were clearly placed between the other pages later. The researchers of the Forensic Institute also concluded that the handwriting on these two annotation sheets differs from the writing in the diary “to a far-reaching degree.” Photos of these loose annotation sheets are included in the NIOD’s publication (see The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition, 2003, pages 168 and 170). In 1987, a Mr Ockelmann from Hamburg wrote that his mother had written the annotation sheets in question. Mrs Ockelmann was a member of the team that carried out the graphological investigation into the writings of Anne Frank around 1960. Because of a 1980 lawsuit the diary manuscript was forensically examined by the BKA (the German state forensic bureau) and …

“In the end, BKA clearly determined that none of the diary handwriting matched known examples of Anne’s handwriting. The German magazine, Der Spiegel, published an account of this report alleging that (a) some editing postdated 1951; (b) an earlier expert had held that all the writing in the journal was by

the same hand; and thus (c) the entire diary was a postwar fake.”


Mecca, ruled by House of Saud, should belong to all Muslims

August 5, 2017

by Marwa Osman


How fair is it that Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, are controlled by Saudi Arabia, with the wealthy kingdom often using them as a political tool to increase its already huge influence in the Muslim world?

Perhaps, it’s time to find a solution to the dilemma of ruling the Islamic holy sites by a small fraction of Muslims.

In many ways, the monarchy of Saudi Arabia – known for its violations of human rights and supporting extremism – stains the reputation of Islam. However, the House of Saud controls Mecca, the direction of Muslim prayer and location of the Hajj pilgrimage, and Medina, where the Prophet Mohammed built the first Muslim society, died and is buried. Every year, millions of pilgrims descend on Mecca to circumambulate the Kaaba, the cubical shrine we believe was built by Abraham to honor God, and restored by Prophet Mohammed to His worship.

Saudi Arabia has often been politicizing the holy site in Mecca, so it is vital to find an immediate solution. Politicizing has included issuing visa bans and threats against countries that don’t share its regional political views. The KSA is accused of making threats to African countries that have refused to support the blockade against Qatar, including an attempt to resort to coercion and blackmail.

Iran also accused Saudi Arabia of “blocking the path leading to Allah” in 2016 when Tehran announced its pilgrims would not perform the Hajj in Mecca that year. The feud started as a result of the 2015 stampede that ended with the death of 2,300 pilgrims, including 464 Iranians, leading Tehran to accuse the kingdom of being unable or unwilling to manage the Hajj safely.

Syria as well had a share in the politicizing drama of the Muslim holy sites. This week the Syrian government accused the Saudi authorities of continuing restrictions in place since 2012 on Syrian citizens looking to take part in the annual Muslim pilgrimage.

Over the years of his rule, the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi called for the foundation of what he referred to as the “Islamic Vatican” in Mecca and Medina, so the Islamic holy lands in Hijaz are under the tutelage of an Islamic body that becomes the supervisor and preacher of the holy sites.

It was not the first time the late leader put forward the proposal. Whenever his relationship with the Al Saud regime became strained, Gaddafi re-offered this proposal. He saw that the Saudi regime did not have the legitimacy to solely be the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques because the Saudi monarchy was loyal to the ‘crusader’ West and imperialist America. This same proposal was also promoted by late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the Iranian revolution and during the first Gulf War that Imam Khomeini fought against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq for eight years.

Between the desire of the Libyan leader and that of Imam Khomeini about an Islamic Vatican project, many questions arise and the most important of these issues is: how legitimate is the Saudi guardianship over the holy sites in Mecca and Medina?

In the context of the modern nation-state, the centrality of Mecca to all Muslims has been the cause of immense trouble. It means that whether Muslims like it or not, the House of Saud is now the presumptive leader of Islam. Why? Because they have power over Mecca. Out of respect, the balance of Muslims in the world cannot decry the House of Saud, for they are the self-appointed “Guardians of The Two Holy Mosques”. The majority of the Muslim nations simply consent to the notion the House of Saud is their presumptive leader due to the fear of falling victim to visa restrictions or worse becoming a foe of the kingdom with Qatar being a significant example. The deep-seated respect for Mecca provides the House of Saud with religious legitimacy in the entire Muslim world, such that everything that comes from Saudi Arabia is considered to be the truest expression of Islam even if it is clearly the Wahhabi teachings are anti-Islamic and usually the source of Islamist terrorism. It is not Saudi oil which sells Wahhabi theology. It is the weight of Mecca which gives it gravity. Calls have been escalating lately to free Mecca from the grip of the House of Saud – take away Mecca, and the theology of regression follows suit.

Many opponents of Saudi tutelage see Saudi Arabia’s rule as a direct result of the British strategy of colonial divide and rule, and reliance on Muslim forces to promote imperial interests. This colonial divide reached its apogee in the Middle East during and after the First World War. It is based on sectarian strife that publicly divided Muslims and turned their lives into hell through extremist movements that most of its leaders and founders studied in Saudi Arabia with Wahhabi books. Al Saud in the past decade has even gone as far as illegally dismantling some of the oldest sections of Islam’s most important mosque as part of a highly controversial multi-billion dollar expansion which infuriated Muslims worldwide.

Before 1932, and the establishment of what is now known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the territory of the Hejaz was under the rule and supervision of the Sharifs and specifically Hussain the Sharif of Mecca.

After the end of the Ottoman Empire, in May 1919, the Bedouin Najdi leader Najdi Abdul Aziz al Saud (known as Ibn Saud) moved from south of Iraq and southeast of what today is Jordan toward Mecca. In 1924-25, Ibn Saud and his Wahhabi fighters drove Sharif Hussein ibn Ali, the father of the Hashemite brothers in Iraq and Transjordan, from the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

His territory then extended northwest and north to the edge of territories the British had given to the Hashemite brothers: Transjordan and Iraq. The British responded to a raid into Transjordan with a ground and air attack. Ibn Saud then submitted to a British decision regarding borders. The British gave him a free hand in the Hejaz and the Nejd as part of Britain and France’s secret agreement to divide the Middle East into their zones of influence, in the Sykes-Picot Agreement, named after their respective foreign ministers.

Despite massive Western support for the House of Saud, many Muslims assert that Mecca even though labeled as a Saudi city, was and still is an Islamic heritage belonging to all Muslims. In Islam teachings, no Muslim has the right to monopolize the guardianship of the Holy sites since the principle of guardianship in the current state of fragmentation is unacceptable because this trusteeship is considered a sacred legal right for all Muslims. To presume guardianship on the land of the Two Holy Mosques, one simply needs the consent of Muslims. The issue here is in the absence of an Islamic Caliphate or a Commander of the Faithful, the solution would be to reconsider at the very least a referendum among Muslims, and in the absence of such a referendum, the matter of Saudi guardianship is seen by some as lacking legitimacy.

At the least, Saudi Arabia will obviously hate the idea of a referendum. To them it is perfectly reasonable to claim any call for internationalizing Mecca and Medina is “a call for war”. Last week the Saudi foreign minister tried to describe this request made by Qatar was a way of defying the House of Saud, which Qatar has denied.

It is simply not a Gulf feud. It is an international Islamic matter. For the Saudis, the holy shrines are sacred cows, or better yet, cash cows. In addition to massive amounts of money the Saudis collect from pilgrimages, and religious tourism, control of the sites grants the monarchy priceless prestige within the Islamic world. Every devout Muslim must try to make the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina at some point in his/her lifetime as the Hajj is one of Islam’s five pillars of faith. As long as the House of Saud holds onto to these sites, it will be seen by all Muslims as holding the keys to the gateway of Allah.

Saudi Arabia currently rules Mecca and Medina, but they belong to the Muslim world. They are our collective sacredness. They shouldn’t be an individual possession. Islam is a very egalitarian religion. Islam has few hierarchies, and those that exist are not widely shared. Why then does a regime which represents a small portion of Muslims, exports and enforces an ideology that is historically opposing Islam’s rich traditions of pluralism, spirituality, and cosmopolitanism, allowed to control our holy cities? Why don’t everyday Muslims get a say?

One possible solution is a collection of Muslim nations to begin a movement using international legal remedies and diplomacy to make Mecca and Medina either independent nation-states unto themselves (as is the Vatican) or to have them rendered international protectorates with the task of their protection and maintenance falling upon the Muslim world jointly. Muslims, by having a Mecca no longer identified by its ethnicity, but by its religion, can all compete to become better Muslims, as opposed to competing to become the pawns of Al Saud. Turning the ruling system in Mecca into that similar to the Vatican system would ensure the non-politicizing of the Muslim holy sites.

There might be one problem with internationalizing Mecca though. Mecca would remain functionally dependent upon Saudi Arabia, which would have an internationalized Mecca surrounded and would thus have de facto control over who and what enters or leaves Mecca. Meaning they could continue to squeeze any manner and number of concessions from Mecca simply through restrictive travel policies aimed at Mecca. To fix this, Mecca and Medina should become and remain a visa-free zone for all Muslims seeking pilgrimage.






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