TBR News February 20, 2018

Feb 20 2018

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. February 20, 2018:” There are questions and there are answers.

When men came down out of their caves and stood on their hind legs, questions began to form in their small minds.

Would they live forever?

Where would they go when they stopped breathing and began to smell bad?

And other men, more clever, told them what they wanted to hear so desperately.   Yes, they would live forever and in a wonderful place.

Yes, they would see their dead family again who would be waiting for them


Of course in order to get to this wonderful place and see smiling dead family members they would have to become a paying member of a certain religious group.

They would have to believe just what the leaders of this religious group told them to believe or they would go to some cold, wet and nasty place when they died and have to sleep with dead rats.

And because they wanted to believe these entertaining and entirely invented stories, they did.

Those who promised paradise got rich and those who believed were content.

But when they died, they slept with the worms.

Of course they weren’t aware of anything at that point.”


Table of Contents

  • Is That Russia Troll Farm an Act of War?
  • A Consensus Emerges: Russia Committed an “Act of War” on Par With Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Should the U.S. Response be Similar?
  • No Peace after Islamic State: Foreign Powers Compete for a Slice of Syria
  • Police encourage right-wing plans to seize Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa
  • Israeli police name Netanyahu associates in corruption inquiry
  • Transcription of telephone conversation on August 3, 2006
  • Exceprt and translation of Russian document AZ 1287-801 U concerning some aspects of the 911 attack.


Is That Russia Troll Farm an Act of War?

February 20, 2018

by Patrick J. Buchanan


According to the indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Russian trolls, operating out of St. Petersburg, took American identities on social media and became players in our 2016 election.

On divisive racial and religious issues, the trolls took both sides. In the presidential election, the trolls favored Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and Donald Trump, and almost never Hillary Clinton.

One imaginative Russian troll urged Trumpsters to dress up a female volunteer in an orange prison jump suit, put her in a cage on a flatbed truck, then append the slogan, “Lock Her Up!”

How grave a matter is this?

This Russian troll farm is “the equivalent (of) Pearl Harbor,” says Cong. Jerrold Nadler, who would head up the House Judiciary Committee, handling any impeachment, if Democrats retake the House.

When MSNBC’s Chris Hayes pressed, Nadler doubled down: The Russians “are destroying our democratic process.” While the Russian trolling may not equal Pearl Harbor in its violence, said Nadler, in its “seriousness, it is very much on a par” with Japan’s surprise attack.

Trump’s reaction to the hysteria that broke out after the Russian indictments: “They are laughing their (expletives) off in Moscow.”

According to Sunday’s Washington Post, the troll story is old news in Russia, where reporters uncovered it last year and it was no big deal.

While Mueller’s indictments confirm that Russians meddled in the U.S. election, what explains the shock and the fear for “our democracy”?

Is the Great Republic about to fall because a bunch of trolls tweeted in our election? Is this generation ignorant of its own history?

Before and after World War II, we had Stalinists and Soviet spies at the highest levels of American culture and government.

The Hollywood Ten, who went to prison for contempt of Congress, were secret members of a Communist Party that, directed from Moscow, controlled the Progressive Party in Philadelphia in 1948 that nominated former Vice President Henry Wallace to run against Harry Truman.

Soviet spies infiltrated the U.S. atom bomb project and shortened the time Stalin needed to explode a Soviet bomb in 1949.

As for Russian trolling in our election, do we really have clean hands when it comes to meddling in elections and the internal politics of regimes we dislike?

Sen. John McCain and Victoria Nuland of State egged on the Maidan Square crowds in Kiev that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine. When the democratically elected regime of Mohammed Morsi was overthrown, the U.S. readily accepted the coup as a victory for our side and continued aid to Egypt as tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were imprisoned.

Are the CIA and National Endowment for Democracy under orders not to try to influence the outcome of elections in nations in whose ruling regimes we believe we have a stake?

“Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries’ elections?” Laura Ingraham asked former CIA Director James Woolsey this weekend.

With a grin, Woolsey replied, “Oh, probably.”

“We don’t do that anymore though?” Ingraham interrupted. “We don’t mess around in other people’s elections, Jim?”

“Well,” Woolsey said with a smile. “Only for a very good cause.”

Indeed, what is the National Endowment for Democracy all about, if not aiding the pro-American side in foreign nations and their elections?Did America have no active role in the “color-coded revolutions” that have changed regimes from Serbia to Ukraine to Georgia?

When Republicans discuss Iran on Capitol Hill, the phrase “regime change” is frequently heard. When the “Green Revolution” took to the streets of Tehran to protest massively the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, Republicans denounced President Obama for not intervening more energetically to alter the outcome.

When China, Russia and Egypt expel NGOs, are their suspicions that some have been seeded with U.S. agents merely marks of paranoia?

The U.S. role in the overthrow of Premier Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, and of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, and of President Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon in 1963 are established facts.

When the democratically elected Marxist Salvador Allende was overthrown in Chile in 1973, and committed suicide with an AK-47 given to him by Fidel Castro, the Nixon White House may have had no direct role. But the White House welcomed the ascendancy of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

What do these indictments of Russians tell us? After 18 months, the James Comey-Robert Mueller FBI investigation into the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails has yet to produce evidence of collusion.

Yet we do have evidence that a senior British spy and Trump hater, Christopher Steele, paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to dig up dirt on Trump, colluded with Kremlin agents to produce a dossier of scurrilous and unsubstantiated charges, to destroy the candidacy of Donald Trump. And the FBI used this disinformation to get FISA Court warrants to surveil and wiretap the Trump campaign.

Why is this conspiracy and collusion with Russians less worthy of Mueller’s attention than a troll farm in St. Petersburg?



A Consensus Emerges: Russia Committed an “Act of War” on Par With Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Should the U.S. Response be Similar?

February 19 2018

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

In the wake of last week’s indictments alleging that 13 Russian nationals and entities created fake social media accounts and sponsored political events to sow political discord in the U.S., something of a consensus has arisen in the political and media class (with some notable exceptions) that these actions not only constitute an “act of war” against the U.S., but one so grave that it is tantamount to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Indeed, that Russia’s alleged “meddling” is comparable to the two most devastating attacks in U.S. history has, overnight, become a virtual cliché.

The claim that Russian meddling in the election is “an act of war” comparable to these events isn’t brand new. Senators from both parties, such as Republican John McCain and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, have long described Russian meddling in 2016 as an “act of war.” Hillary Clinton, while promoting her book last October, described Russia’s alleged hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email inbox as a “cyber 9/11.” And last February, the always-war-hungry Tom Friedman of the New York Times said on Morning Joe that Russian hacking “was a 9/11 scale event. They attacked the core of our democracy. That was a Pearl Harbor scale event.”

But the last few days have ushered in an explosion of this rhetoric from politicians and journalists alike. On Friday night’s Chris Hayes show on MSNBC, two separate guests – Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler and long-time Clinton aide Philippe Reines – posited Pearl Harbor as the “equivalent” of Russian meddling, provoking a shocked reaction from Hayes:

The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, complaining about Trump’s inaction, asked readers to “imagine how history would have judged Franklin D. Roosevelt in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, if he had taken to the radio airwaves to declare that Tokyo was ‘laughing their asses off.’ Or if George W. Bush had stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn and launched a name-calling tirade against the Democrats.”

David “Axis of Evil” Frum went back a century earlier to write that Trump’s inaction amounts to “a dereliction of duty as grave as any since President Buchanan looked the other way as Southern state governments pillaged federal arsenals on the eve of the Civil War.” John Podesta, who served as Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff as well as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, called Trump a “draft dodger” for failing to engage what he called this “war” with Russia.

Let’s leave aside what a stinging indictment this claim is of the Obama presidency. It not only means that Obama allowed an attack of the magnitude of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 to happen on his watch, but worse, did very little – basically nothing – in response, allegedly due to fears that any retaliation would be criticized by Republicans as partisan. But for those who really believe this rhetoric, can fears of political attacks really justify inaction by the Commander-in-Chief – whose primary duty, we’re so often told, is to protect the Nation – in the face of a Pearl Harbor or 9/11? To posit this equivalence is to condemn Obama in the harshest possible terms, to accuse him of utter malfeasance in protecting the nation.

But the more important question is the one these chest-beating politicians and pundits notably refrain from addressing. If Russian election meddling is on par with the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks, then should the U.S. response be on par with its response to those attacks? Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor prompted U.S. involvement in a world war and, ultimately, dropping two nuclear bombs on Japan; 9/11 initiated wars in multiple countries that still, 17 years later, have no end in sight, along with a systematic and still-worsening erosion of basic civil liberties.

This has been a long-standing tactic during the War on Terror of neoconservatives: they love to accuse everyone of being insufficiently “tough” or “aggressive” with whatever country they crave heightened tensions, but they never specify what greater “toughness” is needed, because to do so would expose their extremism. Indeed, for years, GOP hawks such as John McCain, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush often accused Obama  – who repeatedly tried to accommodate and even partner with Putin – of being insufficiently “tough” on the Russians, of being too “weak” to “stand up” to the Russian leader, without specifying what they wanted him to do beyond arming Ukrainians. Regarding Obama’s alleged weakness toward Putin, McCain said in 2014 that “history will judge this administration incredibly harshly.”

The only specific proposal one hears now when it comes to responding to Russian meddling is a call for “sanctions.” But if one really believes that Russia’s actions amount to Pearl Harbor or 9/11, then sanctions seem like a very lame – indeed, a woefully inadequate – response. To borrow their rhetoric, imagine if Roosevelt had confined his response to Pearl Harbor to sanctions on Japanese leaders, or if Bush had announced sanctions on Al Qaeda as his sole response to 9/11. If you really believe this rhetoric, then you must support retaliation beyond mere sanctions.

Indeed, Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for years, but critics like McCain insisted that it had no hope of changing Putin’s behavior, let alone imposing any real punishment. “The only thing that will dissuade Vladimir Putin from what he is doing is when coffins come back to the families in Russia,” McCain said of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

At least McCain, for all his faults, is following his rhetoric through to its logical conclusions. If you really believe that Putin attacked the U.S. on a level even close to what was done at Pearl Harbor or on 9/11, then of course you’d be arguing for retaliation far greater than sanctions; you’d be arguing for military action such as arming Russia’s enemies if not beyond that, as McCain has done. You’d also be furious with Obama for allowing it to happen on his watch and then doing so little in response, as McCain is

All of this underscores the serious dangers many have pointed to for more than a year about why all this unhinged rhetoric is so alarming. If you really believe that Russia – with some phishing links sent to John Podesta and some fake Facebook ads and Twitter bots – committed an “act of war” of any kind, let alone one on par with Pearl Harbor and 9/11, then it’s inevitable that extreme retaliatory measures will be considered and likely triggered. How does one justify a mere imposition of sanctions in the face of an attack similar to Pearl Harbor or 9/11? Doesn’t it stand to reason that something much more belligerent, enduring and destructive would be necessary?

At the very least, no politician or pundit should be able to get away with issuing rhetoric of this type without being required to specify what they think ought to be done. Here, for instance, is Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, doing his best 2002 impression of Bill Kristol, decreeing in a predictably viral tweet that all patriotic Americans are duty-bound to focus on the question of what we should do to “punish Russia”.

Note, though, that Todd himself neglects to specify what “punishment” he advocates. This is reckless rhetoric of the most irresponsible kind: demanding that everyone agree that “punishment” toward Russia is warranted (upon pain of being found guilty of bad citizenship), while failing to specify what punishment would be just, warranted and rational. To do that is to deliberately beat the drums of war, cultivate an atmosphere of belligerence and aggression, without any limits or notions of proportionality.

That’s exactly what is being done by those who keep declaring the U.S. to be “at war” with Russia, and especially those who invoke the worst attacks in U.S. history when doing so, all while refusing to state what they think should be done in response. It’s simultaneous reckless and cowardly.


No Peace after Islamic State: Foreign Powers Compete for a Slice of Syria

Islamic State has largely been defeated, but peace in Syria has not been achieved. On the contrary, without a common enemy, parties involved are now pursuing their own interests, with each wanting a slice of the country.

February 20, 2018

by Christoph Reuter


What do a counterfeiter from Syria, an Iraqi-Afghan militia fighter under Iranian leadership and a Russian Cossack have in common? More than you might think. They all took part in a strange offensive involving around 300 men on Feb. 7 — an attack force that was bombed by the U.S. as it crossed a pontoon bridge over the Euphrates River in an effort to capture one of largest natural gas fields in eastern Syria for the Assad regime. Located near the city of Deir ez-Zor, the so-called Conoco field had been wrested from Islamic State (IS) last September by Kurdish-led troops — with the help of U.S. Special Forces who have been stationed in the area since then.

It’s a confusing story, but it says a lot about the increasingly bewildering and dangerous state of affairs in the Syrian war. The advance on the Conoco field, during which around 100 of the attackers are thought to have lost their lives in the American airstrikes, is just one of several clashes between military forces in the country. Indeed, Syria has become a battleground for global and regional powers — including the United States, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Israel — who are using the country as a venue for the pursuit of their own interests. The danger of an unintended clash has become extreme. And the conflict has become even more difficult for outsiders to understand.

The various international parties to this war have all, almost simultaneously, launched massive attacks in the past few weeks. For much of the last 28 days, the Turkish army has been attacking the Kurdish militia YPG in the northern Syrian city of Afrin. And the Israeli air force launched a wave of airstrikes, which, it says, destroyed half of all Syrian anti-aircraft capability, after one of its warplanes had been shot down during a response to an Iranian drone incursion on Israeli airspace.

Then there was this mysterious clash near the natural gas field, which some reports have depicted as the deadliest encounter between Russian and American troops since the end of the Cold War. Russian mercenaries were reportedly found among the dead, with some sources claiming that up to 200 Russians lost their lives. Local sources from the main military hospital in Deir ez-Zor indicate the death toll was likely between 10 and 20.

The intervention of foreign powers in Syria is by no means new. But the current intensity of their conflicts can be largely traced back to a single source: Their joint enemy is gone. Since fall 2014, all powers could agree that Islamic State was the primary target. And even if there was room for doubts regarding the sincerity of Russia and Turkey, the fight against IS served to unite all involved.

Securing a Slice of Syria

Now, though, IS has been defeated and its “caliphate” has been reduced to a couple of tiny specks and some territory in the desert. But peace has not been the consequence. In hindsight, IS wasn’t just a monstrosity, but also a pretext. The fight against the Islamist extremists was constantly fueled by the intention that liberated territory could become part of one’s own sphere of influence. It allowed everybody to secure a slice of Syria.

The anti-IS coalition brought U.S. troops into the country and made the Kurds in northern Syria powerful. They now control a quarter of the country and would like to keep it that way. Turkey, though, would like to prevent the Kurds from retaining that territory. When Kurdish-led troops last September advanced further and further to the south, the U.S. military flew them in helicopters to the area around Deir ez-Zor to prevent anyone else from occupying the oil and gas fields there. Now, the U.S. wants to use those same Kurdish troops that it outfitted for the fight against IS to block Iranian advances in Syria.

And of course, every foreign power is interested in keeping its own losses as low as possible — which is why numerous military subcontractors and militias have been recruited to take care of the messy ground combat.

The Americans are using the Kurds to promote their own interests and the Turks, in addition to their own soldiers, are using anti-Assad rebels to fight on their behalf. Iran, meanwhile, has a diverse mixture of Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani recruits under its command, in addition to its own people. Since 2013, the tens of thousands of troops under Iranian control have been propping up the regime of Bashar Assad. They are commanded, trained and financed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which wants to keep its Syrian ally in power at any price. One of these multinational Shiite militias was also involved in the attack on the Conoco gas field — a collection of fighters straight out of a dystopian catastrophe film.

Two local tribal militias also took part in the attack, including one controlled by counterfeiter Torki Albo Hamad. Once wanted in Qatar for murder and document forgery in Saudi Arabia, he was known in Syria for being the leader of a gang of highway robbers. In 2013, Damascus offered him money and impunity if he and his men would place themselves at the service of the regime.

Whatever They Want

But Russian mercenaries were also involved, including a 51-year-old Cossack, who posed for a photograph ahead of the fight with a medal and raised saber. The unit, known as the Wagner Group, was apparently hired by a group of Syrian businessmen.

Several different conflicts are currently being fought on Syrian territory and there is no indication that the violence will end any time soon. The international community has consistently demanded a negotiated solution, but the appeals have been little more than empty words — and they have encouraged those involved to take militarily whatever they want.

It all began with Assad preferring to destroy the entire country rather than giving up power, which is why he wanted a war for all of Syria. But his regime was too weak for such a fight, which made him dependent on Russian and Iranian support – and on the Kurds remaining on the sidelines. The result has been a form of chaos for which standard terms are insufficient. Words like “allies” and “adversaries” have long since lost meaning. The relationship among the Russians, Kurds, Iranians, Kurds, Turks and Americans, along with Assad-regime supporters, has been characterized by hostility in some regions of Syria and cooperation in others.

The escalation east of Deir ez-Zor served admirably to highlight these shifting alliances, though the situation developed differently than planned. Indeed, several sources have confirmed that prior to the fighting, an arrangement had been reached between the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Russians and the Assad regime.

According to the deal, the SDF was prepared to voluntarily withdraw from the region surrounding the gas fields and allow government troops to replace them. In return, the Russians would close the airspace over Afrin to the Turkish air force and Assad’s forces would finally allow Kurdish reinforcements to pass through government-held territory to Afrin from isolated Kurdish-held regions in the east.

In other words, the deal involved the Assad regime gaining territory in the east in exchange for helping out the Kurds in the north in their battle against the Turks.Something Went Wrong

Turkish airstrikes on Afrin did, in fact, cease as of Feb. 4, with Moscow having closed the airspace to the Turks. In response, Turkey suspended its offensive, because without prior bombing from above, the military was unwilling to advance on Kurdish lines, defended as they are with concrete and bunkers. In the days that followed, a convoy of around 200 buses, trucks and pick-ups arrived from the eastern Kurdish areas in Afrin, loaded with fighters, ammunition and Iranian-produced weaponry.

But when it came time to implement the second part of the deal pertaining to the gas fields in eastern Syria, something went wrong.

A Syrian opposition website took the step of reporting that Assad’s units were preparing to storm the natural gas field and claimed that the SDF had informed the Americans of the coming onslaught. But the U.S. did not stand by silently, instead scrambling its bombers. Did the Kurds actually fail to alert the Americans, so they didn’t have to live up to their end of the bargain? Or did the Pentagon choose to ignore the deal its allies had negotiated?

Moscow, in any case, was clearly extremely displeased with the Kurds. Just one day after the failed attempt to occupy the natural gas field, the Russians lifted the no-fly zone over Afrin, whereupon Turkey renewed its attack on the Kurds in the city — with ground troops taking five villages soon thereafter.

The fact that several Russians were killed in the American firestorm completed the chaos. Immediately after the attack, after all, the U.S. repeatedly insisted it had been in contact with the Russians both prior to and during the operation to avoid a collision. Moscow did not deny the assertions. The Russian Defense Ministry later issued a statement saying that the fighters had advanced “without permission” from the military. But did they attack entirely without Moscow’s knowledge? That seems unlikely.

Competing Notions

The fact that conflict between rival powers is now breaking out openly isn’t the only new development. The regime’s two allies also appear to be heading for disagreement. Russia and Iran both want Assad to emerge victorious, but the closer that victory comes militarily, thanks to Russian airstrikes and Iran’s militias on the ground, the more clearly it has become that the two sides have competing notions of what to make out of that victory.

Moscow wants a “Pax Russica” and the corresponding foreign policy dividend: Namely that of finally replacing Washington as the most important actor in the Middle East. But in order to achieve that goal, peace is ultimately necessary, because protracted violence could become unpopular back home.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, by contrast, wants lasting control of Syria and to transform it into the next bridgehead in the Shiite expansion. Indeed, it is already working to convert Sunni Syrians to Shiite Islam and buying up real estate and factories. That might not be in Russia’s best interests, but without Iran, Assad wouldn’t stand a chance. And that would be the end of Moscow’s hope of one day pacifying the country under Assad’s rule.

Indeed, those in the West insisting on noninterference are right in a sense: There is no military solution to this war. Not one, at least. But several. And in the end, none of them will save the country.


Police encourage right-wing plans to seize Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa

February 19, 2018

by Maureen Clare Murphy


President Donald Trump’s declaration that the US would move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was met with global condemnation and warnings that it could lead to a violent escalation.

But another threat to Jerusalem’s status quo, though no less dangerous, has received little international attention by comparison: Right-wing Israeli activists gained significant ground in their goal to take over the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the last year.

The so-called Temple movement, which has backers in Israel’s parliament and religious establishment, seeks to increase the number of Jews visiting the al-Aqsa mosque compound, one of the holiest sites for Muslims.

Swelling numbers of Jewish visitors, the movement believes, will force the hand of the Israeli government to grant permission to Jews to pray there.

That would pave the way for the holy site, referred to as Temple Mount by Jews, to be divided between Jews and Muslims. That has been the reality at the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, also in the occupied West Bank, ever since an American Jewish settler massacred 29 Palestinian worshippers there in 1994.

Temple movement activists ultimately seek the destruction of the Dome of the Rock, also housed in the mosque compound, and the construction of a Jewish temple in its place.

Police cooperation

This final scenario may currently seem unrealistic, “but in recent months we have clearly witnessed that the police are progressively acting in tandem with those advancing precisely this goal,” warns Ir Amim, a nonprofit group which envisions Jerusalem as a capital shared by sovereign Israeli and Palestinian states.

Where Israeli police once proved a barrier to Temple movement efforts, these activists now find cooperation and encouragement.

More than 22,000 visits by Jews to the al-Aqsa mosque compound were recorded in late 2016 and the first three quarters of 2017, an increase of almost 60 percent from the 14,000 visits made one year prior.

An Israeli attorney “who has filed numerous petitions on behalf of Temple activists,” according to Ir Amim, recently stated that “Netanyahu will have to approve prayer for Jews on the Temple Mount when their number of ascents surpasses 100,000 a year. This means no more than 300 Jews on average each day.”

According to Ir Amim, many Jews visit the mosque compound “motivated by the idea that their visits signify participation in the ongoing campaign to alter the status quo.”

The group has observed “a radical shift between police officers and Temple movement activists.”

Police officers were once “careful not to demonstrate personal bias favoring political activists with whom they come into contact in the line of service.” But in recent months, Ir Amim states, officers “have frequently been photographed with members of the Temple movement in public displays of affection.”

The Jerusalem police district commander Yoram Halevy has been recorded on video embracing Temple mount activists and receiving a ritual blessing from an activist at an entrance to the compound.

Halevy threatened injuries and fatalities against Muslim worshippers after mass demonstrations were held in the streets of Jerusalem over new police restrictions at al-Aqsa mosque last July.

Five Palestinians were killed amid a crackdown on Jerusalem protests that month and three members of an Israeli family were fatally stabbed by a Palestinian assailant in a West Bank settlement.

Open door

Ir Amim also notes that Temple activists were distinguished guests at a farewell party near an entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound for a police commander upon the conclusion of his post at the site.

They were also “officially invited to the ceremony marking transfer of responsibilities” when the commander of the precinct encompassing the holy site completed his appointment.

“The outgoing commander went so far as to acknowledge them in his farewell speech,” according to Ir Amim.

Imagery of cooperation and affection between Temple movement activists and the police “serves to stoke the motivation of [Temple movement] supporters,” Ir Amim states.

Police have meanwhile looked the other way when Temple activists have violated a prohibition against Jewish worship at the al-Aqsa mosque compound or worn provocative T-shirts advocating the destruction of the Dome of the Rock.

Temple movement signage now hangs at the entrance to the Mughrabi bridge – the entry-point for non-Muslim visitors to the holy site after crossing a police checkpoint – as if the right-wing activists “had been granted official public status over the area.”

Police have allowed activists to hold religious classes at Mughrabi Gate, treated by the activists as an ad hoc yeshiva to train an army of worshippers once Jewish prayer at al-Aqsa is permitted.

Ir Amim points to Gilad Erdan – Israel’s strategic affairs minister who oversees a “black ops” program to combat the nonviolent boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) in support of Palestinian rights – as “the root of this provocative change in police conduct.” Erdan also holds the “internal security” portfolio in the Israeli government.

“During Erdan’s tenure, new officers have been appointed to sensitive positions relating to the Temple Mount,” according to Ir Amim.

“Temple activists report that the minister’s door is open to their representatives and that he is attentive to their concerns.”

Ir Amim notes that the Islamic Waqf endowment that administers the al-Aqsa mosque compound has responded to these changes to the status quo with caution.

“The combination of Minister Erdan’s desire to strengthen the Temple movements and the police perceiving that erosion of the status quo does not meet with strong Muslim protest may encourage the Israeli authorities to take more hazardous steps,” Ir Amim warns.

Such an erosion could lead to an escalation of violence, the group adds, “as it did in the summers of 2014 and 2015 when the cost of attempts to infringe upon Muslims’ freedom of worship … was bloodshed in Jerusalem.”

More than 250 Palestinians and 35 Israelis were killed in a year-long wave of protest and violence following unchecked Israeli assaults and incursions on the al-Aqsa mosque compound in September 2015.

Israeli forces have slain several more Palestinians, including children, during protests against Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.

Brutal beating

The brutal force used by police against Palestinians protesting Israeli designs on Jerusalem is starkly contrasted by their leniency towards Jewish mobs who rampage through its Old City.

On Wednesday, Mustafa al-Mughrabi, a Palestinian resident of the Old City, was severely injured by a crowd of Israelis while they were exiting the al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Police “called the incident a fight,” the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Honenu, a legal aid organization that represents Israelis accused of harming Palestinians, claims that a group of Jews “were attacked by a number of Arab assailants and were forced to defend themselves.”

One of the group of Israelis was reportedly severely injured in his face.

Video shows a bloodied al-Mughrabi lying on the ground, his body convulsing:

Al-Mughrabi told the Ma’an News Agency that he was beaten after Israelis leaving al-Aqsa approached a group of his friends who were standing near the exit, and al-Mughrabi went up to them to see what was the matter.

He lost consciousness during the attack.

Video shows police escorting a large number of right-wing Israelis at the al-Aqsa compound earlier that day:

The evening before al-Mughrabi was attacked, construction began on a new major settlement project a short distance away from the al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights stated that the building of the three-story religious study center falls under Israel’s “policy to make a Jewish majority in the city and change its character.”


Israeli police name Netanyahu associates in corruption inquiry

Pair suspected of helping telecoms company in return for favourable coverage of PM

February 20, 2018


Israeli police have named the two close associates of Benjamin Netanyahu who have been arrested for their suspected role in a wide-ranging corruption investigation that has added to the suspicions around the long-time Israeli leader, already accused of bribery in two separate cases.

With an initial gag order lifted, police identified the pair as Nir Hefetz, a former Netanyahu spokesman, and Shlomo Filber, the former director of the communications ministry.

The two are suspected of promoting regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel’s Bezeq telecommunications company in return for favourable coverage of Netanyahu on a popular subsidiary news site.

Netanyahu, who held the communications portfolio until last year, has not yet been named as a suspect in the case but is expected to be questioned.

Bezeq’s controlling shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, is also in custody, along with his wife, son and other top Bezeq executives. Former journalists at the Walla news site have said they were pressured to refrain from negative reporting of Netanyahu.

The prime minister denies any wrongdoing and says the accusations are part of a wider witch-hunt against him by a hostile media.

The new investigation comes days after police announced there was sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.

He is accused of receiving lavish gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer. In return, police say Netanyahu had operated on Milchan’s behalf on US visa matters, introduced a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman.

In the second case, Netanyahu is accused of offering a newspaper publisher legislation that would weaken his paper’s main rival in return for more favourable coverage.

Netanyahu has long accused the Israeli press of being biased against him.


Comment: Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu  was born October 21 1949 in Tel Aviv, to Tzila Segal ( August 28 1912 –  January 31, 2000) and Prof. Benzion Netanyahu (1910–2012)

Between 1956 and 1958, and again from 1963 to 1967, his family lived in the United States in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania,* a suburb of Philadelphia, where he attended and graduated from Cheltenham High School and was active in a debate club.

Bibi, then a cross-dresser, worked for a time for the Bonwit-Teller department store in Philadelphia.  The Bonwit-Teller store has been located at 17th and Chestnut streets in Philadelphia. Bibi, using the name Esther Nitai, modeled women’s undergarments for this firm in 1965.

He speaks fluent English, with a noticeable Philadelphia accent.

Netanyahu returned to the United States in late 1972 to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology eventually completed an S.B. degree in architecture

At MIT, Netanyahu graduated near the top of his class, and was recruited as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group in Boston, Massachusetts, working at the company between 1976 and 1978.

In 1975 he earned an S.M.degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1977. Concurrently, he studied political science at Harvard University.

At that time he officially changed his name to Benjamin Ben Nitai (Nitai, a reference to both Mount Nitai and to the eponymous Jewish sage Nittai of Arbela, was a pen name often used by his father for articles.)


Miriam Weizmann (1972–1978)

Fleur Cates (1981–1984)

Sara Ben-Artzi (1991–present)


Transcription of telephone conversation on August 3, 2006


Israeli Embassy, Washington D.C. Telephone Number (202) 364-5582.


unidentified individual at AIPAC, Washington D.C., Telephone Number (202) 639-5201


Commenced 1821 hrs, concluded 1826 hrs.



Speaker A: Reuven Azar – Counselor for Political Affairs, Embassy of Israel

Speaker B: Unidentified individual located at AIPAC headquarters



(Conversation terminated)



Exceprt and translation of Russian document AZ 1287-801 U concerning some aspects of the 911 attack.

February 20, 2018

By Christian Jürs

“About three weeks prior to the actual attack, the special code words were developed by Atta. In that case, the Pentagon was called  ‘The Faculty of  Fine Arts”, the Capitol was termed “The Facility of Law;” and the Trade Building tower was termed, as “The Faculty of Town Planning.”  This, of course was part of the cover story that Atta and his people were students, following an educational career in America and used these for international telephone calls to their superiors in Saudi Arabia.

As soon as the date was fixed for the attack, and this information passed by the Mossad agents in Florida working inside the Atta group, the White House warned very senior American officials like the Attorney General and the Secretary of Defense and his staff, not to fly on commercial aircraft because of “rumors of possible hijackings” . No one outside of a very small circle was told the truth. And because of the possibility that the White House might still be a target of opportunity, the President went in early October, well before the projected attack date, to Texas and then later went to Florida where he and his staff remained in safety until after the attack was over.

July 26, 2001: Attorney General Ashcroft stops flying commercial airlines due to a threat assessment but “neither the FBI nor the Justice Department … would identify [to CBS] what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it.”. [Source: CBS, 7/26/01]  He later walks out of his office rather than answer questions about this. [Source: Associated Press, 5/16/02]

August 4-30, 2001: President Bush spends most of August 2001 at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, nearly setting a record for the longest presidential vacation. While it is billed a “working vacation,” ABC reports Bush is doing “nothing much” aside from his regular daily intelligence briefings. [ABC 8/3/01; Washington Post 8/7/01; Salon 8/29/01] One such unusually long briefing at the start of his trip is a warning that bin Laden is planning to attack in the US, but Bush spends the rest of that day fishing (see August 6, 2001). By the end of his trip, Bush has spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route. [Washington Post 8/7/01] At the time, a poll shows that 55 percent of Americans say Bush is taking too much time off. [USA Today, 8/7/01] Vice President Cheney also spends the entire month in a remote location in Wyoming. [Jackson Hole News and Guide 8/15/01]

September 6-7, 2001: 4,744 put options (a speculation that the stock will go down) are purchased on United Air Lines stock as opposed to only 396 call options (speculation that the stock will go up). This is a dramatic and abnormal increase in sales of put options. Many of the UAL puts are purchased through Deutschebank/AB Brown, a firm managed until 1998 by the current Executive Director of the CIA, A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard. [New York Times; Wall Street Journal]

September 10, 2001: 4,516 put options are purchased on American Airlines as compared to 748 call options. [New York Times; Wall Street Journal.]

September 6-11, 2001: No other airlines show any similar trading patterns to those experienced by UAL and American. The put option purchases on both airlines were 600% above normal. This at a time when Reuters (September 10) issues a business report stating “airline stocks may be poised to take off.”

September 6-10, 2001: Highly abnormal levels of put options are purchased in Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, AXA Re (insurance) which owns 25% of American Airlines, and Munich Re. All of these companies are directly impacted by the September 11 attacks.

On September 10, 2001, the NSA intercepted two messages in Arabic. One message read:“Tomorrow is zero hour” and the second “The match begins tomorrow.” [Source: New York Times, August 10, 2002] On June 19, 2002, CNN reported the contents of these two National Security Agency intercepts. Other news outlets, including The Washington Post, also reported on the intercepts.  [Source: New York Times, August 10, 2002]

September 10, 2001: Bush flew to Florida from Texas to visit with his brother Governor Jeb Bush. Attorney General Ashcroft rejects a proposed $58 million increase in financing for the bureau’s counter-terrorism programs. On the same day, he sends a request for budget increases to the White House. It covers 68 programs, but none of them relate to counter-terrorism. He also sends a memorandum to his heads of departments, stating his seven priorities—none of them relating to counter-terrorism. This is more than a little strange, since Ashcroft stopped flying public airplanes in July due to terrorist threats (see July 26, 2001) and he told a Senate committee in May that counter-terrorism was his “highest priority.” [New York Times, 6/1/02, Guardian, 5/21/02]

  • Final Observations

The final attack varied very little from the last planning stage. One of the hijacked planes, the one intended to hit the Capitol building, was crashed by action of its passengers but the other three struck their targets as anticipated. The flames, smoke and general confusion were indeed a public spectacle, seen by all of America and the buildings, beams severed when the heat reached a certain point, did collapse in great clouds. A third building was tended to from the inside, not struck by an aircraft, and because great tanks of fuel were ignited, burned until it collapsed some time later.

The carnage was not to believe and everyone involved in this felt is was a most profitable operation. As we know, and was intended, the President was acclaimed as a great leader and he was then able to marshal national support into his attack on Iraq. The failure of the commandeered aircraft to strike Congress precluded the enactment by the President of an enabling act but there was sufficient damage for him to establish more civil observations and ultimate control. e military campaign, as foreseen, has proven to be quick and decisive, Hussein and his henchmen were swept away and now the American military and civilian forces are in complete control of Iraq and its extensive untapped oil fields.. Iran has been put on notice and we expect a large, permanent American military base in the area to act as a deterrent to any future manifestation of Arab nationalism. All of our technicians, as opposed to our intelligence people, were immediately evacuated and aside from several who were temporarily detained by American authorities, eventually all were released and returned safe home.

Now, the Americans have moved from a defensive to an offensive posture and, with American support and a large military presence, the ever-present fears of attacks against Israel have been neutralized, hopefully for a very long time.”

Transcription of telephone conversation on August 3, 2006
Israeli Embassy, Washington D.C. Telephone Number (202) 364-5582.
unidentified individual at AIPAC, Washington D.C., Telephone Number (202) 639-5201
Commenced 1821 hrs, concluded 1826 hrs.

Speaker A: Reuven Azar – Counselor for Political Affairs, Embassy of Israel
Speaker B: Unidentified individual located at AIPAC headquarters

A. Well, things are going as well as expected, better perhaps than expected. There is military progress there (Lebanon) and we have wonderful cooperation here.
B. For sure, but don’t forget the dangers in having too much cooperation. All right for this moment but in the long run, this can certainly backfire on us. You know, we are seen as being too much influential with the Bush people.
A. I wouldn’t worry too much about that. The media is certainly not to worry about and most Americans really do not care about things there (Lebanon) The main point is that by the time the U.S. makes itself felt at the UN, we will have accomplished our goals and established the buffer we need.
B. Absolutely but…there is still the future to think about.
A. Who cares? Once we establish the buffer, the rest is just shit. It will all be hidden soon in the coming press reports of Arab ‘attacks’ on the U.S. This is for the voting in November. You know, ‘many Arab groups will for sure attack American targets.’ They (the U.S. Government) will choose so-called target areas where they need the most support. We don’t need to worry about Miami, Skokie or Beverly Hills after all. (Laughter) and this is a little crude but the public here is terribly stupid and the warning color days worked before, didn’t they?
B. Yes, but there are second thoughts on all of that. If you go to the well too often, there are problems. People lose interest.
A. The British are being such swine about this, aren’t they? They are causing trouble about the bombs these days.
B. Just a few troublemakers. The press here does not cover that and who reads the foreign media? Most Americans can’t read anyway. But there is danger that the U.N. might be motivated to move a peace keeping force into Lebanon and this might negate our purposes. Hesbollah must be utterly wiped out and Syria must be made to realize…with force if necessary…that it cannot supply the terrorists with more Iranian rockets. Maybe an accidental airstrike on Syrian military units could say to them to mind their own business. We have done this before.
A. It is too bad that we cannot teach Tehran a lesson. The ultimate goal would be to have America attack Iran but I am afraid the American military is dead set against this…
B. They are all Jew-haters up there.
A. For sure but we know that Americans can bomb the shit out of Tehran and hopefully kill off a number of the militants, probably disrupt their atomic program and teach all of the area that the U.S. means business. We support them, they support us. But they cannot send in ground troops and if we did that, our losses would not be borne at home. As it is, there are the usual malcontents bleating about the Lebanon business.
B. They are just afraid they will get a rocket on their house and there are the same ones here. The Lieberman business is not that good, after all. Yes, of course he is a liberal Democrat but his support of us is too obvious. He could be a little critical too. We see the Bush people doing this, just to keep the people quiet. Yes, they say, see, we too are actually critical of Israel….
A. But not too critical, right?
B. No, never that. Too many pictures of dead jerks for example. We need to see more pictures of grieving Israelis, mourning lost sons and children. Can’t we get more of those? Fuck the Arabs.
A. I feel sorry for the American media. Their instincts are to defend dead Arab children…
B. But nits make lice, don’t they? Who mourns dead Israeli children?
A. I’m sure there would be more on this but not enough children are dead.
B. Not yet, anyway. But if they rocket Tel Aviv…
A. Well, then, for sure.
B. We should have pictures all ready if that happens. Do you think it will?
A. Tehran directs that part of the business. We don’t have as much inside gen on them there…
B. The fucking Russians are on their side.
A. We have always had trouble with those Slavic pricks. First weapons…
B. The Chinese assholes also do this, don’t forget.
A. No one around here will forget that, be assured. The time will come when we get them too. Say we cut off their oil from the Gulf? What then? They will dance to our tunes then, not Tehran’s.
B. If we had oil…
A. But we do not. The filthy Putin has the oil. They should get rid of him while they are at it. Our people almost had it but he forced them out.
B. They can always come back. The people here would really support this. We put our people back in after we get rid of Putin and then a guaranteed flow of oil to America.
A. And Russia is off the chessboard too.
B. They all want that badly here, too. Cheney is the strongest supporter of cutting the nuts off of Russia. The military here are against fishing in troubled waters.
A. They can’t be replaced, Bush can’t sack them all.
B. Set an example. Sack a few more of the assholes and the rest will shut up. They always do. So, send me your latest list and I’ll see what I can do here.
A .Send someone to pick it up. The mail here is awful. It will take a week if some black doesn’t steal it, throw it away or wipe his ass with it.
B. Tomorrow for sure.
A. OK. And one other matter. We feel very strongly that if the current people get kicked out in November, as it looks like they might, we owe them to help them stay right where they are. It has taken a long time and much money to get all the ducks lined up and we don’t want to have to start in again. We can generally rely on sympathy from the Democrats but they will not support any more military ventures over there. That’s for sure.
B. Then what do you suggest?
A. The terrorism card works wonders. We were going to release a statement that Arabs were going to attack an El Al plane on takeoff, with rockets….
B. Probably leftovers from the CIA businesses in Afghanistan.
A. Let’s not get into that now. But this scare would only affect flights to Israel and we don’t think it would have any impact on the election.
B. Well then, why not have these attacks aimed at American aircraft? Where would they attack from?
A. Say at the perimeter fence lines at airports. Or better still, why not a plan cooked up to smuggle explosives on board transatlantic flights to or from America? Something clever that will catch the public imagination….
B. That stupid bomb in the shoe routine?
A. Don’t knock it. It worked, didn’t it? We can always find some suckers with a bent to this we can fill up with real enthusiasm and then turn them in, complete with plans. They actually believe they are going to paradise and fuck virgins and we have another propaganda coup. Let’s give this some effort. You know, a terrified public will not want to change horses in mid stream. So far, the Rove people have a good line: If you’re against the Republicans, you’re encouraging the evil terrorists sthick.
B. Well, they did that with the alert warnings and it worked…more or less.
A. Face it, they aren’t too bright here. They ran it into the ground, had to fire Ridge and Ashcroft, one of our very best friends ever, and put those things on ice. They need to discover a huge plot but in America. You know, as you said, infiltrate a group of crazies, plant things on them, call the FBI…
B. Oh, they do that themselves. That business in Florida was pathetic…
A. But it worked, didn’t it?
B. For about ten minutes at six o’clock for about three days.
A. Well, think about it and get back to me.
B. Right.
A. What’s the situation with your two people? Are they going to be tried or not?
B. Probably not, as far as the Bush people are concerned. But it is up to the courts and we are very careful not to fuck with them. They are expected to have the charges thrown out soon…
A. Well, I’ll pray for them. I have to go now so I’ll get back to you later. Don’t forget to send someone for the list
B. OK.
(Conversation terminated)



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