TBR News July 19, 2017

Jul 19 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., July 19, 2017:” Fascinating to follow the results of the rapidly melting Greenland and Antarctica glaciers. Some years ago, it was believed that in 4000 years, the seas would rise about .01 cm but now the scientific world is in a state of manic frenzy on the subject.

Because of the enormous financial damage rising sea levels will cause, many governments are not willing to spend either the time or money addressing the issue and take refuge in rigged conclusions by whorish scientists.

A friend in Boston, and another one in Miami, would disagree that there is no sea level problem but the media, ever obedient to its master’s wishes, either dodges the issue or keeps up the myth that none of this will happen for five hundred years.

It is happening now, dudes, and property values all along the east coast of the United States have plunged downward.

Perhaps the optimistic government paid scientists could try to convince prospective buyers to purchase valuable coastside property that now is unsalable.”

Table of Contents

  • The ‘Foreign Meddling’ Double-Standard
  • Doubts about Trump’s agenda seen accelerating U.S. dollar decline
  • Germany summons Turkish ambassador over activists’ arrests
  • Fracking Around with the Russians
  • Mitch McConnell Has Run Out of Excuses for Not Accomplishing Anything
  • How To Sustain Perpetual War (It’s Easy, Hide the Bodies)
  • A despot in disguise: one man’s mission to rip up democracy
  • Thousands evacuated central California, wildfires burn across U.S. West
  • The Root Causes of the Mid-East Conflicts
  • Police close off Temple Mount to Jews over rules violation amid tensions with Palestinians

The ‘Foreign Meddling’ Double-Standard

Latest anti-Trump group is funded by foreign governments

July 19, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


We’re all supposed to be outraged by alleged Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election, despite the fact that no actual evidence of such interference has been made public. First it was “17 intelligence agencies” supposedly confirmed that Moscow was behind the DNC/Podesta email releases, and then it was down to just three – with the National Security Agency modifying its judgment to “moderate confidence.” But the media continued to make this claim, as did the Democrats (or do I repeat myself?), and the conspiracy theorizing ploughed ahead. Yet the real meddling by foreigners in American politics has been ignored because it doesn’t identify the right targets.

To begin with, there’s the anti-Trump “dossier” that contained salacious details about Donald Trump, a document obtained by Sen. John McCain, delivered to the FBI, and eventually winding up as the subject of a White House “briefing.” This was compiled by one Christopher Steele, a “former” MI6 agent, and commissioned by the opposition research firm known as “Fusion GPS,” with the bill being paid by mysterious “donors.” Steele showed the dossier to a “British security official” before sending it off to McCain, and you can bet that the British intelligence organization knew everything about this dossier, and thoroughly approved, or else it wouldn’t have been put together and shopped around Washington in the first place.

This dossier was the seed from which the “Russia-gate” investigation sprouted – oh, but that kind of foreign meddling is fine with our media and our political class, because it didn’t originate with an “adversary,” i.e. Russia. And speaking of “collusion,” the interplay between the Clinton campaign and the Ukrainian government to discredit Trump advisor Paul Manafort is also fine and dandy, because – again – the Ukrainians are the Good Guys, as opposed to those dastardly Russkies.

Yet this is just the beginning of the story of how foreign governments have acted to intervene in our politics and undermine the Trump administration.

I was interested to read a piece by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept about the latest incarnation of the developing liberal-neoconservative merger, detailing the founding of a new group that calls itself the “Alliance to Secure Democracy.” This hybrid creature is a two-headed monster, with Clinton foreign policy honcho Laura Rosenberger, who served as a key figure in the Obama administration, and Jamie Fly, the neocons’ neocon, formerly with the now defunct Foreign Policy Initiative (the reincarnation of the infamous Project for a New American Century), at the helm.

My readers will not be surprised by the union of neoconservatives and liberal internationalists, which has been documented in this space continuously not only during the recent presidential campaign but also predicted as far back as 1999 (!). So no breaking news there.

While left-leaning commentators like Greenwald are understandably upset that the Democratic party, and its ostensibly “liberal” wing, are canoodling with the neocons, and people like Paul Begala are ranting about how we should “bomb the KGB,” us libertarians – and also students of history – realize that this coming together merely replicates the history of the last cold war. Just Google “cold war liberalism,” Glenn.

While reading Glenn’s piece, I noted a link to the Alliance to Secure Democracy’s web site, and later went back to click on it – and right there on the front page, in the upper left corner, are the initials “GMF.” These also appear under the Alliance’s logo. What the heck is this?, I wondered. I clicked – and wound up on the site of the German Marshall Fund of the US: indeed, the Marshall Fund site hosts the Alliance site. The headline reads: “’Alliance for Securing Democracy’ Launches at GMF.”

Don’t be misled by the “of the US” appellation: the German Marshall Fund is an instrument of the German government, which has subsidized it to the tune of several million dollars since its founding. It has offices in eight countries, including the US. And it’s not just the Germans who are involved. Aside from the German Foreign Office, the donors include:

  • Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ($500,000-999,000)
  • Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ($250,000-499,999)
  • Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ($250, 499,999)
  • Compagnia di San Paolo, a quasi-governmental association of Italian banking interests ($1,000,000-1,999,999)
  • The government of Montenegro ($100,000-249,999)
  • Belgium’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ($100,000-249,999)
  • The Brussels Capital Region (the municipality of Brussels) ($100,000-249,999)
  • Latvia’s Ministry of Foreign Affirs ($100,000-249,999)
  • Romania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ($100,000-249,999)
  • United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office ($100,000-249,999)
  • Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ($50,000-99,999)
  • Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office ($25,000-49,999)
  • France’s Ministry of Defense ($10,000-24,9999)

And last, but hardly least, the US government contributes between $1 million and $2 million via the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Oh, and there’s one donor listed as “Anonymous,” whose contribution is “$2 million and beyond.” In addition, among the listed donors there are a number of foreign foundations and trade associations with links, including financial links, to their respective governments.

The agenda of the Alliance is clear to anyone with eyes to see: when you go to their web site, the first thing you see under “Our Mission” is:

“Finding out what happened in the United States in 2016 and the impact it had is important. But that is not enough.”

Of course it isn’t: the goal is to get Trump out of the White House, and, in the process, conduct a witch-hunt on American soil that will root out “Russian influence,” i.e. anyone who opposes the new cold war,

A puff piece by Josh Rogin in the Washington Post fails to mention the foreign funding issue, but does give us a clear indication of what the group’s real goals are: “mapping” alleged Russian infiltration of the US. Trump, of course, is at the center of that “map.” Rogin cites former top CIA official Mike Morell – who endorsed Mrs. Clinton and called Trump Putin’s “useful fool” – as saying:

“In a perfect world, we would have a national commission that would be looking into exactly what happened, exactly what did the Russians do and what can we do as a nation to defend ourselves going forward and deter Putin from ever doing this again. We all know this is not going to happen, so things like the GMF effort are hugely important to fill the gap.”

The Trump administration is hardly going to be setting up a “national commission” to overthrow itself, so foreign governments will “fill the gap.” In short, “The Resistance,” as the anti-Trump fanatics like to call themselves, is getting help from abroad, as well as from our own Deep State.

What’s so astonishing is how brazen the whole thing is: the German Marshall Fund isn’t hiding its relationship with the “Alliance,” which will be headquartered in the Fund’s Washington digs. It says right there on the Alliance web site who is footing the bill. The scale of this kind of foreign meddling in American politics makes the Russians – who run two little-trafficked web sites, RT and Sputnik – look like a joke, which in large part they are.

The very name of the Alliance to Secure Democracy speaks volumes– on whose behalf is our democracy being “secured”? We aren’t told – but a look at the long list of foreign funders tells the whole story. Our parasitic “allies,” who operate generous welfare states while we pay for their defense and risk war on their behalf, have every interest in “securing” a foreign policy that puts them first and America last. Their agenda isn’t hard to discern: one can go on the Alliance web site and listen to Ms. Rosenberger accuse the President of the United States of “dereliction of duty,” while comparing him unfavorably to Angela Merkel.

Although much of Trump’s “America First” foreign policy agenda – NATO is “obsolete,” foreign wars are a drain we can’t afford, etc. – has fallen by the wayside, the mere expression of such sentiments is enough to enrage the internationalists. That such a man is occupying the White House is an affront to them: they cannot let it stand. Their campaign to cleanse the American political landscape of such sentiments is the most comprehensive – and well-funded – effort by foreign entities on American soil to date.

The “Alliance” is a regime change operation funded by foreign governments and corporate interests: its American servitors, such as Ms. Rosenberger and Mr. Fly, are seemingly exempt from having to register as foreign agents. Their immunity to the laws that govern the rest of us is a mystery, especially when one remembers that the current President of the United States pledged to neutralize the efforts of foreign lobbyists and start putting America first.

These fifth columnists have to be held to account: they’re foreign agents, pure and simple, and should be treated as such. Why are they exempt from the Foreign Agents Registration Act?

Yet registering them, and labeling them for what they are, isn’t enough. It’s long past time to get them out of our politics, and out of our country. This kind of brazen foreign meddling should be illegal. Foreign contributions to political campaigns are currently against the law: extending this principle to the post-election scene is the logical next step, and one that needs to be taken immediately.


Doubts about Trump’s agenda seen accelerating U.S. dollar decline

July 18, 2017

by Richarg Leong


NEW YORK (Reuters) – The outlook for the U.S. dollar turned even more bearish on Tuesday after healthcare reform legislation again failed to pass in Congress, casting further doubt on whether the Trump administration will be able to progress to tax reform, infrastructure improvements, and banking deregulation.

The U.S. dollar index .DXY that tracks the greenback’s strength against major currencies slid to an 10-month low in the wake of setback to President Trump’s agenda.

And with the euro and yen both gaining on the possibility that the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan will raise interest rates later this year as their economies improve, the dollar’s decline of the past five months may well continue.

“The prospects for the dollar have turned bearish for the rest of year,” said Minh Trang, senior currency trader at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California.

A Reuters poll published earlier in July showed a majority of foreign exchange strategists polled by Reuters less bullish on the greenback than at the start of the year.

Trump Trade Tarnished

After the U.S. elections last November, Wall Street stocks and the dollar gained and bond yields rose on hopes that, with the Republican party controlling both the White House and Congress for the first time since 2006, the new administration would quickly enact big tax cuts and spend on bridges and roads, driving faster economic growth and inflation.

The so-called “Trump trade” has steadily eroded though in the first half of the year as infighting in the Republican party stalled the promised reforms, and the collapse of the latest effort to reform healthcare on Tuesday only served to accelerate the dollar’s selloff.

“It pushes out the rest of the agenda. It’s hard to do a tax reform in the style that it was campaigned on. The healthcare hurdle pushes everything in Trump’s agenda to 2018,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

As a result, the U.S. dollar index .DXY, which tracks the greenback against six major currencies, has fallen 7.48 percent so far this year, making the fall for the year-to date the biggest since 2002 when it shed 10.87 percent in the same period.

Other indicators are also providing evidence of the market’s increasing bearishness on the dollar.

Last week, speculators reduced their net long bets on the dollar to their lowest level since last May, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.

Traders’ three-month bearishness on the dollar versus the euro hit its most extreme since at least 2010 in late June before retreating a bit, Reuters data showed.

Ecb and Boj Also Pressure Usd

However, prospects for U.S. economic reform are not the only factor seen pressuring the U.S. dollar later this year.

The euro EUR= began its latest leg up against the greenback four weeks ago after comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi highlighted the euro zone’s economic recovery, stoking speculation the ECB may consider paring bond purchases later this year, pushing up euro bond yields and the single-currency.

The euro has gained 10 percent versus the dollar year-to-date, rebounding from a cumulative 23.5 percent drop in the prior three years due to weak economic growth and the region’s sovereign debt crisis, Reuters data showed.

On Tuesday, the euro EUR= climbed to its highest against the greenback since May 2016 after the U.S. Senate failed to bring the healthcare bill to a vote.

The Japanese yen has also advanced against the dollar, gaining over 4.0 percent since January JPY=, after the Bank of Japan upgraded its economic outlook, increasing the prospects for paring monetary stimulus in the latter half of 2018.

The greenback has also weakened against the Canadian dollar CAD=and the British pound GBP=.

The Canadian dollar hit a 15 month high against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday at C$1.2581, bringing its year-to-date gain to 6.0 percent CAD=D4 in the wake of the first interest rate rise in seven years by the Bank of Canada last week.

Years of ultra-low interest rates since the 2008 financial crisis had spurred a borrowing binge and helped drive Canadian household debt to record levels in recent years, fuelling a housing boom that has only recently begun to falter.

And analysts forecast the Canadian central bank will raise rates again in October, according to a Reuters poll.

Last week, sterling GBP= also reached a 10-month high against the greenback as rising U.K inflation prompted comments from Bank of England officials suggesting interest rates may need to rise, despite slowing economic growth as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union.

“Clearly, anything that comes along at the moment just corroborates the market’s negative attitude on the dollar,” said Neil Mellor, senior FX strategist with Bank of New York Mellon in London.

“There’s just not enough inflation at the moment. And anything like this (defeat for Trump) is liable to push it lower.”

Additonal reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Rodrigo Campos in New York, Patrick Graham in London; editing by Megan Davies and Clive McKeef

 Germany summons Turkish ambassador over activists’ arrests

Germany’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Berlin over the arrests of human rights activists, including German citizen Peter Steudtner. The Foreign Ministry issued a sharply worded statement.

July 19, 2017


The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said it had summoned Turkey’s ambassador in Berlin to protest the pre-trial detention of six human rights activists, particularly that of German citizen Peter Steudtner.

“The Turkish government needs to immediately and directly hear the German government’s outrage and incomprehension as well as its crystal-clear expectations in the case of Peter Steudtner and, this time, without diplomatic niceties,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer said.

Schäfer said German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel had interrupted his summer vacation to attend government consultations over the Turkish court’s decision to jail Steudtner, a human rights trainer who was taken into custody earlier this month.

Steudtner was one of 10 people – including Amnesty’s Turkey director Idil Eser – who were detained in a July 5 police raid on a hotel on the island of Buyukada, off Istanbul. Four detainees were released on Tuesday morning, while the other six were jailed ahead of a trial. The six are suspected of aiding an armed terror group. Under Turkey’s anti-terror laws, pre-trial detention can last up to five years.

The spokesman said the point had been clearly made to the ambassador that Germany considered the activists’ arrests to have been both unacceptable and incomprehensible, and that Berlin wanted Steudtner released immediately. “He now knows that we are serious about it,” said Schäfer.

‘Absolutely unjustified’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday condemned the decision to detain Steudtner ahead of his trial, saying it was “absolutely unjustified.”

“We declare our solidarity with him and all the others arrested … the German government will do all it can, on all levels, to secure his release,” she said.

The foreign ministry had issued a separate statement calling for the rapid release of the six activists. “Linking a fighter and spokesman for human rights and democracy like Peter Steudtner to supporters of terrorists is absurd,” the statement said.

Relations between Turkey and Germany, home to some three million people of Turkish origin, have nosedived since last year’s failed coup attempt and deterioration of the rule of law in country.

Fracking Around with the Russians

What will those rascals in Moscow do next?

July 18, 2017

by Philip Giraldi

The Unz Review

It has been another week full of news about Russia. Americans might be surprised to learn that nearly every aspect of their lives has been somehow impacted by the insidious covert activity of a former global enemy that now has an economy the size of Spain or Italy. One of the latest claims is that Moscow has been covertly funding some environmental groups, most particularly those opposed to the use of fracking technologies. The allegations, which have recently surfaced in Congress, conceded that the Russians allegedly moved forward with their strategy to damage America’s energy independence without leaving behind “a paper trail,” thus there appears to actually be little or no supporting evidence for what is little more than a series of claims, which have been denied by the groups in question, including the highly respectable Sierra Club. Moscow has not commented.

To be sure, there is a certain logic inherent in assertions that Russia might be behind such a development as Moscow’s economy runs on energy exports and high prices are good for it. Consequently, it ought not surprise anyone that Russia would seek to discredit competitive technologies that work to increase the supply of energy and thereby cause prices to fall. It’s simple math, but is it true given the fact that environmental groups are widely popular due to the appeal of the product they are promoting and have their own reliable sources of income?

Now the irony in all this is that a major producer of relatively dirty oil is being accused of targeting an even dirtier and environmentally destructive energy resource, which is fracking, in collusion with organizations that are seeking to encourage the production of much cleaner power. And, of course, cleaner energy is a global interest whether one believes in climate change or not, which underlines the essential hypocrisy of the U.S. media in denouncing something that just might be good for the planet purely because Russia is allegedly involved.

And, of course, the congressmen involved in the revelation come from fracking states. If Moscow is for something then surely Washington must be against it, ignoring the fact that many genuinely patriotic Americans who care about such matters support more strict environmental regulations, no matter what the Wall Street Journal, the White House and the loony tunes in congress are saying.

There was a lot more anti-Russian agitprop in the U.S. media during the week, part of an endless stream of titillation provided free of charge to the American public in an effort to remind everyone that Russia is the enemy and will always be the enemy. Even Donald Trump’s milquetoast initiative to mend fences with Vladimir Putin cobbled together during their meeting in Hamburg has been assailed from all sides, most particularly by the usual parties who seem to be locked into an anti-Trump non-détente mindset come what may.

I was particularly bemused by the comment by former CIA Chief John Brennan who denounced Trump’s performance during the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg over the lack of a hard line against Putin and his failure to support the “word of the U.S. intelligence community” about Russian interference in the recent election. In an interview Brennan complained “He said it’s an honor to meet President Putin. An honor to meet the individual who carried out the assault against our election? To me, it was a dishonorable thing to say.”

Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter has demonstrated how the “word” of U.S. intel is not exactly what it might seem to be. And Brennan is not exactly a tabula rasa. As he observed in his comment, his ire derives from the claims over Russian alleged interference in the U.S. election, a narrative that Brennan himself has helped to create, to include his shady and possibly illegal contacting of foreign intelligence services to dig up dirt on the GOP presidential candidate and his associates. The dirt was dutifully provided by several European intelligence services which produced a report claiming, inter alia, that Donald Trump had urinated on a Russian prostitute in a bed previously slept in by Barack and Michelle Obama.

And along the way I have been assiduously trying to figure out the meaning of last week’s reports regarding the contacts of Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with two alleged Russian agents while reportedly seeking the dirt on Hillary. As it turns out, there may not have been any discussion of Hillary, though possibly something having to do with irregularities in DNC fundraising surfaced, and there may have been a bit more about the Magnitsky Act and adopting Russian babies.

Barring any new revelations backed up by actual facts revealing that something substantive like a quid pro quo actually took place, the whole affair appears to be yet another example of a politically inspired fishing expedition. This observation is not necessarily naivete on my part nor a denial that it all might have been an intelligence operation, but it is an acceptance of the fact that probing and maneuvering is all part and parcel of what intelligence agencies do when they are dealing with adversaries and very often even with friends. It does not necessarily imply that Moscow was seeking to overthrow American democracy even if it was trying to advance its own interests.

Assuming even the worst case scenario that the media has been promoting, the Trump Tower meeting appears to have involved three political aspirants who were a bit on the novice side and a Russian lawyer and lobbyist who might have been intelligence cut-outs. What did happen anyway? Apart from not reporting the encounter by the three apparent victims of the planned corruption of America’s democratic process, nothing apparently happened except that the event itself has now given the esteemed Senator Charles Schumer and the Honorable Adam Schiff something new to mouth off about. Oh, and it keeps Rachel Maddow and Stephen Colbert, who is celebrating Russia Week on his program, employed.

Politics is a dirty business, based on power and money in these United States. Presumably back in mid-June there was enough salacious information floating around emanating from both parties to provide employment for plenty of individuals who were prepared to do whatever it would take to dig up something damaging up from any source available, including foreigners. That game was played by both sides and anyone who does not think that is so is avoiding the hard edge of the pervasive political corruption that greases the wheels in the United States.

So maybe Russia is funding some environmental groups or maybe not. And if it is, so what? I would welcome anyone who challenges fracking. And so what if a cluster of political tyros met with a couple of Russians who may or may not have been sent by Putin. Clearly, nothing came of it and meeting with a Russian and talking is not yet ipso facto a crime in this country.

Sure, let’s punish Russia if it has actually done something wrong, but first let’s see the evidence. All of which leads one to question why the U.S. media insist on holding the Russian government and its intelligence services to a higher standard than they do other countries like Israel, which persistently spy on the U.S. and regularly interfere in our political process? And what about our own government and its multitude of spy agencies? Are we always the guys in the white hats? Let’s look at the actual record. CIA has done far worse far more consistently in collecting information through misdirection, influencing overseas elections and even changing regimes than have the Russians. And let’s not forget the U.S. military’s record on Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and currently Syria. We are very good at that “regime change” sort of thing even though the results frequently turn out badly because no one in Washington seems to know what to do on day 2 after the invasion has ended with yet another “victory” and another foreign government has been consigned to the garbage heap.

Mitch McConnell Has Run Out of Excuses for Not Accomplishing Anything

July 18 2017

by Ryan Grim

The Intercept

Mitch McConnell became leader of Senate Republicans at the precise moment it stopped mattering. It was January 3, 2007, and Democrats had just swept both the House and Senate in a wave election that was a thorough rejection of the GOP in Washington.

Even though the Bush administration had two years left, McConnell would be doing no governing from the minority during that time. Next came the election of Barack Obama, and McConnell’s now-famous decision to oppose anything his administration offered with as much solidarity as could be mustered. With only 40 members to keep in line, he kept his conference largely together — though one glaring exception was losing Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, not just on the stimulus, but as a Republican altogether. In April 2009, Specter became a Democrat, giving the party 59 senators. When Al Franken was finally sworn in in July, following an endless recount, Democrats briefly held a filibuster-proof majority.

The question now is whether Specter was the exception that proved the rule of McConnell’s skill in leadership, or a forecast of things to come.

After three unsuccessful cycles, McConnell finally took back the upper chamber in 2014, but still did no governing, operating instead as an opposition party would in a parliamentary system. Just how ingrained that thinking was came through in a revealing comment from House Speaker Paul Ryan after his failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with some growing pains,” said Ryan, whose party had controlled the House for six years by that point. “And, well, we’re feeling those growing pains today.”

After Ryan pulled the original House ACA repeal from the floor, McConnell had a spring in his step as he addressed reporters. “Sorry that didn’t work out,” he offered. He was, of course, anything but sorry. For a brief moment, he thought he had dodged his own bullet. After campaigning for six years on repealing Obamacare, the hope was that the failed House effort would be enough and the Senate could move on to the business of tax reform. But the House bill came back to life and the lower chamber passed the politically toxic potato across the Capitol to the Senate.

The House bill was never designed to become law, and it’s anything but clear that McConnell made a real effort to make it one. A decisive number of Republican senators from states that had expanded Medicaid, many of which are facing a cataclysmic opioid problem, were nervous about slashing the program. “Leadership made a strategic choice to side with conservatives on Medicaid from the outset, and that undermined just about any chance of them securing widespread support from key moderates,” said one Senate Republican aide, who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.

To mollify the moderates, McConnell told them that the cuts would never actually happen, as Congress has a way of punting tough decisions like that in perpetuity. His comment was leaked, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., stunningly charged McConnell with a “breach of trust” for the suggestion.

This was the same Johnson that McConnell and the Koch brothers abandoned for dead in July 2016, presuming that he would lose his race to Russ Feingold. He was down by nine points at the time, but Johnson pulled off an upset, and now haunts McConnell.

On Monday night, two GOP senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, announced simultaneously they would block McConnell’s bill from coming up for a vote — McConnell’s snake of obstruction finally devouring its own tail.

McConnell on Monday night floated a new plan: The Senate would vote on repeal, with no replacement. On Tuesday, three moderate women in McConnell’s conference said they would block that vote, too. “I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito said.

Three is enough to kill it. “We’re toast,” as Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) put it to reporters on Tuesday.

At a lunch meeting Tuesday, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus showed up, only to duck out and hide behind a trash can.

As the meeting dragged on, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., emerged and took the microphones that were waiting for McConnell, taunting his fellow Republicans with their past votes for repeal.

Sen. Pat Roberts, Moran’s colleague from Kansas, pretended to take a phone call from President Trump, who was busy calling for the filibuster to be abolished — apparently under the mistaken impression that he needed 60 votes, not 50, to pass repeal.

“Hello, Mr. President,” Roberts said into the phone as reporters laughed. “Well, the better approach is just to get the hell out of here,” he advised the pretend president.

A subdued McConnell emerged later. “My suspicion is there’ll be hearings about the crisis that we have and then we’ll have to see what the way forward is,” he said.

A reporter asked what he would tell the public about a wasted seven months and broken campaign promises. McConnell corrected him: it has been only six months. And we confirmed Neil Gorsuch.

“Well, we have a new Supreme Court justice. We have 14 repeals of regulation and we’re only six months into it — the last time I looked, Congress goes on for two years. We’ll be moving on to comprehensive tax reform and infrastructure,” he said. “There is much work left to be done for the American people and we’re ready to tackle it.”

McConnell also promised a vote in “the very near future” on the doomed attempt to repeal much of Obamacare with no replacement.


How To Sustain Perpetual War (It’s Easy, Hide the Bodies)

July 19, 2017

by Peter Van Buren


Sustaining America’s state of post-9/11 perpetual war requires skillful manipulation of the public at home. The key tool used for this purpose is the bloodless narrative, a combination of policy, falsehoods and media manipulation that creates the impression that America’s wars have few consequences, at least for Americans.

How can the American government sustain its wars in the face of dead soldiers coming home? Why is there no outcry among the American people over these losses? The answer is the narrative of bloodless war.

The Dead

The bloodless war narrative’s solution to the dead is a policy of don’t look, don’t tell.

Dick Cheney, as Secretary of Defense for George H. W. Bush, helped decide in 1991 the first Iraq War would play better if Americans did not see their fallen return home. He recalled the images of coffins from the 1989 invasion of Panama on television, transposed against the president speaking of victory, and banned media from Dover Air Force Base, where deceased American personnel would arrive from the Persian Gulf.

The ban at Dover lasted 18 years, past George Bush 2.0 and Iraq War 2.0, overturned only in 2009, well after the casualty counts dropped off. Even then, allowing cameras at Dover was left at the discretion of the families, except of course when the president needed a blood-stirring photo op. Obama took one just before ordering the surge in Afghanistan.

Death, when it is reluctantly acknowledged, must still follow the bloodless narrative as closely as possible. Death must be for a good cause, freedom if possible, “for his buddies” later when public opinion weakens.

There is no better example in recent times than the death of Pat Tillman, America’s once-walking propaganda dream. Tillman was a professional football player making a $3.6 million salary. Following 9/11, he gave that all up, and volunteered for combat. When he died in Afghanistan, the Army told his family he’d been killed by enemy fire after courageously charging up a hill to protect his fellow soldiers.

It was of course the right thing to say to support the narrative, but it was a lie.

A month later, the Pentagon notified Tillman’s family he had actually died as a result of friendly fire. The month placed the non-narrative news safely after Tillman’s memorial service and in the fog of faded media interest. Later investigations revealed the Army likely knew the death was by friendly fire within days.

The Physically Wounded

For all the trouble the dead cause to the bloodless narrative, the wounded are even messier. They still walk around, sometimes speak to journalists, and, well, do not always look bloodless.

The Honolulu side of Waikiki beach is anchored by a hotel run by the Department of Defense as a low-cost vacation destination for servicepeople. While some of the grounds are public by Hawaiian law, the hotel itself is off limits.

I used to have a government ID that let me in. Inside, who is a soldier? The buff bodies stand out against the beached whale look more popular among regular tourists. The odd-patterned tans – browned faces with pale white limbs – betray a recent trip to the Middle East.

But sometimes it is a missing limb on a 20-year-old, or a face that looks like raw bacon. Could’ve been a car wreck or a factory fire, but I doubt it. The burns sketched precisely where the helmet had, and had not, been, a map of pain.

That’s on the inside. When we as outsiders see images of the wounded, they instead follow the narrative. Brave troopers, with their state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs, are shown skiing, surfing or working out. Some featured amputees even demand to return to active duty. They show off their new limbs, some decorated with decals from their favorite sports teams. They are brave and they are strong.

The inside story is again very different. A recent book by Ann Jones, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars, fills in what the narrative omits. As a summation, Jones offers the haiku of one military trauma nurse: “Amputees up to the waist. No arms. No legs. No genitals. Age 21 or 22. We cry.”

The Mentally Wounded

Military suicides have made it through the screen of bloodless narrative, but just barely, thanks to the Hollywood-ization of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Where we need clarity, we get tropes, such as the freaked-out-at-home scenes in Hurt Locker and American Sniper. Not to say those things don’t happen (they do) but to say those types of scenes are incomplete, giving enough info to arouse sympathy without actually being too alarming. As Ann Jones points out, such treatment of PTSD is “useful in raising citizen sympathy for soldiers, defusing opposition to Washington’s wars, and generally medicalizing problems that might raise inconvenient political and moral issues.”

At the same time, another non-Hollywood narrative bubbles just below the surface, that some vets are exaggerating or outright faking it. PTSD inherits all of our stigmas toward mental illness, and that dilutes the bad news.

Still, with all the attention PTSD and soldier suicides garner, one would think the military would, at minimum, have some ready statistics to help frame the problem. Oh, there are numbers, but not ones that fully strike back against the bloodless narrative.

The Department of Defense keeps statistics on suicides which occur while soldiers are deployed. The Veterans Administration (VA) tracks them at home. But since big suicide numbers run counter to the narrative, it is little surprise that it was only in 2011 that the VA announced a joint suicide database with the Pentagon, so the two bureaucracies might arrive at an accurate body count. Perhaps not unexpectedly, an Inspector General’s report stated that in 2015 the database is still a work in progress.

One way of not knowing is not to look for the answers at all. The narrative says we should be like Mafia bosses’ kids, who never ask what Daddy does for a living despite our big house and fancy cars.

When the Narrative Fails

During the year I spent in Iraq, the only deaths experienced by the Army units I was embedded with were suicides.

The death I was most familiar with was a young Private, who put his assault rifle into his mouth. No one back home saw what I saw, because they were not supposed to see: the fan spray of blood and brain on the wall, already being washed off as I arrived to look.

These things are not unspeakable, we just don’t want to talk about them, and the bloodless narrative says we don’t have to. That keeps it alive. Because when the narrative fails, the wars tend to end.

For example, in 1969, Life magazine published a famous edition consisting entirely of portraits of the Americans who died in Vietnam that week. Many subscribers canceled, but many more looked for the first time outside the narrative. The war found its end.

In another conflict, President Bill Clinton pulled American troops out of Somalia after a photo showed crowds cheering a dead American soldier dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. That image dogged American war mongering until it could be cleaned up by the bloodless narrative of Gulf War 1.0.

We are no longer likely to see those nasty pictures. The military has become more skillful at manipulating the media, even as the media has become more compliant. In the X-rated world of war, most of the media refuses to budge from family fare.

The military-media symbiosis is just one more tool that feeds the narrative. As long as Americans are convinced of the bloodlessness of perpetual war, the wars will go on.


A despot in disguise: one man’s mission to rip up democracy

July 19, 2017

by George Monbiot

The Guardian

It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century. To read Nancy MacLean’s new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, is to see what was previously invisible.

The history professor’s work on the subject began by accident. In 2013 she stumbled across a deserted clapboard house on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. It was stuffed with the unsorted archives of a man who had died that year whose name is probably unfamiliar to you: James McGill Buchanan. She says the first thing she picked up was a stack of confidential letters concerning millions of dollars transferred to the university by the billionaire Charles Koch.

Her discoveries in that house of horrors reveal how Buchanan, in collaboration with business tycoons and the institutes they founded, developed a hidden programme for suppressing democracy on behalf of the very rich. The programme is now reshaping politics, and not just in the US.

Buchanan was strongly influenced by both the neoliberalism of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, and the property supremacism of John C Calhoun, who argued in the first half of the 19th century that freedom consists of the absolute right to use your property (including your slaves) however you may wish; any institution that impinges on this right is an agent of oppression, exploiting men of property on behalf of the undeserving masses.

James Buchanan brought these influences together to create what he called public choice theory. He argued that a society could not be considered free unless every citizen has the right to veto its decisions. What he meant by this was that no one should be taxed against their will. But the rich were being exploited by people who use their votes to demand money that others have earned, through involuntary taxes to support public spending and welfare. Allowing workers to form trade unions and imposing graduated income taxes were forms of “differential or discriminatory legislation” against the owners of capital.

Any clash between “freedom” (allowing the rich to do as they wish) and democracy should be resolved in favour of freedom. In his book The Limits of Liberty, he noted that “despotism may be the only organisational alternative to the political structure that we observe.” Despotism in defence of freedom.

His prescription was a “constitutional revolution”: creating irrevocable restraints to limit democratic choice. Sponsored throughout his working life by wealthy foundations, billionaires and corporations, he developed a theoretical account of what this constitutional revolution would look like, and a strategy for implementing it.

He explained how attempts to desegregate schooling in the American south could be frustrated by setting up a network of state-sponsored private schools. It was he who first proposed privatising universities, and imposing full tuition fees on students: his original purpose was to crush student activism. He urged privatisation of social security and many other functions of the state. He sought to break the links between people and government, and demolish trust in public institutions. He aimed, in short, to save capitalism from democracy.

In 1980, he was able to put the programme into action. He was invited to Chile, where he helped the Pinochet dictatorship write a new constitution, which, partly through the clever devices Buchanan proposed, has proved impossible to reverse entirely. Amid the torture and killings, he advised the government to extend programmes of privatisation, austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation and the destruction of trade unions: a package that helped trigger economic collapse in 1982.

None of this troubled the Swedish Academy, which through his devotee at Stockholm University Assar Lindbeck in 1986 awarded James Buchanan the Nobel memorial prize for economics. It is one of several decisions that have turned this prize toxic.

But his power really began to be felt when Koch, currently the seventh richest man in the US, decided that Buchanan held the key to the transformation he sought. Koch saw even such ideologues as Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan as “sellouts”, as they sought to improve the efficiency of government rather than destroy it altogether. But Buchanan took it all the way.

MacLean says that Charles Koch poured millions into Buchanan’s work at George Mason University, whose law and economics departments look as much like corporate-funded thinktanks as they do academic faculties. He employed the economist to select the revolutionary “cadre” that would implement his programme (Murray Rothbard, at the Cato Institute that Koch founded, had urged the billionaire to study Lenin’s techniques and apply them to the libertarian cause). Between them, they began to develop a programme for changing the rules.

The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential”. Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical “reforms”. (The same argument is used by those attacking the NHS). Gradually they would build a “counter-intelligentsia”, allied to a “vast network of political power” that would become the new establishment.

Through the network of thinktanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored, through their transformation of the Republican party, and the hundreds of millions they have poured into state congressional and judicial races, through the mass colonisation of Trump’s administration by members of this network and lethally effective campaigns against everything from public health to action on climate change, it would be fair to say that Buchanan’s vision is maturing in the US.

But not just there. Reading this book felt like a demisting of the window through which I see British politics. The bonfire of regulations highlighted by the Grenfell Tower disaster, the destruction of state architecture through austerity, the budgeting rules, the dismantling of public services, tuition fees and the control of schools: all these measures follow Buchanan’s programme to the letter. I wonder how many people are aware that David Cameron’s free schools project stands in a tradition designed to hamper racial desegregation in the American south.

In one respect, Buchanan was right: there is an inherent conflict between what he called “economic freedom” and political liberty. Complete freedom for billionaires means poverty, insecurity, pollution and collapsing public services for everyone else. Because we will not vote for this, it can be delivered only through deception and authoritarian control. The choice we face is between unfettered capitalism and democracy. You cannot have both.

Buchanan’s programme is a prescription for totalitarian capitalism. And his disciples have only begun to implement it. But at least, thanks to MacLean’s discoveries, we can now apprehend the agenda. One of the first rules of politics is, know your enemy. We’re getting there.


Thousands evacuated central California, wildfires burn across U.S. West

July 19, 2017

by Al Golub


MARIPOSA, Calif. (Reuters) – A 25,000-acre wildfire in central California, one of three dozen major blazes burning across the U.S. West, threatened hundreds of homes and businesses on Wednesday after forcing the evacuation of about 5,000 residents.

There were 46 active large fires spread across 12 states, with 11 new blazes reported on Tuesday alone, according to National Interagency Fire Center website.

Around 4.4 million acres have been burnt since the start of 2017, compared to 2.7 million acres in the same period last year, it said.

Dry and windy conditions have fueled the wildfire season and thousands of people have been evacuated, including in Oregon and Nevada.

Firefighters managed to contain 5 percent of the Detwiler Fire, which threatened 1,500 structures in tiny foothill communities in the Sierra Nevada mountains, authorities said. Around 2,000 residents were ordered to flee Mariposa, California on Tuesday.

“Going to bed unsure whether Mariposa, my sweet hometown, will exist when I wake up,” Jennifer Paquette said on Twitter late on Tuesday.

A total of 5,000 residents were forced to evacuate several small communities southwest of Yosemite National Park since the fire began on Sunday, the California Interagency Incident Management Team said in a tweet.

No injuries were reported as of Tuesday night, according to Cal Fire.

Photographs and videos posted on social media showed empty downtown streets in Mariposa and ash falling from the sky as an orange and pink glow hovered on the horizon during dusk on Tuesday evening.

“It has been terrifying to be honest. I have been crying a lot today,” resident Tarah Eastwood told a CBS affiliate on Tuesday.

At least two of the five area Red Cross evacuation centers were at capacity late on Tuesday, according to social media posts.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Mariposa County on Tuesday as the fire was approaching. The proclamation sends resources to the area.

Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky


The Root Causes of the Mid-East Conflicts

July 28, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

Dublin, Eire- With the savage Israeli bombing and artillery attack on the civilian population of Gaza under the specious excuse of “anti-terrorist” actions, there are very few people, outside of Israel, who actually understand the underlying reasons for this decades-long and very bloody struggle between Israel and all of her Arab neighbors. Many historians are, in fact, well aware of the underlying  factors but few, if any, would dare to discuss them in light of the savage retaliation that would immediately be visited upon them by pro-Israeli entities.

Forced out of Roman-controlled Judea by the Romans following a long and bloody series of revolts, internal massacres and destructive activities, the Jews were eventually expelled from Judea and went to reside in various places such as Alexandria, Egypt.

These deportees are today known as Sephardic Jews and are the descendants of the original Semitic inhabitants of Judea.

Another, larger, group of Jews are called Ashkenazi and are the direct descendants of the Khazar tribes of Central Asia. Originally nomadic peoples, the Khazars were located on the west bank of the Caspian Sea, noted for their savage behavior and in about 700 AD, were converted by their king to Judaism.

Defeated by the Russians, the Khazars spread to Russia, what is now Poland and other eastern European areas. They are not Semitic by background and today, 95% of the citizens of Israel are descended from these nomads, which were composed of Mongols, the occasional Swedish rus or Viking and other diverse ethnic groups.

The oft-repeated claim by Israel that they were the original inhabitants of Judea or Palestine is, from a historical point of view, entirely false.

Modern Zionism was the creation of Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) a Hungarian Jewish writer who advocated a Jewish state in Palestine. That the area was occupied, as it had been for thousands of years, by Arabs, themselves of Semitic origins, did not seem to bother the modern Zionists at all.

Following the end of the Second World War when huge masses of Eastern European Jews had been displaced from their countries in Poland, the Baltic states, Hungry, Romania, Greece, Germany, Austria and other European countries, they decided to move to Palestine and form their own state.

From 1944 through 1948, the entire area was subject to a literal reign of terror as large groups of DPs (Displaced Persons) descended on Palestine, wreaking havoc on the area. Murders, kidnappings, bombings, counterfeiting, bank robberies, blowing up hotels full of people and drive-by shootings were commonplace.

Eventually, the disruptions proved to be too much for the British, who occupied Palestine after the First World War and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire which once controlled it, withdrew and in 1948, the state of Israel was proclaimed.

A detailed chronicle of these events was prepared by the United Nations in 1948 and covers the period from November 6, 1944 through September 17, 1948 and is a concise and very detailed coverage of the events in Palestine

To anyone not conversant with this detailed background, who wonders why the Palestinians, and later the entire Arab Middle East world hates Israel, a study of the UN report immediately puts the motivating factors behind the long-ongoing bloodshed in accurate perspective.

What is past is certainly prologue.

Year and region where Jews have been expelled since 250 A.D.


YEAR                            PLACE


250 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Carthage

415 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Alexandria

554 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Diocese of Clement (France)

561 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Diocese of Uzzes (France)

612 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Visigoth Spain

642 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Visigoth Empire

855 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Italy

876 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Sens

1012 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1182 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1182 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Germany

1276 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Upper Bavaria

1290 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – England

1306 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1322 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France (again)

1348 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Switzerland

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hielbronn (Germany)

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Saxony

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1360 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1370 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Belgium

1380 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Slovakia

1388 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Strasbourg

1394 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Germany

1394 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1420 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lyons

1421 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Austria

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Fribourg

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Zurich

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Cologne

1432 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Savoy

1438 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1439 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Augsburg

1442 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1444 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1446 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria

1453 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1453 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Breslau

1454 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurzburg

1462 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1483 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1484 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Warsaw

1485 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vincenza (Italy)

1492 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Spain

1492 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Italy

1495 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lithuania

1496 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1496 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Portugal

1498 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Nuremberg

1498 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Navarre

1510 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenberg

1510 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prussia

1514 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Strasbourg

1515 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Genoa

1519 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Regensburg

1533 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1541 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1542 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague & Bohemia

1550 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Genoa

1551 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria

1555 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Pesaro

1557 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague

1559 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Austria

1561 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague

1567 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurzburg

1569 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Papal States

1571 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenburg

1582 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1582 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1593 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenburg, Austria

1597 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Cremona, Pavia & Lodi

1614 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Frankfort

1615 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Worms

1619 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Kiev

1648 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Ukraine

1648 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Poland

1649 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hamburg

1654 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Little Russia (Beylorus)

1656 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lithuania

1669 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Oran (North Africa)

1669 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vienna

1670 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vienna

1712 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Sandomir

1727 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russia

1738 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurtemburg

1740 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Little Russia (Beylorus)

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague, Bohemia

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Slovakia

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Livonia

1745 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Moravia

1753 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Kovad (Lithuania)

1761 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bordeaux

1772 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Deported from Imperial Russia to the Pale of                                                               Settlement (Poland/Russia)

1775 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Warsaw

1789 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Alsace

1804 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Villages in Russia

1808 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Villages & Countrysides (Russia)

1815 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lübeck & Bremen

1815 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Franconia, Swabia & Bavaria

1820 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bremen

1843 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russian Border Austria & Prussia

1862 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Areas in the U.S. under General Grant’s


1866 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Galatz, Romania

1880s – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russia

1891 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Moscow

1919 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria (foreign- born Jews)

1938– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Poland (emigrated Polish-born Jews)

1938-45 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – German Controlled Areas

1941-44– – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1944– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Hungary

1948 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Arab Countries

Police close off Temple Mount to Jews over rules violation amid tensions with Palestinians

July 19, 2017


Police have closed off the Temple Mount to Jewish worshipers, after a group of Jewish visitors broke the rules of conduct. It follows days of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police near the site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims.

Jerusalem District Police Commander Major-General Yoram Halevy ordered that the Temple Mount be closed to Jewish worshipers and visitors on Wednesday morning.

The order came after a group of Jewish visitors breached the rules of conduct by bringing sacred books to the site and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was warned, another took out a holy book and the group was removed by security forces, Haaretz reported.

The Temple Mount, known as the Ḥaram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims, has been the subject of violent clashes since Sunday, with Palestinians protesting Israel’s placement of metal detectors at entrances.

The security measure was implemented after two Israeli border police officers were killed in an attack at the site on Friday.

A Palestinian government statement called the measure “null and void” and a “violation of the sanctity of the Al Aqsa Mosque.”

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that 34 people were injured, including 14 that needed hospitalization. One person suffered a serious chest injury, a spokesperson said.Two officers were lightly injured in the clashes, according to Israeli police.

Palestinian demonstrators are expected to hold additional protests over the placement of metal detectors on Wednesday, in what the Fatah party, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has dubbed a “Day of Rage.”

The planned demonstrations prompted Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to remind demonstrators that their anger should be directed elsewhere.

“I suggest to the demonstrators to turn their rage at the terrorists who created the need for this [the placement of metal detectors], and not the police,” he wrote on Facebook.





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