TBR News July 29, 2016

Jul 28 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. July 29, 2016: “All of this extremely entertaining racked from the Democrats about the Russians stealing emails is typical of the lies we see daily from Washington and its shabby minions. There is not a scrap of evidence that any Russian stole emails that make Hillary and her goons look like what they are: congenital liars and crude manipulators on a par with nineteenth century ward bosses and modern evangelicals. Clinton is not anywhere near a decent person and the record of the Clinton White House parallels that of Richard Nixon or Franklin Roosevelt for fabrications and total mendacity. The Democrats do not have a guaranteed road to the White House and though the whorish media, to a man, hates Trump, the voting public does not and loss of power and bribe money is driving the Democrats wild with fear and anger. The Democrats have been pestering me for money via the Internet and I have replied that I wouldn’t give Hillary or her pet goons a dime.”

Kremlin to U.S.: Sort out your own pre-election hacking scandal

by Lidia Kelly and Maria Tsvetkova

July 28, 2016


The Kremlin on Thursday told the United States to get to the bottom of a hacking scandal involving Democratic Party emails itself, saying accusations of its own involvement bordered on the stupid and were motivated by anti-Russian sentiment.

It also said that comments by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about considering recognising Ukraine’s Crimea as part of Russia would not change the Kremlin’s neutral stance on U.S. presidential candidates.

Trump on Wednesday invited Russia to dig up tens of thousands of “missing” emails from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s time at the U.S. State Department, prompting Democrats to accuse him of urging foreigners to spy on Americans.

Trump, who later said his comments were intended sarcastically, spoke out after U.S. President Barack Obama said it was possible Russia would try to influence the U.S. presidential election after a leak of Democratic National Committee emails that experts have blamed on Russian hackers.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who has already twice denied any Russian involvement in hacking Democratic Party emails, said the allegations were a “vivid example of the use of anti-Russian sentiment for electoral purposes in the United States.”

“It is so absurd it borders on total stupidity,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “As regards these (email) batches, that is not our headache. We never poke our noses into others’ affairs and we really don’t like it when people try to poke their nose into ours.

“The Americans needs to get to the bottom of what these emails are themselves and find out what it’s all about.”

Peskov said comments by Trump that he would consider recognising Crimea as Russian after Moscow annexed it from Ukraine in 2014 would not change the Kremlin’s neutral stance on the Nov. 8 U.S. elections.

“We know perfectly well that candidates in the heat of a pre-election struggle say one thing, but that later, when under the weight of responsibility, their rhetoric becomes more balanced.”

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly/Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Andrew Osborn)


Who Hacked the DNC?

Was it the Russians – or an inside job?

July 29, 2016

by Justin Raimondo


We haven’t seen this kind of hysteria since the darkest days of the cold war: a spy scare that is being utilized by one political party against another in a national election, with charges of disloyalty and even “treason” being hurled by one side against the other. The publication of the Democratic National Committee’s emails by WikiLeaks has caused a storm of spin and counter-spin that threatens to throw the entire election discourse off balance – not that it was all that centered to begin with – and cause an international incident with perilous consequences for us all.

The media, one and all, have decided that the DNC hack was the work of the Russian government, and the Democrats have taken this one step further and declared that Moscow is pushing the candidacy of Donald Trump due to his oft-stated hope to “get along” with Vladimir Putin. And US government officials have added their voices to this chorus, with the New York Times reporting that unnamed members of the “intelligence community” believe “with high confidence” that the Russian state is behind the hack.

This is impressive, at least in Washington, D.C., where the pronouncements of government officials are taken as holy writ. For the rest of us, however, who remember that this same “intelligence community” declared with certainty that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction,” this assertion should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Indeed, one might almost be tempted to write this conclusion off as quite obviously erroneous and self-serving, given the record of the people who are making it.

Indeed, the whole narrative reeks of confirmation bias in the context of what preceded it: a systematic campaign by cold war liberals and Democratic party hacks (or do I repeat myself?) tagging Trump as “Putin’s puppet,” “Putin’s poodle,” not to mention “Putin’s pawn.” Aside from the rhyming scheme, what all these smears have in common is the simple assertion that anyone who doesn’t want to start World War III over who shall rule over the ramshackle mess that is Ukraine, and who questions in any way our commitment to an obsolete and increasingly expensive alliance, is quite obviously a Manchurian candidate controlled by the Kremlin.

So when the DNC hack made headlines, the anti-Trump media – i.e. the entire “mainstream” media – pushed the Kremlin conspiracy narrative hard. But what is the technical evidence for such a charge? As it turns out, it is thin-to-nonexistent.

Jeffrey Carr, author of Inside Cyber Warfare, who runs Taia Global, a cybersecurity firm, and founded the “Suits and Spooks” annual cyber-warfare conference, shows that the identification of the hacker groups – dubbed “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear” – as Russian state actors is based on arbitrary definitions that exclude all exculpatory evidence.

Journalists covering the political and foreign policy scene are not usually conversant with the technical details of computer science: and this is a real handicap when dealing with the question of attributing a hacking to a state or nonstate actor. The issues are complex, impossibly nerdy, and go against the popular conception of “science” as identical with precision and even a kind of omniscience. Because, when it comes to attribution in these cases, there is no such thing as certainty. As Carr puts it:

“It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method. Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong.”

Cyber-security companies like CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the hack, are in the business of assuring their clients that they can know what isn’t knowable unless a) a hacker is caught in the act, and b) a government employee leaks the truth. It doesn’t help their profit margin to make these facts widely known, and so they hide the inherent subjectivity of attribution behind the mantle of “science.” This is what Carr calls “faith-based attribution,” and plenty of journalists – who are already prone to believe the worst of the Russians (and Trump) – are fooled, or have managed to fool themselves. As Carr writes:

“When looking at professions who use an investigative process to determine a true and accurate answer, the closest profession to the attribution estimate of a cyber intelligence analyst is that of a religious office like a priest or a minister, who simply asks their congregation to believe what they say on faith. The likelihood that a nation state will acknowledge that a cybersecurity company has correctly identified one of their operations is probably slightly less likely than God making an appearance at the venue where a theological debate is underway about whether God exists.”

Supposedly “hard” evidence of Russian state involvement in the DNC hack is dutifully provided by Vice technical writer Thomas Rid, but, as Carr points out, it turns to mush when examined up close. Rid purports to identify “fingerprints” of two allegedly Russian groups identified by the German intelligence agency as associated with the Russian GRU, but the reality – as usual – is ambiguous:

“The IP address 176.31.112[.]10 used in the Bundestag breach as a Command and Control server has never been connected to the Russian intelligence services. In fact, Claudio Guarnieri, a highly regarded security researcher, whose technical analysis was referenced by Rid, stated that ‘no evidence allows to tie the attacks to governments of any particular country.’”

So much for the “fingerprints” that supposedly identify the Russians as the culprits. Carr also points out that the conclusion drawn by German intelligence is based on subjective assertions rather than hard evidence of the sort that would be admissible in a court of law.

This is precisely the flawed methodology that had every “intelligence” agency in the West telling us that those “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq were primed and ready to launch. Now they tell us that “everybody made the same mistake” – and they’re making it again, because they’re never held accountable.

It fits the media narrative that we’ve been presented with about Putin and Russia, and it suits the pro-Clinton journalists to ignore what’s actually in those incriminating emails, and so we have a perfect storm of confirmation bias. And of course the War Party is pushing their narrative that Trump’s anti-NATO stance is “dangerous,” and outrageous, with our shiftless European allies adding their voices to the chorus: the latter don’t like being exposed as deadbeat welfare cases. So everybody’s agenda is served by this latest wave of anti-Trump anti-Russian hysteria – except the interests of the American people.

What’s striking is that for all this subjective “analysis” and cyber-sleuthing, no one is pointing to what should be the first suspicion in such a case: that the hacking of the DNC server was an inside job. Is it all that improbable that someone working for the DNC is a supporter of Bernie Sanders – or just someone who believes in elemental fairness –  who saw how the DNC was rigging the game and used their access to supply WikiLeaks with the emails? As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told “Democracy Now” in an interview, “If we’re talking about the DNC, there’s lots of consultants, lots of programmers” with means, motive, and opportunity.

Why isn’t this very broad hint by someone who’s in a position to know who was responsible admissible evidence? It’s being studiously ignored because it doesn’t fit the narrative that the media and the Democrats – or do I repeat myself – want to push on the public.

Dangerous Propaganda: Network Close To NATO Military Leader Fueled Ukraine Conflict

July 28, 2016

by Christoph Schult and Klaus Wiegrefe


Working with dubious sourcing, a group close to NATO’s chief military commander Philip Breedlove sought to secure weapons deliveries for Ukraine, a trove of newly released emails revealed. The efforts served to intensify the conflict between the West and Russia.

In private, the general likes to wear leather. Philip Mark Breedlove, 60, is a well-known Harley-Davidson fan, and up until a few weeks ago, he also served as the commander of NATO and American troops in Europe. Even during his tenure as the military leader of the alliance, the American four-star general would trade his blue Air Force uniform for motorcycle gear and explore Europe’s roads with his friends.

Photos show a man with broad shoulders, a wide gait and an even wider smile. The pictures of the general’s motorcycle tours were recently made public on the online platform DC Leaks. Restraint, it seems, was never Breedlove’s thing.

The photos are the entertaining part of an otherwise explosive collection of Breedlove’s private email correspondence. Most of the 1,096 hacked emails date back to the dramatic 12 months of the Ukraine crisis after Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014. Thousands died in the skirmishes between Kiev’s troops and Moscow-aligned separatists. More than 2 million civilians fled eastern Ukraine.

Russia supports the separatists with weapons, fighters and consultants. When people began calling for Washington to also massively intervene in 2015, the Ukraine conflict risked escalating into a war between East and West.

Early Concern

The newly leaked emails reveal a clandestine network of Western agitators around the NATO military chief, whose presence fueled the conflict in Ukraine. Many allies found in Breedlove’s alarmist public statements about alleged large Russian troop movements cause for concern early on. Earlier this year, the general was assuring the world that US European Command was “deterring Russia now and preparing to fight and win if necessary.”

The emails document for the first time the questionable sources from whom Breedlove was getting his information. He had exaggerated Russian activities in eastern Ukraine with the overt goal of delivering weapons to Kiev.

The general and his likeminded colleagues perceived US President Barack Obama, the commander-in-chief of all American forces, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel as obstacles. Obama and Merkel were being “politically naive & counter-productive” in their calls for de-escalation, according to Phillip Karber, a central figure in Breedlove’s network who was feeding information from Ukraine to the general.

“I think POTUS sees us as a threat that must be minimized,… ie do not get me into a war????” Breedlove wrote in one email, using the acronym for the president of the United States. How could Obama be persuaded to be more “engaged” in the conflict in Ukraine — read: deliver weapons — Breedlove had asked former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Breedlove sought counsel from some very prominent people, his emails show. Among them were Wesley Clark, Breedlove’s predecessor at NATO, Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Kiev.

One name that kept popping up was Phillip Karber, an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC and president of the Potomac Foundation, a conservative think tank founded by the former defense contractor BDM. By its own account, the foundation has helped eastern European countries prepare their accession into NATO. Now the Ukrainian parliament and the government in Kiev were asking Karber for help.

Surreptitious Channels

On February 16, 2015, when the Ukraine crisis had reached its climax, Karber wrote an email to Breedlove, Clark, Pyatt and Rose Gottemoeller, the under secretary for arms control and international security at the State Department, who will be moving to Brussels this fall to take up the post of deputy secretary general of NATO. Karber was in Warsaw, and he said he had found surreptitious channels to get weapons to Ukraine — without the US being directly involved.

According to the email, Pakistan had offered, “under the table,” to sell Ukraine 500 portable TOW-II launchers and 8,000 TOW-II missiles. The deliveries could begin within two weeks. Even the Poles were willing to start sending “well maintained T-72 tanks, plus several hundred SP 122mm guns, and SP-122 howitzers (along with copious amounts of artillery ammunition for both)” that they had leftover from the Soviet era. The sales would likely go unnoticed, Karber said, because Poland’s old weapons were “virtually undistinguishable from those of Ukraine.”

Karber noted, however, that Pakistan and Poland would not make any deliveries without informal US approval. Furthermore, Warsaw would only be willing to help if its deliveries to Kiev were replaced with new, state-of-the-art weapons from NATO.

Karber concluded his letter with a warning: “Time has run out.” Without immediate assistance, the Ukrainian army “could face prospect of collapse within 30 days.”

“Stark,” Breedlove replied. “I may share some of this but will thoroughly wipe the fingerprints off.”

In March, Karber traveled again to Warsaw in order to, as he told Breedlove, consult with leading members of the ruling party, on the need to “quietly supply arty (eds: artillery) and antitank munitions to Ukraine.”

Much to the irritation of Breedlove, Clark and Karber, nothing happened. Those responsible were quickly identified. The National Security Council, Obama’s circle of advisors, were “slowing things down,” Karber complained. Clark pointed his finger directly at the White House, writing, “Our problem is higher than State,” a reference to the State Department.

Sights on Germany

Breedlove and his fellow campaigners also had the German federal government in their sights early on. In April 2014, Clark sent a mail to Nuland and Breedlove and wrote that Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev had implied there was a “problem with German attitude” concerning its “sphere of influence.”

Efforts by Merkel and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to find a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis were portrayed by hardliners as a readiness in Berlin to let Russia bully Ukraine.

In order to build up pressure for the desired weapons aid, Clark and Karber began painting grim scenarios. If the West were to abandon Ukraine, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Clark prophesized, China would then be encouraged to expand its sphere of influence in the Pacific. It could also lead to NATO’s collapse. The situation could only be prevented with the help of military aid, they argued. On November 8, 2014 Clark sounded the alarm internally after talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, his advisers and senior military and intelligence officials. The Ukrainians were expecting an attack as early as the end of the month.

Breedlove answered, “I will focus on this immediately.” He also wrote, “One of our biggest problems” is that one of the United States’ allies had been denying the findings of its intelligence. The remark was aimed at Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency, which had been much more reserved in its assessment of the situation — a position that in retrospect would prove correct.

‘The Front Is Now Everywhere’

Karber’s emails constantly made it sound as though the apocalypse was only a few weeks away. “The front is now everywhere,” he told Breedlove in an email at the beginning of 2015, adding that Russian agents and their proxies “have begun launching a series of terrorist attacks, assassinations, kidnappings and infrastructure bombings,” in an effort to destabilize Kiev and other Ukrainian cities.

In an email to Breedlove, Clark described defense expert Karber as “brilliant.” After a first visit, Breedlove indicated he had also been impressed. “GREAT visit,” he wrote. Karber, an extremely enterprising man, appeared at first glance to be a valuable informant because he often — at least a dozen times by his own account — traveled to the front and spoke with Ukrainian commanders. The US embassy in Kiev also relied on Karber for information because it lacked its own sources. “We’re largely blind,” the embassy’s defense attaché wrote in an email.

At times, Karber’s missives read like prose. In one, he wrote about the 2014 Christmas celebrations he had spent together with Dnipro-1, the ultranationalist volunteer battalion. “The toasts and vodka flow, the women sing the Ukrainian national anthem — no one has a dry eye.”

Karber had only good things to report about the unit, which had already been discredited as a private oligarch army. He wrote that the staff and volunteers were dominated by middle class people and that there was a large professional staff that was even “working on the holiday.” Breedlove responded that these insights were “quietly finding their way into the right places.”

Highly Controversial Figure

In fact, Karber is a highly controversial figure. During the 1980s, the longtime BDM employee, was counted among the fiercest Cold War hawks. Back in 1985, he warned of an impending Soviet attack on the basis of documents he had translated incorrectly.

He also blundered during the Ukraine crisis after sending photos to US Senator James Inhofe, claiming to show Russian units in Ukraine. Inhofe released the photos publicly, but it quickly emerged that one had originated from the 2008 war in Georgia.

By November 10, 2014, at the latest, Breedlove must have recognized that his informant was on thin ice. That’s when Karber reported that the separatists were boasting they had a tactical nuclear warhead for the 2S4 mortar. Karber himself described the news as “weird,” but also added that “there is a lot of ‘crazy’ things going on” in Ukraine.

The reasons that Breedlove continued to rely on Karber despite such false reports remain unclear. Was he willing to pay any price for weapons deliveries? Or did he have other motives? The emails illustrate the degree to which Breedlove and his fellow campaigners feared that Congress might reduce the number of US troops in Europe.

Karber confirmed the authenticity of the leaked email correspondence. Regarding the questions about the accuracy of his reports, he told SPIEGEL that, “like any information derived from direct observation at the front during the ‘fog of war,’ it is partial, time sensitive, and perceived through a personal perspective.” Looking back with the advantage of hindsight and a more comprehensive perspective, “I believe that I was right more than wrong,” Karber writes, “but certainly not perfect.” He adds that, “in 170 days at the front, I never once met a German military or official directly observing the conflict.”

Great Interest in Berlin

Breedlove’s leaked email correspondences were read in Berlin with great interest. A year ago, word of the NATO commander’s “dangerous propaganda” was circulating around Merkel’s Chancellery. In light of the new information, officials felt vindicated in their assessment. Germany’s Federal Foreign Office has expressed similar sentiment, saying that fortunately “influential voices had continuously advocated against the delivery of ‘lethal weapons.'”

Karber says he finds it “obscene that the most effective sanction of this war is not the economic limits placed on Russia, but the virtual complete embargo of all lethal aid to the victim. I find this to be the height of sophistry — if a woman is being attacked by a group of hooligans and yells out to the crowd or passersby, ‘Give me a can of mace,’ is it better to not supply it because the attackers could have a knife and passively watch her get raped?”

General Breedlove’s departure from his NATO post in May has done little to placate anyone in the German government. After all, the man Breedlove regarded as an obstacle, President Obama, is nearing the end of his second term. His possible successor, the Democrat Hillary Clinton, is considered a hardliner vis-a-vis Russia.

What’s more: Nuland, a diplomat who shares many of the same views as Breedlove, could move into an even more important role after the November election — she’s considered a potential candidate for Secretary of State.

Critics Fear Crackdown on Palestinian Free Speech as Israel Takes Aim at Facebook

July 28, 2016

by Alex Kane

The Intercept

Two days after a Palestinian teen fatally stabbed an Israeli girl, an Israeli official blamed an American living thousands of miles away for the crime, as well as similar attacks.

“Some of the victims’ blood is on Zuckerberg’s hands,” Gilad Erdan, Israel’s public security minister, said on Israeli television in early July, referring to Mark Zuckerberg, the head of social media giant Facebook.

Erdan called Facebook a “monster” because it has become the platform of choice for Palestinians to denounce Israeli rule and broadcast their intention to attack Israelis. Muhammad Tarayra, the 17-year-old Palestinian behind the June 30 knife attack in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, had written on Facebook that “death is a right and I demand my right.” He expressed anger that Israeli soldiers had killed his cousin after he tried to run over them, according to Israeli news reports.

Now, Israeli officials are seeking to pressure Facebook to take down posts similar to Tarayra’s. On July 13, Erdan and Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s justice minister, submitted a bill to the Israeli Knesset that would empower courts to compel Facebook to remove content deemed violent. And amid Israel’s legislative push against Facebook — including a separate measure that would see Facebook fined if it did not remove content inciting people to terrorism — an Israeli law firm has also filed suit against the social media company in a U.S. court.

The moves amount to a multi-pronged campaign aimed at Facebook, which has been increasingly drawn into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli ministers have cast Facebook in the role of terror supporter and now want to force the company to police Palestinian speech they say leads to violence.

But Israeli laws against incitement have also been used to arrest Palestinians whose Facebook posts criticize Israeli rule but do not explicitly support violence. Palestinians say that Facebook does not fuel militant attacks against Israel and that it is Israel’s decadeslong occupation and discriminatory policies against Palestinians that lead to violence.

Yousef Jabareen, a Palestinian Knesset member with the Joint List coalition of Palestinian parties, told The Intercept that the proposed bill would violate freedom of expression. “We are afraid that, basically, such a law will be used to target legitimate critique against the occupation,” he said.

Facebook did not respond to questions about the Israeli legislation. But the company told Reuters it works “regularly with safety organizations and policymakers around the world, including Israel, to ensure that people know how to make safe use of Facebook. There is no room for content that promotes violence, direct threats, terrorist or hate speeches on our platform.”

Israeli officials have been railing against Facebook since October 2015, when cases emerged of Palestinians stabbing Israelis as part of what some call the “knife intifada.” Shaked, the justice minister, has met with Facebook officials to pressure them to take action against incitement. At a conference in Hungary in June, she said that Facebook, Twitter, and Google remove 70 percent of violent content in Israel. The offices of Shaked and Erdan did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

In 2015, Facebook took down 431 pieces of content that it said violated harassment laws or denied the Holocaust, which is against the law in Israel. And Facebook’s report on government requests shows that last year, Facebook handed over user data to Israeli authorities for about 60 percent of the 468 requests it received.

Some of those requests pertain to Palestinians swept up in Israel’s dragnet targeting social media users who post messages against Israeli wars and occupation. As The Intercept reported, the Israeli police detained Sohaib Zahda, a Palestinian activist, in August 2014 after he wrote angry messages about an Israeli commander on a Facebook page he ran. While he was in custody, the Israeli police sent an order to Facebook for data about Zahda’s page. The company complied, according to Zahda’s lawyer.

Digital rights advocate Eva Galperin, a global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, criticized Facebook for acceding to Israeli requests for user data.

Facebook does “not scrutinize [the requests] as carefully as we would like,” said Galperin.

In a later interview, she added: “The state of Israel’s human rights record vis-a-vis Palestinians is not great. It’s incredibly troubling” that Facebook gives Israel information on Palestinians.

Israeli authorities want Facebook to do more. During his interview with Israeli news outlet Channel 2, Erdan complained that Facebook “sabotages” Israeli police work because it does not cooperate with requests pertaining to residents of the occupied West Bank. Israel has ruled the West Bank since 1967, when it captured the territory during the Six Day War, but much of the world does not recognize Israeli sovereignty there.

Facebook has also refused some requests for data on Palestinian citizens of Israel. In October 2015, when the Israeli police sent a legal order to Facebook requesting “all records” on and the IP address of Dareen Tatour, a citizen arrested for Facebook posts and a YouTube poem, Facebook and Google, which owns YouTube, did not respond to the order, Tatour’s lawyer Abed Fahoum told The Intercept.

The bill pushed by Erdan and Shaked seeks to force Facebook to take down content that an Israeli court deems a threat to Israeli security, though Facebook would have the ability to appeal such an order. An Israeli prosecutor could introduce the state’s confidential information as part of a case seeking to take down a Facebook post.

On July 17, the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which determines whether the ruling coalition will support a bill, approved a separate piece of legislation that would fine Internet companies $78,000 if they do not take down content deemed “incitement” within two days. The bill, which would require Facebook to monitor its own network for such content, easily passed a preliminary Knesset vote on July 20.

“I don’t think Facebook is responsible for terror or for the terror wave,” said Zionist Union Knesset member Revital Swid, who introduced the bill. “But they can do a lot to prevent [attacks].”

Swid insists her proposed bill would not infringe on freedom of speech, and she would prefer that Facebook monitor and take down such postings voluntarily. “Telling someone to go and to do terror acts, that’s not freedom of speech,” said Swid, who explained that her legislation is narrowly tailored to focus on posts that call for terrorism.

The campaign to pressure Facebook to censor its users has also made its way to the United States, where the company is headquartered. On July 11, the Israeli legal center Shurat HaDin sued Facebook in U.S. federal court on behalf of the families of U.S. citizens killed by Palestinian attackers in Israel.

A 2007 State Department cable released by WikiLeaks quotes the center’s head, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, as saying that in its early years, Shurat HaDin took direction from the Israeli government on what cases to file. However, she now strenuously denies ever saying that to a U.S. diplomat.

The Shurat HaDin lawsuit alleges that Facebook “knowingly” provided material support to Hamas because the Palestinian militant group has “used and relied on Facebook’s online social network platform and communications services” to carry out terrorism. Under U.S. law, it is illegal to provide material support — including any service-like communications equipment — to a group, like Hamas, on the U.S. designated terrorist list maintained by the State Department.

A Facebook spokesperson described the lawsuit as “without merit,” adding that the company has a “set of Community Standards to help people understand what is allowed on Facebook, and we urge people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate and take swift action.”

“Facebook, the all-American, social media, 21st century, billion-dollar business is providing the communications system and advertising system for this terrorist group that is only too happy, by their stated intent, to kill and maim civilians,” said Bob Tolchin, who is U.S. counsel on this suit and frequently works with Shurat HaDin.

Some observers think the suit against Facebook has a chance of advancing through the U.S. court system. Writing on the blog Lawfare, legal analysts Benjamin Wittes and Zoe Bedell said that Shurat HaDin makes a strong case that Hamas’s use of Facebook — including posts calling for violence — helps cause militant action that has killed Israelis.

But Aaron Mackey, a legal fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the plaintiffs in the suit have a high legal barrier to clear in the case. He said the suit does not establish that Facebook helped cause the attacks and the Communications Decency Act broadly immunizes Facebook from liability for content on its platform.

If the lawsuit is successful, however, the consequences could be profound, he said. It could lead to certain parts of the world being cut off from Facebook, or certain users’ posts being censored if they mention Hamas or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mackey described the lawsuit, coupled with Israel’s push against incitement on Facebook and proposed U.S. legislation requiring social media companies to report terrorist-related content to law enforcement, as part of a broader strategy.

“These are all small strategies as part of a larger goal to force Facebook and Twitter to become the sort of active police for certain types of speech and content,” he said. “But what that’s ultimately going to mean is less speech about things that these governments disagree with.”

U.S. concerned over Israel’s settlement activity: State Department

July 28, 2016


The United States is deeply concerned about Israel’s reported plans to build an additional 323 units in settlements in East Jerusalem on top of 770 units previously announced in the settlement of Gilo, the U.S. State Department said.

Such action by Israel “continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Wednesday.

Kirby called the settlement activity “corrosive to the cause of peace.”

In addition to the plans for East Jerusalem and Gilo, Kirby cited plans for other units, including 531 in Ma’ale Adumim, 19 in Har Homa, 120 in Ramot, and 30 in Pisgat Ze’ev. He also noted a plan to legalize an outpost near Ramallah; and tenders for 42 units in Kiryat Arba.

“These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” he said.

According to the advocacy group Peace Now, Israeli authorities issued tenders for the construction of 323 housing units in East Jerusalem. Peace Now, which opposes settlements, said the tenders were for homes that were offered in the past and never taken up.

Last week, the Jerusalem municipality filed construction plans for 770 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, part of a 1,200-home project that won initial ratification in 2012.

The U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, told Reuters on Thursday the Israeli policies are destroying prospects for a Palestinian state.

“I remain increasingly concerned by the near-daily advancement of the illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” he said in an email.

Israel says Jews have a right to live anywhere in Jerusalem, a city it considers its “eternal and indivisible capital.” Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they seek to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The United States is also concerned about increased demolitions of Palestinian houses and buildings in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which “reportedly have left dozens of Palestinians homeless, including children,” Kirby said.

The activity raises doubts over Israel’s commitment to a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.

Israel says it carries out demolitions because Palestinians had built them without permits. Palestinians and foreign governments monitoring settlement activities and demolitions say permission is nearly impossible to obtain.

(Additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; Editing by Bernadette Baum)


by Harry von Johnston, PhD

Actually, no concept of Europe makes sense as a “continent,” if the latter term is to claim any consistency or analytical utility. Europe is not surrounded by oceans, as are normal continents (Africa, North America, South America, Australia and Antarctica)—and as Asia would be if we simply included Europe,.

Continental Europe is the invention of people who wanted to be as special, and separate as oceans can make you, but lacking the eastern ocean which ought to be there to validate continental pretensions.

The concept is ultimately arbitrary.

But back to the southeastern corner of this imagined Eurocontinent: the Caucasus. “Caucasian” is of course often used as a synonym for “white” (as in white people), and has been used in that sense since pioneer ethnologist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, in 1775, pronounced Caucasians (supposedly descended from Noah’s son Japeth after the Ark landed on Mt. Ararat following the Flood) the “most beautiful race of menthe primeval type [from which] others divergewhite in color, which we may fairly assume to be the primitive color of mankind” But white folks flattered by Blumenbach’s pseudo-science, and folks in general outside the region, have little knowledge of this part of Europe. I can think of various reasons why this unawareness is unfortunate:

  • The Caucasus is a key site of Russian-U.S. contention concerning the construction of oil pipelines from the Caspian oilfields (in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan) to Black Sea and Mediterranean ports;
  • It is a maze of new, weak nations with vigorous secessionist movements;
  • It is a region of centuries-old Muslim communities, from which some “Islamic extremist” trends have emerged;
  • It has, since the deployment of U.S. forces in the Pankisi Gorge of Georgia in 2002, and the announcement of Russian President Vladimir Putin around the same time that Chechen rebels are al-Qaeda-like terrorists, been posited as a major theater in the “War on Terror;” and
  • Given its record, the U.S. government might do something very brutal and very stupid in the region. So one should pay attention. To understand “ethnic conflict” in this area in the context of big-power rivalry, one should brief oneself on the basics.

Compare the Balkans

The Caucasus embraces southern Russia (referring to the zone between the Black and Caspian Seas), and the three nations of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. This region is culturally linked to the west and north by Orthodox Christianity (kindred Russian, Georgian and Armenian varieties), and to the east by Islam (a legacy of past encounters between Persians and Turks and the local peoples). In this mix the Caucasus resembles the Balkans, where you have one more or less Muslim nation (Albania, where religious practice was banned for decades but which is officially now 70% Muslim); an unusually-constructed Bosnia-Herzegovina in which about 40% of the population (not all the Bosniaks) embrace Islam with varying degrees of interest; and the de facto NATO protectorate of Kosovo, which is about 90% Albanian Muslim. There are also longstanding Muslim minorities in Macedonia (29%), Bulgaria (12%) and elsewhere in the Balkans. The collapse of the Soviet bloc, the implosion of neutral “socialist” Yugoslavia involving catastrophic ethno-religious strife, and fall of the idiosyncratic Hoxhaite regime in Albania brought Balkan Muslims onto the world stage, as recipients of religious proselytization (by Arab “Wahhabis” in particular, backed up by Saudi largesse) and as the beneficiaries (at least short term) of US-NATO protection against the vilified Serbs and Croatians.

In the Balkans, Washington has postured itself as the great friend of the Muslim Bosnians and Kosovars, although its position is fraught with contradictions. U.S. acquiescence to Helmut Kohl’s reunited Germany, which unlike the U.S. State Department championed an independent Slovenia in 1990, contributed to the disastrous dismantling of the Yugoslav state. (This produced much ethnic conflict, including what some term the “Bosnian holocaust.”) The U.S., having labeled the Kosovo Liberation Army “terrorists” in 1999, made common cause with the Kosovar Albanians against a Serbian foe whose atrocities were wantonly exaggerated to justify the bombing of Milocevic’s Yugoslavia. The Russians meanwhile posture as friends of the Serbs and other Slavs aggrieved by Washington policy.

Across the Black Sea from the Balkans, in the Caucasus, we find Armenia, ethnically homogeneous but abetting an Armenian secessionist movement within the Armenian-peopled Nagorno-Karabakh region of neighboring Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 16% of Azeri territory since 1994. 94% of the population of Azerbaijan are Azeri, a Muslim Turkish people. (That’s seven million Muslims, double the number of Albanian Muslims; hence if Azerbaijan is in Europe, it is the largest European Muslim country.) Fellow Azeris live across the border with Georgia; 5.7% of Georgia’s 4.69 million people (668,000) live in the Adhzaria region. In Abkhazia, in the north along the Black Sea, live an additional 85,000 to 100,000 Muslims speaking a Causasian language distantly related to Georgian.

Altogether 11% of Georgia’s population (over half a million) is Muslim. About 4% of the population of Armenia are Kurds, mostly adherents of the Yezidi faith, which reveres the Prophet Mohammed but is not commonly regarded as an Islamic sect. So within the southern Caucasus, we have Azerbaijan, Adhzaria, and Abkhazia as Muslim zones. In the northern (Russian) Caucasus, we have in addition, lined up westward from the Caspian coast, Daghestan, Chechnya, and Ingushetia, three republics in the Russian Federation with predominantly Muslim populations. Daghestan has about two and a half million people, of whom at least 90% are Muslim. There aren’t good current figures for Chechnya and Ingushetia, but in 1989, when they were united in the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic, there were 735,000 Muslim Chechens and 164,000 Muslim Ingush, together 71% of the republic’s population (the rest being mostly Russian).

Bordering Ingushetia is North Ossetia, a predominantly (80%) Christian republic in the Russian Federation, with an Ingush minority. (Among the ethnic Ossetians themselves, some 20% practice Sunni Islam.) Then to the west, bordering Georgia, are the predominantly Muslim republics of Kabardino-Balkaria (Kabardins mostly Sunni Muslims, Balkarians mostly Orthodox Christian) and Karachayevo-Cherkessia, whose Muslim populations together number maybe a million. In other words, in the Caucasus you have in addition to the seven or eight million Azeri Muslims, four or five million other Muslims, living in historically Muslim districts in the Christian-majority behemoth that is Russia, and in the ancient Christian land of Georgia.

Some of these Muslims, since the breakup of the Soviet Union, have become involved in violent secessionist movements. Moscow and Tblisi, who have differences between themselves, have both become inclined since 9-11 to depict their response to such movements as counter-terrorist in character, to represent the secessionists as ideological soul-mates of al-Qaeda, and to manipulate the “War on Terror” paradigm to justify their repressive measures and to even threaten “pre-emptive” actions.

Putin like Obama vows to strike at terrorists “wherever they may be” (which might mean, say, striking at Chechens in the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia). Thus in the Caucasus, the implosion of the USSR, like the implosion of Yugoslavia in the Balkans, produces a welter of nationalist strivings, coupled with long-dormant religious sensibilities, that both the hyperpuissance U.S. and the weakened regional hegemon Russia seek to exploit. They do so now in the context of the Obama-Bush eternal war project, which exploits anti-Islamic sentiment in the U.S. (drawing especially on the most ignorant varieties of Christian fundamentalist intolerance), even as the administration insists before the global audience that the U.S. respects Islam as “a religion of peace.”

Putin, powerless to prevent the U.S.’s projection of power into formerly Soviet territory from Central Asia to Georgia, applies an “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” policy, depicting his own measures against unruly Muslims in Russia as part of the global Terror War.


Of Muslims seeking independence from Russia, the Chechens received the most attention. Their secessionist movement was been the bloodiest in the region, and exacted a most grotesque toll on Russians, in particular, from the Caucasus to Moscow. The small Chechen homeland  had a very bad press internationally, and most Americans who heard of Chechnya no doubt by this point associated its people with Islamic terrorism.

The school hostage episode in Beslan, in Russia’s North Ossetia, presented the world with the most nightmarish spectacle: a school commandeered, children specifically targeted, seized, terrified, shot in the back as they attempted to escape. About 330 Christians, half of them very young children, killed by Muslims from Chechya, and the adjoining Muslim republic of Ingushetia, and (if one believes an early Russian report uncorroborated by reporters) Muslim Arabs.

One might suppose that, as Putin sought to link Chechen rebels to al-Qaeda, the U.S. would have supported the Russian leader in his moves against Chechen separatism, rather as it endorses every single move the Likud regime in Israel takes against the cause of the Palestinians (a “terrorist” cause to the Likudists in the Bush administration), or that former President Arroyo in the Philippines took against the Moro.

Just as Washington found it useful to validate Bosnian and Kosovar nationalism in the Balkans (entrenching its expanding NATO-self into what was once proudly non-aligned European territory), so under the Clinton and Bush administrations alike they found it useful to promote Muslim separatisms in southern Russia, to better destabilize the Russian Federation.


Because Russia sought, successfully it proved, to thwart U.S. oil pipeline ambitions and the U.S.’s general pursuit of geopolitical advantage in the Caucasus.

As the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Chechens, having resented Russian domination for a century and a half, under the leadership of air force general Dzhokar Dudayev declared independence.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin refused to grant this, and Russian forces invaded in 1994 to reestablish central government authority. The invasion met with fierce resistance, prompting a withdrawal in 1996 and a peace agreement in 1997. A new Chechen government, headed by Aslan Maskhadov, failed to acquire international recognition, or to contain rampant crime, corruption, and warlordism.

“Islamic extremism” flourished and spread into neighboring Ingushetia and elsewhere. In October 1992, Ingush militias clashed with Russian-backed North Ossetian security forces, paramilitaries and army troops in the disputed region of Prigorodnyi. This is 978 square kilometers of once-Ingush land given North Ossetia during the Stalin years. This land dispute is at the heart of Christian Ossetian-Muslim Ingush animosity, and the Ingush and Chechens, whose languages are mutually comprehensible, identify with one anothers’ struggles. (The Beslan school seizure was a joint operation involving Chechens and Ingush militants.)

Thousands of Ingush homes were destroyed in 1992, and the bulk of the Ingush population in North Ossetia (46,000 by official Russian count) displaced. Complicating matters, South Ossetia, in the Republic of Georgia, attempted to succeed from Georgia and unite with North Ossetia. In response, the new Georgian government sent in troops, leveling 100 Ossetian villages and producing 100,000 refugees, many of whom wound up in Prigordnyi, seizing Ingush homes. (Tit for tat, Moscow tilted towards Abkhazia as fighting there killed 16,000 and drove 300,000 ethnic Georgians from their homes.)

Following bombings in North Ossetia that killed 53, an attack on a Russian military barracks in Daghestan, and the bombing of two Moscow apartment buildings in1999 that killed over 300, the government of President Putin resumed the war with Chechnya, forcing Maskhadov underground. Moscow blamed Chechens for the Moscow attacks, although rebel leader Shamil Basayev disclaimed responsibility, and skeptics claim the attacks were staged to justify renewed Russian intervention.

When Putin succeeded Yeltsin as Russian president on December 31, 1999, his military was bogged down in an unwinnable guerrilla war in Chechnya, and cutting its losses, the Putin administration simply proclaimed victory, turning over power to a Chechen puppet (later assassinated)

As late as 2002. Russian troops remained, harassed by forces loyal to Basayev, whom Moscow said it knew “for certain” was behind the Beslan school attack. (A Russian daily has claimed that in a message signed by Basayev, he demanded an end to the war in Chechnya, the withdrawal of Russian troops, autonomy for Chechnya within the Commonwealth of Independent States, Chechnya’s continued inclusion in the ruble zone, and CIS peacekeepers for the region.) Some of Basayev’s forces, Moscow claimed, operate out of bases in Georgia, and since 2002 Russia threatened to take action against Chechen militants in that country. Washington, as always, warned against this.

The Neocons’ Role

For over several decades, U.S. policy has been to criticize Russian actions against Chechen and Ingush rebels, while discouraging Russian support for all three separatist movements in Georgia. In 1999, many key players in the current administration formed an “American Committee for Peace in Chechnya” (ACPC), whose membership roster includes omnipresent neocon operator Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Elliot Cohen, Midge Decter, Frank Gaffney, Glen Howard, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Michael Ledeen, Bruce Jackson, James Woolsey, and Caspar Weinberger.

Since 9-11, while insisting on al-Qaeda links to Muslim terrorism everywhere else (from the Philippines to Palestine), they pronounced any Chechen-al-Qaeda link “overstated.” ACPC successfully campaigned for the U.S. to provide political asylum to Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in Maskhadov’s toppled regime and considered a terrorist by Moscow. George W. Bush’s policy was expressed by Steven Pifer, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, in an appearance before the Congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2003: “[We] do not share the Russian assessment that the Chechen conflict is simply and solely a counterterrorism effort. . . . While there are terrorist elements fighting in Chechnya, we do not agree that all separatists can be equated as terrorists.” According to John Laughland in the Guardian “US pressure will now increase on Moscow to achieve a political, rather than military, solution – in other words to negotiate with terrorists, a policy the US resolutely rejects elsewhere.”

While seeking regime change throughout the Muslim Middle East, inventing facts to achieve that end, the George W.Bush administration (pleased with the U.S.-educated and CIA-controlled president Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, which it placed in power; pleased to have military forces training troops in Azerbaijan; grateful to Armenia for its 50 troops in Iraq; planning on bringing these all into NATO) wanted the status quo in the southern Caucasus (except for the remaining Russian bases in Georgia, which it wants to replace with its own).

It also desired the advance of Muslim separatism in the northern (Russian) Caucasus. Should southern Russia decompose into a series of small, weak nations (from Daghestan to Karachayevo-Cherkessia), this part of Muslim Europe will fall firmly into the U.S. lap, terrorizing nobody and happily cooperating with U.S. energy corporations.

This, at least, is the neocon hope, which is why they so embraced what they imagine to be the Chechen cause. Meanwhile Moscow, repressing Muslim separatism at home, courts Muslim separatists in Georgia’s Adzharia and Abhkazia. Thus the main issue in the Caucasus is not Islam, or Chechen terrorism, but geopolitical control, with the U.S. and Russia competing to depict their competition as a War on Terror. And the empire of oil.

A history of the Neocons

  1. Richard Perle: Was one of Bush’s top foreign policy advisors, he was the chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. Perle was expelled from Senator Henry Jackson’s office in the 1970s after the National Security Agency (NSA) caught him passing highly classified (National Security) documents to the Israeli Embassy. He later worked for the Israeli weapons firm, Soltam. Perle came from one the above mentioned pro-Israel think tanks, the AEI.

Note: On March 27, 2003, it was announced in the media that Perle had resigned as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board. His involvement in assisting the Global Crossing bankrupts and his purported $700,000 fee for his work was apparently too much for even the corrupt Bush administration to swallow. A subsequent official report completely exonerated Perle of “any wrongdoing whatsoever” and claimed his actions were “completely within official regulations.” In February of 2004, Perle reluctantly resigned his official duties so as “not to become an embarrassment to President Bush’s reelection campaign.”

  1. Paul Wolfowitz: Deputy Defense Secretary, and member of Perle’s Defense Policy Board, in the Pentagon. Wolfowitz was a close associate of Perle and had close ties to the Israeli military. Wolfowitz holds Israeli citizenship and his sister lives in Israel. Wolfowitz was connected with the think tank, JINSA. Wolfowitz was the number two leader within the George W. Bush administration behind the disastrous Iraqi war. He had been targeted by Iraqi resistance fighters on several occasions and they only narrowly missed blowing him up in his well-guarded headquarters in Baghdad. Wolfowitz was subsequently appointed by President Bush to head the World Bank
  2. Douglas Feith: Had been Under Secretary of Defense and Policy Advisor at the Pentagon. He was a close associate of Perle and served as his Special Counsel extremist, advocating anti-Arab policies. Feith ran a small law firm, Feith and Zell, which only had one International office, in Israel. The majority of their legal work represented Israeli interests. His firm’s own website stated, prior to his appointment, that Feith “represents Israeli Armaments Manufacturers.” Feith, like Perle and Wolfowitz, campaigned intensely for war against Iraq. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy, 1984-1986 and was Special Counsel to Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Peale 1982-1984. In 2001, Feith returned to DoD as Donald Rumsfeld’s Undersecretary for Policy, and it was in his office that “OSP”, the Office of Special Plans, was created. The OSP was created to manufacture intelligence information to justify the invasion of Iraq. This intelligence flowed directly from Ariel Sharon’s office to the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon. The OSP also misplanned the post-war reconstruction there, and continued to point an accusing finger at Iran and Syria, as per Zionist plans to control the Middle East and funnel Arab oil to Israeli refineries. Feith is a graduate of Harvard College and Georgetown University Law Center and has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Like Perle and the others, Feith is a pro-Israel extremist, who has advocated anti-Arab policies in the past. He is closely associated with the extremist group, the Zionist Organization of America, which even attacks Jews that don’t agree with its extremist views. Feith frequently has spoken at ZOA conferences.
  3. Edward Luttwak: Member of the National Security Study Group of the Department of Defence at the Pentagon. Luttwak is an Israeli citizen and has taught in Israel. He frequently writes for Israeli and pro-Israeli newspapers and journals. Luttwak is an extremist whose main theme in many of his articles is the necessity of the U.S. waging war against Iraq.
  4. William Kristol: Co-Founder of PNAC. Kristol has published the Weekly Standard, a Rupert Murdoch-financed magazine that has promoted the neocon credo, once reportedly a must-read in Cheney’s office. In 2002, Media Bypass reported, “In what has been called ‘punditgate,’ conservative journalists Bill Kristol and Erwin Stelzer of The Weekly Standard … have been exposed for accepting Enron largesse. … Kristol, chief of staff to former Vice President Dan Quayle, took $100,000 without disclosing the payments at the time.

6 .Henry Kissinger: Once one of many Pentagon advisors, Kissinger sat on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board under Perle. For detailed information about Kissinger’s evil past, read Seymour Hersch’s book, Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House. Kissinger  had a part in the Watergate crimes; Southeast Asian mass murders under the CIA’s Operation Phoenix (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos); overthrowing the legitimate government of Chile and installing Chilean mass murdering dictator Pinochet; Operation Condor’s mass killings in South America; and later served as Serbia’s ex-dictator Slobodan Milosevic’s advisor. He consistently advocated going to war against Iraq. Kissinger has been the Ariel Sharon of the U.S. Typically, President Bush nominated Kissinger as chairman of the September 11 investigating commission. This was tantamount to selecting Enron’s Ken Lay to investigate a fraud scandal. The ensuing public outcry about this nomination caused Kissinger to beat a hasty retreat and he promptly resigned.

  1. Dov Zakheim: Formerly Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller, and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Department of Defense. He is an ordained rabbi and holds Israeli citizenship. Zakheim attended the Jewish College in London and became an ordained Orthodox Jewish Rabbi in 1973. He was adjunct professor at New York’s Jewish Yeshiva University.
  2. Kenneth Adelman: Once one of many Pentagon advisors, Adelman also sat on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board under Perle, and was another supporter of war against Iraq. Adelman frequently was a guest on “Fox News” and often expressed extremist and often ridiculous anti-Arab and anti-Muslim views.
  3. I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby: Once Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff. As the chief pro-Israel Jewish advisor to Cheney, Libby was in a perfect position to influence Cheney’s stand on invading Iraq. Libby was a longtime associate of Wolfowitz. Libby was also a lawyer for convicted felon and Israeli spy Mark Rich, whom Clinton pardoned in his last days as president.
  4. Robert Satloff: Once a U.S. National Security Council Advisor, Satloff was the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
  5. Elliott Abrams: National Security Council Advisor. Abrams previously worked at Washington-based “think tank” Ethics and Public Policy Center. During the Reagan Administration, he was the Assistant Secretary of State, handling, for the most part, Latin American affairs. He played an important role in the Iran-Contra Scandal, which involved illegally selling U.S. weapons to Iran to fight Iraq, and illegally funding the contra rebels fighting to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. He also actively deceived three congressional committees about his involvement and thereby faced felony charges based on his testimony. Abrams pled guilty in 1991 to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to a year’s probation and 100 hours of community service. A year later, former President George H.W.Bush granted Abrams a full pardon. He previously worked at Washington-based think tank Ethics and Public Policy Center. Abrams is the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz, editor emeritus of Commentary, whose magazine has for decades branded critics of Israel as anti-Semites. Abrams is a diehard PNACer, having “authored the chapter on the Middle East in the 2000 blueprint for U.S. foreign policy by the Project on the New American Century. Edited by PNAC founders William Kristol and Robert Kagan, Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy is a chapter-by-chapter playbook on how to deal with America’s current and future adversaries.”

During the Reagan Administration, Abrams was the Assistant Secretary of State, handling, for the most part, Latin American affairs. He played an important role in the Iran-Contra Scandal, which involved illegally selling U.S. weapons to Iran to fight Iraq, and illegally funding the contra rebels fighting to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. He also actively deceived three congressional committees about his involvement and thereby faced felony charges based on his testimony. Abrams pled guilty in 1991 to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to a year’s probation and 100 hours of community service. A year later, former President VGeorge H.W. Bush  granted Abrams a full pardon. He was one of the more hawkish pro-Israel Jews in the Reagan Administration’s State Department.

  1. Marc Grossman: Formerly Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. He was Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources at the Department of State. Grossman was one of many of the officials from the Clinton Administration that George W.Bush promoted to higher posts.
  2. Richard Haass: Formerly Director of Policy Planning at the State Department and Ambassador at large. He was also Director of National Security Programs and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Haass was one of the more hawkish pro-Israelis in the first Bush Administration and sat on the National Security Council, consistently advocating war against Iraq. Haass was also a member of the Defense Department’s National Security Study Group, at the Pentagon. Director of Policy Planning at the State Department and Ambassador at large.
  3. Robert Zoellick: Formerly U.S. Trade Representative, a cabinet-level position. He was also one of the more hawkish members of the George W. Bush Administration who advocated invading Iraq and occupying a portion of the country in order to set up a Vichy-style puppet government. Zoellick was promoted to Deputy Secretary of State and was a member of CFR and Project for the New American Century signatory. Formerly U.S. Trade Representative and Under Secretary of State in the Bush administration. It is no accident that Robert Zoellick was in line with the loudest chicken-hawks in promoting the Iraq War, and at the same tme acted to increase our unemployment lines in America. Robert Zoellick had been instrumental in fostering outsourcing of American jobs to the Third World.
  4. Ari Fleischer: Once official White House Press Spokesman for the George W.Bush Administration. Fleischer was closely connected to the group called the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidics, who have followed the Qabala and have held very extremist and insulting views of non-Jews. Fleischer was the co-president of Chabad’s Capitol Jewish Forum. He received the Young Leadership Award from the American Friends of Lubavitch in October, 2001. Fleischer subsequently resigned his White House post.
  5. James Schlesinger: One of many Pentagon advisors, Schlesinger also sat on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board under Perle and was another supporter of the war against Iraq. Schlesinger was also a commissioner of the Defense Department’s National Security Study Group, at the Pentagon.
  6. David Frum: Once, under President George W. Bush’s White House the speech writer behind the “Axis of Evil” label. Frumm lumped together all the Bush Administration’s outright lies and accusations against Iraq for Bush to justify the war.
  7. Joshua Bolten: White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Bolton was previously a banker, former legislative aide.
  8. John Bolton: Former Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Bolton was also a Senior Advisor to President Bush. Prior to this position, Bolton was Senior Vice President of the above mentioned think tank, AEI. In October 2002, Bolton accused Syria of having a nuclear program so an attack Syria could be justified after a subjugation of Iraq. President Bush appointed Bolton, an extremely opinionated and abrasive individual, to the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. His appointment was the subject of strong controversy and Bolton was not been officially appointed. Yale graduate. A prime architect of Bush’s Iraq policy, Bolton served Bush Snr and Reagan in the State Department, Justice Department and USAid and was later Under-Secretary for Arms Control and international security in George W.Bush’s State Department. His appointment was intended to counter the dove-ish Colin Powell. Bolton once led Rumsfeld’s charge to destabilize Powell’s multilateralism. Bolton was part of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Project for the New American Century and is a vice-president at the American Enterprise Institute. He was also one of Bush’s chad-counters during the Florida count. Bolton had long advocated Taiwan getting a UN seat — he had been on the payroll of the Taiwanese government. The US unilateralist was a regular contributor to William Kristol’s right-wing Weekly Standard and vilified UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Bolton was an opponent of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a cheerleader for the Star Wars Defence System. He had hinted at targeting Cuba in the war on terror. His financial interests includes oil and arms firms and JP Morgan Chase, like Shultz. It was said that Bolton believes in the inevitability of Armageddon. Like Woolsey, Bolton was said to believe we are in the midst of world war four which he estimated could take 40 years to finish. Despite evidence to the contrary they believed Iraq was involved in September 11. With Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Khalilzad, Bennet, Woolsey, Perle and Kristol, Bolton co-signed a letter in 1998 urging President Bill Clinton to take military action in Iraq.
  9. David Wurmser: Former Special Assistant to John Bolton, the Under-Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. Wurmser also worked at the AEI with Perle and Bolton. His wife, Meyrav Wurmser, along with Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence, co-founded the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a Washington-based Israeli outfit which distributed articles translated from Arabic newspapers portraying Arabs in a bad light. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, which on July 7, 1996 issued a paper by six ”prominent opinion makers” laying out ”a new vision for the U.S.-Israeli partnership” that urged an end to ”land-for-peace” concessions. Among many suggestions was to ”focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.”

Wurmser, of American Enterprise Institute joined his former colleague, John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, to be a special assistant. While at AEI Wurmser wrote that any attack on the U.S. military overseas should be met by Washington with a response of massive killing of civilians in the offending nation. Bolton has known for arguing that Washington should disregard international law. He “promptly dismantled or obstructed nearly every multilateral treaty in sight,” He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, which on July 7, 1996 which issued a paper by six ”prominent opinion makers” laying out ”a new vision for the U.S.-Israeli partnership” that urged an end to ”land-for-peace” concessions. Among many suggestions was to ”focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.”

  1. Eliot Cohen: Formerly a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board under Perle; another extremist pro-Israel advisor. Like Adelman, Cohen often expressed extremist and often ridiculous anti-Arab and anti-Muslim views. More recently, he wrote an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal openly admitting his racist hatred of Islam and claiming that Islam and not terrorism should be the enemy.
  2. Mel Sembler: President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. A prominent Republican and Former National Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee. The Export-Import Bank facilitates trade relationships between U.S. businesses and foreign countries, specifically those with financial problems.
  3. Michael Chertoff: Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, at the Justice Department. Mr. Chertoff subsequently has been appointed to head the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Czar holds dual Israeli citizenship.
  4. Steve Goldsmith: Once the Senior Advisor to the President, and Bush’s Jewish Domestic Policy advisor. He also served as liaison in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (White House OFBCI) within the Executive Office of the President. Goldsmith was the former mayor of Indianapolis.
  5. Christopher Gersten: Formerly Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families at HHS.
  6. Mark Weinberger: Formerly Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy.
  7. Samuel Bodman: Formerly Deputy Secretary of Commerce. He was the Chairman and CEO of Cabot Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts.
  8. Bonnie Cohen: Formerly Under Secretary of State for Management.
  9. Ruth Davis: Formerly Director of Foreign Service Institute, reporting to the Office of Under Secretary for Management. This Office has been responsible for training all Department of State staff (including ambassadors).
  10. Lincoln Bloomfield: Formerly Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.
  11. Jay Lefkowitz: Formerly General Counsel of the Office of Budget and Management.
  12. Ken Melman: White House Political Director.
  13. Brad Blakeman: Formerly White House Director of Scheduling.
  14. Stephen David Bryen : In 1979 Bryen was investigated for espionage. He had been overheard in the Madison Hotel coffee shop, offering classified documents to an official of the Israeli Embassy in the presence of the director of AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. It was later determined that the Embassy official was Zvi Rafiah, the Mossad station chief in Washington. Bryen refused to be polygraphed by the FBI on the purpose and details of the meeting; whereas the person who’d witnessed it agreed to be polygraphed and passed the test. The investigation was squashed by Philip Heymann. Bryen was asked to resign from his Foreign Relations Committee post shortly before the investigation was concluded in late 1979. For the following year and a half, he served as Executive Director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and provided consulting services to AIPAC.

In April, 1981, the FBI received an application by the Defense Department for a Top Secret security clearance for Dr. Bryen. Richard Perle, who had just been nominated as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, was proposing Bryen as his Deputy Assistant Secretary! Within six months, with Perle pushing hard, Bryen received both Top Secret-SCI (sensitive compartmented information) and Top Secret “NATO/COSMIC” clearances.

In 1988, while serving as the Director (and founder) of DTSA (Defense Technology Security Administration) in the DOD office, Bryen was involved attempting to export sensitive military technology to Israel. In late 1988, Bryen resigned from his DOD post, and for a period worked in the private sector with a variety of defense technology consulting firms.

  1. Michael Ledeen: A fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Ledeen holds a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin. In 1983, on the recommendation of Richard Perle, Ledeen was hired at the Department of Defense as a consultant on terrorism. While being investigated as a security risk by his supervisor, Noel Koch, it was learned from the CIA station that Ledeen had been carried in Agency files as an agent of influence of a foreign government: Israel.

After having his access to classified materials blocked he ceased working there. He next appeared at the National Security Council as a consultant working with NSC head Robert McFarlane. Ledeen was involved in the transfer of arms to Iran during the Iran-Contra affair — an adventure that he documented in the book “Perilous Statecraft: An Insider’s Account of the Iran-Contra Affair.” A prominent member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) board of governors and the Center for Security Policy (CSP), he advocated “total war” in line with the “Grand Strategy for the Middle East” which advocated “Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot and Egypt as the prize.” Ledeen was a serving member on the China Commission and, with the support of DOD Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, he had been employed as a consultant for the Office of Special Plans OSP). He was involved in the handling of classified materials and had high-level security clearances

  1. Michael Joyce: The former president of the Bradley Foundation, one of the largest and most influential right-wing organizations in America. It set up the PNAC led by William Kristol. Kristol’s Weekly Standard was viewed in Washington as the in-house paper for Team Bush. The Standard was bankrolled by Rupert Murdoch. Joyce once said that Bush’s key people such as Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz “were clearly influenced by Bradley Foundation thinking”.



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