• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 1 juli 2017

NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard

NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard

 

Exclusive: A founding Russia-gate myth is that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia hacked into and distributed Democratic emails, a falsehood that The New York Times has belatedly retracted, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry (Updated on July 1 with new NYT deception)

The New York Times has finally admitted that one of the favorite Russia-gate canards – that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concurred on the assessment of Russian hacking of Democratic emails – is false.
New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)
On Thursday, the Times appended a correction to a June 25 article that had repeated the false claim, which has been used by Democrats and the mainstream media for months to brush aside any doubts about the foundation of the Russia-gate scandal and portray President Trump as delusional for doubting what all 17 intelligence agencies supposedly knew to be true.
In the Times’ White House Memo of June 25, correspondent Maggie Haberman mocked Trump for “still refus[ing] to acknowledge a basic fact agreed upon by 17 American intelligence agencies that he now oversees: Russia orchestrated the attacks, and did it to help get him elected.”
However, on Thursday, the Times – while leaving most of Haberman’s ridicule of Trump in place – noted in a correction that the relevant intelligence “assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.”
The Times’ grudging correction was vindication for some Russia-gate skeptics who had questioned the claim of a full-scale intelligence assessment, which would usually take the form of a National Intelligence Estimate (or NIE), a product that seeks out the views of the entire Intelligence Community and includes dissents.
The reality of a more narrowly based Russia-gate assessment was admitted in May by President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan in sworn congressional testimony.
Clapper testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 8 that the Russia-hacking claim came from a “special intelligence community assessment” (or ICA) produced by selected analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, “a coordinated product from three agencies – CIA, NSA, and the FBI – not all 17 components of the intelligence community,” the former DNI said.
Clapper further acknowledged that the analysts who produced the Jan. 6 assessment on alleged Russian hacking were “hand-picked” from the CIA, FBI and NSA.
Yet, as any intelligence expert will tell you, if you “hand-pick” the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion. For instance, if the analysts were known to be hard-liners on Russia or supporters of Hillary Clinton, they could be expected to deliver the one-sided reportthat they did.

Politicized Intelligence

In the history of U.S. intelligence, we have seen how this selective approach has worked, such as the phony determination of the Reagan administration pinning the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II and other acts of terror on the Soviet Union.
Hillary Clinton at the Code 2017 conference on May 31, 2017.
CIA Director William Casey and Deputy Director Robert Gates shepherded the desired findings through the process by putting the assessment under the control of pliable analysts and sidelining those who objected to this politicization of intelligence.
The point of enlisting the broader intelligence community – and incorporating dissents into a final report – is to guard against such “stove-piping” of intelligence that delivers the politically desired result but ultimately distorts reality.
Another painful example of politicized intelligence was President George W. Bush’s 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s WMD that removed State Department and other dissents from the declassified version that was given to the public.
Since Clapper’s and Brennan’s testimony in May, the Times and other mainstream news outlets have avoided a direct contradiction of their earlier acceptance of the 17-intelligence-agencies canard by simply referring to a judgment by “the intelligence community.”
That finessing of their earlier errors has allowed Hillary Clinton and other senior Democrats to continue referencing this fictional consensus without challenge, at least in the mainstream media.
For instance, on May 31 at a technology conference in California, Clinton referred to the Jan. 6 report, asserting that “Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get. They concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign, to influence voters in the election.”
The failure of the major news organizations to clarify this point about the 17 agencies may have contributed to Haberman’s mistake on June 25 as she simply repeated the groupthink that nearly all the Important People in Washington just knew to be true.
Even after the correction, the Times quickly returned to its pattern of deceiving its readers regarding the U.S. intelligence assessment. On June 30, a Times article reported: “Mr. Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the unanimous conclusion of United States intelligence agencies that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 race.”
The phrasing “unanimous conclusion” again suggests that all 17 intelligence agencies are in accord, albeit without specifically saying so, a journalistic sleight of hand that raises further doubts about the objectivity and honesty of the Times on this issue.
The Times’ belated correction — and its new deceptive formulation — underscore the growing sense that the U.S. mainstream media has joined in a political vendetta against Trump and has cast aside professional standards to the point of repeating false claims designed to denigrate him.
That, in turn, plays into Trump’s Twitter complaints that he and his administration are the targets of a “witch hunt” led by the “fake news” media, a grievance that appears to be energizing his supporters and could discredit whatever ongoing investigations eventually conclude.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).


Zionistische Terreur tegen Investering Nederlandse Belastingbetalers

Vanzelfsprekend durft de zionistische minister Lodewijk Asscher en premier Rutte hiertegen niet te protesteren, want zoals de publiciste Jan Blokker ooit eens vaststelde: 

Na de Tweede Wereldoorlog is het jodendom in de christelijke wereld vrijwel heilig verklaard en geen volk dat in die processie zo hard vooroploopt als de Nederlanders. 


Israël vernietigt wéér Nederlands hulpproject in Palestina

De zonnepanelen werken al een half jaar. Ze bedreigen niemand. In de buurt van het dorp zijn een aantal illegale Joodse nederzettingen. Daar wordt niets afgebroken of geconfisqueerd.
Ook op het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken heeft men geen goed woord over voor de Israëlische sloopactie. Nederland schenkt jaarlijks tientallen miljoen euro’s aan ontwikkelingsprojecten in door Israël illegaal bezet Palestina. Formeel eist de Israëlische regering dat eerst bij hen om toestemming gevraagd wordt, maar hulporganisaties doen dat vaak niet. De wachttijden zijn lang, de slagingskansen zijn laag. Wie een hulpproject wil starten in Palestina is overgeleverd aan Israëlische willekeur.
Woordvoerder Chris Bakker van het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken laat weten:
Wij hebben direct ernstig geprotesteerd bij de Israëlische autoriteiten en aangedrongen op teruggave van de goederen. We bekijken momenteel de precieze schade en welke volgende stappen genomen kunnen worden.
Israël vernietigt met grote regelmaat ontwikkelingsprojecten in Palestina. Ook Nederlandse projecten waren eerder doelwit van de agressie. In maart vorig jaar werd een landbouwproject verwoest waar Nederland 10 miljoen dollar in had geïnvesteerd. Dat project was bedoeld om Palestijnen te leren hoe ze de grond het best konden gebruiken om gewassen te verbouwen. Israëlische militairen confisqueerden zowel de grond als de landbouwmachines. In 2000 vernietigde het Israëlische leger een haven in aanbouw in de illegaal bezette Gazastrook. Met de haven werd ook een Nederlandse bijdrage van 23 miljoen euro vernietigd.
Bronnen: De MorgenAD / cc-foto: IDF

Mondoweiss

July 1, 2017

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Amazon pulls blank ‘History of Palestinian People’ — which aims to dehumanize in order to subjugate

By Tom Suarez

Amazon pulled a book by the Israeli “publicist, editor and creative specialist” Assaf A. Voll, which reduces three thousand years of Palestinian history and achievement to 132 bank pages — blank, except for a printed watermark of a Palestinian flag superimposed over Palestinian/Roman pillars. It is aimed at dehumanizing Palestinians, and erasing a proud history.


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Izzadine out loud: trans, Palestinian and proud

By Susie Day

Susie Day writes, "Izzadine was born 25 years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His father, a Palestinian Muslim, and his mother, a white Christian, raised him and his two brothers Muslim. They also raised Izzadine female, but when he was 21 and in college, he came out as a transgender man and began, he says, to reinvent himself. He'd always wanted to live in New York, so he got a job at the Institute for Middle East Understanding, based in Brooklyn. Izzy's now here; he's queer; and–with due journalistic objectivity–he's slightly awesome. I started by asking him what it's like, combining Ramadan with Gay Pride."


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Trump aides end all doubt about whose side they’ll be on in the next great peace process

By Philip Weiss

Recent days have dashed any thought that Donald Trump would be neutral or an honest broker. Negotiator Jason Greenblatt spent all his time echoing the Israeli message about the conflict, while envoy Jared Kushner reportedly angered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by carrying Netanyahu's talking points to Ramallah.


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U.S. Drone Terror

"I Saw Pieces of Bodies": Afghan Civilians Describe Terrorization by US Drones

Saturday, July 01, 2017 By Alex Edney-Browne, Truthout | News Analysis 
Predator drone with Hellfire missiles on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Credit: Alex Edney-BrownePredator drone with Hellfire missiles on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Edney-Browne)
The Trump administration's "drone policy," though early to characterize, is shaping up to be even more aggressive than the Obama administration's. There has been a significant increase in the number of drone attacks since Trump assumed office. In March 2017 parts of Yemen and Somalia -- where the United States is not formally at war -- were changed to "areas of active hostilities," making it easier for the US to launch drone attacks.

Many more civilians are dying than the US government publicly admits.

Through the Obama years and continuing with Trump, opponents of drone warfare have tended to highlight civilian casualties from drone attacks. They rightly argue that many more civilians are dying than the US government publicly admits. Another frequently raised concern is the secrecy of (and dubious legal basis for) the CIA's drone operations in "non-traditional battlefields" like Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. These are all pressing issues and will continue to serve an important role in ethical debates about drone warfare.
What is often neglected in these debates, however, is the use of drones by the US Air Force (not the CIA) in countries that the US is known to be active in: Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The Trump administration is deepening its military engagement in these conflicts, and has committed to the deployment of nearly 4,000 soldiers to Afghanistan. This troop surge is going ahead even though a corresponding long-term strategy for the war in Afghanistan is not yet decided. It is important to consider how the use of drones is affecting civilians' lives and livelihoods in these countries, how those effects will manifest in the future, and the long-term implications of this for diplomacy and security.
More Than Numbers: Afghan Civilians
"Bongak" and "Bnngina" are the terms used to describe military drones in different regions of Afghanistan: Dari/Pashto onomatopoeias because of the "bnng" sound they make as they hover above. Afghanistan is the world's most drone-bombed country, yet is commonly forgotten about in drone criticism and monitoring efforts. Drone surveillance and attacks began in Afghanistan in 2001, yet the civilian casualty toll has only been monitored since 2015. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the organization conducting this monitoring, reports that accurate figures are almost impossible to obtain because of the insecurity and inaccessibility of attack locations.

Quantitative data is not the best tool to convey how it feels to hear drones, to think about being spied on in your home or to fear a possible attack.

This means there are limitations to relying on civilian casualty figures when discussing the ethics of drone warfare in Afghanistan. More importantly, and this applies to all areas attacked and surveilled by drones, the effects of drones are much more profound and wide-ranging than a focus on casualty numbers invites the public to consider. Casualty figures can even work to dehumanize victims: Quantitative data is not the best tool to convey how it feels to hear drones, to think about being spied on in your home or to fear a possible attack. Despite the obvious challenges, it is important that researchers and journalists attempt to uncover and communicate the emotional and psycho-social harms of drone warfare. The recent documentary National Bird, which interviews Afghan drone victims, is one such example of the brave journalism needed.
Afghan Victims Detail Psycho-Social Harms
As a Ph.D. researcher based in Australia, going to Afghanistan to speak with drone victims seemed impossible for myriad reasons, including the rigorous ethics approval and "high-risk travel destination" application my university required. Persistence paid off, however, and I had the (difficult, heart-wrenching, yet moving) experience of meeting with more than 20 Afghans who live in provinces surveilled by drones, were injured in drone attacks or have lost loved ones to drone attacks. It is their stories that I share here, though I have changed their names to protect their privacy.
Despite researching drone warfare for almost four years, it was still surprising to learn about the extent of the effect on Afghan people's lives and livelihoods. From the psychological distress of living under drone surveillance, to the economic impact of a disability, to the sadness and stress experienced by the family of an injured person, the Bongak/Bnngina has damaged so many aspects of Afghan lives.
Saifullah, a 39-year-old, was injured in a co-joint helicopter and drone attack on February 21, 2010. The attack -- reported in the media as "Uruzgan helicopter attack," though victims say they also saw the drone launch missiles -- took place in Kijran District, Daikundi Province (not Uruzgan). According to these civilians, Daikundi was (and still is) a safe, government-controlled province of Afghanistan. The attack killed 21 civilians and injured 14. Saifullah's younger brother, a 23-year-old, was killed from metal shrapnel piercing his head. Saifullah needed a below-knee amputation on his left leg and now lives with a prosthetic. The "Uruzgan Attack" is unique for a US air attack in Afghanistan because it received Western media attention (many don't), and the transcript of the drone crew was successfully obtained by the LA Times through a Freedom of Information Act request. It is the only publicly available drone transcript. Media reporting of the event reveals the civilian casualty count. Saifullah's testimony is much more horrifying:
I heard everybody shouting and crying…. I saw pieces of bodies, even pieces like the size of this cup [points]. I lost my brother. My leg was broken and it was very painful. It is very difficult to see that situation with your own eyes, even for me to say it now. I hope that God does not show that kind of scene to anyone.
Seven years after that dreadful day, Saifullah is still feeling the impact. He has nightmares that wake him in a sweat, he discontinued his university education because his memory and concentration have since weakened, and he sometimes avoids seeing his nephew because it is too upsetting to be reminded of his dead brother.
Saifullah, a drone attack victim, lost his leg and the trauma to his head stopped him from concentrating at university. Credit: Alex Edney-BrowneSaifullah, a drone attack victim, lost his leg and the trauma to his head stopped him from concentrating at university. (Photo: Alex Edney-Browne)Thankfully drones rarely fly over Daikundi province, so Saifullah only sees and/or hears them once or twice a year when he travels to other provinces. This is a relief, as he finds the sound "very disturbing," and fears there will be "another attack on me or some other innocent civilians."
Meanwhile Abdul Qodus, a 45-year-old from Wardak Province, cannot escape being transported back to the day of the attack that killed his brother. The Bnngina (the name given to drones in Wardak) flies over regularly. "All day and all night it is there," he laments. "It is nonstop in our village." This did not seem to be an exaggeration: Abdul had even heard a drone the evening prior to our meeting. "All night I did not sleep more than two hours," he told me. Abdul's brother, a farmer, was killed in 2014. He was working alone -- taking goats up to the mountain -- when he was hit by a drone missile.

"I heard the drone attack and I ran to the mountain. The first thing I saw was the pieces of my brother's body."

"I heard the drone attack and I got out of the house, because I knew my brother had taken goats to the mountain and I thought maybe he has been attacked, and I ran to the mountain," he added. "The first thing I saw was the pieces of my brother's body."
Abdul and his family's lives have changed drastically since the death of his brother. They are now scared of taking their animals to the mountain. "This affects our financial situation. Because we don't have much land, we need to use the grass at the mountain. Our lives are connected to our animals."
Abdul described how the lives of the whole community had been disrupted by drone attacks on the mountain. Before Abdul's brother's death, four other civilians had also been killed on the mountain in a separate drone attack.
"We are a mountain village," he told me. "We go to the mountain to collect wood for fuel, for fires. We need it for our cooking and to make bread. We collect mushrooms and mountain leeks. We get water from the mountain, too, because there is a spring there. We use it to irrigate our farms."

Villagers are worried that the drones' surveillance cameras will mistake their innocent behavior for something nefarious.

Many other rural Afghans echoed that the ill effects of drones were felt not just at the individual and familial level, but also by the wider community. Villagers are worried that the drones' surveillance cameras will mistake their innocent behavior for something nefarious. "When there is a jirga [local meeting] in the village and a drone goes around, we are afraid because we think the meeting will be attacked," Shanaky Gul, a 25-year-old from Wardak Province, said.  Congregations of Afghan civilians have been targeted in the past. A study by Stanford Law School/NYU Legal Clinic, "Living Under Drones," likewise found that civilians in Waziristan, Pakistan, had stopped participating in communal and social activities because they feared gathering in groups.
Long-Term Strategy?
It is hard to fathom the long-term effects of drone-induced fear on the psycho-social health of Afghan people and their communities. It is clear, however, that the task of diplomacy and improving security is made more difficult as a result. An overwhelming majority of the Afghan drone victims interviewed voiced unfavorable views about the United States and its allies. How will Afghanistan's next generation of community leaders and politicians, who have grown up living under the buzz of drones, feel towards the nations responsible for operating them? A troop surge will not improve this diplomatic impasse. Ahmad, a 21-year-old elementary school teacher from Wardak Province, put it this way: "We don't want to have relations with the militaries of foreign countries. We don't want it and we don't like them. The ordinary people like you -- we like them and we want to have connections with them."   
Meanwhile, President Trump has repeatedly declared that he will "destroy radical Islamic terrorism," but has consistently shown that he does not understand the conditions in which terrorism thrives, overlooking the fact that  the Taliban has capitalized on anger caused by drones in its propaganda material and the madrassas (schools) it funds in Eastern Afghanistan.

"We cannot care as well for our farms as before," Abdul told me. "When we go, we go with fear, we go quickly."

The psycho-social toll of drone warfare and its knock-on effects for cross-cultural relations and security are missed by most drone warfare criticism. As I witnessed in Afghanistan, the wide-ranging and long-term negative impact of drone warfare go far beyond the civilian casualty statistics most often cited, affecting the lives of all who live in the areas patrolled by drones.
"We cannot care as well for our farms as before," Abdul told me. "When we go, we go with fear, we go quickly." 
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

ALEX EDNEY-BROWNE

Alex Edney-Browne is a Ph.D. researcher in international relations at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her thesis investigates people's lived experiences of drone warfare, both Afghan civilians and US Air Force drone personnel. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexEdneyBrowne.

    Zionist Support for Terrorism




    Isis fighters ‘attacked Israel Defense Forces unit, then apologised' claims former commander

    Moshe Ya’alon reportedly referred to a clash with Isis-linked group last November 
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    The Independent Online
    Isis-affiliated fighters “apologised” after launching an attack on Israeli soldiers, the country’s former defence minister has claimed. 
    Moshe Ya’alon was reportedly referring to an incident when a group linked to Isis in the Syrian Golan Heights exchanged fire with Israeli forces last November. 
    The area is a rocky plateau in southwestern Syria, which was partly seized by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

    “There was one case recently where Daesh [Isis] opened fire and apologised,” Mr Ya’alon said speaking at an event in the northern city of Alufa, during which he was was being interviewed about Israel’s policy on Syria. 
    After a short gun battle, the Israeli military attacked Syrian jihadist group Khalid ibn al-Walid with airstrikes and tank fire, killing four of them, The Times of Israel reports. 
    This was the first direct clash between Israeli forces and Isis militants after the terror group opened fire on a military patrol on the Israeli side, a military spokesman said at the time.
    Khalid ibn al-Walid, which affiliated itself with Isis in May 2016, seized territory including a large town and several villages on the Syrian border with Israel in a surprise attack on moderate rebel forces in February this year.
    A spokesperson for Mr Ya’alon refused to elaborate on how Isis expressed its apology to Israel after the attack and the Israel Defense Forces also refused to comment. 
    According to the first Western journalists, who have entered Isis' territories and survived, Israel is the only country in the world the Islamic group fears because it believes its army is too strong to face. 
    Under Israeli law, communication with the group is illegal because it constitutes contact with an enemy agent.
    Mr Ya’alon is the former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and served as Defence Minister from 2013 until his resignation in May 2016. 
    During the interview, he said Israel carried out strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in retaliation when the Golan Heights was attacked.
    Israel has adopted a largely non-interventionist position regarding the complicated conflict on its doorstep, although it has retaliated on occasions when conflict has spilled over into territory it controls.



    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-israel-defence-force-apology-attack-unit-golan-heights-defense-minister-moshe-ya-alon-a7700616.html