Choose Your Poison

canna_risk5At the risk of seeming contrary since I added a new header for the blog that contains a rally cry for those who first stood up against taxes meant for the poor man in early American history (“Huzzah for the Whiskey Boys”), I wanted to show readers that my claims of Cannabis demonizing by the government/media/corporations has been shown to be propaganda and outright lies.

If interested, you should read about the Whiskey Rebellion and how us “White Indians” took on the Watermelon Army.

Many of us have been hoodwinked into believing all the lies about cannabis. It took $Billions and a constant many decades long pushRgvS7 from those who profit from the prohibition to make you so uneducated about the subject.

But, as is my nature, I find that any time officials tell me some storyline, I already know it to be bullshit 99% of the time. I also have the benefit of several decades of personal knowledge of the subject and know hundreds of people that understand the same thing… that cannabis is not in any way, dangerous to one’s health and welfare. The biggest issue with cannabis is the police state that has been formed around that lie. The most dangerous thing that could ever happen to a cannabis user is being arrested and one’s life ruined. It has absolutely nothing to do with the “danger” of the drug, no matter what this moron, OK Rep Markwayne Mullin says about it:

At a town hall meeting last night, Oklahoma Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin slammed President Barack Obama for suggesting that recreational marijuana use is no more dangerous than social drinking, the Tulsa World‘s Randy Krehbiel reports.

Rep. Mullin was responding to a question about Obama’s position on marijuana, and he did so in a way that very closely resembled the argument favored by Fox News’ Sean Hannity — “I can drink a beer or two and I don’t really feel anything,” Hannity is fond saying, but “you can’t smoke a joint and not feel something.”

When asked about the president’s position, Rep. Mullin replied that “you can be a social drinker and not get drunk,” but “there’s no way you can take a drag on a joint without feeling it.”

“You can not — and I can’t speak to this, because I’m one of these guys who’s never tasted a drug in his life — but there is no way you can take a drag off a joint and not feel a little different. It alters your way of thinking.”

Rep. Mullin continued by saying that “those who smoke marijuana do so to get high, that’s the only purpose. There’s no other reason.”

“What about pain?” asked one town hall attendee.

“Pain?” a visibly annoyed Mullin replied. “Pain? I have screws and plates in me from [my head] to my toes, so I know about pain. The pain doesn’t go away, you just mask it (with drugs). The pain is still there. You have to learn to deal with it. Then you can move on with your life.”

“The only thing that [pain] does is give you an excuse [as to] why you can’t do something, of why you can’t accomplish something — ‘because I hurt.’”

God_made_weed,_man_made_beerI have had countless people explain to me how bad weed is. That it is worse than alcohol and as bad as heroin, crack, etc. Many, if not most of those people have NEVER even tried it, much less used it for any medical reasons. Perhaps there are a few people that have problems with it (I have one dear friend that says it makes him so paranoid that he won’t use it… but he drinks a 12 pack or more daily). I contend that most paranoia is based upon what one thinks might happen if they get caught by the police (or employer), not that the stuff makes them paranoid in and of itself (although there may be some that experience this). It would be such a small minority of users to make it insignificant. Differing strains have different effects on people, so if paranoia is an issue, find a strain that doesn’t induce it. (Of course, this would be easier if one could go to the liquorweed store and buy the exact strain they want like picking out your preferred Vodka)

My push has become a medical pursuit, but I also know that this is a freedom related issue. One should be free to use something that is so much less hazardous/damaging than alcohol (which, as I mentioned, is used by some of the very same ones who argue against marijuana in the first place), even IF there sole reason is to “get high”. Will Mark or Hannity tell me that people do not use alcohol to “get high”? Seriously? It was the only reason I ever used it. There certainly is hardly any medical benefit from it, yet I can (and have) posted hundreds of articles and links that prove marijuana efficacy.

Someone like MarkyMark Dumbass of OK, who has NEVER “tasted a drug in his life”, is going to explain to someone who has “tasted drugs” for a majority of his life, that it is not beneficial or IS worse than alcohol (btw: I don’t drink any more because the stuff makes me sick, kills people, and I have seen it ruin lives… none of which holds true with cannabis) has no factual basis except propaganda to go by. (I’m sure that the substantial donation from the National Beer Wholesalers Assn has nothing to do with his anti-pot platform)

I’m sorry, but anyone who has never tried it and wants to explain to those who have how awful it is should stfu because they do not know what they are talking about.

Period.

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Political Promises

We're sweeping out the Bullshit

We’re sweeping out the Bullshit


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How to Become a “Made Man” in the Media

How to Become a “Made Man” in the Media

by DC Dave

David Corn

David Corn

A late uncle of mine who flew a spotter plane for the Air Force during the height of the Vietnam War once told me that during his stint there one of our “intelligence services” tried to recruit him. He declined the offer, he told me, but only after he had gone so far as to take a required “psychological evaluation” for them. The experience, he told me, appalled him. “I could tell from the questions,” he said, “that they were looking for someone who was immoral.”

Many years later I told that story to a small group at a party in the Washington, DC, area. Among the group was a young man whose friends strongly suspect of being in the CIA. Unable to restrain himself he blurted out, “I took that test.”

I have less direct evidence for it, but I have been told that at least in the covert action field, it is common for novices to be required to perform some illegal act so that they will be compromised against turning into whistleblowers later in their covert careers.

I found myself reflecting on this sordid vetting process for members of our clandestine services as I was surfing the cable news channels the other day to

Peter Baker

Peter Baker

see how they might be spinning the latest ceasefire in Ukraine, the one brokered by Germany and France, without U.S. participation. Who should I see there—on MSNBC, I believe it was—offering their “expert” opinions back-to-back but two journalists whose paths had crossed mine when I was following the case of the mysterious death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr. in the 1990s. They were David Corn and Peter Baker.

I first became aware of Corn when we both attended a press conference in Washington, DC, in the spring of 1995 in which Christopher Ruddy announced the findings of three investigators that tended to support Ruddy’s theory that Foster had not died at the place where the body had been found. Ruddy’s loudest and most aggressive antagonist at that news conference was Corn, then working for The Nation magazine. I have since come to realize that the scene I witnessed there was nothing more than a show, with Ruddy playing the rightist and Corn the leftist. The “investigation” that Ruddy was touting, I have since figured out, was little more than a charade, as I explain briefly in the recent article, “Latest Foster Cover-Up Book Not Completely Worthless.” Corn’s objections, as I recall, did not address the real weaknesses in what Ruddy was reporting, but simply amounted to the usual “conspiracy theory” denunciation.

Corn has continued to play his role of leftist Clinton-couple defender, as we see in his Mother Jones article of a year ago, “Here Come the Crazy Clinton Conspiracies of the 1990s.” Ruddy, on the other hand, has been groomed for bigger things, as I show in my article of about the same time, “Double Agent Ruddy Reaches for Media Pinnacle.” In so doing he has had to change his act in a manner that is on a par with a professional wrestler converting from villain to good guy—or vice versa, depending upon one’s ideological leanings. He has now disavowed his “crazy Clinton conspiracies of the 1990s.” How far he has gone is well captured by this quote from Business Week, cited in my article:

Ruddy’s own conservatism, despite a fervent anti-Obama streak, is far from Tea Party obstructionism. “People mellow or change or get perspective as they age,” says liberal journalist Joe Conason, often Ruddy’s foil during the Clinton battles, who now counts him as a friend. “Or most people do. He’s not this right-wing kid that he was.”

Notice that it is Conason, along with co-author Gene Lyons, and their book, The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom Corn invokes in his Mother Jones article for a blanket denunciation of any suggestion that the Clintons might have been involved in the sort of illegal activities that Ruddy made his bones exposing.

Actually, at that 1995 press conference, Ruddy, born in 1965, was more at the stage of his career for the spook-vetting process than was Corn. Corn was already 36 years old and had written the book Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA’s Crusades. Kevin Barrett’s assessment of Corn and that book is summed up in this passage:

Corn is obviously CIA all the way—otherwise why would he cover up Shackley’s connection to the JFK assassination? Why would he write an exhaustive “biography” of Shackley that omitted Shackley’s extensive links to CIA drug running? And most important of all, why would Corn be working overtime against 9/11 truth?

I had long since arrived at a similar evaluation of Corn, as we can see in my 1998 article, “Rotten Goulden/Corn,” in which I pair him with the obvious CIA journalist, Joseph Goulden. In sum, if there is any such thing as a journalist who works for the CIA—and if there has ever been any such thing as Operation Mockingbird—then surely Corn is one of them.

Peter Baker

That brings us to current New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker. This sentence from his Wikipedia page tells you that he is at the very heart of the U.S. media establishment: “Baker is a regular panelist on PBS’s Washington Week and a frequent guest on other television and radio programs.” (If they will just write what’s expected, they can be handsomely paid.)

I don’t recall ever having seen his name until it appeared on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the death of Vince Foster. To my knowledge, it was the first time he had ever written on the subject. His ignorance and his mal-intent showed. He would have been 30 or 31 years old at the time, and it looked to me like this was his baptism in the cauldron of corruption that our press has become:

“Do your part to further the cover-up of this murder, young man, and you will go places.”

He did, and he did. It worked for two members of Kenneth Starr’s cover-up team, John Bates and Brett Kavanaugh, who were made federal judges by President George W. Bush, and it worked for Baker.

Here, in its entirety, is Baker’s Foster-debut article and how I reacted to it the time. Those familiar with my subsequent work will notice that I let one of Baker’s biggest and most important whoppers go right by me. I still had—and still do have—quite a bit to learn:

Post Propaganda on Foster

Would they have to write such simple-minded propaganda pieces as this if there were not a major cover-up going on? Look for my parenthetic comments.

One Death Altered Path of Presidency

Five Years Later, Clinton White House Still Facing Aftermath of Foster Suicide

 

By Peter Baker

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, July 20, 1998; Page A01

After a cheeseburger lunch at his desk, Vincent W. Foster Jr. left his office around 1 p.m., saying he would be back. Five hours later, his lifeless body was found next to a Civil War cannon in a Virginia park. (Neither The Post nor anyone else in the press has ever had the first question about the preposterous story about the finding of the body.) As his compatriots at the White House struggled to absorb the shock, one senior official told a colleague, “I don’t know that it’ll ever be the same after this.”

Few statements have been so prescient. Five years ago today, the man who grew up with President Clinton (No he didn’t. Clinton moved away from Hope after kindergarten.) and practiced law with Hillary Rodham Clinton drove across the Potomac River, shot himself at Fort Marcy Park and ultimately altered the course of a presidency.

What was certainly a personal tragedy for his friends and family became a defining event for a young administration, one that robbed any remaining innocence (Now there’s a good one. What about the Waco massacre and the sordid Arkansas past?) from the fresh-faced crew that had arrived in Washington brimming with optimism just six months earlier, one that permanently colored how the nation’s leader looks at its capital and its culture, and one that spawned an enduring climate of suspicion and a cottage industry of conspiracy theories. (It’s always a theory when it’s the government. When you’re the girl friend of a drug dealer, it’s twenty years to life.)

Even now, five years removed, the aftermath of Vince Foster’s suicide continues to ripple through the Clinton White House, whether it be a new book examining the events surrounding his death (I would heartily recommend “The Secret Life of Bill Clinton,” by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.) or a ruling by the Supreme Court just a few weeks ago setting a national precedent on the bounds of attorney-client privilege.

“It was a deep cut,” said Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, the former White House chief of staff who grew up in Hope, Ark., with Clinton (Tell a lie often enough and maybe people will believe it.) and Foster. “It clearly had a tremendous impact.”

Just how tremendous would be hard to overestimate. Foster became a symbol of the travails of the Arkansas circle around the Clintons. He became a cult figure among some of the same people obsessed by the John F. Kennedy assassination and Roswell UFOs. (Truth Suppression #5) But there are those looking back now who believe that had Foster lived, the story of the Clinton presidency would have been different in tangible ways—albeit for vastly divergent reasons.

“I thought his death changed history in some respects,” Bernard Nussbaum, who was White House counsel and Foster’s immediate boss at the time, said in an interview last week. (Now there’s a good, discredited person to interview. Why not interview the witness, Patrick Knowlton, who is sure Foster’s car was not at the park, when his body was?)

In the months after Foster died, as the controversy over Whitewater bloomed into a full-fledged Washington scandal, Nussbaum was the lone voice in the upper ranks of the White House resisting the call for the appointment of a special prosecutor, arguing that it would lead to a never-ending search for crimes where they did not exist.

Nussbaum lost the fight. Clinton reluctantly agreed to an investigation into his real estate dealings back in Arkansas, leading to the appointment of special counsel Robert B. Fiske Jr. and his successor, Kenneth W. Starr, and the resulting years of subpoenas, indictments and court battles that touched on everything from FBI files to Foster’s death to Clinton’s alleged sexual adventures. (“Please don’t throw me in the briar patch,” said Br’er Rabbit. The revelation by Dan Moldea that [Washington Times reporter] Jerry Seper lied about his Park Police sources for the news that Whitewater documents were removed from Foster’s offices gives away the game. This was a White House leak to cause a Special Prosecutor to be appointed to perform the cover-up duties in the Foster case. The Park Police report with all of its curious, indefensible redactions would have never done the job.)

“If Vince had been around to support that position, if I hadn’t been the only one among his senior aides to take that position, he would have had a big impact,” Nussbaum said. “I really believe if Vince had lived, the president would not have sought the appointment of an independent counsel, and history would have been different.”

A former investigator who looked into many of those issues has reached the same conclusion from another vantage point.

The way the White House seemed to stand in the way of the Justice Department and others investigating Foster’s death and the belated discovery that Whitewater files had been removed from his office—described by a subsequent Senate report as a “pattern of stonewalling” –generated a brush fire of speculation that there must be something the Clintons were hiding. (Who could imagine such a thing of the Clintons or The Post?)

“I don’t think the suicide per se was the significant thing,” said the investigator, who declined to be identified for fear it might affect his current business. (Another way of saying, “We’re making up a source here to shovel out the propaganda line you are supposed to swallow.”) “I think the handling of the Department of Justice by the White House counsel’s office in the days after the suicide ignited Whitewater. Had that not happened, the whole thing might never have triggered all the interest in Congress and ultimately the independent counsel.”

Foster came to Washington after the 1992 election with no experience in the hothouse world of national politics. A tall, slender lawyer known for his handsome face and gracious though reserved manner, (A Davidson gentleman, as we liked to say back then.) Foster was a lifelong friend of the president (We previously pointed out that, for what it is worth, this statement is not true.), but really was closer to Hillary Clinton (No kidding), who playfully called him “Vincenzo” and palled around with him and their fellow partner at Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm, Webster L. Hubbell (to the point of being joint beneficiaries to an annuity), who would join them in Washington as associate attorney general.

Foster’s six months as deputy White House counsel were marked by unaccustomed controversy—failed nominations for attorney general, challenges to the secrecy of the first lady’s health care task force and, finally, the travel office affair in which longtime employees were fired while business was steered to the president’s allies. (Oh yes, there was the matter of the immolation of all those offbeat Christians at Waco. It’s easy for a Christian-bashing paper like The Post to forget such things, I guess.)

He took the criticism far more seriously than many and in words that effectively became his epitaph, he wrote in a note found ripped up after his death that while neither he nor anyone in the White House violated any law, “the public will never believe the innocence of the Clintons and their loyal staff. . . . I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here ruining people is considered sport.” (But the note was obviously forged and planted.)

His reaction to that had no parallel in modern U.S. history. Foster was the first person at the top echelon of government to kill himself since James V. Forrestal committed suicide in 1949 shortly after being replaced as defense secretary. And the bitter sentiment of Foster’s note struck a nerve in a highly political, fiercely partisan city.

“His death, I think, really made people think,” said William Kennedy, another Rose partner who served as associate White House counsel (who hastened over to the morgue along with Craig Livingstone to identify Vince’s already well-identified body. After the visit, the keys that had not been found in a previous search of Foster’s pants pockets were “found” by Park Police.) but returned to Little Rock after an unhappy time in the capital. “And I think it was one of those events that for once made people in Washington stop and seriously examine what they were doing –how they approach things, what their values were, what they should be doing. And from that perspective, it was a sea change. It did force that reexamination.”

Kennedy (another fine, objective authority to interview) paused as he thought about this. “But,” he added, “and I say this with a great deal of sadness, nothing seems to have changed.”

The president appears to share that judgment. It was after Foster’s suicide that he began talking about the culture of poison in Washington, (gag me with a spoon) a recurring theme for the last five years and the main thing he said at his second inauguration in 1997 that he wanted to cure.

As recently as Saturday night, while not mentioning Foster, Clinton on a weekend trip home to Little Rock referred to Washington as “a completely different culture.”

“There are times when I wake up in our nation’s capital, and I deal with people day in and day out, and they say one thing one day, and then the next day they’re trying to basically say that I’m the worst thing since Joe Stalin,” Clinton said.

But even in the midst of his latest controversy, the investigation into his ties with Monica S. Lewinsky, Clinton assured his fellow Arkansans that he will survive. “I mean, I don’t know what you all expected,” he said Saturday night at a fund-raiser. “Did you think they’d wheel me in here in a gurney tonight? Listen, you prepared me well. This is no big deal.”

Some aides said the Foster suicide did have some salutary effects within the White House. It served, they said, as a wake-up call highlighting the importance of balancing a workaholic schedule with personal life.

“Even considering how pressurized and intense the work is here,” said presidential counselor Douglas B. Sosnik, “this is a very family friendly workplace in which we’re constantly reminded of what’s most important in your life, which is your family.” (It’s dry-heave time)

Perhaps the chief irony of Foster’s death is that a man who so hated the spotlight will forever be remembered by some as the center of a bizarre conspiracy in the mode of the JFK killing. (Could anything be more bizarre than the suicide story they are peddling? Well, perhaps the magic bullet is.) No matter that every investigation that has looked at the case—including the Park Police, two congressional inquiries, Fiske and, finally last year, Starr –came to the same, unequivocal conclusion that Foster died at his own hand in Fort Marcy Park. (This is why they had to get a special prosecutor appointed, to personalize the cover-up. Truth Suppression #7) There will always be people convinced that Foster was murdered in a safe house in Northern Virginia. (Now you know for sure that’s not how it happened. This is obvious misdirection.) That his body was rolled up in a carpet and moved to the park. That he had been involved in a CIA-sponsored drug-smuggling operation. (Now they’re even making me wonder if that’s why he was killed.)

In retrospect, according to some people close to him and the White House, the fuel for that fire resulted from the confluence of three factors—speculation about Foster’s relationship with Hillary Clinton, the Whitewater connection and the seemingly hurried initial investigation hindered by White House-erected obstacles.

The White House search of Foster’s office the night of his death continues to cause mystery. During the formal search two days later, Nussbaum insisted on looking through all the papers himself, contrary to an earlier agreement, while angry Justice Department and police investigators looked on and were shown only what the White House counsel deemed relevant.

The White House did not disclose the discovery of the torn-up note until days later, after notifying Foster’s family. (How do we know this? Could it be they hadn’t yet forged it when they said they had discovered it?) Five months later, the White House acknowledged that Foster had a file on Whitewater. Two years after his death, the White House produced handwritten notes in which Foster wrote that Whitewater was “a can of worms you shouldn’t open.” (Probably forged as well.) In January 1996, the White House discovered and turned over long-missing Rose firm billing records last thought to be in Foster’s possession.

Nussbaum remains convinced he made the right decision to protect sensitive White House documents and personal papers unrelated to Foster’s death. “If I make a mistake, I have a history of admitting a mistake,” he said. “But what happened there was the right way . . . for a lawyer to act in that circumstance. The only regret I have is not talking more publicly, defending myself more publicly.”

But critics said the incident provided the first major evidence of what would become a pattern of the Clinton White House: exacerbating political and legal trouble by not being as forthcoming as it should. (Truth Suppression #9)

“Every single incident since Vince Foster, the same issues keep coming up,” said Robert J. Giuffra Jr., who was chief counsel to the Senate Special Whitewater Committee. “History keeps repeating itself. . . . Many of the same things they’re being criticized for in the Lewinsky matter are things they were criticized for in the handling of Foster’s office.”

Only last month what may be the last of the legal issues arising from Foster’s death was resolved. Starr tried to subpoena three pages of notes taken by a lawyer Foster consulted nine days before killing himself. But the attorney, James Hamilton, persuaded the Supreme Court that attorney-client privilege persists after a client’s death, setting a binding precedent that will have major impact on the legal profession across the country. That was an unforeseen legacy that Foster, the lawyer’s lawyer, would have liked.

Others around Foster have moved on. His wife, Lisa, moved back to Arkansas and married a federal judge, James Moody. His oldest son has become an investment banker, his youngest just graduated from college. (And The Post, along with the entire news media, swallowed the story that the Park Police never interviewed the sons, not even about the ownership of the gun, because the Foster family lawyer wouldn’t let them do it.)

Last month, his alma mater, the University of Arkansas law school, created a professorship in his name.

The Clintons, too, have gone on. They do not talk about Foster often, according to their friends, but they probably think about him. (Now if those pesky Burketts, whose “suicided” son had the same autopsy doctor as Foster, would just “go on.”)

“This is just an ache in their heart that will just never go away,” said Diane Blair, a close confidant of Hillary Clinton from Arkansas.

David Martin

July 21, 1998

Did you catch that big overlooked lie? “Foster was the first person at the top echelon of government to kill himself since James V. Forrestal committed suicide in 1949 shortly after being replaced as defense secretary.” I did not write my debut article on that subject until more than four years later.

Unfortunately, the penultimate paragraph is also out of date. Like the corrupt coroner, Dr. James C. Beyer, who jimmied up both the autopsy of their murdered son, college student Tommy Burkett, and the murdered Foster, both Burkett parents have “gone on” to the afterlife. They died of cancer within a couple of years of one another, and their web site thepacc.org, has literally gone to the dogs. It stood for Parents against Corruption and Cover-up. It has since been taken over by People against Canine Cruelty (to cats?). In this update I have replaced the old link to “Burketts” above with an original from the Internet archives of the WayBack Machine.

Returning to Baker, one of the benefits of selling out to Mister Big is that you get promoted and you get to publish books and have them promoted by your employers. We have seen it in spades with David Von Drehle, who was given a “book leave” by his Washington Post employer after the yeoman work that he did on the Foster murder cover-up and was made the editor of their Style section upon his return.   For his part, Baker and his wife Susan Glasser were sent off to Moscow to cover Russia and Vladimir Putiin. How they covered it and the “expert” opinion that he can be expected to furnish on the TV news programs these days can be found in the predictable book that resulted from their time there. I have not read their Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution, but from all that I have seen of Baker and the Post, and his current Times employer as well, this critical customer’s review of the Kindle edition sums it up pretty well:

If you are looking for Russophobic propaganda, this book will do nicely. The anti-Putin, and frequently anti-Russian bias is pervasive throughout its pages. Of actual scholarship and research there is almost none. It is clear that the authors started writing this book having already reached two conclusions: (1) Everything in Russia is horrible, and (2) It’s all Putin’s fault. The book has many flaws, but it turns simply disgusting when the authors delve into the subject of terrorism. The quasi-apologist attitude and the lack of serious condemnation were strongly offensive. Apparently, when a group of individuals is murdering defenseless women and children “over there”, they are not terrorists, but cute and cuddly resistance fighters. Disgusting.

In conclusion, I would like to recommend an alternative for anyone interested in a much more unbiased and scholarly perspective. The book is “Putin: Russia’s Choice”, by Richard Sakwa. Dr. Sakwa is the Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent. His book is available on Amazon.com: Putin: Russia’s Choice

My local Fairfax County (VA) system has five copies of the Baker-Glasser book in its various libraries. They have no copies of the Sakwa book, apparently offering no alternative to the mainstream news propaganda of Baker and his cohorts. I have no plans to read any books by either Baker or Corn, and when their faces appear on the TV screen, my first impulse will be to go for the clicker.

David Martin

February 18, 2015

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How Brian Williams Almost “Chinookered” Us

How Brian Williams Almost “Chinookered” Us

by DC Dave

Integrity is everything. If you can fake integrity, you’ve really got it made.

Groucho Marx

 

For a while there it looked like the man with the oh-so-comforting-and-comfortable face, Brian Williams, was about to inherit the Walter Cronkite mantle as the “most trusted man in the United States.” He is the major network news anchor with the longest tenure now, and his NBC Nightly News program is the most watched of the big three. He sits right at the cornerstone of the U.S. government-corporation-media establishment. His is the first name and the first face that appears on the Council of Foreign Relations “About CFR” (“Trust us.”) web site. You can see him lending his credibility to the CFR at the 2:07 and 2:41 marks of their video. (I have saved the web page. Any bets that the name and face won’t be there this time next year?)

About CFR

Without doubt his stature and acclaim reached a high water mark in the country on the night of Thursday January 29 when he was hailed at the New York Rangers game against the Montreal Canadiens along with the man who helped him “return to his wife and family” after the Chinook helicopter in which Williams was riding had to make a forced landing after taking crippling enemy fire. He and his Army rescuer basked in the approval from the standing ovation they received from the fans. Williams still looked enormously pleased with himself as he reported what had happened on his NBC Evening News program the next night.

Tom Brokaw was in the anchor chair when the episode happened in March of 2003 and at that time Williams reported the episode somewhat differently. Then it was the Chinook ahead of them that had taken fire. The helicopter in which Williams was riding had come along some time later and had been trapped for a while on the ground in a sand storm. A decade later at the latest, in March of 2013, the story had mutated into the one that the Rangers public address announcer told to the adoring crowd. Then Williams told it with a straight face—in his own words—to the equally approving David Letterman on the latter’s show before a national audience.

But Williams had gone too far with his January 30 NBC News story on himself at the Rangers game. Crew members who were on the Chinook with him knew that they had not taken fire and they prompted the military newspaper Stars and Stripes to look into it. That newspaper quickly determined that Williams’ story of having been forced to land on account of enemy-caused damage to the helicopter was not true. On February 4, on his Nightly News program the grossly overpaid anchor was forced to make an apology. He did not apologize for having lied, though. In a statement that would have done Bill Clinton proud, he said that he “made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago.” On the Nightly News Facebook page he said, “I think the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area—and the fog of memory over 12 years—made me conflate the two, and I apologize.”

His problem—and NBC’s problem and the CFR’s problem and a lot of other people’s problem—is that nobody believes this faulty memory excuse, and why should they? Would you ever confuse the automobile accident that you came upon some time after its occurrence with the one you experienced yourself, even if it was a dozen years—or a half a century—later? He has now compounded his lie by lying about how he came to tell it. Worse than that, NBC as a news organization has now joined in the lying. When Williams was on the Letterman show or talking to the Knicks’ PA system man, he was ostensibly on his own, a mere newsreader straying off the reservation. But here’s how it worked when the late Sandy Socolow was Walter Cronkite’s handler at CBS as The Washington Post tells us, and it’s certainly little different at NBC today, “Mr. Socolow’s title in the 1960s and early 1970s was producer, an industry term that did not fully convey his influence as the man who vetted nearly everything written and uttered by the host.”

The attitude that NBC has exhibited is well characterized by something H.L. Mencken wrote in his essay, “On Being an American”:

[Great as it is, the average American’s] docility and pusillanimity may be overestimated and sometimes I think they are overestimated by his present masters. They assume that there is absolutely no limit to his capacity for being put on and knocked about—that he will submit to any invasion of his freedom and dignity, however outrageous, so long as it is depicted in melodious terms. He permitted the late war to be “sold” to him by the methods of the methods of the grind-shop auctioneer…

The “late war” that Mencken was talking about was World War I, and that brings us to what Williams should really apologize to us for if he had one genuine and decent bone in his body. His was one of the most melodious of the network voices that gave us the hard sell for invading Iraq for completely trumped-up reasons. The fact that NBC was owned by one of the biggest military contractors, General Electric, might have something to do with his employer’s enthusiasm for going into the war, but all the other major news organs across the political spectrum share NBC’s guilt. One must wonder if the Roman Catholic Williams has at least gone to confession over his latest lies and the much bigger and more consequential lies in which he participated earlier.

As a reminder of how Brian Williams’ and his media colleagues’ hands are bathed in blood, we might go back to a satire we wrote about one of the more tragic episodes of the war for American servicemen back in November of 2003. In contrast to Williams’ Chinook and the one far in front of him, this one when it went down cost a lot of lives.

I might remind readers that my web site began as a column for the “underground” newspaper of Atlanta, The Great Speckled Bird, which was most active as a protest organ during the Vietnam War. I would email my articles and poems to him and the editor, Tom Sparks, would format them and put them up. I took my part of it over only when Tom became too ill to continue with The Great Speckled Bird. I tried to write my satire (now with links that were never part of the Martin-Sparks collaboration) in the form of a typical mainstream news article.

Cause of Chinook Crash Still Undetermined

         The Great Speckled Bird has learned that U.S. government authorities are beginning to doubt that the Chinook helicopter that crashed on November 2 near Fallujah in Iraq, killing 16 and injuring 26, was brought down by an enemy missile. The FBI, which has taken over the investigation of the crash, has sent a team of investigators to the area, They have commandeered a Fallujah warehouse that was formerly a repair facility for the fleet of limousines that transported Saddam Hussein, his two late sons, and their numerous wives and mistresses. They are using it as a venue for the reassembly of the Chinook, piece by piece. When the work is complete, expected to be within a few months, a definitive report on the cause of the crash will be released.

Although the Chinook crashed on land and not over water like TWA 800—the Boeing 747 whose fuel tank spontaneously blew up off the coast of Long Island on the evening of July 17, 1996—and there was little scattering of the wreckage, recovery of all the parts, according to sources, will probably be a slow process. Iraqi civilians reached the site before a U.S. Army rescue team did and carried off as war trophies anything that could be lifted by hand and carried on the back of a pickup truck. The FBI is offering a reward of $250 per pound, no questions asked, for any parts of the Chinook–the workhorse of the U.S. Army–that may be brought to them.

“Of the $87 billion we have been given to play with in the coming year, this expenditure, though open ended, is likely to amount to little more than budget dust and should be well worth it,” said one official, using a Pentagon expression usually applied to items of less than $100,000.

Unreliable Initial Reports

         Asked why initial reports indicated that the Chinook was probably downed by a shoulder-fired missile, an FBI source noted a number of high-profile cases in which it has been involved where the initial reports proved to be in error. In the case of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, by Timothy McVeigh, there were initial reports of several unexploded bombs being found in the building, in addition to the massive fuel-oil-fertilizer bomb that was in the Ryder Truck that McVeigh parked in the street in front of the building. There were also reports that McVeigh was with an accomplice when he rented the truck and with other accomplices when he was seen in the truck on the day of the bombing. All these reports were determined by the FBI to be in error.

In the case of the suicide of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster on July 20, 1993, it was initially reported that the Foster family was certain that he had received no medical treatment for his depression, and this proved not to be the case. There were also mistaken initial reports that the nondescript revolver found in Foster’s hand was part of a matched set and a handwritten list of local psychiatrists was found in his office and had only two names on it. Actually, the list had three names on it and the paper with the names was found by U.S. Park Police when they searched his car in Fort Marcy Park.

In a lesser-known case in which the FBI became involved, that of the murder of three Starbucks employees in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC, on the evening of July 6, 1997, one of whom was a former Clinton White House intern and lesbian political activist, there were initial reports of a witness attempting to gain entrance after closing time and being turned away from the locked door by the employees. Police and the FBI finally concluded that the lone killer, using two guns in a botched robbery, had gained admittance to the store before the front door was locked for the night.

Even the rifle that Lee Harvey Oswald used to kill President John F. Kennedy was initially reported by a gun expert who examined it to be a German Mauser instead of Oswald’s mail-order Italian-made Mannlicher-Carcano, and Kennedy was said to have been turned around looking in the direction of the Texas Schoolbook Depository when the first bullet struck him in the throat. We would later learn that the small hole in Kennedy’s throat was really an exit wound, caused by the same bullet that made a hole some six inches down from the collar of his suit jacket and then went through John Connally’s rib, lung, and wrist and lodged briefly in his thigh.

Mistaken Witnesses

         One FBI source was particularly contemptuous of reports of “eyewitnesses” purporting to have seen one or two missiles streaking up from a date palm grove toward the helicopter.

“Do you know how many people thought they saw a missile going up toward TWA 800?” he asked rhetorically. “There must have been several hundred,” he said, “and these were all Americans, not just Iraqis with an axe to grind.”

He went on to explain that the Iraqis in the Fallujah area were jubilant over the crash of the helicopter and were all too eager to believe that “resistance fighters” had the ability to bring it down.

“We have been on the case for a week now,” said the official, “and we are yet to find an Iraqi who says he saw a missile and will also tell us his full name, address, and place of work.”

The official, alluding as well to the aforementioned Oklahoma City bombing case, said that in seemingly clear-cut examples, eyewitnesses, especially when they are mere citizens without the expertise of the FBI, are often wrong.

Citing another example, he said that every single person who saw Vince Foster’s light gray Honda at Fort Marcy Park where his body was found described it as “brown” or “reddish-brown,” and not a one of the two dozen people at the park who saw the body noted the half-dollar sized exit wound in the crown of Foster’s head later discovered in the autopsy.

One emergency worker even thought he saw a bullet hole in Foster’s neck and an automatic pistol in Foster’s hand instead of a revolver. He later admitted that he might have been wrong after extensive re-interviews by FBI agents.

The most famous case of mistaken witnesses that the FBI has exposed with its crack investigations, of course, was in the assassination of President Kennedy. So sure were most of the people in Dealey Plaza that the shots had come from the grassy knoll to the right and front of the motorcade that many of them ran up the hill in an attempt to catch the killer.

FBI Jurisdiction

         Asked why the FBI was conducting the investigation instead of the Army, which lost the helicopter and the personnel in the crash, the FBI source responded that the government “wanted to be certain that the investigation produced the right outcome,” and there is no better investigative body for that purpose than the FBI.

“It’s really no different than the investigation of the September 11, 2001, crash into the Pentagon,” he said. There the victims were also military, but the FBI kept military investigators out of the picture.

He also mentioned the investigation of the bombing of the Murrah Building, from which uncooperative Oklahoma City police officers like Terrance Yeakey (who later committed suicide in despondency) where totally excluded, and TWA 800, which normally would have been the responsibility of the National Transportation Safety Board. In that case, the FBI re-assembled the entire airplane in a hangar in order to come up with its spontaneous-explosion conclusion.

The FBI also found it necessary to get into the case of the botched-robbery murders at the Washington, DC, Starbucks, even though there were apparently no federal laws violated because, “with the District police in charge, this high-profile case was apparently not going to be brought to closure.” Similarly, ostensibly no federal laws were violated in the murder of rock legend John Lennon, but the FBI handled that investigation, as well.

“The public is not generally aware of the extent of the FBI’s international responsibilities,” added a senior Defense Department official. “The FBI is deeply involved in intelligence gathering on a continuous basis in Iraq,” he said, “and they are to be credited with our great successes up to this point in the guerilla war,” he said.

FBI international operations were supposedly initiated on a large scale for the first time in the Clinton administration and have expanded in the George W. Bush administration. The Great Speckled Bird has learned, however, that the FBI has been engaged in international intelligence gathering in competition with the Central Intelligence Agency for quite a long time, even in the absence of a legislative mandate. After the failure of other organizations, the FBI has also been recently given the task of finding Saddam Hussein’s missing weapons of mass destruction.

As for the likely cause of the Chinook crash, the FBI source said that they were examining all possibilities. Three, in particular, were mentioned, static electricity in the fuel tank as with TWA 800, a pin falling out of a grenade carried by one of the soldiers, or a suicidal soldier who may have intentionally blown the helicopter up.

David Martin

November 11, 2003

 

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In reviewing this litany of outrages, one can see that there is more truth than ever to Mencken’s observation about our rulers that, “They assume that there is absolutely no limit to [our] capacity for being put on and knocked about.” We might also note that Williams was NBC’s chief White House correspondent during a good part of the Clinton years and, as such, no doubt did quite a bit more reporting and covering-up for which he should issue an apology to the American people and make a confession to his priest.

 

David Martin

February 5, 2015

See also “Clinton and Cronkite: Odd Couple?”

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The Cuban Cigar Scam

The Cuban Cigar Scam

by DC Dave

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There was a tone of friendly confidentiality in his voice and a rather mischievous twinkle in his eye as he said to me, “See that box over there. Those cigars sell for $250, but I could write up a receipt for you that would say you paid $60 for them. You’d still have another $40 to play with. Those customs people don’t have the time to check on what everything really costs.”

We were in Marigot, the capital and main city of Saint Martin, the French part of the Caribbean island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, shared by the Dutch and the French. In front of me was the largest collection of cigars that I have seen outside a JR’s store, and they were apparently all made in Cuba.

What with the announcement by President Obama that we were normalizing relations with that nearest island country to the United States in the Greater Antilles, I was curious as to whether it was legal now to bring Cuban cigars into the United States. I knew that I had not yet seen any announcement to that effect, so I had asked the store’s cigar salesman about it.

“Oh yes. They’re legal for Americans now,” he responded confidently, “but you can bring in only $100 worth for personal use.” At that point he produced an official looking sheet of paper purporting to show the new rules governing business with Cuba by Americans, with the part about the cigars and a $100 maximum highlighted in yellow. That explains the need for the proposed receipt legerdemain.

So there it was in black and white (and yellow). Who could doubt it? How many people, one must wonder, have seen this great opportunity to load up on the precious, newly available commodity, perhaps even with a thought of bending the rules a bit more by reselling them individually once back in the States? At the very least it looked like an opportunity to make a big impression on friends and associates.

Still, I had some nagging doubt. I like to think that I’m a good deal better informed about such things than the average person, and this “new policy,” as I have indicated, was news to me. Furthermore, this amiable salesperson had just confided to me that he would freely lie for me when it was to our mutual advantage. Why wouldn’t he lie just as readily to me when it was to his advantage alone? He could see that I was wearing on my chest a stick-on number that marked me as a member of a tour group from one of the five cruise ships that was in port that day. All the ships were moored at the Dutch side of the island in Phillipsburg. The likelihood that I, or any such customer like me, would return to the store and confront him after doing some Internet research was quite remote.

Later, back on the ship in the ever smaller area to which cigar smokers are confined, I told a fellow passenger about the “new policy” as presented to me by the store man in Marigot. My interlocutor, whom I had tried not to bias with my presentation and who struck me as a rather sagacious fellow, said simply that he doubted it. I don’t think he would have fallen for the pitch, but I also think he is a rare one. The salesman was very persuasive.

The facts of the Cuban cigar policy began to come into clearer focus upon our port of disembarkation, the U.S. island of Puerto Rico. (Celebrity, the cruise line I was using, charges an arm and a leg for WiFi and for their computer use, so I had remained in Internet darkness.)   The ship’s daily flier told us, for the first time, that it was illegal to bring Cuban-made products, including cigars, back into the United States. Just to make sure, I asked the U.S. customs agent there about the policy. He told me that he expected the policy to change in the near future, but for now, at least when it comes to Cuban products bought outside Cuba, it remains what it has been for most of my lifetime.

And what, exactly, is that policy? For that we go to the Frequently Asked Questions of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, one of which is, “Can I import Cuban cigars into the U.S.?”

Persons authorized to travel to Cuba may purchase alcohol and tobacco products while in Cuba for personal consumption while there. Authorized travelers may return to the United States with up to $100 worth of alcohol and/or tobacco products acquired in Cuba in accompanied baggage, for personal use only.

Foreign residents and visitors to the U.S. (i.e., French, Mexican etc) may not bring in goods of Cuban origin under any circumstances.  Purchasing Cuban-orgin [sic] cigars and/or Cuban-origin rum or other Cuban-origin alcohol over the internet [sic] or while in a third country (i.e. not Cuba) remains prohibited.

For more information about travel to Cuba, please see the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). *

Criminal penalties for violation of the Regulations range up to $1,000,000 in fines for corporations, $250,000 for individuals and up to 10 years in prison. Civil penalties of up to $65,000 per violation may be imposed by OFAC.

Does that clear things up? Maybe not, if you are the sort of person who needs an explanation, with examples, of what “foreign” or “third country” means in this context. Perhaps a quite easy-to-imagine scenario will bring it all home, so to speak. Let us say we have a tourist (T) passing through customs in San Juan or Miami after visiting St. Martin on his cruise of the Caribbean. He encounters the customs agent (CA):

CA: You say on your declaration here that you have $100 worth of cigars. Where were those cigars made?

T: In Cuba.

CA: Did someone give you those cigars?

T: Oh no. I bought them in St. Martin. I have a receipt here. See.

CA: So, you bought a box of 20 Cohiba cigars for $60 and a box of 20 Montecristo cigars for $40?

At this point our credulous cigar lover is probably beginning to sweat. He has begun to realize that $3 each for the top name Cuban cigar and $2 each for a serious rival is too good a bargain for anyone to believe, but he does have it in writing.

CA: Do you realize that you could be looking at a fine of up to a quarter of a million dollars and a prison sentence of up to ten years?

T: (Gulp) But I thought I could bring in $100 worth with no trouble.

CA: Who told you that?

T: The man at the cigar store.

CA: (Stares at the man silently for a few seconds, slowly shaking his head.)

T: But he showed me on a piece of paper…

CA: (The head shaking and silent stare continues. Reading the tourist’s name on his customs declaration, he calls to his associate to check him out on the computer for his criminal record.)

Now thinking the $450 he actually spent for the cigars is a small price to pay to escape his current predicament, our panicked tourist decides to try to cut his losses.

T: Well let’s just mark those off the customs form. It was pretty stupid of me to believe that guy. Forget about those cigars. Here, I’ll get them out of the suitcase. I don’t care what you do with them.

CA: It’s too late for that.

T: What do you mean?

CA: You broke the law when you bought those Cuban cigars. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Even if you had smoked them all before coming back into the country you’d still be a lawbreaker. Of course, you probably wouldn’t have been caught, but we have it in writing from you, with your signature, that you bought them.

T: (Now it’s his turn for silent head shaking, but instead of staring at the agent, he’s looking down at the ground.)

CA: (To the rescue) Tell you what we’ll do. The computer says you have a clean record. Just put the cigars in the bin over there, and let this be a lesson to you.

Don’t ask me what happens to the growing number of Cuban cigars that Customs must be confiscating since the new Cuba policy was announced, but if there is a burgeoning black market in premium Cuban brands in San Juan and Miami, I would not be at all surprised.

Isn’t it great to live in the land of the free, the only country on earth whose citizens are still forbidden under serious penalty of law to purchase and enjoy Cuban cigars?

As a postscript, to any readers who might suspect that I was actually victimized by the smooth-talking cigar salesman, I can only say that, for some measure of revenge I would at least name the store in question and give the man’s ethnicity, which was clearly different from that of the majority of the population of the island. Having not been stung, I’ll just let the old caveat emptor dictum hold sway. At least those who read this article are warned, and if they encounter that guy in Marigot, St. Martin, until the policy actually does change, they should tell him he’s a liar to his face.

* It’s still not easy for Americans to travel to Cuba. At the time of this writing it continues to be banned for purely recreational purposes.

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David Martin

February 3, 2015

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My Brush with French (and World) “Press Freedom”

My Brush with French (and World) “Press Freedom”

by DC Dave

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April 2013 was an exciting month for me. We had discovered a terrific country music singer who had agreed to perform my parody of Patsy Cline’s hit, “I Fall to Pieces” and on April 6 BuelahMan, my video collaborator, put it up on his web site.

It is entitled “Falling to Pieces for Israel,” and, to my mind, it was the best thing that we had yet done together. Later in the month, I had the opportunity to take my first river cruise in Europe, on the Saone and Rhone Rivers in the south of France. I took my laptop with me to avail myself of the WiFi service that was available on the cruise boat.

I was still a bit excited about our success with the video and eager, should the opportunity arise, to share it with anyone I thought might be interested. The WiFi worked quite well generally, but when I attempted to view “Falling to Pieces for Israel,” I was greeted with this message: “This video is not available in your country.” At no time when I was in France was I able to see it.

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I thought of that experience as I read the January 14, 2014, article by George Washington Law Professor Jonathan Turley, “France Follows Freedom of Speech Rally with Crackdown on Free Speech,” which begins this way:

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Jonathan Turley

This weekend I wrote a column for the Washington Post on the crackdown of free speech in France. The column suggested that, if the French really wanted to honor the dead at Charlie Hebdo, they would rescind the laws used to hound them and threaten them with criminal prosecution for years. (Indeed, at least one surviving journalist expressed contempt for those who now support free speech but remained silent in the face of past efforts to shut down the magazine). Now, however, news reports indicate that the French government is doubling down on criminalizing speech in the name of free speech after the massacre. France has reportedly made dozens of arrests of people who glorify terrorism and engage in hateful or anti-Semitic speech.

To be sure, my very first thought when I saw that our video that speaks dramatically to the control of the United States Congress by the state of Israel was that we had run afoul of French laws limiting what that country deems to be “hate speech,” no matter how factual the material we were presenting might be. As powerful as Zionist control of the United States is, it is not yet so powerful as to prevent the sort of expression that is represented by “Falling to Pieces for Israel.” In the United States you can’t be sent to prison, as you can in France, for publicly looking critically into any facet of the story that the German government during World War II mainly gassed to death six million Jews in “extermination camps” and disposed of the evidence through wholesale cremation in an assembly-line-like fashion, either. I was disappointed, but not completely surprised, then, when I found that people in France were deprived of the opportunity to experience our video.

My indignation was dampened somewhat, though, by my first conversation with a Frenchman about the matter. It happened when we were on our bus from our hotel in Avignon to the airport in Marseilles, from which I was to fly back to the States. I was seated next to one of our guides and took that opportunity to complain to him about it. His explanation, in defense of his government, was that French copyright laws were stronger than those in the United States and because we used the tune upon which others had a copyright, the video was likely suppressed in France for commercial rather than political reasons.

Before I had my first song parody published on the Internet, “Obama, the Song,” I had assured myself that U.S. law protected parodies against charges of copyright infringement quite thoroughly—more than most countries, in fact—and so I was put off at the time from publicly charging France with knuckling under to the Israeli lobby. Had I encountered the copyright argument earlier in the trip I would have immediately gone to check “Obama, the Song” to see if it was also blocked, but I had no further opportunity to go online before leaving the country.

LizDillingIf someone reading this article happens to be in France, I would appreciate it if he or she would let me know if “Obama, the Song” is blocked and if “Falling to Pieces for Israel” continues to be blocked. That would go a long way toward settling the question of why I couldn’t expose anyone else to our great discovery, Liz Dilling, the singer, and to her rendition of our song when I was in France.

In the meantime, I have come across some evidence against the “copyright protection” argument. Last year I went on a second European river cruise, and this one took me through the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. In each country I was eager to see if the message, “This video is not available in your country,” would turn up when I tried to watch “Falling to Pieces for Israel”. It did not. I might as well have been at home watching it. I am under the impression that one of the things that the European Union has accomplished is to make laws generally more comparable among the various member states. If so, France would definitely be quite an anomaly when it comes to parodies and copyright infringement. The first two of the countries in my 2014 trip are EU members. My bet is that it is simply a case of French, U.S.-puppet-state pro-Israel censorship.

Even if copyright law is the excuse, it is likely a politically freighted excuse. Take the situation in Canada, for example. This is from Wikipedia.

Under Canadian law, although there is protection for Fair Dealing, there is no explicit protection for parody and satire. In Canwest v. Horizon, the publisher of the Vancouver Sun launched a lawsuit against a group which had published a pro-Palestinian parody of the paper. Alan Donaldson, the judge in the case, ruled that parody is not a defence to a copyright claim.

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What with the known subservience of the Canadian government to Zionist interests and the country’s notorious hate speech laws, one can’t help suspect that power politics had something to do with how that ruling came down. A powerful pro-Palestinian medium of protest was thereby silenced under the force of Canadian law. One can’t help thinking that the ruling would have been different had the roles of the players been reversed.

U.S. Censorship More Subtle

mainstream_mediaIn the United States the government doesn’t censor political expression using the law. The First Amendment of the Constitution makes it particularly difficult for it to do that, and it doesn’t have to. The news might not be controlled by the law, but from my own experience, I can say with confidence that the evidence is overwhelming that it is controlled. One need look no farther than my most recent article specifically addressing the subject, “The Great Suppression of 2014.” Before that he could go to “The Forrestal Murder and the News Media,” and before that to “The Kennedy Assassination and the Press.”

North Carolina Republican Congressman Bill Hendon learned how the control works back in 1981. This passage is from my review of the book that he wrote with Elizabeth Stewart, the daughter of a missing prisoner of war, An Enormous Crime: The Definitive Account of American POWs Abandoned in Southeast Asia:

Hendon, along with fellow freshman Congressman, John LeBoutillier (R-NY), had the life-changing experience of being present when Air Force Brigadier General Eugene Tighe, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), testified to Congress on June 25, 1981, some eight years after all of the POWs had supposedly returned to the United States. The two new Congressmen were members of the House POW/MIA Task Force, before which the testimony was made, and LeBoutillier was also a member of the task force’s parent committee, the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Tighe, as DIA director, was, as they say, “the horse’s mouth,” when it comes to whether any POWs remained in Southeast Asia.

Tighe…stunned those in attendance by testifying in open, public session that he was “absolutely certain” that American POWs were still being held captive in Southeast Asia. He also called for a renewed effort by the Congress and the administration to get the prisoners home ….

“[Hendon] and I were just totally blown away by Tighe’s testimony in public session that the men were still alive,” LeBoutillier later said, “We knew, of course, that they were [alive], but this was the director of defense intelligence testifying to the fact before the U.S. Congress in open session. I’ll never forget it ─ ‘absolutely certain. ‘ “  LeBoutillier went on to say that he and Hendon were sure Tighe’s statement “would be big news the next day, not just on the Hill, but all across town and, via the media, all across America.”

To the congressmen’s surprise, however, Tighe’s statement did not appear the following day in the Post or any of America’s other major newspapers. Not, to their knowledge, the next day. Nor the next, or the next, or the next. Nor was there any buzz about what the general had said in the halls or on the floor of the House. Perplexed, the two congressmen contacted senior members of the task force and the Foreign Affairs Committee to see what they had planned in response to Tighe’s testimony. The two congressmen’s message to the senior members was a simple one: “Tighe told our committee last week he was certain U.S. POWs are alive. Nothing happened. No press, no follow-up strategy sessions by the task force or the full committee, nothing in Armed Services, nothing in Veterans Affairs, nothing on the Senate side and, as far as we can determine, nothing downtown. What the hell is going on?”

To a man, the senior congressmen replied that other than holding additional hearings and issuing additional press releases, there was really nothing more in the short term that Congress could or would do. (p. 220)

It was all up to the executive branch, they said, and indicated that it was just too politically dangerous a topic for them to explore further. Tighe, they observed, was set to retire in a matter of weeks and had nothing to lose. As for themselves, no one wanted to stick his political neck out far enough to have it chopped off by the folks who were running the show.

Those who were running the show, it is abundantly obvious, were also controlling the press.

The Kindle Blackout

KindleBlackout

How far this “private” control of information can go was brought home forcefully, and shockingly, to me from another of my experiences involving international travel. Upon the recommendation of an online contact, I had purchased the Kindle edition of the bombshell book, Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold, by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave. Why I call it a bombshell is well summed up by this excerpt of the review by Publishers Weekly:

The Seagraves, bestselling authors (Lords of the Rim, etc.), contend that Japan systematically looted the entire continent of Asia during WWII, seizing billions in precious metals, gems and artworks. Further, according to the authors, from war’s end to the present, the looted treasure, used by President Truman to create a secret slush fund to fight communism, has had a malignant effect on American and Asian politics. The Seagraves assert that the Japanese imperial family, along with Ferdinand Marcos, every American president from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, and numerous sinister figures on the American hard right have been tainted and in many cases utterly corrupted by the loot.  Postwar efforts to recover and exploit the treasure, according to the Seagraves, involved murders, dishonest deals and cover-ups…

The “entire continent” part is a bit of an exaggeration by the reviewer, of course. The looting, which apparently far surpassed anything the Nazis did, naturally extended only to those Asian countries that the Japanese occupied, but that was quite a large area, and it involved quite a bit of gold.

CloudIn 2013 I had the opportunity to visit some of my old stomping grounds in South Korea on a two-week tour. I had put Gold Warriors in my book queue to read during the trip. I began reading while waiting for my flight at Dulles Airport. Once in the air I was distracted for several hours by two or three inflight movies and didn’t pull out my Kindle to resume reading until about the time we approached Japanese air space. Gold Warriors was GONE. It had been there for several months after I purchased it from Amazon, and it was there when I started the flight, but now it was nowhere to be found.

Once in my hotel in Seoul, I checked the Kindle again, and Gold Warriors was still missing. I used my laptop to check my Amazon account to see if I still owned the book and confirmed that I did. I then used the Kindle to request that it be re-sent to me, and I did it on several occasion during the two weeks, but it never showed up. I was never able to share any of the explosive information in the book with anyone in Korea during my stay there.

When I got back to the States virtually the first thing I did was to look for the book on my Kindle, and there it was as if it had never gone away. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to continue reading, and it quickly became evident to me why the “controllers” would not want this sort of information spread around among American vassal states in Asia. I also proceeded to buy several paperbound copies of the book to give as Christmas presents to friends.

I also couldn’t help but wonder if there might be some connection between the apparent blacking out of the Kindle version of the book in Asia and the $600 million contract that Amazon has with the CIA to provide “cloud computing services” and the decision of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to bail out the Graham family by at least lending his name to the purchase of the now massive money-losing Washington Post.

YouTube Hijinks?

youtube_google_big-brother_logoWith all this evidence that Bezos and Amazon are in bed with the CIA, I am certainly made more receptive to the claims by many that Google and Facebook are no more than fronts for U.S. intelligence, as well. I have never had anything to do with Facebook, but Google is another matter. In 2006 Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion, so anyone who puts a video up on YouTube is dealing with Google now.

What that means is that, if they should choose to use it, Google now has the power to determine, with its posting of the number of hits that a video receives, which videos “go viral” and which ones, insofar as anyone outside Google knows, hardly even get off the ground. Considering the importance of the bandwagon effect, is it really plausible that our controllers would resist the temptation to use that power?

This brings us back, in conclusion, to the subject of my videos. On July 11, 2012, I posted the video of Mark Lentz’s very powerful antiwar, anti-neocon anthem, “At What a Cost.”

Lentz is a first rate musician and his message could hardly be stronger. The message should resonate in particular with veterans of our endless wars in the Middle East and with the members of the U.S. military and their families. That’s the problem. For the longest time YouTube’s viewer count for “At What a Cost” has been stuck right around where it is as I write these words, at a piddling 2,866. I find that number really hard to believe. It might show some small bounce from people reading this article, but something tells me that our controllers will never let us see it crest even the 5,000 mark.

 

David Martin

January 20, 2015

 

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Seeds of Permanent Conflict in Palestine

Seeds of Permanent Conflict in Palestine

A review

Wars themselves are bad enough, with all the death and misery that they visit upon those who fight them and get caught up in them. The consequences of the wars, though, can be as bad or worse. Had Russia not participated in World War I, it’s a virtual certainty that the Communists would not have taken over that country. That war and the peace arrangement that followed it were primarily responsible for the even larger World War II. Had there been no World War II, the Communists would have had a very small chance of coming to power in the most populous country on earth, China.

A less well-known consequence of World War I is that it planted the seed for the endless conflict in Palestine and surrounding areas in the Middle East. When the war began in 1914, the entire region was still a part of the Ottoman Empire, as it had been for centuries. That Turkish empire had also been in a state of decline for quite a long time. Its alliance with the losing Central Powers in WW I resulted in its final dissolution.

We know from the movie Lawrence of Arabia that the British worked 51ORhWWKjbLclosely with the Arabs during WW I as a means of undermining Germany’s Ottoman ally. The British promised independence to the Arabs as their reward for assisting them. But the British made a lot of promises as part of their war measures, and they were in direct conflict with one another. In the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement, between British Foreign Officer Sir Mark Sykes and French diplomat François Marie Denis Georges-Picot, concluded in early 1916, the two allies divided up control of much of the Middle Eastern Ottoman territory among themselves upon successful conclusion of the war. A third fateful promise was made to the leaders of Zionism in the form of a letter from Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to leading British Zionist Baron Walter Rothschild promising a “national home” for Jews in the Ottoman territory of Palestine, the famous Balfour Declaration.

Thus, laying out Britain’s contradictory promises, Doreen Ingrams sets the stage in the introduction to her very revealing 1972 book, Palestine Papers 1917-1922: Seeds of Conflict. She has gathered various letters and minutes of meetings dealing with the Palestine question from the British Archives and, for the most part, lets them speak for themselves. How they speak is well summed up by the subtitle of her book. It’s a sad story.

A War Measure

That Lord Balfour and the British War Cabinet viewed the eventual declaration as a vital war measure is captured in these minutes from the cabinet’s October 4, 1917, meeting:

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Balfour) stated that the German Government were [sic] making great efforts to capture the sympathy of the Zionist Movement. This movement, though opposed by a number of wealthy Jews in this country, had behind it the support of a majority of Jews, at all events in Russia and America, and possibly in other countries…Mr. Balfour then read a very sympathetic declaration by the French Government which had been conveyed to the Zionists, and he stated that he knew that President Wilson was extremely favorable to the movement…

Balfour was certainly wrong that the majority of Jews in the United States at that time supported Zionism. Only a very small minority did, but they were an extraordinarily powerful and zealous, even fanatic, minority as we learn from Alison Weir’s very important book, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel. The Unites States also had its share of counterparts to the rich British Jews who opposed Zionism, as we learn from the first volume of Alan Hart’s Zionism, the Real Enemy of the Jews.

Numbers aside, it was the political strength of the Zionist movement that was of primary importance, as this quote from Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s 1939 Memoirs makes clear:

The Balfour Declaration represented the convinced policy of all parties in our country and also in America, but the launching of it in 1917 was due, as I have said, to propagandist reasons… The Zionist Movement was exceptionally strong in Russia and America… It was believed, also, that such a declaration would have a potent influence upon world Jewry outside Russia, and secure for the Entente the aid of Jewish financial interests. In America, their aid in this respect would have a special value when the Allies had almost exhausted the gold and marketable securities available for American purchases. Such were the chief considerations which, in 1917, impelled the British Government towards making a contract with Jewry.

Edwin S. Montagu

“Edwin Samuel Montagu” by Central News Agency – National Library of Israel, Schwadron collection.

The Prime Minister’s statement about the support of “all parties in our country” goes too far, though. The minutes of that very same October 4 meeting, cited above, reveal the truth of Lord Balfour’s observations about the opposition to Zionism of certain wealthy Jews in Britain. One of them, Edwin Montagu, was, as Secretary of State for India, a member of the War Cabinet:

Mr. Montagu urged strong objections to any declaration in which it was stated that Palestine was the “national home” of the Jewish people. He regarded the Jews as a religious community and himself as a Jewish Englishman. He based his argument on the prejudicial effect on the status of Jewish Britons of a statement that His Majesty’s Government regarded Palestine as the national home of Jewish people. Whatever safeguarding words might be used in the formula, the civil rights of Jews as nationals in the country in which they were born might be endangered. How would he negotiate with the peoples of India on behalf of His Majesty’s Government if the world had just been told that His Majesty’s Government regarded his national home as being in Turkish territory? … He also pointed out that most English-born Jews were opposed to Zionism, while it was supported by foreign-born Jews, such as Dr. [Moses] Gaster [Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic Communities of England] and Dr. J. H. Herz [Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the British Empire], the two Grand Rabbis, who had been born in Roumania and Austria respectively, and Dr [Chaim] Weizmann, President of the English Zionist Federation, who was born in Russia. He submitted that the Cabinet’s first duty was to English Jews, and that Colonel [Edward] House had declared that President Wilson is opposed to a declaration now.

Philip_Magnus

“Philip Magnus” by unknown – National Library of Israel, Schwadron collection.

Other prominent British Jews weighed in with letters echoing Montagu, and in all likelihood they reflect the opinions of most American Jews at the time, Lord Balfour notwithstanding. This is from the letter of Member of Parliament, Sir Philip Magnus:

In replying to your letter of the 6th October I do not gather that I am expected to distinguish my views as a Jew from those I hold as a British subject. Indeed, it is not necessary, even if it were possible. For I agree with the late Chief Rabbi, Dr. Herman Adler, that “ever since the conquest of Palestine by the Romans we have ceased to be a body politic,” that “the great bond that unites Israel is not one of race but the bond of a common religion,” and that we have no national aspirations apart from those of the country of our birth…I cannot agree that the Jews regard themselves as a nation, and the term “national” as applied to a community of Jews in Palestine or elsewhere seems to me to beg the question between Zionists and their opponents, and should, I suggest, be withdrawn from the proposed formula. Indeed, the inclusion in the terms of the declaration of the words “a national home for the Jewish race” seems to me both undesirable and inferentially inaccurate…It is essential…that any privileges granted to the Jews should be shared by their fellow-citizens of other creeds…

L. L. Cohen, Chairman of the Jewish Board of Guardians made this comment:

The establishment of a “national home for the Jewish race” in Palestine, presupposes that the Jews are a nation, which I deny, and that they are homeless, which implies that, in the countries where they enjoy religious liberty and the full rights of citizenship, they are separate entities, unidentified with the interests of the nations of which they form parts, an implication which I repudiate.

MontefioreCG

A 1925 painting by Christopher Williams.

Claude G. Montefiore, President of the Anglo-Jewish Association, was only lukewarm in his support:

For the true well-being of the Jewish race emancipation and liberty in the countries of the world are a thousand times more important than a “home.” In any case only a small fraction of the Jews could be collected together in Palestine…

I and my friends do not desire to impede colonization and immigration into Palestine, on the contrary we desire to obtain free facilities for them. We are in favour of local autonomy where ever the conditions allow it. Whoever the suzerain Power of Palestine may be, we are in favour of the Jews, when their numbers permit it, ultimately obtaining the power which any large majority may justly claim. (The population breakdown of Palestine at the time was approximately 512,000 Muslims, 66,000 Jews, and 61,000 Christian, as reported on page 44. Ed.)

Ingrams also reprints strong letters of support for the declaration from British Jewish leaders, though, with the exception of Lord Rothschild, they were, as Montagu noted, all foreign born. With even Jewish opinion in Britain divided over the question of the creation of a “national home” for the Jews in Palestine, the obviously deciding reason for the pronouncement in its favor is summed up in the following quote from Ingrams:

Meanwhile numbers of letters from Jews in Britain and abroad pressing for the declaration were received at the Foreign Office. [Assistant Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs] Ronald Graham addressed a Memorandum to Mr. Balfour regretting the Cabinet’s delay in giving an assurance to the Zionists as this delay would throw them into the arms of the Germans. The moment, he said, this assurance is granted the Zionist Jews are prepared to start an active pro-Ally propaganda throughout the world. (Emphasis added)

And so, in the midst of their death struggle with the Germans, and with that threat and that promise firmly in mind:

The War Cabinet authorized:

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Foreign Affairs to take a suitable opportunity for making the following declaration of sympathy with the Zionist aspirations:

His Majesty’s Government view [sic] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

The letter embodying this declaration was sent by Balfour to Lord Rothschild on 2 November 1917.

An Impossible Assignment

To further the war effort, the British government didn’t waste any time putting out the message that the declaration promised a great deal more to the Jews than what its carefully chosen words actually said:

The Foreign Office set up a special branch for Jewish propaganda within the Department of Information under the control “of a very active Zionist propagandist named A. Hyamson, whose business it is to produce suitable literature and ultimately as soon as can be arranged, look after its distribution.” Propaganda material was distributed to virtually every known Jewish community in the world through local Zionist societies and other intermediaries. Leaflets containing the text of the Balfour Declaration were dropped over German and Austrian territory: pamphlets in Yiddish were circulated to Jewish troops in Central European armies—after the capture of Jerusalem—which read: “Jerusalem has fallen! The hour of Jewish redemption has arrived…Palestine must be the national home of the Jewish people once more…The Allies are giving the Land of Israel to the people of Israel. Every loyal Jewish heart is now filled with joy for this great victory. Will you join them and help to build a Jewish homeland in Palestine? … Stop fighting the Allies, who are fighting for you, for all the Jews, for the freedom of all the small nations. Remember! An Allied victory means the Jewish people’s return to Zion…”

It didn’t help at all after the war and after the British were given the Mandate over Palestine that the Zionist organizations continued to repeat this message in order to encourage immigration, that is, that Palestine had been given to the Jews. For larger public consumption, the British government and the Zionist leaders maintained that the declaration meant no more than what it said. Edwin Montagu had probably been instrumental in getting the passage, “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” into the declaration, but the subsequent British propaganda and the messages of Zionist leaders to the world Jewish community promised, in so many words, to run rough shod over those civil and religious rights.

Hearing the British propaganda and the Zionist messages to their followers, the residents of Palestine were not easily reassured that the purveyors of the scary message didn’t really mean it. They feared the worst, and as it turned out, the worst is what they got and are continuing to get. It fell upon the British military administration of Palestine, known as Occupied Enemy Territory Administration or O.E.T.A. to try to keep the peace.

Shortly afterward the British government set up a Zionist Commission headed by Chaim Weizmann, himself, “to carry out, subject to General Allenby’s authority, any steps required to give effect to Government declaration in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people.”

The following internal memorandum from Sir Ronald Storrs, who was, as he put it, “the first military governor of Jerusalem since Pontius Pilate,” captures very well the difficulty of the task before him:

Ronald_Storrs

Sir Ronald Storrs Governor of Jerusalem and Judea

From the first announcement of the formation of the Zionist Commission, the Arab and Christian elements of Palestine have been labouring under grave disquietude which has not been allayed by the arrival of the gentlemen themselves. A variety of enthusiastic articles upon the future of Zionism published in many organs of the British Press have for obvious reason wrought uneasiness and depression in the other elements of Palestine generally, and in particular, the Moslems. These feelings have been accentuated by numerous meetings of Jews… On the 17th Dr. Mekler speaking upon the geographical, agricultural, and health situation of Palestine closed his speech by attempting to show “how the Jewish people in their present state could take over the Holy Land” … At the beginning of March in the Hebrew Seminary Dr. Morchak delivered a speech on the return of Israel to Zion in which he elaborated a system of the future ruling of Palestine by the Jews. Such proceedings…caused no little despondency and searchings of heart and produced, as might have been expected, the usual ineffectual rejoinders in the shape of Moslem and Christian Land Unions for the protection of the soil, with a heroic programme and no subscriptions or results…

I cannot agree that, as Dr. Weizmann would seem to suggest, it is the business of the Military Authorities “to bring home to the Arabs and Syrians the fact that H.M.G. has expressed a definite policy with regard to the future of the Jews in Palestine.” This has already been done by Mr. Balfour in London, and by the Press throughout the world. What is wanted is that the Zionists themselves should bring home to the Arabs and Syrians an exposition at once as accurate and conciliatory as possible of their real aims and policy in the country…

Speaking myself as a convinced Zionist, I cannot help thinking that the Commission are [sic] lacking in a sense of the dramatic actuality. Palestine, up to now a Moslem country, has fallen into the hands of a Christian Power which on the eve of its conquest announced that a considerable portion of its land is to be handed over for colonization purposes to a nowhere very popular people. The despatch of a Commission of these people is subsequently announced…

What Storrs was requesting of Weizmann was, in reality, every bit as contradictory as the wartime promises that the British government had made. A statement of the Zionist’s real aims, as we now see from hindsight, could not be at the same time accurate and conciliatory.

Curzon, the Realist

George Nathaniel Curzon

George Nathaniel Curzon

One who saw clearly the contradiction at the time was Lord Curzon, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Like Montagu, he had been a dissenting member of the War Cabinet that approved the Balfour Declaration, but his opposition had been more on practical than ideological grounds. From his long experience in the region, he just didn’t see how this Jewish home in Palestine could work without completely upsetting the social and political applecart.

In January 1920 he warned Balfour that a Jewish government of any kind in Palestine would result in an Arab uprising. Balfour responded:

…As far as I know Weizmann has never put forward a claim for the Jewish Government of Palestine. Such a claim is in my opinion certainly inadmissible and personally I do not think we should go further than the original which I made to Lord Rothschild.

Curzon wrote back six days later:

…As for Weizmann and Palestine, I entertain no doubt that he is out for a Jewish Government, if not at the moment, then in the near future…

On December 17th, he [Weizmann] telegraphed to Eder of the Zionist Commission at Jaffa: “The new proposal stipulates first that the whole administration of P. shall be so formed as to make of P. a Jewish Commonwealth, under British trusteeship, and that the Jews shall so participate in the administration as to secure this object.”

Further “The Jewish population is to be allowed the widest practicable measure of self-government and to have extensive powers of expropriating the owners of the soil, etc.”

What all this can mean except Government I do not see. Indeed a Commonwealth as defined in my dictionary is a “body politic” a “state” an “independent community” a “republic.”

I feel tolerably sure therefore that while Weizmann may say one thing to you, or while you may mean one thing by a National Home, he is out for something quite different. He contemplates a Jewish State, a Jewish nation, a subordinate population of Arabs etc. ruled by Jews; the Jews in possession of the fat of the land, and directing the Administration.

He is trying to effect this behind the screen and under the shelter of British trusteeship.

I do not envy those who wield the latter, when they realise the pressure to which they are certain to be exposed…

One of those who had been put in the unenviable position was Major-General H.D. Watson, Chief Administrator of Palestine, who reported to the Foreign Office in August 1919:

On taking over the Administration of O.E.T.A. South I had an open mind with regard to the Zionist movement and was fully in sympathy with the aim of the Jews for a National Home in Palestine—and with that aim I am still in sympathy, as long as it is not carried out at the expense of the rightful inhabitants and owners of the land. There is no doubt whatsoever that the feeling of the great mass of the population is very antagonistic to the scheme… The people of the country, the owners of the land have looked with eager eyes to the peaceful development of their country and the better education of their children—for their own benefit, and not for the benefit of peoples of alien nationality. Certain of the long established Jews also are not in sympathy with the Zionist movement.

The antagonism to Zionism of the majority of the population is deep rooted—it is fast leading to hatred of the British—and will result, if the Zionist programme is forced upon them, in an outbreak of a very serious character necessitating the employment of a much larger number of troops than at present located in the territory…

The great fear of the people is that once Zionist wealth is passed into the land, all territorial and mineral concessions will fall into the hands of the Jews whose intensely clannish instincts prohibit them from dealing with any but those of their own religion, to the detriment of Moslems and Christians. These latter, the natives of the soil, foresee their eventual banishment from the land…

Churchill, The Fantasist

In 1921 responsibility for the administration of Palestine, as well as other mandated territories, was passed from the Foreign Office to the Colonial Office. As Christopher Sykes put it in Crossroads to Israel, “In terms of personalities this change meant that the territories left the care of Lord Curzon, an emphatic opponent of Zionism but one who had never allowed his prejudice to influence his official actions, and entered the care of the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Winston Churchill who wished Zionism well from his heart.”

As we shall see, the change also meant the replacement of Curzon’s gumption and practicality with Churchill’s dreamy idealism and high-sounding rhetoric.

Upon the occasion of his first visit to Palestine after assuming his new responsibility, he was greeted by a delegation of Muslims and Christians in Haifa that made this observation to him:

…Had Zionists come to Palestine simply as visitors, or had matters remained as before the war, there would be no question of Jew or non-Jew. It is the idea of transforming Palestine into a home for the Jews that Arabs resent and fight against. The fact that a Jew is a Jew has never prejudiced the Arabs against him. Before the war Jews enjoyed all the privileges and rights of citizenship. The question is not a religious one. For we see that Christians and Moslems alike, whose religions are not similar, unite in their hatred of Zionism…

Churchill gave them this response:

churchillIt is manifestly right that the Jews, who are scattered all over the world, should have a national centre and a national home where some of them may be reunited. And where else could that be but in this land of Palestine, with which for more than 3,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated? We think it will be good for the world, good for the Jews and good for the British Empire. But we also think it will be good for the Arabs who dwell in Palestine, and we intend that it shall be good for them, and that they shall not be sufferers or supplanted in the country in which they dwell or denied their share in all that makes for progress and prosperity. And here I would draw your attention to the second part of the Balfour Declaration which solemnly and explicitly promises to the inhabitants of Palestine the fullest protection of their civil and political rights. I was sorry to hear in the paper you have just read that you do not regard that promise as of value. It seems to be a vital matter for you and one to which you should hold most firmly and for the exact fulfillment of which you should claim. If the one promise stands, so does the other; and we shall be judges as we faithfully fulfill them both…

Readers might be reminded that when British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin did his best to fulfill the promise of the second part of the Balfour Declaration in the 1940s the Zionists tried their best to assassinate him. The British promise of respect for the rights of the non-Jewish natives of Palestine was wholly inconsistent with the Zionist agenda.

After Churchill’s visit, Captain C.D. Brunton of General Staff Intelligence made this observation in an internal memorandum:

Ever since our occupation of the country the inhabitants have disliked the policy of founding a national home for the Jews in Palestine. This feeling has gradually developed into nothing short of bitter and widespread hostility, and the Arab population has come to regard the Zionists with hatred and the British with resentment. Mr. Churchill’s visit put the final touch to the picture. He upheld the Zionist cause and treated the Arab demands like those of a negligible opposition to be put off by a few political phrases and treated like bad children…

Some three months later, on June 14, 1921, Churchill made this statement to Parliament:

…The Arabs believe that in the next few years they are going to be swamped by scores of thousands of immigrants from Central Europe, who will push them off the land, eat up the scanty substance of the country, and eventually gain absolute control of its institutions and destinies. As a matter of fact these fears are illusory. The Zionists in order to obtain the enthusiasm and the support which they require are bound to state their case with the fullest ardour, conviction and hope, and it is these declarations which alarm the Arabs, and not the actual dimensions of the immigration which has taken place or can take place in practice…

There is really nothing for the Arabs to be frightened about. All the Jewish immigration is being very carefully watched and controlled both from the point of view of numbers and character. No Jew will be brought in beyond the number who can be provided for by the expanding wealth and development of the resources of the country…We cannot possibly agree to allow the Jewish colonies to be wrecked or all future immigration to be stopped without definitely accepting the position that the word of Britain no longer counts throughout the East and the Middle East. If representative institutions are conceded, as we hope they will be, to the Arabs in Palestine, some definite arrangements will have to be made in the instrument on which those institutions stand, which will safeguard within reasonable limits the immigration of Jews into the country, as they make their own way and create their own means of subsistence. Our task, using a phrase of the late Lord Salisbury, will be to persuade one side to concede and the other to forbear, but keeping a reasonable margin of force available in order to ensure the acceptance of the position of both parties.

The task, as it turns out, was impossible. The Arab fears were based upon down-to-earth reality; Churchill’s attempt at calming reassurance was so much pie in the sky. He reminds us of no one so much as Vice President Dick Cheney telling Tim Russert on Meet the Press that Americans would be greeted in Iraq as liberators.

How did we get into this mess? Pick your mess in the Middle East. Doreen Ingrams’ valuable book is a very good starting place to begin to answer the question.

 

David Martin

January 15, 2015


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