Archive for February 2012
Dennis House, the presenter of Connecticut’s “Face the State” TV show, describes his recent interview with a refreshingly candid candidate for Joe Lieberman’s Senate seat:
In her first television interview of the campaign, Lee Whitnum came out swinging against two of her fellow Democrats seeking the nomination for the seat currently held by Joe Lieberman. During a taping of Face the State, the lawyer and author from Greenwich was highly critical of Susan Bysiewicz and Chris Murphy.
On Bysiewicz, here is an excerpt of what Whitnum had to say: “I don’t like her at all. I think she is a card-carrying Israelist.” Is she running to make sure this Congress remains pro-Israel?”
As for Murphy:
“Chris Murphy pledged $30M to Israel over the next ten years……..We elected a young maverick kid and he just hasn’t done very much. He needs to be taken out of office.”
Whitnum hasn’t made many friends in the Connecticut Democratic Party. She is currently suing Governor Malloy, alleging he called her an anti-semite. She called Senator Lieberman a traitor, and demanded Senator Richard Blumenthal to resign, both because of their support of Israel.
Whitnum’s opposition to the United States policy on its ally Israel, has led to those anti-semitism charges. She also filed a lawsuit against the town of Greenwich, for allowing a menorah on town property. On Face the State Sunday, you’ll hear Whitnum talk about what she believes needs to be done when it comes to Israel.
Watch this amazing interview here.
Carl Gershman, the former ADL researcher and longtime president of the National Endowment for Democracy, recently told a memorial meeting for Václav Havel held at NED’s Washington HQ:
In keeping with Havel’s vision, let’s hope that China will be given back to the people, and Burma, Cuba, Iran, Belarus, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Tibet, East Turkestan, even North Korea,” said Gershman. “There is much work to do to help bring happiness and glory to the dark corners of the world, as Havel did for his and other nations.
By Sharmine Narwani
February 28, 2012
“Perception is 100 percent of politics,” the old adage goes. Say something three, five, seven times, and you start to believe it in the same way you “know” aspirin is good for the heart.
Sometimes though, perception is a dangerous thing. In the dirty game of politics, it is the perception – not the facts of an issue – that invariably wins the day.
In the case of the raging conflict over Syria, the one fundamental issue that motors the entire international debate on the crisis is the death toll and its corollary: the Syrian casualty list.
The “list” has become widely recognized – if not specifically, then certainly when the numbers are bandied about: 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 – sometimes more. These are not mere numbers; they represent dead Syrians.
But this is where the dangers of perception begin. There are many competing Syrian casualty lists with different counts – how does one, for instance gauge if X is an accurate number of deaths? How have the deaths been verified? Who verifies them and do they have a vested interest? Are the dead all civilians? Are they pro-regime or anti-regime civilians? Do these lists include the approximately 2,000 dead Syrian security forces? Do they include members of armed groups? How does the list-aggregator tell the difference between a civilian and a plain-clothes militia member?
Even the logistics baffle. How do they make accurate counts across Syria every single day? A member of the Lebanese fact-finding team investigating the 15 May 2011 shooting deaths of Palestinian protesters by Israelis at the Lebanese border told me that it took them three weeks to discover there were only six fatalities, and not the 11 counted on the day of the incident. And in that case, the entire confrontation lasted a mere few hours.
How then does one count 20, 40, or 200 casualties in a few hours while conflict continues to rage around them?
By Grant Smith
February 28, 2012
AIPAC’s Washington policy conference next month is drawing intense scrutiny and unprecedented resistance. AIPAC has worked quietly for years to tripwire the United States into war with Iran. Soon it will “ask” Congress and the president to define “nuclear weapons capability” as the threshold for war, essentially demanding an immediate attack. Because Iran presents no military threat to the United States, many Americans wonder exactly where such costly and potentially disastrous policies are formulated. Recently declassified FBI files reveal how Israeli government officials first orchestrated public relations and policies through the U.S. lobby. Counter-espionage investigations of proto-AIPAC’s first coordinating meetings with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the head of Mossad provide a timely and useful framework for understanding how AIPAC continues to localize and market Israeli government policies in America.
Although AIPAC claims it rose “from a small pro-Israel public affairs boutique in the 1950s,” its true origin can be traced to Oct. 16, 1948. This is the date AIPAC’s founder Isaiah L. Kenen and four others established the Israel Office of Information under Israel’s U.N. mission. It was later moved under the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The IOI opened offices in New York City, Washington, and Los Angeles, which became testbeds for working out how Israeli government leaders would promote lobbying initiatives through public relations harnessing the power and financial support of American organizations and supporters. Although the FBI nervously noted IOI founder Kenen had become a member of the Communist Party in 1937 while working as a newspaperman at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, he was never the subject of a criminal investigation. Only because Kenen interacted with so many U.S. and foreign nationals who were targets of espionage, foreign counter-intelligence, and domestic security investigations (such as super-lobbyist Abraham Feinberg, Israeli diplomats, and assorted Mossad officers) did Kenen’s movements appear as cross-references in hundreds of pages of recently declassified FBI documents [.pdf].
In his Haaretz blog, Chemi Shalev concludes sadly that not everyone can be relied upon to put Israeli interests before their own:
China or Russia or India will pursue their own self-interest, something that definitely cannot be said of the United States but also – gasp, shock, horror – of Western Europe.
Alexey Pilko, Associate Professor at Moscow State University, describes what he learned on a recent visit to Syria:
Syrian officials, including Vice President Najah al-Attar and Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, with whom a group of Russian experts (and the author of this article) met recently, mention Turkey, Qatar and Israel among the main instigators of international pressure on Syria, along with the United States standing behind them. The American factor in the Syrian crisis (and, to a lesser extent, the Israeli factor) is one of the main topics of discussion in Damascus at the moment. Syrians emphasize that the main target of the United States and Israel is not Syria but rather Iran, and that they are interested in destabilizing Syria for the sole purpose of depriving Tehran of a “counter play” in the Middle East in the event of a military operation against Iran. In general, the Syrian political elite is convinced that there is an international conspiracy against Damascus.
Israel’s role in the Syrian events is a sensitive issue for Syrians, considering Israel’s continued occupation of the Golan Heights. Indeed, even high-ranking Syrian officials claim they possess evidence showing that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has direct links to the Israeli government.