UK Treasury officials wined & dined by arms giants & ‘rogue banks’ By GPD

February 9, 2016

Perhaps why they are arming the Saudi’s

Treasury officials regularly accepted invitations to lavish dinners with lobbyists for banks that were being investigated for market rigging, a new report has found.

The explosive research, which was conducted by the National Audit Office (NAO), was published on Tuesday. It reveals that banking lobby the British Bankers’ Association was a frequent provider of hospitality to senior Treasury officials, despite the fact some of its members were being investigated by UK authorities for market rigging.

 

UK Treasury officials wined & dined by arms giants & ‘rogue banks’

Arms manufacturer BAE Systems and auditing giants Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were also frequent providers of gifts and hospitality. Because each of these organizations supply services to government, the NAO said such patterns of gift giving could create conflicts of interest.

Evidence of arms companies entertaining state officials over cozy dinners will likely anger anti-arms campaigners, who are calling on the government to suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Amid mounting concerns that UK-made weapons have been used to bomb schools, hospitals, markets and other civilian targets in Yemen, pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to halt arms sales to the Gulf kingdom is at an all-time high. Nevertheless, Britain’s arms trade with Saudi Arabia remains unfettered.

Conflict of interest?

The NAO’s study revealed that civil servants accepted 3,413 corporate gifts between April 2012 and March 2015. State officials in 17 departments reportedly accepted hospitality from a total of 1,495 different organizations over the same period.

The most frequent donors were the City of London Corporation, BAE Systems, PwC, the Confederation of British Industry and Deloitte.

As part of its probe, the NAO examined records maintained by the Department for Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Between April 2012 and March 2015, 17 percent of DE&S officials accepted gifts and hospitality worth an estimated £100,000. Two percent of BIS officials accepted gifts and hospitality worth an estimated £35,000. And just 1 percent of HMRC officials accept gifts and hospitality worth £19,000.

BIS officials were found to have accepted hospitality from 580 separate organizations, many of which have a direct interest in the department’s policy aims.

DE&S officials accepted hospitality from 600 organizations, 97 percent of which came from arms company BAE Systems. And officials from HMRC were found to accept hospitality from 400 separate organizations, most frequently from foreign governments.

‘Weaknesses in oversight’

The government operates a principles-based approach for accepting hospitality and gifts whereby state officials who are gifted are expected to exercise their personal judgment. The NAO’s report found that in the majority of cases, gifts and hospitality offered to state officials were reasonable.

However, it said that in a number of cases, such offerings were not consistent with Cabinet Office principles. Luxuries that were deemed excessive or unacceptable included tickets to sports and cultural events, bottles of champagne, wine and iPads.

The NAO concluded its research uncovered distinct weaknesses in the monitoring and regulation of gift giving to certain state officials. It called upon the government to address these shortcomings.

National Audit Office chief Amyas Morse said a culture of gift giving is to be expected, but can lead to a risk of conflicts of interest.

“Public officials are sometimes offered gifts and hospitality by external stakeholders which it is reasonable for them to accept. This can, however, present a risk of actual or perceived conflicts of interest, and undermine value for money or affect government’s reputation,” he said.

“While most, but not all, cases declared by officials appear on the face of it to be justifiable in the normal course of business, we found some weaknesses in the oversight and control of gifts and hospitality. This needs to be addressed by the Cabinet Office and departments.”

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Proposed Privatization – A Treasonous Attempt to Destroy Russia

The tireless 5th column is burning the midnight oil in the Kremlin

Paul Craig Roberts

Michael Hudson

Tue, Feb 9, 2016

This article has gotten a lot of attention, so we are running a short commentary from the Saker as an introduction.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/privatization-atlanticist-strategy-attack-russia/ri12721

Commentary by the Saker:

When two excellent economists like Michal Hudson and Paul Craig Roberts take the time to jointly issue a stark warning to the Kremlin President Putin really ought to pay attention.  The combined wealth of knowledge and experience of Hudson and Roberts is simply unparalleled and their record clearly shows that they both are friends of the Russian people.  I honestly believe that to ignore their warning would be absolutely irresponsible.

I fully agree that the latest privatization plan is a direct attack by the Russian 5th colum against President Putin and against Russia.  Roberts and Hudson put it perfectly:

“Those Russians allied with the West—“Atlanticist Integrationists”— who want Russia to sacrifice its sovereignty to integration with the Western empire are using neoliberal economics to entrap Putin and breach Russia’s control over its own economy that Putin reestablished after the Yeltsin years when Russia was looted by foreign interests“.

Putin cannot wait much longer.  He needs to take action now.  All his supporters have been literally begging Putin to finally purge the government from what in Russia is called the “economic block of the government”.  There are plenty of excellent Russian economists capable of *truly* begin to reform the Russian economy (Glaziev) and most of the Russian business community will enthusiastically support such reform.  But the first step in this process must be to finally take action against the Atlantic Integrationists.  Now.

The Saker

The original article by Roberts and Hudson follows below:

NOTE: Readers are asking to know who, in addition to the Western-financed NGOs, are the Fifth Columnists inside Russia. Michael Hudson and I left the description general as Atlanticist Integrationists and neoliberal economists. The Saker provides some specific names. Among the Fifth Columnists are the Russian Prime Minister, head of the Central Bank, and the two top economics ministers. They are springing a privatization trap on Putin that could undo all of his accomplishments and deliver Russia to Western control.
http://thesaker.is/putins-biggest-failure/

Two years ago, Russian officials discussed plans to privatize a group of national enterprises headed by the oil producer Rosneft, the VTB Bank, Aeroflot, and Russian Railways. The stated objective was to streamline management of these companies, and also to induce oligarchs to begin bringing their two decades of capital flight back to invest in the Russia economy. Foreign participation was sought in cases where Western technology transfer and management techniques would be likely to help the economy.

However, the Russian economic outlook deteriorated as the United States pushed Western governments to impose economic sanctions against Russia and oil prices declined. This has made the Russian economy less attractive to foreign investors. So sale of these companies will bring much lower prices today than would have been likely in 2014

Meanwhile, the combination of a rising domestic budget deficit and balance-of-payments deficit has given Russian advocates of privatization an argument to press ahead with the sell-offs. The flaw in their logic is their neoliberal assumption that Russia cannot simply monetize its deficit, but needs to survive by selling off more major assets. We warn against Russia being so gullible as to accept this dangerous neoliberal argument. Privatization will not help re-industrialize Russia’s economy, but will aggravate its turn into a rentier economy from which profits are extracted for the benefit of foreign owners.

To be sure, President Putin set a number of conditions on February 1 to prevent new privatizations from being like the Yeltsin era’s disastrous selloffs. This time the assets would not be sold at knockdown prices, but would have to reflect prospective real value. The firms being sold off would remain under Russian jurisdiction, not operated by offshore owners. Foreigners were invited to participate, but the companies would remain subject to Russian laws and regulations, including restrictions to keep their capital within Russia.

Also, the firms to be privatized cannot be bought with domestic state bank credit. The aim is to draw “hard cash” into the buyouts – ideally from the foreign currency holdings by oligarchs in London and elsewhere.

Putin wisely ruled out selling Russia’s largest bank, Sperbank, which holds much of the nation’s retail savings accounts. Banking evidently is to remain largely a public utility, which it should because the ability to create credit as money is a natural monopoly and inherently public in character.

Despite these protections that President Putin added, there are serious reasons not to go ahead with the newly-announced privatizations. These reasons go beyond the fact that they would be sold under conditions of economic recession as a result of the Western economic sanctions and falling oil prices.

The excuse being cited by Russian officials for selling these companies at the present time is to finance the domestic budget deficit. This excuse shows that Russia has still not recovered from the disastrous Western Atlanticist myth that Russia must depend on foreign banks and bondholders to create money, as if the Russian central bank cannot do this itself by monetizing the budget deficit.

Monetization of budget deficits is precisely what the United States government has done, and what Western central banks have been doing in the post World War II era. Debt monetization is common practice in the West. Governments can help revive the economy by printing money instead of indebting the country to private creditors which drains the public sector of funds via interest payments to private creditors.

There is no valid reason to raise money from private banks to provide the government with money when a central bank can create the same money without having to pay interest on loans. However, Russian economists have been inculcated with the Western belief that only commercial banks should create money and that governments should sell interest-bearing bonds in order to raise funds. The incorrect belief that only private banks should create money by making loans is leading the Russian government down the same path that has led the eurozone into a dead end economy.  By privatizing credit creation, Europe has shifted economic planning from democratically elected governments to the banking sector.

There is no need for Russia to accept this pro-rentier economic philosophy that bleeds a country of public revenues. Neoliberals are promoting it not to help Russia, but to bring Russia to its knees.

Essentially, those Russians allied with the West—“Atlanticist Integrationists”— who want Russia to sacrifice its sovereignty to integration with the Western empire are using neoliberal economics to entrap Putin and breach Russia’s control over its own economy that Putin reestablished after the Yeltsin years when Russia was looted by foreign interests.

Despite some success in reducing the power of the oligarchs who arose from the Yeltsin privatizations, the Russian government needs to retain national enterprises as a countervailing economic power. The reason governments operate railways and other basic infrastructure is to lower the cost of living and doing business. The aim of private owners, by contrast, is to raise the prices as high as they can. This is called “rent extraction.” Private owners put up tollbooths to raise the cost of infrastructure services that are being privatized. This is the opposite of what the classical economists meant by “free market.”

There is talk of a deal being made with the oligarchs. The oligarchs will buy ownership in the Russian state companies with money they have stashed abroad from previous privatizations, and get another “deal of the century” when Russia’s economy recovers by enough to enable more excessive gains to be made.

The problem is that the more economic power moves from government to private control, the less countervailing power the government has against private interests.  From this standpoint, no privatizations should be permitted at this time.

Much less should foreigners be permitted to acquire ownership of Russian national assets. In order to collect a one-time payment of foreign currency, the Russian government will be turning over to foreigners future income streams that can, and will be, extracted from Russia and sent abroad. This “repatriation” of dividends would occur even if management and control remains geographically in Russia.

Selling public assets in exchange for a one-time payment is what the city of Chicago government did when it sold the 75 year revenue stream of its parking meters for a one-time payment. The Chicago government got money for one year by giving up 75 years of revenues. By sacrificing public revenues, the Chicago government saved real estate and private wealth from being taxed and also allowed Wall Street investment banks to make a fortune.

It also created a public outcry against the giveaway. The new buyers sharply raised street parking fees, and sued Chicago’s government for damages when the city closed the street for public parades or holidays, thereby “interfering” with the rentiers’ parking-meter business. Instead of helping Chicago, it helped push the city toward bankruptcy. No wonder Atlanticists would like to see Russia suffer the same fate.

Using privatization to cover a short-term budget problem creates a larger long-term problem. The profits of Russian companies would flow out of the country, reducing the ruble’s exchange rate. If the profits are paid in rubles, the rubles can be dumped in the foreign exchange market and exchanged for dollars. This will depress the ruble’s exchange rate and raise the dollar’s exchange value. In effect, allowing foreigners to acquire Russia’s national assets helps foreigners to speculate against the Russian ruble.

Of course, the new Russian owners of the privatized assets also could send their profits abroad. But at least the Russian government realizes that owners subject to Russian jurisdiction are more easily regulated than are owners who are able to control companies from abroad and keep their working capital in London or other foreign banking centers (all subject to U.S. diplomatic leverage and New Cold War sanctions).

At the root of the privatization discussion should be the question of what is money and why should it be created by private banks instead of central banks. The Russian government should finance its budget deficit by having the central bank create the necessary money, just as the US and UK do.  It is not necessary for the Russian government to give away future revenue streams in perpetuity merely in order to cover one year’s deficit. That is a path to impoverishment and to loss of economic and political independence.

Globalization was invented as a tool of American Empire. Russia should be shielding itself from globalization, not opening itself to it. Privatization is the vehicle to undercut economic sovereignty and increase profits by raising prices.

Just as Western-financed NGOs operating in Russia are a fifth column operating against Russian national interests, so are Russia’s neoliberal economists, whether or not they realize it.  Russia will not be safe from Western manipulation until its economy is closed to Western attempts to reshape Russia’s economy in the interest of Washington and not in the interest of Russia.

In which Wikileaks is caught out publishing a deliberate falsehood

10th February 2016

I asked a question today on Twitter, and got a reply directly from the @wikileaks account (which I understand (and have been told) is operated directly by Julian Assange):

So, Assange had sought to bring the case before the European Court of Human Rights, but it had been rejected.

If this is true, the tweet from the Wikileaks account is false, and the operator of the Wikleaks account would have known it was false.

And what do we call a deliberate falsehood?

Remember “Assange’s Law”:  every statement of law promoted by Assange will turn out on scrutiny to be false or misleading.

*

_____________________________________

To get alerts for my new posts at Jack of Kent and the FT, and anywhere else, please submit your email address in the “Subscribe” box at the top of this page.But according to the Guardian on Friday:

Cameron’s known PMQ lies over LHA maxima by Joe Halewood

At Prime Minister Questions today The Prime Minister told a known lie over the Conservative’s policy of the LHA maxima cut / cap. Twice.  He then also tried to dismiss factual comments about the policy as scaremongering and only the result of research full of leading questions.  He also knows that is deceitful too.

Firstly when asked about in a general question by Jeremy Corbyn he said:

The other change that we are making, which does not actually come into force until 2018, is to make sure that we are not paying housing benefit to social tenants way above what we would pay to private sector tenants.

Cameron couldn’t even bring himself to name this policy – the LHA maxima – and the lie and known lie is that the policy comes into force in April 2016 and a little over 8 weeks away and not in 2018.

In 8 weeks time and any date after 1 April 2016 a pensioner who moves into sheltered housing will have their full housing benefit paid in 2016/17 and in 2017/18 yet face a massive cut in housing benefit from April 2018.

That pensioner has to be told that now before he or she takes the decision to move into sheltered housing.  If not  that pensioner will need to find £50 per week from their state pension just to make the rent as (s)he will get a £50 per week cut in housing benefit.  Of course a pensioner will not be able to afford to pay £50 per week out of state pension and £2,600 per year that is what the policy means as I illustrate (again) below.

lhamaxshelt1 lhamaximashelte2

The above is the first two pages of a spreadsheet which shows how much a 1 bed sheltered housing pensioner will have in the housing benefit cut from the LHA maxima policy.

In Barnsley, the pensioner will have a £3,508 cut in housing benefit and have to find £67.28 per week from state pension just to make the rent if (s)he moves in after April 2016 – JUST EIGHT WEEKS AWAY MR CAMERON!

The policy of the LHA maxima was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement of 25 November 2015 and he said:

The rate of Housing Benefit in the social sector will be capped at the relevant local housing allowance – in other words, the same rate paid to those in the private rented sector who receive the same benefit. It will apply to new tenancies only from April 2016

Cameron repeated his lie that the policy will only come into force in 2018 in a second question from Mike Weir as below:

Q8.[903576]

Women’s aid groups, including my own in Angus, have raised the serious concern that changes in housing benefit may force the closure of many refuges. Will the Prime Minister undertake to specifically exclude refuges from the changes and to protect this vital service for vulnerable women and children?

The Prime Minister:

As I said in my answers to the Leader of the Opposition, we want to support the supported housing projects that work in many of our constituencies. We have all seen how important they are. The changes to housing benefit that we are talking about will not come into place until 2018, so there is plenty of time to make sure that we support supported housing projects.

It’s the same policy of the LHA maxima – the one that Cameron noticeably did not mention by any name – that will close ALL DV refuges and homeless hostels and sheltered and other supported housing.

Note well that some if not much will close BEFORE April 2018 as the cuts are so severe and for example here is why just one provider the YMCA (England) will receive a £40 million first year cut and will have NO OPTION BUT TO CLOSE the majority of its homeless hostels and is also why DV refuges will have to close their doors for good on or BEFORE April 2018.

The policy does not come into force until 2018 Prime Minister?!

Oh yes its bloody well does as well you know – as you tried to implement thispolicy back in 2011 and know full well what its consequences are!

I do like the irony of today at PMQs you said this on Question 4:

Q4.[903572]

Young people afraid of losing their homes, women denied the pensions that they were expecting and, increasingly, the needy left exposed without the social care they need to live a decent life: when will the Prime Minister address these scandals?

The Prime Minister:

What we are doing for pensioners is putting in place the triple lock so that every pensioner knows there can never be another shameful 75p increase in the pension that we saw under Labour. They know that, every year, it will increase either by wages, prices or 2.5%, and that is why the pension is so much higher than when I became Prime Minister.

Yes we all remember the political significance of the 75p per week state pension increase under the ‘last lot’ Prime Minister – YET your increase to the pensioner in Barnsley is MINUS £67.28 per week – You are cutting the pensioners welfare benefit by SIXTY SEVEN POUNDS PER WEEK!!!

The highest cut is in Hull at a whopping £70.27 per week average housing benefit cut and that is £3,664 you are taking off the pensioner Prime Minister!

There are also higher actual cuts than these average figures and I am also aware and have proof of one extra care sheltered scheme in the North East with a weekly housing benefit cut of over £96 per week due to your LHA maxima policy.

I have also reported here that SVHA in Greater Manchester have a new HAPPI sheltered scheme that will see ALL pensioners there lose huge amounts in housing benefit and make that scheme non financially viable.

You were also informed in the LHA maxima debate two weeks ago that Mencap have pulled £100 million of new sheltered housing schemes because of your LHA maxima policy.  As John Healey said in that debate:

Golden Lane Housing, Mencap’s housing arm, had plans for £100 million investment over the next five years in supported housing across England, but they have been scrapped.

Yet you say this is all hyperbole and scaremongering or skewed / leading research questions?  You are a liar Prime Minister, a consummate one I agree, but a deliberate liar nonetheless.

Not only have you had the information on the LHA maxima consequences since 2011, your government awarded a research contract on this specific issue to IPSOS / MORI in December 2014  – 15 months ago -with terms of reference to report back at least monthly and preferably twice monthly so you and your government KNOW without a shadow of a doubt what the consequences of this policy are.  That is up to 30 reports to date and to dismiss these factual consequences and fully evidenced based consequences as anything other than fact and known fact is a huge lie from your lips Prime Minister.

Finally, Prime Minister, a question for you.

If a social landlord accommodates a pensioner on say Monday 4th April 2016 and does NOT tell them they will be liable for a huge housing benefit cut in April 2018, what action will your government take to sanction that social landlord for misrepresentation / knowingly not telling the pensioner of that consequence?

Or will they be able to get away with such deceit by saying none other than the Prime Minister assured us that he “…wants to support the supported housing projects that work in many of our communities.” Or that he assured us all such issues were just scaremongering and we took him at his word?

Sorry, second question and the one Mike Weir really should have asked….

Can the Prime Minister advise where women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse can flee to given you are closing all DV refuges?

A final third question Prime Minister….

Can you advise on how we hug a hoodie given that there will be 36,000 more of them on the streets sleeping rough as your policy closes all homeless hostels?

https://speye.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/camerons-known-pmq-lies-over-lha-maxima/

To my fellow Israelis: We can stop this by Jonathan Ofir

February 8, 2016

  • An open letter to my fellow Israelis:

This is probably a culmination of nearly a decade’s reviewed study of our history. At some point, beyond the singular stories, cases and arguments, I feel something unequivocal and very generally encompassing needs to be said about our Israeli “miracle”, the manifestation of the Zionist “dream”.

I will not write this in Hebrew, although that would probably have been the most direct idiomatic tool to reach your minds. I will not do so, because I have had enough of dirty laundry recycled amongst us “self-understanding” Israelis. Whilst I write to you, my hopes of change coming from within us Israelis have regrettably declined in the years – and thus, I am also, if not more so, placing my bets upon the involvement of the international community – whose help we need so badly – not for more cash, weapons, or apologetic “understanding”, but rather for its intervention in what we are apparently unable, and mostly unwilling, to fix. The attitude which I thus exhibit here is an extremely unpopular one in Israeli and Jewish culture. It is the vein of the “moser” – the one who “snitches” against the “Jewish nation” towards the goyim.

Well, get over it. There are far more serious issues at hand.

I have to tell you first that our evaluation of Israeli history omits so much atrocity from our side. Indeed, much of it is still classified – even back to 1948. Yes, you may have heard about the Deir Yassin massacre, it is often taught in school books, yet portrayed as an aberration, perpetrated by “extremist”, “rogue” factions before the Declaration of Independence (although the leaders of those extremist factions became our Prime Ministers). But what of the dozens of other massacres perpetrated by – us – in 1948, indeed by the very IDF? Have you read about Al Dawayima, which was apparently worse than Deir Yassin? Yair Auron just wrote about it in Haaretz, I translated and put it out here and on my Facebook page. Go and read. It’s a letter which is out for the first time in full, but it’s no secret as such – excerpts of it have been out for decades – as have many other testimonies and documents, for those who care to seek and look.

When you sum up the systematic mass executions, the many gang-rape cases (which have been slow to be uncovered, because they involve shame on both fronts), the crushing of children’s skulls with sticks, the ripping out of fetuses from their mothers’ wombs – all, and many more, perpetrated by “us”, the “good guys”, the “cultured elite” – often in situations which presented no danger, just out of pure gratuitous sadism and hate for the “Arabs” – then you may begin to realise, that Israel is not in a war of survival, a war of an elite and advanced culture in a “bad neighborhood” of backwards Arab sub-culture.

Let me put it out there, clearly and directly:

We have been acting like animals, with barbarism of a degree which indeed could be, and should be, and has been, compared to those whom we love to hate – the Nazis – whose cruelty is supposed to exonerate ours. As Golda Meir told MK Shulamit Aloni: “After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.” NO. Damn well not. We’ve used this excuse, with those words or others, together with a systematic cover-up of our own cruelties, since the start. And because we have largely succumbed to our own propaganda in this, we have failed to perceive the historical trace, which, if followed honestly, will show us that we are essentially AT THE SAME PLACE as before – still subjugating, still massacring, still torturing.

This is not a chain of events forced upon us as an inevitable consequence of trying to “survive”. This is nonetheless a predictable outcome of our inherent state-religion – which is not Judaism, as many mistakenly think – but rather Zionism.

We were brainwashed to think that Zionism is our savior. That as Jesus died on the cross for the Christians, our soldiers have died for our country. No – they died primarily for Zionism. “Our country”, as is mostly perceived by us, is not really “our country”. It is the country of so many others, whom we have not only expelled with unfathomable brutality, but whom we also now keep locked up in cages of various forms, shapes and styles, as well as under horrendous Apartheid regime in various degrees – in order to maintain our sacred “demographic balance” – whilst we continue, rather unabated, in our expansion over the “promised land”.

Our occupation did not begin in 1967, neither did our cruelty and crimes. We have established a state on the mass graves of others. This was not forced upon us. Just as Begin said in 1982, concerning the 1967 war “we must be honest with ourselves…we decided to attack.” So must we be honest with ourselves about all of our other portrayals of “self-defense”. Indeed, the whole Zionist venture is essentially portrayed as a “struggle for survival”, a “struggle for self-defense”.

Had we not hidden our crimes so well, so deep, and with so much propaganda “deterrence” rhetoric, it would perhaps be easier to believe our sincerity. On the other hand, when those crimes are exposed for what they are, it also becomes impossible to justify our moral righteousness. Indeed, as the world media became much more instantly transparent, the reality of our crimes became impossible to hide – so we put an extra focus on propaganda – to twist it all into “self defense”. We indiscriminately shelled houses and leveled neighborhoods in Gaza, for “self-defense”. We torture children, for “self-defense”.

Let’s just say it outright: We torture and terrorize the hell out of Palestinians in order to deter them and make their lives so miserable so they will want to leave – or to revenge, which will justify our next blow.

We have created a monster. Who on earth would want to “survive” if this is how “survival” looks? How vile is this “survival” which maintains itself upon the death and destruction of “others”? Indeed, who are those “others”? Are we not really the “others”, who came with our “better knowing” culture to “make the desert bloom”? And as this desert “blooms” with yet another settlement, another fictitious “military zone”, another “expansion” – the people who are there, the “others”, are gradually removed, encircled, or killed.

We Jews have thus created a violent legacy to last for centuries, even if it were to stop now. If all stories were now revealed, all archives declassified (1948, 1967 and all others), it is certain that this Zionist venture would constitute another shocking and substantial chapter of barbarism and cruelty in the annals of world history.

But it is not over – for worse, but also for better. We have the ability to stop it now. No, this does not mean our annihilation, as the propagandist Zionist hysterics would reflexively profess. It is an option, standing before us – to relinquish the reign of exclusivity, to separate the Jewish from the State, and to live in peace, with all the challenges that may face every human and every state.
But WE are not a state. A state is not “people”. A state is a regime, a paradigm of governance. A state may belong to its citizens – but then neither “we” nor Israel constitute a real state. For the State of Israel is the state of those who hold Jewish Nationality – which supersedes their citizenship. And I refuse to be a part of this “we” if that means some ethnic-religious-national mishmash superiority. Does that necessarily mean divorcing Judaism? No, of course not. It simply means divorcing the ostensibly inextricable tie that Zionism has made between itself and Judaism, in monopolising Judaism, using a mafia-style coercion of all those who speak against it, with the (too often) applied ultimate rhetoric WMD– of “anti-Semitism”.

This is a scare tactic that needs to be fought. If we do not rise above the intellectual atavism that this ideology submits us to, we will continue to be committing grave crimes and exonerating them as we go, in the name of this “religion”.

There is a future. Zionism, nonetheless, is a dead-end. I realise that saying these things today, is far, far from consensus, and is in no uncertain ways a recipe for societal exclusion. I’ll take that. I’m already resolved to it. But this is not some prophetic martyrdom that I submit myself to. It is actually the only right path that I see. If you want to hope for a good future with Zionism, at least do the minimum to really see what it has meant for Palestinians. That is, surprisingly, perhaps the easier part. The harder part is to look the horrors in the eye, and then look yourself in the mirror, and see what Zionism has done to you.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

Other posts by .

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/02/to-my-fellow-israelis-we-can-stop-this/?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=d33f9e9cb6-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-d33f9e9cb6-398536869#sthash.z7PgoKTw.dpuf

Telegraph: Caught, UK Prosecutors Photoshop Rape into Video By GPD

on February 8, 2016

Prosecutors slowed down CCTV in case of commuter cleared of ‘bizarre’ sex assault on actress

Telegraph: Caught, UK Prosecutors Photoshop Rape into Video

Video led to Mark Pearson being charged with sex assault after walking past woman in busy railway station – but footage had been altered

Editor’s note:  When VT UK correspondent Michael Shrimpton, a noted barrister, was arrested as a nuclear whistleblower, UK prosecutors leveled charges against Shrimpton based on data evidence later found to have been altered, caught by their failure to adjust time stamps.  The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) loaded files onto Shrimpton’s media that didn’t even exist until the “evidence” was already in police hands, something we are finding typical of the UK’s justice system.  As with America, arresting prosecutors for perverting the course of justice seems impossible.

Mark Pearson seen on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station

Mark Pearson seen on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station

Mark Pearson said he had endured a year-long “Kafkaesque nightmare” as a result of the complaintMark Pearson said he had endured a year-long “Kafkaesque nightmare” as a result of the complaint  Photo: ITV/This MorningHe was cleared of “sexually penetrating” the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after a jury rejected claims the crime could have taken place in a brief half-second contact in a busy railway station.

But it can now be disclosed that – to the concern of Mr Pearson’s legal team – the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) supplied original CCTV depicting the alleged assault in an amended format which gave a misleading impression of the incident.

“If we had not taken the steps we had, the CCTV would have been presented to the jury at that amended speed.”
Mark Bagshaw, defence lawyer

Mark Bagshaw, the defence solicitor, said: “The CCTV was served on us in a way in which had been altered.

“The few seconds when my client walked past the alleged victim had been slowed down so it looked like he had more time to commit the alleged actions than he in reality did have.

“Instead of one frame per second it was running at one frame every two seconds.”

Mr Pearson’s legal team was forced to hire a specialist CCTV forensic expert to present the CCTV at the correct speed and then create a storyboard of the incident (see below).

Mr Pearson seen on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station at 18:40:25 Mr Pearson seen carrying a bag and a newspaper on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station at 18:40:20

Mr Pearson seen on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station at 18:40:24 Mr Pearson seen with his right hand on his bag strap on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station at 18:40:24

Mr Pearson seen on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station at at 18:40:25 Mr Pearson seen passing the woman on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station at 18:40:25

Mr Pearson seen on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station at 18:40:26 Mr Pearson had passed by the alleged victim by 18:40:26

The changes made in the CPS’s version of the video were critical because the case hinged on whether Mr Pearson could have committed the assault in that amount of time – and the CCTV gave the impression the window was twice as long as it was in reality.

The lawyer said: “Before the trial this storyboard was served to the CPS with a request that they review their decision to go ahead with the prosecution. They went ahead anyway.

“If we had not taken the steps we had, the CCTV would have been presented to the jury at that amended speed.

“In the end, the prosecution did not rely on the CCTV at all, except to show that my client was at the station.

“The jury was only shown the CCTV as part of our case.

“The first time the alleged victim saw the CCTV was in court, and her reaction was ‘That can’t be me in the CCTV’.”

The defendant, who said he had endured a year-long “Kafkaesque nightmare” as a result of the complaint, blamed the CPS for forcing him to endure “mental torture” as a result of the charge.

A jury at Blackfriars Crown Court took 90 minutes to clear Mr Pearson of the charge of “sexual assault by penetration”.

In a three-day trial Mr Bagshaw, defending, said the allegation could not have taken place in the half-second time frame shown on CCTV, especially as Mr Pearson was carrying a newspaper in his left hand – the one he was alleged to have used in the assault – and holding his bag in his right.

Mr Pearson told the court: “I would have had to crouch down, put my hand up the woman’s skirt… penetrate her, take my hand out again… all while holding the newspaper and walking along the concourse.

“It’s preposterous.

“It is against everything I believe in as a human being. I did nothing.”

There were no witnesses, no forensic evidence and the actress failed to pick out Mr Pearson in an identity parade of video images following the alleged incident in December 2014.

The actress, who is in her 60s, was wearing a coat and jacket and a thin dress over “training pants” following a yoga class, the jury heard.

entencing him at Blackfriars Crown Court Judge Aiden Marron QC said Rashid should have been more "prudent" with his glasses

Blackfriars Crown Court in central London  Photo: ALAMY

Mr Pearson, who was traced by police from his Oyster travel card records, said: “‘One of the many frightening aspects is that this could have happened to anyone.

“For me, half a second turned into a year of hell. I feel I have undergone a form of mental torture sanctioned by the state.

“It is just bizarre.”

He later told ITV’s This Morning programme: “The footage totally contradicts what she was saying.

“I hold the CPS more responsible because we had the CCTV footage analysed by an expert, and the CPS still proceeded with the trial.

“There is something that has gone radically wrong with their processes.”

His partner Carol Ho, 41, said: “None of us believed for a second that he was capable of doing what this woman said.”

The case raises further questions about the CPS’s decision-making insexual assault cases, which has been under intense scrutiny following a series of failures.

The defendant’s solicitor Mr Bagshaw said: “If someone makes a complaint that is daft it is the responsibility of the CPS to bin it.”

A CPS spokesman said: “There was sufficient evidence for this case to proceed to court and progress to trial. We respect the decision of the jury.”

A chronicle of the Global Revolutionary war of the Eurasian alliance.

Regime Campaign - Aleppo FEB 2016-01

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THE ARMY RESTORES SECURITY AND STABILITY TO VILLAGES IN LATTAKIA, ALEPPO AD HOMS, CONTINUES OPERATIONS IN OTHER AREAS

Provinces, SANA- The army restored security and stability to many areas , the last of which is Kefeen village in northern Aleppo, and it continued its operations in other areas across the country , leaving many terrorist organizations’ members killed and their vehicles and weapons destroyed.

 Daraa

An army unit carried out accurate operations against the gatherings and movements of terrorist organizations in al-Siba neighborhood in Daraa al-Balad area in Daraa city, according to military source.

The source said that 20 terrorists were killed, 28 others were injured, and 2 of their vehicles, one of which was equipped with machinegun, were destroyed during the operations.

Also in Daraa al-Balad, the army destroyed 4 vehicles near the meteorology building on al-Sadd road, while 5 fortified positions for terrorists were destroyed and a number of terrorists were killed and injured in al-Karak neighborhood.
The source added that members of a terrorist group were killed and 3 of their vehicles, one of which equipped with a machinegun, were destroyed during concentrated strikes against terrorists’ movements in al-Abasyia neighborhood.

To the northwest of Daraa city, an army unit targeted a terrorist group while it was moving on the road leading to Tafas city and destroyed one of its vehicles.

Another army unit destroyed a vehicle and a machinegun nest in the area surrounding Khrbit Ghazala town to the northeast of Daraa city.

Sources on the ground told SANA’s reporter that army unit targeted with concentrated strikes terrorists’ gatherings in al-Naima town to the east of Daraa city, destroying an ammunition cache and killing number of terrorists.

Aleppo

Units of the army and the armed forces, in cooperation with the back up forces, continued to advance in the northern countryside of Aleppo province, restoring security and stability to Kafeen village after eliminating the last terrorist positions in it.

SANA reporter in Aleppo said that a unit of the army, in cooperation with the back up forces, carried out a military operation over the past hours against the last positions of Jabhat al-Nusra and other Takfiri organizations in Kafeen village in the northern countryside of the province.

The reporter added that the operation resulted in restoring stability and security to Kafeen village, 23 km from the Turkish borders, indicating that units of the army dismantled the landmines and explosive devices planted by terrorist organizations before most of their members were killed while others fled leaving their arms and ammunition.

Meanwhile, the military source told SANA that units of the army bombarded positions and vehicles belonging to the ISIS terrorists in the villages of Talet al-Shwayia, Rasm al-Alam, al-Tayba and Sarjet al-Kabira in the northeastern countryside of the province.

In Aleppo City, gatherings and military equipment belonging to terrorist organizations were destroyed in operations carried out by the army in the neighborhoods of al-Rashidin 4, al-Lyaramoun and Bani Zaid.

Earlier on Saturday, The army restored security and stability to Retyan and Mayer towns in the northern countryside of the province, while on Sunday army units established control over the strategic hill of Barlahin in the eastern countryside of Aleppo after eliminating the remaining ISIS gatherings there.

Idleb, Hama

The army’s air force destroyed dens and vehicles for Jaish al-Fatah terrorist organization in Haish and al-Tamana’a in Idleb southern countryside.

The army air force also raided the terrorist positions in al-Latamneh, Salba, Kfar Zeita, Atshan and Sayyad in Hama northern countryside.

The raid ended up with destroying places and vehicles equipped with heavy machine guns for the terrorists.

Homs

Army units advanced towards Mahin and al-Qariatin and restored stability and security to Tar al-Kharoba area, the southern foots of Point 903.4 and western foots of Points 901 and 912 in Homs countryside.

A number of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists were killed by the army and the armed forces in the surroundings of al-Mukharram town, 43 km to the east of Homs City.

A field source confirmed to SANA that a unit of the army, in cooperation with the popular defense groups, ambushed a terrorist group that infiltrated from Ezz Eddin village into Talomari village, killing most of its members and injuring others.

The source added that arms and varied ammunition belonging to the terrorist group were seized and a number of its vehicles were destroyed.

Lattakia

Army units, in cooperation with popular defense groups, restored stability and security to the villages of al-Hoor, al-Rweisat and al-Sweidia and al-Wadi al-Azrak to the northeast of Lattakia city in the coastal province of Lattakia.

The source added that army units destroyed the last dens and fortified positions of terrorist organizations in the area, inflicting heavy losses on terrorists while a number of them fled away to the areas neighboring the Syrian-Turkish borders.

The army’s engineering units dismantled the explosive devices which terrorists planted earlier in the villages.

Later,  Army units in cooperation with popular defense groups restored security and stability to Dahret al-Baidar al-Mahrouq, Ard al-Ktaf, Ziyaret al-Beida hill and some strategic posts in the northern countryside of Lattakia.

 

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/02/httpsouthfrontorgencounter-battle-in-aleppo-on-the-7th-february.html

Kettles here, kettles there …

“On Sunday morning inside the eastern countryside of the Aleppo Governorate,  ISIS imposed full control over the villages of Rasm Al-‘Alam and Al-Si’in after a violent battle with the Syrian Arab Army’s “Tiger Forces” and their allies from the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade). ISIS launched a counter-offensive earlier this week in order to recapture several villages near the Thermal Power Plant that has become the Tiger Forces’ primary objective after linking their positions with the Sheikh Najjar Industrial District’s 3rd Zone. With Al-Si’in under their control, ISIS could breathe easy for a while because they are no longer in danger of being encircled in the Al-Safira Plains as long as they maintain control over this village.
Based on Al-Masdar details

In the Syrian Arab Army’s turn, government forces and their allies mounted an offensive toward Barlahin and captured it few hours ago.”  Southfront

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This kettle battle will end badly for IS if they can’t break out very quickly.   IMO there is now a gap of about 2 miles between the mobile R+6 force moving west from the Kuweires air base salient and what is referred to on the map as the “Aleppo mainland” that is under government control.

In the south there is another impending kettle battle in the area NE of Deraa City with a column moving east to link up with government forces farther east.

At the same time the Mother of all Kettles will shortly be fought west of Aleppo city.

This effort in the west of Syria should be over in a month or so if the Turks do not intervene on the ground in strength.  It continues to seem unlikely to me that they will do that and risk escalation to possible annihilation at the hands of the Russians no matter how mad Sultan Tayyip may be.

Tayyip is now denouncing the US as a faithless partner because we do not share his enthusiasm for bombing the YPG Kurds.  In fact we are supporting them with GB and air assistance.  This conflicts with Tayyip’s desire to entice NATO into supporting him against the YPG Kurds  and in an invasion of Syria with emphasis on the Mosul area which has long been an object of desire for Turkish irredentism.  At the same time it would seem evident that R2P/neocon fantasy life has evolved into the entry of the fabled (very fabled) Arab Muslim ground task force into eastern Syria.  This silliness is beloved of presidential candidates in the US because they are ignorant fools who understand nothing of the ME or war.  And… Without Tayyip’s cooperation such a project would be awkward indeed.

The contradiction in US policy among its various goals is so lunatic that I will not blame you pilgrims if you think something fishy is happening in the apparent attempts of the US to reconcile; support of Tayyip, support of the YPG Kurds and whatever it is that you would call the Arabian Army reverie.  pl