Subject: ON 'BILLIONS AGAINST BILLIONS' AND THE FORMATION OF 'THE 99%' IN FAVOR OF ECONOMIC EQUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE.
9 December 2011
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Have you ever read a book that causes you to regret that you had not read it earlier in you life, knowing that it would have changed the course of your life? For me Peter Kropotkin's The Great French Revolution is such a book. It is much more that a reductive political history, and although it was first published in 1909, it is almost a social history which contains incredible insights into social class relationships at the time of the French Revolution (and the severe handicaps entailed by not being 'class conscious').
In the first chapter of the Communist Manifesto (London, 1848) Marx wrote that the bourgeois seeks, on pain of extinction, to "create a world after its own image."
The problem lies in the fact that the bourgeoisie haven't looked too good for some time now. It's hard to envy them, and it's harder still to try to emulate them. For more on this subject, please see my 1999 article, Pensée unique, assiette unique: McDonald's, un nouveau 'Way of Life' ?
The 8 items below offer CEIMSA readers additional information and commentary on the human condition today, in the midst of escalating class struggles.
Item A., from Queens College Professor John Gerassi, is a humorous report on "the economy of one Greek village."
Item B., from Reader Supported News, is an article on "Fukushima and the planet earth several months later...." by Dr. Helene Caldicott.
Item C., from University of Pennsylvania Professor Edward S. Herman, is an article bt by Franklin G. Spinney on "the new China threat."
Item D., sent to us by Ed Herman, is an article by Glenn Greenwald on George Orwell and the "News" on Iran.
Item E. is the December 2 edition of The Anti-Empire Report, by William Blum.
Item F., from Ed Herman, is an article by Diana Johnstone on the "humanist" attack on Libya by NATO forces. (reminding us of George Orwell's warning of a future when "War is Peace" and "Love is Hate".)
Item G. is a report sent to us by NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller on "Israeli occupation forces & Bahraini royal guards [who] helped train US cops for coordinated crackdown on OWS.
Item H. is The Real News broadcast covering organized labor in New York City: the New York Janitors' union, SIEU 32BJ, is now joining Occupy Wall Street calling for "Good Jobs and Strong Communities."
And finally, we offer CEIMSA readers a message from Professor Costas Lapavitsas: discussing the Greek people facing a decade of depression in the Eurozone : "it's better to leave and make major reforms . . . ."
Should Greece Pull Out of the Euro?
New strategies on the West Coast of the USA
Occupy movement calls for Dec. 12 West Coast Port Shutdown
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from John Gerassi :
Date: 23 November 2011
Subject: The economy of one Greek village.
It is a slow day in a little Greek Village.
The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted.
Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.
On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.
The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.
The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.
The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the taverna.
The tavern owner slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit.
The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.
The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.
No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.
And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works !
from Reader Suppoted News :
Date: 3 December 2011
Subject: Fukushima and the planet earth several months later....
New York Times
Caldicott writes: "Children are innately sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of radiation, fetuses even more so. Like Chernobyl, the accident at Fukushima is of global proportions. Unusual levels of radiation have been discovered in British Columbia, along the West Coast and East Coast of the United States and in Europe, and heavy contamination has been found in oceanic waters."
by Franklin G. Spinney
When the Cold War ended in 1991, the Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC) was lefteft high and dry, floundering like a beached whale, because there was no superpower threat to sustain its bloated existence. But the MICC is a self-organizing adaptable cultural organism, and when one looks back on the 1990s, it becomes clear that the early 1990s became years of experimentation in the MICC’s struggle to evolve a new threat (what the Pentagon lovingly calls a peer competitor) or a combination of threats (in Pentagonese, ‘near-peer’ competitors) to justify a continuation of high budgets and hi-tech business as usual.
The initial focus in the early 1990s was to build up China as a peer competitor, but that could not stand even casual scrutiny, and the China threat quickly petered out. It turned out that the Wars of the Yugoslavian Succession, especially Kosovo, provided the decisive pivot by establishing and legitimating the illegal warfighting theories of Humanitarian Intervention and Regime Change. These models solved the ’threat problem’ by establishing the paramountcy of perpetual small wars, or the threat of small wars, as the planning and budget justification models for the post-cold-war MICC, as I explained in greater detail last January (here).
The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001, which were not an act of war but a horrendous crime perpetrated by a stateless gang of fundamentalist ideologues, provided the the MICC with an excuse to lock in the Kosovo planning model. The MICC, spearheaded by the neocons, succeeded in transforming what should have been an international law enforcement operation into an open-ended global war on terror. The hype surrounding this so-called war resulted in a continuing succession of relatively small ‘hot’ wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yeman, Somalia, Libya).
Unfortunately for the MICC, the hot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, and the two most likely new wars to continue the sequence of perpetual war hot wars in Syria and/or Iran are be beginning to take on the appearance of a ‘bridge too far’ for either the humanitarian intervention or regime change paradigms. Moreover, public opinion polls indicate that a substantial majority of the American public is now tired of perpetual war and want their government to turn inward to solve economic problems at home.
To make matters worse for the MICC, the Super Committee, as many predicted, just collapsed, and the automatic across-the-board spending cuts of the sequester are now scheduled to commence in 2013. Under the constraints of the sequester, the Pentagon’s budget would revert to the level that existed in 2007, before growing thereafter. According to an analysis of the Congressional Budget office’s August update of the federal government’s baseline budget, a sequester would reduce future growth in the Defense budget between 2012 and 2021 from 26% to 16%. Nevertheless, this reduction in future increases of the defense budget has the MICC terrified.
The Pentagon, led by Defense Secretary Panetta, for example, has been predicting a doomsday scenario if the sequester takes effect, alleging that the looming defense cuts would create a hollow military and 1.5 million people would lose their jobs, thereby increasing the national unemployment rate by one percent. Former Defense Secretary Bill Cohen, a former Republican senator, recently penned an op-ed in the 21 November issue of New York times parroting the Pentagon’s estimates of the carnage to force structure that would occur under a sequestration.
Yet only one day after Cohen’s op-ed, Elizabeth Bumiller of NYT reported on 22 November that the Pentagon has refused to make any contingency plans to deal with the sequester. That means the hysteria promoted by Secretary Panetta and Cohen and the generals/admirals Cohen so obediently parroted, is baseless hype and no one in the Pentagon has a clue about what could be done to mitigate the ‘damage’ caused by these potential ‘cutbacks’ described above.
Of course, the Pentagon's cluelessness is understandable and predictable. As I explained in my last statement to Congress (June 2002), the accounting system and the program planning system underpinning the Pentagon’s management information system is an unauditable shambles. Decision makers at the top don’t have, and based on their refusal to fix this problem over the last 29 years, clearly don’t want 1 to have, the information they need to link their strategic policy choices and force structure outputs to budgetary levels. There is a solution to this problem, as I went to great lengths to explain in the 2002 statement: The solution is to synthesize a new management information/decision-making system built around the central idea of contingency planning.
Had this proposal (or something like it) been implemented, it would be easy for Panetta, Cohen, and the generals and admirals to make a rationale assessment of how to mitigate the ‘damage’ caused by a sequester, but of course, it would be apostasy for the MICC’s leadership to entertain the possibility that it might be possible for the Pentagon survive with less.
Bringing this together: The people are sick and tired of perpetually fighting small hot wars; Syria and Iran are two small and not so small wars ‘too far;’ and there is a real threat of marginal budget reductions is in the offing, but the Pentagon refuses to do rational contingency planning. So what is the MICC to do?
There is only one answer: Find a peer competitor and start a new Cold War. That would generate the requisite amount of fear to unleash the purse strings, but at the same time, Pentagon could pump more modernization money to defense contractors (the industrial wing of the MICC) without having to pump up the operations budget (which mushrooms in hot wars). But what nation fits the bill?
Only China and it looks like President Obamaa has swallowed the MICC’s bait. As Michael Klare skillfully lays out, Obama has chosen to commence a buildup aimed at isolating China. The Pentagon will deploy 2500 Marines to northern Australia on the Timor Sea, expand the Naval presence in the South China Sea (which is on top of major oil and gas deposits), and strengthen its alliances with Indonesia and the Philippines on China’s Pacific periphery. It is virtually certain that these moves will be perceived by China as a dangerous encirclement, and they will, therefore, trigger some kind of countermoves by China.
Voilà! With any luck, the MICC will be off to a new cold war arms race, the sequester will be quashed, and increased spending as usual will continue unabated.
That, dear reader, is how the bookkeeping shambles, threat inflation, and the politics of fear are the MICCs budget multipliers that will trump Social Security and Medicare in the coming budget debate.
Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press. He be reached at email@example.com
1 It is not as if this is a new problem in the Pentagon. I described the program planning aspect of bookkeeping shambles in testimony to joint hearing of the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 1983. That testimony was described in a cover story of Time Magazine that appeared on 7 March 1983.
from Edward Herman :
Date: 6 December 2011.
Subject: On Orwell & the Evil Iranian Menace.
George Orwell on the Evil Iranian Menace
By Glenn Greenwald
December 05, 2011 "Salon" -- The U.S. has long had Iran virtually encircled as a result of the American occupation of Afghanistan on Iran’s Eastern border, its invasion of Iraq on its Western border, its NATO ally Turkey hovering on Iran’s Northwestern border, some degree of military relationship with Turkmenistan on Iran’s Northeastern border, and multiple U.S. client states sitting right across the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain, where the massive U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed). Additionally, some combination of the U.S. and Israel has bombarded Iran with multiple acts of war over the last year, including explosions on Iranian soil, the murder of numerous Iranian nuclear scientists (in which even one of their wives was shot), and sophisticated cyberattacks. Meanwhile, top American political officials from both parties are actively demanding that an Iranian revolutionary cult be removed from the list of Terrorist organizations (just coincidentally, they’re all on the cult’s payroll). In the past decade, the U.S. and/or Israel have invaded, air attacked, and/or occupied Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (to say nothing of the creation of a worldwide torture regime, a system of “black site” prisons around the world to which people were disappeared, and a due-process-free detention camp in the middle of the Caribbean Ocean where many people remain encaged for almost a full decade without charges). During this same time period, Iran has not invaded, occupied or air attacked anyone. Iran, to be sure, is domestically oppressive, but no more so — and in many cases less — than the multiple regimes funded, armed and otherwise propped up by the U.S. during this period. Those are all just facts.
But — despite all of these facts — all Serious people in the U.S. know that Iran is the Aggressor, the Modern Nazis, a True Menace, while the U.S. and Israel are its innocent peace-loving victims. Today, Iran claims that it took down an American drone flying over its country (either by shooting it down or overtaking its control system). Iran has made similar claims before, but this time the U.S. admits it last week lost a drone flying over what it claims was Western Afghanistan (not Eastern Iran). Between the intense wall of secrecy behind which the U.S. government operates and the less-than-reliable nature of the pronouncements from both governments, we’ll likely never know what happened for sure. In any event, this is yet another case of increased tensions between the two nations, and it’s thus time for yet another round of Those Evil, Provocative, Aggressive Iranians (because, of course, no peace-loving nation — such as the U.S. — would ever dare shoot down an Iranian drone if it flew over their soil; in fact, just imagine the massive retaliatory response that would be triggered if Iran were found to be flying drones over American soil, let alone simultaneously killing U.S. scientists, causing explosions on U.S. soil, backing U.S. Terrorist groups, and launching cyber attacks on U.S. nuclear facilities, all while occupying Canada and Mexico with more than 150,000 troops). In light of these belligerent U.S. actions and threats — along with seeing how the U.S. treats countries without a nuclear capability versus those who have one – nothing is more rational than Iran’s wanting a nuclear weapon.
Given the extensive violence and aggression the U.S. has perpetrated, and continues to perpetrate, on numerous countries in that region, one might think that not even our political culture could sustain the propagandistic myth that it is Iran that is the aggressor state and the U.S. that is its peace-loving victim. But, of course, one who thought that would be completely wrong. Not only is it a widespread belief, but it’s virtually mandated orthodoxy. But none of that should be at all surprising or confusing, given that 66 years ago, George Orwell — in his 1945 Notes on Nationalism — explained exactly the warped form of thinking that creates this mindset:
All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
I’ve cited that passage before, but it really does explain so very much (and that form of thinking extends beyond nationalism to all tribal loyalties). It’s how a country that has repeatedly invaded, occupied, bombed, and killed civilians in numerous other nations over the last decade can look at a country that has done little or none of that (but has been practically surrounded by all that aggression) and be convinced: they are the Evil aggressors and must be stopped at all costs.
UPDATE: One other point: whenever you dare to suggest a comparison between the United States of America and whatever country happens to be the New Hitlers of the moment, you get accused of moral relativism. That has always struck me as so bizarre, because moral relativism actually refers to precisely what Orwell described: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.” As Rudy Giuliani said when asked if waterboarding is “torture”: “It depends on who does it.” That is moral relativism.
Two incidents that occurred on Sunday–Iran’s claim of a shoot-down of a U.S. drone, and an explosion outside the British embassy in Bahrain–may have been unrelated. But they appear to add to growing evidence that an escalating covert war by the West is under way against Iran, and that Tehran is retaliating with greater intensity than ever.
Asked whether the United States, in cooperation with Israel, was now engaged in a covert war against Iran’s nuclear program that may include the Stuxnet virus, the blowing-up of facilities and the assassination or kidnapping of scientists, one recently retired U.S. official privy to up-to-date intelligence would not deny it. . . . By accident or not, it’s entirely possible the covert war could escalate into a real one, experts say.
Where is the authority to wage a covert, unauthorized war against Iran? That question, of course, matters little, because American political culture accepts that the President’s power should be unfettered in these areas no matter what that old, tired, quaint, obsolete Constitution says. As John Yoo put it: such decisions “are for the President alone to decide.” It’s just extraordinary how little concern is raised over the fact that the U.S. — to some degree or other — is clearly waging a covert war against Iran.
The Anti-Empire Report
2 December 2011
from Edward Herman :
Date: 1 December 2011
Subject: "As the 'Humanitarian Warriors' Gloat…"
A superb article by Diana Johnstone.
As the 'Humanitarian Warriors' Gloat . . .
Here’s the Key Question in the Libyan War
by Diana Johnstone
And indeed, World War II contained within itself “the accumulated evil of the whole”: the deaths of 20 million Soviet citizens, Auschwitz, the bombing of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and much, much more.
Sixty years later, it is easy for Americans and Western Europeans, their lives still relatively comfortable, their narcissism flattered by the ideology of “human rights”, to contemplate initiating “humanitarian” wars to “save victims” – wars in which they themselves take no more risk than when playing a video game. Kosovo and Libya were the perfect humanitarian wars: no casualties, not even a scratch, for the NATO bombers, and not even the necessity to see the bloodshed on the ground. With the development of drone warfare, such safe war at a distance opens endless prospects for risk-free “humanitarian intervention”, which can allow Western celebrities like Bernard-Henri Lévy to strut and pose as passionate champions of hypothetic victims of hypothetical massacres hypothetically prevented by real wars.
The “key question”? There are many important questions raised by the Libya war, and many important and valid reasons to have opposed it and to oppose it still. Like the Kosovo war, it has left a legacy of hatred in the targeted country whose consequences may poison the lives of the people living there for generations. That of course is of no particular interest to people in the West who pay no attention to the human damage wrought by their humanitarian killing. It is only the least visible result of those wars.
For my part, the key issue which motivates my opposition to the Libya war is what it means for the future of the United States and of the world. For well over half a century, the United States has been cannibalized by its military-industrial complex, which has infantilized its moral sense, squandered its wealth and undermined its political integrity. Our political leaders are not genuine leaders, but have been reduced to the role of apologists for this monster, which has a bureaucratic momentum of its own – proliferating military bases around the world, seeking out and even creating servile client states, needlessly provoking other powers such as Russia and China. The primary political duty of Americans and their European allies should be to reduce and dismantle this gigantic military machine before it leads us all inadvertently into “the supreme international crime” of no return.
So my principal opposition to this recent war is precisely that, at a time when even some in Washington were hesitant, the “humanitarian interventionists” such as Bernard-Henry Lévy, with their sophistic “R2P” pretense of “protecting innocent civilians”, have fed and encouraged this monster by offering it “the low-hanging fruit” of an easy victory in Libya. This has made the struggle to bring a semblance of peace and sanity to the world even more difficult than it was already.
DIANA JOHNSTONE is the author of Fools Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
from Mark Crispin Miller :
Date: 4 December 2011
Subject: Israeli occupation forces & Bahraini royal guards helped train US cops for coordinated crackdown on OWS.
HOW ISRAELI OCCUPATION FORCES, BAHRAINI MONARCHY
GUARDS TRAINED U.S. POLICE FOR COORDINATED CRACKDOWN
ON “OCCUPY” PROTESTS
by Max Blumenthal
New York – In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.
At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”
Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.
The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.
Having been schooled in Israeli tactics perfected during a 63 year experience of controlling, dispossessing, and occupying an indigenous population, local police forces have adapted them to monitor Muslim and immigrant neighborhoods in US cities. Meanwhile, former Israeli military officers have been hired to spearhead security operations at American airports and suburban shopping malls, leading to a wave of disturbing incidents of racial profiling, intimidation, and FBI interrogations of innocent, unsuspecting people. The New York Police Department’s disclosure that it deployed “counter-terror” measures against Occupy protesters encamped in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is just the latest example of the so-called War on Terror creeping into every day life. Revelations like these have raised serious questions about the extent to which Israeli-inspired tactics are being used to suppress the Occupy movement.
The process of Israelification began in the immediate wake of 9/11, when national panic led federal and municipal law enforcement officials to beseech Israeli security honchos for advice and training. America’s Israel lobby exploited the climate of hysteria, providing thousands of top cops with all-expenses paid trips to Israel and stateside training sessions with Israeli military and intelligence officials. By now, police chiefs of major American cities who have not been on junkets to Israel are the exception.
“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism,” said former US Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, who now serves as the US Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. Cathy Lanier, the Chief of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police, remarked, “No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel.” “One would say it is the front line,” Barnett Jones, the police chief of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said of Israel. “We’re in a global war.”
Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security and a leading expert on terror and civil liberties, said the Israeli influence on American law enforcement is so extensive it has bled into street-level police conduct. “After 9/11 we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture,” Greenberg told me. “The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training. There’s been a huge downside to taking our cue from the Israelis and now we’re going to spread that into the fabric of everyday American life? It’s counter-terrorism creep. And it’s exactly what you could have predicted would have happened.”
Changing the way we do business
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is at the heart of American-Israeli law enforcement collaboration. JINSA is a Jerusalem and Washington DC-based think tank known for stridently neoconservative policy positions on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians and its brinkmanship with Iran. The group’s board of directors boasts a Who’s Who of neocon ideologues. Two former JINSA advisors who have also consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, went on to serve in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush, playing influential roles in the push to invade and occupy Iraq.
Through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), JINSA claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for over 9000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal level. “The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey,” Richard Fuentes, the NJ State Police Superintendent, said after attending a 2004 JINSA-sponsored Israel trip and a subsequent JINSA conference alongside 435 other law enforcement officers.
During a 2004 LEEP trip, JINSA brought 14 senior American law enforcement officials to Israel to receive instruction from their counterparts. The Americans were trained in “how to secure large venues, such as shopping malls, sporting events and concerts,” JINSA’s website reported. Escorted by Brigadier General Simon Perry, an Israeli police attaché and former Mossad official, the group toured the Israeli separation wall, now a mandatory stop for American cops on junkets to Israel. “American officials learned about the mindset of a suicide bomber and how to spot trouble signs,” according to JINSA. And they were schooled in Israeli killing methods. “Although the police are typically told to aim for the chest when shooting because it is the largest target, the Israelis are teaching [American] officers to aim for a suspect’s head so as not to detonate any explosives that might be strapped to his torso,” the New York Times reported.
Cathy Lanier, now the Chief of Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, was among the law enforcement officials junketed to Israel by JINSA. “I was with the bomb units and the SWAT team and all of those high profile specialized [Israeli] units and I learned a tremendous amount,” Lanier reflected. “I took 82 pages of notes while I was there which I later brought back and used to formulate a lot of what I later used to create and formulate the Homeland Security terrorism bureau in the DC Metropolitan Police department.”
Some of the police chiefs who have taken part in JINSA’s LEEP program have done so under the auspices of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a private non-governmental group with close ties to the Department of Homeland Security. Chuck Wexler, the executive director of PERF, was so enthusiastic about the program that by 2005 he had begun organizing trips to Israel sponsored by PERF, bringing numerous high-level American police officials to receive instruction from their Israeli counterparts.
PERF gained notoriety when Wexler confirmed that his group coordinated police raids in 16 cities across America against “Occupy” protest encampments. As many as 40 cities have sought PERF advice on suppressing the “Occupy” movement and other mass protest activities. Wexler did not respond to my requests for an interview.
Lessons from Israel to Auschwitz
Besides JINSA, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has positioned itself as an important liaison between American police forces and the Israeli security-intelligence apparatus. Though the ADL promotes itself as a Jewish civil rights group, it has provoked controversy by publishing a blacklist of organizations supporting Palestinian rights, and for condemning a proposal to construct an Islamic community center in downtown New York, several blocks from Ground Zero, on the basis that some opponents of the project were entitled to “positions that others would characterize as irrational or bigoted.”
Through the ADL’s Advanced Training School course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats, over 700 law enforcement personnel from 220 federal and local agencies including the FBI and CIA have been trained by Israeli police and intelligence commanders. This year, the ADL brought 15 high-level American police officials to Israel for instruction from the country’s security apparatus. According to the ADL, over 115 federal, state and local law enforcement executives have undergone ADL-organized training sessions in Israel since the program began in 2003. “I can honestly say that the training offered by ADL is by far the most useful and current training course I have ever attended,” Deputy Commissioner Thomas Wright of the Philadelphia Police Department commented after completing an ADL program this year. The ADL’s relationship with the Washington DC Police Department is so cozy its members are invited to accompany DC cops on “ride along” patrols.
The ADL claims to have trained over 45,000 American law enforcement officials through its Law Enforcement and Society program, which “draws on the history of the Holocaust to provide law enforcement professionals with an increased understanding of…their role as protectors of the Constitution,” the group’s website stated. All new FBI agents and intelligence analysts are required to attend the ADL program, which is incorporated into three FBI training programs. According to officialFBI recruitment material, “all new special agents must visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to see firsthand what can happen when law enforcement fails to protect individuals.”
Among the most prominent Israeli government figure to have influenced the practices of American law enforcement officials is Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service and current member of Knesset who recently introduced legislation widely criticized as anti-democratic. During the Second Intifada, Dichter ordered several bombings on densely populated Palestinian civilian areas, including one on the al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza that resulted in the death of 15 innocent people, including 8 children, and 150 injuries. “After each success, the only thought is, ‘Okay, who’s next?’” Dichter said of the “targeted” assassinations he has ordered.
Despite his dubious human rights record and apparently dim view of democratic values, or perhaps because of them, Dichter has been a key figure in fostering cooperation between Israeli security forces and American law enforcement. In 2006, while Dichter was serving at the time as Israel’s Minister of Public Security, he spoke in Boston, Massachusetts before the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Seated beside FBI Director Robert Mueller and then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Dichter told the 10,000 police officers in the crowd that there was an “intimate connection between fighting criminals and fighting terrorists.” Dichter declared that American cops were actually “fighting crimiterrorists.” The Jerusalem Post reported that Dichter was “greeted by a hail of applause, as he was hugged by Mueller, who described Dichter as his mentor in anti-terror tactics.”
A year after Dichter’s speech, he and then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff signed a joint memorandum pledging security collaboration between America and Israel on issues ranging from airport security to emergency planning. In 2010, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano authorized a new joint memorandum with Israeli Transport and Road Safety Minister Israel Katz shoring up cooperation between the US Transportation Security Agency – the agency in charge of day-to-day airport security – and Israel’s Security Department. The recent joint memorandum also consolidated the presence of US Homeland Security law enforcement personnel on Israeli soil. “The bond between the United States and Israel has never been stronger,” Napolitano remarkedat a recent summit of AIPAC, the leading outfit of America’s Israel lobby, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Demographic Unit
For the New York Police Department, collaboration with Israel’s security and intelligence apparatus became a top priority after 9/11. Just months after the attacks on New York City, the NYPD assigned a permanent, taxpayer-funded liaison officerto Tel Aviv. Under the leadership of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, ties between the NYPD and Israel have deepened by the day. Kelly embarked on his first trip to Israel in early 2009 to demonstrate his support for Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip, a one-sided attack that left over 1400 Gaza residents dead in three weeks and led a United Nations fact-finding mission to conclude that Israeli military and government officials had committed war crimes.
Kelly returned to Israel the following year to speak at the Herziliya Conference, an annual gathering of neoconservative security and government officials who obsess over supposed “demographic threats.” After Kelly appeared on stage, the Herziliya crowd was addressed by the pro-Israel academic Martin Kramer, who claimed that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was helping to reduce the numbers of “superfluous young men of fighting age.” Kramer added, “If a state can’t control these young men, then someone else will.”
Back in New York, the NYPD set up a secret “Demographics Unit”designed to spy on and monitor Muslim communities around the city. The unit was developed with input and intensive involvement by the CIA, which still refuses to name the former Middle East station chief it has posted in the senior ranks of the NYPD’s intelligence division. Since 2002, the NYPD has dispatched undercover agents known as “rakers” and “mosque crawlers” into Pakistani-American bookstores and restaurants to gauge community anger over US drone strikes inside Pakistan, and into Palestinian hookah bars and mosques to search out signs of terror recruitment and clandestine funding. “If a raker noticed a customer looking at radical literature, he might chat up the store owner and see what he could learn,” the Associated Press reported. “The bookstore, or even the customer, might get further scrutiny.”
The Israeli imprimatur on the NYPD’s Demographics Unit is unmistakable. As a former police official told the Associated Press, the Demographics Unit has attempted to “map the city’s human terrain” through a program “modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank.”
Shop ‘til you’re stopped
At Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, security personnel target non-Jewish and non-white passengers, especially Arabs, as a matter of policy. The most routinely harassed passengers are Palestinian citizens of Israel, who must brace themselvesfor five-hour interrogation sessions and strip searches before flying. Those singled out for extra screening by Shin Bet officers are sent to what many Palestinians from Israel call the “Arab room,” where they are subjected to humiliating questioning sessions (former White House Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala encountered such mistreatment during a visit to Israel last year). Some Palestinians are forbidden from speaking to anyone until takeoff, and may be menaced by Israeli flight attendants during the flight. In one documented case, a six-month-old was awoken for a strip search by Israeli Shin Bet personnel. Instances of discrimination against Arabs at Ben Gurion International are too numerous to detail – several incidents occur each day – but a few of the more egregious instances were outlined in a 2007 petition the Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed with the country’s Supreme Court.
Though the Israeli system of airline security contains dubious benefits and clearly deleterious implications for civil liberties, it is quietly and rapidly migrating into major American airports. Security personnel at Boston’s Logan International Airport have undergone extensive training from Israeli intelligence personnel, learning to apply profiling and behavioral assessment techniques against American citizens that were initially tested on Palestinians. The new procedures began in August, when so-called Behavior Detection Officers were placed in security queues at Logan’s heavily trafficked Terminal A. Though the procedures have added to traveler stress while netting exactly zero terrorists, they are likely to spread to other cities. “I would like to see a lot more profiling” in American airports, said Yossi Sheffi, an Israeli-born risk analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation and Logistics.
Israeli techniques now dictate security procedures at the Mall of America, a gargantuan shopping mall in Bloomington, Minnesota that has become a major tourist attraction. The new methods took hold in 2005 when the mall hired a former Israeli army sergeant named Mike Rozin to lead a special new security unit. Rozin, who once worked with a canine unit at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, instructed his employees at the Mall of America to visually profile every shopper, examining their expressions for suspicious signs. His security team accosts and interrogates an average of 1200 shoppers a year, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.
One of the thousands who fell into Rozin’s dragnet was Najam Qureshi, a Pakistani-American mall vendor whose father accidentally left his cell phone on a table in the mall food court. A day after the incident, FBI agents appeared at Qureshi’s doorstep to ask if he knew anyone seeking to harm the United States. An army veteran interrogated for two hours by Rozin’s men for taking video inside the mall sobbed openly about his experience to reporters. Meanwhile, another man, Emile Khalil, was visited by FBI agents after mall security stopped him for taking photographs of the dazzling consumer haven.
“I think that the threat of terrorism in the United States is going to become an unfortunate part of American life,” Rozin remarked to American Jewish World. And as long as the threat persists in the public’s mind, Israeli securitocrats like Rozin will never have to worry about the next paycheck.
“Occupy” meets the Occupation
When a riot squad from the New York Police Department destroyed and evicted the “Occupy Wall Street” protest encampment at Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan, department leadership drew on the anti-terror tactics they had refined since the 9/11 attacks. According to the New York Times, the NYPD deployed “counterterrorism measures” to mobilize large numbers of cops for the lightning raid on Zuccotti. The use of anti-terror techniques to suppress a civilian protest complemented harsh police measures demonstrated across the country against the nationwide “Occupy” movement, from firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets into unarmed crowds to blasting demonstrators with the LRAD sound cannon.
Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much it will inform police repression of future upsurges of street protest. But already, the Israelification of American law enforcement appears to have intensified police hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, common criminals, and terrorists. As Dichter said, they are all just “crimiterrorists.”
“After 9/11 we had to react very quickly,” Greenberg remarked, “but now we’re in 2011 and we’re not talking about people who want to fly planes into buildings. We’re talking about young American citizens who feel that their birthright has been sold. If we’re using Israeli style tactics on them and this stuff bleeds into the way we do business at large, were in big trouble.”
This article is cross-posted from Al-Akhbar.com with permission from the author Max Blumenthal.
You can read more of Max Blumenthal at MaxBlumenthal.com. He is the author of Republican Gomorrah, published by Nation Books.
from The Real News :
Date: 4 December 2011
Subject: The Maintenance Workers of New York City are the '99 Percent'.