Why Illegal Settlement Money Laundering is still “Off the Table”

Stuart Levey, Henry Morganthau Jr., Robert Morganthau

Last week District Attorney Robert Morgenthau announced pursuit of a bank allegedly involved in Iranian assets transfer. The ninety year old Manhattan District Attorney already prosecuted Lloyds TSB over the transfer of $300 million in Iranian cash. Morgenthau’s tight coordination with a secretive new US Treasury unit led by Stuart Levey follows a pattern of highly selective Israel lobby tag team law enforcement that began back in the 1940s.

Zionism is a long running current of New York’s Morgenthau family. Robert’s father Henry Morgenthau Jr. was Secretary of Treasury during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. His grandfather Henry Morgenthau Sr. was US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Henry Jr. thought nothing of supporting Irgun terrorists with US government resources as he fought an intense and vicious bureaucratic battle to wrest policy over Displaced Persons from the US State Department during WWII. When President Roosevelt dragged his feet over policy takeover demands, Henry Morgenthau Jr. threatened to turn the State Department into an election year scandal. Anti-Semitism at State, he threatened, was a charge that “will require little more in the way of proof for this suspicion to explode into a nasty scandal.”

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Shoe Jihad: A Satire

The time has come, the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax—
Of cabbages—and kings…

Lewis Carroll

M. Shahid Alam

These kleptocrats throw themselves at the feet
of Western plutocracies: they spurn

the real source of power – their own people –
seeking clientage under Western boots.

Lesser rogues gravitate to bigger ones:
this is the law of global hegemony.

This tendency emerges again and again
as long as its victims stay hidebound.

These lesser rogues – Zardari, Karzai,
Abdullah, Mubarak, Abbas –

will get their marching orders from DC,
hold down their own people for a fee,

unless the people, every one of them,
pick up their shoes, sandals, chappals

(any old footwear will do),
and point them at these scoundrels,

a shot across the bow of their kleptocracies.
If this does not work (and it might not),

ask the shoe-throwing Iraqi.
He knew better what to do with a shoe.

Looking For Eric, Melbourne Festival, and the Cultural Boycott

Rebecca O'Brien, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Kierston Wareing, Juliet Ellis and Leslaw Zurek at the Venice Film Festival 2007
Rebecca O'Brien, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Kierston Wareing, Juliet Ellis and Leslaw Zurek at the Venice Film Festival 2007

In response to an earlier attack by Richard Moore of the Melbourne International Film Festival, The Guardian published an edited version of a response (Boycotts don’t equal censorship) by Ken Loach, Paul Laverty and Rebecca O’Brien. Here is the original.

When we decided to pull our film Looking for Eric from the Melbourne film festival following our discovery that the festival was in part sponsored by the Israeli state we wrote to the Director Richard Moore with our detailed reasons. Continually he has dishonestly misrepresented us and does so again (Comment is Free 27th Aug ‘09) by stating that “to allow the personal politics of one film maker to proscribe a festival position…..goes against the grain of what festivals stand for.” Later “Loach’s demands were beyond the pale”. Once again Mr Moore, this decision was taken by three film makers, (director, producer, writer) not in some private abstract bubble, but after long discussion between us and in response to a call for a cultural boycott, including film festivals, from a wide spectrum of Palestinian civil society, including writers, film makers, cultural workers, human rights groups, journalists, trade unions, women’s groups, student organizations and many more besides. As Moore should know by now “The Palestine Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” (PACBI) was launched in Ramallah in April 2004, and its aims, reasons, and constituent parts are widely available on the net. This in turn is part of a much wider international movement for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction” (B. D. S.) against the Israeli State.

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With a Shield or Upon It – Impressions from the Spartan State

With a Shield or Upon It
When Spartan men went to war, their wives (or another women of some significance) would customarily present them with their shield and say: "With this, or upon this", meaning that true Spartans could only return to Sparta either victorious (with their shield in hand) or dead (carried upon it).

Sometimes I toy with he idea of suing my government in international court. If you take a good look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you reach a firm conclusion that, inherently, conscription is in fact illegal (I skip articles 1, 2, 28, 29 and 30, as they are unavoidably violated if any of the others are):

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. [Art. 3]
  • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude [Art. 4 – a conscripted soldier earns the equivalent of $0.026 an hour (the army does provide certain services at the time of service, but I’ll leave it to you to refute this as slavery)]
  • No one shall be subjected to… degrading treatment… [Art. 5]
  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement… within the borders of each state.
    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own… [Art. 13 – a conscripted soldier must be at base at designated times, otherwise considered “absentee”, which is an offense punishable by prison time]

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Maghut’s Shade and Noon Sun

maghutSyrian writer Muhammad al-Maghut was born the son of a peasant farmer in the dusty town of Salamiyah in 1934, during the French occupation. As a young man he joined the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the second biggest mass party in Syria after the Ba’ath. Like the Ba’ath, the secular SSNP appealed to religious minorities – al-Maghut was of Ismaili origin. Unlike the pan-Arabists of the Ba’ath, it envisaged a fertile crescent state including Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and even Cyprus. Al-Maghut was locked up on several occasions for SSNP membership. During his first imprisonment – in Mezzeh prison in 1955 – he met the influential poet Adonis and started writing poetry himself.

As a poet he deserves to be much more widely known. Along with Adonis and Nizar Qabbani he was a modernist, using free verse instead of the traditional Arabic forms. Like Qabbani he aimed to be accessible to the ordinary people, but his ‘lover narrator’ is perhaps better suited to our twisted times than Qabbani’s. Certain verses sum up the decadent atmosphere very well indeed. The following remind me of those Gulf Arabs and others who profit from the prostitution of refugee women from occupied Iraq:

Lebanon is burning – it leaps, like a wounded horse, at the edge of the desert/ and I am looking for a fat girl/ to rub myself against on the tram/ for a Beduin-looking man to knock down somewhere. My country is on the verge of collapse/ shivering like a naked lioness/ and I am looking for two green eyes/ and a quaint café by the sea/ looking for a desperate village girl to deceive.”

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Rosen Defamation Lawsuit Threatens AIPAC

More information about the defamation lawsuit against AIPAC may be found at Antiwar.com:

http://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2009/09/01/steve-rosen-accuses-aipac/

or The Israel Lobby Archive:

http://www.irmep.org/ILA/rosen/

The Search

Ernst KirchnerOn a couple of occasions – that I know of – I’ve had my irises scanned. These in the airports where I get pulled over for the stupid questions. In theory, a computer link can now tie my iris to my bank account, credit rating, police record, driving license and passport details – all in the sharpest microsecond.

The town centre has been replaced by a shopping mall, owned and controlled. People take more interest in Angelina Jolie’s romantic life than in the course of political events. The politics on show are soap opera, and the soap opera is a British value to be transmitted to deserving immigrants. According to the new points system for migrants, access to Britishness can be speeded up by campaigning for a political party (I presume they don’t mean Hizb ut-Tahrir), while ‘active disregard for British values’ – which might or might not mean protesting against imperialist wars – will retard membership of the club.

The great Englishman Dr. Johnson said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” And on that sound note allow me to introduce a short story by the Syrian writer Ibrahim Alloush, translated by Domenyk Eades.

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Toronto Declaration: No Celebration of Occupation

Times they are a changing. Kudos to Naomi Klein and company for this groundbreaking initiative. BDS is on a roll.

An Open Letter to the Toronto International Film Festival:

September 2, 2009

As members of the Canadian and international film, culture and media arts communities, we are deeply disturbed by the Toronto International Film Festival’s decision to host a celebratory spotlight on Tel Aviv. We protest that TIFF, whether intentionally or not, has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine.

In 2008, the Israeli government and Canadian partners Sidney Greenberg of Astral Media, David Asper of Canwest Global Communications and Joel Reitman of MIJO Corporation launched “Brand Israel,” a million dollar media and advertising campaign aimed at changing Canadian perceptions of Israel. Brand Israel would take the focus off Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its aggressive wars, and refocus it on achievements in medicine, science and culture. An article in Canadian Jewish News quotes Israeli consul general Amir Gissin as saying that Toronto would be the test city for a promotion that could then be deployed around the world. According to Gissin, the culmination of the campaign would be a major Israeli presence at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. (Andy Levy-Alzenkopf, “Brand Israel set to launch in GTA,” Canadian Jewish News, August 28, 2008.)

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Civilizing Mission

M. Shahid Alam

The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production,
by the immensely facilitated means of communication,
draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization
.”
K. Marx and F. Engels

From get go, this system was built
on carnage. Once capital connected

with power, there was no turning
back. The galleons set sail, guns

blazing at the ports, disembarking
death on the shores of America,

barging into Mocha and Malacca,
and making the return journey,

decks piled with gold and silver,
hulls hoarding cloves and calicoes.

The ships went out again, winged
predators, to the ports of Africa

harvesting her flesh and bones,
African bodies to work a continent,

drained, depleted of native fauna.
The ships still make the round, wide-

bodied, steel-hulled, through air
and water, carrying a new cargo

from ruined lands whose human
detritus is harvested for body parts.

Surfing on Islamophobia

On Sunday, our good friend Phil Weiss posted a sympathetic piece by Scott McConnell, editor of The American Conservative, on Christopher Caldwell’s new book about Islam in Europe. Here is the response by PULSE editors Muhammad Idrees Ahmad and Robin Yassin-Kassab which was published on MondoWeiss today:

There are two sets of population statistics about Europe, writes Eliot Weinberger in a post on the London Review Blog: ‘those of the Islamophobes and those of everyone else.’ Weinberger is commenting on the recent of flurry of books trading in the ‘Islamic threat’, among them one by neoconservative writer Christopher Caldwell. In his encomium to Caldwell, Scott McConnell couldn’t possibly have been referring to the statistics of ‘everyone else’. It would be hard otherwise to elevate a minority of 3.6 percent into a civilizational threat. So presumably he accepts the numbers of the Islamophobes. But he does more; he also echoes their assumptions. Small wonder then that he should consider ‘nuanced’ a book that describes Muslims as ‘conquering Europe’s cities, street by street’.

But before we get to Caldwell lets address McConnell’s own assumptions.

McConnell splits ‘the West’ and ‘the Muslims’ into opposing camps, and understands their relationship only in terms of harm. ‘Had I to weigh the extent to which the Islamic world is more victim or victimizer of America and the West’, he opines, ‘the scales would tilt decisively towards America as the more guilty party’. American crimes include the Iraq war and support for Israeli conquest of ‘the Arab sections’ of Jerusalem and the West Bank. Support for dictators, the proponderance of military bases, the exploitation of resources, Somalia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and support for the Israeli conquest of the ‘Arab sections’ of Tel Abib and Yaffa, clearly do not factor in McConnell’s narrow vision. But it’s fair enough in itself. Where logic fails McConnell entirely, or rather where he fails logic and turns to racism instead, is where he places Muslim immigration into Europe ‘on the other side of the ledger’.

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