Archive | February 2015

Getting Paid to Kill Jews With US Tax Dollars?

 

by Ryan Jones

It is by now no secret that the Palestinian Authority uses large portions of the international financial aid it receives to provide salaries and other payouts to terrorists who kill Jews.
But a fresh investigation by journalist Edwin Black has revealed that this is not some automatic, blind welfare system, but rather a very deliberate effort to reward those who have chosen the path of violence, and therefore encourage others to do the same.
America today contributes about $400 million a year in direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, and another $400 in other assistance and investments. The European Union provides a similar amount.
In 2011, Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch spoke before the US Congress to explain how this money was being cynically used to encourage the slaughter of Israeli Jews by paying healthy monthly salaries to those sitting in Israeli jails, or to the families of terrorists killed during successful attacks.
A year later, two Hamas operatives from the Gaza Strip admitted to an Israeli court that they had gotten into terrorism game in order to earn a decent living. Killing Jews, they said, was the best way to secure a good and steady income.
Last summer, Israel’s Knesset was shocked to learn that in 2012 the Palestinian Authority had paid no less than $150 million to jailed terrorists and their families. It was further revealed that these salaries were determined on a sliding scale according to the length of the terrorists’ sentence. In other words, the more Jews killed, the worse the sentence and the bigger the reward.
In the course of his research, Black successfully sued to gain access to previously court-sealed documents pertaining to cases heard before US courts.
Those documents revealed what Black called a “meticulous, exacting official process” in which Palestinian leaders all the way up to President Mahmoud Abbas were involved in the direct reward and encouragement of terrorism against Israel’s Jews.
One example from the documents details the case of a Palestinian Authority police officer who in 2002 participated in a number of terrorist attacks that left a total of 12 Israelis dead and many more wounded. Following his capture, Israel sentenced the officer to 13 life sentences.
The case was only reviewed in 2009, but the Palestinian Authority decided to retroactively compensate the terrorist policeman back to the time of his incarceration. He was even later given promotions and accompanying pay raises while sitting in an Israeli jail.
A second example involved a terrorist, also a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces, who was killed while carrying out an attack that left two Israelis dead on the streets of Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Social Affairs subsequently determined that this terrorist, like many others, was “martyred while performing his national duty,” and that his closest living relative, his mother, would be compensated accordingly.
Black concluded by noting that “most taxpayers in donor countries have no idea that their well-intended money is actually financing the flames of terrorism.”

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Former Peace Envoy – UN Security Council To Come Against Israel After Elections If No PA State

 

by HERB KEINON

Israel will likely face a UN Security Council resolution proposed by all its permanent members, designed to “lay out the principles of a two-state solution,” if the post-election government does not launch a diplomatic initiative, Martin Indyk said Monday.
Indyk, who was the US special envoy to last year’s failed Israeli- Palestinian talks and a former ambassador to Israel, said at the annual Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv that he expects this initiative would be “against Israel’s will.”
Indyk, currently vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, has been involved in the diplomatic process since the Oslo era. After he stepped down over the summer following the collapse of the negotiations, he did little to hide his opinion that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was largely responsible for the breakdown of the talks.
“If there is a government in Israel after these elections that decides to pursue a two-state solution, then there is a way forward,” Indyk said. “It begins with coordinating an initiative with the United States. And then, together with the US, looking to Egypt and Jordan and the resurrection of the Arab Peace Initiative, to find a way to provide the Palestinians both with an Egyptian-Jordanian anchor, and the political cover of the Arab Peace Initiative.”
He said that under this arrangement there would have to be a “freeze for a freeze”: an Israeli freeze of settlement activity and a freeze of Palestinian international activity against Israel.
But if there is not an Israeli initiative or support for a twostate solution, Indyk warned, there will be “international actions” pursued not by the Palestinians, but rather by the international community “in terms of a Security Council resolution” to “lay out and preserve the principles of a twostate solution in the future.”
By saying this resolution may come from all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, he hinted that the US would be involved.
Indyk began his comments by reflecting concern in Washington that the situation on the ground is reaching a boiling point, something that has been exacerbated by Israel’s withholding the transfer of tax funds to the PA so that it is unable to pay the salaries of its civil servants, including those responsible for security coordination with Israel.
“The collapse of the Palestinian Authority” is a real danger, and Israel could soon find itself responsible for the Palestinians both in the West Bank and in Gaza, he said.
Indyk, looking back on last year’s failed negotiations, said that there are “very wide gaps” between the two parties. At the same time, he said, solutions to bridge the gaps on all the main core issues could be found, “but the political conditions for both sides don’t exist at the moment.”
He said that not only is there a fundamental lack of trust between the leaders, “but also the lack of trust between the peoples,” with both sides believing there is no partner on the other side.
“As long as that is the case, it is very difficult to create a situation in which the political leadership feels the people at their back insisting they make a deal,” Indyk said. And this fundamental lack of trust between leaders and people is something “that will be extremely difficult to overcome,” he added.
Prior to Indyk, Brig.-Gen.(res.) Moshe Tamir presented the principles of a plan for a limited unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, an idea that has been promoted for some time by the INSS under its previous director, Amos Yadlin, who stepped down recently when he took the plunge into politics.
Yadlin is now the Zionist Union’s candidate for defense minister.
An INSS workgroup – that in addition to Tamir also included INSS acting director Udi Dekel and security expert Brig.-Gen.(res) Baruch Spiegel – suggested a limited Israeli unilateral withdrawal that would not compromise Israel’s security is only possible if the Jordan Valley and the settlements there remain in Israeli hands, and if the IDF retains freedom of action throughout Judea and Samaria.
Tamir said that if the withdrawal from Gaza were based on the premise of deterrence – that Hamas would not act if it knew that if it did so it would be hit sevenfold by Israel – then a different paradigm would have to be used to enable a withdrawal from even parts of the West Bank.
“In Judea and Samaria we are looking at a different way altogether.
It has to be complete prevention of militarization and arming,” he said. According to Tamir, withdrawal from parts of the West Bank could work only if it would be impossible for the Palestinians to arm themselves inside areas left by the IDF. And for that purpose, it would be necessary to hold onto the Jordan Valley and allow freedom of IDF action.
Another speaker on the panel was Tamar Asraf, spokeswoman for the Binyamin Regional Council, who said that the proposal for a limited unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank would necessitate the evacuation of some 100,000 settlers, something that would create a rift in the country that would be more dangerous to its future than the external threats.

Creepy, Calculating And Controlling: All The Ways Big Brother Is Watching You

 

by John W. Whitehead

“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984
Today, there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence—especially not when the government can listen in on your phone calls, monitor your driving habits, track your movements, scrutinize your purchases and peer through the walls of your home.
That’s because technology—specifically the technology employed by the government against the American citizenry—has upped the stakes dramatically so that there’s little we do that is not known by the government.
In such an environment, you’re either a paragon of virtue, or you’re a criminal.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re all criminals. This is the creepy, calculating yet diabolical genius of the American police state: the very technology we hailed as revolutionary and liberating has become our prison, jailer, probation officer, Big Brother and Father Knows Best all rolled into one.
Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.
A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior.
As I point out in my book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.
For example, police have been using Stingray devices mounted on their cruisers to intercept cell phone calls and text messages without court-issued search warrants. Thwarting efforts to learn how and when these devices are being used against an unsuspecting populace, the FBI is insisting that any inquiries about the use of the technology be routed to the agency “in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to intervene to protect the equipment/technology and information from disclosure and potential compromise.”
Doppler radar devices, which can detect human breathing and movement within in a home, are already being employed by the police to deliver arrest warrants and are being challenged in court.
One case in particular, United States v Denson, examines how the Fourth Amendment interacts with the government’s use of radar technology to peer inside a suspect’s home. As Judge Neil Gorsuch recognizes in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling in the case, “New technologies bring with them not only new opportunities for law enforcement to catch criminals but also new risks for abuse and new ways to invade constitutional rights.”
License plate readers, yet another law enforcement spying device made possible through funding by the Department of Homeland Security, can record up to 1800 license plates per minute. However, it seems these surveillance cameras can also photograph those inside a moving car.
Recent reports indicate that the Drug Enforcement Administration has been using the cameras in conjunction with facial recognition software to build a “vehicle surveillance database” of the nation’s cars, drivers and passengers.
Sidewalk and “public space” cameras, sold to gullible communities as a sure-fire means of fighting crime, is yet another DHS program that is blanketing small and large towns alike with government-funded and monitored surveillance cameras.
It’s all part of a public-private partnership that gives government officials access to all manner of surveillance cameras, on sidewalks, on buildings, on buses, even those installed on private property.
Couple these surveillance cameras with facial recognition and behavior-sensing technology and you have the makings of “pre-crime” cameras, which scan your mannerisms, compare you to pre-set parameters for “normal” behavior, and alert the police if you trigger any computerized alarms as being “suspicious.”
Capitalizing on a series of notorious abductions of college-aged students, several states are pushing to expand their biometric and DNA databases by requiring that anyone accused of a misdemeanor have their DNA collected and catalogued.
However, technology is already available that allows the government to collect biometrics such as fingerprints from a distance, without a person’s cooperation or knowledge. One system can actually scan and identify a fingerprint from nearly 20 feet away.
Radar guns have long been the speed cop’s best friend, allowing him to hide out by the side of the road, identify speeding cars, and then radio ahead to a police car, which does the dirty work of pulling the driver over and issuing a ticket.
Never mind that what this cop is really doing is using an electronic device to search your car without a search warrant, violating the Fourth Amendment and probable cause. Yet because it’s a cash cow for police and the governments they report to, it’s a practice that is not only allowed but encouraged.
Indeed, developers are hard at work on a radar gun that can actually show if you or someone in your car is texting. No word yet on whether the technology will also be able to detect the contents of that text message.
It’s a sure bet that anything the government welcomes (and funds) too enthusiastically is bound to be a Trojan horse full of nasty surprises. Case in point: police body cameras. Hailed as the easy fix solution to police abuses, these body cameras—made possible by funding from the Department of Justice—will turn police officers into roving surveillance cameras.
Of course, if you try to request access to that footage, you’ll find yourself being led a merry and costly chase through miles of red tape, bureaucratic footmen and unhelpful courts.
The “internet of things” refers to the growing number of “smart” appliances and electronic devices now connected to the internet and capable of interacting with each other and being controlled remotely.
These range from thermostats and coffee makers to cars and TVs. Of course, there’s a price to pay for such easy control and access. That price amounts to relinquishing ultimate control of and access to your home to the government and its corporate partners.
For example, while Samsung’s Smart TVs are capable of “listening” to what you say, thereby allow users to control the TV using voice commands, it also records everything you say and relays it to a third party.
Then again, the government doesn’t really need to spy on you using your smart TV when the FBI can remotely activate the microphone on your cellphone and record your conversations. The FBI can also do the same thing to laptop computers without the owner knowing any better.
Government surveillance of social media such as Twitter and Facebook is on the rise. Americans have become so accustomed to the government overstepping its limits that most don’t even seem all that bothered anymore about the fact that the government is spying on our emails and listening in on our phone calls.
Drones, which will begin to take to the skies en masse this year, will be the converging point for all of the weapons and technology already available to law enforcement agencies. This means drones that can listen in on your phone calls, see through the walls of your home, scan your biometrics, photograph you and track your movements, and even corral you with sophisticated weaponry.
And then there’s the Internet and cell phone kill switch, which enables the government to shut down Internet and cell phone communications without Americans being given any warning. It’s a practice that has been used before in the U.S., albeit in a limited fashion.
In 2005, cell service was disabled in four major New York tunnels (reportedly to avert potential bomb detonations via cell phone). In 2009, those attending President Obama’s inauguration had their cell signals blocked (again, same rationale). And in 2011, San Francisco commuters had their cell phone signals shut down (this time, to thwart any possible protests over a police shooting of a homeless man).
It’s a given that the government’s tactics are always more advanced than we know, so there’s no knowing what new technologies are already being deployed against without our knowledge. Certainly, by the time we learn about a particular method of surveillance or new technological gadget, it’s a sure bet that the government has been using it covertly for years already. And if other governments are using a particular technology, you can bet that our government used it first.
For instance, back in 2011, it was reported that the government of Tunisia was not only monitoring the emails of its citizens but was actually altering the contents of those emails in order to thwart dissidents. How much do you want to bet that government agents have already employed such tactics in the U.S.?
Apart from the obvious dangers posed by a government that feels justified and empowered to spy on its people and use its ever-expanding arsenal of weapons and technology to monitor and control them, we’re approaching a time in which we will be forced to choose between obeying the dictates of the government—i.e., the law, or whatever a government officials deems the law to be—and maintaining our individuality, integrity and independence.
When people talk about privacy, they mistakenly assume it protects only that which is hidden behind a wall or under one’s clothing. The courts have fostered this misunderstanding with their constantly shifting delineation of what constitutes an “expectation of privacy.” And technology has furthered muddied the waters.
However, privacy is so much more than what you do or say behind locked doors. It is a way of living one’s life firm in the belief that you are the master of your life, and barring any immediate danger to another person (which is far different from the carefully crafted threats to national security the government uses to justify its actions), it’s no one’s business what you read, what you say, where you go, whom you spend your time with, and how you spend your money.
Unfortunately, privacy as we once knew it is dead.
We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.
Thus, to be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government’s roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.
Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw. This is the message in almost every dystopian work of fiction, from classic writers such as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Philip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury to more contemporary voices such as Margaret Atwood, Lois Lowry and Suzanne Collins.
How do you survive in the American police state?
We’re running out of options. As Philip K. Dick, the visionary who gave us Minority Report and Blade Runner, advised:
“If, as it seems, we are in the process of becoming a totalitarian society in which the state apparatus is all-powerful, the ethics most important for the survival of the true, free, human individual would be: cheat, lie, evade, fake it, be elsewhere, forge documents, build improved electronic gadgets in your garage that’ll outwit the gadgets used by the authorities.”

Intel: ISIS Planning Attacks On U.S. Soil

 

by Aaron Klein

Egypt, now at the forefront of fighting ISIS, is warning it has intelligence revealing the global jihadist group is planning a worldwide offensive this spring or summer that could reach targets within the United States.
Interrogations of ISIS members captured in recent weeks in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula Egyptian and information collected by Egyptian security forces indicate ISIS is planning ground offensives this spring and summer aimed at taking over more territory across the Middle Eastern and Persian Gulf, a senior Egyptian intelligence official told WND.
Some of the information indicates the new offensive will not be limited to the Arab world. Timed to coincide with its planned surge, ISIS is plotting possible attacks using cells abroad.
ISIS and its jihadist allies could activate cells to carry attacks in Europe and possibly within the U.S., the senior Egyptian official warned.
The official advocated the deployment of significant ground troops acting on multiple fronts to stop ISIS’ progression. He complained the Obama administration and international community has been hesitant to take major action against ISIS advances.
Egypt on Monday sent warplanes over the border into Libya to bomb ISIS targets after the terror group’s well publicized, savage attack on Egyptian Christians.
Egyptian F-16 fighter jets reportedly struck ISIS training camps and weapons depots along Libya’s coast, including targets in Derna, where Islamic extremist groups have joined with ISIS.
One day earlier, ISIS allies released a video that appears to show the execution of 21 Coptic Christian prisoners. The Coptic Church is headquartered in Egypt.
Read “ISIS Rising: Prelude to a neo-Ottoman Caliphate” to find out what the terror camp leaders really want to do.
The Egyptian government reportedly dispatched its foreign minister to New York in a bid to rally international support for their military intervention in Libya.
Last week, WND reported Egypt estimates ISIS and its allies currently boast an army of about 180,000 fighters.
An Egyptian intelligence document, the contents of which were obtained by WND, warns that while the U.S. has been attempting to maintain a coalition to fight ISIS, the Islamic terrorist organization has itself been hard at work building a sustainable coalition of jihadist gunmen.
The 180,000 figure is up to six times greater than a CIA estimate from last September, which placed the number of ISIS fighters at between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters.
According to Egypt, ISIS has created an umbrella army with the Taliban, Al Shabab, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and local jihadist groups from Yemen, Mali, Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Egyptian Sinai.
Cells inside U.S.?
There have been numerous claims of ISIS cells embedded in the U.S.
Earlier this month, Michael Steinbach, head of the FBI’s counter-terrorism division, was asked by CNN whether or not there are ISIS cells in the U.S.
Steinbach said, “[T]here are individuals that have been in communication with groups like [ISIS] who have a desire to conduct an attack,” and those people are living in the U.S. right now.
He conceded the FBI finds it extremely difficult to track every American traveling abroad who can join ISIS or receive training by foreign terrorist organizations.
“I’m worried about individuals that we don’t know about that have training,” Steinbach said. “We know what we know. But there is a number that’s greater than that that we don’t know.”
“Once you get to Europe, you can easily get down to Turkey and into Syria,” he noted.
In August, former CIA officer Bob Baer told CNN he had been “told with no uncertainty there are ISIS sleeper cells in this country.”
CNN cited two unnamed U.S. officials rebutting the claim but still expressing concern ISIS militants with passports might travel to the U.S. to launch attacks on American soil.

 

Is Jordan next? King Abdullah knows he is in a winner-take-all war with ISIS. Does Washington?

 

 

By Joel C. Rosenberg

With the barbaric murder of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh — the Jordanian pilot locked in a cage and burned alive by operatives of the Islamic State, for all the world to see — Jordan’s King Abdullah faces the most dangerous moment since ascending to the throne in 1999.

ISIS jihadists in Syria and Iraq have publicly threatened to invade Jordan and “slaughter” Abdullah, whom they denounce as a “tyrant.” Extremists inside Jordan took to the streets last summer shouting, “Down, down with Abdullah!” The latest ISIS propaganda video attacks the king as an “ally of the crusaders.” One figure in the video proclaims, “all Arab tyrants should…be burned.”

While Jordan has remained a source of calm in the region, the roots of radical Islamic extremism run deep there. A Jordanian, Abu Musab Zarqawi, was the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq — the precursor to ISIS — before he was killed by a U.S. airstrike on June 7, 2006. Today, an estimated 2,000 Jordanian nationals are fighting with ISIS. What happens when they come back to Jordan?

Meanwhile, 1.3 million people, mostly Muslims, have fled Syria and are currently residing in Jordan. Some 600,000 are contained inside refugee camps. The rest are freely moving about the country. How many are plotting against the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and how advanced and sophisticated are their plans?

The good news is that King Abdullah understands full well that he is in a winner-take-all showdown with ISIS, which he describes as “a Third World war.” As a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad, the king sees himself as a moderate Arab reformer. He believes Islam is the answer to the challenges facing his region, but he does not believe violent jihad is the way forward. He has built good relations with the West, maintains a solid peace treaty with Israel, and has worked hard to protect Christians in Jordan. But he is acutely aware that the jihadists are gunning for him. Indeed, upon hearing the news of the pilot’s murder, he immediately cut short his visit to Washington and returned to Amman to launch an “earth-shaking” military response to ISIS.

The urgent question right now is whether American leaders fully understand just how catastrophic it would be for Jordan to fall to ISIS, and whether they are truly committed to taking all measures necessary to crush ISIS and stand firm with Jordan, one of our most important Arab allies.

Friends and enemies alike have pointed out that President Obama has been indecisive and inconsistent in responding to the turmoil caused by the extremists. U.S.-led airstrikes have slowed the jihadist advance in Iraq, but ISIS is steadily expanding its control of Syria. Yet inexplicably, the White House has failed to set forth a clear strategy to defeat the Islamic State in either Iraq or Syria, even as the rest of the neighbourhood — from the shores of Tripoli to the Hindu Kush — is falling apart before our eyes.

Obama is now asking for congressional authorization for his half-hearted war on ISIS. Yet his very request shows how unsure and unserious he is. Congress should pass a resolution authorizing the use of “all means necessary” to defeat the enemy. But the president’s draft explicitly rules out any serious use of ground forces, even if America’s military leaders deem them essential.

Obama specifically refuses to put an adequate number of U.S. special forces and technical advisers on the ground to help Iraqi forces retake their country. Last month, retired four-star U.S. Army General Jack Keane testified before Congress that at least 10,000 U.S. special operators are needed in the theater to prosecute an effective war against ISIS. Thus far, the administration adamantly disagrees.

At the same time, President Obama refuses to directly and adequately arm the Kurds in their fight against ISIS, despite their heroic efforts on the battlefield. Obama should be providing Jordan and the Iraqis far more arms and other resources to fight ISIS, but he hesitates.

Meanwhile, he exhibits a dangerously dysfunctional attitude toward two key American allies in the region, namely Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Like Jordan’s King Abdullah, both Netanyahu and al-Sisi clearly see the grave threat posed by the Shia brand of radicalism advanced by Iran and Hezbollah, and the similarly ominous threat posed by the Sunni brand of violent extremism advanced by ISIS, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Netanyahu and Sisi are quietly but actively working together – and with Jordan – against these threats. Yet Obama’s public disdain for the Israeli and Egyptian leaders in the midst of a hot war is both counterproductive (the Egyptians are now turning to Moscow for help) and risks undermining the trust and confidence of Jordan’s leaders, as well as that of other Mideast allies.

With so many other major challenges in the Middle East at present, it would be easy for American policy-makers to overlook Jordan’s importance — easy, but a mistake. Jordan is the cornerstone of any future Arab-Israeli peace plan. If it fell to ISIS, Jordan would quickly become a launching pad for terrorist attacks against America and its allies.

Fortunately, the American people instinctively understand the magnitude of the threat posed by ISIS. In a recent survey 74 percent of Americans said they worry ISIS will launch a “catastrophic terrorist” attack inside the U.S. if they are not defeated soon. Nearly as many Americans (72 percent) worry ISIS will soon try to launch a massive attack against the State of Israel. At the same time, 65 percent are afraid ISIS “will also try to overthrow the King of Jordan – an important, moderate Arab ally of the United States – and use Jordan as a base camp to launch terrorist attacks against America and Israel.”

Not surprisingly, therefore, Americans want President Obama and congressional leaders to work closely with America’s most trusted allies in the Middle East – including Jordan — to crush ISIS quickly and decisively. God help us if the president does not start making the right moves before it is too late.

Joel C. Rosenberg is a New York Times best-selling author of novels and non-fiction books about the Middle East. His latest political thriller, The Third Target, centers on an ISIS plot to attack the U.S., Israel and Jordan.

EU Ready to Strike Israel with Sanctions One Day After Elections

 

by  Tova Dvorin

EU member states have been readying themselves to enforce sanctions on Israel for Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria, diplomats revealed Tuesday – and will strike hours after the March 17 elections.
Israeli officials in recent weeks met with Europe’s most important foreign ministries at the EU headquarters in Brussels, an Israeli official told Walla! News on condition of anonymity, and said that the planned measures in Europe will be focused on “the illegality of the settlements under international la” – without any distinction between “settlement blocs” generally agreed upon to remain in Israel and isolated communities.
“The guiding principle is their deepening and emphasizing the absolute difference they make between Israel within the Green Line and Israel beyond the Green Line,” the official said, referring to the 1949 Armistice lines. “They talks about sanctions against companies that do business across the border, to support legal action of the Palestinians over the settlements and the renewal of the proposal for the establishment of a Palestinian state through the UN Security Council.”
“The assumption is in Europe that a right-wing government will be elected in Israel, and thus it would be easier to promote these measures” against it, the official added.
Part of the sanctions include measures exposed by Haaretz in November; all of them are agreed upon by major EU players, the official emphasized.
“This is not something that a group of junior officials has been advancing in discussions off to the side,” the official insisted. “It’s a process that has been shared by all the EU countries and that has been allowed to advance by senior officials in Brussels.”
“The elections were able to delay the process, for two reasons – partially because they [the EU] do not want to be seen as interfering, and partially because some countries hope that after the elections there will be a chance to resume negotiations with the Palestinians,” the official added. “However, at the moment, it doesn’t look like that will happen, so they are readying the sanctions now.”
The issue of European sanctions and international pressure on Israel has not become a major issue in the current election campaign, but in Jerusalem, officials are well aware of the dangers that lurk for Israel after the elections.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in closed conversations in recent months that Israel is expecting to face a very difficult period in the international arena by the end of elections, and that prominent countries in Europe are working together with the Palestinians on the subject.
A senior European diplomat assured Walla! that “no new steps will be revealed before elections in Israel” and that EU countries have been “very careful not to intervene.”
He added that “Israelis have known for some time what we are planning.”
The EU has a long history of pressuring Israel over “illegal settlement activity” in Jewish-owned areas of Judea and Samaria, which was declared legal by international law in the 2012 Levy Report.
Despite this, an explosive expose by watchdog groups revealed last week that the EU is funding illegal settlement in Judea-Samaria – by assisting the Palestinian Authority (PA) and pro-Palestinian groups in illegally grabbing land from Israel’s area, Area C.
Overall, the bloc has threatened Israel multiple times to further its agenda in the Middle East, dangling unprecedented aid packages to both Jerusalem and Ramallah if a two-state solution is implemented.

China‘s Secret Plan To Topple The US As The World’s Superpower

 

by  Larry Getlen

In 1995, Michael Pillsbury, an expert on China who has worked with every US president since Nixon and has, he writes, “arguably had more access to China’s military and intelligence establishment than any other Westerner,” was reading an article written by “three of China’s preeminent military experts” about “new technologies that would contribute to the defeat of the United States.”
It was in this article that Pillsbury first saw the term “Assassin’s Mace,” which refers to a weapon from Chinese folklore that guarantees a small combatant victory over a larger, more powerful opponent.

The article described goals including “electromagnetic combat superiority” that would allow for “naval victory,” and “tactical laser weapons” that would “be used first in anti-missile defense systems.” They also discussed jamming and destroying radar and various communications systems, and the use of computer viruses.

In time, Pillsbury began seeing the term “Assassin’s Mace” with regularity in Chinese documents.

“In the military context,” he writes, “Assassin’s Mace refers to a set of asymmetric weapons that allow an inferior power to defeat a seemingly superior adversary by striking at an enemy’s weakest point.”

At first, Pillsbury writes, he considered these statements aspirational. But as US intelligence analysts translated documents over time, he came to see otherwise. The Assassin’s Mace, he came to believe, was part of a cunning and much broader strategy, a 100-year-long effort to overtake the US as the world’s superpower.

The point of Assassin’s Mace — which, Pillsbury learned, the Chinese were already spending billions of dollars to develop — was to “make a generational leap in military capabilities that can trump the conventional forces of Western powers,” but to do so incrementally, so that by the time they achieved their goal, it would be too late for the US to respond to, much less reverse.

In a sense, the new book “The Hundred-Year Marathon” is Pillsbury’s mea culpa. He readily admits that, as a key influencer of US government policy toward China for the past four decades, he had long been one of many in the federal government pushing the US toward full cooperation with China, including heavy financial and technological support, under the belief that the country was headed in a more democratic, free-market direction.
“The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower” by Michael Pillsbury (Henry Holt) “Looking back, it was painful that I was so gullible,” he writes.

Pillsbury notes that he and many other China experts were taught early on to view China as “a helpless victim of Western imperialists” and that as such, assistance should be provided almost unquestioningly.

Now, he says, he has come to consider this view — which he now believes came about as a result of intentional deception and misdirection on the part of the Chinese — as “the most systemic, significant and dangerous intelligence failure in American history.”

“We believed that American aid to a fragile China whose leaders thought like us would help China become a democratic and peaceful power without ambitions of . . . global dominance,” he writes.

“We underestimated the influence of China’s hawks. Every one of the assumptions behind that belief was wrong — dangerously so.”

“For decades,” Pillsbury adds, “the US government has freely handed over sensitive information, technology, military know-how, intelligence and expert advice to the Chinese. Indeed, so much has been provided for so long that . . . there is no full accounting. And what we haven’t given the Chinese, they’ve stolen.”

Part of what Pillsbury sees as America’s naiveté on the issue derived from fundamental misunderstandings about the nature of Chinese culture.

Pillsbury now believes that since the time of Mao Zedong, China has been engaged in an effort to establish China as the world’s premier superpower by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the Communist Revolution.

The reason this has been so little known, he says, is that the Chinese consider physical battles just one minor aspect of warfare. China’s main weapon, he says, is deception — the constant appearance of achieving less than they really have and needing our help more than they actually do.

Pillsbury believes this philosophy’s origins derive from a book — the title of which translates to “The General Mirror for the Aid of Government” — that Mao brought with him on his long march in the 1930s. Described as “a statecraft manual with lessons from history that have no Western counterpart,” one section of the book “centers on stratagems of the Warring States period in China, and includes stories and maxims dating as far back as 4000 BC.”
Included in these are lessons on “how to use deception, how to avoid encirclement by opponents and how a rising power should induce complacency in the old hegemon until the right moment.”

Mao, it turned out, read this book many times while ruling China, as did subsequent leaders. Chinese students even use passages from it in their writing lessons.

Pillsbury believes that China’s actions since just after World War II are derived from this book and that they’re working just as intended.

“One of the biggest mistakes made by American experts on China was not taking this book seriously,” Pillsbury writes, noting that “it was never translated into English,” and that the US didn’t begin grasping its possible importance until the 1990s.

Pillsbury believes China has strategically positioned itself as a nation in great need of our help since the 1960s, noting that contrary to popular belief, President Richard Nixon’s opening to China in the ’70s was initiated by China, not the US.

During early meetings between Mao and Nixon, Mao pushed for the two countries to work together against the Soviet threat, with Mao urging the US to “create an anti-Soviet axis that would include Europe, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Japan.”

“A counterencirclement of the Soviet hegemon was a classic Warring States approach,” Pillsbury writes. “What the Americans missed was that it was not a permanent Chinese policy preference, but only expedient cooperation among two Warring States.”

As Deng Xiaoping came to greater power in China in the late 1970s, America rejoiced, believing him a reform-minded moderate. Pillsbury, though, says that behind the scenes, he was far more hard-line.

Believing that China had erred in following the Soviet economic model and that the country had “failed to extract all they could” from the Soviet relationship, “Deng would not make the same mistake with the Americans.”

“He saw that the real way for China to make progress in the Marathon was to obtain knowledge and skills from the United States,” Pillsbury writes. “In other words, China would come from behind and win the marathon by stealthily drawing most of its energy from the complacent American front-runner.”

In the decades to come, Pillsbury believes, America helped build China’s economy and military while unknowingly following the Warring States script. (He admits that it was he, in a 1975 article in Foreign Policy, who first “advocated military ties between the United States and China,” and that the idea had been proposed to him by officers in the Chinese military.)

Following a Warring States philosophy of tricking your opponent into doing your work for you, Deng knew that technology would be the driver for building the Chinese economy and “believed that the only way China could pass the United States as an economic power was through massive scientific and technological development. An essential shortcut would be to take what the Americans already had.”

Meeting with President Jimmy Carter in 1978, Deng arranged for what would become 19,000 Chinese science students to study here, and Deng and Carter reached an agreement for the US to provide China with “the greatest outpouring of American scientific and technological expertise in history.”

Under President Ronald Reagan, for whom Pillsbury served as a foreign policy adviser, the Pentagon agreed to “sell advanced air, ground, naval and missile technology to the Chinese to transform the People’s Liberation Army into a world-class fighting force,” later including “nuclear cooperation and development . . . to expand China’s military and civilian nuclear programs.” Reagan also assisted in China’s development of industries such as “intelligent robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, lasers, supercomputers, space technology and manned spaceflight.”

“Before long,” Pillsbury writes, “the Chinese had made significant progress on more than 10,000 projects, all heavily dependent on Western assistance and all crucial to China’s Marathon strategy.” Similar assistance has continued to this day.

All along, Pillsbury writes, China secretly continued to view us as a tyrant, so much so that “starting in 1990, Chinese textbooks were rewritten to depict the United States as a hegemon that, for more than 150 years, had tried to stifle China’s rise and destroy the soul of Chinese civilization.”

In time, Pillsbury would come to believe that, despite a great amount of American assistance to China over the years, the Chinese people never saw or read anything positive about America.

Two days after 9/11, Pillsbury writes, “two [Chinese] colonels were interviewed for a Chinese Communist Party newspaper and said of the attacks that they could be ‘favorable to China’ and were proof that America was vulnerable to attack through nontraditional methods.”

Looking ahead, Pillsbury quotes a RAND Corporation study as saying that China will have “more than $1 trillion” to spend on their military through 2030. This “paints a picture of near parity, if not outright Chinese military superiority, by mid-century.”
The Warring States strategy advises the underdog to keep its intentions secret until sufficient power against the hegemon is both strong and irreversible. Then it should show its teeth.

Pillsbury says that China’s rapid economic rise has led to the beginnings of this stage. He cites how in 2009, when President Barack Obama attended a climate change summit in Copenhagen, there was “a significant shift in the public tone of Chinese officials” that included “uncharacteristic rudeness,” including the organization of a secret meeting with other countries about blocking US initiatives that excluded the president. (He and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pillsbury says, crashed the meeting.)

During visits to the country over the past three years, Pillsbury says, he has seen a stark shift in China’s attitude toward the US. Chinese scholars he’s known for decades, he says, have long denied any sort of “Chinese-led world order.” Now they are showing a sudden brash willingness to admit to what Pillsbury believes is China’s true intent. “The hard truth,” Pillsbury writes, “is that China’s leaders see America as an enemy in a global struggle they plan on winning.”