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01 February 2014

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William R. Cumming

Thanks Richard! IMO the DC area houses many loyal Syrian-Americans and wondering what that Ex-Pat community wondering?

Many Syrian-Americans IMO are worshipers of Islam or non-religious as opposed to say the majority of Lebanese-Americans that seem majority Christian! Many fluent in Arabic or even some Aramaric [sic]!

Does the IC make any use of this respository of knowledge as the OSS and CIC of German-Americans?

Mark Gaughan

Thanks Richard

turcopolier

WRC

The point of Sale's piece is that the present Syrian government was very helpful to the US against AQ. pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL!

The Twisted Genius

All,

Does anyone have any idea what it would take to escape the stranglehold of Israeli influence? It's such a deep addiction that I fear even in the face of societal, economic and/or political collapse, this addiction would persist.

CK

Incredible.
A woman
A scientist
A Muslim
And those Iraqi WMDs all over again.
I mean it is just incredible that someone might work for the good of their country, for years, even under interdiction and trade blockade.
I hope that no female American scientists ever have to face this kind of situation. Rendition ( again ) to Syria is probably a future option for losers.
I do have a theory, it is that "really good, actionable, intelligence that comes from a first hand or well washed and apparently unconnected Israeli source is probably not good for goyim on this side of the Atlantic.

RIchard

To Richard S or Col Lang
So is the plan General Clarke spoke of the driving force behind events? The plan to destablize or invade 7 nations.

nick b

TTG

Not to be glib, but campaign finance reform would be a good place to start.

turcopolier

nickb

AIPAC functions by illegally controlling the funds of hundreds of actual PACs. how would funding reform stop that? The FBI knows that AIPAC breaks the law but they are forbidden to take action against them. pl

The Twisted Genius

nick b,

Good point, but I think meaningful campaign finance reform would be more difficult to pass than a national single payer health plan. Especially given that money equals free speech and corporations are people.

nick b

Col.,

I realize this is probably more extreme than you would sanction, but strictly public funding of political campaigns would do the trick. Or at least be a starting point.

turcopolier

nickb

Given the malevolent effect of private money in our elections I would accept government funding and the exclusion of private funds. pl

Booby

I'm just a simple minded country boy; but, we give Israel $3-$10B a year. The Israeli's use our tax dollars to buy US weapons & gear and funnel funds to US politicians through PAc's. And we don't understand why the politicians are influenced by the Israeli's? Looks like a self-licking ice cream cone to me.

Booby

optimax

TTG

I watched a little of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on C-Span 2. The representatives were almost to a man morons and in the pockets of AIPAC. Not one could explain how Iran is a threat to the US, only to Israel, and much of that was based on misinformation. The one man on the panel that was semi-optimistic about the negotiations was frequently interrupted.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?317456-1/NuclearDea

Kissinger gave an interview in the early seventies where he said (the then current) finance reform would reduce the influence of the Jews (his term). I might have it somewhere.

Alba Etie

TTG
Now that SCOTUS has decreed that "corporations are people too " I believe now might be a good time to have this conversation about Public Financing of Campaigns. We may actually find common ground on this - all across our Comity of These United States . A friend of mine here , who helped start the Central Texas Tea Party Patriots - with three Gasden Flags in his front yard says we need public financing of campaigns totally - then cites the CongressCritters that get their family subsidized by the Farm Bill . He also believes that the SNAP program could be better managed by block grants in the States - maybe he is right . I actually think this is one of the reasons Romney lost - he was made famous by his glib comment "Corporations are people Too " ...

David Habakkuk

TTG,

A key to the matter may be whether figures like Philip Weiss and Max Blumenthal remain marginal among American Jews.

An underlying issue is I think well brought out in two recent reflections on the career of the late Ariel Sharon. A piece by the Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit, in ‘The New York Review of Books’, contains the following anecdote:

‘According to Nahum Barnea, Sharon’s sons, Omri and Gilad, affectionately called their father “the Caucasian.” They didn’t mean a white man. What they alluded to was the fact that although Sharon’s parents, Vera and Shmuel, were both born in what is now Belarus, they met and married in the Caucasus. But they meant even more than that. The word “Caucasian” may evoke a strongly built agrarian tribal chieftain—a man fiercely loyal to his family and his people, while ferociously mean and vindictive toward his enemies, namely, the rest of the world.

(See http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/feb/20/shadow-ariel-sharon/?insrc=hpma)

The tribute on the website of the supposed ‘liberal’ alternative to AIPC, J Street, having explained that the organisation ‘honors the memory’ of Sharon, goes on to explain that ‘as Prime Minister, Sharon, like many of his predecessors, realized that Israel’s survival as a democratic, Jewish homeland depends on a two-state resolution of its conflict with the Palestinians.’

(See http://jstreet.org/blog/post/j-street-honors-memory-of-former-prime-minister-sharon_1)

From this equivocal statement and the equivocal discussion that follows it is clear that J Street have their heads firmly buried, ostrich-like, in the sand. They are simply unwilling to face up to the fact that the tribalist Jews who dominate Israeli society have never been prepared to make the concessions required for a meaningful ‘two state-resolution’.

At the moment, ‘liberal Zionism’ is in a state rather similar to ‘socialism with a human face’ after 1968. Critical questions are how long it will remain possible for its adherents to keep their heads in the sand, and also which way they jump when finally they desert an untenable position.

Bill H

We are just ten days away from election day for Mayor in San Diego and the really nasty attack ads have begun to appear. This brings to light the real problem with campaign reform, which is campaing tactics by groups other than the candidates or their own campaigns. These nasty ads are provided by groups which have no direct connection to the candidates, and the spending is not part of the candidates spending. The candidates can, and do, hold up their hands in horror and say that they do not pay for these ads and do not condone them, that they wish that the ads were not being run.

So, reform campaign spending all you want. Limit campaign spending to zero, and these outside groups will still vie to see who can spend the most money. All of the money that would have gone to the cnadidates' campaigns will go to these groups insyead, and the advertising will be undiminished. Politicians will be as "bought" as ever.

Yohan

Richard, I'm surprised you didn't mention the extraordinary rendition ties between US intelligence and Syria as exemplified by the Maher Arar case. How long did Syria operate torture centers for the US?

turcopolier

yohan

There were so many countries willing to perform this chore for the US that it seems simplistic to single Syria out on that basis. pl

jon

Following 9-11, I recall seeing several news stories that identified Syria, and Damascus in particular, as extraordinary rendition sites, where terrorist suspects were receiving enhanced interrogation by state security personnel, and the transcripts provided to US intelligence agencies. Several other Arab countries, such as Jordan, were similarly identified.

Syria also accepted a remarkable number of Iraqi refugees after 2003. I don't recall their complaining overly about that burden.

Syria also seems to have departed Lebanon, and reduced its interference and dominance there substantially. Given that Syria maintains historic claims to Lebanon, and has interfered on numerous occasions to resolve intra-Lebanese conflicts as well as exerting its own interests,Syria's behavior in that regard seems almost generous.

There's an argument to be made that the US is an unreliable partner. This likely contributes to the difficulty we have had in developing enduring allies in the region.

Tyler

"Does anyone have any idea what it would take to escape the stranglehold of Israeli influence?"

I'm sure there's some old krauts around who have an idea or two on how to accomplish that.

Richard Armstrong

COL,

As was Iran after 9/11. They sealed their border. Rounded up numerous suspected AQ and turned them over to to US. And then in the SOTU President Bush named them as part of the Axis of Evil. Their cooperation kind of slowed down after that.

William Fitzgerald

Mr. Sale,

I recall the cross border incident and have wondered whether it was connected to the talk coming from administration officials, unnamed I suppose, who were holding forth about invading Syria that summer (2003) after our "great victory".

I'm also curious about what became of Madam Ammash and the rest of the people whose pictures were on the deck of cards. Those, that is, who weren't publicly executed. Have they been done away with or are they locked away in a dungeon somewhere?

WPFIII

Tom in Texas

William Fitzgerald,

Excerpted from a Wiki entry (apparently not updated since 2007), it appears Madam Ammash was released in 2005:

"Ammash surrendered to coalition forces on May 9, 2003 and was one of two Iraqi women known to be in U.S. custody as of April 2005. The other was the British-educated Dr. Rihab Taha, who led Iraq's biological weapons program until 1995.

"Both women were released in December 2005 after they were among those an American-Iraqi board process found were no longer a security threat and would have no charges filed against them.[7]"

From an Oct. 30, 2013 CNN story about the various fates of the "Most Wanted" Iraqis from the invasion-era deck of cards, for Madam Ammash (Five of Hearts) there was no later information than, "December 12, 2005--Released." http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/30/world/meast/iraq-most-wanted-fast-facts/

Thomas

William,

Here is latest on the Iraqi Deck of Cards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Most-wanted_Iraqi_playing_cards

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