Plato's Guns

M i d e a s t Newsstand

Month: August, 2015

Dangers of international ‘fatigue’ on Israel-Palestine issue – Uri Savir/Al-Monitor

by NewsStand

In recent months, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah was told repeatedly to wait until after the Iran deal for an intervention by the international community in favor of Palestinian statehood. President Mahmoud Abbas and his senior advisers heard this promise from the Americans, the French, the Germans and even the Russians. Visiting the government offices in Ramallah these days, one comes away with the feeling that there, in the aftermath of the agreement, waiting for the international community has become synonymous with “waiting for Godot.”

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Iran Winning Propaganda War Against Iran – Gordon Duff/ Veterans Today

by NewsStand

Today, the Congress for the 17000 Victims of Iranian Terror begins in Tehran.  Veterans Today, a co-sponsor, will not be attending.   I will not be attending, though slated to give the keynote address.  There are reasons, oh so many reasons.

Then today, friends in Iran notified us that a well known Israeli agent showed up as an attendee.  This individual has, for over 3 decades, “shopped” to hostile intelligence services a bevy of unsuspecting political activists.

Since the first note of his presence, a Libyan “Anti-Imperialism Conference” in 1986, those around him have been suicided, accidented and poisoned.  Iran knew all of this, they got a dossier from both Syrian and Russian intelligence.  They invited him anyway.

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Netanyahu OK with ‘civilian’ Iran nuke program – Mark Hensch/TheHill

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that he approves of Iran using nuclear energy for civilian purposes.

Netanyahu added that he opposes President Obama’s nuclear pact with Iran based only on its military implications.

“Allow me to make clear that Israel is not opposed to a civilian nuclear program in Iran,” he said in Florence, Italy Saturday evening, according to The Jerusalem Post.
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Israel’s Favorite Palestinian Moves to Illinois – Ruth Margalit/The New Yorker

by NewsStand

A century ago, on Mt. Scopus, in Jerusalem, Albert Einstein gave the first lecture at the future Hebrew University, a ninety-minute inquest into cosmic mysteries: the meaning of time, the properties of light. In June, 2014, Sayed Kashua, a novelist, columnist, television writer, and perhaps the most visible representative of Palestinian life in Israel, trudged to the same spot with a more earthbound goal. A reluctant public speaker, he was there to deliver a commencement address to the graduating class. His subject was life between languages, familiar ground for an author who identifies himself as Palestinian but writes solely in Hebrew. Though he was given only fifteen minutes, the invitation was unprecedented—the first time the university had brought in an Arab to speak at graduation.

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Transdev exits Jerusalem light rail project – Financial Times

by NewsStand

France’s Transdev, half-owned by Veolia, has exited Jerusalem’s controversial light rail project — causing supporters of the movement to boycott Israel over of its treatment of the Palestinians to claim a victory in their campaign.

However, the French company insisted that its decision to sell its interest in the railway was purely strategic.

A senior executive at Transdev told the Financial Times that it had sold its 5 per cent share in CityPass, the concession company for the train that links west Jerusalem with Arab neighbourhoods and Jewish settlements to its east. Transdev also sold all of its shares in Connex Jerusalem, the operating company that runs the train.

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Largest Ever Med Gas Field Found off Egypt – AFP

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Cairo – Italian energy giant Eni on Sunday announced the discovery of the “largest ever” offshore natural gas field in the Mediterranean, in Egypt’s territorial waters.

The discovery, confirmed by Egypt’s oil ministry, could hold a potential 30 trillion cubic feet (850 billion cubic metres) of gas in an area of about 100 square kilometres (40 square miles), Eni said in a statement.

The so-called Zohr project is “the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea,” it said, adding the find would meet Egypt’s own natural gas demands for decades.

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Israel won’t bomb Iran but US had nothing to do with it – Geoffrey Aronson/Al Jazeera English

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There is one central player remarkably absent from the recent revelations concerning Israel’s decision not to bomb Iranian nuclear sites in 2011 and 2012 – the United States. According to Ehud Barak, former prime minister and defence minister, the US was not a factor when key decisions against a strike were made.

Israel is a notoriously self-centred political culture. But even so, the revelation that the US’ views were not centre stage in the two critical meetings, when Israel’s political and security establishments debated the merits of war against Iran, is unprecedented.

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Israel has failed to reform Jewish radicals, critics charge – DANIEL ESTRIN/AP

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SHIR HADASH OUTPOST, West Bank — The Israeli government initiative has a soothing biblical name, the Hebrew Shepherd, and a serious aim: to keep ultranationalist Jewish settler youths from turning to violence and attacking Palestinians and their property.

But the program — which included plans for a summer camp and carpentry courses to keep the kids out of trouble — has foundered. Many settler youths have refused to cooperate after rumors spread that Israel’s domestic security agency, Shin Bet, which snoops on Jewish extremists, was involved.

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The Wars In Syria And Iraq Are Also Water Wars… More Will Come – Moon Of Alabama

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    (Caption in top right corner:  The coming weapon)

Foreign Affairs has a recommendable piece on the water wars between Turkey, Syria and Iraq: Rivers of Babylon.

Turkey has build many, many dams throughout the country to provide electricity but also for farming. When I traveled in the Turkish east in the 1990s many new projects, parts of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) were visible and newly dammed water was provided to the dry regions in the south-east through open channels. A lot of this water was wasted due to vaporization but also due to the choice of water intensive news crops in a hot and often desert like region.

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Nearly 8 Million Muslim Casualties In US-Led War On Terror – Mnar Muhawesh/MintPress Video

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Mnar Muhawesh, writer and editor at MintPress.com joins RT America to discuss the misconceptions about the war on terror.

Is the United States and it’s allies committing genocide in the global war on terror? Mnar Muhawesh was invited to speak with RT America’s Watching the Hawks to discuss this and the real cost of war.

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Who and What the Heck is Plato’s Guns?!

by Taxi

Almost six months ago, I set up Plato’s Guns as a newsstand to share articles and information with readers, as well as a platform for open, uncensored discussion of the simultaneous Zionist occupation of Palestine and our Congress – including also discussion on middle eastern geopolitical topics as they relate to our American Empire.  Having either been muzzled or banned from most I/P discussion sites, it was necessary to set up a place where no gatekeepers operated.  I have also taken advantage of this self-created freedom by penning occasional analysis articles and publishing them here on Plato’s.  I  highly encourage and invite others to pen articles on their topic of interest and to submit them to Plato’s for publication.  Community participation is essential for Plato’s growth – be it through the comment section or through article publishing.

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Lebanese Protesters Aim for Rare Unity Against Gridlocked Government – Ann Bernard/The New York Times

by NewsStand

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Lebanese demonstrators, who have gathered by the thousands recently to protest towering garbage piles, corruption and political dysfunction, expected their biggest turnout yet on Saturday evening in downtown Beirut, as the authorities and activists alike vowed to avoid the clashes that marred earlier protests.

As protesters began gathering, many in the crowd were leery of the possibility of violence. Last weekend, security forces used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets as some protesters threw rocks. Hundreds were injured, and one person was left in a coma.

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MUST SEE VIDEO of West Bank protest goes viral – Ynetnews

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Particularly violent pictures from a West Bank rally, featuring a young girl biting an IDF soldier, have received international attention.

Distinctively violent images have emerged from an almost typical protest in the West Bank on Friday and have made their way to major media networks around the world.

The pictures, taken during a protest in the village of Nebi Salah, show a young girl and two other women struggling with an IDF soldier, who is holding a Palestinian boy by his arm, preventing the boy from moving.

The Daily Mail featured the image and wrote, “With terror etched on his face, the boy is powerless to move as the gunman towers over him, with the muzzle of his weapon just inches from his cheek.”

Photos:

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Obama: US-Israel ties will improve after Iran deal in place – AP

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OCCUPIED WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is comparing tensions between the U.S. and Israel over the Iranian nuclear deal to a family feud and says he expects quick improvements in ties between the longtime allies once the accord is implemented.

“Like all families, sometimes there are going to be disagreements,” Obama said Friday in a webcast with Jewish Americans. “And sometimes people get angrier about disagreements in families than with folks that aren’t family.”

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New school year at Israel Christian schools in doubt – AFP

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    Palestinian child’s art, banned from exhibits in USA

OCCUPIED Jerusalem  – Israel’s academic year starts Tuesday, but if tough financing talks with the government bear no fruit, the doors of the country’s 47 Christian schools will remain closed, a church official said.

Some 33,000 children, mostly Muslim Arabs, attend the schools, which have a history predating Israel’s foundation in 1948 and are run primarily by the Roman Catholic church.

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Fashionable Nonsense, Fads, and Fallacies in the Name of Logic and Science – Jonas E. Alexis/ Veterans Today

by NewsStand

We all know that nonsense rules this world. It is virtually everywhere: in academic circles,[1] in politics,[2] in books that purport to be historical or scientific,[3] in medicine,[4] in journalism,[5] etc. If you take ideas seriously, you’d probably ask: why would the academic world in particular be involved in deliberate forgeries and hoaxes?

Well, keep in mind that no power or force on earth can make a person change his mind about a cherished ideology. As Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin himself put it almost two decades ago, even if a cherished ideology is patently absurd and even if it fails “to fulfill many of its extravagant promises,” it still must be preserved if its alternative is frightening.[6]

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Is Wyden on the Path to War? – Robert Greenwald/HuffPo

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Efraim Halevy, former director of the Mossad (Israel’s Central Intelligence Agency), recently spoke out about the deal with Iran: “What is the point of canceling an agreement that distances Iran from the bomb?” That is the exact question that many American’s are asking as Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) holds out on supporting the Iran deal until he talks to some of his friends. That’s right. Some of his friends. The 29 world renowned scientists, the diplomats, even the Israeli leaders were not enough to convince Wyden and others. At a recent engagement, he outwardly spoke out against it. Many of his statements can be seen in our new film, Is Wyden on the Path to War? (above).

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Study: 15% of West Bank Settlers Are American – Jack Moore/Newsweek

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New research has revealed that 15 percent of the total Jewish settler population in the occupied West Bank are American nationals.

In a presentation to promote a forthcoming book, Oxford University scholar Sara Yael Hirschhorn revealed that approximately 60,000 Americans Jews live in Jewish outposts out of a total population of approximately 400,000 settlers in occupied territory, excluding East Jerusalem. The figure for the number of American nationals living in the West Bank was previously unknown.

“This provides hard evidence that this constituency is strikingly over-represented, both within the settler population itself and within the total population of Jewish American immigrants in Israel,” she said at the Limmud conference in Jerusalem, reported Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.

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Ultra-nationalist Israelis take over more housing units in Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem – US News

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  (Word being rolled over:  Jerusalem)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM  — Ultra-nationalist Israelis took over a four-story building in the heart of an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem on Thursday, raising fears of fresh violence in the tense area.

A small group of activists from the Ateret Cohanim settler organization moved into the rundown white stone building. It was the latest in a wave of settler advances since nationalist Jews began buying up properties in densely populated Palestinian areas two decades ago.

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Rosh Hashanah — the Beginning of Change – Dr. Michael Laitman/HuffPo

by NewsStand

This year, Rosh Hashanah could not come at a better time. With the American Jewish community being torn between support and rejection of the Iran deal, the growing rift between supporters and opposers of the policies of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the reemerging dispute over conversion laws between Israeli orthodox Jews and the progressive views of the majority of American Jewry, it seems that the new year, with its customary element of introspection, could hardly be more timely.

The added woe of a looming rupture between the Obama administration and large swaths of American Jewry of all denominations, to the point of being referred to as “warmongers,” adds further urgency to the requirement to understand where we are, how we’ve come here and how we move forward from here.

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Switzerland says regrets envoy’s display of Netanyahu cartoon – Reuters

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ZURICH – Switzerland expressed regret on Friday after its ambassador to Iran displayed a cartoon depicting two doves defecating on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s head, at an event promoting Iranian business opportunities.

Ambassador Giulio Haas showed the image during a speech to hundreds of Swiss and Iranian business people at a Zurich hotel on Thursday.

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said the “questionable cartoon” was used without its knowledge. “The FDFA regrets the use of this cartoon and considers it tasteless,” it said in a statement.

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Israel: Munich or Helsinki – Stephen Krasner/Lawfare

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Israeli control over parts of the West Bank, as well as its influence over the movement of goods and people to and from the West Bank and Gaza, is an anomaly in the modern world. Official and unofficial opposition to Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians is growing, especially in Europe. But there is no indication that the status quo will change anytime soon.  Why not?
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An Open Letter to Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders – Ralph Nader/HuffPo

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Dear Senator Sanders,

You’ve come a long way without my advice, but now that you are running for president, you may be interested in these suggestions:

1- You’ve taken progressive positions on “decent paying job programs,” such as investing in repairing our country’s public works, raising the minimum wage, strengthening labor laws, opposing the good-job-exporting, corporate-managed trade treaties such as NAFTA and WTO, and creating a Youth Job Corps. Now you need to make major addresses in greater detail on each topic before large audiences. The media coverage of these events will be very helpful during primary season.

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Hollywood, Money and Jewish Stereotypes in Tinseltown – Rachel Shukert/Tablet Magazine

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Straight Outta Compton has ruled the box office for the past two weeks, having entrenched itself in a very of-the-moment sweet spot of 90’s nostalgia and a long overdue national conversation about racism and police brutality. It’s by far the buzziest and most critically-acclaimed hit of the summer, sure to inspire countless imitations in the months to come.
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Iran premieres big-budget epic film ‘Muhammad’ – AFP

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Tehran  – Iran’s most expensive movie, “Muhammad”, which chronicles the childhood of the Muslim prophet, opened nationwide, winning praise from early audiences.

Directed by Majid Majidi, the 171-minute, visually stunning film cost around $40 million (36 million euros), partly funded by the state, and took more than seven years to complete.

Majidi says the aim of his work, the first part of a trilogy, is to reclaim the rightful image of Islam, which he said extremists have distorted.

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Science and Islam – Jim Al-Khalili/BBC Documentary

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*TAXI’S NOTE:  I’m out for a chunk of the day, folks – in the meantime I’m leaving you this educational BBC documentary.

Science and Islam – Jim Al-Khalili/BBC Documentary

by NewsStand

*TAXI’S NOTE:  I’m out for a chunk of the day, folks – in the meantime I’m leaving you this educational BBC documentary.

How the CIA made Google – Nafeez Ahmed, GPD/Veterans Today

by NewsStand

google - CIA

PART ONE

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

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Francis Sejersted, 79, Dies; Steered Nobel Peace Prize Into Controversy – Bruce Webber/New York Times

by NewsStand

   Image:  Alfred Nobel medallion

Francis Sejersted, a Norwegian historian who as the chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee presided over several controversial awards, including those shared by the Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, died this week at his home in Oslo. He was 79.

The death was confirmed by his son Frederik, The Associated Press reported. News organizations differed on whether he died late Monday or early Tuesday.

The Nobel Prizes, first presented in 1901, were fathered by the Swedish chemist, engineer and inventor Alfred Nobel, whose 1895 will established annual awards for surpassing work in chemistry, physics, literature, and physiology or medicine, as well as “for the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

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In Memory of the Victims of Israel’s Assault on Gaza – Fairouz Sings ‘Zahrat al-Mada’in’, a song about Jerusalem with Engish subtitles

by NewsStand

An old classic that remains the most beloved song in the Arab world