Ilhan Omar Destroyed Taboo on AIPAC, Israel Criticism – The Intercept – Mehdi Hasan

February 13, 2019 by · 1 Comment 

IN 2005, STEVEN Rosen, then a senior official with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, sat down for dinner with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, then of the New Yorker. “You see this napkin?” Rosen asked Goldberg. “In twenty-four hours, [AIPAC] could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”

I couldn’t help but be reminded of this anecdote after Rep. Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, was slammed by Democrats and Republicans alike over her suggestion, in a pair of tweets, that U.S. politicians back the state of Israel because of financial pressure from AIPAC (“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she declaimed). Was the flippant way in which she phrased her tweets a problem? Did it offend a significant chunk of liberal U.S. Jewish opinion? Did it perhaps unwittingly play into anti-Semitic tropes about rich Jews controlling the world? Yes, yes, and yes — as she herself has since admitted and “unequivocally” apologized for. But was she wrong to note the power of the pro-Israel lobby, to point a finger at AIPAC, to highlight — in her apology — “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry”?

Source: Ilhan Omar Destroyed Taboo on AIPAC, Israel Criticism

Pro-Israel Lobby Caught on Tape Boasting That Its Money Influences Washington – Ryan Grim

February 12, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

A DEBATE ABOUT the power in Washington of the pro-Israel lobby is underway, after Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., responded sharply to reports that Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was targeting both Omar and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan.

Omar quoted rap lyrics — “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” — to suggest McCarthy’s move was driven by the lobby’s prolific spending. Asked specifically who she was referring to, Omar responded, “AIPAC!”

The debate over the influence of pro-Israel groups could be informed by an investigation by Al Jazeera, in which an undercover reporter infiltrated The Israel Project, a Washington-based group, and secretly recorded conversations about political strategy and influence over a six-month period in 2016. That investigation, however, was never aired by the network — suppressed by pressure from the pro-Israel lobby.

Source: Pro-Israel Lobby Caught on Tape Boasting That Its Money Influences Washington

U.S. Senate’s First Bill, in Midst of Shutdown, is a Bipartisan Defense of the Israeli Government from Boycotts

January 7, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2019 GOP-controlled Senate, the first bill to be considered – S.1 – is not designed to protect American workers, bolster U.S. companies, or address the various debates over border security and immigration. It’s not a bill to open the government. Instead, according to multiple sources involved in the legislative process, S.1 will be a compendium containing a handful of foreign-policy related measures, a main one of which is a provision, with Florida’s GOP Sen. Marco Rubio as a lead sponsor, to defend the Israeli government. The bill is a top legislative priority for AIPAC.

Source: U.S. Senate’s First Bill, in Midst of Shutdown, is a Bipartisan Defense of the Israeli Government from Boycotts

School Contractor in Texas Denied Work Over Pro-Israel Loyalty Oath – Glenn Greenwald

December 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

A CHILDREN’S SPEECH PATHOLOGIST who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told she can no longer work with the public school district after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed early Monday morning in a federal court in the Western District of Texas alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.

The child language specialist, Bahia Amawi, is a U.S. citizen who received a master’s degree in speech pathology in 1999 and, since then, has specialized in evaluations for young children with language difficulties (see video below). Amawi was born in Austria and has lived in the U.S. for the last 30 years, fluently speaks three languages (English, German, and Arabic), and has four U.S.-born American children of her own.

Source: School Contractor in Texas Denied Work Over Pro-Israel Loyalty Oath

Google CEO Questioned by Congress on China Censorship – Ryan Gallagher

December 13, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

GOOGLE CEO SUNDAR PICHAI came under fire from lawmakers on Tuesday over the company’s secretive plan to launch a censored search engine in China.

During a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee, Pichai faced sustained questions over the China plan, known as Dragonfly, which would blacklist broad categories of information about democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

The hearing began with an opening statement from Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who said launching a censored search engine in China would “strengthen China’s system of surveillance and repression.” McCarthy questioned whether it was the role of American companies to be “instruments of freedom or instruments of control.”

Source: Google CEO Questioned by Congress on China Censorship

Inside Google’s Effort to Develop a Censored Search Engine in China

August 9, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

GOOGLE ANALYZED SEARCH terms entered into a Beijing-based website to help develop blacklists for a censored search engine it has been planning to launch in China, according to confidential documents seen by The Intercept.

Engineers working on the censorship sampled search queries from 265.com, a Chinese-language web directory service owned by Google.

Unlike Google.com and other Google services, such as YouTube, 265.com is not blocked in China by the country’s so-called Great Firewall, which restricts access to websites deemed undesirable by the ruling Communist Party regime.

Source: Inside Google’s Effort to Develop a Censored Search Engine in China

Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next?

July 22, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

ECUADOR’S PRESIDENT Lenin Moreno traveled to London on Friday for the ostensible purpose of speaking at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit (Moreno has been confined to a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt). The concealed, actual purpose of the President’s trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities.

Moreno’s itinerary also notably includes a trip to Madrid, where he will meet with Spanish officials still seething over Assange’s denunciation of human rights abuses perpetrated by Spain’s central government against protesters marching for Catalonia independence. Almost three months ago, Ecuador blocked Assange from accessing the internet, and Assange has not been able to communicate with the outside world ever since. The primary factor in Ecuador’s decision to silence him was Spanish anger over Assange’s tweets about Catalonia.

Source: Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next?

Seymour Hersh’s New Memoir Is a Fascinating, Flabbergasting Masterpiece

June 3, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

AT THE BEGINNING of Seymour Hersh’s new memoir, “Reporter,” he tells a story from his first job in journalism, at the City News Bureau of Chicago.

City News stationed a reporter at Chicago’s police headquarters 24 hours a day to cover whatever incidents were radioed in. Hersh, then in his early 20s, was responsible for the late shift. One night, he writes, this happened:

Two cops called in to report that a robbery suspect had been shot trying to avoid arrest. The cops who had done the shooting were driving in to make a report. … I raced down to the basement parking lot in the hope of getting some firsthand quotes before calling in the story. The driver – white, beefy, and very Irish, like far too many Chicago cops then – obviously did not see me as he parked the car. As he climbed out, a fellow cop, who clearly had heard the same radio report I had, shouted something like, “So the guy tried to run on you?” The driver said, “Naw, I told the nigger to beat it and then I plugged him.”

Source: Seymour Hersh’s New Memoir Is a Fascinating, Flabbergasting Masterpiece

The Untold Story of Japan’s Secret Spy Agency

May 19, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Now, a new investigation by the Japanese broadcaster NHK — produced in collaboration with The Intercept — reveals for the first time details about the inner workings of Japan’s opaque spy community. Based on classified documents and interviews with current and former officials familiar with the agency’s intelligence work, the investigation shines light on a previously undisclosed internet surveillance program and a spy hub in the south of Japan that is used to monitor phone calls and emails passing across communications satellites.

Source: The Untold Story of Japan’s Secret Spy Agency

Why Did the U.S. and Its Allies Bomb Libya? Corruption Case Against Sarkozy Sheds New Light on Ousting of Gaddafi.

April 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

SEVEN YEARS AFTER the popular uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and the NATO intervention that removed him from power, Libya is extremely fractured and a source of regional instability. But while Congress has heavily scrutinized the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi a year after Gaddafi’s overthrow and death, there has been no U.S. investigation into the broader question of what led the U.S. and its allies to intervene so disastrously in Libya.

Source: Why Did the U.S. and Its Allies Bomb Libya? Corruption Case Against Sarkozy Sheds New Light on Ousting of Gaddafi.

How John Bolton Wants to Destroy the Constitution to Attack North Korea

April 4, 2018 by · 1 Comment 

In other words, Bolton is not arguing that North Korea is in fact about to attack us. Rather, he contends that it is legal for a country to attack another if the second country may soon possess the ability to attack the former with nuclear weapons. But this would obviously mean that it’s legitimate for Kim Jong Un to attack the nuclear-armed U.S., particularly after Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea at the United Nations in September. Indeed, by Bolton’s standard, it would also be okay for any country on earth to immediately nuke the U.S.

Source: How John Bolton Wants to Destroy the Constitution to Attack North Korea

The NSA Worked to “Track Down” Bitcoin Users, Snowden Documents Reveal

March 24, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Classified documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the National Security Agency indeed worked urgently to target bitcoin users around the world — and wielded at least one mysterious source of information to “help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoins,” according to a top-secret passage in an internal NSA report dating to March 2013. The data source appears to have leveraged the NSA’s ability to harvest and analyze raw, global internet traffic while also exploiting an unnamed software program that purported to offer anonymity to users, according to other documents.

Source: The NSA Worked to “Track Down” Bitcoin Users, Snowden Documents Reveal

U.S. Secretly Negotiated With Russians to Buy Stolen NSA Documents — and the Russians Offered Trump-Related Material, Too

February 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The NSA was desperate to recover documents that intelligence officials believed Russia had obtained through a mysterious group known as the Shadow Brokers. The group stole highly secret NSA hacking tools and began releasing them on the internet in the summer of 2016. The Shadow Brokers theft of the hacking tools devastated morale at the NSA, putting its custom-built offensive cyber weapons out in the open. It was as if a bioweapons laboratory had lost some of its most deadly and dangerous viruses. U.S. officials wanted to identify which NSA documents the Shadow Brokers had stolen, so they could determine how badly the agency had been damaged by the theft.

Source: U.S. Secretly Negotiated With Russians to Buy Stolen NSA Documents — and the Russians Offered Trump-Related Material, Too

Forget About Siri and Alexa — When It Comes to Voice Identification, the “NSA Reigns Supreme”

January 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

T THE HEIGHT of the Cold War, during the winter of 1980, FBI agents recorded a phone call in which a man arranged a secret meeting with the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C. On the day of his appointment, however, agents were unable to catch sight of the man entering the embassy. At the time, they had no way to put a name to the caller from just the sound of his voice, so the spy remained anonymous. Over the next five years, he sold details about several secret U.S. programs to the USSR.

Source: Forget About Siri and Alexa — When It Comes to Voice Identification, the “NSA Reigns Supreme”


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