Zio-Watch News Round-up

Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup, December 16, 2014


From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Jeb Bush uses Hanukkah and Christmas greeting to announce presidential bid

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jeb Bush announced his intention to “actively” explore the presidency in a Christmas and Hanukkah greeting message.

“Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!” the former Florida governor Bush said in a Facebook message posted Tuesday.

He described conversations he had with his family over Thanksgiving.

“As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States,” he said.
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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Joe Biden Lights Menorah With Praise for Jews

Veep Lauds Jewish Push for Religious Freedom in America

Jewish notions of religious freedom so informed the American ethos that it is “is fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage,” Vice President Joe Biden said at a menorah lighting in front of the White House.

Biden, attending the event Tuesday organized by American Friends of Lubavitch, cited the work of Emma Lazarus, the Jewish poet whose words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, and George Washington’s letter to the Newport, R.I., Jewish community, which quoted from the Book of Micah in promising Jews religious freedoms.

“The central Jewish notion of religious freedom, of safety in your land, of being treated with dignity in your own community, not only led to the creation of modern Israel but it also formed the bedrock of the United States of America,” Biden said. “Jewish values are such an essential part of who we are that it is fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage.”

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 From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Chabad of California fined for misappropriating federal funds

(JTA) — Chabad-Lubavitch of California must pay nearly $850,000 in damages for misappropriating federal grant money, a U.S. court ruled.

Chabad failed to pay for the installation of state-of-the-art video surveillance equipment at several of its buildings from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant of $272,495, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. Instead, Chabad used the money for operating expenses such as employee payroll, building repairs and utility bills.

The damages assessed by U.S. District Judge Morrison England in a summary judgment filed on Dec. 9 represent a tripling of the grant amount plus penalties.

Whistleblowers Aria and Donna Kozak, whose company installed the surveillance equipment, will receive a portion of the damages, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Kozaks sued Chabad in 2010; the U.S. government later joined the suit.
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From PressTV

Israeli forces kill Palestinian in occupied West Bank

The file photo shows Israeli forces firing tear gas canisters at Palestinians.

Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian man during a military operation near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Mahmoud Abdallah, 21, was shot in the head early Tuesday when Israeli soldiers clashed with the residents of the Qalandiya refugee camp .

Another Palestinian was injured in the Israeli raid and then arrested for questioning.

The latest Palestinian fatality at the hands of Israeli forces comes right on the heels of a report by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that said Tel Aviv is pressing ahead with its systematic attacks against Palestinians.
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From The Independent

CIA torture report: These depravities are not going to infuriate the Muslim world – they’ve been enraged about them for years

It’s the Western response that the torturers really fear, which is why the CIA has been so intent on misleading us


Wednesday 10 December 2014

Up to the end, they wanted to keep it secret.
And the vicious psychopaths and sadists that ran the CIA’s torture centres “on our behalf” must be protected, even praised by the Bushies for keeping our civilisation safe. Their lies – to us as well as their victims – were all in the cause of freedom, so let’s have no more talk of Muslims standing on broken feet, bubbling through the mouth after 82 rounds of waterboarding or being fed hummus through the rectum.

And the Republicans and Bushies, sniffing how badly they come out of all this – of course the release of these vile tortures is “ideologically motivated”, just as they claim – now respond with an excuse that almost parallels the weapons-of-mass-destruction-al-Qaeda-links-to-Saddam-Niger-tubes tosh we were fed before we embarked on our slaughter in Iraq 11 years ago. In fact, it’s the same old rubbish they churned out before the obscene Abu Ghraib photos were published. “It will significantly endanger Americans around the world,” the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told us.

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From The Independent

CIA torture report: 11 ways in which the CIA was worse than it ever admitted

A 500-page report has revealed the shocking techniques used against terror suspects by the CIA


Now we know how bad things were, and how out of control the CIA was as it leapt into action in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The CIA’s “brutal” programme of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, which the CIA still refuses to acknowledge as torture, was far harsher than the agency previously admitted or politicians and officials were told.

Moreover, the programme was much less effective than the CIA claimed. While the agency said its interrogation techniques had repeatedly “saved lives”, congressional investigators found no evidence of any specific incidents. Often, detainees subjected to the techniques provided false and misleading information.

Below are 11 ways in which the CIA’s techniques were worse than the body ever admitted.

1) The use of enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence

The report says other detainees who were not subjected to the techniques or else were questioned before they were subjected to them “provided significant accurate intelligence”. It also says multiple CIA detainees that did undergo the techniques fabricated information, which resulting in faulty intelligence.

2) The CIA wrongly claimed “enhanced interrogation” had “saved lives”

The document says the CIA reported to the highest levels of the US government, including the White House, that the interrogation techniques had thwarted specific terror plots, and yet there was no evidence they had done so.

3) The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers

The report says enhanced interrogation techniques went on for days, and even weeks. People were kept awake for 180 hours; other prisoners were waterboarded in episodes that became “series of near drownings”. At least seven prisoners were force-fed through the rectum. Prisoners were threatened with sexual abuse and were told their families would be harmed.

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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Joint U.S.-Israel missile defense system fails interception test

(JTA) — Israel’s Arrow 3 interceptor missile defense system failed its first live interception test.

A senior Israeli Defense Ministry official told The Associated Press that an exercise to test the advanced system developed with the United States was unsuccessful on Tuesday.

In the exercise, the interceptor missile was not deployed to stop a dummy missile launched over the Mediterranean Sea.

“There was a countdown to the launch and then nothing happened,” an anonymous source told Reuters. “A decision was made not to waste the interceptor missile.”
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From PressTV

US position on Palestine eroding: Expert

A man hangs a Palestinian flag in the University of Dakar on December 4, 2014.

A man hangs a Palestinian flag in the University of Dakar on December 4, 2014.

An American political commentator says Washington’s position on Palestine is “eroding”, citing a European push to recognize an independent Palestinian state.

Speaking to Press TV, Eugene Michael Jones, who is a writer, former professor, media commentator and the current editor of Culture Wars magazine, said, “The European countries are stepping forward and saying that they’re going to recognize Palestine as an independent state. And this means that the United States position is eroding.”

Earlier in the month, French lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of a motion to recognize Palestine as an independent state. On November 18, Spanish lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution on recognizing a Palestinian state.

Britain and Ireland also passed similar non-binding motions. On October 30, Sweden went a step further and officially recognized the state of Palestine, drawing stringent criticism from Israel and the United States.

The Palestinians are, meanwhile, seeking a UN vote to set a two-year deadline for Israeli troops to withdraw from the occupied West Bank. The draft is to be handed to the UN Security Council on Wednesday.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Greek Jews slam right-wing politician for saying Jews don’t pay taxes

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — A prominent Greek Jewish communal organization condemned a right-wing politician for saying that Jews don’t pay taxes.

Panos Kammenos, leader of the small Independent Greeks Party, made the comment Monday during an interview on the Antenna television channel.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued a statement in response, saying it “categorically refutes” Kammenos’ comments.

“It is a disgrace that a leader of a party in Parliament does not know that Greek Jews are equal citizens and subject to the all the rights and obligations of every citizen,” the statement said, noting that Jewish institutions were governed by the same tax obligations as the Church.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Settler population jumps, growth rate slows during Netanyahu’s term

(JTA) — The population of Jewish settlers in the West Bank has increased at more than twice the pace of Israel’s overall population during Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest term as prime minister.

From 2009, when Netanyahu launched his second term, to 2014, the Jewish settler population in the West Bank grew 23 percent, to 355,993 residents, while the overall population increased 9.6 percent, according to figures from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics obtained by The Associated Press and reported Monday.

Under Netanyahu, however, the settler growth rate was slower than the 31 percent increase witnessed in the previous five years under his predecessors, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.

The growth in the settlement population was attributed to the higher birthrates of the settlers, who tend to be more religious. Other Israelis are also drawn to settlement housing for economic reasons.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

From the Archive: Jews immigrating to Spain

The history of Jews in Spain is long and complex, fraught with periods of persecution. However, thanks to a more welcoming government and an influx of Argentine Jews, Jewish communities are growing once again in Spain.

In February, the Spanish government offered up a bill that, if passed, could grant Spanish citizenship to all Sephardic Jews able to prove their lineage. This is not the first time Spain has offered to aid Sephardic Jews and grant them Spanish citizenship.

In the early 1930s, after the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic, Spain attempted to grow its Jewish population, which had been very small since the Inquisition and Expulsion of the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1931, Indalecio Prieto, the minister of finance, explained why:

The Sephardim have been termed Spaniards without a country. Many of the Jews who live today in Ceuta and Melilla are naturalised Spanish subjects, but there are many more who are anxious to acquire Spanish nationality…
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