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The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion a year to $3.8bn – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.

Mr Netanyahu has presented this as a rebuff to those who accuse him of jeopardising Israeli security interests with his government’s repeated affronts to the White House.

In the past weeks alone, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared last year’s nuclear deal between Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Mr Netanyahu has implied that US opposition to settlement expansion is the same as support for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.

American president Barack Obama, meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own critics who insinuate that he is anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s candidate to succeed Mr Obama in November’s election.

In reality, however, the Obama administration has quietly punished Mr Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal were whittled down after Mr Netanyahu stalled negotiations last year as he sought to recruit Congress to his battle against the Iran deal.

In fact, Israel already receives roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s assistance on developing missile defence programmes is factored in. Notably, Israel has been forced to promise not to approach Congress for extra funds.

The deal takes into account neither inflation nor the dollar’s depreciation against the shekel.

A bigger blow still is the White House’s demand to phase out a special exemption that allowed Israel to spend nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will soon have to buy all its armaments from the US, ending what amounted to a subsidy to its own arms industry.

Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed military largesse – in the face of almost continual insults – inevitably fuels claims that the Israeli tail is wagging the US dog. Even The New York Times has described the aid package as “too big”.

Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.

But the US expects a return on its massive investment. As the late Israeli politician-general Ariel Sharon once observed, ­Israel has been a US “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East, acting as the regional bully and carrying out operations that benefit Washington.

Almost no one blames the US for Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria would have deterred later US-backed moves at regime overthrow, as well as countering the strategic advantage Israel derives from its own nuclear arsenal.

In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored military prowess is a triple boon to the US weapons industry, the country’s most powerful lobby. Public funds are siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies from American arms makers. That, in turn, serves as a shop window for other customers and spurs an endless and lucrative game of catch-up in the rest of the Middle East.

The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive in Israel in December – their various components produced in 46 US states – will increase the clamour for the cutting-edge warplane.

Israel is also a “front-line laboratory”, as former Israeli army negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the weekend, that develops and field-tests new technology Washington can later use itself.

The US is planning to buy back the missile interception system Iron Dome – which neutralises battlefield threats of retaliation – it largely paid for. Israel works closely too with the US in developing cyber­warfare, such as the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.

But the clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Mr Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash over Palestinian statehood.

Some believe that Mr Obama signed the aid package to win the credibility necessary to overcome his domestic Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly before he leaves office, that corners Mr Netanyahu into making peace.

Hopes have been raised by an expected meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. But their first talks in 10 months are planned only to demonstrate unity to confound critics of the aid deal.

If Mr Obama really wanted to pressure Mr Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Mr Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.

Mr Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act against the Palestinians with continuing US impunity.

- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-09-19/palestinians-lose-in-us-military-aid-deal-with-israel/#sthash.fL4Eq28N.dpuf

Truth Is The Enemy Of The State

By Bob Livingston

November 10, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Personal Liberty" -  There is a saw that comes from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” that “the truth will out.” But not if government has its way.

That’s because truth is the enemy of the state. The state, meaning the apparatus of government, is “the system” that controls the American people.

Most people believe they control the political system through elections. Little do they know that the government and the corporate state own and control the state and the people. In other words, the system is rigged, as Donald Trump says. The system must keep this information invisible and it does so through constant conditioning of the public mind.

Now consider what has happened and is happening to Julian Assange. Consider Edward Snowden.

Assange created WikiLeaks in 2006, exposing, among other things, malfeasance in the conduct of Bush the Lesser’s “War on Terror.” Progressive Democrats loved Assange then.

But by 2010, with George W. Bush out of power and Barack Obama continuing old wars and starting new ones, the truths that were being outed by WikiLeaks were hitting too close to home. WikiLeaks got its hands on a treasure trove of State Department and Pentagon emails and documents being dispatched across the globe.

I wrote at the time in “A war on the truth,” that what WikiLeaks was revealing was:

…the result of a secretive, unaccountable and over-powerful government; a perfidious empire that seeks to rule the world by guile, cunning or force, if necessary. And the response by the United States government and by authorities in some of the U.S.’s puppet states — like Great Britain, which arrested Assange, and Sweden, which brought spurious charges of rape against him — demonstrate the length the ruling elites will go to suppress the truth.

Truth is the enemy of a totalitarian regime. Fooling, lying, spying: That is the way of the totalitarian regime. Fooling, lying to and spying on friends and enemies, and even worse, its own citizens.

Just before I wrote that, we now know, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was contemplating various ways to shut WikiLeaks down. During a November meeting, sources say, Clinton suddenly blurted out, “Can’t we just drone this guy?”

According to sources present at the meeting:

The statement drew laughter from the room which quickly died off when the Secretary kept talking in a terse manner, sources said. Clinton said Assange, after all, was a relatively soft target, “walking around” freely and thumbing his nose without any fear of reprisals from the United States. Clinton was upset about Assange’s previous 2010 records releases, divulging secret U.S. documents about the war in Afghanistan in July and the war in Iraq just a month earlier in October, sources said. At that time in 2010, Assange was relatively free and not living cloistered in in the embassy of Ecuador in London. Prior to 2010, Assange focused Wikileaks’ efforts on countries outside the United States but now under Clinton and Obama, Assange was hammering America with an unparalleled third sweeping Wikileaks document dump in five months. Clinton was fuming, sources said, as each State Department cable dispatched during the Obama administration was signed by her.

Clinton and other top administration officials knew the compromising materials warehoused in the CableGate stash would provide critics and foreign enemies with a treasure trove of counterintelligence. Bureaucratic fears about the CableGate release ultimately proved to be well founded by Clinton, her inner circle and her boss in the White House.

Efforts to shut down WikiLeaks included an American intelligence-initiated operation to entrap Assange in a phony rape charge. The U.S. government also pressured PayPal, VISA and MasterCard to shut down donations to WikiLeaks. The Swedish bank handling Assange’s legal defense fund was pressured by the U.S. government to freeze the account. The firm hosting WikiLeaks’ website was pressured to shut the site the down.

Now WikiLeaks is revealing widespread corruption, vote rigging, media manipulation and other damning evidence against the Democrat Party, Hillary Clinton and her minions. WikiLeaks and Assange are prying the lid off the propaganda machine and exposing the corrupt system.

In response, U.S. intelligence (an oxymoron) initiated another effort to entrap Assange in a sex-related scandal; this time by connecting him with a phony “dating site” and alleging he solicited sex with an 8-year-old girl.

John Kerry’s State Department pressured Ecuador to cut off Assange’s internet connection. There is a new move afoot to figure a way to pry him out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and turn him over to U.S. authorities, where he will no doubt disappear into the bowels of indefinite detention.

Only the power of propaganda keeps the people from overthrowing the U.S. government by force. So truth is the enemy of the state and the state will do everything it can to suppress it.

That’s not surprising. What is surprising is the vast number of people on both “sides” of the political spectrum outside of government who see truth seekers and truth disseminators like Assange, Snowden and Bradley Manning as enemies rather than friends of liberty.

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