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Within days of each other last summer, Benjamin Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton announced to the world that they both had decided that they effectively oppose a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.  Those statements weren't put together at the time.

Last August, HRC used exactly the same words as Netanyahu to justify his no two-state stand.  She went on to say that Bibi is in "good conscience" for refusal to allow the Palestinians to control security on the West Bank.


“There cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the Jordan River.”

- Benjamin Netanyahu, Press Conference, July 11, 2014,

HRC: “If I were the prime minister of Israel, you’re damn right I would expect to have control over security,” Clinton said of the West Bank, citing the need to “protect Israel from the influx of Hamas or cross-border attacks from anywhere else.” - Interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, Aug 10 2014,

Full excerpt from The Atlantic interview, below:

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Proposed UN Sanctions Do Not Go To Most ISIS Funding from Wealthy Donors

There is broad agreement that "substantial" funds are still reaching ISIS from wealthy elites in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states. As the Pentagon announced yesterday, oil exports now do not account for most of ISIS finances. ISIS is instead depending on donations, “a lot of donations,” according to Rear Admiral John Kirby, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Further sanctions do not threaten the primary source of finance for the so-called Islamic State (IS), reported to be in excess of $2 billion last year. On Thursday, a UN measure was proposed by Russia that would sanction the trade in oil and stolen antiquities that partially funds ISIS. However, according to the NYT, the new measure does not add to the existing list of individuals named for sanctions.

This spares the US and NATO the difficult task of having to immediately punish most of the same Sunni states with which it has been previously cooperating in prosecuting the war in Syria. The measure discussed on Friday would, however, specifically sanction parties engaged in smuggling oil from ISIS controlled areas, paying ransom, and the sale of stolen antiquities, the latter valued at $35 million last year.

Nobody seems to want to put a finger on exactly how much cash is still flowing to ISIS from wealthy patrons, and who exactly they are. But, everyone agrees that support from the Saudis and Gulf elites continues to be substantial.  See,

Most of ISIS funding had been from the Saudis and Gulf states, and neither US air bombardment inside Syria nor proposed UN sanctions in all likelihood will change that.

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In other words, the Tea Party got EXACTLY what they wanted from the SELECTIVE shutdown of the federal government. What did the Democrats gain from this?

The federal government just got shrunk in a bathtub without anyone in the Democratic ledger having to go on record to vote directly for it, and the military is exempted from having its trousers taken in. Jitters about the Debt Ceiling aside, Wall Street is exultant about the Sequester and partial shutdown. The NASDAQ was up 7 or 8 percent in September, and the Dow has risen nearly 15% since the Sequester started.

The GOP got exactly what they wanted, and if his past statements are any indication, Obama IS willing to give them more than half of what they want, at least in Social Security program cuts.

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As hundreds of thousands of federal workers faced their second day of unpaid furloughs, investors and Republican lawmakers were in a jubilant, upbeat mood. Six months into the Sequester, stock markets are at new highs, the NASDAQ is up six percent during September.

If one sees the world in terms of who gains and who loses, the seeming GOP hysterics over Obamacare that forced a partial federal shutdown make complete sense. Viewed in financial terms, the political crisis over Obamacare is actually just a rational pretext to cut several weeks off federal payrolls with a like reduction in budget outlays. The ones who bear the brunt are individual workers, not big companies with ongoing, multi-year federal contracts.

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The transcript of the President's press conference at the G20 Summit was just released.  It's unfortunately a very long transcript and he went on at length about the situation in Syria and the Administration's plans for dealing with it.  However, there appears to be a very, very important acknowledgement by Obama buried in the tail end of his statements.

Toward the end of his remarks, Obama observed the following about the alleged use of Sarin gas by the Assad regime.  President Obama appears to be acknowledging the possibility, if not probability, that the August 21 chemical attack and previous uses were carried out by military units without the authorization of Assad, the Syrian Minister of Defense, and other high civilian officials:

So, this is not as if we haven’t tested the proposition that the guy — or at least generals under his charge — can show restraint when it comes to this stuff.
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Might as well call it the McCain Syria War Bill.

The vote came after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised objections to an earlier draft. The objections forced lawmakers to renegotiate the measure; McCain ultimately won tougher language clarifying that U.S. action would be aimed in part at changing the momentum on the ground. He was among the 10 who voted for the final resolution.

The resolution specifically would permit Obama to order a limited military mission against Syria, as long as it doesn't exceed 90 days and involves no American troops on the ground for combat operations. The Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker, crafted the resolution.

And, it gets even worse than that.  The Senate panel has just committed us to regime change in Syria.  - MORE -
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Photos of devices allegedly used to carry Sarin gas show they appear to be homemade and are clearly incapable of accurately reaching targets 5-10 miles away. That is crucially important because the State Department report asserts that the gas barrage was launched from gov't controlled territory. But the map (below) that accompanied that report shows that several of the targets were miles away from the area in pink shown to be under the control of government forces.

These rockets have only the crudest stabilizers, no guidance systems, and would be highly inaccurate at any significant distance, which is why they are unlikely to have been the weapon used in the attack of 8/21, if the US target map is accurate along with the statement that they were launched from government-held territory.

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This afternoon, nine days after the event, the U.S. Government has issued its first official account of events in the northern Damascus suburbs. The State Department released a report, U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013, that alleges the following:
The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack. These all-source assessments are based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting.Our classified assessments have been shared with the U.S. Congress and key international partners. To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all available intelligence . . .
The State Dept Report is missing something essential -- any specific evidence of command authorization for the attack. That is essential to a finding of governmental culpability that must be present if the US or anyone else is going to launch a punative military action against Syria.

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On August 17, DEBKAfile, an Israeli defense blog reported that Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was in Jordan inspecting command and control facilities from which the source reported, the U.S. would lead an attack coordinated with Jordan and Israel on Syria.

That story has been little reported, except to feed follow-on rumors that the Syrian Army (we're now told by DEBKA is under the personal command of the one-legged, one-armed brother of Bashar Assad) had personally commanded Syrian troops firing off Sarin rounds from a mountaintop north of Damascus in an effort to target these same FSA and Jordanian Special Forces troops that a few days earlier were crossing the border into Southern Syria.

The DEBKAfile report was originally published a week ago, three days before the incident in Ghorta north of Damascus. (Note that Gen. Dempsey's letter of August 19 to a NY Congressman on Tuesday was strongly skeptical of the utility of an actual U.S. military role in Syria.

Here's the DEBKAfile report of August 17:

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Two days before President Obama's revealing interview with Charley Rose, the Washington Post published an overlooked article about the many programs run by NSA. Deep in the story was this revelation about a slew of surveillance operations:

"One Of Them Intercepts Telephone Calls And Routes The Spoken Words To A System Called ­NUCLEON."
That would seem to directly contradict the President's comforting assurance Sunday night that NSA doesn't listen to Americans' phones calls because, he claims, it doesn't have the voice content:
"At no point is any content revealed because there's no content," Obama explained.
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NSA Surveillance of 9/11 Plot Was Known to FBI

Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller made a startling claim yesterday to a Congressional Committee overseeing the NSA inquiry. The Director described how Khalid al-Midhar, one of the 9-11 hijackers, had called a Yemeni safe house from a phone in San Diego shortly before the attack. Mueller claims had today's surveillance system been in place, NSA surveillance of that call would have led to sharing of intelligence with the FBI and "derailed" the 9/11 attack.

That isn't the complete truth, however. Court records from the trial of convicted co-conspiractor Zakaria Moussaoui shows the FBI was aware of NSA intercepts of Midhar and and his partner Nawaf al-Hazmi in the months leading up to 9/11, who went on to hijack Flt. 77 that slammed into the Pentagon. The pair had also met with the other principal 9/11 hijackers at various locations inside the US. Based in part on NSA wiretaps that were later withheld and suppressed, FBI agents had, in fact, located the pair inside the US in mid-2001, but the investigating agents were ordered to close the file after CIA refused to cooperate and pressured the Bureau to shut down several lines of field investigation that were focusing on the plotters.

Mueller's claims omit those key facts. The Director instead stated that Khalid al-Mihdhar was being monitored by intelligence agencies, but “they lost track of him,” Mueller said.

FBI Director Mueller doesn't explain why. He instead told Congress that intelligence officials did not know that it was Midhar who called a Yemen safehouse to discuss progress of the plot. The NSA monitoring program could have changed that, Mueller argued, potentially leading to the "derailing" of the plot. In fact, the FBI field investigators had already tried to get CIA to reveal the NSA surveillance records they knew already existed, but that line of investigation was shut down by headquarters. Mueller's statement is completely misleading in view of the actual events and decisions taken by ranking intelligence officials to sidetrack ongoing FBI investigations into the al-Qaeda operation during 2001:

“If we had the telephone number from Yemen, we would have matched it up to that telephone number in San Diego, got further legal process, identified al-Mihdhar,” he said. “The 9/11 Commission itself indicated that investigations or interrogations of al-Mihdhar once he was identified could have yielded evidence of connections to other participants in the 9/11 plot.”
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In a post on The Guardian's website, Glenn Greenwald seems to suggest that another major revelation about mass telephone surveillance might be imminent.

"I'm Looking Forward to future revelations that are coming (and coming shortly), not Looking Backward to ones that have already come," Greenwald wrote.

Proof of Universal Profiling of phone users in America is likely among those "future revelations."

In 2008, Congress legalized much of the Bush-era NSA Program with passage of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). The FAA alludes to some safeguards for data acquired by "drift net" surveillance that was legalized. The personal data safeguards that have been put back in place are likely those described in Jane Mayer's bio of NSA whistleblower Bill Binney, who developed the "Thin Thread" surveillance program.

However, Binney also revealed something else to Mayer - the existence of computerized profiling software at the heart of Thin Thread.

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