Daily Archives: January 6, 2012


By Michael Collins Piper American Free Press May 9, 2011

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is an appealing candidate to many conservatives, but he has does have a dark side. Although he fervently declared in 2006 that “the American people have always rallied to the cause of freedom,” just a few years earlier Santorum planned a war against a traditional American liberty — freedom of speech.

In 2003, Santorum planned to introduce “ideological diversity” legislation that would cut federal funding for American universities found to be permitting professors, students and student organizations to openly criticize Israel. Santorum considered criticism of Israel to be “anti-Semitism.”

Santorum wanted to rewrite the federal funding formula under Title IX of the Higher Education Act to include “ideological diversity” as a prerequisite for federal funding. Joining Santorum was another pro-Israel ideologue, then-Sen. Sam Brownback (RKan.), who had his own scheme to institute a federal commission — critics called it a “tribunal” — to be established under Title IX to “investigate” anti-Semitism on American campuses.

Although the average student or academic had not heard of the scheme, Wayne Firestone, director of the Center for Israel Affairs for the Hillel Foundation, said that “Everywhere I go, this is the lead topic. This is drawing a lot of interest.”

It was Hillel — a national network of pro-Israel student- manned “campus police” — that first leaked word of Santorum’s scheme. Further details appeared on April 15, 2003 in The New York Sun, a pro-Israel daily published by a clique of billionaire financiers.

Hillel told supporters that Santorum and several GOP senators — including Brownback (now governor of Kansas) — had invited representatives of a number of Jewish organizations to attend a private meeting on Capitol Hill to discuss concerns about growing criticism of Israel on campuses.

At the meeting were the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith, the Zionist Organization of America, the American Jewish Committee and Hillel.

In the meantime, word of the Santorum initiative was spreading as a result of an exposé by AMERICAN FREE PRESS (AFP). Widely circulated on the Internet, the AFP report arrived in the emails of educators across the United States and around the globe. As a consequence of growing concern about the scheme, the pro-Israel lobby began denying Santorum had proposed such legislation, claiming the AFP story was a lie.

Ultimately, the New York-based Jewish Week reported on May 9, 2003 that the State Department had contacted senators to advise them that Palestinian newspapers were carrying the story about Santorum and asking if the story was true.

Jewish Week’s story — titled “Diversity Disinformation”— declared a “rumor of pending legislation barring campus criticism of Israel [was] sweeping Arab and left-wing media.” The article asserted that “the story originated with . . . conspiracy theorists and Holocaust revisionists.” Obviously, this was a lie, since AFP’s report was based on a story in a pro-Israel newspaper.

Despite this, Jewish Week said the story “has become an article of faith throughout the Arab world and in some U.S. left-wing circles,” and asserted that “to pro-Israel leaders and leading members of the Senate, it’s a dangerous urban legend at best, deliberate disinformation at worst.”

The article in the pro-Israel Sun stated flatly, in discussing the Capitol Hill meeting where the scheme originated:

By the end of the meeting yesterday, Mr. Santorum was talking about introducing legislation that could cut federal funding to colleges where anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments are prevalent — or more generally, where “ideological diversity” is lacking.

Yet, now that the story had been unveiled, Jewish Week contradicted the Sun and claimed that “No such legislation has been introduced or even contemplated.”

According to an un-named source, cited by Jewish Week, the Capitol Hill meeting featured “many presentations from different groups,” failing to mention that the “different” groups were all pro-Israel organizations.

The “new” version of events, as outlined by Jewish Week, never mentioned that Santorum’s colleague, Brownback, had urged formation of a federal commission to “investigate” so-called anti-Semitism on campus.

So, if the story was an “urban legend,” why did a pro- Israel newspaper publish the story in the first place?

As a candidate for president, Santorum should be forced to address the controversy surrounding this matter.


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BEIRUT: With Mitt Romney’s bid to become the Republican candidate for the  U.S. presidential election gaining ground with his win in the Iowa caucus, many  around the world are wondering what his foreign policy would have in store  should he reach the White House.

When it comes to the Middle East, alarms have been raised in some corners  over his decision to appoint as his top adviser on the region Walid Phares, a  leading figure in right-wing Christian militias during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 Civil  War and a former adviser to Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.

Critics have also  focused on Phares’ subsequent roles in the United States, where he has served as  a “terrorism expert” for Fox News and the Christian Broadcasting Network. During  these shows, he has warned that jihadists are the enemy, and that the U.S. must  act preemptively to defeat them.

“An adviser on the Middle East should be more sensitive and neutral. Walid  Phares is very extreme. He leans toward being an Islamo-phobe,” Warren David,  president of the Arab-American civil rights group, the Anti-Discrimination  Committee told The Daily Star. “I would think that most Lebanese Christians  don’t agree with his viewpoints.”

David, who himself is a Lebanese-American Christian, adds, “Fortunately, he’s  in the minority. But when you see it from one of your own it’s  discouraging.”

Joseph Nehme, a spokesperson for the Lebanese Forces told The Daily Star that  he remembers Phares from his days in Lebanon, describing him as “a nice person,” but declined to comment any further.

Phares has reportedly declared that Lebanese Christians were ethnically  distinct from Arabs, and during the Civil War he “lectured militiamen, telling  them they were part of a civilizational holy war,” according to an October  investigative report by the U.S. magazine Mother Jones.

Since his arrival in the U.S. in 1990, he has reportedly been featured as a  Middle East expert by the David Project, Israel’s college campus coalition; and  the Israeli-linked groups Jihad Watch and Middle East Forum; he is also an  associate with Israel’s Ariel Center for Policy Research and a senior fellow at  the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an organization established after  9/11, which advocates U.S. military intervention in Muslim-majority  countries.

“Anyone comfortable with those associations should not be advising the  president,” says Corey Saylor, National Legislative Director at the Council on  American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who has been researching Phares’ background  for about a year, ever since his appointment last February as a witness at  hearings by the House Committee on Homeland Security entitled “The Extent of  Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community’s  Response.”

In a letter last February to Peter King, the Republican U.S. House  Representative who led the hearings, CAIR stated that “Mr. Phares’s prior  position in, and association with, organizations and militia groups known for  carrying out massacres and systematic torture raise reasonable concerns  regarding his relevance to any sober and objective hearing.”

The U.S. Muslim civil rights group is referring to his position during the  Lebanese Civil War in the Lebanese Forces, the Christian militia which was  implicated by Israel’s official Kahan inquiry in the 1982 massacre of civilians  at the Sabra and Shatila in Beirut.

And according to CAIR’s research, in 1999 the World Lebanese Organization,  founded by Phares, included among its “leading members” both “Col. Sharbel  Baraket, former deputy commander of the [South Lebanese Army], and Etienne Sakr,  head of the radical Guardians of the Cedars group.”

The Guardians of the Cedars’ mission statement includes restoring Lebanon’s  alphabet “to its Phoenician origins after liberating it from the defacement that  was caused by the Arabic language” and “cutting down the number of foreigners in  Lebanon…” The South Lebanese Army were allied with Israel during the 1975-1990  Civil War.

Saylor believes that Romney’s selection of Phares shows the Republican  candidate’s growing conservative leaning, possibly in an attempt to court  evangelical Christian voters. He noted that when he was running in the 2008  election Romney said that he would be open to appointing a Muslim to his cabinet  if elected president, the New York Times reported in November 2007.

“Romney, overall, has been better [than the other candidates],” Saylor says. “This is a troubling direction.”

In fact, Romney’s main competitors’ inflammatory comments about the Middle  East have caused even bigger stirs.

In early December, Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich called Palestinians “an  invented people.”

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman  Empire,” the former Georgia congressman said.

“I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact  Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a  chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have  sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it’s tragic,” he  said.

Then, less than a month later, his competitor Rick Santorum went a step  further by saying, “There are no Palestinians… All the people who live in the  West Bank are Israelis. There are no Palestinians. This is Israeli land.”

The former Pennsylvania senator added that “The West Bank is part of Israel,” which won it as “part of an aggressive attack by Jordan and others” in 1967.  Israel doesn’t have to give it back any more than the United States has to give  New Mexico and Texas to Mexico, which were gained “through a war,” he said. This  remark was criticized by media in Israel, where the current government has  accepted the principle of a two-state solution.

Saylor believes that the relatively extreme views being put forth might be a  case of politicians playing to their bases to win the primary before the general  election, noting that in the past some candidates have said they would move the  U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a promise never fulfilled when they  reach power.

“Once the process plays out, then we’ll see the real rhetoric,” he says.

Still, the thought Phares having a key advisory position, even at this  stage, doesn’t sit well with some.

Jim Abourezk, a former Democratic senator from South Dakota, whose family  hails from south Lebanon, told The Daily Star that although he believes Romney  is unlikely to reach the presidency, “A right-wing Lebanese would be a disaster  for Romney and a disaster for the country.”


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Thousands of US troops deploying to Israel


Reuters / Nir Elias

Reuters / Nir Elias

Without much media attention, thousands of American troops are being deployed to Israel, and Iranian officials believe that this is the latest and most blatant warning that the US will soon be attacking Tehran.

Tensions between nations have been high in recent months and have only worsened in the weeks since early December when Iran hijacked and recovered an American drone aircraft. Many have speculated that a back-and-forth between the two countries will soon escalate Iran and the US into an all-out war, and that event might occur sooner than thought.

Under the Austere Challenge 12 drill scheduled for an undisclosed time during the next few weeks, the Israeli military will together with America host the largest-ever joint missile drill by the two countries. Following the installation of American troops near Iran’s neighboring Strait of Hormuz and the reinforcing of nearby nations with US weapons, Tehran authorities are considering this not a test but the start of something much bigger.

In the testing, America’s Theater High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile system will be operating alongside its ship-based Aegis system and Israel’s own program to work with Arrow, Patriot and Iron Drone missiles.

Israeli military officials say that the testing was planned before recent episodes involving the US and Iran. Of concern, however, is how the drill will require the deployment of thousands of American troops into Israel. The Jerusalem Post quotes US Commander Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc as saying the drill is not just an “exercise” but also a “deployment” that will involve “several thousand American soldiers” heading to Israel. Additionally, new command posts will be established by American forces in Israel and that country’s own IDF army will begin working from a base in Germany.

In September, the US European Command established a radar system in Israel.

With America previously equipping Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with weaponry to wreck any chance of an Iranian nuclear weapon program from close by, the US will now have added forces on the ready in Israel and Germany under what Tehran fears is a guise being merely perpetrated as a test-run. RT reported last week that the US is equipping Saudi Arabia with nearly $30 billion F-15 war planes, a deal that comes shortly after Washington worked out a contract with Dubai to give the UAE advanced “bunker buster” bombs that could decimate underground nuclear operations in neighboring Iran.

Since the US surveillance mission over Iran that left overseas intelligence with a captured American drone aircraft, tensions have only escalated between the two nations. After Iran threatened to close down the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial path for the nation’s oil trade, the US dispatched 15,000 marines into the area.



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