Tag Archives: Juan Cole

Jimmy Carter Calls on Barack Obama to Recognize Palestine

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment, Nov 29, 2016

Jimmy Carter wrote a NYT op-ed yesterday in which he called on Barack Obama to arrange for the UN Security Council to recognize Palestine and pass resolutions reaffirming the illegality of Israeli squatting on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Carter points out that there are 600,000 such Israeli squatters on stolen Palestinian land. He knows that likely Trump’s election marks the end of the US cover story that it is working toward a two-state solution.

With all due respect to Carter, who deserves a lot of respect, there is no evidence whatsoever that the US has done anything at all to implement a two-state solution. Washington has occasionally hosted Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but when the Israeli side insulted the US Secretary of State and the president and refused to cease aggressively colonizing Palestine even while they supposedly were parlaying over it, the US just acquiesced in Israeli intransigence. The Wikileaks cables from 2006 and 2007 show US embassy officials slavishly following Israeli policy initiatives like the boycott on Gaza. …

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Top Ten American Steps toward a Police State

by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 6/23/13

The police state, a term first coined in the mid-19th century in German (Polizeistaat), is characterized by a standing political police, by intense domestic surveillance and by restrictions on the movements of citizens. Police states are on a spectrum, and unfortunately in the past decade the Unite States has moved toward police-stateness in small but key ways. Here are the signs:

1. The United States National Security Administration recently requisitioned all Verizon phone records in the US for a period of 3 months. Your telephone records (who you called and for how long) say a great deal about you. This is a form of mass surveillance.

2. The US has assigned 250 NSA agents to sift through a massive further British database of US telecommunications and email, derived from attaching packet analyzers to transatlantic fiber optic cables.

3. The Federal government claims the right to examine the contents of the laptops of US citizens whenever the enter the United States, in contravention of the Fourth Amendment. Some 60 million Americans travel abroad annually.

4. The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Those in prison have grown from 220 per 100,000 population to over 700 per 100,000 population since 1980. The US holds over two million inmates, and has 6 million people at any one time under carceral supervision– more than were in Stalin’s Gulag. State spending on prisons has risen at 6 times the rate of spending on higher education.

5. Some 6 million persons convicted of felonies have been disenfranchised and cannot vote. Most are not in prison. Because of the ‘war on drugs,’ many of these persons are not actually guilty of serious crimes. The practice hits the poor and minorities. Some 7 percent of African-Americans is ineligible to vote, but less than 2 percent of whites is.

6. Police can take DNA samples of all arrestees on serious crimes, whether they are proven guilty or not. Even Justice Scalia believes the ruling opens the door for DNA sample collection for all arrests. Some 13 million Americans are arrested annually, 1.6 million on drugs charges and half of those on marijuana charges.

7. American police are becoming militarized, with SWAT teams proliferating, and use of drones, GPS tracking devices, and military equipment, as well as participation of National Guards in the ‘war on drugs.’

8. Legislators are increasingly attempting to criminalize public protest, as with a current bill that would make it a crime knowingly to ‘trespass’ in security zones where persons are found who are under secret service protection. Authorities have sometimes also attempted to restrict public protesters to “protest zones”, thus keeping them out of the view of news cameras.

9. The USA PATRIOT Act institutes gag orders that are a violation of the 1st Amendment,forbidding persons and companies from revealing that the government has secretly asked for surveillance records.

10. The same act allows government agencies (including the Pentagon) to issue “National Security Letters” without any warrant, making broad and unspecific demands for records on large numbers of persons.

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Ret’d. CIA Official Alleges Bush White House Used Agency to “Get” Cole

Posted on 06/16/2011 by Juan Cole, Informed Consent.

Eminent National Security correspondent at the New York Times James Risen has been told by a retired former official of the Central Intelligence Agency that the Bush White House repeatedly asked the CIA to spy on me with a view to discovering “damaging” information with which to discredit my reputation. Glenn Carle says he was called into the office of his superior, David Low, in 2005 and was asked of me, “ ‘What do you think we might know about him, or could find out that could discredit him?’ ”

Low actually wrote up a brief attempt in this direction and submitted it to the White House but Carle says he intercepted it. Carle later discovered that yet another young analyst had been tasked with looking into me.

It seems to me clear that the Bush White House was upset by my blogging of the Iraq War, in which I was using Arabic and other primary sources, and which contradicted the propaganda efforts of the administration attempting to make the enterprise look like a wild shining success.

Carle’s revelations come as a visceral shock. You had thought that with all the shenanigans of the CIA against anti-Vietnam war protesters and then Nixon’s use of the agency against critics like Daniel Ellsberg, that the Company and successive White Houses would have learned that the agency had no business spying on American citizens….

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