Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Failure in Cairo

Failure in Cairo

by Stephen Lendman

It didn't surprise. Failure was inevitable. Talks were dead on arrival. Israeli policy is hardline. It's all take and no give. 

Rogue terror states operate this way. Israel is one of the worst. It's a democracy in name only. 

It treats Palestinians like subhumans. It considers its Arab citizens fifth column threats. 

It ignores fundamental international laws. It violates them repeatedly. It does so unaccountably.

Its negotiators were told to maintain status quo conditions at all costs. Demand everything. Give little or nothing in return. 

Delay, make new demands, and deny Palestinians what they most want and deserve. Long denied justice remains elusive.

Hours before the midnight Tuesday deadline, Israeli officials said ceasefire talks collapsed. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya'alon recalled their negotiators. 

They returned home. They might as well not have come. They had no intention of resolving things equitably. It's longstanding Israeli practice.

Talks ended in failure. It's back to square one. Israel bears full responsibility. 

In response, media reports said Palestinians fired several rockets at Israel. No Palestinian group admitted responsibility.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of sabotaging talks. "We don't have any information about firing rockets from Gaza," he said.

"The Israeli raids are intended to abort the negotiations in Cairo."

Hamas was automatically blamed. No corroborating evidence was cited. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner lied saying:

"Yet again, terrorists breach the ceasefire and renew fire at Israeli civilians from Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip." 

"This continued aggression will be addressed accordingly by the IDF; we will continue striking terror infrastructure, pursuing terrorists, and eliminating terror capabilities in the Gaza Strip, in order to restore security for the State of Israel."

Israel's only enemies are ones it invents. Lerner didn't explain. Or that Israel deliberately sabotaged talks and unjustifiably blamed Hamas.

Israel responded as expected. Dozens of air strikes followed. Over 30 targets around Beit Lahiya, al-Zaytoun, Maghazi, Khan Yunis, Deir al-Balah, al-Qarara, Sheikh Radwan, Khuza, eastern Shujaiyya and Rafah were struck. 

The wife and child of Hamas al-Qassam Brigades commander Mousa Abu Marzouq were killed. He commented on Facebook, saying:

"The Israeli occupation took missiles from Gaza as a pretext to target a senior Hamas personality. The wife of the great leader was martyred with his daughter."

Another air strike targeted the al-Dalou Sheikh Radwan home. A woman and young girl were killed.

Another seven Palestinians were killed in Dier al-Balah. At least 40 others were injured so far. No Israeli casualties were reported.

An IDF statement said "(f)ollowing renewed rocket attacks at Israel earlier this evening, amid the ceasefire, the IDF is currently targeting terror sites across the Gaza Strip."

"The IDF remains alert and maintains both defensive and striking capabilities in order to address the renewed aggression. The IDF is determined to defend the civilians of the State of Israel."

Palestinian delegation head Azzam al-Ahmed said his team would leave Cairo on Wednesday.

"We are leaving…but we have not pulled out of negotiations," he said. He awaits an Israeli response to a Palestinian truce proposal.

"We will not come back until Israel responds," he said. Senior Hamas official Ezzat al-Rishq said Israel would "not enjoy security so long as the Palestinian people do not."

Washington commented as expected. It supports Israel's killing machine. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said:

"We are very concerned about today's developments, condemn the renewed rocket fire, and as we have said, Israel has a right to defend itself against such attacks."

It bears repeating. So-called Israeli self-defense is naked aggression. Talks were dead on arrival. 

Israel denies Gazans what they most want. It wants suffocating siege conditions maintained. It wants what Gazans won't tolerate.

Fact: Operation Protective Edge was waged to maintain business as usual.

Fact: It was well-planned, cold, calculated, premeditated aggression.

Fact: Launching it had nothing to do with rockets from Gaza.

Fact: It had everything to do with denying Palestinians fundamental rights everyone deserves.

Fact: They include ending Gaza's siege, self-determination, and a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, free from Israeli occupation.

Fact: Hamas and other resistance responded to Israeli attacks.

Fact: They did so in self-defense.

Fact: They acted justifiably as international law allows.

Fact: Israel is a rogue terror state.

Fact: It bears full responsibility for high crimes against peace.

Fact: It willfully targets civilians.

Fact: Over 80% of Gazan casualties are civilians.

Fact: Lawless collective punishment is official Israeli policy.

Fact: Israel destroys non-military related targets illegally.

Fact: They include private homes, entire residential neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, and mosques.

Fact: Israel uses Palestinians as human shields.

Fact: It blames Palestinians for its crimes.

Fact: It gets away with mass murder unaccountably.

It bears watching what follows failed talks. Will full-scale fighting resume? Will Israeli forces again invade? Will mass slaughter and destruction continue? 

Will many more Palestinians die? Will countless others suffer horrific injuries?

Will more families lose loved ones? Will husbands lose wives? Will wives lose husbands? Will children lose siblings and friends? Will entire families be slaughtered in cold blood?

Will world leaders keep turning a blind eye to Israel's high crimes against peace? Will long denied justice for Palestinians remain elusive?

Will horrendous Palestinian suffering continue? Will it be in vain? Will Israel remain unaccountable for genocidal crimes too great to ignore?

Will Washington for supporting Israel's killing machine? Will global efforts to boycott, divest and sanction Israel gain more traction than ever?

Will world public opinion do so? Will it be enough to matter? Will Palestinians achieve long denied justice? 

Will their liberating dream come true? Will decades of struggle end equitably? Will some day finally arrive? 

A Final Comment

In recent days, Israeli soldiers and settlers attacked dozens of West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians. 

This week alone, Israeli security forces kidnapped over two dozen Palestinians. At the same time, numerous home demolitions occurred. 

Israel routinely conducts multiple pre-dawn community incursions. Families are terrorized. Homes are ransacked. 

Property is damaged, destroyed or stolen. Family members are arrested.

The Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency estimates around 40% of Palestinian males are detained one or more times during their lives.

It's for praying to the wrong God and wanting to live free on their own land in their own country. 

Israel considers these criminal offenses. Rogue terror states operate this way. Israel and America have the world's worst human rights records. 

They're guilty of virtually every crime imaginable and then some. Their policies threaten humanity's survival.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Police Brutality in America

Police Brutality in America

by Stephen Lendman

Justice in America is a four-letter word. Killer cops mock it. Nearly always with impunity. 

A badge lets them brutalize and kill. Blacks, Latinos and ethnic minorities suffer most. They're targets of choice.

The ACLU calls Ferguson, MO "Everytown, USA." Police brutality occurs multiple times daily across America.

In big cities. In small ones. In urban areas. In rural ones. Militarized policed make their own rules. They operate extrajudicially.

They kill with impunity. On August 9, officer Darren Wilson murdered 18-year-old Michael Brown. He executed him in cold blood.

Brown was unarmed. He posed no threat. He had no criminal record. An independent autopsy showed he was shot six times. 

Four times in the right arm and shoulder. Twice in the head. Retired New York medical examiner Dr. Michael Bade assisted forensic Pathologist Shawn Parcells in examining Brown's body.

They volunteered their services. They did so in response to the request of Brown's family. According to Dr. Baden, the final bullet fired into the top of his head was "not survivable."

Ferguson police lied. They claimed Brown's shooting followed an altercation he initiated. They said he tried to grab officer Wilson's gun.

He wasn't close enough to do it. No powder burns on his hands, arms or body proved it. 

Forensic evidence showed Brown either was walking away from officer Brown or had his hands raised in a "don't shoot" position. Eyewitnesses confirmed the same thing.

ACLU staff attorney Nusrat Choudhury said the killing of Brown raised disturbing questions about how often police kill unarmed black (and Latino) men in America.

It's "far too often," she stressed. Few incidents get national attention. Last April, a white cop killed 31-year-old black man Dontre Hamilton. He did so in Milwaukee's Red Arrow Park.

Police chief Edward Flynn lied. He claimed the officer "defend(ed) himself in a violent situation." An eyewitness report was polar opposite.

Hamilton posed no threat. An officer executed him in cold blood. He shot him 10 times at close range.

In July, New York cops killed Eric Garner. They placed him in a banned chokehold. They slammed his head into the sidewalk. It was during an arrest attempt for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes.

In early August, Beavercreek, OH cops murdered John Crawford III. He was in a Walmart holding a BB gun. 

Perhaps he considered buying it. He did nothing illegal.

Days after Brown's murder, Lost Angeles cops killed Ezell Ford. Police authorities lied. They claimed officers opened fire after a "struggle."

Ford's mother said he complied with officers' demands. He lay on the ground as ordered. He posed no threat.

The next day, Victorville, CA cops murdered Dante Parker. They did so after repeated tasering. It's a terror weapon. It risks death for victims with heart or other serious health problems.

In March 2012, Sanford, FL neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman murdered 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in cold blood.

He was unarmed, carried candy, a can of iced tea, and some cash. He threatened no one. He was a victim of Florida's racist stand your ground law. 

It's a license to kill. It legitimizes vigilante justice. It permits deadly force if authorities or individuals fear potential harm. 

Black and Latino males are most vulnerable. They can be murdered in cold blood on grounds of self-defense - true or false.

Police shootings repeat often across America. On January 1, 2009, Oakland, CA transit officer Johannes Mehserle killed unarmed Oscar Grant in cold blood. 

He threatened no one. He didn't resist. It didn't matter. He was thrust face-down on the ground, shot in the back, and murdered. 

Videotape on at least four cameras confirmed it. Media reports said five bystanders taped it. The community erupted.

In July 2010, Mehserie was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Grant's family demanded first-degree murder. 

Rarely ever are officers punished. Most often they get slaps on the wrist at most. Business as usual continues.

Police brutality is systematic across America. Little is done to constrain it. Accountability is virtually nil. Rare exceptions prove the rule.

Many cops are killing machines. Shoot first is policy. So blaming victims. It's standard practice. Blacks, Latinos and ethnic minorities are targets of choice.

They're harassed. They face verbal and physical abuse. They're arrested on false charges. They're murdered in cold blood.

In February 1999, New York cops fired 41 shots. They struck Amadou Diallo 19 times. They murdered him while he stood unarmed in his apartment building vestibule.

In 2006, New York cops killed Sean Bell in cold blood. On the eve of his wedding, they fired dozens of times at him as he emerged from a nightclub. He was unarmed. He threatened no one. Prosecutions didn't follow.

In February 2012, NYPD cops illegally entered Ramarley Graham's home. They had no search warrant or probable cause. Graham was unarmed. He was shot and killed in his kitchen.

Police departments officially authorize deadly force only when officers' lives or others are threatened. Cops take full advantage. 

They invent reasons to justify cold blood murder. The pattern repeats nationwide. Accountability is virtually nil. Just cause is whatever offending officers say.

Documented video and other evidence show an epidemic of police violence and other forms of brutality nationwide.

Footage shows police repeatedly tasering victims with 50,000 volts of electricity. Numerous unarmed blacks and Latinos are murdered in cold blood.

Defenseless men are beaten for any reason or none at all. Militarized police use automatic weapons, assault rifles, tear gas, attack dogs, and other weapons more commonly found in war theaters than on city streets.

According to the ACLU, American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops using weapons and tactics of war.

The notion of serve and protect is oxymoronic on its face. Heavily armed SWAT teams raid homes pre-dawn. They do so lawlessly. They do it on the pretext of searching for drugs.

Victims are shot. Homes are ransacked. Cops shouldn't treat people like "wartime enemies," says the ACLU.

"Any yet, every year, billions of dollars worth of military equipment flows from the federal government to state and local police departments." 

"Departments use these wartime weapons in everyday policing, especially to fight the wasteful and failed drug war, which has unfairly targeted people of color."

Racial profiling is rife. People of color are systematically targeted. They comprise around two-thirds of America's prison population.

It's the world's largest by far. It exceeds China's with four times America's population.

Most incarcerated are non-violent. Over half are for drug related charges. Around 75% are Blacks or Latinos.

Jim Crow never died. It's a modern-day elitist-designed racial caste system. It's a gulag instrument of social control. It's filled with many thousands of political prisoners.

Mass incarceration is official federal, state and local policy. It perpetuates recitivism. It keeps many of America's unwanted behind bars. It does nothing to reduce crime.

Blacks and Latinos are victimized by racism, poverty, judicial unfairness, get tough on crime policies, a guilty unless proved innocent mentality, three strikes and you're out, bigoted drug laws, and killer cops operating extrajudicially with impunity.

Amnesty International (AI) calls police brutality and use of excessive force "one of its central themes of (its) campaign on human rights violations."

It documents systemic brutality and other forms of ill-treatment across America. Abuses include beatings, unjustified shootings, and use of banned restraint techniques to subdue victims.

Racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately victimized. Fundamental constitutional rights are violated. Justice is nearly always denied.

Paul Craig Roberts is right calling militarized US police a "murder machine." America is occupied territory. 

This writer's home city, Chicago, is called America's police repression capital. Why with so many other worthy candidates is hard to explain.

Killer cops are like crabgrass. They're everywhere. They're notoriously brutal. They take full advantage of de facto carte blanche authority.

They turn streets into battlegrounds. Black Panther co-founder Huey Newton titled his doctoral dissertation "War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America."

"How many people's lives were ruined in countless ways by a government intent on destroying them as representatives of an 'enemy' political organization," he wrote.

"Enemy" ideas included full employment, decent housing, education, justice, peace, and ending police brutality.

It continues relentlessly. Tactics include beatings and torture. Cops get away with crimes against humanity. Instead of punishment, they're promoted.

In 1994, Congress passed the Police Accountability Act. It's incorporated into the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

It requires Attorney Generals to compile national data on excessive police force. Congress consistently fails to fund it.

State and local police forces aren't required to keep records or submit data to the Justice Department. Nor are police violence and excessive force criminalized as human rights abuses.

Blacks, Latinos, ethnic minorities and Muslims for being in America at the wrong time pay the biggest price.

Michael Brown is one among countless other victims of police state violence across America. 

His murder reflects what the ACLU calls "a widespread and pervasive problem throughout the United States, impacting the lives of millions of people in African American, Asian, Latino, South Asian, and Arab communities."

America's most vulnerable are systematically brutalized. It repeats unjustifiably nationwide.

It's systematic, without cause, in public, when driving, shopping, at work, at home, in places of worship, and when traveling.

Often it's violent. Too often it's lethal. Justice nearly always is denied. Killer cops are free to brutalize and murder again.

Candidate Obama promised a "Blueprint for Change" to ban and criminalize racial profiling and related mistreatment.

President Obama did nothing. Another promise made. Another broken. Constituencies supporting him overwhelmingly suffer most.

Systematic police brutality continues out-of-control. Virtually nothing is done to stop it.

Killer cops turned America into a battleground. Ferguson, MO is a microcosm of police state injustice. Michael Brown is one among countless other victims.

For people of color, America is unsafe to live in. It's heading for full-blown tyranny. Freedom, human and civil rights are figures of speech.

They're fast disappearing. For America's most vulnerable, they never existed.

Blacks, Latinos and ethnic minorities are all potential Michael Browns. 

America was never beautiful. it isn't now. It serves its privileged few alone. No one else.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Gaza Ceasefire Extended

Gaza Ceasefire Extended

by Stephen Lendman

Monday's ceasefire deadline was extended another 24 hours. It was set to expire at midnight local time.

Talks continue for a permanent ceasefire. Long denied justice for beleaguered Palestinians remains elusive.

It's hard knowing how another day, week or month will achieve what never before was possible.

Israel is a lawless, racist, apartheid rogue terror state. It's all take and no give. It wants its interests alone served. It wants fundamental Palestinian rights denied.

It wants Gazans isolated under siege. It wants brutalizing occupation continued. 

It wants Palestinian self-determination avoided at all costs. It wants the right to keep stealing Palestinian land.

It wants control of all valued parts of Judea and Samaria. It wants their resources. They include Palestine's large Eastern Mediterranean Leviathan natural gas (and oil) reserves.

It wants business as usual continued. It wants the right to persecute, brutalize and wage premeditated war on Palestine whenever it wishes.

It wants the right to do so for any reason or none at all. It wants the right to blame Palestinians for its crimes. 

It wants the right to get away with genocidal mass slaughter unaccountably. It wants the right to bomb and shell Gaza to rubble.

It wants the right to use chemical, biological, and radiological agents, other banned terror weapons, as well as newly developed ones producing injuries and symptoms medical professionals never before saw.

Reports from Cairo are mixed. One suggests longterm ceasefire terms are being finalized after 15 days of Egypt-mediated talks.

Others claim negotiations are at impasse on issues mattering most. Israel remains hardline. 

Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh said "Israel is seeking to break the confidence between Palestinians and the Egyptian mediators by refusing  to make any concessions."

Palestinian negotiators are determined to "realize our people's demands, which are worthy of the sacrifices made in the Gaza Strip."

Israel bears full responsibility for impasse. Fatah negotiator Faysal Abu Shahla said reports of progress are false.

"There has been no progress so far, and there are anonymous sources trying to put stumbling blocks before the Egyptian initiative."

"Therefore, we agreed to extend the talks by 24 hours, and we should reach a situation (by midnight August 19 local time) of either (an) agreement or no agreement." 

Things don't look good. Netanyahu's delegation continues going all-out for a longterm ceasefire without "signing a meaningful agreement."

"They avoided any agreement in an attempt to continue their unilateral plans to have control over everything, as they have done in the past."

On Tuesday, senior Hamas leader Izzat Al-Rishq accused Israel of deliberately undermining talks by making new last minute demands.

Israel is determined to deny Gazans concessions they most want. Agreeing to them changes everything. It makes Palestinian self-determination possible. 

It prevents Israel from controlling the territory of another sovereign state. It ends land theft. 

It gives Palestinians control of their borders, resources, air and coastal waters. It frees Gaza from siege. 

It's the beginning of the end of Israel's lawless occupation. It reverses Israel's Six-Day War gains. It makes sovereign Palestine within June 1967 borders possible.

It gives Palestinians East Jerusalem as their exclusive capital. It gives diaspora Palestinians the right to return. 

It gives Palestinians what they've long been denied. It makes liberation possible. It fulfills the dream of millions of Palestinians.

It defeats what Israel spent decades to achieve, maintain and advance. It's a dagger in the heart of its Greater MIddle East plans.

It's why Israel keeps going all out to avoid making meaningful concessions. It's determined to continue business as usual.

Its negotiators came to Cairo with clear orders. Maintain status quo conditions at all costs. Demand everything. Give nothing meaningful in return.

Claim the ruse of Palestinian "terrorism" as justification. Invent one Big Lie after another to do so. 

Repeat them publicly. Do it ad nauseam. Get Western media scoundrels to do it.

Convince world leaders that "Hamas terrorists can never be trusted." Hamas is Palestine's democratically elected government.

It's not a terrorist organization. It never was. It's not now. It's a legitimate resistance group. 

It virtually never initiates conflict with Israel. It responds justifiably to repeated Israeli provocations. International law permits it.

Netanyahu is a world class thug. He's guilty of multiple high crimes against peace. 

He blames them unjustifiably on Palestinians. He belongs in prison, not high office. 

So do other hardline Israeli officials. They're guilty of state-sponsored terrorism.

Operation Protective Edge was well-planned, cold, calculated premeditate aggression. Israel bears full responsibility.

Blaming legitimate Hamas self-defense turns truth on its head. Israeli justice blames victims for its crimes.

If Islamic Jihad leader al-Batsh is right, Cairo talks remain at impasse on issues mattering most to Palestinians.

"If progress was made with any issue being negotiated, we would have notified all the media outlets," he said.

Talks continue. Neither side wants more conflict. At the same time, Hamas and other resistance groups don't want weeks of struggle to be futile.

They reject status quo conditions. They want Gaza's siege ended. They want Israel held accountable for genocidal mass slaughter and destruction.

They want peace and stability. They want long denied justice.

Gaza's health ministry reported 2,016 Palestinian deaths. Another 10,196 wounded. Many severely. Some won't survive. Others will be maimed for life.

Expect death toll numbers to rise. Bodies under rubble are being found. Israel murdered nearly 550 children and infants. 

It considers them legitimate targets. Under international law, attacking civilians constitutes a war crime. Israel is guilty multiple times over and then some.

So is Washington for supporting its killing machine and waging its own wars of aggression. Both nations partner in high crimes against peace.

Wars without end attest to their barbarity. Millions suffer horrifically. Peace is a four-letter word.

Zionism is a curse. It harms Jews and non-Jews alike. It's a monster destroying its host. It threatens humanity. It rejects rule of law principles.

It's an ideology for the manufacture of human rights abuses. Gaza is Exhibit A.

On August 15, the World Jewish Congress and Conference of Presidents of (52) Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO) published an unconscionable "Open Letter to the Israel Defense Forces."

"Thank you for your service and sacrifice on behalf of the Jewish State and Jewish Nation," it said.

"We thank the leaders and members of the Israel Defense Forces for their courage, commitment, and humanity in the battle against Hamas and other terrorist organizations that constantly and deliberately endanger civilians in Gaza and Israel." 

"We remember those who fell and their families and pray for the quick recovery of those who were injured."

"A grateful American and world Jewish community thanks you."

"We are one people with one heart."

Signed:

World Jewish Congress
Ronald S. Lauder, President
Robert Singer, CEO

Conference of Presidents of (52) Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO)
Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman
Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO

AIPAC is CPMAJO's best known organization. It has enormous influence in Washington. It's an unregistered foreign agent.

It operates illegally. It promotes war. It deplores peace. It represents what deserves universal condemnation. It doesn't matter. It's a powerful force to be reckoned with.

It calls premeditated Israeli aggression "self-defense." It calls legitimate Palestinian self-defense "terrorism."

It repeats one Big Fat Lie after another. It supports the worst of Israeli crimes. So does the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).

It was founded in 1897. It's the nation's oldest Zionist organization. It turns truth on its head.

It blames Palestinians for Israeli crimes. It supports Israel's cold-blooded murder of 2,000+ Palestinians as well as turning large parts of Gaza to rubble.

It calls lawless aggression "self-defense." So does the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It's America's second oldest Zionist organization. 

It "expresse(d) solidarity" with Israel's Operation Protective Edge. It repeated one Big Fat Lie after another supporting it. It unjustifiably blamed Hamas for Israeli crimes.

America's 52 Zionist organizations march in lockstep. James Petras calls them a "fifth column threat in America."

They support violence. They deplore peaceful coexistence. They promote confrontation over diplomacy. They endorse racist hate.

They turn a blind eye to Israel's worst human rights abuses and other crimes. They deplore democratic rights.

They believe in Jewish exceptionalism, specialness and uniqueness as God's "chosen people."

They endorse strength through militarism, belligerence, intimidation and naked aggression.

They call legitimate Israeli criticism "anti-Semitism." They call Israeli high crimes against peace "self-defense."

However Cairo talks conclude, one thing is certain. Justice will remain elusive. Fundamental Gazan rights will remain denied.

Israel will breach whatever it agrees to. It will do it straightaway. It will do so with impunity. It will keep committing human rights abuses. 

It will wage aggressive war whenever it chooses for whatever reasons it invents. World leaders able to make a difference will turn a blind eye. They'll continue supporting what demands condemnation.

Palestinian liberation remains a distant dream. They're on their own to achieve it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Monday, August 18, 2014

Russia: Waging Peace in Ukraine

Russia: Waging Peace in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Throughout months of conflict in Southeastern Ukraine, Russia has gone all-out to resolve things diplomatically.

Yet Putin bashing never quits. He's viciously demonized. Truth is buried. Facts are conveniently twisted. 

He's wrongfully accused of supplying weapons and fighters to aid Southeastern Ukrainian anti-government forces' liberating struggle.

His spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, categorically denies Russia's involvement. "We have said repeatedly that no equipment is being supplied there," he said. No Russian troops are involved.

Moscow wants conflict ended. It wants diplomatic efforts to do it. On Sunday, Russian, German, French and Ukrainian foreign ministers met at a villa outside Berlin.

Doing so was called a prelude to ceasefire talks while fierce fighting rages. 

The Atlantic Council is a right-wing/hawkish Washington-based think tank. Adrian Karatnycky is a senior fellow.

"The Ukrainians have been making so many gains that their incentive is to keep at this as much as possible," he said.

"A ceasefire is not viable for Ukraine." It would let anti-government forces regroup and rearm. 

At the same time, oligarch president Poroshenko is pressured to crush opposition elements as soon as possible and solidify hardline rule.

According to Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin, "(t)he most important thing is to stop the flow of weapons and mercenaries from Russia."

Big Lies about Moscow aiding Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters repeat ad nauseam. Corroborating evidence is absent.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed a dire situation saying "(t)he news from today shows us that things can get even worse."

"If we don't pay very close attention and concern ourselves with the process, we can slide further and further into a direct confrontation between Ukrainian and Russian forces."

"We urgently need new political impetus. Otherwise we run the risk of treading water, or of going backward and re-entering an intensified spiral of escalation."

Sunday talks lasted about five hours. No breakthrough was achieved. None was expected.

Washington wants conflict continued. So does Kiev. They want freedom fighters crushed. They want unconditional surrender.

They want democracy prevented. They want hardline rule solidified. They want Russia blamed for Washington-caused crisis conditions.

Putting a brave face on failure, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said:

"The ministers of foreign affairs from Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine held a meeting in Berlin on 17 August to discuss issues related to the international effort to assist Ukraine in settling its internal crisis." 

"The ministers reviewed all aspects of the situation in Ukraine, with a focus on the earliest possible termination of the hostilities, border control, humanitarian aid delivery to Southeastern Ukraine, and creating the conditions for the earliest beginning of the process of political settlement."

"Some progress was made on all these issues. Arrangements have been made to continue the dialogue in the same format, whereupon specific proposals can be submitted to the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine for consideration."

War without mercy continues full force. Dozens die daily. Many others are injured. 

Food, drinking water, medical supplies, electricity and other essentials are absent or in short supply.

Lugansk and Donetsk banks are closed. Residents have no access to their money. Wages and pensions aren't paid. Hundreds of thousands fled. Many struggle daily to survive.

Vitally needed Russian-supplied humanitarian aid remains stuck on Ukraine's border. Kiev agreed to permit inspections.

It hasn't yet guaranteed safety once trucks cross Russia's border. ICRC personnel will distribute it once permission is granted.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes Washington and key EU allies have more influence on various paramilitary groups, neo-Nazi Right Sector fighters, and other extremist elements comprising Ukraine's National Guard.

"The authorities in Kiev are not in control of the numerous paramilitary forces, including Right Sector, which, we estimate, comprises a large portion of the National Guard," he said. 

"The demarche of Right Sector towards the Ukrainian Interior Minister speaks for itself."

He referred to their elements threatening action against Kiev unless authorities release all their members and end all criminal investigations.

Right Sector leader Dmitro Yarosh and its volunteer battalion commander, Andrey Stempitsky, accused deputy interior minister Vladimir Yevdokimov of heading "a criminal police group of separatist stooges and (being) a Moscow puppet."

Other interior ministry accusations included "unlawful detentions, arrests, beatings, and confiscation of arms taken in battle."

"Unless our demands are met within 48 hours, we will be forced to call off all our units on the front line, start a general mobilization of reserve battalions and launch a march on Kiev to enact a ‘swift reform’ of the Interior Ministry," the statement said.

"The columns of the Right Sector will march in full gear," it added. Other paramilitary groups were asked to support their demands and oust "the helpers of the terrorists in police uniforms from the Ukrainian land."

Lavrov said Ukrainian oligarch-sponsored armed groups pose a great security threat.

"We work with our Western partners in Europe and the United States who can really influence those paramilitary units that don't answer to the central government in Kiev," he explained.

At the same time, he welcomed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deploying drones to control the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Moscow wants more transparency. It's concerned about how often Kiev wrongfully accuses Russia of border violations.

The bogus Friday claim about destroying a column of Russian armor is the latest example.

"What really happened was a Ukrainian column moved in the Lugansk Region, obviously to intercept the rout of a potential humanitarian aid delivery," said Lavrov. 

"That column was destroyed by the militia. If such episodes are presented as glorious successes of the Ukrainian army, then please don't accuse us of anything."

Lavrov criticized Kiev's request for NATO aid against Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters.

It "goes against all the agreements we had reached on stopping the hostilities and initiating negotiations."

"As long as the authorities in Kiev bet on the use of force and consider a military victory over their own people a necessary condition for keeping themselves in power, I don't think any good will come from what we are trying to achieve."

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said fighting triggers increasing numbers of iinternal and external displacements.

As of August 13, displaced Ukrainians number around 155,800 while over 188,000 sought refuge in Russia, it said.

On August 5, the UN said 730,000 refugees fled to Russia since April. Many don't register with the Federal Migration Service or other authorities.

In the past five days through August 15, 22,000 people fled Lugansk and Donetsk compared to 6,200 from August 1 - 8.

Kiev's dirty war includes chemical weapons use, according to RIA Novosti

Donetsk freedom fighter Miroslav Rudenko said "(a)ccording to our soldiers' information, the Ukrainian forces are using chemical ammunition on DPR (Donetsk People's Republic) territory."

"Once a shell bursts, a gas affecting sense organs is emitted. We have this information."

On August 6, the Russian Investigative Committee claimed "irrefutable evidence" of illegal white phosphorous bombs use against civilians.

Israel uses them and other terror weapons against defenseless Palestinians. Washington knows what's ongoing. 

It approves by turning a blind eye to what demands condemnation. The battle for Ukraine's soul continues. Ceasefire is nowhere in sight.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Promoting Confrontation with Russia

Promoting Confrontation with Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Washington's rage for war may end up targeting Russia next. Major media propaganda and disinformation seem inexorably heading in this direction.

Madness explains what's happening. Truth is systematically buried. It's turned on its head. Big Lies, distortions and deception substitute. 

Western readers and viewers get a daily diet of outrageous managed news misinformation. America's so-called MSM are worst of all.

From The New York Times to Fox News, a systematic drumbeat of anti-Russian propaganda drowns out real news, information and analysis.

Winston Churchill once said "(a) lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

Today it circulates instantly. Joseph Goebbels once said "(i)f you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

He called truth "the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

Corporate media giants, so-called US public broadcasting and radio, Britain's BBC, Qatar's Al Jazeera, and similar operations regurgitate, hype, and proliferate state-sponsored lies, misinformation, distortions and deception.

The bigger the lie, the more often it's featured and repeated ad nauseam. Russia-bashing is outrageous. It substitutes for real news, information and analysis.

Readers and viewers are carpet-bombed with a daily drumbeat of misinformation. It doesn't rise to the level of bad fiction.

It's ideologically driven. It's one-sidedly biased. It's over-the-top rubbish. It's gross hypocrisy.

It turns heroes into villains. It blames victims for perpetrator crimes. It justifies the unjustifiable. 

It spurns peace and conflict resolution. It heads inexorably toward East/West confrontation. It risks global war.

MSM culprits play major roles in influencing public opinion. Propaganda wars precede hot ones.

Deception, popular fiction and Big Lies launch them. Intense Russia bashing risks international peace, stability and security.

Washington's rage for war is humanity's greatest threat. Its permanent war policy deplores peace and stability.

Presidents wage wars at their discretion. Rule of law principles don't matter. Imagine risking conflict with Russia. 

Imagine promoting it irresponsibly. Imagine a worst case scenario. Imagine risking humanity's survival.

Putin bashing never quits. It's relentless. The most outrageous Big Lies repeat ad nauseam. Truth is systematically buried.

Putin defends Russian sovereignty. He opposes US imperial lawlessness. Washington considers him public enemy number one. World peace hangs in the balance.

The New York Times suggests Russian humanitarian aid may be more a Trojan horse than a gift one.

Clearly it's the latter. Russia would have everything to lose and nothing to gain by trying to deliver arms and munitions to beleaguered Southeastern Ukrainians instead of promised humanitarian aid.

Don't expect The Times and other MSM members to explain. Instead, they regurgitate Kiev misinformation about covertly supplying Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters "men and weapons even if Moscow denies the charge."

A 280 truck convoy of desperately needed aid remains halted on Ukraine's border. Ukrainian officials began inspecting it.

It will take days or longer for completion. Delay advantages Kiev. Its terror war on civilians continues.

Around 70 or more lives are lost daily. Human misery is extreme. Lugansk and Donetsk have no electricity or water. Medicines and fuel are running out.

Food is in short supply. Heavy shelling continues. Civilian neighborhoods are targeted. Conditions are dire. Human misery worsens daily.

The Times and other MSM contributors blame victims for Kiev crimes. Washington supports them unequivocally.

On August 13, Vice President Joe Biden told Ukraine's illegitimate president Petro Poroshenko that Washington "would continue working with its international partners to press Russia to de-escalate the crisis, and end all support, arming, and financing of the separatists."

The NYT and other media scoundrels repeated the Big Lie and others like it. Washington's role in replacing Ukraine's democratically elected government with neo-Nazi fascists is entirely ignored.

So is explaining Kiev's war without mercy against its own Southeastern citizens. Murdering them in cold blood continues. 

White phosphorus able to burn flesh to the bone and perhaps other illegal terror weapons are used.

Washington, its rogue Western allies and media scoundrels turn a blind eye to atrocities too grave to ignore.

Kiev fascists take full advantage. They're free to commit mass murder and destruction with impunity.

Desperately needed humanitarian aid is blocked. Preventing it is lawless collective punishment.

In collusion with Washington, a provocative EU statement turned truth on its head. 

It called on Russia "to put an immediate stop to any form of border hostilities, in particular to the flow of arms, military advisors and armed personnel into the conflict region and to withdraw its forces from the border."

Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions. Rogue EU partners share it.

Ordinary Ukrainians suffer most. Don't expect The New York Times and other media scoundrels to explain.

On August 16, Foreign Policy headlined "Putin's New Clothes," saying:

"Russia's president is nakedly invading Ukraine. Why won't anybody say anything?"

Putin faced these outrageous charges many times before. He's gone all-out for peaceful conflict resolution. 

He's shown remarkable restraint in doing so. He shames his Western counterparts. He's a master chess player. He's a world class leader.

You'd never know from the merciless bashing he takes. Big Fat Lies substitute for truth, all of it, and nothing else.

Foreign Policy repeated the fiction about a column of Russian APCs and tanks entering Ukraine.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen outrageously called it an "invasion."

Ukraine's oligarch president Petro Poroshenko said it was confronted and destroyed. 

He provided no evidence proving what Russia's Defense Ministry called either a "phantom" or Ukrainian forces mistakenly at war with itself.

Foreign Policy invented its own truths. Real ones don't matter. 

It outrageously accused Russia of "nakedly dispatch(ing) columns of armored vehicles into Ukraine, and stag(ing) a piece of pseudo-humanitarian theater to legitimate a more open form of warfare."

Imagine it by not crossing Ukraine's border. Without firing a shot. With food, clean water, sleeping bags and blankets, as well as medicines, medical supplies, and other vital aid.

Imagine countering Kiev atrocities with kindness. Imagine calling delivering humanitarian aid a crime.

Imagine depriving desperate people of vital aid to stay alive. Imagine Washington's dirty hands covertly orchestrating the worst of what's ongoing.

Imagine media scoundrel complicity by failing to report what demands headlines. Imagine coverup and denial of appalling high crimes against peace.

On August 16, the Wall Street Journal headlined "Some Realism on Russia," saying:

Ukraine's Poroshenko claims a Russian invasion could happen any day.

Journal editors repeated the Big Lie about "Putin's dreams of restoring Greater Russia."

Not a shred of evidence suggests it. He's been Russia's president from May 2000 to May 2008 and since May 2012.

In over 10 years as head of state, he did nothing to expand Russia's borders. He accommodated near Crimean unanimity to be part of Russia again. He acted responsibly doing so.

He didn’t invade. He deplores wars and violence. He supports peace and stability.

He believes nation-state sovereignty is inviolable. He opposes interfering in the internal affairs of other nations.

He respects rule of law principles. He deplores Washington's imperial agenda. That puts him at odds with Obama and rogue elements around him.

Journal editors accused Obama of letting his "adversaries advance at minimal cost or resistance."

With his multiple direct and proxy wars raging, suggesting he's soft rings hollow.

Not hardline enough, say Journal editors. Perhaps they favor hot war with Russia and humanity next.

Perhaps they prefer destroying humanity to save it. Confronting Russia belligerently risks what no rational leader would dare.

Yet events seem headed inexorably for trouble. Cool heads are absent when most needed. Will humanity survive the onslaught?

A Final Comment

Stanley Kramer's 1959 apocalyptic film "On the Beach" is must viewing. It's about nuclear radiation destroying life on earth following WW III.

The film stars Gregory Peck as US submarine commander Dwight Lionel Towers. Ava Gardner is his love interest.

Fred Astaire is Australian scientist Julian Osborn. He commits suicide to avoid the agony of radiation poisoning.

The final scene is chilling. Viewers won't ever forget. Earlier Melbourne streets showed normal life. 

The end shows them empty, devoid of life and windblown. A church banner ironically reads: "There is Still Time…Brother." 

No longer. Radiation poisoning is unforgiving. It has final say. Kramer's film explains the madness of nuclear war. 

If waged, there's no coming back. No second chance. No salvation from slow painful death worldwide. 

If that's not reason enough for peace and good will, what is?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kiev's War Without Mercy Continues

Kiev's War Without Mercy Continues

by Stephen Lendman

Kiev fascists are murdering their own Southeastern citizens in cold blood. They're doing it with full support and complicity from Washington.

Russia's RIA Novosti news service quoted Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on Defense, Franz Klintsevich, saying: 

Use of ballistic missiles against Lugansk civilians "suggests that the Ukrainian security forces have been granted carte blance from the Americans."

"They do not care what Russia says, what the international community or even Europe says today." 

"They got their carte blanche, and while it remains active they want to deal with the situation in Donetsk as quickly as possible."

Using ballistic missiles against civilian neighborhoods shows how far Kiev and Washington will go to solidify hardline neo-Nazi-infested fascist rule.

Rule of law principles don't matter. War without mercy ignores them. Ballistic missiles are powerful weapons.

On impact, "huge explosion(s)" follow. Maximum damage is inflicted. Rossiya-24 television said Kiev forces attacked Lugansk with Tochka-U ballistic missile systems.

They can carry nuclear and chemical weapons, as well as high explosives. Moscow's protests about using this weapon against civilian neighborhoods are ignored.

Kiev has Washington's support. It's taking full advantage. Both countries are guilty of high crimes against peace.

It's longstanding US practice. Its Ukrainian allies include a rogue's gallery of societal misfits.

They're militant fascist thugs. They're illegitimate putschists. They're xenophobic, hate-mongering, ultranationalist anti-Semites. 

They mock democratic values. They rule by intimidation. They threaten the entire region. They risk direct confrontation with Russia.

Attacks continue on Lugansk, Donetsk, Horlivka, Pervomaisk, Ilovaisk and Krasni Luch. Russia's call for the international community to stop hostilities falls on deaf ears.

Washington and rogue EU partners support war without mercy. Civilian deaths, injuries and human misery are ignored.

Crushing freedom fighting democrats and solidifying hardline rule alone matter.

After blocking vitally needed aid for besieged Southeastern Ukrainian for days, Kiev's Minister of Social Policy, Lyudmila Denisova, officially recognized Russia's convoy as carrying legitimate humanitarian cargo.

She signed an order stating:

"In accordance with Articles 4 and 5 of the Law of Ukraine 'On Humanitarian Aid' considering the initiative of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on receiving humanitarian aid within the framework of international humanitarian missions under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to recognize the cargo as humanitarian aid."

On Sunday, Russian and Ukrainian officials agreed to begin inspecting 16 trucks, according to the ICRC.

Its representatives will supervise aid distribution once delivery is OK'd. Expect days more delay before achieved.

Kiev wants more time to continue its war without mercy. It wants maximum punishment inflicted on beleaguered Southeastern Ukrainians. 

It wants them deprived of essentials needed for survival as long as possible.

An ICRC letter said "(t)he recipient of humanitarian aid is the mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ukraine."

"The cargo will be moved into Ukraine by the ICRC through the 'Donetsk' checkpoint."

According to ICRC official Pascal Cuttat, one major challenge remains. "(W)e absolutely need security guarantees from all parties concerned before we can start moving."


It's unclear when aid distribution will begin. Customs clearing procedures haven't been completed. Nor are security guarantees assured.

On Friday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Kiev forces might block the agreed route to disrupt delivering aid to Lugansk.

Kiev forces may attack the convoy to prevent aid arriving. Its war without mercy gives no quarter. Fascists operate this way. So does Washington.

Ukrainian soldiers are notoriously underpaid, poorly fed and clothed, as well as deplorably treated.

Many young men seek refuge in Russia. They do so to avoid serving in a conflict they want no part of. Others are forced to fight against their will.

On Saturday, 17 Ukrainian soldiers fled the fighting, crossed into Russian territory, and laid down their arms, according to Moscow's Federal Security Service (FSB).

FSB regional representative Nikolay Sinitsyn said "(t)hey were provided with food, and they're safe here." 

"We're carrying out a probe. Whoever wants to stay can do so, after the probe," he explained.

One Ukrainian soldier said they "came under mortar shelling. We were in the forest, out of weapons, out of everything."

"The chief told us to get out of the place." Leaving was a joint decision.

"The commander said there was such an option (to cross into Russia). Of course, he would bear responsibility for the consequences. But we decided together that it was better to leave."

Ukrainian forces did so earlier. In early August, 438 soldiers got permission to enter Russia after freedom fighters surrounded them in Ukrainian territory.

They lacked equipment and clear operational orders. Ukrainian prosecutors took action against 480 defectors.

According to Southern Region prosecutor in charge of military cases, Pavel Bogutsky:

"The investigation into 145 criminal offenses has been completed, and the indictments have been sent to court."

"Over half of these indictments concern people who deserted, refused to carry out their military duties and disobeyed orders." Over 30 received sentences.

Clearly, many Ukrainian soldiers aren't pleased with waging war on their own citizens. A good many do so reluctantly.

In contrast, Ukraine's National Guard is controlled by neo-Nazi thugs. Western media ignore their involvement and appalling atrocities.

Upside down reality persists. Fascists are portrayed as democrats. Freedom fighters are called terrorists.

Truth is systematically buried. Most Americans are mindless about facts on the ground. Official reports lie. 

Media scoundrels repeat them ad nauseam. They include spurious claims about Russia directly aiding Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters.

Moscow categorically denies them. It accused Kiev of causing a humanitarian crisis and blocking efforts to alleviate it.

On August 17, reports said Lugansk area freedom fighters downed a Ukrainian fighter jet attacking area residents.

Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky accused Russia of supplying rocket launchers in the last 24 hours.  

Ukraine's national security and defense council spokesman Abdriy Lysenko accused Moscow of supplying Grad missile systems, as well as using drones in Ukrainian air space 10 times.

On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met his Ukrainian counterpart in Berlin. Discussion focused on ending crisis conditions diplomatically.

Washington and Kiev want a military solution. They're going all-out to achieve one by mass murder, destruction and blocking humanitarian aid as long as possible.

At the same time, Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters show remarkable resilience. In Donetsk they launched a counteroffensive. 

Fierce fighting continues. Ukraine's Donbass battalion commander said the combat spirit of his forces is low.

Army units so far have been unable to defeat self-defense fighters committed to press on.

Ukraine's prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk claims about 50,000 Ukrainian forces in conflict areas. Kiev's National Security and Defense Council earlier reported 568 servicemen killed and another 2,120 wounded as of August 11.

The battle for Ukraine's soul continues. It's been ongoing for months. How much longer remains to be seen. 

Civilian casualties are high. Hundreds of thousands are internally and externally displaced. 

Wars affect ordinary people most. In harm's way, there's no place to hide. 

Without electricity, enough food, clean water, shelter for many, and other essentials, survival is a day-to-day struggle. 

The future of Southeastern Ukraine remains up for grabs. For now, things look grim for hundreds of thousands of civilians in the wrong places at the wrong time.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour