Thursday, January 31, 2013

Waging War on Immigrants


Waging War on Immigrants

by Stephen Lendman

Earlier articles discussed Washington's racist war on immigrants. It's longstanding. It mocks notions of welcoming tired, poor, wretched masses yearning to breathe free.

White supremacist Judeo/Christian extremism prevents it. Poor and desperate people aren't welcome. People of color are scorned. Exploiting unwanted masses is policy. Helping them is verboten.

America never was beautiful and isn't now. Wealth, power, privilege, and dominance alone matter. Equity and justice are four-letter words.

The New York Times claims otherwise. On January 28, it headlined "Senators Offer a Bipartisan Blueprint for Immigration," saying:

They "agreed on a set of principles for a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system, including a pathway to American citizenship for 11 million (undocumented) immigrants that would hinge on progress in securing the borders and ensuring that foreigners leave the country when their visas expire."

According to CNN, Obama's "ready to double down on immigration reform." He broke earlier promises made. He failed to deliver. "(H)e made it a top legislative priority" in term two. 

Expect no more now than earlier. More on that below.

On January 28, a Times editorial headlined "Now We're Talking."

What they mean matters more. What they'll do matters most. According to The Times:

"Eight senators, four from each party" released a January 28 memo. A "statement of principles" was explained. They call for "more border and workplace enforcement, more visas for needed workers and legalization - with a path to citizenship…."

Omitted details and deliberate vagueness assure disappointment. "What's encouraging is that (anything) exists at all." No plan is better than a bad one.

Nothing positive occurred for years. Expect nothing now. According to TimesSpeak, "no longer does the immigration debate consist of two groups yelling across a void." 

Republicans and Democrats proposed "pragmatic" solutions "most Americans accept. The citizenship path….won't be easy or short." 

A new "probationary legal status" falls short of citizenship or permanent residency. Undocumented immigrants may live and work in America "provided they pass criminal background checks and pay back taxes owed."

They also have to learn English and prove they're employed. They'll be subject to mandatory employer E-Verify. It's a government-run online system. It enforces draconian harshness.

It compares employee information to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security data. Numerous false alarms are triggered. Millions of legal immigrants are falsely targeted.

Millions of family members of legal US residents await permanent residency status. 

Undocumented immigrants will be forced to the back of the line. US citizens trying to bring unmarried Mexican children to America requires waiting 17 years or longer. Most never succeed.

Proposed legislation blocks the road to citizenship until borders are secured. So-called disqualifying crimes are largely minor misdemeanors or youthful indiscretions. They're enough to deny citizenship. 

They ignore sweeping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) discriminatory harshness. Post-9/11, hundreds of thousands of immigrants have been mercilessly hounded, harassed, and persecuted.

Billions have been spent on ruthless targeting. Obama deported record numbers. They deserve better. 

Sweeping workplace and community raids target them. They've been rounded up, incarcerated, brutally treated, denied all rights, and sent home for being the wrong color from the wrong country.

One-quarter or more deported are parents of children born in America. They're US citizens. It doesn't matter. They can stay. Parents can't. Policy separates families trying to stay together.

Claiming "immigration reform finally began" turns truth on its head. Expect no better now than earlier. Even The Times admits it's "easy to be skeptical."

Immigrants never were treated fairly. The 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act grudgingly went further than previous laws. It made immigrants of all races eligible for citizenship based on strict quotas.

White Judeo/Christian Europeans get preferential treatment. People of color get shortchanged. The 1996 Immigrant Responsibility Act and Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act proved bipartisan harshness.

Due process and judicial fairness were ignored. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agents were empowered to detain legal immigrants without bond, deport them without discretionary relief, restrict their right to counsel, bar judicial appeals, and use misdemeanors or youthful indiscretions be reasons for deportation.

No second chances are allowed. Unwanted immigrants get unwelcome messages. Immigration courts target them unfairly. They don't leave home easily. 

They come to America because NAFTA and other exploitive trade agreements destroyed their ability to earn a living at home. Come north or perish. Millions have no choice.

ICE heads them off at the border. Gloves off policy targets them ruthlessly. Wanting to live free and survive is criminalized. Poor, desperate people are called dangerous.

Immigration reform won't help them. Earlier proposed legislation replicated Bracero Program harshness. From 1942 - 1964, it persecuted immigrants ruthlessly.

Indentured servitude was policy. Immigrants became serfs with no rights. Employers were empowered to exploit them. They got temporary low wage jobs.

They were cheated out of pay. Employers seized their documents. They were held in virtual captivity. They were denied vital medical care or benefits for injuries received.

A cycle of abuse punished them. They couldn't resist or complain. As undocumented workers, they had no rights. They were sent home when no longer needed. 

Why expect better now. Conditions today are worse than earlier. Whatever final congressional legislation emerges, expect it to reflect anti-immigrant harshness.

Since 2004, Border Patrol staff doubled. Numbers are ninefold greater than 30 years ago. Plans call for increasing their numbers. Untold billions more will be spent. Efforts will be as futile as earlier.

Greater militarization of Mexico's border is planned. So are harsher crackdowns. Drone surveillance is proposed. A commission of governors, state attorneys general and community leaders will decide if policies succeed.

Senators say they'll monitor "progress of securing our border and make a recommendation regarding when the bill's security measures outlined….are completed."

It could take years. Immigrants who come forth voluntarily will get "probationary status." It's ill-defined. They'll have no rights. They'll be at the mercy of federal and local authorities, as well as exploitive employers. 

They can be deported on a whim. They'll have no right of appeal. They'll be separated from family members. Parents and children will be split.

The path to citizenship requires millions of undocumented immigrants to wait 11 years or longer. Many or most perhaps won't qualify.

"Comprehensive immigration reform" is a figure of speech. Reality suggests otherwise. Previous Bush and Obama initiatives failed. They were aborted.

Immigrant rights aren't prioritized. They're exploited and abused. They're not wanted. Most come from Mexico and Central America. At best, they can expect Bracero Program 2.0.

They'll be exploited, persecuted, denied all rights, underpaid, and hung out to dry when not wanted. America's race to the bottom assures it. Planned immigration reform assures none at all. It's the American way.

A Final Comment

On Tuesday, Obama addressed immigration reform. His comments were long on what he does best - doublespeak duplicity, promises made to be broken, and disdain for society's least advantaged.

His scheme largely mirrors what eight senators proposed. It's long on draconian inequity and short on long denied solutions. 

Likely congressional legislation will discourage undocumented immigrants hoping for better. Bipartisan racism prevents it.

The Immigrant Solidarity Networks says "We are all humans (and) no one is illegal." It's long past time legal and undocumented immigrants were treated that way.

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

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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

http://www.dailycensored.com/waging-war-on-immigrants/

Washington's War of Aggression on Syria


Washington's War of Aggression on Syria

by Stephen Lendman

Israel partners with Washington's wars. It's been largely covertly involved against Syria. It's now blatantly overt.

Since last weekend, Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace multiple times. They overflew the Beka Valley. They attacked a weapons storage facility. They struck a convoy allegedly en route to Lebanon.

On Wednesday, they bombed a scientific research center near Damascus. These actions and similar ones are naked acts of aggression. A follow-up article will discuss this further.

Washington planned war on Syria years ago. Previous articles discussed General Wesley Clark's "Winning Modern Wars."

Post-9/11, Pentagon sources told him plans targeted Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran and Syria for regime change. Earlier they were finalized against Afghanistan.

Clark asked:

"And what about the real sources of terrorists - US allies in the region like Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia?" 

"Wasn't it repressive policies of the first, and the corruption and poverty of the second, that were generating many of the angry young men who became terrorists?" 

"And what of the radical ideology and direct funding spewing from Saudi Arabia?"

"It seemed that we were being taken into a strategy more likely to make us the enemy - encouraging what could look like a 'clash of civilizations' - not a good strategy for winning the war on terror."

For nearly two years, Syria's been on the boil. Conflict shows no signs of ending. Washington's dirty hands prevent it. 

The latest Aleppo massacre reflects earlier ones. Western-recruited death squads bear full responsibility. 

Media scoundrels claim otherwise. The New York Times headlined "Adversaries in Syria Trade Blame for Scores of Killings in Aleppo," saying:

"Al Jazeera quoted a" Free Syrian Army commander. He pointed fingers the wrong way. He claimed victims were "executed by the regime."

London's Guardian said "Syrian rebels recover scores of bodies from Aleppo river as floodwaters recede."

They continue to be found. Final death toll numbers may approach or exceed 120. "Rebel groups blamed the Syrian government for the killings, suggesting that some of the victims had crossed into 'loyalist' areas then disappeared."

None had ID cards. Extrajudicial killings are commonplace. Tuesday's death toll may be unprecedented. Atrocities accompany them. Assad loyalists are targeted.

The Syrian Free Press headlined "New Massacre of civilians by the hand of terrorist Militia mercenaries, passed of as being done by Syrian Arab army."

Dozens of bodies were found along the Quwayq River. Civilians killed were family members held hostage by terrorists. They were "human shields" until no longer needed.

They were executed in cold blood. Women and children were murdered like men. Gunshots to the head killed them. Bodies were found hands tied and mutilated.

The area is terrorist controlled. Voice of Russia headlined "Syrian terrorists execute civilians," saying:

Bodies of men, women, and boys were found in the Quweiq River. It's in Aleppo's southwest. Death squad militants control the area.

On January 29, Friends of Syria.com headlined "Update on the Bodies in the River," saying:

Jabhat al-Nusra "carried out a mass execution against tens of abducted persons, throwing their bodies in Quweig River at Bustan al-Qasr area in Aleppo."

On January 30, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) headlined "Media Source: Jabhat al-Nusra Terrorists Perpetrate Mass Execution in Aleppo," saying:

Families "identified a number of the killed, stressing that Jabhat al-Nusra abducted them because of their (refusal) to cooperate with this terrorist group."

SANA's reporter said no Syrian army forces were present in the area.

Syrian authorities earlier erected barbed wire along the river. It was done to prevent terrorist infiltration. It didn't help.

"The bodies, which terrorists and TV misleading channels have claimed that the army killed their owners, were found in the side where terrorists present…if they were killed in the safe areas, their bodies would stick to the barbed wires before reaching the region where they were discovered."

Whether on not Washington plans direct intervention remains to be seen. Last weekend, Obama said:

"In a situation like Syria, I have to ask, can we make a difference in that situation? Would a military intervention have an impact?"

"How would it affect our ability to support troops who are still in Afghanistan? What would be the aftermath of our involvement on the ground?" 

"Could it trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons? What offers the best prospect of a stable post-Assad regime?"

A Washington Post editorial responded. It headlined "Consequences of US inaction in Syria are clear," saying:

"The logic at work here - the longer the Assad regime holds on, the worse the consequences - was acknowledged by senior Obama administration officials nearly a year ago."

At his confirmation hearing, John Kerry said "Every day that goes by, it gets worse." According to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius:

"If we don’t give the means to the Syrian people to go achieve their freedom, there is a risk….that massacres and antagonisms amplify, and that extremism and terrorism prevail."

Obama so far stopped short of direct intervention. "In the absence of US action, the violence (increases) and the Assad regime move(s) dangerously close to using chemical arms."

Unconfirmed documents and reports suggest Washington approved a Qatar-funded chemical weapons false flag. Initiating ot would falsely blame Assad.

Russia also for supporting a government Washington wants toppled. False flags are an American tradition. Their origins go back generations.

They're Big Lies. Merrian-Webster calls them "deliberate gross distortion(s) of the truth used especially as a propaganda tactic."

Wikipedia says they're "cover operations designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities."

Official accounts falsify reality. Current tactics further America's war on terror. Whether Obama plans direct intervention in Syria remains to be seen.

The Post says he can "do much to shape the course of events in Syria without using American troops….Continued passivity (ensures greater crisis) along with the consequences for the United States."

According to Post columnist David Ignatius, Syria's becoming a "failed state." He urges "replac(ing)" Assad to prevent it. In earlier columns, he argued for direct intervention.

He has longstanding US intelligence ties. He uses illegitimate Free Syrian Army elements as sources. He calls Assad's government a "repressive police state."

He said Washington so far made only "a halfhearted attempt" to replace him. His solution is "moderate military force." His bottom line is toppling Assad.

He's mindless of rule of law principles. He's unconcerned about potential post-conflict consequences. He ignores Washington's direct role. So do other media scoundrels.

On January 29, Patrick Seale headined "A Peace Package for the Middle East." He discussed regional destabilization. Events are inter-connected, he said.

The entire region's volatile. It's on the boil. Iran's fate is "closely linked to Syria." 

Assad has been one of "the most ardent champion(s) of Palestinian rights and of Lebanon's freedom from Israeli control."

The "so-called 'resistance axis' of Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hizbollah has sought to deter or contain Israeli attacks while challenging US-Israeli hegemony in the Levant."

Syria's calamitous conflict weakened it. Israel and Washington want it destroyed. They wants Iran isolated. Tel Aviv's longstanding agenda seeks a "Greater Israel." Achieving it requires eliminating regional rivals.

Attempts to resolve Middle East conflicts separately failed. "The obvious solution (may be dealing with them) as a package." Failure lets them fester.

"What about Syria," asked Seale. "It lies at the very heart of the regional power system." Its conflict threatens neighbors. Israel isn't immune. Militants can strike anywhere.

It's "abundantly clear that there is no military solution to the conflict." Neither side can win outright. Fighting could continue for years. Solutions are illusive. Conflict wounds are deep.

For Syria's sake, its neighbors and the region, "a supreme effort must be made to prevent the collapse of" its state into possible fragmentation.

Washington initiated war. It's fully empowered to stop it. Obama's no peacemaker. Expect protracted conflict. It could continue for years. Body counts mount. Ordinary Syrians suffer most.

A Final Comment

Michel Chossudovsky discussed "US-NATO 'Economic Terrorism:' The Collapse of Syria's Industry and Agriculture."

Washington-led NATO is systematically destroying Syria. In the 1990s, dismantling the Balkans was prioritized. Post-9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya were ravaged. Much more lies ahead.

Syria now is ground zero. It's been targeted for regime change for years. All options are used. Washington wages war multiple ways. Hot conflict continues. Economic/financial destabilization and strangulation use various means. 

They include multiple rounds of sanctions. Doing so "paralyz(es) trade and investment. Acts of deliberate sabotage and piracy (target) the country's industrial base."

Turkey and other NATO allies are involved. Syria's "industrial enterprises (are) clos(ed) down and/or bankrupt(ed)." More than half the country's industrial base is affected.

Agriculture is undermined. Food shortages are serious. So are "undernourishment and child malnutrition."

Health, social, security, economic, financial, and political crises grow and fester. Washington won't quit until Syria's entirely destroyed and perhaps dismembered. 

Obama bears full responsibility. He's waged war on humanity for four years. He's ravaged one country after another. He plans lots more ahead. It remains to be seen what follows.

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

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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

http://www.dailycensored.com/washingtons-war-of-aggression-on-syria/

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Israel Attacks Lebanon


Israel Attacks Lebanon

by Stephen Lendman

Israel regularly violates Lebanese air space. Doing so is longstanding. It's also illegal. Incursions sometimes happen multiple times daily. Conflicting reports discussed an overnight border attack.

Lebanon's state-run Al-Watania confirmed nothing. It's state-run NNA news agency denied it.

Lebanon's Naharnet news site said 12 Israeli fighter jets entered Lebanese air space in the last 24 hours. Flights overflew the Beka Valley.

On Saturday, Lebanon's Al-Mustaqbal daily said a southern weapons storage facility was struck. No official confirmation followed.

Lebanon's Daily Star headlined "Israel hits target in Lebanon-Syria border area - sources," saying:

According to four unnamed Western diplomats and regional security sources, "Israeli forces attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight."

Little further information followed. Israel warned earlier about "high-tech anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles reaching Israel's enemies." Chemical weapons concerns were raised.

Lebanese military sources reported multiple Israeli incursions into Lebanon's airspace overnight.

According to one source:

"There was definitely a hit in the border area." Without elaborating, he said "something happened." 

Another said "The Israeli air force blew up a convoy which had just crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon."

An IDF spokeswoman said "We do not comment on reports of this kind."

France's Le Figaro said Israeli aircraft attacked an alleged weapons convoy traveling from Syria to Lebanon. It's not clear if it occurred in Syrian or Lebanese territory.

On Sunday, Israeli Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said "The entire world has said more than once that it takes developments in Syria very seriously."

Negative developments would have to be addressed, he added.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel won't "compromise on the security of the northern front."

On January 29, Al-Monitor said IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi traveled to Washington to meet US Pentagon officials. Whether doing so is connected to Israel's attack isn't clear.

Netanyahu held recent security meetings. Discussions focused on Syrian and Lebanese issues. Cabinet members were told:

"It is necessary to look at our surroundings, both at what is happening with Iran and its proxies, and what is happening in other arenas - lethal weaponry in Syria, which is steadily breaking up."

Israel Air Force commander, Major General Amir Eshel, said Syria is "falling apart. Nobody has any idea right now what is going to happen in Syria on the day after, and how the country is going to look." 

"This is happening in a place with a huge weapons arsenal, some of which are new and advanced, and some of which are not conventional."

On January 20, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile said "Israeli aircraft target(ed) Hizbollah missiles in Zabadani. S. Syria."

Israeli aircraft struck "missile and arms convoys standing ready in southern Syria for transfer to Hizbollah in Lebanon, according to Western sources."

Conflict rages in Syria. Questions remain unanswered. At issue is what's going on? What's Israel up to?

Assad's government needs help. Why would it transfer vitally needed arms and munitions to Lebanon? Hezbollah and/or other sources helping Syria makes more sense.

On Sunday, Israel deployed two Iron Dome missile defense systems. They're stationed on Israel's Golan border. Their effectiveness is way overblown. 

UN observers monitoring Syria's border with Israel were withdrawn. At issue is why. Netanyahu's stoking fear. He does it repeatedly on Iran. Whether he's got something else in mind now bears close watching.

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

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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

Islamofascist Rule in Egypt


Islamofascist Rule in Egypt

by Stephen Lendman

Washington engineered Mubarak's ouster. He fell from grace. He became more liability than asset. 

For years, State Department and Pentagon officials wanted him out. He opposed Bush's 2003 Iraq war and other US policies. He had to go.

Washington engineered Egyptian uprisings. Spontaneity was created and manipulated. Arab Spring is Western terminology. It's yet to bloom.

It was first used in March 2005. It suggested a beneficial Iraq war spinoff. Washington deplores emerging democracies. It prioritizes unchallenged control.

Regional uprisings achieved nothing. Daily life reflects poverty, unemployment, and despotism. Tens of oppressed millions suffer. 

Conditions now are worse than earlier. People want jobs, decent pay, better services, ending corruption and repression. They want liberating democratic change. 

In February 2011, Mubarak was ousted. At the time, an article said hold the celebration. Egypt's struggle just began. Everything changed, stayed the same, and worsened.

Junta power and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) interests rule. Mohammed Morsi is their public face. Islamofacist rule is policy. 

In the 1920s, Britain established the MB's precursor, the Society of Propaganda and Guidance. It backed UK colonial rule. Post-WW II, it established close CIA ties.

It's pro-Western, pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-super wealth, pro-neoliberal, anti-progressive, anti-labor, anti-dissent, anti-freedom, and anti-government of, by, and for everyone equitably and fairly.

In June 2012, Morsi became Egypt's fifth president. On November 23, protests erupted nationwide. They came after his November 22 decree asserted dictatorial powers. 

He declared the right "to take any measures he sees fit in order to preserve and safeguard the revolution, national unity or national security."

Rescinding it made little difference. He claimed "all of its consequences remain in effect." He overstepped. Egyptians want him out.

Doublespeak duplicity conceals tyranny. Democracy is verboten. It's not tolerated. Hardline rule is policy. So are social injustice and  anti-worker practices.

Despite strong opposition, Egypt's Constituent Assembly approved a draft constitution on November 30. In mid-December, a national referendum adopted it.

Two voting rounds were held. Around 30% of eligible voters cast ballots. Fraud allegations followed. Egypt Independent said the MB's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) bused in remote-based residents.

They were told to vote yes. Media reports suggested ballot box stuffing, obstructing or banning opposition voters, assaulting those who tried, and other fraudulent practices.

Egypt's new constitution establishes Islamofascist rule. Junta power heads it. Repression confronts resisters.

On January 25, 2011, anti-Mubarak protests erupted. Cairo's Tahrir Square became iconic. On the uprising's second anniversary, hundreds of thousands of youths, workers and others rallied nationwide.

They oppose MB power. They demanded Morsi's ouster. They want Egypt's constitution revoked. They want social justice and democratic governance.

Chants including saying "The people want to bring down the regime." "Leave Morsi, leave." "Bread, freedom and social justice."

One protester reflected public sentiment, saying "The revolution has been hijacked. We want to complete the revolution’s goals." 

"The situation is getting tougher under the Brotherhood’s rule. Unemployment is on the rise, and jobs are harder to find."

An unemployed new graduate added "I'm here to get rid of Morsi. First Mubarak, then (General) Tantawi, now Morsi. We are only ruled by bastards."

Repressive right-wing extremism is policy. Social justice is verboten. Force-fed austerity prevents it. Mursi's $4.8 billion IMF loan demands it. 

Impoverished Egyptians face harder times. Popular sentiment demands real change.

On January 24, Morsi suggested protesters would face harsh crackdowns. He claimed "counter-revolutionary" forces "undermine the state."

He outlined his own agenda. He called for providing a "suitable environment for investment." Doing so involves worker exploitation. Ordinary people are sacrificed on the alter of profits.

Egyptians demand better. Protests continue nationwide. On January 27, curfews were established in major cities. Morsi declared a 30-day state of emergency. He could extend it indefinitely. 

Mubarak's 30 year dictatorship enforced it. Egyptians hated it. Sweeping government powers were established. Anyone considered dangerous could be indefinitely detained without charge.

Morsi claims dictatorial executive powers. Constitutional rights don't matter. Nor does press freedom. Security forces can detain protesters indefinitely. They can be held uncharged. They can tried in military courts.

Morsi told Egyptians what to expect, saying:

"I always said I’m against any exceptional measures, but I also said I might resort to such measures if I had to. I may even do more for the sake of Egypt, it’s my duty."

"I instructed interior ministry officials to deal strictly with whoever threatens the people, public, and private institutions."

Protests remain ongoing. Security forces confront them violently. Live ammunition killed dozens. Hundreds were injured. Muslim Brotherhood offices were attacked. So were police stations and other government buildings.

Morsi and Egyptian junta leaders invited National Salvation Front opposition representatives to "broad national dialogue that would be attended by independent national characters."

They refused. He asked all political parties to participate. Opposition activist Ayman Fayed told Voice of Russia he believes Washington is manipulating events covertly.

He said Obama officials want Egypt isolated. They want Russian and Chinese regional influence marginalized. They want unchallenged control.

They've been "encouraging Islamists to thwart the much aspired freedom." It remains to be seen what's next. Turmoil shows no signs of ending.

Egyptians demand democracy. Morsi hijacked it. Most Egyptians consider Muslim Brotherhood leadership illegitimate and corrupt.

It broke major promises made. Dictatorial rule is policy. Conditions are worse than under Mubarak. Egyptians demand better. Clashes continue. Resolution remains distant.

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

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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

http://www.dailycensored.com/islamofascist-rule-in-egypt/

Netanyahu's Apartheid Government


Netanyahu's Apartheid Government

by Stephen Lendman

Amos Oz is a noted Israeli academic, author, journalist, and novelist. He's also a vocal Netanyahu critic. More on his recent comments below.

It's well known that Israel's government reflects militarized occupation, colonialism and apartheid. It's done to enforce harshness. It continues because it's profitable. Doing so breaches international law. 

The 1973 International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention) called it state-sanctioned discriminatory "inhuman" racism. 

It's "committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them."

Apartheid is an international crime. The above definition builds on the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court calls apartheid a crime under the Court’s jurisdiction. For 45 years, Israel flagrantly breached the law.

ICERD's Article 3 calls apartheid a particularly egregious form of discrimination. 

The Apartheid Convention and Rome Statute criminalized its practice. 

On January 5, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called 2012 "an exciting year for the growth of the cultural and academic boycott of Israel."

"We call on our partners and activists around the world to continue in this spirit in 2013 (and) especially work on the academic front to (isolate) Israeli academic institutions (as long as) apartheid, occupation and colonialism" continue.

Last October, over 150 former international anti-apartheid activists called on South Africa's ANC to boycott Israel. 

A BDS South Africa press release "call(ed) on the ANC to support the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom, justice and equality."

World opinion was galvanized against apartheid South Africa. It's vital now against Israel.

Arabs are harmed most. So are Israelis. Instead of challenging rogue government, they're largely dismissive.

On January 11, Haaretz quoted comments Oz shared with 30 other academics. He called Netanyahu's government apartheid. He made "angry predictions about its future."

"In my mind," he said, "Netanyahu('s) government is the most anti-Zionist government Israel has ever had. It is doing everything so there will be not two states here, but one." 

"It is striking (Abbas) blow after blow - violent morale blows, financial blows and political blows. It is strengthening Hamas more and more." 

"Perhaps that is the intention, to stop the chance for two states. They believe that Jews can rule over an Arab majority for a long time. No apartheid state in the world has lasted without collapsing after a few years."

In upcoming Israeli elections, Oz rejects major party contenders. He supports Meretz. It's the only one he trusts. 

It has little public support, Polls suggest it'll gain four of 120 Knesset seats. Its influence is sorely lacking. Israel's left is a shadow of its former self. It's practically non-existent. 

Labor once stood for something it now rejects. It's been "crawling to Likud governments for 15 years now," said Oz.

"It crawled under Shimon Peres. It crawled under Amir Peretz. And what good did it do? How did it slow the rate of settlements?" 

"How did it stop the catastrophe of the abolishment of the state of the Jewish people?"

Israel under Netanyahu, coalition partners, supportive hardliners, religious extremists, and weak-kneed opposition parties embarrass legitimate governance. 

Upcoming elections are more sham than legitimate. Voters get little choice. Israel's on a fast track to tyranny. Another four years under Netanyahu may institutionalize it.

Israelis are as out of touch with reality as Americans. They're mindless about what's coming.

Oz isn't the only concerned figure. Six former Shin Bet heads expressed candid opinions. They did so publicly for the first time. They're concerned for good reason. Their fears are well justified. They're uneasy about Israel under Netanyahu.

Yuval Diskin headed Shin Bet (General Security Service) from 2005 - 2011. He called Netanyahu unreliable. His judgment is sorely lacking.

He "shirk(s) responsibility." He represents "a crisis in leadership here, a crisis of values and total contempt for the public. Maybe people will think I'm exaggerating, but I'm telling you. From close up it looks even worse."

Netanyahu has messianic ambitions, he added. He's-over-the-top and dangerous. He wants his stamp put on history. He wants it written the wrong way.

He menaces Israel and regional states. He's untrustworthy and dangerous. He created "a false picture on Iran."

"When I see the current leadership," he added, "I am worried about" Israel's future. He, Oz and others have just cause for concern. 

The Jerusalem Post is unabashedly right-wing. On January 10, it headlined "A Strong PM, a strong Israel?"

"In 1999," it said, Netanyahu "fell in love with the term 'strong.' His slogan was "A strong leader for a strong nation."

Today he says "A strong prime minister, a strong Israel." He's "romanc(ing)" Israelis because he's "weak."

"He doesn't know it, but his staff knows it. The weak love to look strong." They follow political handlers' advice. Netanyahu relies largely on Arthur Finkelstein. 

He gets bad advice. "(B)ecause Netanyahu is so strong, he does everything Arthur says." He doesn't have a mind of his own.

He's weak, incompetent, unreliable, and dangerous but won't admit it. Israelis aren't wise enough to know better.

He represents triumphant hard-right politics. America, Canada, and much of Europe have the same affliction.

In 1932, Mussolini declared the 20th century a "Fascist century," saying:

"It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the 'Right,' a Fascist century." He claimed it would "sav(e) Western civilization." For what he didn't explain.

Demagogues take full advantage. Maliciously they spread fear to attract adherents. They're mindless that their best interests are harmed. They're betrayed. They're sold out without their knowledge.

Media scoundrels don't explain. They support what demands condemnation. Haaretz is a notable exception. At times, it tries having it both ways.  

Recent articles, commentaries and editorials expressed concern about Netanyahu. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted. He accused Netanyahu of wasting billions of dollars on "adventurous fantasies" and "military delusions."

Haaretz said "If Olmert didn't exist, Netanyahu would have had to invent him." He didn't challenge him directly. He responded by press release, interviews, and cabinet meeting remarks.

Doing so "didn't risk his hide one bit." Olmert isn't running this time. Likudniks hate him. He's a convenient target. Netanyahu shuns debates. He prefers beating up on Iran. He hypes nonexistent threats.

On January 13, Haaretz headlined "2012 deficit figures expose Israeli government failure," saying:

Deficit and tax revenues "are significantly worse than" earlier stated goals. Targets were missed by a mile. Doing so provides "further evidence that economic policies of the past few years have failed."

It also reflects hardline control. Extremists Israelis should reject run things. They're paying the price for voting the wrong way. They show no signs of changing. Nothing ahead looks promising.

On January 14, Haaretz headlined "Netanyahu government doubled budget deficit to buy votes," saying:

Israel's Finance Ministry announced it. FY 2012 spending doubled the 2% of GDP target to 4.2%. Israel's budget deficit is NIS (New Israel Shekel) 39 billion (about $10 billion). 

In 2013, painful cuts loom. Expect around NIS 14 billion, experts say. Last year's deficit "testifies to the policy of waste and reckless spending that has characterized the past two years," said Haaretz.

Israelis will pay the price. Holding Netanyahu accountable is essential. Opposition parties won't dare.

"They supported, encouraged and applauded every time the Netanyahu government increased spending. In fact, they wanted even higher salaries, larger budgets and more extensive grants. How can they complain now about the deficit?"

Labor's Shelly Yachimovich talk about "social hell and economic chaos" rings hollow. Haaretz said she supported every budget increase for "education, defense, the settlements, (ultra-Orthodox) Haredim (priorities), the yeshivas," and much more.

She and most other MKs never asked what Israel could afford. "Is their no limit to their audacity," asked Haaretz? 

Enough is enough. "It's time for our leaders (to) tell Israelis the truth about what awaits us this year."

On January 14, a Haaretz editorial headlined what's unimaginable in America. No US print or broadcast media would dare urge "Slash the defense budget."

Haaretz called Israel's budget deficit "the result of adventurous" wrongheaded policies.

"(E)xaggerated outlays" were approved. Defense spending bears most responsibility. It's been out-of-control for four years. It way exceeds legitimate needs. It bears no relationship to national security priorities.

Chances that any regional state or entity would attack Israel "are practically nonexistent." Facts on the ground are ignored. Defense interests are prioritized. Netanyahu supports what he should reject.

He hypes fear to enlist support. He "can't scare people about" potential dangers and "at the same time cut the defense budget."

Once electoral battles end, officials must "aim toward cutting" defense spending responsibly. The alternative is "a macroeconomic crisis that nobody wants."

Anything done will happen on the backs of ordinary Israelis. Polls show they favor defense and settlement construction cuts. Netanyahu prioritizes increasing them. 

He dismisses public sentiment out of hand. He's favored to remain prime minister anyway. Israelis will have themselves to blame. 

They'll have to explain why they voted the wrong way. They repeat the same mistakes and expect change. They're stuck in the rut they themselves dug. Nothing post-election looks promising.

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

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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

http://www.dailycensored.com/natanyahus/

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Obama Prioritizes Targeted Killings


Obama Prioritizes Targeted Killings

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article said Obama decided who lives or dies. His kill list chooses targets. He designated himself judge, jury and executioner.

He chose John Brennan as new CIA director. He's currently Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. He's Obama's chief counterterrorism advisor. 

He heads the administration's Murder, Inc. agenda. As CIA head, he'll do more than advise. He'll have direct control. Expect him to take full advantage.

Anyone can be targeted anywhere in the world. US citizens are vulnerable. They can be murdered for any reason or none at all.

Drone wars are prioritized. They're becoming Washington's weapon of choice. They're instruments of state terror. They operate round-the-clock.

They sanitize killing on the cheap. Teams of remote control warriors operate computer keyboards and multiple monitors. They target faceless enemies half a world away or nearby. 

Virtual war kills like sport. Escalated operations are planned. Rule of law principles and other disturbing issues aren't considered. Secrecy and accountability go unaddressed.

The Washington Post explained further. On January 19, it headlined "CIA drone strikes will get pass in counterterrorism 'playbook,' officials say."

Obama's counterterrorism manual nears completion. It's "designed to establish clear rules for targeted-killing operations, but leaves open a major exemption for" CIA strikes in Pakistan.

Rules of engagement don't apply to killing Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects. A year or more will pass before directives are mandated.

Obama's counterterrorism playbook is being readied for term two. Policies will create lethal operations guidelines. A "milestone" will be reached.

Pre-9/11, institutionalized killing "would have seemed anathema to many." It's now standard operating procedure. It's normalized. CIA and Pentagon Special Forces Command officials prioritize it.

Murder, Inc. on a global scale is official policy. Expect Obama to take full advantage. High-mindedness was never on his agenda. It's entirely spurned now.

Drones are instruments of state terror. CIA officials operate carte blanche. They want policies officially codified. 

They want freedom to kill anyone engaged in activities resembling terrorism. They want their word alone to be enough. 

They want evidence about only 2% of victims shown to be high-value combatants buried and forgotten. They want official statements about drone killings making America safer highlighted.

They want freedom to commit mass murder, no questions asked.

According to the Post:

"Among the subjects covered in the playbook are the process for adding names to kill lists, the legal principles that govern when US citizens can be targeted overseas, and the sequence of approvals required when the CIA or US military conducts drone strikes outside war zones."

Inter-agency squabbling left sticky issues unresolved. CIA policy is doing things its way unobstructed. In late December, Obama's national security team acceded to Agency demands. 

CIA chief designate John Brennan led discussions. He knew well in advance about his new job before Obama announced it. He wants freedom to do things his way. Once it's official, he's got it. Expect it within weeks.

A former US official involved in playbook discussions spoke on condition of anonymity, saying:

CIA's exemption is expected for "less than two years but more than one." Any decision "will undoubtedly be predicated on facts on the ground."

Resolution settled things for now. So-called CIA "signature" strikes afford carte blanche authority. High-minded campaign rhetoric concealed Obama elevating Murder, Inc. to a higher level.

"The CIA declined requests for comment," said the Post. Their dirty linen remain officially undisclosed.

Last October, the Post initially broke the story. It headlined "A CIA Veteran transforms US counterterrorism policy," saying:

Brennan calls it his "playbook." He's developing targeted killing procedures. His "disposition matrix" explains them. It prioritizes drones, death squads, or other means. 

Only eliminating America's enemies matter. Whether real or imagined makes no difference. 

Targeted victims are people who want to live free from America's imperium. Washington calls them terrorists. Names go on kill lists. Eliminating them at all costs is policy.

Critics have other views. Brennan's playbook "sustain(s) a seemingly permanent war," said the Post. Legal principles aren't disclosed. None permit presidents or other officials to usurp life and death authority domestically or globally.

According to ACLU National Security Project director Hina Shamsi: 

Playbook authority "a step in exactly the wrong direction, a further bureaucratization of the CIA's paramilitary killing program."

Some administration officials have second thoughts. Former Pentagon general counsel, Jeh Johnson, warned about "not accept(ing) the current conflict, and all that it entails, as the 'new normal.' "

Signature strikes are especially contentious. They refer to targeting "patterns of suspicious behavior - even when the agency does not have clear intelligence about the identities of the targets."

A 2% success rate is troubling. Collateral damage includes noncombatant men, women, children, infants, and the elderly.

Obama wants Brennan's image burnished. Do so requires reinventing or sanitizing his tainted 25-year CIA career. During George Bush's first term, he was National Counterterrorism Center director. He also served as George Tenet's chief of staff.

He was heavily involved in extraordinary renditions, torture, and other high crimes. Under Obama, he continued where he left off serving Bush. 

He calls himself neither Republican or Democrat. Counterterrorism killing is nonsectarian, he believes. He wants CIA given "the tools it needs to keep our nation safe, and that its works always reflects the liberties, the freedoms and values that we hold so dear."

In his book "Nemesis: The Last Days of the Republic," Chalmers Johnson said the CIA menaces democratic freedoms.

It operates extrajudicially. It reflects unchecked power. It subverts checks and balances. 

It's "the personal, secret, unaccountable army of the president." 
It's a global hit squad. It prioritizes dirty tricks.

It's involved in overthrowing democratically elected governments, assassinating foreign leaders, killing other key officials, eliminating targeted individuals, propping up friendly dictators, renditioning suspects for torture, keeping everything it does secret, and giving presidents plausible deniability.

It menaces democratic rule. Each is incompatible with the other. Its existence shortened the Republic's life. Operating extrajudicially dooms it.

Brennan represents CIA's worst practices. Under Obama, he exceeded his earlier agenda. He belongs in prison, not high office. 

On February 7, his Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing begins. He'll win easy approval.

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

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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

Targeting Iran Continues


Targeting Iran Continues

by Stephen Lendman

Israel's likely coalition partners assure it. Spurious Iranian threats are hyped. What began years ago continues. 

Washington and Israel want puppet leaders replacing independent ones in power. At issue is unchallenged regional dominance.

On January 27, Haaretz headlined "Netanyahu: Iran preparing for another Holocaust."

At Sunday's cabinet meeting, he told ministers that "holocaust denial is continued energetically by a central state in the world."

"Not by groups. Not by single individuals. Not by marginal elements." 

"(B)y Iran, whose leaders on a daily basis and at the United Nations and any other platform deny that the Holocaust occurred, while at the same time they prepare what they believe will be an additional Holocaust: The destruction of the Jewish state."

He lied. He turned truth on its head. He hyped a nonexistent threat. He spuriously warned about Hezbollah getting Syrian chemical weapons.

"It is necessary to look at our surroundings, both at what is happening with Iran and its proxies, and what is happening in other arenas - lethal weaponry in Syria, which is steadily breaking up," he said."

"The Middle East is not awaiting for the outcome of election and is not stopping while (Israel's) government is assembled." 

"We are facing many threats, from the most dangerous ones, which I have mentioned, to others and reality continues to evolve - in the east, in the north, in the south - the entire area is raging and we must prepared and strong and determined in the face of any possible development." 

"For this reason, I will seek to form the widest and most stable government in order to respond, first and foremost, to every security threat."

Israel, of course, has no threats except ones it invents. Netanyahu prioritizes doing so. Fear is hyped. Pressing domestic concerns affecting Israelis most aren't discussed. At issue is whether regional war follows.

Haaretz hyped fear. The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) is an Israeli think tank. Emily Landau serves as arms control director. Retired Israeli ambassador Shimon Stein is senior fellow.

Their January 18 commentary headlined "Time for Obama to clarity US policy on Iran," saying:

Previous negotiations "failed to make headway." Bilateral US/Iranian negotiations were mentioned. Prominent US voices "emphasized the need to make one more determined and sincere effort to negotiate with Iran before moving to military force."

"Others emphasized that (Obama officials were) serious about not allowing Iran to become" nuclearized. "(I)f negotiations proved futile, (America) would indeed take military action."

Fear-mongering substitutes for truth and full disclosure. Annual US intelligence assessments explain best. They say Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. 

Nothing suggests nuclear weapons development. Washington and Israeli officials know it. Targeting Iran unjustly continues. What follows remains to be seen. 

According to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, America prepared plans to strike Iran's nuclear facilities "surgica(lly)." They're ready if diplomatic efforts fail. He challenged the notion that full-scale war would follow.

"What we basically say is that if worse comes to worst, there should be a readiness and an ability to launch a surgical operation that will delay them by a significant time frame and probably convince them that it won’t work because the world is determined to block them." 

America "prepared quite sophisticated, fine, extremely fine, scalpels. So it is not an issue of a major war or a failure to block Iran. You could under a certain situation, if worse comes to worst, end up with a surgical operation," he claims.

In recent days, Washington upgraded its regional strike capability. Six F-22 stealth Raptors were sent to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Reports suggest they're deployed longterm.

They're America's most advanced jet fighter. Their strike capability was enhanced. Ostensibly they can evade enemy radar. A UAE spokesman said basing them there poses no threat to Iran. Others aren't so sure.

Raptors have been operational for over a decade. They've been technically challenged. Their systems may not work as claimed. They've yet to be used in combat.

They carry eight "smart bombs." They can be launched at four targets simultaneously at high speed without losing stealth capability, it's claimed. Upgrading permits carrying out precise ground attacks. Multiple targets can be struck in one mission.

Pentagon sources didn't announce the UAE deployment. On January 25, The Aviationst.com provided information. It said stealth planes might escape radar but not human spotting. 

Gian Luca Onnis photographed them overflying Sardinia. They were trailing two KC-235s and one KC-10. Their contrails were clearly visible.

Airplane spotters also saw them landing. Enhancing America's regional strike capability occurs when Washington allegedly wants world tensions reduced.

In his inaugural address, Obama said "a decade of war is now ending." He lied. He's a serial liar. Permanent war is official US policy. Current conflicts continue. New ones are planned. 

Washington bears full responsibility for Syria and Mali. Anything erupting regionally, across North Africa, and in Central Asia bears its fingerprints.

US special forces were sent to 35 African countries. They're already in dozens of others worldwide. Expect Americans and Israelis wanting peace to be sorely disappointed.

Americans are stuck with Obama and likeminded hardliners. Israelis have Netanyahu and Israel's most extremist government in history.

Jeff Halper asked what did Israeli elections "tell us? Do Israelis want peace or not?"

It wasn't a campaign issue. Dominant parties didn't discuss it. Security is a "euphemism for keeping the Palestinians at bay." It's also about hyping a nonexistent Iranian existential threat.

Israeli sentiment differs from parties they elected. Why didn't they choose more wisely? Why didn't they vote "for a government that would genuinely end the Occupation and (deliver) peace, and with that personal security and economic prosperity?"

Halper suggest three reasons why not:

(1) Generations of Israeli Jews think peace with Arabs can't work. Propaganda says so ad nauseam.

(2) Successive Israeli governments spurned peace. They created "facts on the ground" to avoid it.

(3) Israelis have other priorities. Peace matters less than economic well-being and other daily issues. Israelis focus ones mattering more.

Whatever looms, Halper calls the two-state solution "dead, buried under settlements and infrastructure too massive and interlinked with Israel to detach, especially given the lack of will among international government, led by the US and Germany, to exert the pressures on Israel needed to force such massive concessions."

The only alternative is a one-state solution for all its people. It's for Israelis and Palestinians to demand it. "If the Israeli election 'tells us' anything," says Halper, it is that the ball is in our court."

It's very much there on demanding no war on Iran. Public sentiment may be the only way to prevent it.

Haaretz and other sources quoted a senior Tehran official saying attacking Syria would be considered one against Iran. Mehr News was cited. 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's aide, Ali Akbar Velayati, said:

"Syria has a very basic and key role in the region for promoting firm policies of resistance."

"For this reason, an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran's allies."

Iran and Syria have mutual defense priorities. In 2005, terms were agreed. It permits deploying Iranian weapons in Syria. In 2006, military cooperation was extended against "common threats." Washington and Israel were mentioned.

Targeting Iran is prioritized. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. War on Syria is more than about deposing Assad. It's to isolate Iran. It's to weaken and replace Hezbollah. Regional conflict looms. Launching it endangers humanity.

Israeli's have their own cross to bear. They have themselves to blame. Voting unwisely reaps the whirlwind. Occupation harshness continues. Settlements keep expanding. Neoliberal austerity is policy.

War on Israel's border threatens spillover. Nonexistent existential threats are hyped. Repetition gets people to believe them. Regional conflict harms everyone. 

Netanyahu's burden sharing, "security (through) strength," and stability through conflict should worry everyone. What's ahead demands close monitoring.

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

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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

http://www.dailycensored.com/obama-prioritizes-targeted-killings/

http://www.dailycensored.com/targeting-iran-continues/