Thursday, September 03, 2015

Western Leaders Snub China's WW II Victory Day Commemoration

Western Leaders Snub China’s WW II Victory Day Commemoration

by Stephen Lendman

No two nations sacrificed more to defeat the scourge of Nazi and imperial Japanese fascism that Russia and China.

No one knows for sure how many from both countries perished. Estimates of Russian deaths ranged from 26 - 40 million.

From Japan’s invasion and occupation of Manchuria in 1931 to WW II’s end in 1945, 30 million or more Chinese died. Many more in both countries suffered serious injuries. Large parts of their land mass were devastated.

Without Sino/Russian contributions to the war effort, Hitler and imperial Japan might have prevailed. War didn’t touch US soil. Americans old enough to remember recall minor inconveniences only - including rationing goods needed for the war effort.

Except for loved ones away at war, life was mostly normal. Conflict raged out of sight and mind. The only awareness most people had came from print and radio reports - no television at the time.

Victory of the Chinese people against Japanese aggression was commemorated in Beijing on the 70th anniversary of WW II’s end - an impressive ceremony featuring thousands of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops, invited ones from 16 other countries including Russia, parading across Tiananmen Square, a dazzling air show, a display of new Chinese weapons seen publicly for the first time, accompanied by a PLA band and 2,400-strong choir - in front of around 30 foreign leaders, lower-level delegations from numerous countries, and a world audience able to access the event online or television where available.

President Xi Jinping affirmed Beijing’s commitment for world peace and stability. “Prejudice and discrimination, hated and war can only cause disaster and pain,” he said.

He announced plans to reduce China’s military from its current 2.3 million strength to around two million - part of what he calls longterm reform.

During a meeting with Xi, Putin affirmed Sino/Russian ‘unit(y) by a strategic relationship and, as we say, a comprehensive partnership.”

Both countries won’t ever forget “the cruel actions of invaders on the temporarily occupied territories, which resulted in innumerable victims.”

“But we must remember this to make sure that nothing like this happens again in the future. I listened carefully to your speech at the parade.” 

“I believe that was (your) main message addressed to the people of China and the peoples of the entire world, namely: everything must be done to prevent large-scale military conflicts in the future and to minimize military conflicts in general,” Putin stressed.

Obama and Western leaders were noticeably absent. So was Japan - an unforgivable snub for an event demanding their presence, refusing to honor China’s enormous sacrifice, beginning years before Hitler invaded Poland and America’s involvement in WW II.

Czech President Milos Zeman was the only European head of state attending besides Putin. Some Western states sent low-level delegations. America sent no one.

Beijing strongly condemned Japan for refusing to acknowledge its horrendous atrocities committed against the Chinese people. After 70 years, it still won’t officially admit guilt.

Renmin University Professor Wang Yiwei called Western leaders’ refusal to attend China’s commemorative event “unacceptable.”

Beijing’s enormous contribution to defeating imperial Japan “has been (greatly) underestimated at home and abroad.” Its resistance began in September 1931 - “last(ing) almost 14 years, the first and the longest
 fight against fascist forces.”

Yiwei estimates “35 million (Chinese) casualties.” Its forces were responsible for “nearly 70% of Japanese troops…injured or killed,” he said.

“More than 45 million Chinese people participated in the enduring resistance, which involved a total of about 1.7 billion people from 61 countries.”

“Thanks to the Chinese people, the Japanese troops were not able to proceed further to attack the eastern part of the Soviet Union, or make inroads into India, Australia and perhaps the Middle East, as the then US president Franklin D. Roosevelt feared in a worst scenario.” 

“On the other hand, Japan's failure to colonize China boosted the morale of anti-fascist fighters across the globe, and united them into a massive force” for victory over a deadly scourge wanting everyone enslaved.

Failure of Obama, other Western leaders and Japan’s Shinzo Abe to honor China’s enormous contribution to world peace is an unforgivable affront - typical of how these nations operate, politicizing an important event at a time global war again remains a major threat.

A Final Comment

Ahead of China’s Victory Day commemoration and President Xi’s upcoming state visit to Washington, reports indicate the Obama administration intends imposing sanctions on Beijing for alleged cyber theft - despite no verifiable evidence proving anything.

If Xi responds in kind, maybe another sanctions war will erupt before he arrives.

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. 

Obama's Covert Drone War on Syria

Obama’s Covert Drone War on Syria

by Stephen Lendman

Obama’s war on Syria is in its fifth year - naked aggression partnered with Israel, Britain, France, Canada and rogue regional states, using imported death squad foot soldiers against a sovereign independent country threatening no others.

On September 1, the Washington Post headlined  “US launches secret drone campaign to hunt Islamic State leaders in Syria.”

False!! IS leaders and foot soldiers are US enlisted proxies - funded, armed, trained, directed and deployed cross-border against the Assad government.

Washington’s bombing campaign (including use of drones) targets Syrian infrastructure, as well as providing air support for IS and other imported terrorist fighters.

Not according to WaPo, saying “(t)he CIA and US Special Operations forces have launched a secret campaign to hunt terrorism suspects in Syria as part of a targeted killing program that is run separately from the broader US military offensive against the Islamic State” - citing unnamed US officials as its source.

An earlier article discussed CIA operatives involved in arming and training US proxy death squad fighters - deployed to Syria against Assad, smuggled across Turkey’s border. Entering through Lebanon, Jordan and Israel.

A separate article explained UK SAS special forces covertly operating in Syria - dressed as Islamic State fighters, suggesting US special forces may be involved the same way, attacking Syrian targets on the pretext of fighting IS.

WaPo reported US propaganda claiming CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) operatives “are flying drones over Syria in a collaboration responsible for several recent strikes against senior Islamic State operatives, the officials said.” 

“Among those killed was a British militant thought to be an architect of the terrorist group’s effort to use social media to incite attacks in the United States.”

WaPo ignored CIA and perhaps US special forces involved in Syria since at least 2012, likely before war was launched.

Instead, it said “its clandestine program represents a significant escalation of the CIA’s involvement in the war in Syria.”

Claiming “high-value (IS) targets” are attacked is polar opposite truth. Washington uses them against Assad, wanting him ousted, replaced by a pro-Western/US controlled puppet.

Claiming the drone campaign “reflects rising anxiety among US counterterrorism officials about the danger the Islamic State poses, as well as frustration with the failure of conventional strikes to degrade the group’s strength” is subterfuge, concealing Washington’s real mission.

The way to defeat the Islamic State is simple. Stop supporting it with arms, funding, training and direction.

Near the end of its detailed report, WaPo admitted “(t)he CIA has long-standing ties to the Jordanian intelligence service and operates clandestine bases in that country where the agency has trained and armed thousands of fighters sent back into Syria’s civil war.”

The same goes for Turkey. Israel is involved. What’s ongoing is part of Washington longstanding agenda to eliminate all independent governments worldwide, replace them with US-controlled stooge regimes, pillage global resources, and exploit populations everywhere.

Its hegemonic aims are reckless - an agenda threatening 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. 

Guatemalan President Resigns: Faces Corruption Charges

Guatemalan President Resigns: Faces Corruption Charges

by Stephen Lendman

Following an attorney general arrest warrant against him, Otto Perez Molina resigned. His spokesman Jorge Ortega said he submitted his resignation at midnight Wednesday local time - “to maintain the institution of the presidency and resolve on his own the legal proceedings leveled against him.”

They’re unrelated to his sordid past - when known as “Major Tito” for involvement in genocidal slaughter of indigenous Ixil Indians in 1982.    

Journalist Allan Nairn explained he was one of the US-backed generals responsible for “massacres that devastated the Mayan population of the northwest highlands.”

He’s a former and likely current CIA asset - vulnerable to prosecution “for the mass murders he helped preside over while carrying out the program of genocide of General Rios Montt,” Nairn explained.

On May 10, 2013, he was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity - sentenced to 80 years in prison, the first former Guatemalan leader to be convicted of these high crimes in his own country.

His trial lasted five weeks. Over 100 witnesses testified. They included psychologists, military experts, and Maya Ixil Indian survivors. They explained Montt's scorched earth policy - slaughtering tens of thousands, destroying hundreds of villages. 

Molina was directly involved - thus far never held accountable. He and Montt were trained at the infamous School of the Americas (SOA) - now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), notoriously known as the school of assassins.

Repressive tactics taught include ways to kill, maim, torture, oppress, exterminate poor and indigenous people, overthrow democratically elected governments, assassinate targeted leaders, suppress popular resistance, and work cooperatively with Washington to solidify fascist rule.

Graduates are guilty of arbitrary arrests, kidnappings, suspension of civil liberties, martial law, indefinite detentions, beatings, torture, sodomizing men, gang-raping women, suppression of dissent, and death squad mass murders.

Ten days after Montt’s conviction, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court overturned it, voiding proceedings back to April 19, ordering trial “reset” from that point.

It resumed in January 2015 - then  ended because of the presiding judge’s views on genocide in an academic thesis. A new trial was set for July. It may never occur after doctors claimed he’s medically incapable of understanding charges against him.

Molina is accused of grand theft - masterminding a scheme to embezzle millions of dollars related to a customs fraud ring. On Tuesday, Guatemala’s Congress unanimously stripped him of immunity from prosecution.

Prosecutors and a UN commission uncovered a so-called “La Linea (the Line)” scheme - involving businesses paying bribes to avoid customs duties amounting to millions of dollars.

On Wednesday, Public Prosecutor Thelma Aldana said “(t)here’s a criminal case and we will go to trial, and then a verdict. In my opinion and based on what I know of the case, it will have to be a conviction.”

Nairn explained under Guatemalan law, ordinary people can file criminal charges in court. Stripped of his immunity, anyone can charge Molina of involvement of indigenous Mayan massacres.

If it happens, Nairn urged prosecutors to follow the “trail of blood” leading to Washington. US sponsors bear direct responsibility for genocidal slaughter.

In 1996, Guatemala's 34-year genocidal war ended. A previous article explained the following:

In February 1999, the Historical Clarification Commission (aka truth and justice reconciliation commission) issued a detailed report titled "Guatemala, Memory of Silence."

It documented decades of genocide, torture and other atrocities. Most victims were indigenous Mayans. Guatemalan and US officials bore full responsibility.

Around 9,200 witnesses on all sides of the conflict provided evidence. The commission concluded that Guatemala's military, security forces, and paramilitary units were responsible for 93% of human rights abuses and deaths.

Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union guerrillas were involved in only 3%. In another 4% of cases, responsibility couldn't be determined.

According to the report:

"The massacres that eliminated entire Mayan villages are neither perfidious allegations nor figments of the imagination, but an authentic chapter in Guatemala's history."

"The majority of human rights violations occurred with the knowledge or by order of the highest authorities of the state." 

"The responsibility for a large part of these violations, with respect to the chain of military command as well as the political and administrative responsibility, reaches the highest levels of the army and successive governments."

Massacres were politically motivated. "Believing that the ends justified everything, the military and state security forces blindly pursued the anti-Communist struggle, without respect for any legal principles or the most elemental ethical and religious values, and in this way completely lost any semblance of human morals."

The worst atrocities occurred on Montt's watch. In 1982, he launched Operation Sofia. Military and security forces committed hundreds of massacres. 

Around 600 Mayan villages were destroyed. Systematic genocide was official policy. During his tenure, around 70,000 civilians were murdered or disappeared. Hundreds of thousands were internally displaced.

Over half of those slaughtered were in El Quiche. Ixil Mayans lost from 70 - 90% of their villages. Washington provided generous support. Reagan was president. General Alexander Haig was Secretary of State.

From 1981 - 1983, International/European Law Professor Emeritus Christian Tomuschat called Guatemalan policy "acts of genocide against groups of the Mayan people."

For over two decades, Washington supported it. "Up until the mid-1980s, there was strong pressure from the US government and US companies to maintain the country's archaic and unjust economic structure," he said.

US administrations knew about genocide, torture and other atrocities. They encouraged them. 

During the 1960s, Washington equipped and trained Guatemalan security forces. Declassified US intelligence documents revealed CIA and Pentagon involvement. 

Throughout the 1980s, close US-Guatemalan ties remained. Scorched earth dirty war targeted indigenous Mayans, resistance guerrillas, and suspected allies.

The region was embroiled in conflict. Death squad justice was official policy. Washington-backed Contras battled Nicaragua's Sandinista government. El Salvadoran fascists were supported.

Throughout the decade, weapons, munitions, training, and destabilizing covert operations supported despots over freedom. Resistance fighters and indigenous populations were targeted.

Guatemala's conflict lasted longest. Washington fueled and supported it. All US administrations have blood on their hands. It reflects imperialism's dark side. 

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. 

Obama Prevails in Senate for Iran Nuclear Deal

Obama Prevails in Senate for Iran Nuclear Deal 

by Stephen Lendman

Barbara Mikulski (D. MD) became the 34th US senator declaring support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) - defeating Republicans, Democrat hardliners, Israel and AIPAC’s $50 million propaganda campaign. Its intensive lobbying and ad blitz came up short.

Mikulski’s statement showed she’s no profile in courage. Instead of forthrightly rejecting anti-Iranian hate-mongering, endorsing what lessens chances for greater Middle East war, she called herself “an unabashed and unwavering supporter of Israel” - ignoring its blood-drenched history, apartheid much worse than South Africa’s, and decades of ruthless persecution of millions of Palestinians, defenseless against its killing machine.

“Some have suggested we reject this deal and impose unilateral sanctions to force Iran back to the table,” she said. But maintaining or stepping up sanctions will only work if the sanction coalition holds together.”

“It’s unclear if the European Union, Russia, China, India and others would continue sanctions if Congress rejects this deal. At best, sanctions would be porous, or limited to unilateral sanctions by the US.”

Obama needs seven more Senate votes to filibuster Republicans’ intention to reject the deal. Otherwise, he’ll have to veto what both Houses pass - with enough Senate support to sustain it.

Other P5+1 countries and Iran indicated no intent to renegotiate what’s already approved if America reneges. Rejection would make it more of a pariah state than already.

Iran’s isolation is ending. Its being accepted back into the world community of nations as it deserves. Other countries are eager to normalize relations. Any US attempt to undermine what’s in progress won’t work.

At the same time, the dawn of a new US/Iranian relationship hasn’t arrived. On Wednesday, John Kerry indicated continued Washington hostility, saying:

“Have no doubt. The United States will oppose Iran’s destabilizing policies with every national security tool available.” 

Kerry ignored the Islamic Republic’s peace and stability agenda, a nuclear-free Middle East, favoring mutual cooperation with all nations - polar opposite US and Israeli policy, two rogue states threatening world peace.

JCPA was never about preventing Iran’s path to the bomb. Claiming it wants what it clearly rejects is red herring cover for Washington’s real objective - regime change, replacing Tehran’s sovereign independent government with a pro-Western puppet one, at the same time eliminating Israel’s main regional rival.

Thirty-six years of failure haven’t changed these objectives. Washington readied war plans years ago, updating them as conditions warranted.

They can be implemented any time by presidential order - by Obama before his tenure ends or his successor. Chances increase substantially if it’s a Clinton administration.

As a 2008 presidential aspirant, she said “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them” - code language for nuclear war she’d order, mass murdering millions of Iranians.

Republicans haven’t admitted defeat. They have an alternate plan in mind. The 1996 Iran Sanctions Act expires next year after the 2010 Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) extended it.

It prohibits US and foreign oil and gas development investments exceeding $20 million. Violators face stiff penalties. They include denial of Export-Import Bank of the United States help, rejection of export licenses, and a ban on all or some violating company imports.

Republicans want the law extended another decade. They want new sanctions imposed. They want greater regional conflicts and instability than already. 

They fundamentally oppose peace in a part of the world without it for decades. Their agenda supports endless wars. So do most Democrats.

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. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Dollar as World's Reserve Currency Threatened

Dollar As World’s Reserve Currency Threatened

by Stephen Lendman

US dollar dominance finances Washington’s reckless spending, global militarism, its empire of bases, endless wars, corporate takeovers, as well as speculative excess creating bubbles and economic crises - at the expense of democratic freedoms and beneficial social change.

China, Russia and other nations increasingly trading in their own currencies pose a significant threat to dollar dominance. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explained Washington’s currency war on China, saying:

“The Chinese are in the process of displacing the monopoly of the US dollar. They are dropping their US Treasury bonds, stockpiling gold reserves, and opening regional distribution banks for their own national currency.” 

“This will give them easier access to capital markets and insulate them from financial manipulation by Washington and Wall Street.”

China bashing by public and private US officials is part of a campaign to denigrate its government - making inflammatory accusations without proof about hacking, defying its legitimate right to do what it wishes in its own waters, and threatening sanctions - legal only by Security Council members, never by individual countries against others, Washington’s longstanding weapon against independent governments.

“As the financial architecture of the world is being altered by China and Russia, the US dollar is gradually being neutralized as one of Washington’s weapon of choice,” Nazemroaya explained.

The post-WW II US-dominated international monetary system is threatened with unraveling. Washington is fighting back with propaganda, energy, financial, economic and currency wars against China and Russia, said Nazemroaya.

Russia sold a fifth of its $125 billion in US Treasuries holdings last March. China’s US Treasuries holdings exceed $1 trillion dollars. It’s been aggressively dumping them.

It’s gone from the world’s largest buyer to its biggest seller. Will other countries follow suit? Nations are increasingly trading in their own currencies. Weakening America’s financial strength is the best way curb its imperial ambitions.

Russia drafted legislation aimed at eliminating dollars and euros in 
trade between Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, and other former Soviet republics.

A Kremlin statement said “(t)his would help expand the use of national currencies in foreign trade payments and financial services and thus create preconditions for greater liquidity of domestic currency markets.”

It would facilitate regional trade and help achieve economic stability. It would reduce dependency on the world’s two dominant currencies.

China’s central bank launched a Heilongjiang Province yuan/ruble program - Russia’s currency replacing the dollar.

Both countries are increasingly trading in their own currencies - bypassing dollar transactions. If enough other countries follow suit, dollar strength will weaken. Its hegemonic ambitions will be curbed - how much, how soon remains to be seen.

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. 

More Lawless US Sanctions on Russia

More Lawless US Sanctions on Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Nations unilaterally or collectively may not impose sanctions on other countries, individuals, businesses or organizations. International law permits only Security Council members to impose them.

America’s odious history reflects abuse of power on an unprecedented scale. Illegally imposing sanctions is one of its many crimes - again against Russia for the fourth time since March 2014, for fabricated reasons relating to Ukraine, not legitimate ones.

Design Bureau, Rosoboronexport, Russian Aircraft Corporation and other companies were targeted. Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded sharply to Washington’s latest salvo, saying:

“The expansion of sanctions list announced by Washington on September 2 which includes Russian companies and organizations, as well as several legal entities with Russian participation outside of our country, is not just another demonstration of US administration’s inability to appropriately assess the situation in Ukraine.” 

“This is a reflection of a mindset rooted in the US ruling circles set on conscious and consistent destruction of basis for normalizing Russian-American relations.”

Obama’s war on Donbass letting Kiev junta proxy forces do its fighting and dying “is used by the US administration as a pretext for imposing on us the unacceptable ‘behavior model.’ “

“This time, in addition to incessant attempts to ‘link’ sanctions against Russian individuals and legal entities to the tragic developments in Ukraine, it was announced that illegal restrictions will be used against us in the framework of American legislation on Iran, Syria and North Korea.”

Washington rejects “easing tensions in ‘hot spots,’ but rather by irritation toward Russia’s independent position on the international arena and desire to ‘punish’ us for consistent defense of national interests, for free choice of residents of Crimea and Sevastopol, and thus to inflict damage on the Russian economy.”

New sanctions after three previous rounds reflects “another element in a whole series of hostile actions made by the US toward Russia lately in different spheres, including military, economic and visa aspects.”

“Washington’s unacceptable rhetoric is overboard. Such a reckless course arouses growing concern even among US allies. It can result in serious costs for international stability and will undoubtedly hit back at American interests.”

“Washington’s actions devalue its own signals about being interested in cooperation with us on several pressing international problems.”

“Futile attempts to exert sanctions pressure on us, as it seems, have not taught Washington strategists anything.”

“The United States should not harbor illusions about the possibility to continue this line without negative consequences for themselves. Reciprocal measures from us will definitely follow, and they will not necessarily be ‘mirrored.’ “

The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security said sanctioned Russian companies added to its Entity List act “contrary to the national security of foreign policy interests of the United States” - code language for opposing its hegemonic agenda.

Moscow should harbor no illusion about partnership with America. Lunatics in Washington want regime change - by color revolution or war. 

They’re hellbent for letting nothing stop their maniacal drive for global dominance. Eliminating key rivals Russia and China is Washington’s top goal - even at the risk of unthinkable nuclear war.

In his latest article, Paul Craig Roberts said “(o)nce a country descends into evil, it doesn’t emerge.” America is the real evil empire, an unparalleled one in human history. Its arrogance and hubris may destroy us all.

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. 

New Israeli Police State Measure

New Israeli Police State Measure

by Stephen Lendman

Israel is a racist police state - run by criminal thugs. Numerous earlier measures violated the letter and spirit of fundamental international humanitarian laws.

Justice Minister Ayelet (“little snakes”) Shaked heads the Israeli Legislation Ministerial Committee. It drafted the new police state measure - solely targeting Palestinians despite claims otherwise.

It broadens the definition of terrorism, related activities and terrorist organizations - to more severely brutalize Palestinians than already, for political reasons, not criminality.

It mandates longer prison terms and stiffer conditions for releasing detainees. Israel’s definition of “terrorism” is any Palestinian protesting for international law guaranteed rights everyone deserves.

The measure is expected to pass its first reading straightaway - even though Knesset members got no time to review its provisions.

Israel’s phony pretext was the firebombing of the Dawabsha family home. Responsible extremist settlers have yet to be identified and held accountable, weeks after the July 31 attack - immolating 18-month-old Ali, later claiming his father’s life, too badly burned to be saved.

Senior opposition Zionist Union party members support Netanyahu’s coalition government bill. An unnamed one said “(h)ow could we explain to the public that we voted against a comprehensive, updated bill whose purpose is fighting terror.”

US-led NATO and Israeli war on terror are complete fabrications, justifying a war OF terror on humanity - in Israel’s case, brutally terrorizing millions of defenseless Palestinians, helpless against its killing machine.

Left-of-center Meretz party leader Zahava Gal-on strongly opposes the new measure, saying:

“Everyone wants to fight terrorism, but also when fighting terrorism it is forbidden to sacrifice basic values of state law and basic human rights.”

“It is unacceptable to anchor in legislation totalitarian powers such as administrative detentions and restraining orders, and use undemocratic means such as confidential information and confidential evidence.”

The new bill equates anyone allegedly intending terrorist acts with individuals or groups committing them. Punishment is doubled - up to 30 years imprisonment, even in cases where proof of intent is absent.

Anyone expressing support for freedom fighting groups involved in what Israel calls terrorist activity faces three years in prison for stating their views - including members of charitable organizations.

Anyone aged 12 or older can be prosecuted for anything Israel calls terrorism or terrorist related activity - including wearing a shirt or other garment bearing the name of a designated organization.

Mass surveillance and other police state practices are authorized - to monitor virtually everyone, mirroring NSA and other spy agencies in America.

Anti-terrorism legislation was introduced five years ago. The current measure is more draconian than earlier versions.

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. 

Gaza: A Socioeconomic Dead Zone

Gaza: A Socioeconomic Dead Zone

by Stephen Lendman

Gaza is ground zero for Israel’s longstanding ethnic cleansing policy to achieve maximum Jews and minimum Arabs - on stolen Palestinian land, acquired by mass slaughter and displacement, a ruthless, racist, rogue state agenda, violating the letter and spirit of core international laws with impunity.

The world community is complicit with its high crimes - doing nothing to stop them, ongoing for nearly seven decades with no letup, raping millions of Palestinians, defenseless against its killing machine.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) annual report says “Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current economic trends persist.”

Blockade since mid-2007 and three Israeli wars of aggression against 1.8 million defenseless people trapped in the world’s largest open-air prison “shattered (the Strip’s) ability to export and produce for the domestic market, ravaged its already debilitated infrastructure, (prevents) reconstruction and economic recovery, and accelerated the de-development of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a process by which development is not merely hindered but reversed.”

“The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020.”

Gaza already is “unlivable.” Israeli inflicted pain, suffering and deprivation is suffocating an entire population - slow-motion genocide by any standard, while the world community yawns and does nothing to stop one of history’s great crimes.

It’s just a matter of time before another Israeli war, premeditated aggression - on whatever pretext it invents to justify the unjustifiable.

Gaza’s 225 square miles is home to one of the world’s highest population densities. Wars of aggression at Israel’s discretion, intermittent ground and air attacks, as well as blockade created nightmarish conditions for its people.

Deplorable socioeconomic conditions are at their worst level since Israel’s so called war of independence - naked aggression stealing 78% of historic Palestinian, taking the rest in June 1967, committing high crimes against millions of Palestinians, Gazans suffering most of all.

UNCTAD’s report highlights the Strip’s water and electricity crisis, as well as destruction of vital infrastructure last summer.

Its population largely relies on coastal aquifers for water - 95% of it is unsafe to drink. Economic losses from three devastating wars since December 2008 almost equals three times the size of Gaza’s GDP.

“The total cost may be substantially higher once indirect economic losses are included and lost future income streams from destroyed productive capacities are added,” said UNCTAD.

Nearly 250 factories and 300 commercial centers for entirely or partly destroyed. Gaza’s sole power plant was hugely damaged. Before last summer’s war, its capacity met less than 40% of what’s needed.

The socioeconomic crisis is exacerbated by Israel’s grand theft of offshore oil and gas in Gazan waters - depriving Palestinians of the right to develop their own resources and earn desperately needed revenues for economic growth and sustainability.

Nearly half of working aged Gazans are unemployed, many others hugely underemployed earning sub-poverty wages. Food insecurity affects nearly three-fourths of the population.

Gazan exports are blocked - imports and cash transfers extremely restricted. Israel prevents “the flow of all but the most basic humanitarian goods,” said UNCTAD - and not enough of them.

Advisor to former prime minister/convicted felon Ehud Olmert, Dov Weisglass, commenting on Gaza’s siege once said “(t)he idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

In other words, bring Gazans to the point of malnutrition and starvation without crossing the line - or at least make it appear this way.

Gazans are dependent on outside aid to survive. Last month UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) staff protested the agency’s rolling back vital services it provides, including schooling and healthcare.

UNCTAD warned that donor aid remains essential - but not enough to sustain Gaza, offset Israel’s blockade, or be able to reverse de-development conditions. 

Nothing in prospect suggests constructive change. Gazans remain isolated on their own - abandoned by world leaders, save for meaningless lip service.

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. 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Discrimination Against Russian Jews in Israel

Discrimination Against Russian Jews in Israel

by Stephen Lendman

America is the developed world’s most unequal country economically. Israel is close behind - a chasm in both nations exists between rich and most others, growing exponentially. Social injustice is rife.

US Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1956 - 1941) once said nations have a choice - democracy or concentrated wealth in few hands, never both. America and Israel were never democracies, for sure not now.

Beginning in the late 1980s under Mikhail Gorbachev, hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews emigrated to Israel - for large numbers, failing to find what they came for, driving many to leave.

On August 29, the Jerusalem Post headlined 26 years of Russian aliya: Segregation, poverty and police brutality,” saying:

Since the late 1980s, “(o)ver a million repatriates from the former Soviet Union came to Israel, where they became ‘Russians.’ “

New arrivals included doctors, engineers, scientists and other professionals. Despite contributing to Israel’s economy and culture, “their problems aren’t addressed but rather keep piling up, while being completely overlooked.”

Russians face discrimination. “(R)acist slurs and stereotypes” taunt them…The glass ceiling is more impenetrable than ever.”

“(T)he percentage of ‘Russians’ in senior positions and public office is much lower in proportion to their percentage within the Israeli society. There are no ‘Russian’ CEO’s in the ministries, which means that they are being ignored and not considered for promotions.”

They’re harassed, beaten by police and wrongfully detained - children treated as abusively as adults. Authorities admit harsh treatment, even though they’re good, law-abiding citizens.

Around 200,000 elderly Russians will “get peanuts for pensions” at retirement - even though they spent up to a generation in Israel’s workforce. 

They’ll get the equivalent of around $750 dollars a month maximum - sub-poverty in Israel’s high cost of living economy if they have no other sources of income or enough savings.

Otherwise, they’ll have to rely on children for support. A newly created Forum of Russian-speaking Israelis includes “journalists, researchers, sociologists and PR professionals,” said the JP.

They “united to work on solving all the problems mentioned above before” - raising awareness, organizing protests and seeking ways to “ease the burden” of elderly Russian nationals approaching retirement.

They intend pressuring Netanyahu for help. Various MKs support them. Media coverage helps their cause. They got results. A government commission will look for ways to solve their problem - including stopping police brutality discussed above.

Forum members want Russian Jews treated as equal citizens. About 720,000 Russians now live in Israel. Their numbers are shrinking as many vote with their feet and leave.

At one time, 20 Russian nationals held Knesset seats. Today it’s 13 out a 120-seat body. The Russian immigrant tide left for a better life in Israel. Most were hugely disappointed.

They’re frustrated and angry for good reason. They were sold a bill of goods to come - empty promises they discovered. For many, the cost of living is overwhelming. Low pay and dwindling benefits make it hard to make ends meet. They pay high taxes and get little back in return.

Widespread emigration is an ongoing process getting little media attention. It’s a politically charged topic. Departing Russians either go home or head to Western countries willing to accept them.

Ex-pats leaving way outnumber new arrivals. Life in Israel rewards its privileged few. Russian immigrants get short shrift.

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. 

California School District Serves Organic Meals

California School District Serves Organic Meals

by Stephen Lendman

The scientific and world community know GMOs harm human health. So why does Washington and other governments permit their use - and in America, ban labeling, suppressing vital consumer information?

Ecowatch asked: “What if we could feed our students the nutritious, delicious and sustainably sourced food they truly deserve?”

Sausalito, California Marin City School District is the nation’s first one offering “100 percent organic and non-GMO” foods to children. Why aren’t all US school districts doing the same thing?

Why aren’t only foods and ingredients safe to eat allowed to be sold in America? The Conscious Kitchen says it’s dedicated to a systematic transformation of school dining, to the health and well being of our children, and to a thriving future for our planet.”

It’s contracted to supply meals for Marin County’s Bayside MLK Jr Academy and Willow Creek Academy. 

The student-led Turning Green global movement for “conscious living” and a healthy planet launched the project in August 2013 - together with Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito Marin City School District, Whole Foods Market and Good Earth Natural Foods.

Ecowatch said since initiated, “the program saw a steep decrease in disciplinary cases, increased attendance and a greater sense of community.”

Turning Green founder Judi Shils said “(s)tudents everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins. Not only does this program far exceed USDA nutritional standards, but it ties the health of our children to the health of our planet. It’s the first program to say that fundamentally, you cannot have one without the other.”

Offering children safe, nutritious, toxin-free foods, is the best way to develop their young bodies and promote health.

Conscious Kitchen-supplied schools accompany their meals with nutrition and gardening education. It explains the dangers of GMO consumption.

It uses the acronym FLOSN to explain foods it supplies - Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal and Non-GMO. What if every food supplier in America operated by the same standard? 

Imagine a food supply fit to eat. Imagine the way it was long ago before agribusiness became dominant - mass marketing toxins masquerading as wholesome, nutritious foods.

Cavallo Point Lodge’s consulting chef for The Conscious Kitchen. Justin Everett, says “(b)y embracing fresh, local, organic, non-GMO food, this program successfully disrupts the cycle of unhealthy, pre-packaged, heat and serve meals that dominate school kitchens” - junk foods unfit to eat by anyone.

The Conscious Kitchen says foods are safest, best and of highest nutritional value when come “straight from farm to fork.” It uses no processed, preserved or frozen ingredients. Above all, no GMO or chemically contaminated foods and ingredients.

It calls its policy “a no-exceptions rule.” Imagine if governments operated by the same standard. Imagine a healthy America - not one plagued by epidemic levels of illness, obesity, depression and other public health issues.

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.