Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Outgoing CIA Director Hypes Nonexistent Russian Threat

Outgoing CIA Director Hypes Nonexistent Russian Threat

by Stephen Lendman

America needs enemies to advance its imperial agenda. None exist so they’re invented - a pretext for current wars, future ones, color revolutions, old-fashioned coups and assassinations.

It’s been the American way from the republic’s inception, a culture of violence persisting at home and abroad since the 18th century, far more dangerous with today’s super-weapons able to kill us all.

Neocon lunatics infest Washington, Trump’s tenure perhaps destined to be the most turbulent in US history since the Civil War, how he’ll fare yet to be determined.

Dark forces far more powerful than the office of the presidency confront him. If he diverges from longstanding practice, especially geopolitically, he may not last a full term, maybe not a full year.

Working with Russia cooperatively, instead of maintaining adversarial relations, could seal his fate.

Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, January 15, host Chris Wallace asked outgoing CIA director John Brennan if disparaging comments by two former agency heads wasn’t just cause for Trump to believe Langley is out to get him.

Former acting CIA director Mike Morell said “(i)n the intelligence business, we would say Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

Former agency head Michael Hayden called Trump a “useful fool…manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but his blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”

Brennan neither “defend(ed) or explain(ed) what they said.” Claiming the intelligence community will support Trump depends entirely on how his agenda unfolds, especially his policy toward Russia.

Hyping its nonexistent threat, Brennan claimed Trump doesn’t have a full appreciation of (its) capabilities, (its) intentions, and actions (it’s) undertaking in many parts of the world.”

Fact: Putin champions world peace and stability, abhors war and violence, wants cooperative relations with all nations, deplores America’s imperial madness.

Brennan: Russia must “change (its) behavior, change (its) actions.”

Translation: Russia must play by Washington rules, be subservient to its wishes or else.

Brennan opposes Trump and Putin working together cooperatively. He’s against lifting sanctions, no matter their illegality and counterproductiveness.

He lied about what’s happening in Ukraine, in Syria, in “the cyber realm.” Trump needs to step back from “absolving Russia of various actions” it never undertook, he said.

No “Russian aggression” exists in Ukraine, Syria or anywhere else. US wars of aggression rage in multiple theaters, responsible for millions of casualties Brennan ignored.

He recited a laundry list of nonexistent threats, ones Washington uses as pretexts for raping and destroying one country after another.

US national security hasn’t been threatened since WW II. Brennan lied claiming otherwise. Asked to name his greatest accomplishments and regrets, he shamelessly expressed pride in being part of an administration involved in “advanc(ing) the interests of peace and stability,” along with related issues.

Obama’s disgraceful record speaks for itself - the most ruthless regime in US history, the most lawless, the most contemptuous of humanity at home and abroad.

As for regrets, Brennan named Syria, shamelessly claiming his “heart…bleeds over what happened” there - ignoring US naked aggression against a sovereign independent country threatening no one, the CIA under his direction playing a major role.

Brennan is an unindicted war criminal, unaccountable for Nuremberg-level crimes of war and against humanity.

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: How the 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.

Kerry Faults Trump for Candid Geopolitical Comments

Kerry Faults Trump for Candid Geopolitical Comments

by Stephen Lendman

Interviewed by CNN, Kerry ignored longstanding US global meddling, saying it’s “inappropriate for a president-elect of the United States to be stepping in to the politics of other countries in a quite direct manner…”

He referred to Trump criticizing Germany’s immigration policy, saying Brexit is “a great thing…the UK…so smart in getting out,” predicting other countries will leave the EU sinking ship (my words, not his), and calling the European Union “a vehicle for Germany.”

Agree or disagree with him, he says what he believes, unlike typical forked tongue comments from most US leaders and officials, notably Obama, Hillary and Kerry.

America’s political class supports its allies, including an array of ruthless rogue states. It targets all sovereign independent ones for regime change, naked aggression its favorite strategy of choice.

Kerry is part of the problem, heading America’s foreign policy establishment from February 1, 2013 to January 20, 2017, succeeding Hillary Clinton. 

For eight years, they meddled in the internal affairs of numerous countries worldwide, planning and implementing wars of aggression, ousting foreign leaders, denigrating others, committing high crimes too egregious to ignore.

Trump won’t succeed Obama until January 20, so his geopolitical agenda is largely unknown until it begins unfolding.

Responsible outreach to Russia is encouraging. Using longstanding one China policy as a bargaining chip is politically doomed to fail, while appointing two orthodox Jews as US ambassador to Israel and chief negotiator respectively (including on possible Israeli/Palestinian peace talks) assures continued conflict, not resolution.

Trump isn’t yet president. Everything awaits for him to take office. They’ll be plenty of time and occasions to assess his policies once they’re officially known.

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: How the 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.

Obscene Wealth of Eight Mega-Billionaires

Obscene Wealth of Eight Mega-Billionaires

by Stephen Lendman

The super-wealth of an elite eight equals a staggering $427 billion - as much as humanity’s 3.6 billion poorest, struggling daily to survive, many not making it.

Oxfam highlighted unprecedented global inequality, threatening social stability. The chasm between super-rich and desperate poor is obscene. Instead of abating, wealth disparity is increasing, Oxfam explaining:

Since 2015, the richest 1% owns more than the rest of humanity. Eight mega-billionaires are as wealthy as humanity’s 3.6 poorest.

“Over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs - a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people.”

From 1988 - 2011, the incomes of humanity’s poorest 10% increased by less than $3 a year - less than nothing when adjusted for inflation.

Over the same period, the incomes of humanity’s richest 1% increased 182 times as much.

“A FTSE-100 CEO earns as much in a year as 10,000 people in working in garment factories in Bangladesh. A Dow CEO likely earns as much as 20,000 or 30,000 impoverished third-world workers.

Over the last 30 years, income growth of the world’s bottom 50% was zero. The top 1% tripled their income over the same period.

“In Vietnam, the country’s richest man earns more in a day than the poorest earns in 10 years.”

Super-wealth in the hands of a select few used to make obscene greater amounts is incompatible with peace, equity and justice - what so-called Western civilization abhors, exploiting the many by every means imaginable for greater riches, war-profiteering a favorite way.

Mass slaughter and destruction enriches them, unspeakable human misery considered a small price to pay.

Here’s the Oxfam infamous 8:

Bill Gates: Net worth $75 billion

Amancio Ortega: NW $67 billion

Warren Buffet: NW $60.8 billion

Carlos Slim: NW $50 billion

Jeff Bezos: NW $45.2 billion

Mark Zuckerberg: NW $44.6 billion

Larry Ellison: NW $43.6 billion

Michael Bloomberg: NW $40 billion

Beyond the infamous 8, the two Koch brothers have a net worth of nearly $80 billion. The world’s billionaire class in total has a staggering net worth of $6.5 trillion.

The above figures courtesy of Forbes, publishing a guide to the world’s billionaire class for the past 30 years - 1,810 members in the class of 2016.

Oxfam international executive director Winnie Byanyima called it “obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when one in ten people survive on less than $2 a day.”

If the present trend continues, one or more trillionaires may top the super-wealth list in another generation. Predatory capitalism enriches the few at the expense of most others.

Growing inequality pulls societies apart, said Oxfam. “It increases crime and insecurity, and undermines the fight to end poverty.” 

Billions of people live on the edge, impoverishment crushing them. The obscenity of today’s gilded age dwarfs the earlier one in super-wealth concentration.

Prosperity for the few at the expense of most others is a prescription for dystopian hell. There’s no good ending to this scenario if not checked and reversed.

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: How the 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.

Russia Concerned About West Disrupting Ceasefire in Syria

Russia Concerned About West Disrupting Ceasefire in Syria

by Stephen Lendman

At his yearend press conference, Sergey Lavrov urged Western nations to avoid disruptive practices.

Obama undermined Russia’s good faith cessation of hostilities and conflict resolution efforts - supporting the terrorist scourge he claimed to oppose.

Hopefully Trump intends a constructive approach, working cooperatively with Putin in combating terrorism, both leaders aiming to restore peace and stability to war-torn Syria.

If so, it’ll be a true game-changer. If not, it’s back to square one. It’s his call. Hopefully he’ll decide wisely. Other Western countries follow America’s lead.

Obama launched war on Syria. If Trump cooperates with Putin to end it, resolution is in sight. No one better knows how disruptive Washington and its rogue allies have been on Syria and other major geopolitical issues than Sergey Lavrov.

He spent many months negotiating with John Kerry fruitlessly, his good faith efforts undermined. It’s unknown if he’ll fare better with Rex Tillerson.

During his confirmation hearing, he talked tough on Russia and China. If indicative of how he intends dealing with both countries, confrontational, not conciliatory policies could follow.

Lavrov stressed Security Council approved agreements on Syria “need to be fulfilled,” not obstructed and undermined the way Obama, Hillary and Kerry operated.

“We have received reports (of possible disruptive efforts during upcoming Astana peace talks), but we hope that common sense will prevail rather than the wish to” create havoc, said Lavrov.

He criticized anti-Russia EU policies, calling them “shortsighted,” based on “flawed logic,” forcing member states to choose between Brussels and Moscow, contributing to regional tensions.

Our choice preference is pragmatism based on vital interests of Russia. They are simple and permanent and imply that the country gets on well and promotes welfare,” he explained.

“We are searching for mutual interests with those who are ready to spur global economic growth for the benefit of all countries and nations without any exception.” 

“We’re seeking common ground with those who are aware of the lack of options regarding uniting efforts in tackling terrorism and other…threats.”

Russia poses no threat to any nation. No “Russian aggression” exists - not now or earlier. US dominated NATO continues adversarial relations, an imperial strategy risking war between the world’s leading nuclear powers, madness if initiated.

Trump can stop it by governing responsibly. It’s his call. Other NATO leaders will follow his lead.

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: How the 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.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Deep State Ultimatum to Trump: Play Ball or Else

Deep State Ultimatum to Trump: Play Ball or Else

by Stephen Lendman

Since announcing his presidential bid in mid-June 2015, Trump prevailed over long odds, overcoming huge obstacles to reach the brink of becoming America’s 45th president on January 20 - an astonishing story, where it goes from here yet to be determined.

With no public record on which to judge him, his agenda is as much guesswork as likely expectations - with one thing known for certain.

US presidents are fronts for powerful interests running America, intolerant of anyone changing longstanding policy.

Trump is under enormous pressure and threats to continue dirty business as usual or else. Defiance could get him undermined, impeached or assassinated - hardline globalist Mike Pence in the wings to replace him, an easy to control establishment figure.

We’ll know more about Trump’s intentions during his first hundred days in office, much more months later. Campaign rhetoric is one thing, presidential decision-making another.

Lofty promises are meaningless without supportive actions. Trump’s domestic policy largely looks easy to predict, socially and economically conservative, including:

  • business-friendly regulatory reform;

  • tax cuts for the rich, including repealing estate taxes for high-net worth households;

  • rebuilding America’s infrastructure;

  • repealing and replacing Obamacare;

  • unlimited energy exploration, development and production; and

  • rejecting one-sided trade deals like TPP, responsible for offshoring millions of America’s best jobs.

With Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, he’ll likely get domestic agenda support - though given budget constraints, perhaps less infrastructure spending than he’d like.

His geopolitical agenda is largely uncertain until his policies become apparent. It’s clear he wants already bloated military spending increased, including expanding America’s nuclear arsenal - unless he and Putin agree to nuclear reduction.

While saying he wants a new role for NATO focused on combating terrorism, he’s unlikely to change how the alliance operated from inception. 

Important questions await answers. Will he cooperate with Putin responsibly or maintain longstanding adversarial relations?

Will he combat “radical Islamic terrorism” as promised, or support it like the Clintons, Bush/Cheney and Obama?

He’ll continue drone wars, he said, mostly killing noncombatant men, women, children, the elderly and infirm threatening on one.

He’ll maintain Guantanamo (and likely America’s global torture prison network) instead of shutting it down. He’ll introduce ideological screening tests to suspend immigration from certain countries.

He claims wars on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya were mistakes he opposed after supporting them earlier. He called failure to seize Iraq’s oil fields poor judgment. “In the old days when we won a war, to the victor go the spoils,” he blustered.

He failed to explain all wars violate core international, constitutional and US statute laws without Security Council authorization. US presidents and Congress have no right to wage them without it - especially against nations posing no threat to America or any other countries.

All ongoing US direct and proxy wars are illegal acts of aggression. Will Trump continue or end them? Will he be a warrior or peace president?

Will he favor diplomacy over endless conflicts? He complained about wasting trillions of dollars, turning the Middle East into a mess, instead of using the funding to rebuild America.

“(W)e don’t have the money because it’s been squandered on so many (wrong) ideas,” he said. Will he change things enough to matter or largely continue current policies?

It’s unknown until he begins serving. He’ll need congressional support to approve his agenda.

Neocon dark forces in Washington will challenge anything diverging from longstanding policy. 

Perhaps no matter what he does, he’ll face endless obstacles along the way, his administration seen in hindsight as the most turbulent in US history for as long as it lasts - not a very encouraging assessment for what may lie ahead.

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: How the 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.

America is No. 1 in All the Wrong Things

America Is No. 1 in All the Wrong Things

by Stephen Lendman

American exceptionalism is a great deception - except in negative terms. No nation in world history caused more harm to more people over a longer duration.

None more maniacally pursues unchallenged world dominance at the expense of raping and destroying one country after another, murdering millions, responsible for unspeakable human misery. 

None have more lunatics with fingers on the nuclear trigger. None more threaten humanity’s survival. 

None among developed nations have a greater wealth disparity. None a more corrupt electoral system - money controlled, rigged to assure business as usual always prevails. 

None with a larger global gulag, repressive hellholes featuring torture and other forms of abuse - filled with political prisoners, others falsely accused, or for offenses too minor to matter.

None more beholden to monied interests. None more racist and disdainful of ordinary people everywhere. None a greater human and civil rights abuser worldwide. None more intrusively spies on everyone - Big Brother on steroids.

None is more violent at home and abroad. None more publicly and privately corrupt and vicious. None with a more deplorable major media, a disgraceful lying machine. 

None with more costly medical care, unaffordable for millions - a pay or die system, according to Ralph Nader. 

None with more gun ownership. With around 100,000 annual victims of gun violence, US streets are battlegrounds, its homicide rate highest by far among developed nations - exacerbated by cops licensed to kill unaccountably.

None more addicted to war - waging endless premeditated aggression against invented enemies, spending more on militarism than the rest of the world combined, including open-ended black budgets, homeland security, space and other related categories.

None more disgraces the term democracy - a police state by any standard, run by neocon fascists. None more ruthless on a global scale. None a greater proliferator of terrorism. 

None more reviled for good reason. None a greater global menace. None more threatening life on earth. None more urgency crucial to challenge it before we’re all doomed.

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: How the 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.

Trump Calls for Making Good Deals with Russia

Trump Calls for Making Good Deals with Russia

by Stephen Lendman

In interviews with London’s Sunday Times and Germany’s Bild, both published on January 16, four days before his inauguration, Trump called for negotiating deals with Russia benefitting both countries.

Earlier he said “(t)he United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

A day later, he recklessly added “(l)et it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

In interviews with The Times of London and Bild, he said Western countries “have sanctions on Russia. Let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially. That's part of it.”

He can’t have it both ways - “greatly strengthen(ing) and expand(ing)” America’s nuclear arsenal while “reduc(ing) (it) very substantially.”

It’s fair to ask what he really wants, most important what he’s able to accomplish, given powerful US dark forces wanting adversarial relations with Russia maintained.

It’s part of Washington’s longstanding regime change policy, wanting all independent countries transformed into US vassal states, their resources plundered, their people exploited. 

Last year, Trump promised to build up America’s military, assure it’s “funded beautifully,” while calling the nation’s foreign policy “a complete and total disaster. No vision. No purpose. No direction. No strategy.”

He suggested sanctions on Russia could be lifted if both countries “get along and if Russia is really helping us…”

He told the Wall Street Journal “Russia will have far greater respect for our country when I’m leading it and I believe and I hope maybe it won’t happen, it’s possible.” 

“But I won’t be giving a little reset button like Hillary. Here, press this piece of plastic. A guy looked at her like what is she doing? There’s no reset button. We’re either going to get along or we're not. I hope we get along, but if we don’t, that's possible too.”

While campaigning, he blamed Obama and Hillary for deteriorated relations with Moscow. They’ve been adversarial since Russia’s 1917 revolution, an entire century of Russia bashing, except during WW II to defeat Nazi Germany cooperatively and occasional successful treaty negotiations - later breached or abandoned by Washington.

Over the weekend, Trump repeated earlier remarks about NATO being obsolete, most of its members not paying their fair share.

So far, we only know what he’s said as a candidate and president-elect. On Friday, policymaking begins for good or ill.

On Monday, I tweeted him, urging mostly the former, serving everyone equitably, renouncing war - a shove in the right direction, knowing Washington doesn’t work this way.

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: How the 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.

Trumpcare Nears Completion

Trumpcare Nears Completion

by Stephen Lendman

In a Saturday Washington Post interview, Trump said Obamacare will be replaced by “insurance for everybody,” without explaining specifics of his plan, while vowing to negotiate a better deal on drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid.

Big Pharma is “politically protected, but not anymore,” he said. Market-based medicine works for business at the expense of affordable patient care.

It leaves millions of Americans uninsured, most others underinsured. Obamacare works this way, Trumpcare when revealed likely worse.

A previous article discussed his earlier seven-point industry-enriching plan. It’s long on cost reduction, short on providing high quality affordable care for everyone. 

Opposing mandatory insurance coverage and having access to cheaper imported drugs are its only redeeming features.

His plan won’t lower escalating healthcare costs or assure all Americans have access to the most fundamental of human rights, along with food, shelter and clothing.

Replacing Obamacare with another corporate friendly scheme assures perpetuating the problem, not fixing it. Single-payer, universal coverage alone works equitably - everyone in, no one left out, patients’ rights prioritized over profits.

Republicans are amenable to “universal access,” not universal coverage, a play on words, a likely GOP scheme coming worse than Obamacare.

Mum on details, Trump said his plan has “lower numbers, much lower deductibles…It’s very much formulated down to the final strokes. We haven’t put it in quite yet but we’re going to be doing it soon.”

He’s waiting for his health and human services secretary Tom Price to be confirmed. He’s confident about getting congressional approval. “I won’t tell you how, but we will get” it, he said.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

Americans “can expect to have great healthcare. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.”

Marketplace medicine makes it virtually impossible with predatory drug industry and hospital pricing. Insurers reap enormous profits by controlling what they’ll pay for and how much, depriving many patients of vital expensive care when needed.

Whatever its provisions when made public, Trumpcare promises to be another industry enriching scheme at the expense of government mandated universal coverage for everyone.

“I don’t want single-payer,” Trump explained, adding he “want(s) to be able to take care of people.” How well or poorly is what matters.

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: How the 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.

America: World's Leading Hacker

America: World’s Leading Hacker

buy Stephen Lendman

Washington recklessly accuses Russia and China of hacking while providing no evidence backing its claims.

At the same time, it’s silent about most Internet servers located in America, facilitating its espionage, including hacking to obtain unauthorized data. Washington rules mandate doing what “we” say, not what “we” do.

Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev explained the problem, saying “(w)e have been fixing growing attempts from external forces to damage Russian information systems. Those are cases of hacking, and also unauthorized collection of data.”

“This is done with active involvement of global operators and providers, and the methods used are constantly evolving.”

“For example, the Obama administration groundlessly accuses Russia of hacking attacks, deliberately ignoring the fact that most Internet servers are located inside the US, and are used by Washington for spying and other purposes aimed at protecting that country’s dominant position in the world.”

Obama talks about combating terrorism while supporting it, making Russian/US cooperation against it impossible.

Patrushev hopes Trump will change things responsibly, Moscow and Washington cooperating in combating terrorism instead of pursuing opposite objectives for so long.

“We have…confirmation of” Obama’s administration supporting, not fighting terrorism, Patrushev explained. Changing this policy is essential for improving Russian/US relations.

If Trump governs responsibly, Moscow welcomes an ally in counterterrorism activities, information security, trade and other areas of mutual interest.

If Trump wants improved ties, “we  will be ready to resume full-format consultations with US partners of the Russian Security Council,” Patrushev explained.

“The Obama administration sought…domina(nce) (internationally, its policies amounting to) reckless schemes.”

“Unfriendly actions (violating) international law resulted in a frenzy of terrorism (causing) humanitarian disasters in certain states and regions.”

Does Trump intend changing things or continuing Obama’s reckless agenda? Will he wage endless wars or responsibly work with Russia and other nations in resolving ongoing ones?

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: How the 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.

Paris Middle East Conference Joint Declaration

Paris Middle East Conference Joint Declaration

by Stephen Lendman

On January 15, over 70 countries attending the Paris Middle East peace conference accomplished nothing toward resolving decades of vicious Israeli occupation harshness.

Resolutions, proclamations, communiques and declarations are worthless without teeth backing them.

Lofty language, affirmations and other rhetoric don’t substitute for action. Israel is free to commit slow-motion genocide because the world community does nothing to stop it. 

Ministers meeting in Paris on Sunday laid an egg. Their joint declaration was no glorious achievement, no conflict resolution masterpiece, just another worthless document, countless hours wasted producing it.

It’s the product of duplicitous ministers, one-sidedly supporting Israel, uncaring about Palestinian rights, their deceptive text concealing where they really stand.

If they meant lofty principles presented, Occupied Palestine would have been liberated decades ago, Israel punished severely for trying to block it.

Here’s their joint declaration. Take it with a grain of salt - and lots of bitterness for not acting responsibly.

“MIDDLE EAST PEACE CONFERENCE JOINT DECLARATION

I) Following the Ministerial meeting held in Paris on 3 June 2016, the Participants met in Paris on 15 January 2017 to reaffirm their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

They reaffirmed that a negotiated solution with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is the only way to achieve enduring peace.

They emphasized the importance for the parties to restate their commitment to this solution, to take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground, including continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, and to start meaningful direct negotiations.

They reiterated that a negotiated two-state solution should meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides, including the Palestinians’ right to statehood and sovereignty, fully end the occupation that began in 1967, satisfy Israel’s security needs and resolve all permanent status issues on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and also recalled relevant Security Council resolutions.

They underscored the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as a comprehensive framework for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, thus contributing to regional peace and security.

They welcomed international efforts to advance Middle East peace, including the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016 which clearly condemned settlement activity, incitement and all acts of violence and terror, and called on both sides to take steps to advance the two-state solution on the ground; the recommendations of the Quartet on 1 July 2016 ; and the United States Secretary of State’s principles on the two-state solution on 28 December 2016.

They noted the importance of addressing the dire humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza Strip and called for swift steps to improve the situation. 

They emphasized the importance for Israelis and Palestinians to comply with international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law.

II) The Participants highlighted the potential for security, stability and prosperity for both parties that could result from a peace agreement. 

They expressed their readiness to exert necessary efforts toward the achievement of the two-state solution and to contribute substantially to arrangements for ensuring the sustainability of a negotiated peace agreement, in particular in the areas of political and economic incentives, the consolidation of Palestinian state capacities, and civil society dialogue. 

Those could include, inter alia: - a European special privileged partnership; other political and economic incentives and increased private sector involvement; support to further efforts by the parties to improve economic cooperation; continued financial support to the Palestinian authority in building the infrastructure for a viable Palestinian economy; - supporting and strengthening Palestinian steps to exercise their responsibilities of statehood through consolidating their institutions and institutional capacities, including for service delivery; - convening Israeli and Palestinian civil society fora, in order to enhance dialogue between the parties, rekindle the public debate and strengthen the role of civil society on both sides.

III) Looking ahead, the Participants: - call upon both sides to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution, thus disassociating themselves from voices that reject this solution; - call on each side to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution and refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final status issues, including, inter alia, on Jerusalem, borders, security, refugees and which they will not recognize; - welcome the prospect of closer cooperation between the Quartet and Arab League members and other relevant actors to further the objectives of this Declaration.

As follow-up to the Conference, interested Participants, expressing their readiness to review progress, resolved to meet again before the end of the year in order to support both sides in advancing the two-state solution through negotiations.

France will inform the parties about the international community’s collective support and concrete contribution to the two-State solution contained in this joint declaration.”

The declaration was all smoke and no fire - the way things always are when it comes to Palestinian rights.

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: How the 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.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

One China Policy Nonnegotiable, Says Beijing

One China Policy Nonnegotiable, Says Beijing

by Stephen Lendman

The one China policy was first mentioned in the Shanghai Communique on February 28, 1972 during Nixon’s visit to China - stressing the importance for both countries to normalize relations.

On January 1, 1979, the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations agreed to by Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping formally established bilateral relations, ending official recognition of Taiwan, announced by Carter in December 1978.

The (1992 Consensus) one China principle affirms a single sovereign China comprised of the mainland and Taiwan.

Trump saying “(e)verything is under negotiation including one China” didn’t go down well in Beijing. On Saturday, its Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said it’s “nonnegotiable.”

One China alone exists, Taiwan an inalienable part of it, he stressed. The People’s Republic of China is its only legitimate government, “an internationally recognized fact, and no one can change it,” he explained.

We urge the relevant party in the United States to realize the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and abide by commitments made by previous US governments to the one China policy and the principles of the three joint communiques.”

Normalized relations depend on it. If Trump demands Beijing play by Washington rules, trouble in the Pacific awaits him, perhaps undermining chances for improving relations with Moscow.

Sino/Russian ties stress unity. Each nation strategically supports the other. Together they’re a powerful counterweight to US hegemonic aims.

Harming the interests of one affects the other. Both countries will rally to defend each other’s mutual interests. Antagonizing Beijing by using the one China policy as a bargaining chip is sure to adversely affect Sino-Russia/US relations.

Trump has to decide if he wants mutual cooperation with other nations or continuation of adversarial relations with sovereign independent ones. Will he be a bully or responsible leader?

It’s his call for good or ill. Much depends on what he decides. China’s credibility at home and abroad depends on the one China policy.

It’s fundamentally important. Challenging or in any way disrupting it assures continuing Obama’s adversarial policy, maybe recklessly escalating it.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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