Thursday, October 30, 2014

Israel's War on Islam

Israel's War on Islam

by Stephen Lendman

Count the ways. Institutionalized racism is official Israeli policy. Arab lives are cheap. They don't matter. They're considered subhumans. 

Gaza is the world's largest open-air prison. Lockdown harshness prevails. Militarized occupation remains ongoing. Forty-seven years and counting. Ruthless and then some.

Civil law governs Israelis. Military orders control virtually all aspects of Palestinians' lives. Depriving them of fundamental rights.

Persecuting, brutalizing and terrorizing them. Languishing thousands in Israel's gulag. Politically held lawlessly.

in one of the world's harshest prison systems. Cruel and barbaric by any standard. 

Targeting Arabs for not being Jews. For praying to the wrong God. For wanting to live free on their own land in their own country.

For wanting fundamental freedoms everyone deserves. According to core humanitarian and human rights laws. 

Ones Israel consistently breaches. Governing extrajudicially. 
Waging cold, calculated, premeditated naked aggression at its aggression.

Calling non-combatant men, women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm legitimate targets. Violating international law in the process.

Committing high crimes against peace with impunity. With full US support, encouragement, and billions of dollars in funding.

For its killing machine. Both countries partnering in genocidal  crimes of war and against humanity. 

They mock core principles they claim to support. They shock the most jaded doing so. Imagine a world without them. Imagine perhaps the difference between life and death.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque (alMasji al-Aqsa) on the Temple Mount is Islam's third holiest site. 

In Jerusalem's Old City. Where Palestinians lived for thousands of years. Stolen by Israel. Al-Aqsa now under complete Israeli lockdown. More on this below.

Yehuda Glick is an extremist American-born Israeli rabbi. A radicalized right-wing zealot. An Arab-hating Jew.

Chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation (TMHF). Previous Temple Institute executive director. 

RMHF focuses on "strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Temple Mount." Glick believes sacred Islamic ground belongs to Jews.

Israel previously banned him from entering the compound. Fearing incidents he'd likely provoke.

Critics say TMHF leads Jewish Temple Mount tours. Intending provocative Jewish prayers there. Currently prohibited.

At the same time, encouraging Jews to destroy Al-Aqsa. Replacing it with a Jewish temple. Banishing Muslims from Islam's third holiest site.

On Wednesday evening, Glick was shot at a Jerusalem rally. Reportedly in his upper body at close range. 

At an event outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Where right-wing Knesset members and likeminded extremists were attending.

Jerusalem police reported a shooter on a motorcycle. Details remain unclear. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said only that a "known right-wing activist" was shot.

Extremist Likud Knesset member Moshe Feiglin favors full Israeli Temple Mount sovereignty. He commented saying:

"The would-be killer turned to (Glick), confirmed in Hebrew with a thick Arab accent that this was indeed Yehuda, and shot several bullets at him from point blank."

"What happened is horrible but very expected. Glick was constantly threatened." 

"The fact that he was not assigned protection at all times is a failure. I say this as someone who is the target of constant incitement."

"Weakness and incompetence were behind this attack. This was a relaxed conference, the room was half full. This was not an impassioned event. An Arab came there with the urge to kill."

The incident occurred during heightened tensions. An expected Knesset vote may possibly divide Al-Aqsa between Muslims and Jews.

Perhaps restrict Muslim site worship more than already. Igniting a firestorm if occurs. What regional Muslims consider intolerable. Perhaps most Muslims everywhere.

In 1967, Israel and Jordan agreed on permitting Jewish Western Wall prayer. Not inside Al-Aqsa's compound.

After Glick's shooting, Israel declared Al-Aqsa closed "until further notice." It was the first time since 1967. Abbas called doing so a "declaration of war." 

A "dangerous Israeli escalation…on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation." 

His spokesman, Abu Rdeina, called it "a brazen challenge and dangerous behavior, and will lead to more tension and instability and create a very dangerous atmosphere."

He urged the international community to "take action immediately in order to stop this aggression." 

"(A)gainst the Palestinian people and their holy places and against both the Arab and Islamic nations."

Only Al-Aksa's director, Sheikh Azam al-Kahtib, and security guards were allowed in. Hundreds of students in religious schools were denied access.

"It is unacceptable that the Al-Aqsa Mosque pays a toll for the events in Jerusalem," al-Kahtib said. The mosque is a place for prayer and worship and all Muslims have the right to access it." 

On Thursday, Israeli police shot and killed Mutaz Hijazi. A Palestinian police blamed for killing Glick. Citing no corroborating evidence.

Claiming, of course, he was armed, dangerous and "opened fire on the police." Neighborhood residents dismissed police Big Lies. 

He was unarmed, they said. Threatening no one. Murdered in cold blood. Case closed. Standard Israeli operating procedure.

Shoot, ready, aim. Palestinian lives don't matter. Victims are blamed for Israeli crimes. Over and over again.

Several area residents said police used live fire against them. When they went outside to see what was happening.

Bloodstains and bullet holes were visible on Hajazi's roof several hours later. According to nearby resident Mohammed Shwayt:

"Police came into the neighborhood. (D)ozens of them. (Hajazi) ran to the roof of the building. (Police) started shooting almost immediately."

Innocence or guilt didn't matter. He never had a chance. He was murdered in cold blood.

Doing so prompted Abu Tor daylong clashes. South of Jerusalem's Old City. Dozens of youths threw stones at police. 

They responded brutally as always. With tear gas, rubber bullets  and stun grenades. The entire area was affected for hours. 

Residents uninvolved with what happened were harmed. A canister ignited a delivery van. Palestinian Red Crescent workers reported no injuries.

Days earlier, a neighboring Silwan district resident drove his car into a crowd of passengers disembarking from the city's light rail service.

Killing two. Injuring seven others. Police shot and killed him. No due process. No questions asked. Case closed. 
CIt bears repeating. Typical Israeli justice. For Palestinians, none at all.

Since July, Jerusalem has been a hotbed of anger. Since teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burned alive. A revenge attack for killing three West Bank Israeli Jews he had nothing to do with.

On Thursday, Jerusalem Police commander Moshe (Chico) Edri announced Al-Aqsa's reopening on Friday. Restricted to men over 50 and women of all ages.

Large security force detachments remain stationed in Jerusalem. Especially in eastern clash-prone areas.

Protest marches are expected throughout the West Bank after Friday prayers. Tensions remain high.

Jerusalem's Fatah chapter called for a day of rage following Hijazi's murder.

On October 30, the  Al Haq Palestinian human rights organization expressed grave concern about Israel's provocative actions.

They'll "lead to further escalation in violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and possibly neighboring countries," said Al Haq.

It "urge(d) the international community to view the recent events in a broader domestic and regional context."

It wants Israel held accountable for international law breaches. It called Al-Aqsa ones regular occurrences since 1967. Past incidents include:

  • January 1986 Knesset and Jewish extremists conducting two provocative Al-Aqsa visits triggering clashes;

  • October 1990 Israeli security forces accompanied by extremist settlers clashing with Palestinians inside Al-Aqsa's compound;

  • September 1996 clashes following Israel's new tunnel entrance near Al Aqsa. Sixty-two deaths and 1,600 injuries followed.

  • Ariel Sharon's provocative September 2000 Al-Aksa visit, sparking the second Intifada.

According to Al Haq:

"Recent statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding maintaining the status quo and Israel's respect for freedom of worship are not only disingenuous given the aforementioned events, but also fail to acknowledge Israel's more routine breaches of Palestinians' right to freedom of religion, including access to holy sites." 

"Both Palestinian Muslims and Christians are routinely denied their rights to freely worship in Jerusalem." 

"Infringement of these rights becomes even more severe during times of Jewish holidays."

"More specifically, Palestinian access to Al-Aqsa is regularly hindered by Israel via arbitrary prohibitions based on age and gender."

"Israel also often includes the prohibition of access to Al-Aqsa as a condition for release of individuals, many of whom are arbitrarily arrested and detained."

Israel is a rogue terror state. Brutalizing Palestinians continues daily. Expect no relief ahead. Not any time soon for sure.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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. 

America's Rogue Agenda

America's Rogue Agenda

by Stephen Lendman

Cold-blooded ruthlessness defines US policy. Giving pure evil new meaning. Tyrannical. Merciless. Brutal. Barbaric. Lawless. Stopping at nothing to achieve imperial aims. 

Instituting homeland police state state rule. Spurning fundamental rule of law of law principles. Mocking human and civil rights. Making democracy pure fantasy.

Sponsoring state terrorism. Intimidating, threatening, and otherwise pressuring other nations to comply with its will. Obey or else is policy.

Waging war on humanity. Targeting all sovereign independent states for regime change. Wanting pro-Western stooge governance replacing them.

Wanting control of world resources. Wanting ordinary people exploited as serfs. Waging wars without mercy to achieve aims. 

Lunatics in America run things. Neocon fanatics. Demanding unipolar/New World Order dominance. 

Targeting Russia to eliminate a rival power. Risking world peace in the process.

Russian MP Roman Roman Khudyakov wants Obama stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize. Blood on his hands demands it.

Waging  one dirty war after another. Without mercy. Lawlessly. Ruthlessly.

"More and more international experts are calling Obama's presidency dark times," said Khudyakov. 

"The reason for that is the brutal policy that he is conducting all over the world, like Napoleon or Hitler had done before." 

"But I want to warn Obama so that he pays more attention to history and understands that he can end up like Hitler."

He wants Obama's prize given to Putin. He's a deserving recipient. He's polar opposite his US counterpart.

"He stopped the war in Iran, in Syria and he is still saving a lot of people from major bloodshed," said Khudyakov. 

"He is a vivid example of a politician who preserves peace and love in the world."

In 2013, the International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation Among Nations of the World (IASUCANW) nominated him for this year's award.

Its President Georgiy Trapeznikov said "he proved his adherence to the cause of peace."

"We know very well what peacemaking role our president played in conflict regions, especially Beslan and South Ossetia."

He's very much involved in resolving Syria's conflict peacefully. Ukrainian crisis conditions.

Putin's press secretary Dmitry Pekov said:

"The primary criterion for the president is satisfaction from a job well done." He seeks no special recognition or awards.

At the time, State Duma MP Iosif Kobzon said Putin deserves next year's prize. He's polar opposite Obama.

America's president "initiated and approved…aggressive actions in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Kobzon. Against Libya.

"Now he is preparing for an invasion into Syria. He bears this title nevertheless." 

"Our president, who tries to stop the bloodshed and who tries to help the conflict situation with political dialogue, is in my view more worthy of this high title."

Last summer, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said Obama wasn't worthy of Nobel honors.

Awarding him the Peace Prize did "huge damage," he said. It's time to correct things. 

In March, Russian upper house Federal Council Senator Lyudmila Bokova asked Nobel Committee members to annul Obama's award.

In November 2013, Officers of Russian Mothers made the same request. So have activists worldwide. Awarding peace prizes to war-makers is longstanding Nobel practice.

They deplore peace. They represent wealth, power and privilege. They believe war is peace. It shows in their annual selections.

Obama gives rogue governance new meaning. According to Sergey Lavrov, he "send(s) emissaries all over the world (to) persuad(e) everybody to be against us."

He wants Russia marginalized, weakened, isolated, and contained. En route to eliminating its sovereign independence altogether. "A democratic world" runs counter to its objectives.

At the same time, they "persuade(d) practically no one except for the EU and some of its closest allies outside NATO and the European Union."

"I cannot agree that everybody is against us, that everybody is trying to steer clear of us, that we have no partners with whom we can develop a constructive and decent agenda."

"The geographic scope of international contacts in Russia and outside it is a confirmation of that. And not just the geographic scope, but the content of the agreements we conclude.”

Washington uses the Ukrainian crisis it created to isolate Russia from Europe, said Lavrov.

"These efforts have been stepped up lately, including through attempts to impose American liquefied gas supplies upon Europe at prices that cannot compete with Russian gas prices." 

"There are undoubtedly economic interests behind this. But geopolitical calculations are playing a big and even key role."

"The fact that that EU countries, not even the major or leading ones, are beginning to openly say that the policy of sanctions leads nowhere and is counterproductive speaks volumes."

"It is Europe that produced the thinkers who said that economics determines politics, but the EU is declaring the opposite of that now." 

"It is ready to sacrifice the economy for the sake of politics. This is an extreme degree of ideologisation." 

"This cannot last long and one can already hear reasonable voices in the European Union which have noted an absolutely paradoxical situation where the EU instructed the Committee of Permanent Representatives in Brussels to prepare new sanctions on the very same day the peace agreement was signed in Minsk; on the very day things got off the ground, primarily owing to the initiative put forth by Russian President Vladimir Putin."

Lavrov barely stopped short calling America the world's greatest evil force. Operating lawlessly. Threatening world peace.

In contrast, Russia "consistently" supports international law, he said. "We have never deviated from this policy just an inch." 

"We have urged compliance with the achieved agreements and creation of new instruments facilitating proper response to the modern challenges."

"Let us not forget that the US National Security Doctrine adopted in 2010 states very clearly that the US respects international law but reserves the right to resort to any action to protect its interests, including the use of force without the UN authorisation," said Lavrov.

Rogue states operate this way. None match America's ruthlessness. It does whatever it damn pleases. Anywhere for any reason or none at all.

Putin is polar opposite. In mid-October, he addressed the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit. He spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

"He emphasized that the format of regional cooperation is the sole alternative to negative trends and the desire of some countries to determine the destiny of other states and whole regions on their own."

Eurasian conflicts bode ill, Putin stressed. They risk "collapse of whole regions and deplorable consequences for a whole number of countries."

It's up to responsible ones to reverse things. Prioritizing peace and stability is a good way to start. So is rejecting war-making for any reason besides self-defense.

Russophobia threatens world peace. It's headquartered in Washington. 

Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said US-led sanctions and other anti-Russian policies constitute "color revolution" aggression.

Their aim "is to weaken Russia, corner us, put into practice the idea of a 'color revolution' in our country."

Imposing them without Security Council authorization contradicts what Primakov calls "global processes." Economic and political ones.

Creating real threats to world security. Doing it recklessly without just cause.

Russia won't accept "a course for self-isolation," said Primakov.

"Those who don’t turn a blind eye to that see that the overwhelming majority of the Russian population support the head of state and do not accept threats addressed to Putin, whose policy is justly assessed as one serving Russia’s interests and at the same time not slamming the door for cooperation with all countries, including the US and the EU, to neutralize real threats and challenges to the international community."

It bears repeating. Obama represents rogue governance. He threatens world peace. 

Putin is polar opposite. Paul Craig Roberts calls him the world's moral leader for good reason.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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. 

Irresponsibly Targeting Russia

Irresponsibly Targeting Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Russia is geopolitical enemy No. 1. Not for wrongdoing. Or posing an existential threat. Or acting irresponsibly in any way. 

For defending its sovereign independence responsibly. Lawfully. Wanting other nations respecting it. Believing rule of law principles are inviolable.

For Vladimir Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other officials telling it like it is. Expressing important views candidly, forthrightly and unambiguously.

Polar opposite duplicitous Western politicians. Especially Obama. A caricature of a leader. 

Arguably America's worst ever. A serial liar. A moral coward. A war criminal multiple times over.

A shameless head of state. A deplorable one. A dangerous one. A lawless one. A ruthless one. 

Neoliberal, reactionary, belligerent, pro-war, pro-monied interests, anti-democratic, anti-progressive, anti-populist, anti-labor and anti-social justice.

A world-class thug. A threat to global peace at the most perilous time in world history. Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Rogozin commented.

He explained Moscow's response to real existential threats. It's proud independence. Able to defend its interests effectively.

Not about to roll over for Washington or other rogue Western partners. More on his remarks below.

Welcome to Cold War 2.0. The first one never ended. Since Soviet Russia's 1991 dissolution, Western policy remained hard-wired in place. 

Russia bashing persists. Intensely. Raging daily. Exceeding the worst of Soviet era levels. 

Daily vilifying a maliciously reinvented Evil Empire. It's back to the future. Unsurprisingly. 

Neocons infest Washington. Other Western capitals. Business as usual continues. At stake is world peace.

Numerous incidents occur. Contrived ones. Invented to vilify Moscow recklessly.

Sweden's so-called search for "foreign underwater activity" heghtened regional tensions irresponsibly.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said:

"Such unfounded actions of the Swedish Defense Department, fueled by the Cold War-style rhetoric, are only leading today to escalation of tension in the region."

He referred to "never-ceasing speculations" about Sweden claiming a Russian submarine's presence in Stockholm archipelago region waters.
Moscow denied the accusation. Sweden announced readiness to use force. 

It ludicrously claimed Russian Baltic Sea area challenging activity. With no corroborating evidence whatever.

Acting provocatively without cause. Suspending defense cooperation with Moscow. Perhaps on orders from Washington. 

Willingly serving as a convenient US stooge. Sacrificing its sovereign independence in the process.

The latest incident involved UK Royal Air Force warplanes intercepting a Latvian cargo plane. Threatening to down it. 

Claiming it failed to respond to air traffic control over Kent in Southern England. UK media irresponsibly broadcast a British pilot saying:

"I am instructed by Her Majesty's government of the United Kingdom to warn you that, if you do not respond immediately to my orders, you will be shot down."

Doing so heightened fear without just cause. Communications with civilian pilots were restored. Everything was in order. Things were resolved without force.

Media scoundrels wrongfully reported a Russian cargo plane. Then switching to "Russian-made."

It was a Latvian-owned Ukrainian one. It didn't matter. Frenzied reporting claimed Russian military aircraft in Atlantic and Black Sea waters.

US-led NATO said it intercepted four groups of Russian planes since Tuesday. According to an Alliance statement:

"These sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace."

Media reports left unexplained what was most important. Russian planes were legally in international airspace. They crossed no territorial borders. They threatened no one.

Reuters quoted a Norwegian military spokesman saying:

"We see Russian aircraft near our airspace on a regular basis but what was unusual is that it was a large number of aircraft and pushed further south than we normally see."

Unexplained was they posed no threat whatever. Nor violated air space rules. Had they been US or other Western planes, nothing whatever would have been reported.

Cold, calculated Russia bashing changed things. Expect lots more ahead. Intense. Irresponsible. Malicious. Uncalled for.

Washington's dirty hands bear full responsibility. Rogue EU partners share it. Dark side geopolitics continues. No end in sight looms.

Dmitry Rogozin commented on Russia's response. It's militarily modernizing to meet potential threats. With the "most ultra-modern weapons."

By 2015, to be 30% equipped. By 2020, 70%. Perhaps 100% or close to it. "In fact, our Army and Navy will be the best armed and equipped in the world," Rogozin believes.

In terms of "efficiency, quality and price," he thinks Russia "will be able to realize (its) goal."

"We have to make weapons that will be more straightforward and cheaper than" America's. In terms of efficiency, they must equal or surpass its capability.

Washington relies on military power, said Rogozin. "It's an old formula, known since old mafia times. A gun lying on the table makes negotiations more effective."

"That is to say, a kind word can solve a lot, but a kind word with a gun can solve a lot more."

Washington operates this way. With help from NATO partners. "(H)aving evaluated the military threat, (we) understand that our weapons must be able to reflect not only an attack from one aggressor, but from an aggregate number of countries (with) a high level of technology and can use force against us."

At the same time, "(w)e have to create a compact army, so it can be mobile and transferred" wherever a threat of war exists.

Russia has the largest territorial country in the world by far. With a population of only 135 million. 

Adequate protection requires 600 million, Rogozin believes. "Therefore, out task is to create a weapon that will allow each soldier and officer to replace five people."

"So we must have lots of weapons. Military personnel at all levels should be trained as "universal soldier(s)." Able to operate complex weapons.

Since people are few compared to territorial expanse to protect, every soldier's life is important. "(M)ov(ing) (them) as far away as possible from the actual line of fire" is essential.

Doing so requires "funding for the advancing (of) cutting-edge area(s) of science. (W)e need to stay ahead of the world. If we lag behind, we will lose."

"Will we have types of weapons (Putin says) will surprise our Western colleagues?"

"I can only say one thing. The formation of the technical basis for strategic nuclear forces is going at a surprising pace."

Russia is ahead of earlier plans. A nuclear submarine fleet is being created. 

With strategic nuclear weapons "capable of reaching any country on any continent, if it suddenly becomes the aggressor and our topmost national interests come under threat."

"(M)ulti-purpose vessels (will be) capable of autonomous navigation to deal with any obstacles and that can compete in an armed confrontation with (an) entire enemy fleet."

"With regard to the Strategic Missile Forces, the President has already adopted and is implementing strategies."

"(W)e updated almost the entire fleet of strategic bombers. We have restored the capability of unique engines" lost earlier.

"(F)ramework has been laid for the creation of an advanced aviation complex for a long-range aircraft."

"Design works have been initiated to create a heavy bomber, which will be a powerful replacement for the strategic aviation which we inherited from the Soviet era."

Efforts began "to create a new missile complex, which will replace the current one." Everything is being produced in Russia.

Including electronics, engines, nuclear warheads, special part and other device management systems, Rogozin explained.

Ukraine's disintegration began when Soviet Russia dissolved, he said. The country was "up for grabs." Competing elements "gnawing each other's throats."

Reliance on Ukrainian military imports is ending. "In 2.5 years at most, we will fully replace everything" Kiev supplied.

"For Ukraine, it is the end. (A) complete demise of (its) state as an an industrial country." Their products and technology are outdated.

"What they are doing right now is suicide." Its science and industry are incompetent. Putin months earlier tried "wretch(ing) Ukraine from a tailspin."

To no avail once putschists usurped power. Ukraine is "finished. It is a personal tragedy" for its people. They can either accept mediocracy or move to Russia. 

They're coming, said Rogozin. Those doing so know where their future lies. Able to continue working as scientists, experts, engineers, "but now in Russia as Russians," Rogozin explained.

They'll help Moscow's defense/industrial complex. Added competence against Washington's threat.

Rogozin calls its behavior "amusing, quite selective. They're saying (they) want to create problems for the Russian space, for the Russian rocket-space industry."

"They are trying to squeeze us out of the market where Russian companies gained opportunities to launch foreign satellites."

They're "attempting to cause as much damage as possible to the development of Russian space."

At the same time, they're dependent on Russia to transport astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station.

Until 2018, they have no other way. They're "completely dependent on our goodwill." They're biting the hand feeding it.

Moscow is up to the challenges it faces, Rogozin stressed. It understands them. It's acting accordingly. Responsibly.

It bears repeating. It's not rolling over for Washington. Or rogue European partners. It's preparing to address future challenges successfully.

Rogozin believes its state-of-the-art technology, competent professionals and commitment to achieve goals shows it's able to confront potential adversaries effectively.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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, October 29, 2014

America's Deplorable Afghanistan Legacy

America's Deplorable Afghanistan Legacy

by Stephen Lendman

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg absurdly calls Afghanistan an Alliance success story. 

As ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) "completes" its "mission at the end of this year."

"This unprecedented international effort has contributed to a better future for Afghan men, women and children," Stoltenberg claims. "And it has enhanced global security."

Disaster more accurately describes things. Conditions are horrific. Perhaps worse than ever. A testimony to US-led NATO high crimes against peace.

Afghanistan's new puppet government agreed to let around 10,000 US troops remain indefinitely. 

Immune from Afghan laws. Free to rampage with impunity. On the pretext of serving in an advisory capacity.

Afghanistan today reflects "the grand illusion of the American cause." What CIA officials called Vietnam decades earlier.

After over 13 years of neo-colonial war, Washington won't cut its losses and leave. For good reason.

Afghanistan is strategically important. A geopolitical prize. Straddling the Middle East, South and Central Asia. In Eurasia's heartland.

Permanent occupation is planned. War won't end. At issue is exploiting Eurasia's vast oil, gas and other resources. 
Significant Afghan resources rarely discussed.

Controlling the world's largest opium supply. Flooding world markets with heroin. 

Providing enormous profits for Wall Street. Giving CIA crime bosses access to billions of dollars in ilicit drug money.

Giving America a strategically located land-based aircraft carrier. Part of its plan to encircle Russia and China with military bases.

Both nations represent the only challengers to US global dominance. Imperial supremacy depends on neutralizing their alliance.

Sabotaging their governments. Replacing them with pro-Western stooge ones.

China is the world's largest economy. Based on purchasing power parity (PPP). What a representative basket of goods in one country costs v. another.

By 2019, IMF economists expect it to be 20% larger than America. Based on PPP. It's perhaps the greatest economic success story in modern times. 

Thirty-five years ongoing. The best America achieved was around 25 years in colonial times.

Russia is a formidable military power. The only nation able to challenge America's military might.

With enormous oil and gas resources. Both nations benefit strategically by allying. 

Doing so weakens America longterm. The new great game pits Washington against Sino/Russian unity. 

In the long run, hegemons fail. America is no different from earlier ones.

Afghanistan is its longest war in history. Its most fruitless. One of its most brutal. Most expensive. More on this below.

A previous article discussed US Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis. He assessed conditions accurately. His unclassified report called them disastrous.

"How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding," he asked? His report's opening comments said:

"Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable." 

"This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan."

His classified report was more explicit, saying: 

"If the public had access to these classified reports, they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes." 

"It would be illegal for me to discuss, use, or cite classified material in an open venue, and thus I will not do so."

Davis traveled thousands of miles throughout the country. He spoke to US commanders, subordinates, and low-ranking soldiers. 

He talked at length with Afghan security officials, civilians and village elders. What he learned bore no resemblance to rosy scenario official accounts. 

Insurgent forces control "virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a US or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base," he said

Everywhere he visited, "the tactical situation was bad to abysmal."
Afghanistan's government can't "provide for the basic needs of the people." At times, local security forces collude with insurgents.

Davis hoped to learn something positive. He "witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level." 

One senior enlisted leader spoke for others. He hoped to get out alive in one piece.

War without end continues. No end in sight looms. Afghanistan's so-called government controls little more than Kabul. 

Other than ISAF bases and pockets Taliban fighters haven't yet taken over. Don't expect Obama to explain. Or Pentagon commanders.

It's hard imagining a more long-suffering people. Humanitarian aid enough to matter is sorely lacking. Millions of Afghans are on their own.

US imperial victims. Suffering horrifically. Only 6% have reliable electricity sources. Only 30% have semi-safe potable water. Nearly 80% of Afghan children lack access.

Only 6% of them are registered at birth. Most are nonpersons. With no legal identity. Vulnerable. Unprotected. Defenseless.

Washington doesn't give a damn about them. Whether they live or  die, lack basic services, suffer, or experience horrific indignities.

Few Afghans have telephones. They're mostly in Kabul. Millions of internally and externally displaced refugees are largely on their own.

According to to the World Food Program (WFP), life expectancy is 44.5 years for men. It's 44 for women. Afghanistan has one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates.

Many thousands of women die annually. From no access to obstetrical and other health services. 

Infant mortality is high. Around 165 deaths per thousand births occur before age one. Over 20% of children perish before age five.

No one's sure from day to day who'll live or die. US drone attacks kill mostly noncombatants. Claims otherwise are Big Lies. 

Millions are vulnerable to preventable diseases. Epidemic levels of malnutrition persist.

Vital infrastructure is lacking. Severe poverty is overwhelming. So is environmental contamination. 

Mass unemployment goes unnoticed. Healthcare, housing, education, proper sanitation and other vital needs are sorely lacking.

Human misery is a growth industry. So is hunger. Thousands starve to death for lack of food. 

Millions suffer chronic malnutrition. Tens of thousands of children have protruding bones.

Like famine victims. With distended stomachs. Begging in streets for whatever help they can get.

Chronic malnutrition and overall depravation deprive them of anything approaching normality.

Iron deficiency alone disrupts brain development. Around 75% of Afghan children are affected.

Iodine deficiency is the world's leading cause of mental impairment. Insufficient vitamin A harms immune system functioning.

Micronutrients deprivation causes enormous harm. Millions of Afghans can't afford minimally healthy diets. 

In some provinces, only one in five have anything close to what's needed. Conditions were woefully inadequate before America's war. They're far worse now.

Afghanistan's troubled history goes back centuries. Its people endured what few can imagine.

In the 1980s, America's involvement began. US recruited mujahideen fighters battled Soviet occupiers. 

In 1989 they left. A ravaged country remained. Civil war followed. Then 9/11. US-led naked aggression. 

Invasion. Occupation. Millions of deaths. Mass destruction, and horrific human suffering to this day.

Washington doesn't give a damn about ordinary Afghans. Whether they live or die. Starve or succumb to violence or preventable diseases.

Imperial priorities matter most. Long-suffering Afghans remain on their own out of luck. 

Perhaps millions more will perish before conflict ends. Who knows when or how.

A Final Comment

Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz wrote earlier on the true cost of the Iraq war. She believes Washington's Iraq and Afghan wars alone will cost up to $6 trillion.

Including longterm medical care and disability compensation for vets and families.

Over 2.5 million men and women served in both wars. Over 1.5 million left active duty by September 2012.

Over half of them get government medical care. Another 50% applied for permanent disability benefits.

Costs are staggering. Increasing exponentially. Eventually they'll approach $1 trillion. Over 600,000 service members were seriously harmed.

Over 250,00 suffered traumatic brain injury. According to Bilmes:

"Research from previous wars has shown that these veterans are at a higher risk for lifelong medical problems, such as seizures, decline in neurocognitive functioning, dementia, and chronic diseases."

Medical and personnel costs skyrocketed. In future years they'll be much greater than now.

Over $2 trillion was borrowed to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said Bilmes. Debt service is huge. Even at low interest rates.

The human and financial cost of US wars is staggering. Trillions of dollars down a black hole to make America safe for war profiteers.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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. 

Lavrov on Ukraine

Lavrov on Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine's so-called government is a US-installed fascist dictatorship. It has no legitimacy whatever.

Tyranny masquerades as democracy. None exists. Ordinary people have no say. Like in America. 

Monied interests run things in both countries. One fascist regime supports another.

Sunday's snap parliamentary elections were farcical. Expect worse than ever business as usual going forward.

Sergey Lavrov is a world class diplomat. He combines candor and statesmanship with tactfulness, discretion, thoughtfulness and prudence.

His comments warrant highlighting. He addressed post-electoral Ukraine. He did so for Moscow's Life News television and Izvestia.

He believes Russia will recognize Ukraine's election results. Even though they fell short of international standards nationwide.

It's "critically important for Ukraine to obtain, at long last, a leadership that will not engage in petty infighting and drag the country from east to west and back again, but one that will address real Ukrainian problems, Lavrov said. 

"Ukraine needs a government that will think how the nation should regain unity. It needs a government to guarantee an equal status to all Ukrainian citizens irrespective of the language they speak and political convictions they have." 

"No one should be victimised on political and other grounds, as has been the case until recently."

He called radical ultranationalist extremist parties in parliament "rather alarming." He referred to Oleg Tyahnybok's Svoboda and Oleg Syashko's Radical Party.

In December 2012, European parliamentarians expressed concern about "rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter" Ukraine's parliament.

Their "racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic views go against the EU's fundamental values," they said.

Europe's parliament "appeal(ed) to pro-democratic parties in (Ukraine's legislature) not to associate with, endorse, or form coalitions with" these elements.

All is forgiven. EU officials look the other way. They turn a blind eye. They embrace what they denounced earlier. They accept illegimate coup d'etat authority.

They march in lockstep with Washington hardliners. They mock democratic values they claim to support.

Svoboda's platform "confirms adherence to the principles laid out in the declaration which expressed solidarity with Hitler's New Order in Europe," said Lavrov.

He's "confident (Russia has Ukrainian) partners to negotiate with in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) and in the Ukrainian government." 

He referred to "the Petr Poroshenko Bloc, which is bound to become the leading party in the new parliament, and he is Russia's and President Vladimir Putin's partner in negotiating the Minsk peace agreements between the Ukrainian government and the self-defence forces in Lugansk and Donetsk, reached with a significant contribution from Russia and the OSCE."

Poroshenko "declared his commitments to these agreements, also at the 17 October meeting with Vladimir Putin in Milan and at meetings in broader format (the so-called Normandy format)." 

"I believe the new Ukrainian government - which is bound to be a coalition government - will nevertheless be comprised of ministers who are devoted to the president's policy of peace, national accord and reconciliation in Ukraine. At least Poroshenko, in his contacts with Putin, firmly states that he will not allow a relapse into war. This is what matters most now."

It remains to be seen if Lavrov is right. Poroshenko violated past agreements. War continues in Southeastern Ukraine.

Fascists have power in Kiev. Washington supports and encourages them. Russia bashing continues relentlessly. 

Putschist prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk looks likely to retain his post as oligarch president Petro Poroshenko's main coalition partner.

He's hardline. Extremely anti-Russian. Recently saying "Moscow is determined to make Ukraine freeze," said Lavrov.

He called it "an outrageous statement." He made numerous similar ones. Irresponsible bald-faced lies. 

When Donetsk and Lugansk got limited self-rule, "Interior Minister Arsen Avakov publicly said he would not observe this law," said Lavrov.

Fascist regimes operate this way. It's hard being optimistic under these circumstances.

Lavrov put a brave face on a deplorable situation. He hopes for improvement going forward. Regional peace and stability depend on it. So far, there's none in sight.

Achieving it is touch and go at best. Unlikely at worst. Washington abhors it. Conflict and instability serve its agenda. 

It's manipulating things covertly. At issue is regime change in Russia. Washington wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing Moscow's sovereign independence.

Lavrov understands. He supports Ukrainian neutrality. Strategically positioned in Europe's heartland. 

Aligned neither solely East or West. What's extremely unlikely going forward. Washington wants things its way. It's going all-out to control Ukrainian affairs.

On Sunday, Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics will hold real democratic elections. They reject fascist rule. 

They want fundamental freedoms too precious to lose. Ones they fought and died for. And keep defending.

Moscow intends recognizing their electoral results. Lavrov called doing so "one of the most important aspects of the Minsk agreements." 

"We expect the elections to proceed as planned… We also hope that the results will be the freely expressed will of the people, without any outside interference undermining that."

Both People's Republics "categorically refused to accept the military coup and its aftermath, and who rejected the Bandera (Nazi) ideology and the Ukrainian National Assembly - Ukrainian People's Self-Defence policy, which the triumphant Maidan leaders tried to impose on the entire country." 

Post-February coup, "atrocities began." Egregious human and civil rights violations occurred. "Political opponents were arrested and thrown into jail without any investigation or trial…"

"So people decided to defend themselves and to escape the unacceptable consequences of the coup. So they took up arms and tried to defend their homes."

They had every right to do so. They still do. For precious liberties sorely absent in today's Ukraine. It bears repeating. Fascist regimes operate this way.

"We have consistently called for national dialogue between all the Ukrainian regions and political forces at every level, including international," said Lavrov. 

"The new Ukrainian government made a commitment to start a dialogue in the Geneva statement with the United States, European Union and Russia, signed in April 2014." 

"But this was never acted on. The need for national dialogue was reaffirmed in the Minsk agreements." 

"This new commitment was signed by a representative of Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko and opposition leaders. We insist that this process begin as soon as possible."

September 5 and 19 Minsk protocol violations continue, said Lavrov. Attempts are being made to resolve things. So far without success.

War without mercy continues. High Kiev crimes against peace reflects things.

Thousands died. Many more wounded. Huge numbers internally and externally displaced.

Conflict resolution remains distant. Whether possible remains to be seen. Unlikely any time soon. At risk is things going from bad to much worse.

Kiev hardliners yield nothing. Or Washington. Poroshenko is a convenient US stooge. So is Yatsenyuk. Agreements they sign aren't worth the paper they're written on.

Lavrov "firmly believe(s) national reconciliation…is a process that should include the restoration of justice and punishment of the guilty parties."

"What judicial agency could do this? Ukraine is not a party to the Statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and so an ICC prosecutor cannot initiate an investigation. This is not done." 

"The ICC agencies can only initiate this investigation in a country that is a party to the Rome Statute. As it is, Ukraine can refer the situation in its territory to the Court, which it has done, but only regarding the February events on Independence Square."

Kiev whitewashed state-sponsored Maidan and Odessa killings. The Mariupol tragedy. Similar crimes ongoing for months. Others continuing.

"…Russian legislation stipulates the possibility to investigate crimes committed in the territory of foreign countries if these crimes directly affect the interests of Russia and Russian citizens, because many Russian citizens, primarily journalists, have been affected by the arbitrary actions of the Ukrainian military, and journalists from several Russian media outlets, including Life News, were taken prisoner in Ukraine," said Lavrov. 

"Some of their less fortunate colleagues have died there. Russia's Investigative Committee has initiated an investigation into these cases." 

"We will continue using all means available to ensure that justice is served. People can also take their cases to the European Court of Human Rights, even though the court’s judges took politically motivated decisions in a number of high-profile cases." 

"However, this court is equipped to establish the truth if the investigation is conducted objectively."

Lavrov addressed anti-Russian sentiment. Its "surge…is well coordinated," he said. Vilifying Russia continues. "(N)o one is ever immune from a partner unethically babbling…"

Russia "take(s) a philosophical approach" to what's ongoing, Lavrov said. It conducts its own affairs responsibly. It can't control what other countries do. Or their top officials.

Western, mainly US, anti-Russian policies were planned long ago. Before Ukrainian crisis conditions emerged.

Things started after Soviet Russia's dissolution, said Lavrov. Western nations "missed a historic chance to create truly equal and indivisible security in Europe and a common humanitarian and economic space." 

"Back then, if they had embarked on a path of transforming the OSCE into a real organisation with its own charter and legally binding security assurances for all members, things could have turned out differently."

"We (could) now be living in a completely different Europe and world…(O)ur Western colleagues opted for mindless and boundless expansion of NATO, telling us bluntly that legal security guarantees are reserved for members of the North Atlantic Alliance."

"Our proposal to conclude a European security treaty, which would legally ensure security and provide the appropriate guarantees to all the countries of NATO and the CSTO which remain militarily and politically neutral was rejected, as was later rejected our proposal to begin to develop the concept for a common economic and humanitarian space, removing travel barriers, and harmonising the integration processes in the EU and the former Soviet Union." 

"All this was brushed aside." Western nations refus(ed) to cooperate with us on an equal footing." 

"They were not going to cooperate on an equal footing with anyone else either, as demonstrated by the Eastern Partnership programme, which was drafted in Brussels." 

"It was a non-negotiable and condescending offer extended to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus."

"Then, during Ukraine crisis, they stated expressly that the EU does not want to conduct any negotiations on harmonising economic, trade and investment relations between Ukraine and the EU and Ukraine and Russia."

"No one is going to investigate the bloodshed during the Maidan protests or the abundant evidence pointing to" anti-former President Yanukovich elements now in power.

"The West…was clearly upset to learn that the Russia of the 1990s is gone - the Russia that almost always said 'yes' and never tried to defend its interests, believing that its alliance with the West would resolve almost all of its problems." 

"This was an anomaly, something absolutely inconsistent with history, Russia's place in the world or the need to ensure a fair and equitable dialogue on matters of legitimate concern to us." 

"When we began to defend our legitimate rights in the international arena, someone thought, “Why? Everything is so clear now. What got into the Russians?” This is not good."

"This is basically a return to imperial thinking, which is particularly frustrating given our numerous initiatives aimed at finding a balance between our interests." 

"After all, we do not impose our interests on anyone and are willing to make concessions, because we recognise the legitimate interests of our partners that are within international law."

"We never advocate ideas that assert our interests in violation of international law…If our partners were a bit more pragmatic and a bit more focused on maintaining a constructive dialogue with us rather than imposing their values and interests to the detriment of Russia’s interests and values, many difficulties in our relations could have been avoided."

Russia is ready for constructive dialogue on all issues, Lavrov stressed. Impossible without likeminded partners. 

Especially Washington. Hegemons want things solely their way. One-way. All take and no give. 

Mutually beneficial cooperation isn't Washington's long suit. Or prioritizing peace, stability, equity and responsible good relations with all nations. 

Russia's best efforts are for naught. Washington bears full responsibility. Rogue EU partners share it. 

Expect no change going forward. Heightened confrontation appears most likely.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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.