Saturday, December 03, 2016

Fidel to Be Laid to Rest Sunday

Fidel to Be Laid to Rest Sunday

by Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, Fidel’s Caravan of Liberty completed its four-day journey from Havana to Santiago, where his revolutionary struggle began.

It arrived ahead of Saturday evening’s memorial service, Sunday’s funeral, followed by burial beside “Apostle of Cuban Independence” Jose Marti at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery.

At 7PM on Saturday, President Raul Castro will preside over a state vigil in the Plaza Antonio Maceo. Two dozen or more world leaders and other dignitaries are arriving to pay tribute to Fidel - to honor an anti-imperial revolutionary giant.

Nations represented include Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil (represented by former presidents Lula and Rousseff) Nicaragua, Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico, Russia (Putin staying home), China (Xi at home), Spain (represented by King Juan Carlos), Germany (represented by Gerhard Schroeder), France sending a low-level envoy, South Africa, Angola, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Uruguay, Greece, and Canada (Trudeau not coming) among others.

A low-level two-representative US delegation is attending. Nine official days of mourning end Sunday with Fidel’s funeral and burial.

A new generation of Fidelistas continues his revolutionary struggle. Viva Fidel! Hasta Siempre, Comandante!

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/US Agreement on Aleppo or Another American Deception?

Russia/US Agreement on Aleppo or Another American Deception?

by Stephen Lendman

Throughout made in the USA conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, Washington systematically undermined Russia’s good faith efforts for responsible resolution.

America can’t be trusted, vowing one thing, doing another, notably,  under Obama, Bush/Cheney and the Clintons, waging permanent wars on humanity, rejecting peace and stability.

It’s unknown if Trump intends changing things, diverging from longstanding policy, wanting to be a peace, not a warrior president. The way he goes will be the measure of whether he fulfills lofty campaign promises or governs as the latest in a long line of leaders following agendas similar to their predecessors.

Negotiating with Obama officials is a lost cause, a waste of time, virtually no chance for responsible diplomatic resolution. Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry had numerous face-to-face and phone discussions - all for naught, accomplishing nothing.

Once again, they met in Rome. Lavrov said Kerry presented a proposal in line with Russia’s on Aleppo. Endless earlier promises were violated. 

Is this time different? Will conflict in the city be resolved diplomatically? Will steps be taken for peace nationwide?

America doesn’t wage wars to quit, at least not since the 1990s. Russia isn’t about to accept anything from Washington on face value. It’s been betrayed so many times before.

It’ll follow through on its end responsibly, Lavrov saying “Moscow is ready to immediately send our military experts and diplomats to Geneva to work out joint actions with our US colleagues in line with the (new) American proposals, which would ensure the withdrawal of all militants without exception from eastern Aleppo, and would provide unimpeded humanitarian supplies to the city’s residents and ensure the establishment of normal life in eastern Aleppo.”

“It must not be a meeting for the sake of a meeting. It is necessary to agree on a detailed timeline of steps.”

With less than seven weeks left in Obama’s tenure, expect Russia to act in good faith like all previous negotiations with Washington while awaiting Trump to succeed Obama, hoping he’ll be more receptive to responsible negotiations than years of futility up to now.

Obama’s neocon infested administration isn’t about to turn a new page. Hopefully Trump meant what he said in wanting to normalize relations with Russia, both countries cooperating in combating terrorism.

It remains to be seen if his word is his bond, whether he’s able to overcome enormous pressure to stay hardline.

Expect nothing positive unless and until evidence proves otherwise.

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.

Fuss Over Conversation Between Trump and Taiwan President

Fuss Over Conversation Between Trump and Taiwan President 

by Stephen Lendman

On January 1, 1979, Jimmy Carter formally recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC), severing formal ties with Taiwan. An American Institute in Taiwan represents US interests in the country.

Last December, the Obama administration announced the sale of $1.83 billion worth of arms to Taiwan - including two warships and anti-tank missiles, despite Beijing’s objections.

At the time, Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang called Taiwan “an inalienable part of China’s territory. To safeguard our national interests, China has decided to take necessary measures, including imposing sanctions against companies involved in the arms sale.”

In response to the fuss over Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaking briefly, the president-elect tweeted “(t)he President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!”

“Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”

According to Trump’s transition team, both leaders spoke briefly for around 10 minutes. “During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties exists between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year,” a statement said.

Their exchange was the first official one between Washington and Taipei since 1979, a one-China policy in place since then.

According to Beijing’s Xinhua press agency, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang lodged “solemn representations” with Washington, saying:

“(T)here is only one China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory, and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government that represents China. Those are all facts recognized by the international community.”

“We urge relevant US side to honor the commitment to the one-China policy as well as the three Sino-US joint communiques, and cautiously and properly handle Taiwan-related issues to avoid any unnecessary disturbance to the bigger picture of the Sino-US relations.”

Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Tsai’s call to Trump “a little trick,” adding “I don’t think it will change the one-China policy of the US government either.”

White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said “(w)e remain firmly committed to our one-China policy based on the three joint communiques. Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-strait relations.”

Why all the fuss over a leader of one country speaking with a counterpart or anyone else, especially a brief exchange, each congratulating the other on electoral victories.

Borrowing a phrase from Jefferson, in the course of human events, the geopolitical significance of Tsai calling Trump was inconsequential.

Selling arms in another matter entirely. Beijing considers their sale to Taiwan a hostile act, “a serious violation of international law…as well as China’s territory and security.”

Consistent with its bashing Trump since announcing his candidacy last year, The NYT called his taking a phone call from Tsai “a bigger provocation.” What nonsense!

Post-election last month, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke, the president-elect’s transition team saying:

“During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another, and president-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward.”

A brief phone call between Trump and Tsai changed nothing in Sino/US relations. A far greater issue is Washington’s provocative East Asia military footprint, including in the South China Sea, meddling in a part of the world not its own, risking direct confrontation.

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.

Washington Heads Toward Permitting Military Cooperation with Russia Only on US Terms


Washington Heads Toward Permitting Military Cooperation with Russia Only on US Terms

by Stephen Lendman

During months of US/Russia talks on conflict resolution in Syria, Washington consistently undermined Moscow’s good faith efforts, breaching promises made, violating SC Res. 2254 terms - unanimously adopted in December 2015, calling for ceasefire and diplomatic conflict resolution.

In October 2016, the Defense Department ceased military contacts with Russia in Syria. Information exchanges stopped. 

State Department spokesman admiral John Kirby said “(t)he United States is suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia that were established to sustain the cessation of hostilities.” He lied, claiming Moscow “failed to live up to its own commitments…”

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement said “in pursuit of regime change in Damascus, Washington…forge(d) an alliance with hardened terrorists…”

House members want US military cooperation with Russia hamstrung, inserting a provision in the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) - overwhelmingly approved on December 2 by a 375 - 34 vote, Senate passage assured, perhaps with minor revisions, followed by Obama signing it into law.

Orwellian anti-Russian Section 1236 bans the Defense Department from pursuing “bilateral military-to-military cooperation between the governments of the United States and Russia” - unless Moscow “cease(s) its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”

DOD must “certify” to Congress that Russia “is abiding by the terms of and taking steps in support of the Minsk Protocols regarding a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.”

Fact: No Russian occupation of Ukraine exists - nor “aggressive activities” threatening Kiev, NATO countries or any others.

Fact: Russia alone strictly observes Minsk principles. Other so-called Normandy Quartet countries France, Germany and Ukraine systematically breach them, US pressure assuring it.

A congressional waiver may be granted provided “national interest(s)” are served, without further elaboration.

Obama’s tenure was marked by increasing tensions with Russia, risking direct confrontation by his hostile acts - including by signing into law the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) when it reaches his desk.

Congressional action is aimed at stymying Trump’s efforts to normalize ties with Russia, including both countries cooperating in combating terrorism in Syria - if he follows through on what he suggested while campaigning.

Will he observe what Section 1236 mandates or seek a waiver to cooperate with Russia in the “national interest?”

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.

Politicizing Humanitarian Aid to Aleppo

Politicized Humanitarian Aid to Aleppo

by Stephen Lendman

Two days after over 80,000 eastern Aleppo residents were freed from US-supported terrorists, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said the UN, America, Britain and France declined to provide any humanitarian aid.

Russia and Syria alone are helping thousands fleeing from eastern Aleppo to safety in government controlled areas. On Tuesday, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

“The President ordered the Defense Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry to send to Syria’s Aleppo mobile hospitals, which will provide treatment for residents of the city and its neighborhoods.”

A special 100-bed clinic and trauma care unit will be set up, also able to provide treatment for about 420 outpatients daily. A separate 50-bed clinic will be able to treat 200 outpatients every day.

On November 30, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said providing humanitarian aid to Syrians is increasingly politicized. Most UN aid goes to US-supported terrorists.

She condemned using humanitarian aid as “a tool for political pressure or…as a means of flirting with terrorists or shielding them…American promises are one things while their actions are another.”

US supported terrorists are blowing up hospitals, schools and mosques, then sending video footage to Western media for airing, propaganda claiming Syrian and Russian responsibility.

In November, Konashenkov said “(o)nly in recent months, we’ve delivered more than 100 tons of the most essential goods - food, medicine and other basic necessities - to Aleppo.” 

“All the inhabitants of Aleppo had equal access to these goods, with no restrictions to those from the western or eastern part of the city. The State Department within this period has not delivered one bread crumb to the Syrians, for whom it supposedly cares so much.”

On December 2, Konashenkov said UN authorities aren’t providing humanitarian aid to liberated eastern Aleppo residents. Instead they’re sending it to areas of the city “controlled by terrorists.”

Russia’s Reconciliation Center in Syria continues sending tons of food, medicines and other essentials to the city daily. Head of Russia’s General Staff, Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said “(a)s a result of effective actions by the Syrian government forces, Castello Road is now completely liberated. Thus, there are no impediments for humanitarian aid to be delivered to the people of Aleppo.”

On Friday, Sergey Lavrov said “(w)e have informed the UN in New York and Geneva that there are no longer any problems with the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Aleppo.” 

“An agreement has to be made with the Syrian government over the passage of these convoys, which are no longer under threat. The UN is currently pondering how to do this.”

“While they are deciding, Russia, as you know, has directed additional humanitarian assistance to east Aleppo as well as two mobile hospitals, doctors, medical equipment (and) medicine(s).”

On Saturday, Konashenkov said Britain failed to provide any humanitarian aid to the country throughout years of war - “not…a gram of flour, a tablet or a blanket to help civilians,” adding:

“On the basis of Russophobia, the UK government has lost its ability to objectively assess the situation in Syria, including in Aleppo.”

“If the UK government really wants to send humanitarian aid to residents of eastern areas (of Aleppo), there are all conditions for that, just tell us where it is stuck now. If there is no British humanitarian aid to Aleppo, don’t interfere with others’ efforts to help.”

Separately, Lavrov said formation of a so-called army of Aleppo in eastern parts of the city controlled by terrorists “is just another attempt to rebrand al-Nusra Front and shield it from righteous retaliation.”

All anti-government forces in eastern Aleppo are terrorists, control by al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) - supported by Washington and its rogue allies.

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 for DAPL Construction, Tulsi Gabbard Against

Trump for DAPL Construction, Tulsi Gabbard Against

by Stephen Lendman

According to Reuters, Trump’s transition team announced support for completing DAPL construction, adding his support “has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans.”

“Those making such a claim are only attempting to distract from the fact that President-elect Trump has put forth serious policy proposals he plans to set in motion on Day One.”

Oil pipelines notoriously leak, causing extensive environmental damage to land, waterways and wildlife habitat. Remaining DAPL construction threatens sacred Standing Rock Sioux ancestral land and water.

Thousands of their members and supporters have been protesting against it since last spring - around 2,000 veterans arriving this weekend in solidarity with them, vowing to serve as human shields.

One navy veteran likely spoke for others, saying “I signed up to serve my country and my people and I did that overseas. I didn't think I'd have to do it here, on this land, so here I am. This is what I need to be doing.”

In a Thursday House floor address, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D. HI) announced plans to stand with Standing Rock, saying in part:

“The Dakota Access Pipeline is a threat to this great balance of life. Despite strong opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux and serious concerns raised by the EPA, the Department of Interior, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and other Federal agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers approved permits to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline without adequately consulting the tribes, and without fully evaluating the potential impacts to neighboring tribal lands, sacred sites, and their water supply.” 

“Just one spill near the tribe’s reservation could release thousands of barrels of crude oil, contaminating the tribe’s drinking water.”

“The impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline is clear. Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the Dakota Pipeline, has a history of serious pipeline explosions, which have caused injury, death, and significant property damage in the past decade.” 

“The future operator of the planned pipeline, Sunoco Logistics, has had over 200 environmentally damaging oil spills in the last 6 years alone - more than any of its competitors.”

“This weekend I’m joining thousands of veterans from across the country at Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with our Native American brothers and sisters.” 

“Together we call on President Obama to immediately halt the construction of this pipeline, respect the sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, and respect their right to clean water.” 

“The truth is, whether it’s the threat to essential water sources in this region, the lead contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, or the threat posed to a major Hawaiʻi aquifer by the Red Hill fuel leak, each example underscores the vital importance of protecting our water resources.”

A previous article explained Tulsi is the first Native American Samoan congressional member, the most popular Hawaiian politician, a Hindu by faith, against wars of choice to oust sitting governments.

If completed, the 1,172-mile DAPL will transport around half a million barrels of crude oil daily from Bakken and Three Forks, North Dakota to Patoka, IL, risking contamination of Standing Rock Sioux sacred ancestral land and water.

On December 2, Sioux chairman David Archambault II said “(i)t is time the United States finally and consistent with its legal and international obligations fully recognizes our right to be treated like human beings and as sovereign nations.”

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.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Cuban Doctors Coming to Standing Rock

Cuban Doctors Coming to Standing Rock

by Stephen Lendman

Fidel would be proud, smiling from the hereafter, knowing his legacy lives.

Thursday on Facebook, Dr. Revery P. Barnes, a Havana-based Latin American School of Medicine graduate said:

We answer the call to serve in alignment with the mission and core principles of our alma mater and dedication to our commitment to serve underserved communities in our HOME country.”

“While Cuba instilled in us an unwavering commitment to internationalism, with the acceptance of a full scholarship to medical school at ELAM, we made the moral commitment to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable communities here at home in the US.”

Cuban trained doctors will work with the Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council. It “coordinate(s) supplies, resources, and volunteers between various medic and wellness clinics at the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Opposition camps.”

Doctors are treating emergency and chronic health conditions for thousands of Standing Rock Sioux water protectors and supporters.

They’re protesting environmentally destructive Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction on sacred ancestral land - suffering injuries inflicted by militarized police state viciousness, attacking them with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, water cannons, pepper spray and other forms of mistreatment.

It’s unknown how many Cuban-trained doctors are coming or when they’ll arrive. An earlier article called goodwill, doctors and teachers Cuba’s most important exports.

It operates 21 medical schools, the Havana-based Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) the world’s largest with an enrollment of nearly 20,000 students from scores of countries worldwide.

They get free world-class education in return for committing to provide Cuban-style medical services in home or other countries to low-income, under-served communities in need. 

A holistic approach focuses on individual needs, prevention, lifestyle changes important for good health and community wellness.

Cuba spends a small fraction of the cost of healthcare in America, providing better services overall, everyone treated equally, no one left out, world-class care available.

Since exporting healthcare in 1961, tens of thousands of Cuban doctors and other medical personnel served low-income, usually impoverished communities, in scores of countries worldwide.

Cuba wages goodwill, world-class healthcare and education, its most important exports and homeland services.

America wages state terror, endless wars of aggression, mass slaughter and destruction, disdain for democratic values and immiseration on an unprecedented scale.

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.

Challenging Stein's Michigan Recount Scam

Challenging Stein’s Michigan Recount Scam

by Stephen Lendman

Her recount scam is all about handing Trump’s triumph to Hillary, nothing about “electoral integrity,” as she claimed.

Judicial rulings foiled her scheme for hand recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania - based on phony allegations of voting machine hacking.

Now she may go down in Michigan. According to the Detroit Free Press, state Attorney General Bill Schuette asked Michigan’s Supreme Court justices to halt her scheme before it begins.

In petitioning the court, he said Stein isn’t an “aggrieved” candidate entitled to a recount - and there’s no time to complete one.

“If allowed to proceed, the statewide hand recount could cost Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars and would put Michigan voters at risk of being disenfranchised in the electoral college,” he told the state’s high court, adding:

“Even though Stein could have petitioned for the recount weeks ago, she waited until the last possible moment under state law to do so.”

Trump’s campaign protested the recount scam to Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers, halting a recount until its complaint is resolved. It petitioned to stop them in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. 

Stein said she has no evidence of hacking or other forms of electoral fraud. So what integrity issues concern her? 

None except for Trump defeating Hillary. Stein wants things reversed - proving she’s just another dirty self-serving politician.

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.

Draconian US Intelligence Authorization Act

Draconian US Intelligence Authorization Act

by Stephen Lendman

Congress annually passes intelligence policy authorization bills. The measure for FY 2017 represents a huge leap backwards, reminiscent of the 1950 Internal Security (McCarran) Act - enacted over Harry Truman’s veto.

It required communist organizations to register with the attorney general. A Subversive Activities Control Board was established to investigate alleged subversive activities.

An emergency detention provision authorized the president to arrest and detain “each person as to whom there is a reasonable ground to believe that such person probably will engage in, or probably will conspire with others to engage in, acts of espionage or sabotage.”

Deplorable McCarthy witch hunts followed. To this day, the term McCarthyism signifies baseless slander, unscrupulous fear-mongering and political lynchings.

Harvard Law School dean Erwin Griswold called McCarthy “judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one.” He targeted innocent victims, ruining careers for political advantage.

He manufactured nonexistent threats, targeting anyone he called a Soviet spy or sympathizer. Guilt by accusation was his standard.

On November 30, House members overwhelmingly passed HR 6393: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 - 390 in favor, 30 against, 14 not voting. Expect easy Senate passage followed by Obama signing the measure into law.

Despite no Russian threat to America or any other country, it establishes an interagency committee to counter its nonexistent meddling in the internal affairs of other countries - including by (nonexistent) media manipulation, disinformation and other forms of fake news, a US and media scoundrel specialty.

The law authorizes the newly established committee to counter nonexistent “measures by Russia to exert covert influence, including exposing falsehoods, agents of influence, corruption, human rights abuses, terrorism and assassinations carried out by the security services or political elites of the Russian Federation or their proxies.”

Moscow was falsely accused of hacking DNC emails and interfering with America’s electoral process - despite no evidence proving it, just baseless accusations, part of longstanding Russia bashing.

Sergey Lavrov called targeting Russia irresponsibly “myth-making with a goal to solve the short-term political objectives. No promised ‘evidence’ of interference in the electoral process has been presented neither to the American (or) international public.”

During his October address to the annual Valdai Discussion Club, Vladimir Putin debunked the notion of Russia interfering in America’s political process, saying:

“Does anyone seriously think that Russia can somehow influence the choice of the American people? Is America a banana republic or what? America is a great power.”

“It is much easier to distract people with the Russian so-called hackers, spies, agents of influence” than deal with important domestic and geopolitical issues responsibly, he explained.

The measure also prohibits Russian diplomats from traveling more than 50 miles from its Washington embassy and consulates in other US cities without FBI permission, a disgraceful insult.

Russia is a world power, targeted for its sovereign independence, not for any alleged threat it poses. Key after Trump’s inauguration is whether Moscow/Washington bilateral relations will improve.

Candidate Trump suggested it, expressing respect for Putin,” praising his “intelligence (and) no-nonsense way,” saying “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin.”

“I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect.”

Were the above comments empty campaign rhetoric or resolve for improved bilateral ties once he takes office? Trump has a lot of proving to do. World peace and stability hang in the balance.

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 Names Hawkish US General As Defense Secretary

Trump Names Hawkish General As Defense Secretary

by Stephen Lendman

At a Thursday Cincinnati rally, Trump announced retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as defense secretary - calling him “the closest thing we have to (WW II era) General George Patton.” Earlier he tweeted he’s “being considered for Secretary of Defense…A true General’s General!”

He last served as US CENTCOM head from August 2010 to March 2013. Notoriously known as “Mad Dog,” he earlier said “it’s a lot of fun to fight…It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you. I like brawling.”

He considers Iran the greatest threat to Middle East peace, a disgraceful Big Lie. Iran hasn’t attacked another country in over two centuries. It threatens none now.

Mattis opposes rapprochement with Russia, irresponsibly claiming nonexistent Putin revanchism and belligerence.

During US naked aggression on Iraq, Bush/Cheney’s war, Mattis commanded the 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion and subsequent assault on Fallujah.

Mass slaughter, arbitrary arrests, torture, humiliation and other forms of abuse targeted city residents. 

US-enforced siege denied them food, medicines, and other essentials - a flagrant Fourth Geneva violation, a Nuremberg-level high crime.

Random bombing and rocket fire (including use of cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other illegal munitions), massacred or wounded thousands, many thousands more displaced, homes and other property destroyed.

Collective punishment included US snipers shooting “any moving body,” including noncombatant men, women, children, the elderly and infirm.

A bridge connecting Fallujah to the area’s general hospital was cut off, preventing the ill and injured from reaching it for treatment - another flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.

Residents were denied food, water and medical help for days. Fallujah’s football stadium became a burial ground for thousands of dead victims of US barbarism.

Two Fallujah battles were fought - from April 4, 2003 - May 1, and from November 7 - December 23. Between them, US forces kept terror-bombing residential and industrial areas.

Negotiations to halt hostilities failed. Washington spurned peace, chose mass slaughter and destruction instead, mostly harming civilians.

Hundreds arrested went to Abu Ghraib and other infamous US torture prisons. Many died from torture and ill treatment.

During combat, witnesses confirmed the wholesale slaughter of unarmed civilians in their homes and mosques, some shot after being handcuffed.

Children saw parents shot. Adults saw spouses and children killed. US Marines participated in looting homes and stores, many indiscriminately destroyed.

Vast environmental contamination caused a significant increase is cancer cases and congenital malformations. Official Fallujah health statistics showed the following:

  • in 2006, 5,928 documented cases of previously unknown or rarely seen diseases;

  • in the first half of 2007, 2,447 seriously ill patients (half of them children) had mostly little known symptoms;

  • research studies determined sharp increases of leukemia, other cancers, infant mortality, abnormal deliveries, and injuries similar injuries to Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, clearly from depleted uranium and other toxic chemical exposures;

  • a February 2010 field study found cancers had multiplied fourfold, ones similar to Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors;

  • over a five year period, a 12-fold cancer rate in 14-year-old children was found;

  • infant mortality was 80 per thousand live births, compared to 19 in Egypt, 17 in Jordan, and 9.7 in Kuwait;

  • the gender birth ratio was also affected, dropping from almost even to a three-to-one female weighting over males; and

  • birth defects rose over 25%, many hideous from radiation poisoning; congenital heart defects had the highest incidence, followed by neural tube defects, and skeletal abnormalities.

Post-9/11 alone, US wars of aggression were responsible for millions of casualties - from war, related violence, preventable diseases, starvation and overall deprivation, civilians mostly affected, continuing to die, injured or otherwise abused by America’s rage for war.

Does Mattis’ selection indicate Trump’s intent to be America’s latest warrior president, renouncing peace for endless conflicts?

Will lofty promises be breached? Does calling Mattis “the real deal…a brilliant, wonderful man” indicate support for his war crimes? Will endless imperial wars continue on Trump’s watch?

A Final Comment

If confirmed, Mattis will be the first retired US general to serve as defense secretary since George Marshall, appointed in 1950. Federal law requires appointees not to have been on active duty for seven years.

Congress granted Marshall an exemption, likely for Mattis as well.

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.

A New Era of Peace Under Trump?

A New Era of Peace Under Trump?

by Stephen Lendman

On December 1, Trump began a thank you tour of states aiding his electoral triumph, stopping first in Cincinnati - pledging a “new era of peace,” saying:

“On defense, we will begin a major national effort to rebuild our badly depleted military. We have no choice. The world is a tinder box.” 

“We want a strong military that ideally we don’t have to use. Although, we will destroy ISIS.
We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past.” 

“We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments. Six trillion dollars (wasted) in the Middle East. Our goal is stability, not chaos.” 

“We want to rebuild our country. We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism.” 

“In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”

Quite a mouthful. Here’s what Trump should have said but didn’t. America’s only enemies are ones it invents. It’s military is hugely bloated.

It should be reduced to a small fraction of its current size, the defense (aka war) budget significantly slashed.

America’s global empire of bases should be closed once and for all, many domestic ones with them. US policy bears full responsibility for a “tinder box” world.

Washington created ISIS and virtually all other terrorist groups, 
CIA dirty hands involved. Choosing hawkish Mike Pompeo as director suggests continued support for this scourge. Announcing General James (Mad Dog) Mattis as his defense secretary isn’t encouraging.

Saying he won’t topple other governments is reassuring if he means it, fulfilling his pledge despite enormous pressure to continue America’s permanent war agenda.

Pursuing “a new era of peace, understanding and good will” would dramatically change longstanding US imperial policy.

Lofty promises are one thing, fulfilling them another.

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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