Sunday, May 28, 2017

No Planned Roll Back of US Sanctions on Russia

No Planned Roll Back of US Sanctions on Russia

by Stephen Lendman

What a difference an election makes.

Private citizen/later candidate Trump expressed respect for Vladimir Putin, suggesting they could become good friends.

Weeks after throwing his hat in the ring, he said “I think I’d get along very well with” him. “I just think so.”

Later in the campaign, he said if elected president, there wouldn’t be “the kind of problems that (we’re) having right now.”

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.”

“Wouldn’t it actually be a positive thing (to) have a good relationship with Putin…If we can…get along with Russia, that would be a tremendous thing.”

“…(T)here’s nothing I can think of that I’d rather do than have Russia friendly, as opposed to the way (things) are right now…”

How things changed post-inauguration. Addressing other NATO leaders in Brussels, Trump referred to the “Russian threat,” knowing none exists.

Traveling with him abroad, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn said “(w)e’re not lowering our sanctions on Russia.”

“If anything, we would probably look to get tougher…I think the president’s made it clear how the Russians could have the sanctions lifted…”

He means Moscow ending nonexistent “aggression,” irresponsibly jettisoning its Crimean Republic, halting its anti-terrorism campaign in Syria, and if not supporting America’s imperial agenda, at least not opposing it.

Unlike Trump and his neocon-infested administration, Putin is a man of honor and integrity, a peace champion, a world-class leader, not a scoundrel like heads of all US administrations, along with a rogue’s gallery of congressional leaders and bureaucrats.

US hostility toward Russia is longstanding, implacable, nothing in prospect suggesting improvement.

Fake accusations of aggression in Ukraine, annexing its territory, propping up Assad’s government, meddling in American and European elections, and other disinformation make improved bilateral relations unattainable.

As long as sovereign independent Russia exists, so will America’s hostility, regime change remaining longstanding US policy, eventual confrontation likely, risking possible nuclear war lunatic neocons in Washington think they can win.

Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark earlier said “(n)othing is more dangerous than the aggressive US/NATO troop movements right on the borders of Russia” - creating menacing flashpoint conditions as long as they’re there, likely greater numbers coming than any pullback.

Instead of prioritizing improved bilateral ties in the interest of world peace and stability, US policy fosters confrontation, risking war between the two dominant nuclear powers.

Deep mistrust on both sides exists, compromising cooperation on security matters, a nuclear arms race in prospect making things worse.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, representing the likelihood of nuclear war and/or ecocide, stands at three minutes to midnight - one minute better than its 1953 low, following US and Soviet Russia hydrogen bomb tests.

Both sides are on hair-trigger alert. Possible nuclear war by accident or design should terrify everyone - the Trump administration doing nothing to step back from the brink.

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.

Theresa May's Electoral Strategy - Fear-Mongering

Theresa May’s Electoral Strategy - Fear-Mongering

by Stephen Lendman

The only terrorist threats Brits, other Europeans and Americans need fear is from their own governments, no others.

In the wake of the May 22 Manchester blast, Britain’s home secretary Amber Rudd warned about members of an alleged terrorist network still at large - despite no evidence suggesting anything of the kind exists.

Previous high-profile terrorist attacks in Britain, elsewhere in Europe and America were false flags, Manchester most likely the latest.

Instead of the incident helping May in the polls as she hoped, she’s slipping significantly. One poll showed her lead over Corbyn at five points, four others ranging from a two to six-point advantage, a week-and-a-half before snap elections

Though still likely to win, things appear shaping up to be a close race, a surprise outcome possible - not what May imagined when calling for snap elections on April 18.

Post-9/11, GW Bush’s approval rating soared from around 50% to about 90% overnight. Post-Manchester, May’s sunk.

University of Strathclyde professor of politics John Curtice believes she’s “certainly the overwhelming favorite to win, but crucially we are in the territory now where how well is uncertain.”

She is no longer guaranteed to get the landslide majority that she was originally setting out to get” - a surprise outcome possible.

If she fails to decisively best David Cameron’s 2015 12-seat majority, her gamble will have failed, her mandate weakened, Tories more vulnerable to losing next time around.

Campaigning suspended post-Manchester was resumed on Friday, focusing heavily on security, Corbyn using it to his advantage instead of May as expected.

Everything reported about alleged suicide bomber Salman Abedi, his family members and associates is suspect, May’s fear-mongering strategy not turning out as expected.

So far, 11 arrests were made, individuals still in custody, despite no evidence connecting them to terrorism. Rudd claiming ISIS wants young Brits “weaponize(d)” is rubbish, an accusation with nothing credible supporting it.

At the same time, lots more incidents like Manchester are likely, in Europe and America, all likely part of a scheme to justify imperial wars and convince people to believe sacrificing freedom enhances security, not realizing they’re losing both.

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's Infrastructure Privatization Scheme

Trump’s Infrastructure Privatization Scheme

by Stephen Lendman

Straightaway in office, Trump proved he’s an imperial/predatory corporatist tool - his rhetorical populism pretense, not real, his agenda hugely harming ordinary people at home and abroad.

Days after his election, Ellen Brown exposed his phony promised economic change, saying “his infrastructure plan appears to be just more of the same - privatizing public assets and delivering unearned profits to investors at the expense of the people.”

Addressing supporters after his electoral triumph, he promised “to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals.” 

“We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”

As Brown noted, the devil is always in the details. They’re not pretty. His plan calls for spending $1 trillion on infrastructure over the next decade. 

Instead of responsibly funding it by low-or-no-interest government-created credit, how China finances infrastructure spending as Brown explained, Trump won’t let America do it the same way “without raising taxes, slashing services, cutting pensions, or privatizing industries,” harming the general welfare, ordinary people paying the price for private profit-making.

Goldman Sachs runs Trump administration economic and financial policymaking - the firm notorious for making money by fraud, grand theft, market manipulation, scamming investors, bribing politicians, having its executives in top administration posts, and getting open-ended low or no interest rate bailouts when needed.

Its business model and culture assure billions of bonus dollars for company officials, complicit traders, and others on the take. It’s a crime family, not a bank, like other major Wall Street firms.

Its grand theft continues unabated, none of its top officials ever fined, prosecuted and imprisoned. Current chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein calls its operations “doing God’s work.”

Former GS executive vice president Steven Mnuchin serves as Trump’s Treasury Secretary. 

Former GS president and CEO Gary Cohn heads his National Economic Council, in charge of the infrastructure privatization scheme Goldman intends profiting from, buying public assets on the cheap.

On May 26, the International Business Times (IBT) headlined “Trump Administration Conflicts of Interest: How Gary Cohn Could Sell US Infrastructure to Goldman Sachs,” saying:

Trump’s scheme involves “sell(ing) off public assets to private financial firms,” GS hoping to profit hugely, “taking ownership of public assets, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents reviewed by International Business Times.”

A Trump administration plan released days earlier explained plans to spend $200 billion to “incentivize additional non-Federal funding,” allowing private investors like GS to buy public bridges, airports, toll roads, and other infrastructure properties.

In its most recent annual SEC filing, GS said “(i)n a number of our businesses, including where we make markets, invest and lend, we directly or indirectly own interests in, or otherwise become affiliated with the ownership and operation of public services, such as airports, toll roads and shipping ports, as well as physical commodities and commodities infrastructure components, both within and outside the US.”

IBT explained Trump’s plan proposes to expand “tax-exempt bonds on behalf of private entities constructing highway and freight transfer facilities” - a lucrative giveaway to Wall Street firms like GS.

Cohn was quoted saying “(i)nstead of people in cities and states and municipalities coming to us and saying, ‘Please give us money to build a project,’ and not knowing if it will get maintained, and not knowing if it will get built, we say, ‘Hey, take a project you have right now, sell it off, privatize it, we know it will get maintained, and we’ll reward you for privatizing it.”

“The bigger the thing you privatize, the more money we’ll give you.”

IBT noted other GS alums likely involved in Trump’s scheme besides Cohn include chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, SEC chairman Jay Clayton, and Treasury Security Mnuchin.

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.

Libya: A US-Created Terrorist Haven

Libya: A US-Created Terrorist Haven

by Stephen Lendman

US-led NATO aggression on Libya raped and destroyed its sovereign independence - one of history’s great crimes.

Africa’s developed nation was transformed into a cauldron of failed state, terrorist-infested violence, chaos, deep poverty, mass unemployment, and devastating human misery.

Libya was Obama’s war, launched in 2011, orchestrated by Hillary Clinton. Her remark after hearing of Muammar Gaddafi’s death, saying “(w)e came, we saw, he died” alone will long define her pure evil.

Claiming Washington’s aim was humanitarian intervention to establish democratic governance was pure subterfuge, the usual imperial Big Lie justifying naked aggression. 

Libya was terror-bombed to destroy its sovereignty, plunder its oil wealth, privatize the world’s largest aquifer system, dollarize the country, exploit its people, and establish pro-Western puppet rule.

Gaddafi supported pan-Africanism, a United States of Africa free from imperial dominance, Libyans sharing in the country’s oil wealth, a notion anathema to America and other Western powers.

Under his 1999 Decision No. 111, all Libyans got free healthcare, education, electricity, water, training, rehabilitation, housing assistance, disability and old-age benefits, interest-free state loans, as well as generous subsidies to study abroad, buy a new car, help couples when they marry, practically free gasoline, and more.

Literacy under his rule rose from 20 - 80%. Libya’s hospitals and private clinics were some of the region’s best. Now they're in shambles. 

Vital public services he provided no longer exist. Pre-war, Libyans had African’s highest standard of living. Homelessness was nonexistent.

Gaddafi believed all Libyans had a right to a home or rent-free apartment, notions unheard of in the West.

He rejected Western-style money-controlled undemocratic democracy, deplored crony capitalism and neoliberal harshness.

During his tenure, women had the right to vote, participate politically, as well as own and sell property independently of their husbands. They were constitutionally granted equal status with men.

Libya’s central bank was state-owned, the interest-free Libyan dinar used for productive economic growth, not speculation, profits and bonuses for predatory bankers.

Gaddafi advocated a new gold standard, replacing dollars with gold dinars, a plan to provide real monetary wealth and value, free from predatory Western lending agencies.

Responsible policies led to his demise. Washington wants control over all other nations - dollar hegemony as the world’s reserve currency the way its dominance is maintained.

Economist Michael Hudson calls this system a “sinister dynamic (because) the US payment deficit pumps dollars into foreign economies.” 

They have “little option except to buy US (debt) which the Treasury spends on financing an enormous, hostile (global) military build-up” - facilitating endless imperial wars.

Post-Gaddafi Libya is a dystopian failed state. Dozens of rival factions vie for control, including ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The main ones are the so-called pro-Western, Tobruk-based, Government of National Accord (GNA) and Tripoli-based National Salvation Government (GNC).

Both lack legitimacy. Endless violence rages. On Friday, clashes erupted between both factions for control of Tripoli, the country’s capital and largest city, now a battleground.

Dozens were killed, many more wounded, militants and civilians. Fighting continues over the weekend.

Violence in other parts of the country rages. Awash with weapons, no end of it is in sight.

Nearly six years after Gaddafi’s ouster, Libya is now a haven for terrorist groups, rival factions vying for control, the country ravaged, its people immiserated - victimized by US imperial viciousness.

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.

Corbyn to Recognize Palestinian Statehood if Elected UK PM

Corbyn to Recognize Palestinian Statehood if Elected UK PM

by Stephen Lendman

The latest YouGov poll shows him cutting significantly into Theresa May’s earlier lead - from 18 points or more down to five.

He’s still an underdog in June 8 snap elections, Tories favored to win, May likely to remain prime minister.

Following the May 22 Manchester blast (a likely state-sponsored false flag), Corbyn said military forces deployed on UK streets clearly shows the failure of Tory foreign policy - fueling and supporting terrorism, not combating it.

Separately, Corbyn-led Labour announced if elected in June, it’ll immediately recognize Palestinian statehood.

Labour’s “For the Many, Not the Few” manifesto pledges a commitment to a two-state solution as a way to resolve decades-long conflict.

Weeks earlier, Britain’s House of Lords criticized the Tory regime’s “very degrading, dismissive attitude” toward resolving decades of Israeli/Palestinian conflict responsibly - urging a stronger position toward advancing a two-state solution, recognizing Palestinian statehood.

At the same time, it criticized Trump’s position as ambivalent, dismissive, degrading, “mercurial and unpredictable,” urging more proactive UK policymaking - including ending a decade of besieging Gazans - solely for political, not security, reasons. 

Trump’s campaign pledge to move America’s embassy to Jerusalem was also denounced, along with appointing Zionist extremist David Freedom as US ambassador to Israel.

Separately on Saturday night, under the banner #50isEnough, tens of thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, calling for ending a half century of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, advocating a two-state solution.

Addressing the gathering, Arab Joint List MK Ayman Odeh said “(t)he state which I am a citizen of occupies my people. We must free both peoples of the occupation.”

“Especially now, in the face of the growing radicalization of the rightist government, in the face of a government that uses a minority as a punching bag, a government that incites against its Arab citizens, marginalizes them and even allows for their killing; especially now, in the face of annexation of initiatives, racist anti-democratic legislation, in the face of the silencing and the populism…we must establish a democratic camp around common basic principles and a clear call to end the occupation, a call for equality, democracy and social justice for all the state’s citizens.”

Peace Now’s director Avi Buskila said “(w)e, here in this square, are the hope of Israel. It is time for a Palestinian state alongside Israel.”

“(W)e (as Israeli) citizens…rise up to protect our home. We hereby declare a battle,” calling for it to be run democratically.

“We take to the streets to protest against the lack of hope offered…by the right wing government, which perpetuates occupation, violence, and racism.”

“Yes to hope. Yes to two states. No to occupation. No to annexation, and yes to a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Hardliners infesting Washington and Israel support continuity, not responsible change. Their rhetoric otherwise is deceptive and dishonest like it’s always been before.

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.

Syria Calls on UN to Halt US-Led Terror-Bombing

Syria Calls on UN to Halt US-Led Terror-Bombing

by Stephen Lendman

Since September 2014, US-led coalition warplanes have been terror-bombing Syrian infrastructure, government sites, and at least twice striking its military - on the phony pretext of combating ISIS.

Thousands of civilians in harm’s way were massacred, more killed virtually daily, media scoundrels ignoring the carnage. 

Numerous previous Damascus Foreign Ministry letters sent to UN authorities fell on deaf ears - the latest in response to US-led coalition warplanes terror-bombing al-Mayadeen city in the Deir Ezzor countryside, massacring dozens of civilians, including women and children, injuring many more - a high crime like countless others preceding it.

The Syrian Arab News Agency  (SANA) said Damascus’ Foreign Ministry accused US-led coalition warplanes of “a series of attacks…against Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity under the pretext of combating terrorism, while the actions of this alliance only contribute to spreading chaos and destruction which benefits the extremist terrorist organizations, particularly ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terror organizations.”

Ongoing attacks “blatantly contradict the UN Security Council’s resolutions, international law, and international humanitarian law.” 

“Syria reiterates the aggressive nature of this coalition and its support for parties that want only to kill innocent Syrian civilians…under pretexts that proved to be invalid.”

In a Friday statement, pro-Western UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein failed to denounce massacres of Syrian civilians by US-led coalition warplanes.

Instead he deplorably said “(t)here are multiple air forces operating in this part of Syria…I can’t begin to identify who is responsible” - ignoring clear evidence of US-led culpability.

US-led coalition warplanes and ground forces operate in Syria illegally, flagrantly violating international law, including Security Council resolutions.

Washington wants its sovereignty destroyed, Assad ousted, pro-Western puppet rule replacing him - no matter the human cost and vast destruction.

Prospects any time soon for conflict resolution are virtually nil because neocons infesting the Trump administration reject them.

A Final Comment

A willfully deceptive G7 statement following the Taormina, Italy summit said “(i)f Russia is prepared to use its influence positively, then we are prepared to work with it in resolving the conflict in Syria, pursuing a political settlement.”

Those with influence over the Syrian regime, in particular Russia and Iran, must do their utmost to use that influence to stop this tragedy, beginning with the enforcement of a real ceasefire, stopping the use of chemical weapons, ensuring safe, immediate and unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need, and releasing any arbitrarily detained persons, as well as allowing free access to its prisons.” 

“To this end, we hope that the Astana agreement (on establishing safe zones) can contribute effectively to de-escalating violence.”

What rubbish! Russia, Iran and Syria alone have gone all-out throughout the conflict to resolve it diplomatically - unattainable because Washington wants war, not peace, regime change, not respect for Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Alleged Secret Trump Team-Sought Communication Channel with Russia

Alleged Secret Trump Team-Sought Communication Channel with Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Media reports about Trump’s son-in-law/senior advisor Jared Kushner allegedly discussing a secret communication channel between his transition team and Moscow through ambassador Sergey Kislyak deserves praise, not criticism if true.

According to the neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other media sources, the allegation comes from unnamed US officials, likely Obama administration holdovers, maintaining a steady drumbeat of dubious leaks to denigrate Trump. 

They claim Kushner suggested using Russian US-located diplomatic facilities for secret bilateral communications.

If Washington had normal relations with Moscow and other independent nations, Trump team’s efforts to establish bilateral communications wouldn’t have to be done quietly - if media reports alleging what happened are true.

World peace and stability depend on nations getting along with one another. US imperial aims for global dominance involve confrontations and other hostile acts.

Candidate Trump said it would be a good idea to get along with Moscow. As president, he hasn’t followed through responsibly. In Brussels talks with other NATO leaders, he referred to the “Russian threat,” knowing none exists.

If Kushner pursued a bilateral communication channel with Moscow for secret or open talks on vital issues, all to the good. 

Responsible interfacing “trumps” confrontation, the latter course what Obama and his neocon-infested administration pursued, maintaining hostile relations instead of improving them.

The White House and Russian embassy so far haven’t commented on Saturday media reports.

What’s disturbing isn’t that Trump’s team may have sought a secret communication channel as reported. It’s that US/Russia relations have to be pursued this way, not openly and normally, the way all nations should relate to others.

Washington bears full responsibility for this deplorable situation - not Moscow seeking cooperative relations with all countries.

Longstanding US policy seeks unchallenged global dominance, over allies and adversaries alike, not respect for the sovereign rights of all nations - why endless imperial wars rage.

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.

G7 Leaders Declare Escalated Phony War on Terror

G7 Leaders Declare Escalated Phony War on Terror

by Stephen Lendman

G7 countries America, Britain, Canada, France, and Germany (Italy and Japan junior partners) are responsible for global state terrorism, featuring endless imperial wars, aided by NATO, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other rogue states.

From Taormina, Italy on May 26, G7 leaders issued a joint statement “on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, declaring escalated phony war on terror, saying the following:

“1. We, the Leaders of the G7, stand united in expressing our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of the brutal terrorist act in Manchester in the United Kingdom. We condemn in the strongest possible terms terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

2. Countering terrorism and violent extremism, acts of which have struck G7 Members, as well as all regions of the world, regardless of country, nationality or belief, remains a major priority for the G7. We stand united in our joint endeavour to make sure that our citizens are safe and secure, and their values and way of life fully preserved, and will take the strongest action possible to find, identify, remove, and punish, as appropriate, terrorists and those who abet their activities.
3. We will bring the fight against terrorism to a higher level by relentlessly preventing, investigating and prosecuting terrorist acts, their perpetrators and supporters. 

Our shared system of values and norms, respect for human rights and cultural diversity, the promotion of fundamental freedoms and the principles on which our societies are built will remain a beacon for our common action and the first and best defence against this common threat. To this end, we remain committed to the full implementation of the G7 Action Plan adopted in Ise-Shima.
4. But the brutal attack in Manchester demonstrates that we must now redouble our efforts to turn these commitments into action. We agree to task our Interior Ministers to meet, as soon as possible, to focus on implementation of the following commitments and to work collectively with the private sector and civil society to defeat terrorism.
5. First, we will combat the misuse of the Internet by terrorists. While being one of the most important technological achievements in the last decades, the Internet has also proven to be a powerful tool for terrorist purposes. 

The G7 calls for Communication Service Providers and social media companies to substantially increase their efforts to address terrorist content. 

We encourage industry to act urgently in developing and sharing new technology and tools to improve the automatic detection of content promoting incitement to violence, and we commit to supporting industry efforts in this vein including the proposed industry-led forum for combatting online extremism. 

We will support the promotion of alternative and positive narratives rooted in our common values and with due respect to the principle of freedom of expression. We will counter propaganda supporting terrorism and violent extremism, online recruitment by extremists, radicalization and incitement to violence. 

To this end, we will increase our engagement with civil society, youth and religious leaders, detention facilities, and educational institutions.
6. Second, we will pursue a collective approach to managing the risk posed by foreign fighters as they disperse from theatres of conflict. 

We will pool resources to build capacity in transit and destination countries to manage the threat of traveling and returning foreign fighters, focusing in particular on upstream development where greatest effect can be achieved. 

We will offer our expertise and resources to develop legal pathways in order to return foreign fighters to their country of origin. We will commit to greater knowledge-sharing of known individuals who have travelled to Daesh/al-Qaeda territory. 

We will cooperate on the upstream collection of battlefield evidence to enable prosecution of returning foreign fighters. We will put measures in place for those, such as vulnerable women and children, who cannot be prosecuted, ensuring compliance with international human rights standards.
7. Third, we will refocus our efforts and take action to cut off sources and channels of terrorist financing and the financing of violent extremism. 

Because funds are the lifeblood of violent extremists and terrorists, countering the financing of violent extremists who radicalize youth around the globe and threaten our national interests. 

We will, therefore, maintain our support for the work carried out by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and recognize the importance of improved information sharing between G7 financial intelligence units as well as better cooperation between other competent authorities and with the private sector. 

We will employ targeted financial sanctions to disrupt their support networks, and we will strengthen G7 cooperation on these sanctions. We unequivocally reiterate our resolve not to pay ransoms to terrorists.
8. Beyond this, we remain committed to strengthening cooperation among our border agencies - and those of our partners - and to supporting the expansion of the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) and Advance Passenger Information (API) in traveler screening. 

We reiterate the importance of filling gaps in API use at international level, and note the critical importance of API as an effective instrument in the fight against terrorism - and in stemming the flow of foreign fighters and in monitoring their return.
9. We will also continue to play a key role in countering terrorist facilitation; the diversion of weapons into the hands of terrorists, preventing and countering radicalization to violence; facilitating information sharing; dismantling connections between terrorism and transnational organized crime; and promoting better implementation of effective, proportionate and risk-based aviation security measures. 

We will strongly encourage and support third countries to improve their protective security. We will reinforce cooperation among ourselves and intensify partnership with third countries, as an essential element of the global action to counter terrorism, in order to implement all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and international instruments, including the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). 

We will continue to support the UN Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and the UN’s Global Counterterrorism Strategy.
10. We are also committed to supporting INTERPOL in its information-sharing functions. We will further enhance connectivity of priority partner countries to its Database System and continue to assess how we can jointly accelerate this endeavor.
11. We are convinced of the distinctive role of culture as an instrument to fight terrorism. Cultivating culture is a way to foster tolerance and dialogue among peoples, mutual understanding, religious pluralism, and recognition and respect for diversity. 

Culture contributes to the preservation of identity and the memory of mankind, encourages dialogue and exchanges among nations, and, ultimately, can be an extraordinary instrument to prevent radicalization and violent extremism, especially among youth.
12. We also affirm our strong determination to cooperate in protecting cultural heritage and countering the looting and trafficking of cultural property. 

Such property is a source of financing for activities of terrorist groups and organizations, but also as a heinous means to eradicate cultural diversity from the territories under their control.

13. We commit ourselves to steering international and regional organizations and entities towards implementing effective, efficient, and focused capacity-building and technical assistance programs in areas such as countering violent extremism, combating the financing of terrorism, enhancing border and aviation security, and strengthening cyber-related capacities.
14. Since the lack of social and economic inclusiveness and opportunities may contribute to the rise of terrorism and violent extremism, we commit to address these issues through a comprehensive approach linking together security, social inclusion, and development. 

G7 efforts to promote pluralism, tolerance, and gender equality such as cross-cultural and interfaith dialogue will boost the effectiveness of our action against terrorism and violent extremism.
15. Our action against terrorism and violent extremism is rooted in a common system of values, which will continue to provide a solid foundation for our concerted and coordinated action. 

We emphasize that all counterterrorism efforts must be based on the common principles of democracy, respect of human rights, and the rule of law. As we tackle the major challenges of disrupting terrorist financing and the financing of violent extremism, managing the return of foreign terrorist fighters from conflict areas and addressing the associated risks for regional stability, countering the widespread use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, and addressing the root causes of radicalization to violence, we will continue to rely on the heritage established by the G7 within the wider international community.”

Comment:

Ignore all the rubbish about concern for democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms, sympathy for Manchester (state terrorism) victims, “mak(ing) sure our citizens are safe and secure, and their values and way of life fully preserved,” along with all their other phony high-minded rhetoric.

Focus only on their Machiavellian evil, their war on humanity, their police state harshness, their service to powerful interests at the expense of the general welfare.

That’s what these rogue states and their complicit allies are all about.

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.

Palestinian Political Prisoners Suspend Hunger Strike

Palestinian Political Prisoners Suspend Hunger Strike

by Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, after 40 grueling days and nights, exacerbated by brutal Israeli treatment, hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners suspended their Freedom and Dignity hunger strike - after reaching partial agreement on their demands.

Israel claims no direct talks were held, none with strike leader/Palestinian national hero Marwan Barghouti, no concessions made, other than reinstating two family visits monthly.

According to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs head Issa Qaraqe, more than 20 hours of talks between the ICRC, the PA, Barghouti and prison authorities in Ashkelon prison reached agreement to suspend the strike.

It came on the first day of Ramadan. Some prisoners vowed to continue fasting, abstaining from salt and water along with food.

Palestinian leaders claimed “victory,” calling the agreement an “important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners.”

It’s unclear if other demands were met, more information to come later. According to Qaraqe and Palestinian Prisoners Society head Qaddura Fares, talks were at a standstill until Israeli authorities let Barghouti  participate, what they adamantly refused to do earlier

Throughout the ordeal, Mahmoud Abbas paid lip service alone to harsh prison conditions, the suffering of strikers and their rightful demands. Trump administration officials ignored their brutal treatment entirely.

A Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network statement said “(a)ll salutes to the courageous, struggling Palestinian prisoners, on the front lines of the Palestinian struggle for liberation!” 

“Their victories and their struggles are those of the Palestinian people and of all people seeking justice and liberation.”

“And salutes to all of those around the world who have been part of the prisoners’ struggle and Palestinian victory for the past 40 days.”

Partial victory is little consolation for decades of suffering, especially with Israeli authorities likely to reneged on what was agreed to - like they always do on dealings with Palestinians and others.

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.

Manchester Blast: Likely State-Sponsored Terrorism

Manchester Blast: Likely State-Sponsored Terrorism

by Stephen Lendman

Evidence known so far strongly indicates state-sponsored responsibility for the May 22 Manchester blast. 

ISIS claiming responsibility is baloney. Like al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, it’s supported by America, Britain, other NATO nations, Israel and other regional rogue states. Why would it bite one of the hands feeding it?

Alleged suicide bomber Salman Abedi perished so is unable to tell tales. He’s a convenient patsy to blame for what happened. So are others arrested as suspected accomplices. 

The pattern is familiar, ordinary people unaware they’re being duped. Incidents like Manchester are conveniently timed against strategically chosen targets for maximum effect and what’s planned to follow.

Post-9/11 horrors are well documented. America declared endless war on humanity, targeting one sovereign independent nation after another for regime change, others yet to come.

The 9/11 incident provided a treasure trove of giveaways, showing what happened was other than the official narrative. 

The most obvious was how could a handful of terrorists outwit America’s 16 intelligence agencies, including sophisticated NSA eavesdropping on anyone or anything suspicious back then and now?

No evidence implicates ISIS, al-Qaeda or other likeminded groups for any high-profile US or European terrorist incidents - all of them false flags.

The official 9/11 story was beginning-to-end contradictions, disinformation and Big Lies - still supported by media scoundrels despite volumes of evidence proving otherwise.

Bin Laden was dying of natural causes in a Pakistan hospital, reported by CBS on 9/10/01. The New York Times and other sources reported his death in December 2001. Obama did not kill Osama. The Big Lie persists. 

The 9/11 mother of all false flags still links so-called Arab terrorists to what happened. Most named were discovered alive and well in their home countries, mainly Saudi Arabia.

Claims about Mohamed Atta’s luggage found at Boston’s Logan Airport containing “decisive evidence” about Al Qaeda’s responsibility were fake - including a Saudi passport, an alleged letter saying he planned martyrdom to go to heaven, video instructions on flying Boeing airliners, and other belongings. They were planted to blame Al Qaeda for what happened.

A key unanswered question was why Atta’s alleged luggage wasn’t on the flight he was accused of hijacking and piloting. Travelers don’t leave belongings behind when boarding flights or disembarking to reach destinations.

No one ever explained why Atta went to Portland, ME from Boston on September 10, necessitating an early return the next day to be on Flight 11.

Another passport allegedly belonging to one of the hijackers was mysteriously found near the Twin Towers site, miraculously not burned by ignited jet fuel. 

While the events of 9/11 were unfolding, Secret Service agents let George Bush remain at a Sarasota, FL school for 30 minutes after learning about the second twin tower strike. Standard procedure calls for immediately securing the president’s safety in case of potential danger.

Architects, structural engineers and other knowledgeable professionals know it’s scientifically impossible for jet fuel to heat high enough to melt or cause rigid steel columns to crumble.

Controlled demolitions destroyed both towers. Building 7 fell the same way. A likely cruise missile, not an aircraft, struck the Pentagon. No bodies or aircraft parts were found at the site.

Numerous other Big Lies and contradictions completely destroyed the official 9/11 narrative.

False flags are a longstanding Western tradition - Manchester likely the latest, the official account already beginning to unravel like explanations of similar earlier incidents.

Following a previous false flag attack, an independent media-published cartoon showed an individual dressed in black, a suicide vest strapped to his chest, his finger on the triggering mechanism, saying “s..t, I forgot my passport” - mocking the absurdity of a criminal leaving identifying documents at the scene of a crime, making it easy to be named as a convenient patsy.

Alleged Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi’s bankcard was found in his pocket, an obvious red flag, suggesting something rotten in the official narrative of what happened and who was responsible.

Abedi was ID’d by anonymous US officials hours before UK police, the most obvious red flag. Whenever a violent domestic incident makes headlines for days, drowning out other news, be very suspicious.

What happened is likely something other than what’s officially reported. Was the Manchester blast jointly planned by US and British intelligence? Was Israel’s Mossad involved?

The incident happened ahead of June 8 snap UK elections. A previous article cited a Sunday Times YouGov poll, showing Tory leader Theresa May’s lead over Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn at nine points, half her last week’s advantage, enough time left perhaps to further shrink it sufficiently to make for a close race. 

Was Monday’s blast an attempt to shore up public support for May-led Tories, a false flag aiming to assure their hold on power, portraying them as tougher on alleged terrorism than Corbyn-led Labour? 

It appears so, along with likely creating another pretext for pursuing diabolical policies. Will it work? We’ll know if Tories benefit in less than two weeks and escalated imperial wars follow. 

On Friday, G7 leaders in Sicily (including Theresa May and Trump) signed a joint declaration on countering terrorism and violent extremism.

It “priorit(izes)” the fight,  pledging to elevate efforts “to a higher effort by relentlessly preventing, investigating and prosecuting terrorist acts, the perpetrators and supporters.”

The only terrorist threat ordinary people should fear is state-sponsored - including endless imperial wars, imposition of draconian state of emergency conditions and repressive laws, resulting in loss of fundamental freedoms on the phony pretext of assuring greater security.

Who benefits from incidents like Manchester is obvious - governments able to usurp greater powers to pursue diabolical policies at home and abroad by deceiving ordinary people to believe it’s for their safety and security.

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.