Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Trump: America's Latest Warrior President


Trump: America’s Latest Warrior President

by Stephen Lendman

Trump’s first month in office proved nothing he said campaigning holds water. All politicians lie, saying whatever it takes to get elected, doing whatever they please once in office.

In short order, America’s 45th president surrendered to Wall Street and war-profiteers, gorging at the public trough - at the expense of humanity at home and abroad.

The hoped for antidote to Hillary appears no different on policymaking - both subservient to monied interests at the expense of popular ones, both warriors, not peacemakers, both intolerant of challenges to America’s hegemonic aims, both hostile to all sovereign independent states, a deplorable situation, a dangerous one risking possible nuclear war.

Hillary’s defeat didn’t dodge a nuclear bullet. It gave Trump the trigger, perhaps as willing to squeeze it to prove his machismo. 

Both aspirants appear near two sides of the same coin, much alike on issues mattering most. It’s a tough judgment this soon into Trump’s tenure. Things sometimes change, though rarely, except for the worst, not better.

Trump calling NATO “obsolete” on the stump proved deceptive hyperbole. He fully supports the alliance, according to Vice President Pence, Defense Secretary Mattis, for sure hawkish National Security Advisor McMaster, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Trump’s South China Sea saber-rattling risks confrontation with Beijing. Other administration figures speaking for him, demanding Russia end Kiev’s war on Donbass and relinquish its Crimea territory, is a prescription for no change in hostile US policy toward Moscow.

Threats made against Iran, North Korea and Venezuela risk more trouble, thinly veiled ones for regime change. All this going on in a few short weeks into Trump’s tenure is breathtaking and disturbing for a White House aspirant promising a different way.

There’s more. Additional US combat troops may be sent to Afghanistan to continue America’s longest war - instead of ending what never should have been waged in the first place.

Bipartisan members of Congress want a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to wage phony war on terrorism - instead of demanding recision of the September 14, 2001 measure, three days post-9/11.

US Central Command head General Joseph Votel wants more US combat troops for Syria - not to fight terrorism, to support it.

The way to defeat ISIS and likeminded groups is by no longer providing them with weapons, funding, training and direction. They exist because of foreign backing. Without it, they’re a spent force once exhausting their supplies.

Trump directing “mad dog” Mattis to develop a preliminary plan on how to defeat ISIS appears more about designing a way to use these foot soldiers more effectively - continuing America’s war OF terror on humanity, not waging peace instead.

His campaign hoopla about draining the swamp was deceptive hyperbole. His agenda continues serving privileged interests at the expense of most others. 

US imperial madness remains unchanged - world peace and stability as threatened as ever.

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.

US Hostility Toward China

US Hostility Toward China

by Stephen Lendman

America is hostile toward all sovereign independent states, especially Russia, China and all resource rich ones.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported information provided by two unnamed US officials, saying Beijing nearly finished building “almost two dozen structures” on islands on man-made islands in its own waters.

Trump officials believe they may be for long-range surface-to-air missiles. Reuters failed to explain China threatens no one. International law affirms its right of self-defense on its islands or mainland territory.

Obama and Trump administration officials unjustifiably consider its island development illegal.

According to an unnamed US intelligence official, “(i)t is not like the Chinese to build anything in the South China Sea just to build it, and these structures resemble others that house SAM batteries, so the logical conclusion is that's what they are for.”

A Pentagon spokesman ignored US militarization on every continent, outrageously saying Washington is committed to “non-militarization in the South China Sea” - other than what it does to threaten or pressure other countries to be subservient to its wishes.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said his government is “carrying out normal construction activities on its own territory, including deploying necessary and appropriate territorial defense facilities, is a normal right under international law for sovereign nations.”

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of state Rex Tillerson provocatively told Senate Foreign Relations Committee members “(w)e are going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

He unjustifiably accused China of “declaring control of territories …not rightfully” its own. He called Moscow “danger(ous),” saying “(o)ur allies are right to be alarmed at a resurgent Russia.”

Last month, Defense Secretary James (“mad dog”) Mattis said “I think (the world order) is under the biggest attack since world war two…and that is from Russia, from terrorist groups, and with what China is doing in the South China Sea.”

America consistently meddles in parts of the world not its own. In response to its latest provocative South China Sea incursion,  Beijing’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said “China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight all countries enjoy under international law.”

“But we are consistently opposed to relevant countries threatening and damaging the sovereignty and security of littoral countries under the flag of freedom of navigation and overflight. We hope relevant countries can do more to safeguard regional peace and stability.”

Separately, Beijing warned Washington to stay out of its waters, saying it “has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters.”

Relations between both countries are strained. Trump earlier said he’ll “instruct the US trade representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the World Trade Organization.”

What he may intend militarily is of far greater concern.

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.

Warriors Running Defense, National and Homeland Security Assure No End of US Phony War on Terror


Warriors Running Defense, National and Homeland Security Assure No End of US Phony War on Terror

by Stephen Lendman

So-called Israeli/Palestinian peace talks and America’s global war on terror are the two greatest hoaxes in modern times. 

Washington’s scheme is all about advancing its hegemonic agenda, benefitting privileged interests at the expense of most others, along with replacing fundamental freedoms with police state rule - tyranny by any standard.

Trump so far seems bent on continuing deplorable policies of his predecessors, wanting a more muscular military, a stronger nuclear capability, increased use of combat troops in US war theaters, greater domestic police state toughness, mass deportations of unwanted people, and who knows what else.

Instead of draining the swamp, he’s filling it. Putting generals in charge of key defense and national security posts is cause for alarm. Warriors earned stars by being hawks, not doves, benefitting from endless wars of aggression, hostile toward peace and stability.

Unknown numbers of US special forces operate in northern Syria illegally, aiding anti-government terrorists. Reports indicate Trump may deploy conventional forces - escalating conflict, not defusing it.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called sending US combat troops to Syria “a recipe” for fueling greater conflict, adding:

The same people who armed ISIS, armed (other) terrorist groups, were the same people who armed Saddam Hussein (in the 1980s), were the same people who created and armed al-Qaeda.”

“We should not continue to repeat history and then blame people who were on the right side.”

It’s unclear if Washington intends participating in Syria peace talks, a new round beginning in Geneva on Thursday. US commitment for peace is essential to have any hope for achieving it.

Last Sunday, UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura questioned Washington’s role in resolving the conflict, asking “(w)here is the US in all this? I can’t tell you because I don’t know.”

US combat troops are on the front lines of conflict in Syria and Iraq - on the phony pretext of combating terrorism, elements America created and supports.

Saudi Arabia said it’s ready to send troops to Syria, according to its foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir, saying consultations were held with Washington regarding joint operations.

Other Gulf countries are “ready to allocate forces to fight on the US side,” he added - with no further elaboration.

These nations actively support ISIS and other terrorist groups. They’re part of the problem, not the solution. Their involvement would assure escalated war, not resolving it diplomatically.

Upcoming Geneva talks look shaky, Jubeir saying they’re to agree on establishing a “new Syria without Assad.”

It’s unclear where Trump stands on this other than wanting US combat troops involved and illegal safe zones established Damascus rejects. So does Russia without Assad’s authorization, not forthcoming.

At home, Trump’s executive orders on fight(ing) crime, gangs, and drugs; restor(ing) law and order; and support(ing) the dedicated men and women of law enforcement” sound ominously like increasing police state toughness.

US communities may become more battlegrounds than already. His mass deportations scheme leaves millions of immigrants vulnerable.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have sweeping authority to round up, detain and deport aliens for being in America illegally, abusing public benefits, or committing offenses as minor as traffic violations.

Latinos are most vulnerable. So are Haitian asylum-seekers and immigrants, Institute for Democracy & Justice in Haiti director Brian Concannon explained. Hundreds are being deported weekly, their fundamental rights violated.

In office less than five weeks in office, Trump’s agenda looks different from his predecessors largely in style, not substance. Dirty business as usual appears safe in his hands.

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.

Failed State Ukraine Wants Russia's Security Council Veto Power Curbed

Failed State Ukraine Wants Russia’s Security Council Veto Power Curbed

by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine is an illegitimate Nazi-infested police state, a failed state politically and economically, a US puppet state in Europe’s heartland, sharing a 1,400 km border with Russia.

It’s at war with its own people. Its US-installed president has a 7% approval rating. He and other regime officials are despised.

Last Sunday, anti-regime protesters clashed with police in Kiev, angry about deplorable conditions. In 2014, Donbass activists established the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, wanting democratic governance, rejecting fascist rule.

During a Tuesday Security Council session, Ukraine’s illegitimate foreign minister Pavel Klimkin sounded buffoon-like - calling for denying Russia’s SC veto power on issues regarding Ukraine, falsely claiming it’s a party to the conflict in Donbass, saying:

“We need urgently to reform the Security Council in order to remove the veto power abuses. The Security Council should be capable of efficiently addressing ‘bloody conflicts’ regardless of the possible presence of a party to the conflict at this table as the SC permanent member.”

He cited UN Charter Article 27, paragraph 3, stating “a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.” Since Ukraine launched naked aggression on its own people in 2014, Russia has gone all-out for diplomatic conflict resolution - to no avail because Washington and Kiev undermined its good faith efforts.

Klimkin blamed Russia for high crimes of the regime he represents.

Article 27 of the UN Charter states: 

“1. Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote. 

2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members. 

3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.” 

America, Britain, China, France and Russia have Security Council veto power over proposed resolutions.

During a 2015 General Assembly session, Kiev fascists called for changing UN Charter rules, wanting Russia stripped of its Security Council right of dissent.

Charter revisions require approval by a two-thirds member state majority - including all P5 countries with veto power. It’s unlikely any intend limiting authority they believe essential.

Washington earlier claimed Russian vetoes threaten Security Council legitimacy. Moscow responsibly challenges its hegemonic agenda.

Russia’s deceased UN envoy Vitaly Churkin earlier said without his nation’s veto power, the Security Council would “lose its relevance.”

It would “simply…rubber-stamp decisions…made in Washington, Paris, London, (and) Brussels…(It would prevent SC members from) do(ing) the important work of bringing about consensus decisions.” 

Klimkin’s proposal was pure political posturing going nowhere. Russia and China represent an important alliance against US imperial madness.

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.

Standing Rock Water Protectors Face Eviction

Standing Rock Water Protectors Face Eviction

by Stephen Lendman

Courageous Standing Rock Sioux tribe members and supporters face eviction, along with possible police brutality and arrest for defending sacred ancestral land from environmentally destructive pipeline construction.

They’ve struggled for justice since last April, not about to quit now. The stakes are too high.

Surrounded by police and Bureau of Indian Affairs agents, a video they produced on Monday said “(w)e have 48 hours before militarized law enforcement raid Oceti Sakowin camp. Elders and children need protection.”

“After the deadline for February 22 at 2PM, we are all at risk of facing arrest, police brutality, federal charges and prison time. In the history of colonization, they’ve always given us two options.”

“Give up our land or go to jail. Give up our rights or go to jail. And now, give up our water, or go to jail. We are not criminals. We need your help.”

On February 15, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued an emergency evacuation order for the main Oceti Sakowin camp, its sister Rosebud site, and portions of the Sacred Stone Camp.

The order called for establishing police checkpoints into and out of the campsites, along with clearing the land for development.

The Army Corps of Engineers refused to extend Wednesday’s deadline. Violence may follow later today - much like earlier with tear gas, beatings, water cannons in temperatures around the freeing mark, and attack dogs, police state America in action.

North Dakota senators approved legislation, calling for stiffer penalties on anyone inciting or participating in what they called riots. Others call these actions legitimate protests.

Another measure criminalized demonstrations in “public safety zones” declared by the state governor. Activists allegedly posing a threat risk imprisonment.

Legislation targets Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) water protectors. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Kelly Armstrong said “I have no doubt that the vast majority of the people at the DAPL protest are peaceful.”

But there is a strong minority and contingent that has not always acted peacefully and our laws have proven to be inadequate down there in regards to felony prosecution.”

Resistance continues in court and on the ground. The struggle for Standing Rock justice continues - despite Trump authorizing the completion of DAPL construction.

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.

Israel Again Terror-Bombs Syria

Israel Again Terror-Bombs Syria

by Stephen Lendman

Israel wants war on Syria continued, Assad removed, pro-Western governance installed, and Iran isolated ahead of targeting its sovereignty the same way.

Does Trump support this agenda? It’s unknown. Yet US warplanes continue terror-bombing Syrian infrastructure sites, and reports suggest he may deploy combat troops, escalating conflict, not working to resolve it diplomatically if he gets America more involved this way.

On Wednesday, Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed television reported one or more Israeli warplanes terror-bombed targets in Syria’s al-Qatifa mountains, located near Damascus.

The attack occurred from Lebanese airspace. Another report said a convoy transporting weapons was targeted.

Launching preemptive attacks on the sovereign territory of another nation constitutes naked aggression, Israel guilty numerous times before. The IDF said it doesn’t respond to foreign reports. 

Israel’s Golani Brigade is notorious for ruthlessness, Ariel Sharon one of its first commanders.

Earlier, an unidentified soldier said it attracts the most criminal elements in Israeli society - including “psychopaths, the poor, orphans, Israelis who live in small towns, immigrants, illiterates, people with mental problems, drug and alcohol abusers, and people with criminal records.”

On Tuesday, Israeli ultranationalist war minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Hezbollah during a Golani exercise, saying:

“(T)his might be the best answer to all the threats and all the fiction that we hear from across the border. Those who haven’t seen the Golani Brigade exercise – better carry on hiding in an underground bunker.”

On Tuesday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel against attacking Lebanon, saying its fighters will strike sensitive sites in response - including the Dimona nuclear reactor and a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa.

“In the face of Israel’s threats to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure, we will not abide by red lines,” he stressed. “We are not advocates of war. We are in the defense position,” he added.

Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz threatened to target “all of Lebanon” in response to a Hezbollah attack.

Israel is a ruthless rogue state, the region’s biggest threat, especially with strong US support.

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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump Plans Mass Deportations

Trump Plans Mass Deportations

by Stephen Lendman

Obama was notoriously called America’s “deporter-in-chief” for conducting sweeping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids nationwide - expelling record numbers, more than all his predecessors combined.

He largely targeted undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans, averaging over 1,000 deportations daily - people in the United States because destructive NAFTA and DR-CAFTA trade deals destroyed their jobs at home, or sought asylum from domestic violence and chaos.

Trump appears bent on exceeding Obama’s viciousness. Thousands of new ICE and border patrol agents are being hired. Stepped up sweeping raids will follow, more than already.

Family members will be separated, including spouses from each other and children from parents. 

Under new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines, ICE agents have broad latitude to arrest and detain undocumented and legal immigrants with offenses on their record as minor as traffic violations or alleged long ago inconsequential misdemeanors.

New guidelines cover interior and border enforcement. Immigrants of color have cause for concern, especially Latinos.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, over half of nearly two million immigrants legally in America have past offenses on their records - in many cases minor infractions or wrongful charges.

US prisons hold mostly nonviolent offenders - either wrongfully convicted, incarcerated for illicit drug related charges, or other minor ones  most developed countries punish by small fines or community service, not hard time locked in cages.

DHS guidelines prioritize deporting immigrants who’ve allegedly abused public benefits, or “in the judgment of an immigration officer,” misrepresented themselves or “otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”

ICE agents are being given sweeping authority to target, arrest, detain and abuse immigrants for their ethnicity and race ahead of mass deportations.

Millions are vulnerable to police state mistreatment. DHS will “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”

“The Department will no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are neither US citizens nor lawful permanent residents.”

“…ICE is committed to arresting and processing all removable aliens.” Many details remain to be determined. Roundups and deportations will be expedited.

Expect lots of immigrants to be harmed, including many here lawfully, because sweeping arrests grab legal and undocumented individuals alike, besides separating family members.

How dozens of so-called sanctuary cities will be affected remains to be seen. Their authorities refuse to help round up undocumented immigrants.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals still protects them from deportation - young people referred to as Dreamers.

Trump promised an enhanced get tough on immigrants policy. Millions potentially are vulnerable.

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.

Posthumous Honors for Russia's Vitaly Churkin


Posthumous Honors for Russia’s Vitaly Churkin

by Stephen Lendman

A same day article (on Lendman blog) discussed his untimely death on the eve of his 65th birthday - whether of natural causes or something more sinister remains to be determined.

Admirers worldwide mourn his passing. Vladimir Putin posthumously awarded him Russia’s Order of Courage - recognizing selfless acts of courage and valor, well deserved by Churkin, serving his country honorably and effectively with distinction since 1974 in numerous diplomatic capacities.

Putin called his premature demise “the gravest, truly irrecoverable loss the Russian foreign policy.”

He was “without an exaggeration was one of the most outstanding diplomats," a man of high intellect and energy, greatly respected by allies and adversaries alike.

He’s best known as Russia’s permanent UN envoy, serving in this capacity since 2006. (S)ometimes in the most strenuous conditions, he firmly and systematically pressed for Russia’s stance on the most important world issues, which required immense efforts and complete self-sacrifice,” Putin explained. 

“However hard the tasks were, he brilliantly coped with them and never suffered defeats. (He) was a true patriot and citizen. Bright memories of this man will live on in the hearts of all those who knew him.”

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he championed peace, democracy and human rights, adding his UN diplomatic post was more than a job. “It was service to our country.”

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mourned the passing of his colleague, saying Russia and many others will remember him for his skillful diplomatic efforts at a time of world turmoil.

“The continuation of the work on creating the fundamentals of a calmer, safer and democratic world will be the best manifestation of the memory about our comrade,” Lavrov stressed.

He laid flowers beside a portrait of his deceased colleague. On Monday, he became ill while performing his duties, succumbing hours later after being hospitalized.

UN colleagues honored him with tributes and a moment of silence. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he served his country “with distinction through some of the most challenging and momentous periods of recent history.”

He was the Security Council’s longest serving ambassador. His UK colleague Matthew Raycroft called him a “diplomatic giant.”

A Final Comment

Ukraine’s US-installed putschist regime blocked adoption of a Security Council commemorative statement honoring Churkin.

Sergey Lavrov responded sharply, saying “I know how the UNSC works. I have almost no doubt that (Ukraine’s) permanent representative would not have done this on his own. This means that he was ordered to do it.”

“This goes against Christian values. It’s beyond good and evil. Thanks to the current Ukrainian authorities, however, we are accustomed to the fact that someone in their country treats Russians, and anyone who refuses to dance to the pipe of neo-Nazis, precisely like that.”

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.

Remembering Vitaly Churkin

Remembering Vitaly Churkin

by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, on the eve of his 65th birthday, Russia’s UN envoy died - cause of death so far not announced, perhaps a heart attack, though given US hostility toward Russia, foul play remains a possibility unless forensic analysis rules it out.

Family, friends, colleagues and admirers like myself mourn his tragic loss. Vladimir Putin “express(ed) condolences to (his) family and friends, and to the entire Foreign Ministry following” his death. “The head of state highly valued Churkin’s professionalism and diplomatic talent,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov called him “a rock against which attempts of our enemies to undermine all that makes the glory of Russia break.”

“It will be impossible, very difficult to replace him as a symbol of Russia’s foreign policy and Russia’s voice on a key international platform in the Security Council.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakhavova said he was “admired not only by those who loved him. His opponents also admired him.”

A Foreign Ministry statement said he he “died suddenly in New York on February 20…The outstanding Russian diplomat died in harness.”

In early February, he said diplomatic positions are “much more hectic” than they used to be, very “stressful” because of instability worldwide.

On April 8, 2006, he was appointed Russia’s UN envoy, serving in this capacity honorably and effectively with distinction until his tragic death.

In 1981, he earned a doctorate in history from Soviet Russia’s Diplomatic Academy. After graduating from Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1974, he joined Soviet Russia’s Foreign Ministry as a translator.

From 1974 - 1979, he was a USSR Strategic Arms Limitation Talks staff member. From 1979 - 1982, he served as Foreign Ministry US desk third secretary.

From 1982 - 1987, he was USSR’s Washington embassy second, then first secretary. From 1987 - 1990, he served as Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) International Department staff member, then special advisor and press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Shevandnadze.

From 1990 - 1991, he was Foreign Ministry Information Department director. From 1992 - 1994, he served as Russian Federation deputy foreign minister, and special representative of Russia’s president to talks on the former Yugoslavia.

From 1994 - 1998, he was Russia’s ambassador to Belgium, then liaison ambassador to NATO and the Western European Union (WEU).

From 1998 - 2003, he served as ambassador to Canada. From 2003 - 2006, he was ambassador at large, along with other diplomatic responsibilities before his appointment as permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.

In February 2012, then President Dmitry Medvedev awarded him the Order of Merit to the Fatherland 4th class - Russia’s highest civilian honor. 

Admired by allies and adversaries alike, he’s survived by his two children, Anastasia and Maksim.

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 Chooses Hawkish National Security Advisor

Trump Chooses Hawkish National Security Advisor

by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, Trump named hawkish Army Lt. General HR McMaster to replace Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor (NSA). 

Political pressure lead to his unfortunate sacking for harmlessly discussing sanctions with Russia’s US ambassador.

Twice passed over for brigadier general, McMaster earned two more stars in less than six years after getting his first one, a remarkable advancement - given to warriors, not peace advocates.

As a lieutenant general, he was US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) deputy commanding general in charge of the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) - tasked with devising strategies for America’s next war and how to win it.

Known as a tough, outspoken, detail-oriented intellectual with a reputation for battlefield acumen, he remains on active duty in his new position.

Acting National Security Advisor General Keith Kellogg will work with him as chief of staff, Trump announced.

A 1984 West Point graduate, McMaster earned a doctorate in American history at the University of North Carolina. His dissertation criticized US Vietnam War strategy, explained further in his book titled “Dereliction of Duty.”

The war’s illegality went unmentioned, US naked aggression against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, nations threatening no others.

As a captain, McMaster won a Silver Star for service during the 1991 Gulf War, illegal by any standard, a walkover from mid-January to February 28, massacring tens of thousands of Iraqis. US aggression remains ongoing, defenseless civilians suffering most.

During Bush/Cheney’s war on Iraq, McMaster served under General David Petraeus, involved in his so-called counterterrorism operations.

Known for challenging conventional wisdom, a White House spokeswoman said Trump “gave full authority for McMaster to hire whatever staff he sees fit.”

Passed over for NSA, Trump said former UN envoy (neocon) John Bolton will serve in an unspecified administration role, a disturbing development, given his rage for endless wars.

McMaster will be chief advisor to the president on national security issues, a major administration position, needing no Senate confirmation.

He’s a warrior, in 2015 saying “(w)hat we have to do is really develop the ability to think clearly about future war.” Last spring, he lied, accusing Russia of invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea. “What is needed is forward deterrence,” he advised. Not good signs! 

Washington has lots of hawks, doves in short supply - especially with disturbing hostility toward Russia, China and Iran, 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.

Light Sentence for Israeli Killer Soldier

Light Sentence for Israeli Killer Soldier 

by Stephen Lendman

Last March, Israeli sergeant Elor Azaiar Elor Azaria murdered Palestinian ‘Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif in cold blood as he lay helpless, wounded on the ground, threatening no one.

Video evidence showed Azaria lethally shooting him in the head at point-blank range. A nearby soldier said he “did the right thing.”

He was charged with manslaughter instead of first-degree murder, a capital offense, requiring significant punishment.

Never in Israel when a Jew kills an Arab, especially a soldier, free to murder Palestinians with impunity, or almost in the case of Azaria.

Video footage exposed his cold-blooded assassination. Just societies imprison convicted killers longterm.

Azaria was charged and convicted of manslaughter. Most Israelis consider him a hero. Supportive rallies were held on his behalf, signs displayed, saying “KILL THEM ALL” and “Free Elor.” Extremists chanted “death to Arabs.”

Netanyahu supported Azaria, saying “(o)ur soldiers are not murderers.” The so-called world’s most moral army myth was debunked long ago.

Israeli soldiers are trained to hate Arabs, to kill with impunity. If video evidence of Alor’s high crime hadn’t gone viral, he never would have been charged, tried and convicted.

He’s the exception proving the rule. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, a slap on the wrist.

He likely won’t stay incarcerated long, likely quietly released at some point to go on with his life.

In pronouncing sentence, a military judge said his offense was mitigated by being on active combat service.

It was a judicial acknowledgement of Israel’s war on Palestine - no mention of its illegality, occupation harshness, institutionalized racism, and longstanding state-sponsored terror.

After sentencing, extremist MKs called for pardoning him. It’s likely given Netanyahu’s earlier expressed support.

Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheim called his sentence “embarrassing in its leniency, and even more embarrassing is the conduct of politicians who still demand pardon for a man who shot a terrorist in the head, because he deserved it.”

Extremist education minister Naftali Bennett tweeted the “security of the citizens of Israel requires immediate clemency for Elor Azaria, who was sent to protect us.”

Likudnik David Bitan said “I don’t want him to sit a single day in prison.” His lawyers plan to appeal, requesting no imprisonment until the process is completed.

Despite committing cold-blooded murder, Azaria may spend no time in prison - or at most a token amount.

Miscarriage of justice is longstanding Israeli policy.

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.

Pro-Palestinian Conference in Tehran

Pro-Palestinian Conference in Tehran

by Stephen Lendman

Palestinians endured decades of vicious Israeli persecution. They remain on their own with little outside help and scant hope for ending occupation harshness.

On February 20 and 21, the 6th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada (ICSPI) is being held in Tehran - around 700 pro-Palestinian delegates and guests from 80 countries attending.

“The Zionist regime is trying to distract the Muslim world from the Palestinian issue through proxy wars and other regional issues,” Iranian MP Kazem Jalali explained.

In January, ICSPI secretary general Amir-Abdollahian said “the just cause of Palestine must always be the leading and focal issue of the Muslim and Arab world.”

Trump’s one-sided support for Israel infuriates many Palestinians, believing occupation harshness won’t end on his watch.

In opening remarks on Monday, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed all Muslim countries are obligated to support Palestinian resistance, saying:

“Despite the differences that exist among Islamic countries - some of these differences are natural, some originate from the enemy’s plot and the rest are because of negligence - the issue of Palestine can and should be the pivot of unity for all Islamic countries.”

Palestinian liberation is the top priority of the Islamic world and all other freedom-loving people everywhere, he said. 

“The intifada that has begun for the third time in the occupied lands...is still moving forward in a bright and hopeful manner. And by Allah’s permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping (Israeli) regime.”

Resistance “managed to defeat the main plot of the Zionist regime (to) dominat(e) the whole region…Supporting the resistance is the responsibility of all of us.”

Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri accused Israel of “state-sponsored terrorism,” citing settlement expansion on stolen Palestinian land as “the worst kind…a flagrant violation under international law.”

He called for solidarity to reach consensus for resolving longstanding Palestinian persecution. He urged Arab countries to close their Washington embassies if Trump moves America’s embassy to Jerusalem - increasingly unlikely knowing a regional firestorm would follow the move.

Iran is targeted by Washington for its 38 years of sovereign independence, its opposition to US and Israeli hegemonic aims, and strong support for Palestinian liberation.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ecuador's Presidential Election

Ecuador’s Presidential Election

by Stephen Lendman

Last year, President Rafael Correa said he wouldn’t seek a third term after 10 years in office.

In December 2015, Ecuador’s constitution was amended to permit unlimited re-election runs, including for president - term limits eliminated after May 24, 2017, following this year’s general elections, held on February 19, including for five regional MPs, 137 federal lawmakers, the nation’s president and vice president.

With nearly 90% of votes counted as this is written, Lenin Moreno, Correa’s former vice president, leads right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso by a 39.11 - 28.28 percent margin - close to the 40% threshold needed to avoid a second round runoff. 

Ecuador’s National Electoral Council said final results may take several more days as results trickle in from isolated areas, Ecuadoreans abroad, bureaucratic delays, and inconsistencies in some ballots.

Six other candidates competed. Moreno, a paraplegic, was nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize because of his advocacy for handicapped people.

In 1998, he was seriously wounded in a Quito robbery attempt, paralyzed, unable to walk. Years of therapy restored his ability to move around in a wheelchair, able to continue working in the public sector.

He promotes humor and joy as a way to overcome serious physical limitations. It worked for him, a remarkable story, especially if he becomes Ecuador’s next president.

As vice president, he increased the federal budget for disabled people manyfold. Hundreds of thousands are helped.

Guillermo Lasso is a banker, businessman, running for president after losing to Correa decisively in 2013.

As Banco de Guayaquil president and largest shareholder, he coordinated right-wing attacks on Correa’s agenda. During former Ecuadorian president Lucio Gutierrez’s neoliberal tenure, he developed relations with US business elites.

Pre-election, Moreno was favored to win. His lead over Lasso makes him most likely to become Ecuador’s next president.

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.