Saturday, July 04, 2015

Thoughts on Independence Day Weekend

by Stephen Lendman

As Americans festively celebrate Independence Day weekend, their leaders are busy conducting business as usual.

Attempting to topple popularly elected Ecuadorean and Venezuelan governance takes precedence over barbecues, outings and other celebratory activities.

So does waging genocidal direct and proxy wars as well as covert mischief worldwide - against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Donbass freedom fighters, Libyans wanting to live free, Somalis, partnered with Israel against Palestine and elsewhere - besides at home against Blacks, Latino immigrants, Muslims, environmental and animal rights activists, as well as political dissidents and people believing popular rights matter more than monied ones willing to risk harsh recrimination for refusing to accept less than equity and justice in a nation systematically denying both to most of its people while high-mindedly claiming otherwise.

Independence for growing numbers of Americans in the world's richest country means poverty, unemployment, underemployment, discrimination, police brutality, homelessness, hunger and deprivation levels not seen since the height of the 1930s Great Depression - when New Deal programs addressed human need compared to today's force-fed austerity exacerbating it.

The so-called "greatest nation on earth" - for Hillary Clinton an "indispensable" one - enriches its few, exploits its majority and cracks down viciously on nonbelievers. The world's largest gulag bears testimony to its lawlessness.

So do money-controlled elections mocking legitimate ones. America's Potemkin facade conceals government of, by and for its privileged few alone - on Independence Day like all others.

Judge America by its actions - not self-aggrandizing hypocrisy, by its lunatic imperial pursuits, its cruel and unreasonable brutality on millions worldwide.

On Independence Day and all others, remember no nation in human history caused more harm to more people over a longer duration than America.

None are more violent and inhumane on a global scale, none more committed to unchallenged global dominance, no matter the cost in human lives and welfare for most people worldwide.

The late Howard Zinn once asked who gained from America's revolution? Everything changed but stayed the same under new management.

America's founders were an earlier day Wall Street crowd - bankers, lawyers, merchants, slave owners, the rich, well-born and privileged.

"Do you think the Indians cared about independence," asked Zinn? Or Blacks considered property, not people? Or women consigned to homemaking and child rearing, denied the right to vote until 1920 Nineteenth Amendment enfranchisement - in the so-called land of the free and home of the brave.

America's founding fathers wrote slavery into the Constitution. They legitimized it - now transformed to wage slavery.

"What about class divisions," asked Zinn? "We try to pretend in this country that we're all one happy family. We're not," he said.

America's so-called revolution wasn't "a simple affair of all of us against all of them" - any more than sending young men and women warriors abroad to make the world safe for capital today advances democratic principles.

Zinn urged everyone to "rethink this question of war(s)" and why they're waged. America never fought liberating struggles, imperial ones only to advance its hegemonic agenda.

Its leaders serve its privileged few alone - protecting their freedom to "invest, speculate, trade and accumulate wealth," Michael Parenti explained.

Celebrants this holiday weekend enjoying outings, picnics, barbecues, ballgames, outdoor concerts, parades, fireworks displays, visits to the shore, and other pleasures might reflect about growing millions of Americans in need and billions worldwide harmed by their government's lunatic quest to rule the world at the risk of destroying it.

Washington's maniacal agenda is no reason to celebrate. Nor is the human misery it causes at home and abroad.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

US-Orchestrated Coup Attempt in Ecuador

by Stephen Lendman

Washington wants all independent governments toppled - regime change by US-orchestrated color revolutions, coups or naked aggression.

Ecuador is in the eye of the storm. Obama's earlier 2010 attempt to forcibly unseat popular President Rafael Correa failed. 

He's trying again. Ecuadorean democracy is being attacked. Since early June, US-orchestrated right-wing protests (mainly in Quito and Guayaquil) erupted. They continue at times violently to replace Correa with fascist rule.

They began on the pretext of announced higher inheritance and capital gains taxes affecting about 2% of the population - the Law to Redistribute the Wealth now being debated after Correa halted its implementation to make rich Ecuadorians pay more along with creating more social enterprises, collectives and cooperatives. 

Protest leaders want Correa forcibly ousted. Interior Minister Jose Serrano revealed a plot to storm the presidential palace, block airports and bridges on the Colombian and Peruvian borders, as well as attack security forces.

Serrano said opposition lawmakers Andres Paez and Lourdes Tiban conspired with former Col. Mario Pazmino to instigate violence and chaos during protests.

Pazmino was former army military intelligence head - "very close to the CIA," according to Correa. In 2008, he was sacked for colluding with Colombia's bombing of Ecuador.

The coup plotters' plan involved advancing from north and south to converge around Quito's presidential palace - intending to occupy it forcibly.

"They planned to use pointed sticks to break police shields, throw balloons filled with paint for police to lose visibility, pepper-spray police horses and dogs" to scare and scatter them, Serrano explained.

They intended publishing letters in two national newspapers - El Universo and La Hora - as well as anti-government letters to Pope Francis to undermine his forthcoming visit, an American tour beginning in Ecuador on July 5 followed by Bolivia, Paraguay, Cuba and the United States.

Serrano said "if they were not able to seize power, (they) would have created national chaos" to force Pope Francis to cancel his visit, as well as "maintain…indefinite protest(s)."

Correa commented on "clear evidence of a plot meant to take over the (presidential) palace. They want to defeat violently a government internationally and domestically supported," he explained.

They'll be defeated like September 30, 2010 plotters (called 30S) "peacefully but firmly," Correa said. "We are more, many more," he stressed.

On Thursday, violent clashes erupted. Right-wing extremists attacked Ecuadorean police near Quito's presidential palace. Their plan to breach their lines failed. Four officers sustained injuries.

Journalists were attacked. Culture Minister Guillaume Long said "(t)oday we are facing (a) real threat of destabilization. It is fundamental (for) the people of Ecuador to come here and (defend) democracy. We're not going to allow more coups."

Thousands of Correa supporters rallied Thursday night to defend their government in Quito's Independence Plaza, its main square (the Carondolet). 

Correa addressed them saying "(w)e are ready to defend the revolution against coup plotters. We will remain firm in defending the revolution against the ultra-right."

"(M)obilizations to tire us out…to prevent us from governing (won't) work. We are willing to defend our history and our citizen's revolution. Here we have democracy. Here the majority rule and the past will never return." 

Washington wants Correa's government replaced by a regime it controls, neo-colonial rule most Ecuadoreans oppose - following the pattern of earlier failed Venezuelan protests. 

So far, popular support for Correa prevails. At the same time, dark forces headquartered in Washington never end their dirty game for unchallenged global dominance - a plot to create unfit to live in ruler-serf societies worldwide.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Tentative Deal on Iran Sanctions Relief?

by Stephen Lendman

Ending US-pressured Western sanctions on Iran is one of the thorniest issues in ongoing P5+1 talks. On July 4, AP News headlined "Tentative agreement on Iran sanctions relief," saying:

P5+1 countries and Tehran tentatively agreed on what "sanctions will be lifted and how quickly" - short of key officials signing off on final agreement terms.

Unnamed diplomats said sanctions terms were resolved this week. No details were provided. An unnamed senior US official indicated work remains to complete a final deal.

Other sticking points include inspection guidelines, Iranian advanced nuclear technology R & D, non-nuclear related sanctions, snapback of relief if Tehran violates agreement terms (true or false), as well as fabricated claims of Iranian human rights violations and involvement in regional terrorism.

Longstanding US Iran bashing is the thorniest matter of all standing in the way of treating the Islamic Republic fairly and resolving nuclear talks equitably.

Whatever is agreed on in Vienna, Congress has final say up or down - with enormous Israeli Lobby pressure to block terms Tel Aviv rejects. 

In a Friday video message, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said all sides "have never been closer to a lasting outcome" than now. "But there is no guarantee" of resolving remaining sticking points.

"Getting to yes requires the courage to compromise, the self-confidence to be flexible, the maturity to be reasonable, the wisdom to set aside illusions and the audacity to break old habits."

"Some stubbornly believe that military and economic coercion can ensure submission. (E)ight years of aggression by Saddam Hussein and his patrons did not bring the Iranian nation that stood alone to its knees."

"(T)he most indiscriminate and unjust economic sanctions against my country have achieved absolutely none of their declared objectives."

Nations hostile to Iran "need to make a critical and historic choice: agreement or coercion…(B)alanced agreements (alone) can withstand the test of time."

Ongoing talks are short of resolution.  An unnamed Iranian source said "nothing (is) agreed on (until) agreement (is reached) on everything."

Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister/senior negotiator Majid Takht Ravanchi said "(m)ost of the issues in the experts meetings have ended, while talks among the deputies continue, and there will possibly remain one or two issues that will need ministerial decisions."

US-led Western officials must decide if they want to resolve things equitably with Iran or continue unwarranted hostility benefitting no one but war-mongers and Israel's extremist regime.

Closer than ever to resolving differences, as Zarif explained, may end up back at square one if Washington chooses confrontation over ending fabricated claims about Iran's well-known legitimate nuclear program. The ball, as they say, is in America's court.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Hillary Clinton Warns of Nonexistent Iranian Threat to Israel

by Stephen Lendman

Iran promotes regional peace and stability. It threatens no other nation. Claims about it wanting Israel destroyed are manufactured Big Lies - repeated to demonize the Islamic Republic, maintain lawless sanctions and keep it isolated.

On Friday, presidential aspirant/unindicted war criminal Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an "existential threat to Israel."

She demonized Tehran further saying "I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program."

"Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran. They are the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism." 

"They use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region and they pose an existential threat to Israel."

"We…have turn our attention to working with our partners to try to reign in and prevent this continuing Iranian aggressiveness."

Fact: US and Israeli intelligence both say Iran's nuclear program has no military component.

Fact: No evidence whatever suggests Tehran wants one. Plenty indicates otherwise.

Fact: Iran is a leading anti-terrorism force - polar opposite America and Israel, the world's leading sponsors of destabilizing violence and aggression.

Fact: Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas threaten no one - nor seek control of other nations.

Fact: No Iranian aggressiveness exists. Claiming otherwise is willful lying - a notorious Hillary Clinton trait.

As a 2008 presidential aspirant, she addressed AIPAC's annual convention saying:

"The United States stands with Israel now and forever. We have shared interests....shared ideals....common values. I have a bedrock commitment to Israel's security." 

"(O)ur two nations are fighting a shared threat" against Islamic extremism. I strongly support Israel's right to self-defense (and) believe America should aid in that defense."

"I am committed to making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats. I am deeply concerned about the growing threat in Gaza (and) Hamas' campaign of terror."

No such campaign exists. The only threats Israel faces are ones it invents.

Clinton repeated tired old lies saying Hamas' charter "calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran threatens to destroy Israel."

"I support calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard what it is: a terrorist organization. It is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late."

She backs "massive retaliation" if Iran attacks Israel, saying at the time:

"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

In other words, she threatened to murder 77 million Iranians. She's unabashedly hawkish. She favors police state harshness domestically. She voted for the Patriot Act as a US senator and other repressive legislation.

She endorses outsized military spending. She supports every war America wages and plans. She earlier said "I'll stand behind (GW) Bush for a long time to come."

She endorses using cluster bombs, toxic agents and nuclear weapons in US war theaters. She calls them deterrents that "keep the peace."

She was one of only six Democrat senators opposed to blocking deployment of untested missile defense systems - first-strike weapons entirely for offense.

She represents the worst of America's dark side - a monument to wrong over right, a major threat to humanity if she's elected president next year.

Global predator George Soros and media mogul Haim Saban are two of her major donors along with powerful corporate interests hedging their bets by supporting leading candidates from both parties.

She's an unabashed warmonger indifferent to human suffering. Her posturing about human rights belies her public record. 

She's militantly anti-Putin. At an earlier California fundraiser, she outrageously compared him to Hitler. 

Will she claim a mandate to confront him militarily if elected president? Will she be remembered as the lunatic who launched WW III? It's hard imagining a worse choice for the nation's highest office.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Scare-Mongering Greeks to Vote "Yes" on Sunday

by Stephen Lendman

Choice Greeks have in Sunday's referendum is accepting most Troika austerity demands or all of them - what this writer calls death by hanging or firing squad.

A real choice should be starvation under oppressive euro straightjacket rules and diktats or sovereign independence - freedom for Greece to make its own monetary and fiscal choices, not have them mandated by Brussels and Frankfurt, externally imposed tyranny by any other name.

Troika bandits are going all-out to scare Greeks to accept what most harms them - endless austerity until the entire population (except its elites) is forced into impoverished  indentured servitude under Western bankster rules.

The latest 11th hour rumor claims "Greek banks prepare plan to raid deposits to avert collapse," according to the Financial Times.

A so-called "bail-in" would impose at least a 30% haircut on deposits over 8,000 euros, the FT said citing unnamed bankers and businesspeople. It would resemble the 2013 Cyprus plan imposing haircuts on uninsured deposits over 100,000 euros.

An unnamed source said the bail-in "would take place in the context of an overall restructuring of the bank sector once Greece is back in a bailout programme. This is not something that is going to happen immediately."

It's not coincidental that rumors  like this (true or false) are floated on the referendum's eve. With a close vote expected, Troika bandits aim to shift enough undecided Greeks to the "yes" camp on Sunday.

Banks are closed. Capital controls remain in place restricting depositor access to maximum 60 euros daily from ATM machines alone. No foreign transactions are allowed.

Greek bankers want people to vote "yes" on Sunday - to protect their bottom line interests. The FT cited two unnamed Athens ones saying only enough cash remains to supply them for a few more days.

Greek deposits are guaranteed up to 100,000 euros. The FT said deposit insurance funds amount to only three billion euros - not enough to cover demand in case of bank collapses. 

Months of capital flight left few deposits over 100,000 euros left. The FT quoted an unnamed analyst saying "it makes sense for the banks to consider imposing a haircut on small deposits as part of a recapitalisation" plan.

Bail-ins are grand theft by other means - a financial coup d'etat on top of all other wealth transfer schemes imposed to save banks from their own transgressions - making ordinary people pay to keep them operating by declaring deposits part of their capital structure, no longer money belonging to savers.

Whether bail-ins are coming remains to be seen. Greece's Bank Association head/National Bank of Greece chairman Louka Katseli said reports of depositor raids belong "only in the sphere of fantasy. There are no such scenarios at any Greek bank, not even as an exercise on paper."

In late May, the European Commission gave France, Italy and nine other EU countries two months to adopt new rules on propping up banks facing insolvency or face legal action.

All EU countries must comply with so-called bank recovery and resolution directives (BRRD) mandating bail-ins instead of bail-outs to rescue troubled financial institutions.

Greece is in compliance so can institute bail-ins if ordered. They may follow if conditions warrant. 

It bears repeating. Raising the issue and other pressure tactics ahead of Sunday's vote aim to scare Greek voters to accept what demands rejection. It remains to be seen what they decide. Polls indicate it could go either way.

Voting "no" won't change Europe's financial landscape. It won't end Greek crisis conditions or painful austerity. It will be a huge victory in one respect - showing ordinary people can say no to bankers and perhaps triumph. 

At the same time, the struggle for Greece's soul, all Europe, America and beyond continues. Business as usual still dominates - the power of monied interests over democracy and populism. Nothing in prospect suggests real change. 

A Final Comment

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Troika officials offered an acceptable bailout deal, according to a Channel 4 interview. It's conditional on Greeks voting "no" on Sunday.

He didn't reveal details so it's unclear what both sides may accept. It's very clear terms involve greater austerity than already - instead of no further anti-populist measures and an agenda to restore vital social services once economic and financial conditions permit.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Friday, July 03, 2015

Human Rights in Venezuela v. America

by Stephen Lendman

Both countries are polar opposites when it comes to respecting the rights of their people and others worldwide. They're constitutional worlds apart. 

Venezuela enshrines human rights in its document - approved overwhelmingly in a December 1999 referendum.

It "establish(ed) a democratic, participatory and self-reliant, multiethnic and multicultural society in a just, federal and decentralized State that embodies the values of freedom, independence, peace, solidarity, the common good, the nation's territorial integrity, comity and the rule of law for this and future generations."

It "guarantees" what Americans can't imagine: the world's most open, free and fair electoral system, "the right to life, work, learning, education, social justice and equality, without discrimination or subordination of any kind; promotes peaceful cooperation among nations and further strengthens Latin American integration in accordance with the principle of nonintervention and national self-determination of the people, the universal and indivisible guarantee of human rights, the democratization of imitational society, nuclear disarmament, ecological balance and environmental resources as the common and inalienable heritage of humanity."

It's more than language. It's real. The contrast with America is stark. Endless wars target invented enemies. Police state control undermines fundamental civil and human rights. Dissent is increasingly criminalized. So is exposing government wrongdoing.

Democracy is pure fantasy. Deepening social decay threatens the nation's very fabric. Unprecedented wealth disparity created a permanent underclass. Middle class society is being systematically destroyed.

Due process and judicial fairness are hollow principles. Torture is official policy. The world's largest gulag is one of its harshest. Dominant media function as though-control police gatekeepers.

Government serves its privileged elites alone. Ordinary people are exploited and ignored. Streets are virtual battlegrounds. Killer cops have license to kill with impunity.

The Latin American Foundation for Human Rights and Social Development (Fundalatin) is Venezuela's oldest human rights group. Venezuela Analysis spoke to its president, Sister Eugenia Russian.

She explained Venezuela "is a state that respects human rights…Our Constitution is broad, open, pluralistic, (and) participatory…" Governance shames what passes for its counterpart in America.

China annually publishes a report on US human rights based on documented sources and hard facts. They time its release to coincide with the State Department's annual country reports on human rights omitting any mention of America's own horrific record - the world's worst on a global scale.

Documented facts show "self-styled human rights defender" America has a deplorable record it wants concealed - adversely affecting the lives and well-being of millions of people worldwide.

Gun violence makes US communities unsafe. So do killer cops murdering hundreds of Blacks and other people of color annually with impunity.

CIA torturers indiscriminately brutalize suspects or known innocent victims on unsubstantiated allegations of terrorism - using arbitrary secret indefinite detention, "sleep deprivation, waterboarding, long-term solitary confinement, slamming prisoners against the wall, lashing, death threats and even rectal rehydration' or rectal feeding" along with other barbaric techniques in blatant violation of international law.

Big Brother watches everyone in violation of Bill of Rights protections. Equity, justice and respect for rule of law principles are meaningless figures of speech. Washington operates by its own standards - extrajudicially serving its own interests at the expense of others.

America discriminates against its least advantage. "Serious racial bias persist(s)…Minority groups and indigenous people are subject to unfairness in environment, election, health care, housing, education and other fields," China's report explained.

"Money is the deciding factor in US politics." Ordinary people have no say whatever. Democracy exists in name only. We the people are its rich, well-born and privileged.

The world's richest country spurns fundamental rights for most of its people - especially those least advantaged. Income inequality is extreme - homelessness and hunger rampant. Poverty is a growth industry. Deprivation effects growing millions.

Women and children's rights aren't protected. "Each year, 2.1 million American women on average (are) assaulted by men. Three females (are) murdered by their partner each day, and four females" die daily from abuse, China reported. 

Sexual harassment and assaults on female soldiers are rampant. Reporting it to superiors assures recrimination. "Millions of American children (are) homeless. Three children" die daily from abuse. 

School violence and sex assaults (are) pervasive" as are gun shooting incidents at times killing multiple victims.

America never ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women or the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Other treaties and conventions agreed to are  breached with impunity.

America's human and civil rights records are deplorable. It systematically violates what it claims to support. 

Millions of victims attest to its barbarity - besides how ruthlessly it treats people worldwide, an unmatched record of savagery on a global scale.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Israel Falsely Claims Hamas Supports ISIS in Sinai

by Stephen Lendman

Nothing Israeli officials say is credible. Accusing Hamas of supporting ISIS terrorists battling Egyptian forces in Sinai flies in the face of its efforts to rid Gaza of their presence.

General Yoav Mordechai is Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. He lied saying "clear information (shows) Hamas is supporting the Wilayat Sinai, which belongs to Daesh (ISIS)."

He turned truth on its head saying it's supplying weapons, training, logistical support and treatment of its wounded in Gaza hospitals. 

He claimed "proof" but revealed none. He accused two Hamas members of involvement - again, with nothing backing up his claims.

He ignored close Egyptian monitoring of Sinai/Gaza border areas to prevent free movement between the two areas except when allowed through the Rafah crossing.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abi Zuhri rejected Mordechai's accusations as baseless. "Security forces in Gaza control the borders and prevent any movement into and from Gaza," he said. "Such a silly Israeli incitement will not fool anyone," he added.

Egypt's junta collaborates with Israel in keeping Gazans trapped under siege. A Cairo security source said no evidence indicates "Hamas as an organization" is involved in Sinai attacks.

Israel claiming otherwise is false. Hamas and ISIS are mortal enemies. The Islamic State affiliated Information Bureau of the Aleppo Province released a video accusing Hamas of apostasy.

In June, the Financial Times said "Hamas seeks to stamp out Isis in Gaza. Night-time security checkpoints…around Gaza City (are) the most visible sign of a crackdown" on Islamic State followers. Dozens in Gaza were "rounded up and imprisoned."

A group calling itself "Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem" attacked a Khan Yunis Hamas training site with mortars.

Egypt and Hamas are following ISIS activities "warily." They might forge common cause against a common enemy - overtly or covertly.

Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies analyst Yoram Scheitzer believes "(t)here might be indirect and undeclared cooperation between Hamas and Egypt, and between Hamas and Israel."

So far, small numbers ISIS adherents are operating in Gaza, Scheitzer explained. Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights director Issam Younis said Hamas arrested about 30 or 40 of its members - compared to its own security, police and military ranks numbering around 35,000.

Political Science Professor Mkhaimar Abusada said in any confrontation between both sides, ISIS elements "will be crushed."

In 2009, Hamas last fought local Salafis when one group's leader, Jund Ansar Allah, declared an Islamic emirate in Gaza. They were brutally defeated.

International Crisis Group analyst Nathan Thrall says "(t)he basic dynamics haven't changed, but the Salafis have gotten more bold. They are now openly attacking and threatening Hamas itself, which is something new."

Claiming Hamas aids Islamic terrorists it opposes is another example of Israeli demonization of Palestine's legitimate government - perhaps as pretext for more planned deadly attacks.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Greece: Ground Zero for Global Pillage

by Stephen Lendman

Troika-waged financial war is systematically destroying Greece. It's being raped and pillaged to enrich bankers. Its people are being transformed into impoverished serfs - denied vital social services everyone deserves.

Its entire political system is corrupt. Democracy is absent where it originated. Instead of ending austerity as promised, SYRIZA piled on more, capitulating to Troika demands barely short of unconditional surrender likely coming. 

Paying bankers matters more than serving all Greek citizens fairly and equitably. They're suffocating under austerity mandates no government should impose - everything for rich and privileged elites, crumbs for everyone else.

Sunday's referendum options are virtually none at all - either accepting more austerity than already imposed by rejecting Troika demands or agreeing to even greater harshness by accepting them, a Hobson's damned if you do or don't choice.

It's sort of like death by hanging or firing squad. Either way you're dead. Ordinary Greeks are doomed to an endless cycle of deepening impoverishment, mass unemployment and human deprivation as long as Athens opts to remain under euro bondage. 

No wonder the nation's best and brightest are leaving. They'll find little relief elsewhere in European countries run by kleptocrats serving their own interests exclusively.

An intense monied interest-run propaganda campaign is trying to scare Greeks into voting "yes" on Sunday, accept harsh Troika austerity demands, weaken SYRIZA governance, and force it to hold snap elections - betting it'll be replaced by hardline rule.

Financial Times contributor Chris Giles says "Tsipras has earned his punishment. The Greek people are enduring the consequences of their prime minister's childish misbehaviour."

He ludicrously claims Troika bandits aided Greece greatly. He ignores its financial war transforming it into a zombie country teetering on bankruptcy - its population suffering hugely under austerity harshness.

New York Times editors called Sunday's referendum "a bad idea." They want Greeks denied any choice about their futures. They want bankers paid above all others. They want business as usual serving wealth, power and privilege exclusively.

They claim Grexit means "near-term calamity and long-term unknowns" instead of explaining Greece's only way to restore financial solvency and economic growth is by renouncing its odious debt, exiting the euro straightjacket and regaining control over its monetary and fiscal policy.

They lied claiming Grexit means "losing the ability to borrow from foreign investors…" BRICS membership awaits and access to its New Development Bank (NDB) offering loans on fair and equitable terms - not loan shark of last resort ones from Troika bandits.

Washington Post editors support continued predation of Greece's economy, saying "(t)he only prudent course for (Athens), Europe and the rest of the world" is accepting endless Troika-imposed austerity. 

They sounded daft suggesting as Greece goes, so goes the world. They're concerned about Tsipras turning East to Moscow for help - "a fate worse than the country's current predicament," they claim. Along with Grexit, it's Tsipras' most sensible option he hasn't taken so far. 

Wall Street Journal editorial fear-mongering headlined "Greek Suicide Watch," saying "Athens has itself to blame if it defaults and leaves the euro."

They called harsh Troika demands "modest…" They claim Grexit "would be a tragedy…"

"Appeasing Syriza's demands could spread political contagion to Spain, Portugal and other countries that might think they too can avoid reform and still be rescued," they said.

They call rejecting austerity "suicide by ignoring economic reality." They want ordinary Greeks starved to death but won't admit it.

Media giants want predatory monied interests enriched more than already including themselves. They want Greek wealth, assets and enterprises entirely looted until there's nothing left to steal. 

They want the same thing across Europe and in America. They want ordinary people everywhere consigned to a lower level of hell than Dante imagined - so monied interests can get richer than ever at their expense.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

UN Declares Highest Humanitarian Emergency Level in Yemen

by Stephen Lendman

Yemen is Obama's war - premeditated genocidal aggression against 26 million Yemenis using Saudi-led terror bombing and suffocating blockade to his dirty work.

The entire population is at risk. Official death and injury reports way understate reality. Casualties mount daily. Millions don't have enough food to eat. They can't get medical treatment for injuries and illnesses.

Yemen is being systematically destroyed - raped the way America treats one country after another in lunatic pursuit of unchallenged global dominance.

A holocaust is unfolding in plain sight, largely ignored by Western media. Yemen is 90% dependent on food imports. At the same time, Saudi terror bombing crippled its agriculture sector. Famine threatens the country. Millions of lives are at risk.

A hollow July 2 State Department statement "call(ed) for an immediate humanitarian pause" to a conflict Obama initiated and wants continued until Yemen is entirely destroy and its population massacred or murdered from deprivation.

Claiming America is "work(ing) actively with humanitarian organizations to help facilitate the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid" is polar opposite truth. Obama wants Yemenis starved to death or killed by Saudi-led terror bombing attacks.

They'd stop today along with blockade conditions with one phone call from Washington to Riyadh not forthcoming. Obama wants conflict continued, not ended.

One Saudi terror bombing incident targeting a residential area killed 27 members of Walid Al-Ibbi's family, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported. On May 5, he lost his wife, four daughters and 21 others slaughtered in cold blood on the night "someone came to ask for my daughter's hand in marriage," he said.

Happiness became nightmare. "I didn't even have time to be happy for my daughter before the strike happened," he said.

HRW's new report on Yemen is titled "Targeting Saada: Unlawful Coalition Airstrikes on Saada City in Yemen."

It discusses Saudi-led terror bombing against civilian targets, including residential communities, schools and markets - despite no evidence of military activities.

A Saudi spokesman said the entire city of Saada is considered a military target - civilians treated no differently than combatants.

US-orchestrated, Saudi-led terror bombing is naked aggression against a nation threatening no others. Murdering civilians compounds the highest of high crimes against peace.

Obama bears full responsibility. Riyadh and other regional partners share it. So do Western leaders for failing to condemn US-ordered naked aggression and not acting to stop it.

Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Seyyed Khamenei denounced Western media silence on the atrocities being committed against Yemenis and throughout the region, saying:

"The world’s media that are dominated by the US, Britain, and the Zionists sometimes launch a propaganda campaign over an animal’s life while they keep outrageously quiet towards these crimes…such as the bombardment of Yemen these days as well as the past years' aggression on Gaza and Lebanon."

"What should a dignified person do in the face of such bias and evil," he asked? On July 1, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) declared a Level 3 (L3) emergency crisis in Yemen - its highest designation beyond dire.

It said over 80% of Yemenis (21.1 million people) urgently need humanitarian aid to survive. Over half the population is food insecure. They don't have enough to eat.

Malnutrition threatens millions - especially young children. Over 20 million have no access to clean water and sanitation. "This severely increases the risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases including cholera," said OCHA.

Dengue fever and malaria outbreaks were reported. "The health system is facing imminent collapse with the closure of at least 160 facilities due to insecurity and lack of fuel or other critical supplies," OCHA explained.

Saudi terror bombing destroyed or heavily damaged dozens of hospitals and clinics - deliberately targeted to prevent sick and wounded Yemenis from accessing treatment. 

US/Saudi blockade prevents enough vital supplies getting in. What's arriving is a small fraction of what's needed. OCHA calls access to "affected populations…a crippling challenge…to help alleviate the suffering of millions of families."

They struggle daily to survive. Basic services largely collapsed throughout much of the country. Medicines for cancer, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases largely ran out. Saudi terror bombing makes it impossible to provide enough help for desperately needy people.

Destroyed infrastructure will take years or decades to restore once hostilities end. Throughout most of the country, supplies of food, fuel and medicines are dangerously low or not available.

Yemen is 100% dependent on fuel for electricity, pumping water from underground wells, running hospital generators, transporting available goods and other vital activities.

Many parts of the country have less than one hour a day of electricity. Some have none at all. "Yemen's health system is on the brink of collapse," said OCHA.

Hundreds of thousands of displaced Yemenis have limited or no access to emergency shelters and basic household supplies.

Yemen is ground zero for a deepening humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, worsening daily with no relief in sight. Women and children have greater difficulty accessing aid than men. Saudi terror bombing, displacement and inadequate or no aid compromises their ability to survive.

It bears repeating. Western leaders able to intervene responsibly are doing nothing to stop a deepening holocaust affecting millions of Yemenis. They continue suffering largely out of sight and mind.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Sunday's Referendum in Greece

by Stephen Lendman

On the one hand, plebiscites reflect democracy in action - provided the will of the people becomes policy. On the other, governments serving all its citizens equitably and fairly don't need referendums to confirm policies in place most people support.

Modern Greece has been ruled by generals or political leaders serving vested interests, not popular ones. SYRIZA proved it's no different from the rest - promising one thing, doing another. If hardline governance replaces it in snap elections, its officials have themselves to blame. 

On Sunday, Greeks are asked to vote up or down on whether to accept or reject greater Troika demanded austerity in return for bailout help - in convoluted language perhaps leaving many people unsure which to choose.

At the same time, Prime Minister Tsipras urged Greeks to reject Troika demands he largely supports - by policies already instituted and other he proposed. Whether his duplicity along with capital controls tilt the balance to "yes" supporters remains to be seen.

Polls are volatile with three days to go before voting. Some give "yes" backers a slight edge over "no" ones. An Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper one conducted from June 28 - 30 showed "no" supporters decisively ahead by a 54% to 33% margin.

Respondents polled before the announced bank holiday and capital controls showed 57% against Troika demands v. 30% for them (a nearly two-to-one majority). Others polled after announced new mandates opposed its bailout terms by a 46% to 37% margin.

Why would ordinary Greeks suffering hugely under neoliberal harshness support more of what they oppose just to remain in the euro system harming their well-being and futures greatly?

SYRIZA betrayed them by pledging no Grexit instead of explaining the cost of remaining part of a hugely exploitive system doomed to eventual demise.

Democracy is absent where it originated. Whichever way Greeks vote Sunday won't change things. Not as long as their political system serves monied interests, not theirs. 

Nonviolent revolution is their only solution. Business as usual assures everything they oppose - no matter which political party or coalition government rules.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Troika Plan for Greece: Endless Pillage and Regime Change

by Stephen Lendman

Banker-controlled Troika officials intend using Greece as a model for what's intended across Europe - devastating neoliberal harshness creating a continental dystopian wasteland for ordinary people.

Greece is being systematically raped and pillaged. It's economy contracted over 25% since crisis conditions erupted in 2008. More than a million jobs were lost.

Overall unemployment exceeds 25% - for youths it's 60%. College educated and other young people have no futures in Greece. Its best and brightest are leaving en masse. 

Workers lucky to have jobs receive lower or frozen pay along with few or no benefits. Vitally needed social services are disappearing altogether.

Pensions for many retirees are slashed by up to half since 2008. Troika bandits want stiffer cuts. They want Greeks starved to death so super-rich bankers can be wealthier than ever.

Homelessness affects growing thousands. HIV Aids infections rose sharply. So have infant mortality, stillbirths and suicides. 

Malaria returned to Greece for the first time in 40 years, while spending for public healthcare was sharply reduced - cut in half for prescription drugs.

Troika bandits turned Greece in a black hole of inequity. Around half the population has minimal or no access to healthcare. 

Last year, Oxford University Professor David Stuckler said "(t)he cost of austerity…being borne by ordinary Greek citizens (reflect) the largest cutbacks to the health sector seen across Europe in modern times" - a shocking indictment of a failed system.

Thousands of teacher layoffs eroded public education en route to perhaps eliminating it altogether. Cambridge University Professor Alexander Kentikelenis said Athens "failed to protect (its citizens) at a time they needed support the most. What's happening to vulnerable (people) is quite shocking."

Troika bandits pushed Greece to the edge of bankruptcy. Current crisis conditions are worse than five years ago. The nation is a deepening sinkhole of force-fed inequity - a testimony to neoliberal harshness viciousness.

European authorities are telling Greeks do what we say or we'll make things worse than ever - the price for remaining trapped in the euro straightjacket, undermining the nation's sovereign rights.

SYRIZA agreed to most of their demands - breaching its pledge to end austerity. It's not enough. Monied interests want more - endless cuts transforming Greece into a third world country.

They want regime change. They want hardline rule reinstituted to loot the nation entirely. Weeks after SYRIZA's election, the ECB cut off Greek banks from their main credit line. It limited their amount of government lending.

They may eliminate credit to Greece entirely - forcing a greater financial crisis than already to get ordinary people to demand snap elections for new governance.

They want them to vote yes on Sunday's referendum - accepting harsh Troika bailout terms at the expense of their own welfare already hugely compromised.

SYRIZA avoids choosing the only viable way back from the brink - leaving the Eurozone and its destructive straightjacket mandates, regaining sovereign independence rights, and beginning the long, painful road back to financial solvency and economic growth lifting all boats, not monied interests ones alone.

SYRIZA shows intention of doing the right thing. Ordinary Greeks are on their own to institute revolutionary change. They won't get it from the nation's current political class. 

Nor will people across Europe, in America or in other nations force-feeding neoliberal harshness at the expense of beneficial social change.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

More Proof of Israeli Ruthlessness

by Stephen Lendman

Endless examples provide voluminous evidence of Israeli rogue state viciousness against defenseless Palestinians - trapped by the scourge of state terror.

On Thursday, the Palestinian Prisoners' Society (PPS) said Israeli security force thugs lawlessly detained around 550 Hebron district Palestinians from January through June.

Over 100 youths were targeted along with seven women. Around 225 were imprisoned uncharged and untried - including 78 "fac(ing) a real life threat" because of denied medical treatment,  according to PPS' Amjad Najjar.

Israel routinely treats Palestinian detainees "savage(ly) and inhuman(ely)," he explained. Multiple daily security force community incursions result in numerous lawless arrests - state terror by any standard entirely for political reason.

Targeted Palestinians committed no crimes. Israel lies claiming they engaged in illegal activity, including violence or terrorism.

Last summer's Operation Brothers' Keeper terrorized Hebron and other West Bank Palestinian communities. Over 2,000 homes were lawlessly ransacked. Up to 1,000 arrests followed, at least seven deaths and millions of dollars of personal possessions and cash stolen.

Palestinians live under the daily threat of ruthless persecution - state terror targeting them for not being Jews, for legitimately resisting brutal occupation harshness.

Israel's message to millions of Palestinians is "submit, leave or die," Jeff Halper explains. In response to the killing of three Israeli boys and bogus claims of preemptive Hamas rocket attacks, Operations Brothers' Keeper and Protective Edge followed with all the horrors they inflicted on thousands of defenseless Palestinians having nothing to do with what happened.

Collective punishment is longstanding Israeli practice - against millions of Palestinians brutalized by occupation harshness. Nothing in prospect suggests change. Israel's fascist regime promises continued ruthlessness.

It's partnered with Egypt's military junta threatening more attacks on Gaza. Both countries falsely claim Hamas collaborates with ISIS.

Following Sinai attacks killing scores of Egyptian soldiers and civilians, Cairo claimed Hamas provided ISIS terrorists with weapons. It said air strikes against Gaza may follow - perhaps jointly with Israel. 

Maybe Netanyahu has Operation Protective Edge 2.0 in mind. Maybe massacring and maiming thousands of Palestinians last summer - including nearly 600 children and 300 women weren't enough.

Maybe he plans killing and maiming thousands more. IDF sources accused Hamas of collaborating with ISIS terrorists operating in Sinai - with no corroborating evidence provided.

An alert was heightened along the Israeli/Egyptian border. Sinai fighting is the deadliest since the 1973 Yom Kippur war. Some reports indicate about 200 deaths so far.

Blaming Hamas for involvement begs the question. What could it possibly gain by collaborating with attacks against Egyptian forces and civilians? It would only risk more devastating aggression against Gaza than already.

Does Israel have this in mind - perhaps collaboratively with Cairo? Its sordid history suggests anything is possible.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Pentagon Calls Russia, China, Iran and North Korea Threats to Global Peace

by Stephen Lendman

The Pentagon's new National Military Strategy (its first update since 2011) signaled possible major wars with US adversaries.

The world's leader aggressor on a global scale named four nations threatening no others as major US security threats: Russia, China, Iran and North Korea - plus non-state groups like ISIS (without mentioning they're US creations).

The document turns truth on its head blaming Russia for violating "numerous agreements" and "military actions." It says Iran and North Korea seek nuclear weapons. 

Pyongyang may have them - for self-defense, not offense. No evidence whatever suggests Tehran seeks them - now or earlier. Plenty of evidence reveals otherwise.

China is called a regional power challenging US hegemony. Pentagon strategy calls for "deter(ing), deny(ing), and defeat(ing)" nations it calls threats to US security, as well as "disrupt(ing) and degrad(ing) non-state groups."

It says "(n)one of these nations are believed to be seeking direct military conflict with the United States or our allies (but) pose serious security concerns which the international community is working to collectively address by way of common policies, shared messages and coordinated action."

US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey said American success "will increasingly depend on how well our military instrument supports the other instruments of national power, and how it enables our network of allies and partners."

The document states "today, the probability of US involvement in interstate war with a major power is assessed to be low but growing."

At the same time, so-called "hybrid conflicts" with non-state actors like ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other US-created groups are likely to expand.

Post-9/11, Dick Cheney warned of wars not ending in our lifetime. Former CIA director James Woolsey said America "is engaged in WW IV, and it could continue for years."

GHW Bush called it a "new world order" - endless US wars of aggression for unchallenged global dominance. The Pentagon's 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) called it the "long war" without end.

General Martin Dempsey says America "now face(s) multiple, simultaneous security challenges from traditional state actors and trans-regional networks of sub-state groups - all taking advantage of rapid technological change."

"We are more likely to face prolonged campaigns than conflicts that are resolved quickly." America's military must remain "globally engaged - in other words, wage permanent wars of aggression against invented enemies driven by lunatics in Washington wanting all independent governments replaced by US controlled puppet ones.

America intends "to project power across all domains…act in concert with others…or unilaterally (as) the situation demands," the document states.

US military strategy includes "press(ing) forward with the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, placing our most advanced capabilities and greater capacity in that vital theater." It remains committed to NATO allies and Israel's security.

Ashton Carter replacing Chuck Hagel as defense secretary in mid-February signaled more war besides ones America was waging before his appointment.

Obama's naked aggression on Yemen followed weeks later. So did greater numbers of US combat troops operating in Iraq, continued bombing of its economic infrastructure on the pretext of attacking ISIS, and the same strategy ongoing in Syria - plus the Pentagon's latest military strategy signaling endless US-initiated conflicts.

In May, General Dempsey announced his retirement effective October 1. Marine Corp commandant General Joseph Dunford, Jr. will replace him. His nickname "Fighting Joe" signals continued endless direct and proxy aggression - always against invented enemies.

US strategy of permanent wars against one country after another threatening no one for objectives impossible to achieve - combined with outlandish fear-mongering, unaffordable longterm military spending, and homeland police state control indicate a nation in decline like all previous empires.

Policies pursued are unsustainable for the long haul. What can't go on forever, won't. It's just a matter of time before America’s hubris and imperial arrogance become its undoing.

What's unknown is whether it'll go with a bang or whimper. The former risks humanity going with it - the curse of potential nuclear armageddon.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.