Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thoughts on New Year's Eve

Thoughts on New Year's Eve

by Stephen Lendman

Heading into 2015, things look grim. Domestically and abroad. US presidents able to govern like despots. Unilaterally claim emergency powers.

Declare martial law. Suspend constitutional rights. Rule by diktat. With or without congressional and/or judicial authority.

Based on alleged national security threats. Real or contrived. Deploying US combat troops on US streets at their discretion.

Unheard of in so-called democracies. Wage naked aggression on their say. Order anyone killed anywhere for any reason. 

Including US citizens. Or detain them indefinitely. With no formal charges filed. No trial. No habeas rights. No judicial fairness. 

Presidents can exercise judge, jury and executioner authority. Targeting anyone they wish. Have Big Brother watch everyone.

Wage war on freedom. Eliminate it altogether at their discretion. Based on so-called national security priorities.

Scapegoat Muslims as enemies of choice. Wage war on Black America. Target whistleblowers for exposing government wrongdoing.

Threaten press freedom. Public assemblies. Peaceful protests. Secret evidence can be used to convict. 

Withheld from defense lawyers. What better definition of police state lawlessness.

Serving monied interests exclusively. Handing America's wealth to Wall Street. War profiteers. Other corporate favorites.

Letting popular needs go begging. During protracted Main Street Depression conditions. Economist Michael Hudson's newest book is titled "The Bubble and Beyond."

From "industrial capitalism to finance capitalism and debt peonage." Including chapters on "fictitious capital, debt deflation and global crisis."

Fueled by money printing madness at near zero interest rates. Benefitting investors at the expense of ordinary people.

Creating a "new neo-feudal rentier class." Financial elites demanding debt-strapped cities like Detroit sell off their crown jewels.

At fire sale prices. Using cash raised to service debt. The same dynamic occurring in Europe. Rentiers buying roads. Charging tolls.

Privatizing Chicago's parking meters. Ticketing irresponslbly. Revenues accruing to city authorities. 

Scared parkers feeding meters with quarters. Benefitting Chicago Parking Meters LLC. Ripping of people for profit.

Buying prisons. Schools. Bridges. Other basic infrastructure. "(B)uilding financial charges and tollbooth rents into the prices charged for access to these essential, hitherto public services," Hudson explains.

"Prices are rising not because costs and wages are rising, but because of monopoly rents and other rent-extraction activities."

Today's environment reflects "debt-strapped austerity. (E)mpowering the financial sector…"

Operating like oligarchs. Like 19th century landlords. Making money not by lending.

By direct ownership. Charging "economic rent." Hudson explained the " 'economic collapse' stage of the financialized bubble economy."

"Coping with this legacy and financial power grab will be the great political fight for the remainder of the 21st century."

Disproportionate wealth concentrated in economies' top tier reflects "the dysfunctional result of economic parasitism."

"(D)ebts that can't be repaid won't be…" When things eventually collapse, ordinary people will suffer most. 

Inequality and economic despair will be greater than ever. It can happen any time. Maybe next year.

Imagine what young people today have to look forward to. Imagine grim futures they face. Imagine opportunities older generations had no longer available.

Imagine highly educated people pumping gas. Waiting on tables. Driving cabs. Many unable to find any steady remunerative work.

Imagine grim futures no one should face. While US waged wars rage without end. Wall Street crooks manipulate markets for profit.

America's middle class disappearing entirely. Poverty at third world country levels. Growing homelessness and hunger.

Social services disappearing when most needed. Organized labor a shadow of its former self. Public education commodified into another business profit center.

Benefits eroding. Wages not keeping up with inflation. US streets turned into battlegrounds. Militarized police terrorize America's most disadvantaged.

Freedom disappearing in plain sight. Poverty, hopelessness and despair replacing it. 

America being transformed into a ruler/serf society. Resisters declared enemies of the state. Facing gulag imprisonment.

While monied interests never had things better. Profiting like never before. Washington's criminal class aiding and abetting them.

Fascism has America in a death grip. Concentrated wealth and power greater than ever.

Tyranny is the coin of the realm. Wrapped in the American flag. Democracy is pure fantasy. Existing in name only.

Powerful elites run things for their own interests. At the expense of ordinary people shut out entirely. 

Mass media a propaganda bullhorn. Suppressing what people most need to know. Substituting managed news misinformation rubbish. 
Manipulating people irresponsibly.

Force-feeding austerity when stimulus is needed. An earlier article discussed John Maynard Keynes "Open Letter" to Franklin Roosevelt. During Depression era hard times.

Urging "spend, spend, spend." Supply "cheap and abundant credit." Stress "speed and quick" recovery.

Focus on "increas(ing) the national output." Boost purchasing power by "put(ting people back to work." On good high-paying jobs.

"(I)ncrease aggregate purchasing power." Undertake "a large volume of loan expenditures under government auspices."

Choose projects able "to mature quickly on a large scale." Roosevelt, in part, followed Keynes' advice.

Obama is no Roosevelt. Benefitting business at the expense of people. Making America more than ever unfit to live in.

Things already unbearable for many. Perhaps 2015 will be a watershed year. Expect things to be worse, not better.

More wars. Death and destruction. Human misery. Deepening poverty, deprivation and despair. In the world's richest country. 

Using its resources for ill, not good. Business as usual persists. Next year perhaps worse than ever. 

America's criminal class makes anything possible. Harder than ever hard times looks likely. 

Revolutionary change urgently needed. The alternative is too grim to imagine.

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: 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.


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

Comments on Palestine's UN Failure

Comments on Palestine's UN Failure

by Stephen Lendman

Millions of Palestinians lack fundamental rights everyone deserves. Denied for decades. Subjugated by Israeli harshness. With no end whatever in sight.

Governed by longstanding Israeli collaborators. Serving repressively as its enforcer. Benefitting at the expense of their own people.

Submitting a pathetically weak statehood resolution for Security Council consideration. An embarrassment and then some.

Falling way short of what Palestinians deserve. What international law mandates.

Defeated by US pressure. Its veto power. Supporting virtually everything Israel wants. Two nations united against Palestinian liberation. Determined to prevent it.

Wanting Palestinians held hostage. Under permanent bondage. Controlling virtually all aspects of their lives. 

Denying them fundamental rights. Collectively punishing them. Leaving them isolated on their own. Longstanding injustice continues.

Palestine declared independence years ago. Previous articles explained. Law Professor Francis Boyle drafted its 1988 Declaration of Independence.

Predicting a "instantaneous success." De jure UN membership. Saying Palestine meets all basic requirements for statehood. Then and now. Including:

A  determinable (not necessarily fixed) territory. A state comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Where Palestinians lived for millennia. Rightfully deserving universally recognized sovereignty.

With a fixed population. A legitimate state. A functioning government. Peace loving. Polar opposite its repressive occupier.

Accepting UN Charter provisions. In 1988, Arafat declared the PLO Palestine's Provisional Government.

Prepared for relations with other states. On December 15, 1988, The General Assembly recognized Palestine's legitimacy. Gave it observer status.

Palestine satisfies essential statehood criteria. All UN Charter states (including America and Israel) at the time provisionally recognized Palestinian independence. 

In accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League Covenant article 22(4).

As the League of Nations' successor, the General Assembly has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO as the Palestinian peoples' legitimate representative. 

The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO's legislative body. Empowered to proclaim the existence of Palestine. 

According to the binding 1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council, Palestinians, their children and grandchildren automatically become citizens. So do diaspora Palestinians.

Others in Israel and Jordan are entitled to dual nationalities. Occupied Territory residents remain protected persons until final peace agreement terms are reached.

Boyle called Palestine's Declaration of Independence "determinative, definitive, and irreversible."

It recognized the UN's 1947 partition plan in good faith. Declared its commitment to UN Charter principles.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its sovereign right to defend Palestinian independence. Rejects force, violence or intimidation against its territorial integrity.

Respects other nations' political independence. Expressed willingness to accept interim UN supervision. Until Israel's occupation ends.

Called for an international peace conference. Based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338.

General Assembly members alone affirm new member states. By two-thirds majority vote. The Security Council only recommends admissions. 

Palestinians can override Washington's veto by petitioning the General Assembly through the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377. 

Doing so renders America's veto null and void. Why hasn't Abbas done it? Why haven't other key PLO officials pressured him to do so?

Why go to the wrong authority for recognition? Why not years earlier? Why sacrifice Palestinians' fundamental rights? 

Petitioning Security Council members reflects unconditional  surrender. Acceptance of status quo harshness. Subservience to US/Israeli authority. Betrayal of longstanding Palestinian hopes and dreams.

If proper procedures are followed, official statehood is easily attainable. Why not after all these years?

Why waste time with Security Council members? Why not General Assembly ones that matter? 

With over two-thirds of its members officially recognizing Palestinian statehood, getting it is as simple as requesting it according to proper procedures.

Why let business as usual continue? After decades of Israeli repression, Palestinians remain on their own. Their inalienable rights denied. 

Unattainable under corrupted PLO leadership. Beholden to Washington and Israel. Betraying its own people.

Denying them fundamental rights everyone deserves. Benefitting at their expense. 

Putting a lie to its rhetorical support for Palestinian sovereignty. Letting Israel maintain permanent subjugation.

Mustafa Barghouti is a leading Palestinian human rights champion. "Those countries that voted against or abstained on the Palestinian resolution at the Security Council, regardless of how weak and compromised it was, are sending a strong message," he said. 

"They oppose the two-state solution and cannot be considered peace brokers."

Diana Buttu is a former PLO legal advisor. "The resolution that was defeated tonight demonstrated the PLO leadership’s inability to recognize that the Oslo negotiations process is a complete failure," she said. 

"Rather than pushing for sanctions to be imposed on Israel and attempting to charge Israeli officials with war crimes at the International Criminal Court, the resolution called for a return to the same two-decade old, fruitless negotiations process that has led to a tripling in the number of Israeli colonists living illegally on stolen Palestinian land and served as cover for the daily violence inflicted on Palestinians by Israel’s racist occupation regime."

“Despite being a flawed and weak resolution, the US and UK governments voted against it largely because it places a deadline on ending Israel’s military occupation, without even specifying what penalties Israel might face should the deadline not be met."  

"It is clear from this that the US, UK and other members of the international community will continue to provide unqualified support to Israel even as it continues to systemically violate their national policies and international law, and that their professed desire to see Palestinians live in freedom and achieve their rights is nothing more than empty rhetoric."

Yousef Munayyer formerly served as Washington-based Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center executive director. He'll soon assume new duties as head of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

"Another United Nations Security Council vote, another day under Israeli occupation," he said. 

"Decade after decade the UN has considered, and even sometimes passed, resolutions calling for an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, but it has done little to change the status quo."

“Today's vote is but another meaningless one for Palestinians living under the boot of the Israeli military." 

"Each and every episode like this, where the international community underscores its failure to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian question, is another boon to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which provides an alternative to stagnation at the UN. Perhaps that is the silver lining of this moment."

Nadia Nijab is Al-Shabaka executive director. An Institute for Palestine Studies senior fellow.

"The Palestine Liberation Organization must have been trying for a win-win: a US abstention that would send a strong signal to Israel or a US veto that would leave Palestine free to join other UN organizations and the International Criminal Court," she said. 

"The failure of the resolution to win the requisite nine votes will be seen as a big setback."

"But the PLO/Palestine never really needed this resolution to make international law work for Palestinian rights." 

"It already has the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the illegality of Israel’s Wall and its associated regime, non-member observer state status at the UN, and membership of UNESCO." 

"And yet the past few years have been, disastrously, marked by brief spurts of activism followed by inaction and backtracking." 

"Will 2015 reveal a different PLO/Palestine - one with resolution, and not just empty resolutions?" 

"The dire situation on the ground and unceasing attacks on Palestinian life, limb, and land throughout the occupied territories demand no less."

Ali Abunimah is Electronic Intifada co-founder/executive director. "I feel a great sense of relief that the UN resolution on Palestine was defeated in the Security Council," he said. 

"While the draft put forward by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas purported to call for an end to Israeli occupation, it did the opposite." 

"It attempted to insert the vague and deceptive language of the failed Oslo peace process into a UN resolution, giving it the force of international law." 

"Earlier and still valid UN Security Council resolutions - such as 465 of 1980 - are much clearer and stronger in, for example, demanding that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land be dismantled."

“This resolution actually allowed for the settlements to remain - under the guise of 'land swaps' - a formula that was previously used by Abbas to concede most of occupied Jerusalem to Israel." 

"Similarly, the resolution would have represented a significant retreat on other key Palestinian rights and interests, especially the rights of refugees." 

"Several revisions to the draft - in an attempt to avoid the inevitable American veto - only further compromised Palestinian rights, which is why Abbas' initiative has been disavowed by every major Palestinian political faction and many figures within his own Fatah movement." 

The Palestinian people do not need more - and weaker - UN resolutions. They need existing ones to be enforced."

Law Professor/human rights attorney Noura Eerakat said:

"Tonight’s UN Security Council vote was an unfortunate affirmation of the lack of political will amongst the strongest UN member states to resolve the Palestinian-Israel conflict." 

"It is not a lack of understanding between peoples, nor age-old religious or ethnic discord, that impedes a resolution, but rather a failure of the international community to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination against Israel’s settler-colonial regime."

"The resolution reflected principles established among the UN General Assembly and Security Council over six decades of deliberation." 

"That these appeared controversial is indicative of the inability and/or unwillingness of the US and other western states to achieve a just resolution, and more reason to support the global grassroots Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement aimed at applying pressure on Israel to cease its illegal and unjust practices." 

"It is also more reason for the Palestinian leadership to place its eggs in other diplomatic baskets beyond the United States, and to launch a full-scale grassroots, media, legal, and popular campaign for Palestinian freedom and rights."

"The US’s vote is particularly telling. Combined with its 2011 veto of a resolution condemning Israel’s settlement enterprise, it makes clear that the US is still willing to shield Israel to continue its detrimental practices and to impede possible solutions to the conflict, thus demonstrating its centrality as a part of the problem." 

"There is no irony in the fact that the two votes against the resolution, the US and Australia, are also settler-colonial regimes."

Long-suffering Palestinians deserve better than they've gotten. Or will under corrupted PLO leadership. 

On their own to achieve long denied liberation. Maybe some day. Not now.

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: 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.


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

US Vetoes Palestinian Statehood Resolution

US Vetoes Palestinian Statehood Resolution

by Stephen Lendman

Voting came Tuesday night. It didn't surprise. More on the results below. 

Washington one-sidedly supports Israel. Including decades of ruthless persecution. Institutionalized racism. Permanent occupation. 

Denial of fundamental Palestinian rights. Land theft. Settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land. 

Longstanding Israeli ethnic cleansing. Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in its gulag. Naked aggression at its discretion. Slow-motion genocide.

Palestine's resolution was tepid at best. Way short of what's just. What Palestinians deserve. What international law mandates.

America and Australia voted no. Argentina, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Luxembourg and Russia voted yes.

Britain, Lithuania, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Korea abstained. Bullied by Washington to do so. A 9-vote majority is needed for passage.

America, Britain, China, France and Russia have veto power. Able to defeat resolutions regardless of how other SC members vote.

Washington abuses its authority repeatedly. Vetoing dozens of resolutions at Israel's behest. Supporting virtually everything it wants. Regardless of how outlandish.

Including Palestinian statehood. A fundamental human right. Universally recognized. "(B)ased on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples," according to the UN Charter, Article 1.

"Everyone…entitled to all" Universal Declaration of Human Rights "freedoms…"

"(W)ithout distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status." 

"(O)n the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty."

An estimated 134 countries recognize Palestinian statehood. America categorically refuses. Now now. Not ever.

Except on unilaterally imposed Israeli terms. Granting Palestinians at most isolated ghettoized conclaves on worthless scrubland. 

A state in name only. Mocking their fundamental rights. Ones granted 193 other nations. Including Israel. 

Despite its longstanding defiance of international laws, norms and standards. Ones it swore to uphold to qualify for UN membership.

Neocon Samantha Power is Obama's UN envoy. Disgracing the office she holds. Repeating one Big Lie after another in explaining Washington's no vote.

Claiming "no government has invested more in the effort to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace than the United States."

False! No nation did more to prevent it. Collaboratively with Israel. Peace defeats their agenda. Conflict and instability benefit it.

Power: Palestine's resolution "undermine(s) efforts to get back to an atmosphere that makes it possible to achieve two states for two people."

False! Washington, Israel and likeminded states categorically oppose Palestinian rights. Including self-determination.

Power: Resolution text language "addresses the concerns of only one side." 

"It is deeply imbalanced and contains many elements that are not conducive to negotiations between the parties, including unconstructive deadlines that take no account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns."

False! Resolution language stopped of including all rights Palestinians deserve. Including ending Israeli occupation in months at most. Not years.

Palestinian statehood on all land within June 1967 borders. Including control of its borders, air space, offshore waters and resources. 

East Jerusalem its exclusive capital. Diaspora Palestinians able to return freely. Israel having no say over sovereign Palestinian territory.

Power: "We voted against this resolution…because peace will come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at the negotiating table." 

"Today’s staged confrontation in the UN Security Council will not bring the parties closer to achieving a two-state solution."

"This resolution sets the stage for more division - not for compromise. It could well serve to provoke the very confrontation it purports to address."

False! Israel doesn't compromise. It demands. Affording Palestinians no rights whatever. With full US support.

Power represents America's dark side. In lockstep with Israeli ruthlessness. Imperial partners. Waging permanent wars without end. 

Against everything free people deserve. Wanting them subjugated and exploited. On the wrong side all issues mattering most.

Obama ludicrously claimed peace depends on both "parties sit(ting) down together."

"(L)isten(ing) to each other…(U)nderstand(ing) each other's hopes and fears." 

"That is the project to which America is committed, and that is what the United Nations should be focused on…"

Truth is polar opposite. Washington and Israel partner against peace, equity and justice. Perpetuating conflicts. Wars of conquest. 

Imposing their will on subjugated peoples. In brazen violation of international law.

Days earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow recognized Palestinian statehood in the late 1980s.

"Therefore, we have no questions whatsoever concerning the recognition of the Palestinian statehood as it was proposed by the UN Security Council’s draft resolution."

On Tuesday, Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said Moscow "cannot share the objections of those who believe that the draft resolution was undermining the prospects of the negotiating process."

"Unfortunately, last year revealed how this process has gone into a blind alley, with its monopolization by the United States and their pullback from the Quartet (America, EU, UN and Russia). We believe this to be a strategic mistake."

Churkin accused Washington of bringing negotiations "to a dead end." China's UN envoy Liu Jieyi said:

“This draft reflects just demands of Arab states, including the Palestinian people, and is in accord with the relevant UN resolutions, the 'land for peace' principle, the Arab peace initiative and the Middle Eastern peace roadmap." 

It's "in accord with China’s consistent position. We express deep regret over the failure of the draft resolution to be adopted."

Israel reacted as expected. Its UN mission representative Israel Nitzan-Tikochinski saying:

"I have news for the Palestinians. You cannot provoke your way to a state."

"The Palestinians seek - and find - every opportunity to avoid direct negotiations and to walk circumventing paths." 

"We've become accustomed to their political maneuvers. But today they surpassed themselves by going all the way to the Security Council to make a mockery of it with embarrassing resolutions."

Israel's UN envoy Ron Prosor didn't attend the Security Council session. Nor his assistant David Roth. 

Both were in Jerusalem for a conference. An unnamed senior Israeli official called their absence "total incompetence."

Haaretz said Nigeria initially was the 9th Security Council Palestinian statehood yes vote. Moving from support to abstention. 

A Palestinian source told London's Guardian: "Even half an hour before the vote, Nigeria indicated it was committed to voting for the resolution."

Kerry and Netanyahu called Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Pressuring him to withdraw support, according to the Guardian. US bullying is relentless.

Intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz accused PLO officials of staging "a hostile and one-sided political offensive against Israel."

Other Israeli officials made similar comments. Willfully distorting hard truths.

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour said PLO officials will meet Wednesday to decide what's next.

"Our effort was a serious…genuine effort to open the door for peace. Unfortunately, the Security Council is not ready to listen to that message," he said.

"It is most regretful that the Security Council remain(s) paralyzed."

The Times of Israel said Abbas could sign the Rome Statute Wednesday evening in Ramallah. 

Doing so permits accusing Israeli officials of war crimes in the International Criminal Court. Despite its longstanding history of backing Western interests.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would react accordingly. Including freezing Palestinian assets. Dismantling the PA. Perhaps harder than ever harsh repression. Maybe more war.

Days earlier, AIPAC arrogantly accused Palestinians of "put(ting) forward a proposal to impose terms on Israel." Falsely calling it "one-sided."

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) national director Abraham Foxman accused Abbas of "play(ing) a dangerously negative political game with the future of the Palestinian people."

Calling his resolution "a new low…One-sided measures…will not bring about the reconciliation of Israel and the Palestinians.," he claimed.

Foxman is a notorious racist. Supporting Jewish supremacy. Israei rights at the expense of Arab ones. Including occupation harshness and brute force.

America's media back Israel one-sidedly. An earlier New York Times editorial headlined "Palestinians at the UN, Again."

Then seeking nonmember observer state status. Times editors called it "a move that (won't) do anyone any good. It will not change facts on the ground, and it will come at a cost."

Not a word about what Palestinians deserve. How Israel and Washington consistently deny their most fundamental rights. Why justice is long overdue.

A previous article discussed Times editors headlining "The Embattled Dream of Palestine." Ignoring decades of dead on arrival peace talks.

Occupation harshness. Repeated Israeli high crimes against peace. Apartheid worse than South Africa's. 

Palestinians denied virtually all rights everyone deserves. Brutalized ruthlessly for decades. Longstanding injustice begging for responsible resolution.

Washington Post editors headlined "Mahmound Abbas is again insisting on failure."

Ludicrously accusing him of "refus(ing) to accept a US-brokered 'framework' for the creation of a Palestinian state."

Kerry's proposal was one-sided. Favoring Israel. At the expense of fundamental Palestinian rights. 

Demands no responsible leader could accept. WaPo editors didn't explain. Instead accused Abbas of "pushing yet another quixotic attempt to have the UN Security Council impose Palestinian terms for a settlement on Israel."

In mid-November, Wall Street Journal editors accused Palestinians of "Jihad in Jerusalem." Trying to "murder their way to a self-governing state."

Ignoring decades of occupation harshness. Israeli state terror. Naked aggression at its discretion.

Slow-motion genocide against millions of defenseless Palestinian civilians. High crimes begging for accountability.

Universally recognized Palestinian self-determination long overdue. Don't expect scoundrel editors to explain. On the wrong side of all issues mattering most.

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: 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.


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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bahrain: Profile of a Police State

Bahrain: Profile of a Police State

by Stephen Lendman

Monarchal despotism runs Bahrain. Democracy is verboten. None whatever exists. Nor human and  civil rights.

Anyone criticizing Al Khalifa rule risks arrest, imprisonment, torture, even death.

Repression persists. New "Protecting Society from Terrorism Act" legislation the latest example.

Americans for Democracy for Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) expressed deep concerns.

The new measure updates a 2006 law. Clarifying Bahrain's definition of terrorism. Including provisions further undermining fundamental rights.

The law was revised earlier in August 2013. Used ruthlessly against pro-democracy activists.

Banning dissent. Imprisoning hundreds in 2013 alone. Including children young as 15. 

Many receiving lengthy sentences. For wanting rights everyone deserves.

The updated law includes a separate prosecution office. For whatever authorities call terrorism-related crimes.

"(E)ffectively creating an entirely new process of criminal procedure for persons (unjustly) accused of terrorism," according to BCHR.

Suspects can be held up to six months without trial. Violating fundamental international law. Including Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), stating:

"Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release."

Not in Bahrain. Or America. Or Israel. Or likeminded states. Brutality defines their agendas. Torture is longstanding US and Israeli policy.

Bahrain's ruling authorities routinely detain victims for prolonged periods. Denying them all rights. New legislation authorizes prolonged pre-trial detentions. In brazen violation of international law.

Authorities can detain suspects up to 28 days without charges or investigation. Three additional days for interrogations and charges to be drawn.

Further detention is allowed. Up to seven months pre-trial. During initial days after arrest, suspects routinely are denied access to family members or counsel. According to BCHR:

Most detainees "report that they are subjected to torture and ill-treatment during the pre-trial period." 

"Such was the case of photographer Hussain Hubail, human rights defender Naji Fateel, and children Jehad Sadeq and Ebrahim Al-Muqdad."

Police now have greater than ever authority. Permitted to search anyone anytime without court authorization.

Allowed to stop and search public and private vehicles. Ban free movement indefinitely.

Interdict private communications. Up to 24 hours. Without court authorization. By order of the special prosecutor for terrorism-related crimes.

Anyone suspected of terrorism can be banned from certain areas up to 15 days. New legislation "provide(s) legal justification for many already utilized police practices that violate basic human rights," said BCHR.

Shaheen Al-Buainain serves as senior prosecutor for alleged terrorism-related crimes. In 2013, he was accused of involvement in torture.

A complaint was filed against him with Bahrain's Interior Ministry's Special Investigations Unit.

New legislation shows its government intends silencing dissent. Peaceful protesters can be accused of terrorism.

Arrested. Tortured. Sentenced to long prison terms. For exercising their rights to free expression, assembly and association. Police states operate this way. Bahrain is one of the worst.

On December 29, Al-Wefaq Political Society secretary-general Shaikh Ali Salman was lawlessly arrested.

BCHR and other human rights groups condemned his detention. For peaceful political activities. As leader of Bahrain's largest opposition political party.

On December 28, he was summoned to appear before Bahrain's Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

After concluding his AQl-Wefaq's General Assembly conference. He was arrested and interrogated. Denied access to counsel while ongoing.

Accused of inciting anti-government hatred. Urging youths to disobey its authority. Insulting the judiciary and executive power.

Inciting hatred against other unspecified people. Seeking external support. Broadcasting false information able to cause panic.

Breaching security. Participating in demonstrations causing economic harm. According to BCHR President Nabeel Rajab:

"The silence of the international community contributed to the arrest of Shaikh Ali Salman, as it also contributes to the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain."

"With this high-profile arrest, however, the Government of Bahrain has gone too far in targeting its peaceful critics."

Al-Wefaq boycotted earlier 2014 parliamentary elections. So did other opposition parties. Refusing to participate in a sham process.

Al-Wefaq members have been targeted for years. For their political and human rights activism. 

Former party members Matar Matar and Jawad Fairooz were arrested, tortured and detained for month.

So was deputy party secretary-general Khalik al-Marzooq. Most recently, Al-Wefaq's Shura Council head Sayed Jameel Kadhem was prosecuted for Twitter comments citing corruption.

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) director of advocacy Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei said:

"Earlier this month, Britain announced that it will be building a naval base in Bahrain, which the Government of Bahrain is bankrolling."

"The UK's support for the Government of Bahrain, despite the human rights situation and harassment of Al-Wefaq Society, has given the Bahraini authorities the green light to further attack political societies."

Shaikh Ali Salman was harassed before. Interrogated twice in 2014 for expressing his views freely.

In July, US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Assistant Secretary Tom Malinowski met with Al-Wefaq members.

Bahraini authorities expelled him. Sued Al-Wefaq. Summoned Shaikh Salman and al-Marzooq for questioning.

On October 28, prohibited Al-Wefaq from conducting normal activities. According to Americans for Democracy for Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) executive director Husain Abdulla:

"The international community and the United States must condemn the detention of Shaikh Ali Salman, for it is a clear sign of the Bahraini authorities disregard for the human and political rights of the Bahraini people."

State terror defines official Bahraini policy. Anyone can be targeted for expressing political views freely. Championing human rights. 

Supporting democratic change. Daily crackdowns continue. Challenging repressive rule is considered terrorism.

Beatings. Arrests. Disappearances. Torture. Imprisonments. Cold-blooded murder are standard practice.

Women and children are brutalized like men. So are students, doctors, nurses, other medical personnel, journalists, human rights activists and foreign observers.

Elections when held are farcical. Business as usual persists. Ordinary Bahrainis have no say whatever. 

Police states operate this way. Bahrain is one of the region's worst.

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: 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.


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

Escalated US Wars Ahead?

Escalated US Wars Ahead?

by Stephen Lendman

Obama is out-of-control. Deranged. Obsessed with war. His appetite for mass slaughter and destruction insatiable.

Monday's ceremonial nominal end to over 13 years of war in Afghanistan belies longstanding US plans.

Including permanent occupation. Thousands of US combat troops remaining. Drone wars continuing. Afghanistan a de facto US colony.

Obama lied saying "our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible end."

Fact: America planned naked aggression on Afghanistan long before 9/11.

Fact: Despite its government posing no threat to America.

Fact: Or its neighbors.

Fact: Or had anything to do with 9/11.

Fact: Not bin Laden or anyone else Washington blamed.

Fact: US state-sponsored terrorism bears full responsibility.

Fact: America's combat mission continues - indefinitely!

Fact: Permanent occupation is planned.

Fact: So is plundering Afghanistan's resources.

Fact: Controlling its world's largest opium supply.

Fact: Flooding world markets with heroin.

Fact: Providing enormous profits for Wall Street.

Fact: Giving CIA access to billions of dollars in illicit drug money.

Fact: Afghanistan is a key part of encircling Russia and China with US bases.

Fact: Part of Washington's strategy for unchallenged global dominance.

Don't expect Obama to explain. Big Lies substitute. Longstanding US policy goes unmentioned.

Wanting planet earth colonized. Societies made unfit to live in. Wars without end continuing.

Monday's ceremonial Kabul deception belies America's real intent. Continuing Afghan war. Death and destruction a daily reality. 

More planned elsewhere. Media scoundrels ignore what demands headlines. Press TV reported US helicopters dropping boxes of weapons "in areas held by (Islamic State terrorists) in Iraq."

Video evidence "showed masked terrorists inspecting" grenades, mortar rounds, other weapons and supplies.

IS and other extremist Takfiri groups are US proxies. Shock troops against America's adversaries. Including Syria's Assad. Targeted for removal.

Perhaps others yet to be named. Zero Hedge reported America stockpiling enormous amounts of equipment in Kuwait.

Intended for Iraq. For a US-led offensive? More combat troops on the ground? Escalated war? 

Iraq war III? Perhaps against Syria? Expect more US aggression ahead.


"Since June, the US military has been slowly stockpiling massive amounts of its gear coming out of Afghanistan at a depot in Kuwait adjacent to a bustling commercial port, in preparation for ultimately shipping it across the border into Iraq for an allied offensive against the Islamic State group."

"The facility's warehouses and large asphalt yards now are home to roughly 3,100 vehicles, most of them MRAPs - the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles that have been ubiquitous in America’s prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." 

"There is also some electronic equipment and other supplies at the depot, located at Kuwait's Shuaiba port, defense officials say."

"The gear, primarily from the Army, will be fixed up and held as top US planners in Iraq determine what they’ll need to defeat the Islamic State group in the coming months, says Air Force Maj. Gen. Rowayne 'Wayne' Schatz, the director of operations and plans for US Transportation Command."

" 'From June to December, we’ve worked a lot on moving items into Kuwait,' he says. 'The Army is holding the gear there, and it has room to hold it, as the mission fleshes out.' "

"The US military and its allies are reportedly planning for a massive spring offensive to help Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga fighters retake territory from the Islamic State group, particularly traditional Sunni Muslim bastions such as Anbar province west of Baghdad and the key city of Mosul."

"It represents a full circle for the protracted Middle East wars the US continues to be drawn into: Much of the equipment taken out of Iraq during America’s complete withdrawal in 2011 was sent to nearby Afghanistan, where it had to be retrofitted to be effective in the rural mountains of the Hindu Kush and deserts of Helmand and Kandahar provinces, as opposed to the urban environments of Baghdad and Mosul." 

"Now, as the war winds down in Afghanistan, the Islamic State group's sweeping incursion toward Baghdad has forced the US to again focus its attention there."

Does Washington plan invading Syria? Toppling Assad remains official US policy. Replacing him pro-Western vassal governance. 

Making Syria another US colony. Eliminating an Israeli rival. Isolating Iran. Expect 2015 to remain bloody. Perhaps including direct confrontation with Russia.

Obama's pledge about no US combat troops on the ground in Iraq is rubbish. One of his many Big Lies.

At least 1,700 US forces are currently in Iraq. Another 1,300 ready to join them. On Friday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered 1,000 paratroopers deployed to Baghdad, Irbil and other locations.

Perhaps greater numbers of US forces than announced are already involved. Or heading for regional combat. 

What's ahead bears close watching. America's wars don't end. Some escalate. Others segue to new theaters. Peace is a convenient illusion.

America's war on humanity rages. With no end in sight. Obama the latest in a long line of US warrior presidents.

His comments about bringing America's longest war to an end don't wash. One of his many Big Lies.

Stated earlier on December 1, 2009. Saying "we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end. (By) end of 2011."

Ignoring millions of Iraqis America killed. Throughout decades of war and sanctions. Millions more Afghans. Libyans. Syrians. 

Others in many other countries. America's dirty hands operate everywhere. Wherever involved, mass slaughter and destruction follow.

What does Obama have in mind for 2015? More of the same and then some. America's killing machine never rests. 

Permanent wars define its agenda. No nation in world history matches its ruthlessness. None its imperial ambitions.

Wanting planet earth colonized. Space dominated. Global resources plundered for profit. Total information control.

Populations exploited. Neoserfdom institutionalized. Big Brother watching everyone. Freedoms entirely eliminated.

Ruthless rule replacing them. People power able to change things is absent. Especially Americans. Addicted to bread and circuses.

Mindless of maelstrom conditions affecting them. Their daily lives. Welfare and futures. In real time. In plain sight. 

Too blind, indifferent, detached or distracted to notice. Mind control manipulates them to accept what demands resistance.

An accompanying article looked ahead. Calling the American dream more illusion than reality. 

Expect no change for the better next year. Expect business as usual like always. 

Perhaps on steroids like never before. It bears repeating. Because people able to make a difference do nothing. Dark forces running things have nothing to fear.

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: 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.


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

The Year Ahead

The Year Ahead

by Stephen Lendman

Understanding what's ongoing is perhaps the best way to assess what's coming. What's happening in real time is grim. 

So is next year's outlook. More of the same and then some. Wars without end. Punishing neoliberal harshness. 

Police state crackdowns on nonbelievers. Big Brother watching everyone. Freedom eroding in plain sight.

America bears full responsibility for horrific global conflicts. Rogue EU collaborators and Israel share it. Partners in high crimes against humanity. 

Under or unreported. Largely out of sight and mind. Ongoing without end. In multiple war theaters. Washington's dirty hands manipulating things.

Permanent war is official US policy. One country after another is attacked, ravaged and destroyed. 

Turned to rubble. Killing millions. By wars and their aftermath. Including human exploitation. Deep impoverishment. Extreme deprivation. 

Preventable diseases. Many lethal when untreated. Starvation. Daily post-war violence. Appalling human misery.

America is the greatest threat to world peace. The "greatest purveyor of violence in the world," said Martin Luther King.

Using its resources irresponsibly. Inordinately for militarism. War-making. Corporate handouts. Benefitting its super-rich. Trillions of dollars down a black hole. Unprecedented grand theft.

While essential homeland needs increasingly go begging. In the world's richest nation. Including healthcare. A fundamental human right. Martin Luther King saying:

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." Neo-Malthusaian and then some.

Mandating no public sphere. Unrestrained corporate empowerment. Controlling nonbelievers repressively.

Inside the bubble it's paradise. Outside is dystopian hell. Ordinary people increasingly on their own out of luck.

In the United States of inequality. Bipartisan complicity mandates it. America increasingly a ruler-serf society. Neofeudalism and then some.

Casino capitalism replaced free enterprise. At the expense of fundamental human rights. Ordinary people are swindled. 

Their welfare and futures stolen. Few benefit at the expense of most others. Hardwired injustice defines America. Beautiful for its privileged few alone.

Republicans and Democrats in lockstep. On issues mattering most. Washington's criminal class is bipartisan. Public and private corruption is rampant.

In Obama's first term, America's top 1% got 95% of the gain in household income. Most others got lump of coal harshness. Protracted Main Street Depression conditions.

Getting worse, not better. Around 70 million Americans rely on Medicaid for healthcare. Expiration of the so-called Obamacare mandated "fee bump" means fewer services for enrollees.

For many when most needed. Because amounts paid participating doctors will be nearly cut in half. Many won't accept new Medicaid patients. Some may abandon current ones. 

Increasingly they'll be on their own when ill. Unable to receive a fundamental human right when most needed.

Americans can have whatever they want. Based on the ability to pay. At increasingly higher costs. With stagnant or lower incomes in inflation-adjusted dollars.

America is the United States of I don't care. Serving its privileged class exclusively. At the expense of all others.

Inequality is institutionalized. Families struggle to get by. Human suffering is real. Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, hunger, and despair affect growing millions.

The world's richest country doesn't care. Imperial priorities take precedence. So does redistributing wealth to bankers, other corporate favorites, and super-rich elites.

America was never beautiful. For sure not now. A year ago article said expect 2014 to be bloody. More global death, destruction and human misery.

Merchants of death profit more than ever. Corrupt politicians benefit at the expense of their constituents. 

Polar opposite what Americans deserve. Democrats in lockstep with Republicans. On issues mattering most.

Pro-war. Pro-Wall Street. Pro-business. Pro-privilege. Pro-super-wealth. Anti-dissent. Anti-democracy. 

Anti-civil and human rights. Anti-labor. Anti-environmental sanity. Anti-government of, by, and for everyone equitably and just.

Monied interests alone matter. In 2014, 3.6 million jobless Americans lost extended unemployment benefits. When most needed.

Expect millions more to lose theirs in 2015. On their own unable to find work. Highly touted recovery is fake. 

Main Street Depression conditions persist. Bipartisan indifference makes things worse. Help when most needed is denied.

Obama is a serial liar. His yearend press conference repeated one canard after another. Ludicrously calling 2014 "a breakthrough year for America."

His touted jobs recovery doesn't exist. Numbers are fake. Manipulated to show more than actually created. 

Available jobs are mostly low pay/poor or no benefit part-time or temp ones. The kinds most Americans shunned decades earlier. Two or more needed to get by.

As of December 30, the national debt exceeded $18 trillion. An all-time high. Increasing by $2.4 billion daily.

Paul Craig Roberts call Western economies and Japan's "a house of cards." Their economic policy opposite of what’s needed.

Supporting "over-sized banks, sovereign debt, and the US dollar." While their "economies and the ability of populations to cope have deteriorated."

Obama didn't explain. Instead touted his Affordable Care Act. A healthcare rationing scheme. A boon for insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains. 

Ripping off millions. Leaving many uninsured. Most underinsured. "(A)round the world, America is leading," claimed Obama. Waging war on humanity he left unexplained.

Challenging Russia irresponsibly. Moscow considers US-dominated NATO a major threat. 

Expanding east in violation of international law. Close to its border. Nuclear armed missiles target its heartland.

Three frightening Stop NATO reports should scare everyone. Headlined:

"Kiev: Poroshenko Signs Law Paving Way for NATO Absorption." What Russia made clear it won't tolerate.

"Ukrainian Official: Impose Martial Law, Join NATO." Escalate war on Donbas. Challenge Russia belligerently perhaps.

"Mobilization: Ukraine Junta Prepares For 'Continental War.' " Neo-Nazi national security and defense council head Okeksandr Turchynov intends greater mobilization.

Likely at Washington's behest. Irresponsibly challenging Russia. Risking open confrontation.

Obama's new friends are lunatics. In Europe's heartland. One fascist regime supports another. 

Is the unthinkable possible? Perhaps likely? Will global war erupt in 2015? Will Washington initiate it? 

Will Americans experience homeland war for the first time since mid-19th century civil conflict? Will cities like New York, Chicago, Washington and Los Angeles be destroyed?

Will millions of Americans die? Making the world safe for monied interests. In bunkers until things subside. 

Perhaps a wasteland awaiting them. An irradiated one won't sustain human life.

Washington already wages political and economic war on Russia. With illegal sanctions. Perhaps more to come.

Manipulating oil prices lower. Attacking the ruble. Henry Kissinger once said: "Control oil and you control nations. Control food and you control people."

Maybe Obama intends starving millions of Russians to death. Maybe by irradiating arable land. Making crop yields toxic.

America plans global dominance through two pillars and one commodity: 

  • Unchallenged military power. 

  • The dollar as the world's reserve currency. 

  • Global control of oil and other energy resources. 

Waging permanent wars to achieve imperial aims. Risking mass annihilation. Perhaps humanity's survival. 

America is the real evil empire. Unmatched in human history. An out-of-control killing machine. Unrestrained. Ruthless. Run by lunatics. Stomping on people relentlessly.

One genocide follows others. Winning hearts and minds doesn't matter. Death squad diplomacy eliminates nonbelievers.

At home and abroad. Madness defines US policy. Police state harshness criminalizes right over wrong defenders.

Democracy is America's most dangerous export. Washington tolerates the real thing nowhere. For sure not at home.

Fear-mongering persists. Enemies are invented. Crime bosses make policy. Monied interests own them.

Rule of law principles don't matter. Nor democratic values. Or fundamental human and civil rights. Or societies fit to live in.

Dominance assures capital's divine right. Plunder guarantees obscene profits. Money is used to make more of it. A villainous cycle persists.

Expect more of the same in 2015. Perhaps worse than ever. Continued wars without end. Greater than ever wealth disparity.

A race to the bottom leaving ordinary people increasingly on their own. Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, hunger, homelessness and deprivation worse than ever in America.

Bipartisan complicity assures it. Social safety net protections increasingly eliminated. Freedom disappearing in plain sight.

The American dream is more illusion than reality. George Carlin once said you have to be asleep to believe it.

Expect no change for the better next year. Expect more of the same and then some.

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: 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.


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