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Poroshenko Prepares for More War

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 02:18
Poroshenko Prepares for More War
by Stephen Lendman
Sustainable, durable peace in Donbass is pure fantasy. Obama won't tolerate it. Poroshenko is a convenient US stooge.
His power depends on remembering who's boss. Given his colossal failures to please the power installing him, his days perhaps are numbered.
He admitted Minsk terms won't hold. They won't "be strictly implemented," he said.
In less than so many words he intends more war once his military regroups and rearms from the battering it took.
it suffered one major defeat after another - especially in Devaltseve. He introduced legislation authorizing a 250,000-strength force.
"The size of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in emergencies shall grow by the number of servicemen recruited for military service consistent with the mobilization decrees of the Ukrainian president," he said.
In January, Ukraine's illegitimate defense minister Stepan Poltorak said military budgeting will be 3.6 times greater than last year.
It's when its only enemies are ones it invents at a time it's bankrupt teetering toward economic collapse.
IMF and other Western funding alone maintain short-term solvency. For how long remains to be seen.
Ukraine is a black hole of fascist extremism, extreme repression, out-of-control militantly, scandalous corruption, and rage for more war against its own citizens.
An anti-populist budget passed without parliamentarians given a chance to read it.
It drastically cuts pensions. Retirees will get 15% less. Payments to tax, customs and regulatory body personnel are suspended.
Ukrainians already experience the world's highest hyperinflation at over 270%. Since February 2014, the hryvnia currency lost around 70% of its value perhaps heading toward worthlessness.
Energy prices are skyrocketing. Henceforth, gas for heating will increase 230% to about $132 per 1,000 cubic meters. 
Gas for cooking will skyrocket from $43 to $263 per 1,000 cubic meters. Economic crisis conditions are worsening. 
Devastating austerity was imposed on millions of deeply impoverished Ukrainians to qualify for $17.5 billion in loan-shark-of-last-resort IMF funding.
Despite economic disaster, Poroshenko is preparing for more war. On March 4, RT International headlined "Ukraine replenishes Donbass tank supplies amid ceasefire."
On the one hand, its military continues violating Minsk terms. So far, it refused to withdraw heavy weapons as stipulated. It's repositioning them instead.
It's adding reinforcements. It's preparing for more war. Sporadic shelling continues. Colonel Cassad reports it's targeting Donetsk's airport and "sometimes tries to attack" it.
It perpetuates the myth of a strong military. Reality is a battered one desperately trying to regroup and rearm for more combat. 
Fascist lunatics operate this way - especially with encouragement from Washington.
RT reported Ukraine's state-owned Ukroboronprom defense corporation saying it shipped T64B tanks to the defense ministry and national guard better able to withstand attacks than previous models.
A statement claimed they're "ready to carry out missions in the anti-terrorist operation (AT) zone" - referring to Donbass.
Numbers of tanks supplied aren't known - or payment terms. Ukroboronprom said new ones are equipped with better protective armor. According to a Latvian military source:
"In Ukraine, hulls of T-64 tanks are often severely damaged, with entire pieces of armor plucked out, and you can see that the damage is done along welding seams of the hull, while the rest of the armor plates left out bent." 
"The most obvious explanation to the damages of Ukrainian armored vehicles is the poor quality of manufacturing."
Donbass freedom fighters know ceasefire remains shaky at best. They're ready to repel any future Kiev attacks. Overnight Tuesday, they reported eight Ukrainian military shelling incidents.
On March 4, Sergey Lavrov wasn't encouraging. On the one hand, Kiev Minsk violations continue.
On the other, Lavrov said Contact Group members Russia, the OSCE and Ukraine were "urged to create working groups for reviewing all aspects of the Minsk agreements…as soon as possible."
So far, Kiev hasn't complied. It "refuse(s) the proposals of Donetsk and Luhansk, of the Russian side, to create such groups and announce their composition, trying to drag out the process. It is troubling," said Lavrov.
"There should be no doubt that the documents from February 12 must be implemented fully." 
"This includes immediately establishing working groups, starting work on a constitutional reform, restoring social and economic ties and so on."
Kiev obstructionism shows it wants war, not peace. It's just a matter of time before it resumes - with full US support and encouragement.
Expect Minsk II to accomplish no more than previous Russian initiated conflict resolution efforts.
War and peace decisions are made in Washington, not Moscow. Obama wants Donbass freedom fighters crushed. 
Expect renewed conflict at his discretion. Maybe this time with shock and awe Pentagon support.
In the meantime, Ukraine prepares for more war. It's taking part in ongoing NATO Annual Crisis Management Exercises. 
They're "designed to test (North Atlantic Council) procedures at the strategic political-military level," according to NATO.
"The exercise rehearses decision-making processes using an entirely fictitious scenario" likely to be very real during US-led NATO's next war.
Maybe targeting Donbass. Acting as Kiev's air force. Destroying Novorossia the way Obama ravaged Libya.
Given Washington's rage for permanent wars without end, expect the worst ahead.
Expect more mass slaughter and destruction - perhaps genocide before Washington's Ukraine campaign ends.
Separately, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich blasted US policy, saying:
"We have noticed a remarkable fact. As soon as signs of a peaceful settlement of the severe Ukrainian crisis appear, Washington, that had a hand in last year's coup in Kiev, starts to exacerbate the situation."
"So this time, when the ceasefire regime agreed upon in Minsk on February 12 with assistance of Russian President Vladimir Putin is being implemented, Barack Obama's administration is again issuing threats, announcing extension of the previously imposed sanctions and promising new ones - both against our country and against the DPR and LPR."
"What is this if not an attempt to destroy the tenuous budding of trust between them and Ukrainian authorities, to undermine or even derail the peace process."  
"The same applies to promises of massive American weapons supplies to Ukraine, indulging revanchist plans of Kiev's 'party of war.' "
"We would really appreciate if the United States would finally start thinking about the consequences of its decisions and actions." 
"Moreover, no sanctions will change Russia's principal position. It is high time for Washington to realise it."
According to Russia's ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, Moscow will do whatever is necessary to counter possible threats from Alliance involvement in Ukraine.
Mostly blaming Washington, he said some "NATO countries are adding fuel to the fire of this conflict."
Deploying combat troops masquerading as instructors directly aids Kiev's "party of war" intention to resolve crisis conditions "by military means."
"It runs counter to NATO leadership statements (claiming) Ukrain(e's) crisis has no military solutions," Grushko stressed.
It bears repeating. Ukraine's conflict is far from settled. It'll resume at Obama's discretion. 
Odds favor sometime this spring - perhaps Libya-style war using Kiev ground forces as US shock troops the way Washington uses ISIS in Syria.

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. 

Netanyahu's Ugly Israel

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 22:35
Netanyahu's Ugly Israel
by Stephen Lendman
Israel is a rogue terror state by any standard. No amount of speechmaking changes reality. Fascist lunatics run things. 
They want supreme hegemonic regional control. They want all potential challengers eliminated. 
They're willing to wage genocidal wars to achieve objectives - including use of nuclear, chemical, biological and other banned weapons.
Their Machiavellian extremism threatens world peace and stability. Netanyahu is the tip of the iceberg. Embedded fascist power runs Israel like America.
Netanyahu came to Washington to convince Congress, the US public and his own population about a nonexistent Iranian threat.
He knows Iran threatens no one. Its nuclear program is peaceful. It has no military component. His own Mossad says so. So does US intelligence annually.
Claiming an existential Iranian threat is a ruse - a Big Lie. None exists. Netanyahu is a serial liar. He wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing Iranian sovereign independence. 
He's willing to massacre millions of Iranians to rule the region unchallenged. His madness could launch nuclear war.
At the same time, his goon squads terrorize Palestinians daily. Media scoundrels ignore his worst crimes.
Every day is Kristallnacht in Palestine. So-called Israeli security forces terrorize Palestinians with impunity. So do radicalized settlers with full state support and encouragement.
Gaza remains lawlessly besieged. An Israeli caused humanitarian disaster worsens daily. 
West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinian communities are virtual war zones - subjected to daily terrorizing incursions.
Fear is pervasive. Collective punishment is official Israeli policy. So is institutionalized racism worse than anything experienced in apartheid South Africa.
Peaceful public demonstrations are brutally attacked. Free expression and movement are prohibited.
Population centers are isolated. Borders are closed. Militarized occupation prohibits normal daily life.
Palestinians face rascist discrimination, land theft, bulldozed homes, regular terror attacks, targeted killings, mass arrests, wrongful imprisonments, torture, punitive taxes, impoverishment, indentured servitude, ethnic cleansing and slow-motion genocide.
Palestinians wanting to live free on their own land in their own country are called terrorists. Fishermen are attacked at sea.
So are farmers working their land. Their crops, livestock and orchards are lawlessly destroyed. 
Israeli goon squads shoot Palestinian children for target practice. Fundamental civil and human rights are denied.
Few services are provided. Vital ones are lacking or inadequate. Palestinian lawmakers are imprisoned for belonging to the wrong party. 
Israeli democracy is pure fantasy. None whatever exists. When Israelis vote on March 17, embedded power will emerge victorious.
Business as usual will continue. Nothing fundamental will change. Conditions for Palestinians will remain cruel and unjust.
The whole world knows. Western leaders able to change things sit on their hands and do nothing.
Washington funds Israel's killing machine with billions of dollars annually, the latest weapons and technology, and bipartisan endorsement of its worst crimes.
Before Netanyahu left for Washington, Israel cut off power for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians twice in the dead of winter. 
It warned about further outages if PA officials don't pay millions of dollars in outstanding debt. 
Impossible because Israel won't release around $250 million in tax revenues belonging to Palestine - collective punishment for joining the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Israel punitively opened dams near Gaza's border. Flooding caused hundreds of Palestinians to flee water levels more than three meters deep.
Many others were affected - compounding the humanitarian disaster from Israel's summer war. 
Media scoundrels ignore a catastrophe affecting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on their own with virtually no promised aid delivered.
While Netanyahu ranted to Congress, his goon squads destroyed thousands of acres of wheat, barley and other Bedouin Rakhama village crops.
Tractors protected by killer cops uprooted privately owned Palestinian land. One resident spoke for others saying:
"This is vandalism through which they plan to displace the Bedouins from the Negev so as to create a Jewish state free of Arabs." 
"(M)y message to them is that if you turn over the land a million times, and if you demolish our homes a thousand times we will continue to live on this land and won't allow anybody to take it from us."
Area bedouins were given land to compensate for forced 1954 displacement. Israeli agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on.
Bedouins live in so-called unrecognized villages - without essential services Israel refuses to provide. It wants Arabs displaced for exclusive Jewish development. 
It uses various means to remove them - including declaring privately owned Palestinian land closed military zones.
On Tuesday, radicalized settlers attacked Palestinian MK Hanin Zoabi. She was speaking at Ramat Gan college near Tel Aviv.
Lunatic Israelis attacked her with bottles and milk spilled on her. She sustained moderate injuries.
Reports indicated Israel's extremist right-wing ordered the attack. Without security intervention, she could have been killed.
On March 17, she's running for reelection. On February 18, Israel's High Court overturned a right-wing Knesset ruling disqualifying her from general elections.
She's condemned for participating in the May 2010 Mavi Marmara humanitarian Gaza mission. Israeli fascists call her a traitor for supporting right over wrong.
On March 2, a B'Tselem press release headlined "Incident in which soldiers set dogs on Palestinian youth was part of official policy."
Israeli goon squads routinely use vicious attack dogs against unarmed defenseless Palestinian civilians.
B'Tselem published video evidence "of two soldiers from the IDF dog unit filmed by another soldier after they had set dogs on a Palestinian boy." 
"The footage was first posted on former MK Michael Ben Ari’s Facebook page, but has since been removed from there." 
"The military’s official response read: 'Upon receipt of the footage, the Commander of the Airborne and Special Training Center ordered an immediate internal inquiry into the incident.' " 
" 'Upon completion of this inquiry, conclusions will be drawn and the necessary steps will be taken to prevent such incidents from recurring.' ”
So-called Israeli inquiries are whitewashes by any standard. Expect no change in official Israeli policy.
Superiors up the Israeli chain of command authorize killer attack dog terrorism.
B'Tselem "documented and publicized this incident about two months ago," it said.
Video evidence reveals "standard" IDF practice. Attack dogs are unleashed. They're ordered against Palestinians. They savagely bite into human flesh until handlers order release.
Sometimes dogs maintain killer grips, said B'Tselem. Handlers have to taser them to release victims.
Previous responses to B'Tselem complaints indicate so-called inquiries focus "only on how the dogs were used, and not on whether they should have been used at all," the organization said.
It wants all dog attacks stopped. Its only response gotten in 18 months is that this type unacceptable viciousness "is under review."
Israel continues numerous terror tactics against Palestinians no just society would tolerate. The incident in question occurred on December 23, 2014.
Palestinians threw stones in response to a confrontation Israeli soldiers initiated.
An eyewitness said they unleashed attack dogs on Palestinian youths. One dog savagely bit 16-year-old Hamzeh Abu Hashem.
He required hospitalization. His family said he was arrested, handcuffed, removed from the hospital and taken to Ofer Prison.
B'Tselem said he was sentenced to six months imprisonment. Similar incidents occur often.
Israel uses killer attack dogs as terrorizing weapons against Palestinians for virtually any reason or none at all.
Netanyahu's congressional rant didn't explain. Supportive House and Senate members didn't ask. Or express any outrage against Israeli viciousness.
One rogue state supports another. Millions of innocent victims suffer horrifically. 
Expect the worst ahead as long as criminal gangs run both countries. Their rule by terror threatens everyone.
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. 

EFF to UN: You Need a Privacy Watchdog

eff.org - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 19:19

EFF joined more than sixty civil liberties organizations and public interest groups from across the world yesterday in calling upon the world's governments to support the creation of a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy.

The special rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council and serve in their personal capacities. The establishment of a special rapporteur on the right to privacy is a key step that the United Nations can take to ensure that the right to privacy is given meaning and practical application in the light of technological developments. A special rapporteur would play a critical role in developing common understandings and furthering a considered and substantive interpretation of the right to privacy in a variety of settings.

The right to privacy is one of the few civil and political rights without specialist attention from a United Nations mandate holder. Privacy is an independent right, enshrined in a variety of international human rights treaties. There is a pressing need to better articulate the content of this right as part of international human rights law and produce guides on its interpretation, particularly as modern technologies are enabling communications surveillance—and consequent interference with this right—on an unprecedented and damaging scale.

The coalition letter states:

“The UN General Assembly resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age – adopted by consensus on 18 December 2014 - encourages the [Human Rights Council (HRC)] to consider the possibility of establishing a special procedure on the right to privacy. (...)

The UN General Assembly, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and existing special procedure mandate holders have all recognized the pressing need to provide continuous, systematic and authoritative guidance on the scope and content of the right to privacy as enshrined in article 12 of UDHR and article 17 of ICCPR. Significantly, all of them have identified the need to assess and monitor the ongoing implementation of this right.

The current lack of a dedicated thematic special procedure on the right to privacy hinders the capacity of the HRC to provide leadership in protecting and promoting this right (...). A Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy would fill this significant institutional gap and enable the HRC to take a leading role in identifying and clarifying principles, standards and best practices regarding the promotion and protection of the right to privacy.”

EFF and coalition partners have been calling for the establishment of a special rapporteur on the right to privacy for a while. We'll be keeping you informed on the discussions on the right to privacy being held by the U.N Human Rights Council in its 28th session in Geneva, which ends on March 27th.

Related Issues: InternationalSurveillance and Human RightsPrivacy
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Categories: Aggregated News

Netanyahu's Congressional Rant

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 05:40
Netanyahu’s Congressional Rant
by Stephen Lendman
He last addressed a joint congressional session on May 24, 2011. At the time, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy called it a rant "filled with lies on top of lies and illusions heaped on illusions."
Netanyahu never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to do the wrong thing. He praised Israel's nonexistent democracy.
Critics denounced its business as usual policy. Its brutalizing occupation harshness. Wars against defenseless civilians at its discretion. Subjugating millions of Arabs ruthlessly for not being Jews.
A previous article explained why Netanyahu chose now to address Congress - a combination of political campaigning ahead of March 17 Israeli elections and a deliberate effort to sabotage Iranian P5+1 talks.
One thing alone is sure. He did more to damage relations with America than any previous Israeli leader. Neocons in Washington supporting him compound it.
Paul Craig Roberts noted a disturbing Andy Borowitz New Yorker article. He headlined "Boehner Calls Netanyahu Closest Ally in Fight Against Obama."
It reflects the lunacy gripping Washington perhaps one day heading toward destroying us. So does a second right-wing National Review article Roberts spotted titled "Netanyahu, Not Obama, Speaks for Us."
Thankfully levelheadedness still exists. A New York Times ad headlined "No, Mr. Netanyahu - You do not speak for American Jews."
"The American People Do Not Want a War with Iran." Noted American Jews and others signed it. 
Millions of Americans would have if given a chance. Likely billions of people worldwide - including most Israelis.
Netanyahu, like-minded Israelis, and lunatics in Washington may risk all on nuclear war. Humanity's greatest challenge is stopping them before their megalomania kills everyone.
Netanyahu's congressional address continued where his AIPAC rant left off. He lied claiming Israel defended itself from Hamas rockets last summer.
It launched cold, calculated, well-planned naked aggression against a largely civilian Gazan population. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets.
It had everything to do with preventing Palestinian self-determination and unity as well as maintaing brutalizing militarized occupation harshness.
Netanyahu repeated tired old Big Lies as expected. He segued from one to another. His own Mossad explains a nonexistent iranian threat he hypes ad nauseam.
Claiming a modern-day "Persian potentate" threatens Israel's survival is polar opposite truth. No legitimate evidence corroborates his Big Lie. 
Nothing suggests Iran threatens anyone. Plenty proves a US/Israeli/UK alliance menaces humanity - the real axis of evil.
Iran and other peace-loving nations oppose their rage for war - one after another against fictitious enemies to satiate their maniacal craze for unchallenged dominance.
Don't expect Netanyahu to explain. He absurdly compared Iran to Nazi Germany saying its "regime" is not merely a Jewish problem any more than" Nazis were one.
It "poses a grave threat (to) the entire world." It's hard imagining anyone believing these reckless Big Lies demanding denunciation.
Most congressional members applaud it. Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous. Fascist ideologues control things. 
They threaten regional peace and stability. Perhaps humanity if their rogue agenda isn't stopped.
Netanyahu turned truth on its head claiming Israel and America support "life, liberty" and other fundamental freedoms.
At the same time, he lied saying Iran's founding document "pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad." 
He recklessly blamed Tehran for US/Israeli regional crimes. He viciously and irresponsibly claimed its "goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights (stolen from Syria) are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror."
He lied saying "(b)acked by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians."
Fact: Israel partners with Obama's proxy war on Syria.
Fact: He wants an Israeli rival removed.
Fact: He wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing sovereign Syrian independence.
Fact: He uses Pentagon/CIA recruited, armed, funded, trained and directed iSIS fighters as proxy US foot soldiers.
Fact: They're cold-blooded cutthroat terrorists.
Fact: Israel treats their wounded so they can go back and kill more Syrians. It provides arms and other support.
Despite no corroborating evidence whatever, Netanyahu ludicrously claimed "for the last 36 years, Iran (conducted) attacks against the United States."
If true, war between both countries would have erupted years ago. Even jaded congressional members know Netanyahu's claim about Iran "killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan" is pure rubbish.
Yet they dutifully applauded instead of demanding he leave their chamber and never return. No regional country is responsible for more mass slaughter, destruction and state terror than Israel.
The entire Congress knows what not a single profile in courage among 535 members will admit.
Netanyahu's Big Lie urging congressional members to "stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror" was followed by rousing applause.
"Iran's regime is as radical as ever," Netanyahu ranted. It "will always be an enemy of America."
He disgracefully compared its government to ISIS - saying they're "competing for the crown of militant islam."
He cut to the chase lying about it "soon (to) be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs."
He ignored Israel's nuclear arsenal and long-range delivery capability it threatens to use at its discretion.
"I'll say it one more time," he ranted. "The greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of (Iranian) militant Islam with nuclear weapons."
Fact: Humanity's greatest threat is a US/UK/Israeli axis of evil threatening everyone with mass destruction.
Fact: Iran's commitment for world peace and stability goes unheralded.
Netanyahu finds new ways to lie about its peaceful nuclear program. He shamelessly says successful P5+1 talks "will not prevent (it) from developing nuclear weapons."
They'll "all but guarantee that (it) gets those weapons, lots of them" - despite ample evidence showing its nuclear program is entirely peaceful with no military component.
How does Netanyahu know he's right and sophisticated US and Israeli intelligence are wrong? "You can Google it," he claims.
You can't make this stuff up. According to him, Googling will reveal top secret information spy sleuths don't know.
How he spews these lies with a straight face he'll have to explain. He claimed any deal with Iran will leave its "vast nuclear infrastructure" in place.
It's no different from dozens of other countries operating nuclear reactors for commerial power. Iran conforms fully with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty provisions. 
Israel refuses to sign the benchmark treaty. It wants its open secret left unexamined. It ludicrously claims any deal leaves Iran "with a short break-out time to the bomb."
No evidence whatever substantiates it - or other Netanyahu Big Lies about Iran's legitimate nuclear program.
"According to the deal (being discussed), not a single nuclear facility would be demolished," he ranted. 
"Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed."
"Because Iran's nuclear program would be left largely intact, (its) break-out time would be very short - about a year by US assessment, even shorter by Israel's."
In 2012, Netanyahu claimed Iran would have a nuclear weapon in 3 to 6 months. Nothing he says holds water. Malicious Big Lies substitute for honest hard truths. 
His longstanding anti-Iranian position reflects his desire for unchallenged regional hegemony. Achieving it requires eliminating all rivals - principally Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah.
Claiming a fabricated Iranian nuclear threat is red-herring cover for wanting their governments replaced by pro-Western stooge ones.
The entire Congress knows Netanyahu's dirty game - the same one they play in America's pursuit for unchallenged global dominance.
It bears repeating what other articles stressed. Either we stop these lunatics or they'll kill everyone. Their hegemonic madness may end life on earth.
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 CIA-Controlled Neocon Washington Post

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 02:05
The CIA-Controlled Neocon Washington Post
by Stephen Lendman
America's MSM mock legitimate journalism. State propaganda Big Lies substitute for real news, information and analysis on issues mattering most.
The Washington Post ranks with the worst. Its editorial policy long ago fell from grace. It openly fronts for wealth, power and privilege.
Extreme hawkishness defines its agenda. Neocons control editorial policy. Owner Jeff Bezos has CIA ties. He's bought, paid for and owned by dark forces ruling America.
He got a $600 million CIA contract for much more than Amazon Web Services (AWA). He proliferates information dark forces in America want published.
He has a disturbing history currying favor with national security officials. WaPo should explain his CIA connection. Readers should know its editorial policy reflects its war on humanity agenda.
WaPo is a virtual CIA house organ. Earlier, Communications Professor/journalism scholar/media critic Robert McChesney commented, saying: 
"When the main shareholder in one of the very largest corporations in the world benefits from a massive contract with the CIA on the one hand, and that same billionaire owns the Washington Post on the other hand, there are serious problems." 
"The Post is unquestionably the political paper of record in the United States, and how it covers governance sets the agenda for the balance of the news media." 
"Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself."
"If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation - say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government - the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press."
Paul Pillar is a former top CIA analyst. On February 8, he headlined his Consortium News article "WPost Lost in Neocon Fantasyland."
Saying, in effect, its editorial policy supports endless wars of aggression against nonexistent enemies. 
Its Watergate-type exposes no longer exist. It's in bed with dark forces it should confront with forceful editorial truth and full disclosure.
It's on the wrong side of virtually every issue harming millions in America and worldwide. It proliferates pure propaganda, not journalism.
WaPo editors are part of the anti-Putin chorus. They consistently blame him for US/Kiev high crimes. 
They consider Illegitimate Ukrainian Nazis democrats. They call courageous Donbass freedom fighters terrorists.
They ignore Putin's all-out efforts for peaceful conflict resolution. They come perilously close to urging US war on Russia.
They're mindless about a potentially humanity destroying conflict if lunatics in Washington launch it.
Their reporting on Boris Nemtsov's murder reads like bad fiction. They ludicrously portray him as Churchillian.
He was a political nobody. Previous articles explained. His RPR-PARNAS party has less than 5% support. He enjoyed around 1% at most.
Polls show over 85% of Russians back Putin - more than double Obama's support in America.
A Sunday planned spring commemoration became a Nemtsov memorial march - a one-day Moscow event of no significance attracting around 21,000 participants at its height.
Most came simply to show respect - not support for a man the vast majority of Russians disliked.
Previous articles explained he was a US-funded Putin-bashing self-serving opportunist - polar opposite what the vast majority of Russians want and deserve.
The typical type scoundrel Washington likes installing in governments it topples as a convenient stooge serving US interests and their own at the expense of their own people they betray.
WaPo editors turned truth on its head claiming "(t)housands def(ied) Putin in Moscow." They look for any reason to bash him. 
They lied claiming "Russians know all too well the possible consequences of joining protest rallies in Moscow."
Police don't "regularly attack and beat peaceful demonstrators" as WaPo editors claimed.
It's common practice in America and other Western countries. Police in cahoots with Washington viciously attacked Occupy Wall Street protesters earlier in cities nationwide.
Club-wielding/head bashing cops attacked anti-war and global justice demonstrators earlier. Anyone challenging US injustice risks facing full-force state ruthlessness - including prison time, torture or death.
Don't expect WaPo editors to explain. Instead they lied claiming "tens of thousands showed up" in Moscow Sunday for Nemtsov.
It bears repeating. Estimates were about 21,000 at most. Claiming they "def(ied) fear that pervades Vladimir Putin's Moscow" is polar opposite truth.
Saying Sunday's turnout showed "many Russians, like Mr. Nemtsov himself, did not give up the cause of democracy and human rights" reveals more about WaPo-style neocon "fantasyland."
So does hyping nonexistent Putin "imperialism and repression." Citing a "democratic West," in contrast, is pure fantasy.
WaPo editors make garden-variety big liars look benign in comparison. 
"(M)any Western leaders remain in a state of denial about Mr. Putin or still hesitate to take measures that might stop his aggression," they ranted.
No Russian aggression exists now or earlier. None is planned. No evidence suggests it. Putin shames Western leaders. 
They support Washington's permanent war agenda. They're comfortable with US-dominated unipolarity.
Putin deplores war. He supports multi-world polarity, peace and stability.
WaPo editors urge more sanctions on Russia. They want Kiev supplied with more heavy weapons than already. They want war, not peace.
They lied about phantom Russian forces in Ukraine. No one can find them because they don't exist.
Since both sides agreed on February 12 Minsk ceasefire terms, Kiev continues to violate them. Rebels respond only if attacked.
WaPo editors maliciously accused "Russian forces" of breaching Minsk. They practically compared Putin to Hitler.
They outrageously claim he intends "to forcibly overturn the post-Cold War order in Europe."
On the one hand, they said "(i)t's not known who murdered Mr. Nemtsov…" On the other, they claim "it probably won't be (known) as long as Mr. Putin remains in power."
They ludicrously said Sunday marchers "placed responsibility where it must lie."
A previous article said it's inconceivable to think Putin wanted Nemtsov killed. Few Russians think so. Clear signs suggest a CIA false flag!
The article quoted Washington's ambassador to Russia John Tefft practically admitting Nemtsov was more valuable to America dead than alive. It said draw your own conclusion.
It bears repeating. WaPo editors want war, not peace. They're heading perilously close to urging direct confrontation with Russia. 
They part of the lunatic fringe in America's capital. The danger to humanity is they may get the war they crave.
A Final Comment
Readers expect more from Financial Times commentaries than Gideon Rachman's March 2 anti-Putin rant. He headlined "Vladimir Putin's survival strategy is lies and violence."
Ad hominem maliciousness substituted for facts and legitimate analysis. Rachman lied saying Putin "stirs nationalist paranoia that makes Nemtsov's killing permissible."
He outrageously blamed him for the crime saying "(w)hen a government starts murdering its critics in the streets, it has crossed the line into barbarism."
Lay blame where it belongs. America's CIA and Israel's Mossad have longstanding records of eliminating figures opposing their governments' imperial policies the old-fashioned way - by a bullet, bomb, slit throat or convenient well-planned accident.
Don't expect MSM writers to explain. Rachman disgracefully compared today's Russia to Soviet years under Stalin and Nazi Germany.
He sounded like WaPo editors saying "(u)nleashing vioience and then lying about it has become standard operating procedure for Mr. Putin's Kremlin - from eastern Ukraine to the streets of Moscow."
Anyone making minimal efforts to understand what's ongoing knows Washington, Israel, Britain and rogue NATO partners bear full responsibility for most global violence, instability and cold-blooded killings like Nemtsov's murder.
Blaming Putin for their crimes doesn't wash. Willful lying on issues this serious shows Rachman is no different from neocon US journalists - paid propagandists by any standard.
His article included a litany of Big Lies - whoppers shaming FT editors for publishing it. Making them look like their Murdoch-controlled Wall Street Journal counterparts.
They owe their readers an apology for printing rubbish they should have rejected straightaway.
Start by replacing Rachman. Follow up with an editorial retracting his Big Lies. 
Join others in working for world peace and stability. Help save humanity from the scourge of possible nuclear war.
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. 

Netanyahu at AIPAC

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 20:58
Netanyahu at AIPAC
by Stephen Lendman
His Monday bluster was a warmup for what honest observers call the most outrageous address ever by a foreign official to a joint congressional session - scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 at 11:00AM EST.
Netanyahu spurned protocol. He circumvented administration control over who gets invited to address Congress. 
He's persona non grata at the White House. No welcome mat greeted him on arrival. Obama refused to see him. 
Nearly five dozen House and Senate members intend boycotting his address - showing unprecedented disapproval of a foreign leader visiting Washington.
Voters should demand others explain why they intend showing up to support a cold-blooded racist mass-murderer serial liar.
On the one hand, his address is a thinly veiled campaign stunt two weeks ahead of March 17 Israeli elections.
On the other, It's an anti-Iranian fear-mongering effort - intended to sabotage ongoing P5+1 talks. 
It represents an unprecedented affront to US presidential authority - besides willfully lying about a Tehran nuclear weapons program his own intelligence agency (Mossad) says doesn't exist.
Annual US intelligence assessments say the same thing. Hard truths don't matter. Any excuse to bash Iran will do. Big Lies substitute for cold, hard facts.
Netanyahu's AIPAC speech was beginning-to-end demagogic boilerplate - full of bluster, megalomaniacal ranting, pompousness,  and Big Lies.
"Israel never forgets its friends," he said. He then recited a list of individuals complicit with Israeli crimes.
He insulted Palestinians and freedom fighters everywhere calling Jerusalem Israel's "eternal undivided capital."
False! It's a UN established international city. The vast majority of countries with embassies in Israel refuse to locate them there - including America.
Netanyahu avoided explaining what he'll tell Congress on Tuesday. It's no secret. He'll lie about a nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons program.
He absurdly called Iran an existential threat. It hasn't attacked another country in centuries. It has no intention of doing so now.
None of its neighbors feel threatened. Tehran seeks cooperative relations with all states.
Netanyahu gives chutzpah new meaning. Despite deliberately circumventing US presidential protocol, he ludicrously claimed his speech isn't intended to show disrespect.
Or inject himself "into the American partisan debate." In 2012, he openly supported Romney. It's no secret he and Obama dislike each other.
How anyone can stand either of them they'll have to explain. They're both serial liars and war criminals multiple times over.
Israel's attorney general is investigating Netanyahu for alleged criminal use of state funds. Possible prosecution and imprisonment could follow.
He thanked Washington for "back(ing) Israel in defending itself at war and in our efforts to achieve a durable peace with our neighbors."
He ludicrously said "a potential deal with Iran could threaten the survival of Israel." He repeated the Big Lie about "Iran (being) the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world."
He turned truth on its head claiming "Iran vows to annihilate Israel."
Fact: Israel deplores peace. It thrives on wars and instability it creates.
Fact: Its only enemies are ones it invents.
Fact: It wages perpetual war against defenseless Palestinian civilians. 
Fact It terrorizes them ruthlessly.
Fact: It incarcerates 1.8 million Gazans in the world's largest open-air prison. 
Fact: Last summer it terror-bombed large parts of the Strip to rubble. it murdered or maimed thousands of its people.
Fact: Israel and Washington partner in each other's wars.
Fact: They're cold, calculated acts of premeditated aggression.
Fact: Washington provides Israel with generous funding, weapons, munitions and full support.
Netanyahu's serial lying wore thin long ago. It bears repeating. Iran threatens no one. Its nuclear program is peaceful. It has no military component. No evidence proves otherwise.
Anyone paying attention knows Netanyahu's claims are deliberate acts of deception - Big Lies to influence Congress, the US public and his own constituents about a nonexistent Iranian threat.
"Israel lives in the world's most dangerous neighborhood," he claims. Israel and Washington bear full responsibility for violence and instability throughout the region. Both countries threaten world peace.
Common values they share aren't "liberty, equality, justice, tolerance (and) compassion," as Netanyahu claims.
They're polar opposite aims to conquer, dominate and exploit - benefitting rich and powerful interests at the expense of all others.
No two countries in world history threaten humanity's survival more. None more reflect pure evil - a scourge vital to stop before it destroys everyone in its maniacial aim for world dominance.
On Monday, the White House and State Department warned Netanyahu against revealing sensitive details he apparently knows about P5+1 talks.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest said doing so would constitute a "betrayal" of US trust.
John Kerry said "(w)e are concerned by reports that suggest selected details of the ongoing negotiations will be discussed publicly in the coming days." 
"I want to say clearly, doing so would make it more difficult to reach the goal that Israel and others say they share in order to get a good deal."
Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Obama officials gave Israel detailed classified information. 
She explained Kerry's remarks were directed at Netanyahu. Revealing information given Israel in confidence would be more of an affront than already.
In recent weeks, US officials largely ceased keeping their Israeli counterparts informed on P5+1 talks - because of concern about Netanyahu leaking information or revealing it publicly before Congress.
On Monday, Israel's Channel 10 said Washington halted all intelligence cooperation with Israel pertaining to Iran's nuclear program.
Days before his congressional address, a blistering Haaretz editorial accused Netanyahu of "wrecking Israel's ties with" Washington.
It said his actions "gravely impair" what's called a special relationship. "(D)ue primarily to electoral considerations, (he's) determined to act like a wrecking ball," it stressed.
He "insist(s) on damaging Israel's most important relationship. (He's) embarrassing Barack Obama in his home court."
He'll challenge him openly "on Capitol Hill and urge (his opponents) to (sabotage) his diplomacy with Iran, just so that he can portray himself as the 'savior of the nation' back home and please his (paymaster) American billionaire Sheldon Adelson…"
Haaretz editors called him an irresponsible leader. His congressional address is meant to be a deliberate "frontal confrontation with the US president," they said.
On the one hand, his actions will have no effect on US policy, Haaretz editors maintain. On the other, they're destroying the fabric of a longstanding relationship.
His "flawed judgment" shows he's unfit to serve. Haaretz editors urged Israelis to replace him. Adding one of a new prime minister's "first tasks will be to fix what Netanyahu has destroyed."
It'll take more than a rogue prime minister to undo decades of US/Israeli partnership in high crimes against peace.
Leaders come and go. An ugly alliance of pure evil persists. A rising tide of resistance needs to confront it. Humanity's fate hangs in the balance.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: 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. 

In Response to EFF Lawsuit, Government Scheduled to Release More Secret Court Opinions on NSA Surveillance

eff.org - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:41

UPDATE: Late tonight, the government released to EFF the "Raw Take" opinion and the 2008 FAA opinion, described below. Those opinions are available here (pdf) and here (pdf). We are reviewing the documents and will post our analysis, along with other documents released by the government, shortly.

Later today, the government is scheduled to release two landmark opinions on NSA spying issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The documents are being released as a result of FOIA lawsuit filed by EFF last year, seeking disclosure of many of the surveillance court's still-secret, yet significant, opinions.

As we wrote in January, the two opinions we are expecting the government to disclose today are:

First, the so-called "Raw Take" order from 2002. The existence of this opinion was first disclosed in a New York Times article based, in part, off the Snowden disclosures. As the Times described the opinion, it "appears to have been the first substantial demonstration of the court’s willingness after Sept. 11 to reinterpret the law to expand government powers." The order, apparently, "weakened restrictions on sharing private information about Americans, according to documents and interviews." Beyond what has been reported in the Times article, not much more is known about the opinion.

The second opinion that remains secret is a 2008 FISC opinion concerning the legality and constitutionality of surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). This opinion, described as the "Rosetta Stone" of FAA surveillance by those familiar with it, purportedly represents the FISC’s full assessment of the range of legal issues presented by NSA surveillance under Section 702 of the FAA—a provision of law authorizing the government to conduct warrantless surveillance within the United States of overseas targets. Importantly, the opinion likely discusses the constitutionality of the NSA’s upstream surveillance operations—currently, the only federal court decision on this topic. Despite this opinion's centrality to understanding FAA surveillance, it has remained secret for nearly 7 years.

Of course, it's possible the government will again refuse to release these significant opinions to the public. We expected the government to release at least one of the opinions to us in January after a federal court ordered them to release the documents in stages. However, the interim deadline came and went, and the government failed to release either opinion. Today is the final deadline given by the court.

The past two years—through a combination of leaks, FOIA requests and lawsuits, and discretionary government releases—have resulted in an unprecedented level of transparency around the NSA's domestic surveillance programs. Of course, far too much remains secret, but disclosure of these two opinions would continue a positive trend toward transparency and greater public oversight of the NSA's domestic surveillance operations. But, if the government fails to release the opinions today, it will signal a full reversion back to the unnecessary and unjustifiable secrecy claims that dominated the public discussion prior to June 2013.

Nothing but a full and clear release of these opinions will suffice, and EFF will fight in court to ensure the public is given access to what it deserves: how and in what way the government has interpreted federal surveillance law and the Constitution.

We'll update this post later in the day with any documents we receive.

Files:  raw_take_order_july_22_2002.pdf fisc_opinion_and_order_september_4_2008.pdfRelated Issues: TransparencyRelated Cases: FISC Orders on Illegal Government Surveillance
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You Can't Block Apps on the Free and Open Brazilian Internet

eff.org - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:01

Brazil's Marco Civil law contains vigorous language intended to protect free expression, and a stable, secure and neutral network in Brazil. But as we have noted before, such laws must be interpreted and enforced appropriately to be effective. A good Internet law can quickly turn bad if incorrectly or improperly applied.

Last week, a Brazilian municipal judge sought to wield one part of the Marco Civil—its section on mandatory data retention—in a way we think undermines the rest of the law. Judge Luiz de Moura Correia of the Brazilian state of Piauí ordered Brazilian Internet and mobile connectivity providers to block access to the WhatsApp mobile-messaging application within 24 hours. The judge told journalists the injunction was intended to “compel the company that owns the app to assist with investigations by the state police.”

Correia's decision would have affected millions of innocent Brazilians who rely on WhatsApp as a messaging service. It would have served as a disturbing indication that in the pursuit of one aim of the Marco Civil, the courts can trample over the freedom of users to communicate online, and the freedom of the Net and the tools used to access it to remain uncensored.

Brazilian local courts have had a long history of issuing such broad and disruptive injunctions in their attempts to force Internet intermediaries to comply with state investigations or orders. Two examples have become especially well-known. In 2007, after YouTube failed to take down a clip of Brazilian supermodel Daniela Cicarelli, a São Paulo state court issued an order that led to the entire YouTube service being blocked by Brasil Telecom. In 2012, a Judge in Mato Grosso do Sul ordered a 24-hour suspension of Google and an arrest order for the head of Google Brasil after the company failed to remove videos critical of a mayoral candidate.

It was in this earlier atmosphere of random and disruptive court orders that the Marco Civil was born: an attempt to create a general and consistent set of principles under which the Brazilian Internet would be governed. The Marco Civil goes to great lengths to establish that Brazilian law should treat the Internet as a force for free expression, with the stability of the network and the protection of privacy as key "disciplines" of the new law.

Unfortunately, Judge Correia used the most freedom-unfriendly parts of the new law as the justification for his order. The Marco Civil includes a series of punishments that can be ordered against companies that do not comply with various regulations, including warnings, fines, service suspension and outright prohibition. Judge Correia's order selected the most severe of these sanctions, and interpreted it as authorizing censorship orders to ISPs.

The injunction against WhatsApp was halted on Thursday by an appeals court, the Piauí Court of Justice, which determined that the injunction was unreasonable because of the disproportionate effect of a suspension of service would have thousands of Brazilians unconnected with the local investigation.

As Paulo Rená, director of IBIDEM, activist and former manager of the Marco Civil consultation process, told EFF:

The measure itself lacks explicit or implicit support within the principles granted by the law, which ensures the social purpose of the Internet, the citizenship in digital media, the preservation of stability, security and network functionality, and the collective interest.

Legal experts Ronaldo Lemos and Celina Beatriz, both of the Insituto de Tecnologia e Sociedad do Rio (ITS Rio), also questioned the propriety of ordering ISPs to shut down access to a service, telling Brazilian press that the blocking of the service was not a remedy authorized by the law.

Moreover, Brazil has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Inter-American convention on human rights, which both protect free expression, and it can only be limited in very narrow cases and when necessary and proportionate.

Judges and lawmakers around the world continue to reach for censorship and mandatory blocking to enforce local law on a global Internet. It's a clumsy, disproportionate response that sacrifices the rights of millions and the promise of an uncensored Internet to exact the narrowest of concessions. Overturning the order sends the right signal about the Internet's future; but the fact that such injunctions can still be made in the first place, and users faced with censorship of foreign apps and services, even in the home of the Marco Civil, shows how far we have to go.

Related Issues: Free SpeechContent BlockingInternational
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Digital Rights Supporters Pave the Way for an Ambitious 2015

eff.org - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 10:33

We would like to extend our deepest thanks to those who responded to EFF’s call for end-of-year donations in December. Gifts from individuals strengthen our ability to bring a relentless passion for the public interest into everything we do, from challenging the NSA’s mass surveillance, to stopping patent trolls, to finding a path for real net neutrality, and more. Last year’s Power Up Your Donation campaign and the Last Call donation challenge were led by people who wanted to convince others to affirm a dedication to privacy, free expression, and other essential values. After many thousands of individual gifts and stirring gestures of encouragement, the sentiment from our community is clear—let’s keep up the fight and be ambitious.

2015 marks EFF’s 25th year of fighting for digital civil liberties—a milestone that comes as the whole community bears down on a proliferation of definitive challenges—stopping unchecked surveillance, regaining control of our computing devices, and bolstering commonsense computer security, just to name a few. EFF has undertaken deliberate growth in the last few years, bringing in more firepower for our legal challenges, more essential know-how for privacy-enhancing technology, and more capacity to collaborate in defense of our rights.

With your support, we’ve been able to think big for our objectives this year. We’re setting our sights on fixing Executive Order 12333, the secretive order purporting to justify large swathes of the NSA’s mass spying. We’ve kicked off a mission to eradicate DRM in our lifetimes, developing challenges to the infamous, innovation-killing provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). We're uncovering important details about law enforcement’s heedless rush to adopt surveillance technologies. And we’re persisting in our legal challenges to NSA spying and national security letters, work to encrypt the web, and putting an end to patent trolls.

Thank you for standing with us and setting the stage for another dynamic year. EFF's deeply held pledge to defend freedom in a digital world would be merely a promise without your dedication to a better future.


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Are Your Devices Hardwired For Betrayal?

eff.org - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 07:48

It's an interesting time to be a computer security researcher. Last week, Kaspersky Lab released a report about a new family of malware from an entity they called "The Equation Group". The report demonstrated for the first time that firmware-based attacks, previously only demonstrated in lab settings, have been used in the wild by malware authors. This should serve as a wake up call to security professionals and the hardware industry in general: firmware-based attacks are real and their numbers will only increase. If we don't address this issue now, we risk facing disastrous consequences.

What is Firmware?

Most pieces of hardware on a modern computer are complex enough that they need their own tiny computers in order to operate. Devices such as your hard disk, network card, BIOS, keyboard, USB drives, and video cards all have their own microprocessor, memory, and software—separate from the CPU, RAM, and other components that make up your actual computer. This lower-level software and operating system is called "firmware".

Firmware is not just limited to your computer either. There is firmware in most electronic devices that we use: cellphones, car components, printers, digital cameras, TVs, routers, etc., all contain firmware. Some firmware runs in a privileged position in your system, even though you may not be aware of its existence. For example, the firmware on your video card or monitor can read the pixels on your screen, your hard drive can read any files you write (and write its own files), and your network card can listen to all of your network traffic.

In the Equation Group report, Kaspersky described a class of malware that could replace the firmware of almost any hard drive with a malicious copy, allowing it to read and write files on the drive and re-exploit the system, even if the hard drive were formatted. This is an impressive attack—but this type of attack is not just limited to computer hard drives. Any of the above mentioned devices could have their firmware compromised, and the results would be devastating.

What is the Problem?

Firmware is not inherently a bad thing—it is needed to operate the advanced hardware that comprises today's computing environment. The problem with firmware is that it is often extremely opaque. Most hardware manufacturers do not release the source code for their firmware. In fact, manufacturers will even take steps to try to prevent the reverse engineering of their firmware. Additionally, there is no way for your computer to "see" into the firmware installed on its peripheral components—i.e., there is no way to tell if your firmware is the original firmware that came with the device or if it has been replaced—so there is no way to tell if it is acting maliciously. 

Firmware-based malware is still a relatively unexplored field compared to other types of malware. A few different attacks [.pdf] have been demonstrated in lab settings, but so far these attacks have rarely been seen in the wild. Thanks to the Kaspersky report and various Snowden leaks, we now know that the NSA has developed malware that can infect hard drive firmware and potentially even infect the BIOS.1 Firmware-based attacks will only become more of a threat to computer security as they are adopted by other intelligence agencies, not to mention criminals.

Firmware-based attacks can be especially attractive to malware authors, partially because they can be so devastating. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Firmware based malware is hard to detect. A computer has no way to inspect the firmware running on its devices. 
  2. Firmware based malware is hard to remove. Even a complete reformatting of the hard drive will not get rid of the firmware because the device is infected at a hardware level.
  3. Most firmware has never had a public security audit and is closed source. This makes firmware a rich source of potential security bugs and zero-days.
  4. Many devices never have their firmware updated, so potential exploits or installed malware may stick around for a long time.

We are thus faced with one of the most pernicious computer security problems we have ever seen. Our hardware devices could be riddled with malware, and we have no way of knowing. We have no way to assure ourselves that we have control over the machines that we use every day of our lives. The very foundation of our technology is rotten and full of termites. The problem of firmware-based malware must be addressed immediately.

How Do We Fix It?

Hardware manufacturers must take steps to address this problem before more firmware disasters come to pass. In the past, hardware manufacturers have been more worried about physical and side-channel attacks. Manufacturers therefore focused mainly on making their hardware and firmware opaque and tamper-proof in hopes that, if no one could reverse engineer the firmware, then no one would be able to attack it. Unfortunately this defense has proven ineffective. This should serve as a stark reminder of the old adage: "Security through obscurity is no security at all." We need to take back transparency and verifiability in our hardware.

Although this is a daunting problem, it is solvable. To avert this disaster there are three things that must happen right away:

  1. Firmware must be properly audited. Hardware manufacturers need to hire security professionals to audit their firmware and publish the results. Preferably, hardware companies should hire full time security staff to make sure that their code is audited before it ever gets installed. Hardware manufacturers could also release the source code for their device's firmware, allowing independent security researchers and laypersons to review the code as well—and perhaps even improve it. People have a right to inspect the code that is running on their computers.
  2. Firmware updates must be signed. Firmware updates should be signed by the manufacturers so that we can be sure we are installing trusted code when we upgrade our firmware. Additionally, manufacturers should ensure that there is an easy mechanism for the average user to check the signature and upgrade their firmware. Ideally users would not have to rely on the broken certificate authority system to verify these signatures.
  3. We need a mechanism for verifying the integrity of installed firmware. Of course, even if we have signed updates to firmware, some piece of malware could reprogram the firmware already on the device and have a good long life, before it eventually gets updated (if ever). Because of this, we need a way to verify the code on our hardware devices at boot time or run time in a way that can't be subverted by malicious firmware already on the device. 2

None of these things are inherently difficult from a technological standpoint. The hard problems to overcome will be inertia, complacency, politics, incentives, and costs on the part of the hardware companies. 

We have given up control of our computing. We are trusting too many different devices—devices we have no reason to trust given that they could be compromised without our knowledge. The time has come to take back control of our computing devices and our security. We must put pressure on hardware companies to ensure that their products are trustworthy, even (and especially) after they leave the factory floor. We must act now to ensure a future where the foundation of computing is secure.

  • 1. The BIOS, or Basic Input/Output System, is the program that runs when you first turn on your computer. It is responsible for detecting hardware, initializing subsystems, and starting your boot loader, which then loads your operating system.
  • 2. While this is a tricky problem to solve, there are a few potential ways to do it. One such way would be to use a local attestation mechanism similar to the kind used in a TPM.
Related Issues: SecurityState-Sponsored Malware
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Floridians, Help Us Stop Your State From Outlawing Anonymous Websites

eff.org - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 06:39

Floridians, we need your help to stop a dangerous anti-anonymity bill. This week, the Florida state legislature is considering a bill that would make it illegal to run any website or service anonymously, if the site fits a vague category of “disseminat[ing]” “commercial” recordings or videos—even the site owner’s own work. Outlawing anonymous speech raises a serious First Amendment problem, and laws like this one have been abused by police and the entertainment industry.

The bill, which is moving through Florida House and Senate committees this week, requires anyone who operates a website or Internet service to “disclose his or her true and correct name, physical address, and telephone number or e-mail address.” It would apply to any website or service “dealing in substantial part in the electronic dissemination of commercial recordings or audiovisual works, directly or indirectly,” to Florida consumers.

A great many websites could be de-anonymized by this statute, whether they are hosted in Florida or not. The bill defines a “commercial recording or audiovisual work” as anything an “owner … agent, or licensee has disseminated or intends to disseminate.” That covers a potentially vast number of people. Any of them could apply for a court order forcing a website owner (or potentially their ISP) to reveal their name and address.

Worse yet, the bill could be used to unmask anonymous bloggers, vidders, or musicians who primarily put their own work online if even one recording or video belonging to someone else appears on their site - or perhaps even a link to someone else’s work.

Similar “true name and address” laws in other states have been used to justify police raids on music studios. In 2007, a Georgia police SWAT team (with RIAA employees in tow) raided the studio of DJ Drama and DJ Cannon, makers of influential “mixtapes” that record labels used to promote their artists. The police arrested the DJs and confiscated their CDs and equipment. Their justification wasn’t copyright law (which is a federal law) but a more limited version of the same law Florida is considering, one that applies only to physical goods. If Florida expands on Georgia’s law by including websites, we could see similar police raids against music blogs or other avenues of online speech. And the works on the site might even be in the public domain, as long as some “owner, assignee, authorized agent, or licensee”—perhaps a broadcaster—complains.

The bill does have a few mitigating features. It excludes service providers hosting or transmitting third-party content, as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act requires. And the bill doesn't apply if the material on a website is “excerpt[s] consisting of less than substantially all of a recording or audiovisual work”—a small and incomplete nod to fair use.

Still, the bill raises big constitutional problems. The ability to speak anonymously is an important free speech right. Forcing website owners to identify themselves violates the First Amendment when laws like this one are vague about which sites must comply. Even a site that a court decides is “likely to violate” the statute could be de-anonymized.

In addition, using state law to regulate the contents of websites creates constitutional problems because the Internet is borderless. This bill could easily apply to sites hosted anywhere in the U.S., not just in Florida. State regulation of websites can interfere with the federal government’s exclusive authority over interstate commerce.

If you live in Florida, contact your legislators and speak out about this bill! You can find your Senator here and your Representative here. Tell them you oppose SB 604 and HB 271.

Related Issues: Free SpeechAnonymity
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Marco Civil da Internet: O Diabo Está No Detalhe

eff.org - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 04:52

Em 24 de abril de 2014, a presidenta do Brasil, Dilma Rousseff, assinou o Marco Civil da Internet, um quadro de regulamentação da Internet baseado em direitos civis, pelo qual ativistas do Brasil há muito tempo vinham lutando. Apelidado de "Constituição da Internet", a lei visa reforçar a proteção das liberdades fundamentais na era digital. Apesar de ter sido desenvolvida através de um processo participativo, a lei não deixou de cair na tradicional negociata do processo legislativo, o que resultou em diversas concessões. Uma das mais prejudiciais, e ferozmente combatida por ativistas de direitos digitais, foi um mandato de retenção de dados que obriga a coleta e armazenamento de logs de conexões de qualquer indivíduo inocente.

O Brasil está agora em meio aos debates sobre a regulamentação do Marco Civil, e sobre o abrangente Anteprojeto de Lei de Proteção de Dados Pessoais, que juntos irão influenciar fortemente a forma como as empresas online e os governos podem tratar dados pessoais no país. O Ministério da Justiça anunciou uma consulta pública online sobre os dois tópicos, nos mesmos moldes da primeira consulta do Marco Civil, em que todas as partes interessadas podem contribuir. Os resultados dessas consultas serão determinantes para a aplicação prática do Marco Civil, como explica Dennys Antonialli, diretor executivo do InternetLab, centro de pesquisa independente que trabalha nas áreas de direito e tecnologia em São Paulo:

"Ambas as consultas têm a intenção de recolher contribuições sobre como essas leis devem ser formatadas. Embora o Marco Civil estabeleça uma série de direitos para as pessoas que usam internet no Brasil, muitas das suas disposições ainda dependem de uma regulamentação posterior, como é o caso dos planos "zero-rating" e dos limites para a retenção de dados. Este é o momento de expressar nossas preocupações aos políticos e garantir que elas sejam tratadas corretamente. O mesmo vale para o Anteprojeto de Lei de Proteção de Dados Pessoais, que servirá como uma legislação de base sobre privacidade no país, e complementará o Marco Civil de várias maneiras".

(Os boletins semanais do InternetLab sobre as consultas públicas são excelentes fontes de informação para todas as pessoas que queiram se informar e acompanhar os processos.)

Se a lei de proteção de dados for aprovada, o Brasil irá se juntar a mais de 100 países com leis de privacidade que restringem a coleta, utilização e divulgação de dados pessoais. Assim como nos Estados Unidos, no momento o Brasil tem apenas leis setoriais limitadas em algumas áreas. Princípios mais gerais de proteção de dados podem ser eficazes na proteção de dados pessoais, mas aplicar com êxito esses princípios, conciliando-os com outros direitos, incluindo a liberdade de expressão, requer cuidadosa elaboração, especialmente em um ambiente digital em rápida evolução.

Marco Civil na prática: neutralidade da rede

Um relatório emitido pela ARTIGO 19 Brasil, analisa o quão eficaz o Marco Civil tem sido durante os seus primeiros seis meses de execução. Nele, a instituição chama a atenção para o caso "Whatsapp e TIM", relacionado a questão da neutralidade da rede. Em 2014,  a companhia de telefonia TIM (subsidiária brasileira da Telecom Italia Mobile), em parceria com o Whatsapp, lançou um plano (conhecido como "zero rating") em que oferece o uso do aplicativo  de forma "gratuita", sem desconto  na franquia de internet. A proposta de "zero rating", no entanto, gerou discussões sobre uma possível violação da neutralidade da rede, estabelecida no Marco Civil. Marcelo Bechara, conselheiro da Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (ANATEL), acredita que a proposta é uma questão de livre mercado, enquanto outras pessoas argumentam que a gratuidade gera assimetria no tráfego (já que muitas pessoas irão optar pelo uso do aplicativo em detrimento de outros) e, portanto, limita e inibe o surgimento de novas aplicações e inovações.

Segundo o InternetLab, o eixo mais movimentado e discutido na consulta pública para regulamentação do Marco Civil é o da "Neutralidade da rede". A principal discussão, por sua vez, gira em torno dos planos de "zero rating", e da seguinte questão:  "Podem as operadoras de telefonia móvel (a partir de acordos comerciais) realizar esse tipo de discriminação para favorecer um aplicativo entre os demais?". Junte-se à discussão aqui.

Marco Civil na prática: anonimato

No Brasil, a Constituição proíbe o discurso anônimo. A intenção por trás dessa proibição é a de manter a possibilidade de identificar qualquer pessoa que expresse quaisquer opiniões, crenças ou comentários, tanto online quanto offline. O anonimato é fundamental para o exercício das nossas liberdades fundamentais, tornando possível para os indivíduos se expressar livremente e sem medo de retaliação. Ao não permitir que as pessoas realizem um discurso anônimo, a Constituição brasileira impõe obstáculos significativos à capacidade dos indivíduos de denunciar os abusos de poder ou expressar opiniões impopulares. Essa proibição, no entanto, não se estende à proteção da privacidade.

O Marco Civil reforça que a liberdade de expressão é um princípio fundamental para as pessoas que usam a Internet no Brasil. No entanto, essa disposição deve ser interpretada de acordo com as limitações impostas pela Constituição Brasileira, deixando pouco espaço para interpretações que possam permitir o anonimato para fins de livre expressão. O Marco Civil também estabelece que a legislação deve ser aplicável a todos os produtos ou serviços utilizados por indivíduos localizados no Brasil, o que tem encorajado autoridades do Ministério Público e agentes da lei a afirmar que a proibição constitucional do discurso anônimo também deve prevenir o uso de aplicações de Internet que permitam a expressão anônima.

Um exemplo recente disso é a proibição imposta ao "Secret", um aplicativo que se anuncia como um "lugar seguro para dizer o que está em sua mente de forma anônima". Invocando a proibição da Constituição Brasileira, o Ministério Público ingressou com uma ação judicial contra o serviço, que acabara de se tornar extremamente popular no Brasil. Embora mais tarde anulada, uma liminar foi concedida para proibir o "Secret" em lojas de aplicativos online (Google e Apple) no Brasil, e para removê-lo remotamente de dispositivos onde já havia sido instalado.

Esse caso bastante emblemático aponta para os potenciais perigos da aplicação da proibição constitucional visando evitar o uso de tecnologias que melhorem a privacidade, o que também traria repercussões indesejáveis para os direitos de ler e navegar anonimamente. (Verifique o documento com a orientação política da EFF em relação ao anonimato e a criptografia).

O Marco Civil continua sendo uma das mais bem trabalhadas, e democraticamente debatidas, expressões dos direitos digitais no mundo a conquistar força de lei. Mas esse não é o fim da história. Como qualquer documento fundacional, de qualquer Constituição à Declaração Universal dos Direitos Humanos, os verdadeiros desafios vêm com a interpretação e a aplicação. Cabe aos indivíduos engajados do Brasil se certificar de que a lei e a futura legislação mantenham o alto padrão definido no momento de sua criação.

Related Issues: Free SpeechInternational Privacy StandardsMandatory Data RetentionSurveillance and Human Rights
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Obama's War on Humanity at Home and Abroad:: Roland John's Appalling Mistreatment

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 04:20
Obama's War on Humanity at Home and Abroad: Roland John's Appalling Mistreatment
by Stephen Lendman
Obama's agenda combines permanent naked aggression against one country after another with homeland police state repression.
Sovereign independent nations are attacked and destroyed. Thousands of political prisoners languish in America's gulag for opposing rogue US policies.
Others are systematically denied justice other ways. Roland John is one of countless victims of US ruthlessness.
He's been a legal New Jersey resident since 2003. Yet he was wrongfully deported because of US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) abuse of power - "with no immigration hearing, thus violating my human rights," he explained.
On September 13, 2013, a CBP officer "deliberately" falsified information," John said.. His wrongful deportation followed.
"Now I’m at the verge of loosing my home, business and everything I worked for my entire life," he explained.
"I'm a law abiding citizen who don’t break the law and makes every effort to understand the laws and follow them," he added. 
He's a respected member of his community - the type person any nation should be proud to have as a resident or citizen.
He violated no laws. He has no criminal record. Yet his fundamental rights were systematically denied.
He was in Canada on business when his "visa renewal was under process," he explained. He was told by CBP's Peace Bridge Buffalo Border Crossing he could return home with USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) visa renewal notice. 
Yet he was wrongfully denied US re-entry - despite being a longtime legal resident.
He went to several reentry points believing a mistake was made. The last one erroneously issued a removal order.
He explained further as follows:
"In my panic, confusion and trauma, believing I’ll be able to obtain Justice if I’m present in the United States, I made an entry without inspection to prove to the immigration authorities that I did not leave the United States willfully abandoning my home (having a mortgage), business and legal status, and also to get a chance to report the misconduct of the United States Border Patrol agent in giving inaccurate information and deliberately misguiding and trapping me in Canada and knowingly disabling me to meet business, financial and legal commitments." 
"Instead of Justice, I was arrested by CBP and detained for 2 months, making me sign and fingerprint documents under duress, threats and exploiting my lack of understanding of the legal language, after which I was deported again with no right to an immigration attorney or self represent my case to an immigration judge." 
"So in a matter of 3 days, USCBP destroyed everything I achieved in the past 41 years and has branded me as a criminal and send me back to India, when it was their mistake in the first place."
Last December, the ACLU featured a report titled "American Exile: Rapid Deportations That Bypass the Courtroom."
A shocking 83% of deportation orders wrongfully come from immigration officers, not judges, it explains.
Nearly half are expedited with no chance for justice whatever. According to the ACLU:
"Asylum seekers, longtime residents, and others with rights to be in the United States can be deported without a hearing in a matter of minutes."
Washington's Department of Homeland Security operates like a national Gestapo. Current debate on its funding should focus on shutting it down entirely.
Replacing it with individual agencies serving public interests - not systematically violating international, constitutional and US statute laws with impunity.
Ordinary Americans are denied justice. Anyone can be targeted for any reason, wrongfully charged, prosecuted, imprisoned, or in the case of Roland John, deported extrajudicially without just cause - with no right of appeal.
US citizens may be targeted. Everyone is vulnerable. Deportation can follow "a single quick encounter with an (immigration or border patrol) officer," said the ACLU.
Individuals with valid legal status have no "chance to procure or consult with an attorney."
Throughout his tenure, Obama waged war on immigrants. Immigration rights activists call him the "Deporter-in-Chief" for good reason.
He enforces white supremacist policies. People of color aren't wanted. They horrifically abused in detention.
Obama's so-called immigration reform is more pretense than real. He deported more immigrants than all his predecessors combined.
On average over 1,000 a day. In total, over 2.3 million. Likely hundreds of thousands more before he leaves office - the dirty story he wants buried, ignored and forgotten.
Real victims like Roland John don't matter. "In a matter of minutes, a person whose entire life is in the United States can be deported with a removal order that makes returning lawfully extremely difficult" or impossible, said the ACLU. 
Fundamental rights everyone deserves are systematically denied. People are wrongfully deported. Some to dangerous places.
Justice is fundamentally flawed - based on what's proved to a failed policy of deterring unlawful immigration.
Since 1997, millions of removal orders were issued - many of them wrongful with virtually no chance for justice.
A system harming millions is fundamentally cruel and unjust. It violates core human rights.
America's Fifth Amendment guarantees due process protection. Sixth Amendment rights include having legal representation and proper judicial proceedings.
Victims like Roland John are denied these and other rights everyone deserves.
He's a 41-year-old Indian national. A computer software professional. He came to America on an H-1B visa work permit - later converted to a nonimmigrant work visa in 2013.
He regularly traveled to Canada on business. Wrongful deportation followed his last trip as explained above.
What happened is shocking and disturbing. He's outrageously barred from reentry into America for 20 years.
He did nothing wrong. He never should have been deported in the first place. Yet he has virtually no legal recourse to reverse the appalling injustice done him.
It proves once again America is more police state than democracy. No nation in history did more harm to more people over a longer duration - a disturbing truth everyone needs to know.
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. 

More Kiev Minsk Violations

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 02/03/2015 - 20:55
More Kiev Minsk Violations
by Stephen Lendman
Negotiating with US-controlled fascist thugs assures promises made will be broken. Throughout months of conflict, Kiev broke virtually every one made. Things ahead don't look promising.
Since both sides agreed to Minsk ceasefire terms on February 12, rebels strictly observed them - including withdrawing all heavy weapons as mandated.
On February 28, Donetsk forces completed their pullback from all front line positions. Doing so involved withdrawing 21 artillery groups. Spokesman Eduard Basurin explained, saying:
"The DPR has completed the withdrawal of heavy artillery, today we have withdrawn 6 Gvozdika (Carnation) artillery systems in the southern direction. The withdrawal was taking place under control of OSCE."
On March 1, Lugansk forces announced fulfillment of their obligation. Prime Minister Gennady Tsypkalov said "(w)e have completely withdrawn heavy artillery."
"We submitted it all to the OSCE observers: the information on the withdrawal, the locations of the weapons and the personnel. Pure formalities are left. The withdrawal has been completed."
Kiev lied about its intentions. Fascists operate this way. Trust isn't their long suit. Betrayal trumps observing agreed on terms.
Junta authorities breached last year's ceasefire agreements straightaway. They're at it again.
Basurin said "DPR intelligence…spott(ed) new cases of withdrawn Ukrainian units being redeployed (in) violation of Minsk" terms.
They remain close to front line positions they're supposed to be way distant from.
Basurin denied baseless junta accusations alleging DPR forces were covertly returning pulled back weapons to areas withdrawn from.
"These assumptions are untrue and cannot serve as justification for Ukraine's non-compliance with its obligations to withdraw weapons," he stressed.
OSCE's Donbass Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said its observers aren't given information they need to do their jobs.
He blamed both sides unjustly. Rebels cooperate fully. Junta forces do not - systematically violating ceasefire terms like last year.
Kiev's failure to observe Minsk suggests plans to resume conflict at Washington's discretion. Sputnik News interviewed Syria's Information Ministry advisor/ Academy for Geopolitical Crisis member Ali Ahmady.
He explained "American companies from the arms industry and energy companies are the ones that control America's decisions." 
"It is certain that the world financial crisis along with its consequences push the companies to resolve the crisis by selling weapons to other countries one of which is Ukraine." 
"These companies seek to solve (US) problems at the expense of the people of those countries."
Obama so far hasn't admitted America's open secret about selling Ukraine heavy weapons since conflict began last year. John Kerry's slip of the tongue did, saying:
"We have committed over 118 million dollars in arming… arming… training and equipping but some of it…You know, the eye of the beholder will determine the arming…" The amount he mentioned is the tip of the iceberg.
Kiev's only enemies are ones it invents. Weapons Washington and other NATO countries provide are for naked aggression, not defense.
American University in Moscow senior fellow William Dunkerly calls supplying Kiev with lethal weapons the equivalent of "throwing gasoline onto a fire."
It proves America wants war, not peace. A report last month from sources with US defense industry ties urged selling lethal weapons to Ukraine.
Congressional legislation signed by Obama authorizes it. Administration neocons use fabricated reasons to justify wanting  Ukraine armed more than already.
They want conflict escalated, Donbass freedom fighters crushed, and Russia directly challenged.
Lunatics infesting Washington may start WW III. Russia will respond if attacked. According to Strategic Missile Forces Central Command head Major-General Andrey Burbin:
"If there's a challenge to repel a lighting-fast nuclear attack in any given conditions, it will be done in fixed time. That's dead true."
"There would be no hesitation. The task would be executed.," he stressed. Russia's strategic nuclear armed missiles are dispersed so no strike can destroy them all, he explained.
Moscow's so-called "Dead Hand" perimeter system collects data from radioactivity and seismic sensors positioned throughout the country.
If evidence shows a nuclear strike anywhere on Russian territory, retaliatory missiles are launched automatically without human input. They able can hit targets anywhere in the world with pinpoint accuracy.
Given Washington's intent to replace Russia's sovereign independence with stooge government it controls, the threat of nuclear war is real. Ukraine may be the flashpoint launching it.
Meanwhile, junta fascists lost Donbass. Recent polls show around three-fourths of area residents want independence from Kiev.
Over 94% accused junta officials of waging war on their own citizens. Most want freedom from fascists trying to kill them.
Once trust is lost, it's tough regaining it. Given months of Kiev dirty war without mercy, maybe impossible for most Donbass residents. 
Ukraine may face an irreconcilable East/West split. Given horrific Kiev policies, Maidan 2.0 may follow. 
With fascist lunatics infesting Ukraine, things may end up worse than already. Prospects ahead aren't encouraging.
On March 1, tens of thousands of Donbass residents rallied against Western backed junta aggression and Kiev fascists in charge making policy. They expressed solidarity with Russia.
Their numbers were multiples greater than Moscow's Sunday Boris Nemtsov's memorial march. Media scoundrels ignored them entirely.
If they turned out in Western Ukraine, hoodlum security forces would attack them as terrorists. Organizers would be arrested.
Anyone against Kiev's regime or opposing its aggression on Donbass faces up to five years imprisonment and/or a large fine.
In early February, journalist Rusian Kotsaba was arrested for urging Ukrainian youths boycott conscription. He said he'd risk prison rather than wage war on other Ukrainians.
Prosecutors charged him with high treason. He faces potential longterm imprisonment. Amnesty International calls him a "prisoner of conscience."
AI's Ukrainian representative Tatyana Mazur accused junta authorities of "viol(ating) the basic human right of freedom of expression."
Separately, Kiev's interior ministry aide Anton Gerashchenko said anyone against conscription or regime war on Donbass faces arrest.
US-installed stooge president Poroshenko said state security services (SBU) "discovered (what he called) a den of rogues involved in anti-Ukrainian activity."
"As of today, they grabbed 19 active critics of the mobilization by their private parts," he said. 
He ludicrously claimed anti-war activists "pose a threat equal to that posed by the 'enemy' at the front."
He ridiculed them saying their activism "has nothing to do with democracy and freedom of speech."
Junta officials intend crushing Donbass democracy. They prohibit its emergence anywhere nationwide.
Ukraine's regime is a US-installed fascist dictatorship. Opponents are ruthlessly targeted for elimination. 
Activists wanting fundamental democratic freedoms are considered enemies of the state. They're marked for imprisonment or death.
Obama's Ukrainian allies are ruthless Nazi thugs. Since usurping power a year ago, they launched a reign of terror against anyone opposing their regime. 
Unless checked and stopped, they may conspiratorially with Washington drag Europe into catastrophic nuclear war with Russia. Preventing it is humanity's top challenge.
A Final Comment
Marsha Gessen is a US propagandist/Putin basher living in Moscow. She's a former controversial Washington controlled Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Russian Service director.
Her job then and now is proliferating anti-Russian/anti-Putin propaganda. Virtually everything she says and writes is rubbish - fabrications polar opposite truth.
No legitimate editors would touch her stuff. On March 1, New York Times editors featured it. Gessen took full advantage headlining "Russia's Army of Avengers."
On the one hand, she ludicrously called Boris Nemtsov's murder "the beginning of yet another new and frightening period in Russian history."
On the other, she fabricated a tall tale about a Kremlin-created "loose army of avengers who believe they are acting in the country's best interests…"
She lied calling Nemtsov "a logical first target for this menacing force."
Fact: Nemtsov though well known was a political nobody with around 1% popular support. 
Fact: He was a US funded self-serving political opportunist - widely disliked for good reason.
Fact: A previous article quoted US ambassador to Russia John Tefft suggesting he was worth more to Washington dead than alive - without directly saying it explicitly. Draw your own conclusion.
Gessen repeated the Big Lie about nonexistent Russian aggression "waging battle against Ukraine for a year - and like any country at war, it has focused much of its rhetorical effort on the domestic opposition."
Fact: Not a shred of evidence suggests Russian involvement in Kiev's war on Donbass.
Fact: Plenty of evidence shows Putin and Sergey Lavrov continue going all-out for diplomatic conflict resolution.
Fact: Nothing suggests Moscow targets opposition elements. Polls show Putin enjoys overwhelming 85%+ popular support. So-called opposition is too insignificant to matter.
Gessen's op-ed featured beginning-to-end Big Lies. Times editors treated them like gospel.  They banish hard truths systematically.
Managed news disinformation substitutes. It bears repeating. No legitimate editors would touch Gessen's rubbish. Times editors featured it.
Outrageous Big Lies like Gessen saying "(t)he message (is) clear: People will be killed in the name of the Kremlin, in plain view of the Kremlin, against the backdrop of the Kremlin, simply for daring to oppose the Kremlin."
Cold hard verifiable facts prove otherwise. Instead of publishing them, Time editors serve as quasi-official state propagandists.
Readers are advised to avoid them altogether. Choose reliable alternative sources of real news, information, and analysis to know what's happening and why on 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. 

Putin Bashing Crowd in Overdrive Over Nemtsov Killing

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 02/03/2015 - 03:35
Putin Bashing Crowd in Overdrive Over Nemtsov Killing
by Stephen Lendman
Throughout his tenure, irresponsible Western officials and complicit media scoundrels bashed him relentlessly. Any excuse will do.
Stuff made up out of whole cloth is held against him. Whatever he does is wrong no matter how right. 
His months of efforts to save Europe from the scourge of more war is treated like he intends to wage it.
The reason, of course, is his opposition to US imperial adventurism.  Its plan to colonize planet earth, steal its resources, and enslave its people as serfs paid poverty or sub-poverty wages.
To let Western monied interests and war-makers control everything for their own benefit at the expense of all others.
To transform nations into exploitable assets. To crush all opposition to its agenda. To let bankers steal everyone's wealth. 
To wage permanent wars because they're so profitable. To risk destroying planet earth to own it. To commit genocide all in a day's work.
Putin's vision is polar opposite. He wants peace, not war. He believes in nation-state sovereignty inviolability. 
He says rule of law principles are meant to be obeyed - especially when world peace is at stake. Over 85% of Russians support him.
Why anyone besides rich elites profiting at the expense of others supports Obama they'll have to explain.
Nemtsov's killing aroused the bash Putin crowd - despite knowing he had nothing to with it. 
Odds strongly indicate a CIA false flag - much like many others it instigated throughout its sordid history.
Jack Kennedy once said he wanted "to splinter (it) in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds" - reason enough to kill him.
For sure over wanting war in Vietnam ended. Obama can't wait to wage another one. His desire for imperial conquest is insatiable. 
As this is written, smaller crowds mourning Nemtsov than Putin bashers hoped for turned out in Moscow and St. Petersburg - around 7,000 in each city growing incrementally throughout the afternoon.
Sputnik News estimated a Moscow 21,000 turnout. Nemtsov supporters hoped for 50,000 or more.
NBC News hyped "immense crowds." The New York Times ludicrously said after Nemtsov's killing, "(t)here are no longer any limits."
Ignoring no-holds-barred US domestic and global barbarism throughout its sordid history - especially post-WW II. Most of all post-9/11.
Nemtsov was a widely disliked self-serving opportunist. The Times ludicrously called him a "standard-bearer of Western liberalism."
Putin bashing followed. The Times irresponsibly accused him of an "aggressive foreign policy…labeling his opposition a 'fifth column,' (and using) state television (to whip) up a militant, nationalistic fervor…"
It quoted a Putin critic saying "(t)he fact that they (meaning Russia's government) killed him is a message to frighten everyone…"
"This is what happens to people who go against the government of our country."
Despite knowing Putin had nothing to do with Nemtsov's killing, The Times published this rubbish - willful Big Lies intended to deceive.
The neocon controlled Washington Post headlined "Russian opposition leaders allege Kremlin links to Nemtsov slaying."
On the one hand, WoPo flat-out lied. It knows nothing suggests Putin's involvement. On the other,it hyped a nonexistent threat for political advantage not achieved. More on this below.
At the time of his death, Nemtsov was a political nobody. Polls showed his RPR-PARNAS party had less than 5% support. His personal popularity was around 1%.
You'd never know it based WaPo hyperbole calling him "a towering figure of post-Soviet politics." 
Perhaps he was a legend in his own mind - in very few others in Russia wanting nothing to do with him.
WaPo practically blamed Putin for his death. It called his killing "by far the highest-profile assassination during" his tenure.
Despite no evidence suggesting it, WaPo claimed opposition elements "reasoned that, at minimum, the security services that blanket Red Square must have had advance warning of Nemtsov's fate."
Putin had every reason not wanting him or other opposition figures killed. Political smearing alone would follow.
Plenty of unjustifiable criticism - much like what's happening now. Besides nothing suggesting Putin believes it's OK to order someone killed.
No evidence suggests he maintains a kill list like Obama - deciding who lives or dies. Ordering people killed by presidential diktat. Acting extrajudicially as judge, jury and executioner.
Heading a regime more abusive of fundamental civil and human rights than any government in history. Making state terror official US policy.
WaPo irresponsibly quoted Nemtsov ally Vladimir Milov absurdly calling his killing "connected to the authorities."
Another opposition figure was quoted claiming an "aggressive atmosphere created by the Kremlin…could lead to murder" - without citing a shred of corroborating evidence. 
None exists. Don't expect WaPo to explain. 
Wall Street Journal neocons hyped Nemtsov's "political assassination" as "the new reality of Putin's Russia." 
Again no corroborating evidence, Just baseless accusations and hype about "Russia's now-dimmed an tarnished hopes for democracy and reform…"
During his 2012 presidential campaign, Putin warned about dark forces "abroad…looking for a sacrificial victim from among prominent people."
"They would rub him out and then blame it on the authorities. I know about this. I'm not exaggerating," he said.
What happened was exactly as he envisioned. Perhaps to be followed by similar CIA-staged false flags irresponsibly blamed on him.
The good news is Washington's best laid plans fell flat. The Saker reported no opposition elements blaming Putin for what happened.
Many indicated a provocation - the term Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov used meaning a false flag intended to blame Kremlin authorities unjustly.
The area around the seat of government is heavily surveilled for security reasons. The Saker expects an arrest in a week at most, likely sooner.
If evidence shows US involvement, he believes it won't be made public. Instead it will be used quietly behind the scenes, he said.
Expect little or no effect on Putin's popularity. It won't stop lunatics in Washington and media scoundrels from bashing him relentlessly.
By this time next week or sooner, they'll find other reasons to vilify him unjustly. It doesn't matter what he does or doesn't do.
A Final Comment
March 1 marks the one-year anniversary of Donbass anti-fascist resistance. Freedom fighters risked all for fundamental democratic rights everyone deserves. 
What began as a protest against Kiev's ban on Russian language use developed into full-blown rebellion against fascist rule - notably in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Activists from Russia, other parts of Ukraine and elsewhere joined rebels against the scourge of fascism they deplore - perhaps inspired by the Lincoln and other Spanish Civil War brigades.
Freedom-fighting rebels want Novorossiya freed from fascist tyranny.  They overcame enormous odds so far.
Their liberating struggle continues. It has miles to go. Washington deplores democracy. Expect all-out US efforts to crush it in Donbass.
Maybe by US-led NATO war - turning Novorossiya into a killing field like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. 
Maybe initiated by a US-instigated Ukraine 9/11 followed by shock-and-awe bombing.
Fascists running America want hardline rule established everywhere. No matter how many millions of corpses it takes to accomplish their objective. 
No matter how much human misery follows. No matter if nuclear war risks mass annihilation. 
Lunatics in Washington may end life on earth to own it. No greater threat in history matches what humanity faces today. No greater urgency than ending it before it ends us.
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. 

NYT Editors Support Fascist Extremism

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 22:53
NYT Editors Support Fascist Extremism
by Stephen Lendman
Times editors deplore democracy. They consider sham US elections legitimate ones. 
Truth is the mortal enemy they fear most. They support the world's worst tinpot despots as long as they're US allies.
They glorify perpetual war in the name of nonexistent peace. They're comfortable with letting Wall Street run things.
They turn a blind eye to Israel's worst crimes. They consider cold-blooded serial killer Netanyahu a legitimate leader.
They support every dirty war of aggression without mercy Washington wages.They call them liberating struggles. 
They consider carving up whole continents for profit economic development. They call wage slavery job creation. They want America's social contract abolished.
They ignore fundamental international, constitutional and US statute laws in justifying Washington's genocidal crimes.
They believe might makes right. They feature managed news misinformation rubbish instead of hard truths on issues mattering most.
It bears repeating what other articles stressed. All the new they claim fit to print isn't fit to read.
They support Ukrainian Nazis Washington installed to replace democrats. Throughout months of conflict, they backed their mass slaughter of their own citizens. 
They oppose Donbass freedom fighters struggling for rights everyone deserves. They consistently, irresponsibly and maliciously blame Russia and rebels for US/Kiev crimes.
They practically accused Putin of murdering Boris Nemtsov. Anyone paying attention knows it's inconceivable to believe he had anything to do with it.
No more so than blaming Obama if a prominent American was gunned down in the shadow of the White House or Capitol Hill.
The Times is in full propaganda mode hyping the Nemtsov incident. It ludicrously claims fear now grips Russia.
It hyped Nemtsov's Big Lie claiming Moscow's involvement in Ukraine's conflict. It ignored Obama's full responsibility for what's ongoing - including the scourge of fascism's reemergence in Europe's heartland..
It practically accused Putin of plans to eliminate Kremlin critics one by one. its irresponsible reporting mocks legitimate journalism.
It waged war on Venezuela since Chavez's 1998 election. His overwhelming popularity for good reason never mattered. 
It irresponsibly vilified him throughout his tenure. Venezuelan democracy shames America's sham version. The Times ludicrously called it "authoritarian."
It gave short shrift to Chavez's 2006 landslide reelection - greater than any in US history since James Monroe ran practically unopposed in 1820. George Washington was more anointed than elected.
It ignored Obama's responsibility for killing Chavez - either by poisoning or infecting him with lethal cancer causing substances.
Chavez kew he was marked for death. Four cancer surgeries in 18 months couldn't save him. He's sorely missed. Chavisma lies.
Times editors battle it irresponsibly. They consider Bolivarian fairness heresy. They support returning Venezuela to its bad old days
They want fascists replacing democrats. The day following Bush's aborted April 2002 coup, they lied claiming Chavez resigned. They endorsed his ouster.
They outrageously called him "a ruinous demagogue." "A would-be dictator." They called his short-term illegitimate replacement, Pedro Carmona, "a respected business leader."
They've waged war on current President Nicolas Maduro since his April 2013 election.
Previous articles discussed Obama's failed coup plot to oust him. Perhaps kill him, install fascist governance, steal Venezuelan resources and enslave its people.
The same way Washington turns one country after another into dystopian wastelands - ravaging, destroying, and strip-mining them of everything of worth.
Times editors mocked clear evidence of US culpability together with fascist Venezuelan elements. 
They ridiculed Maduro. Said he "ramble(ed) for hours about an international right-wing conspiracy to oust him…"
Claimed "it's clear that he would use any fabricated pretext to jail opposition leaders and crack down on dissent."
They turned a blind eye to Washington's foiled plot. They ludicrously called Maduro's legitimate accusations "outlandish."
They outrageously accused him of "repressi(ng)" his critics. They called fascist coup-plotting Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma a respected politician - reacting to legitimate charges against him with "remarkable stoicism."
They claimed co-conspirator Leopoldo Lopez "was jailed on trumped-up charges…" They called Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez explaining planned air strikes against strategic government targets "absurd."
They lied calling Maduro's "fears of a coup…a diversion strategy by a maniacal statesman…unable to deal with the dismal state of his country's economy…"
They ignored Washington's lawless economic and political war - it's attempt to make Venezuela's economy scream. Its plot to make the country look like Ukraine.
They quoted the State Department's Big Lie saying Washington "regret(s) that the Venezuelan government continues to blame (it) for events inside Venezuela."
"(T)he United States remains committed to maintaining our strong support and lasting ties with the people of Venezuela."
Despite being caught red-handed, the State Department dismissed coup-plotting accusations. It called them "baseless and false."
It ignored America's longstanding blood-drenched history of toppling one independent government after another.
It ludicrously claimed Washington "does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means."
Times editors consistently bury hard truths. They deplore model Venezuelan democracy. They want US controlled fascist governance replacing it.
They called clear evidence of Obama's coup plot "a conspiracy theory." Honest analysis isn't their long suit.
On Saturday, Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez explained new measures Maduro instituted in response to Washington's foiled coup plot.
Maduro said he told Rodriguez "to immediately, in compliance with article 11 of the Vienna Convention, to reduce and minimize the number of US embassy officials in Venezuela." 
"They have over 100 officials, while in the US we have no more than 17.”
He should have kicked them all out. They're all CIA agents or assets. Their mission is toppling Venezuela's democratic government. 
Perhaps he'll shut down Washington's den of spies later on. He said "(w)e have captured some US citizens in undercover activities, espionage, trying to win over people in towns along the Venezuelan coast."
A US pilot of Latin American descent was apprehended in the state of Tachira. Maduro accused him of "covert" espionage activities.
"The northern imperial power has entered a dangerous phase of desperation, going to talk to the continent's governments to announce the overthrow of my government. And I accuse Vice President Joe Biden of this," Maduro said.
Rodriguez explained new measures instituted will help Venezuela deter US aggression.
Henceforth, US diplomats and support staff assigned to Venezuela must re-apply for visas. Maduro accused embassy officials of involvement in the foiled coup plot to topple him.
Washington's embassy must now inform Caracas of meetings it intends having with different sectors of Venezuelan society.
US citizens traveling to Venezuela will have to pay the same price in dollars for visas as Washington charges Venezuelans visiting America.
A list of US officials banned from Venezuela will be prepared - because of their involvement in human rights violations.
"We will prohibit visas for individuals who want to come to Venezuela who have violated human rights and have bombed Iraq, Syria, and Vietnam," said Maduro.
He could have added dozens of other countries victimized by US imperial crimes.
"An anti-terrorist list that will be headed by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the former director fo the CIA George Tenet, congressman Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, the wolf Ileana Ross-Lethinen, George Tenet and Mario Díaz Balart," Maduro added. 
"They cannot come to Venezuela for being terrorists."
Maduro's announced measures came on the 26th Caracazo anniversary. A previous article explained it as follows:
A popular rebellion confronted former President Carlos Andres Perez's hated government. It lasted days. Security forces killed thousands. Many others were injured.
Protests followed so-called economic reforms. IMF diktats were imposed. Neoliberal harshness punished ordinary Venezuelans.
Perez broke his campaign promise. He called the IMF "a neutron bomb that only kills people." He about-faced in office. He bowed to Washington Consensus demands.
February 27, 1989 was a Monday. Over the weekend, he doubled consumer gasoline prices. Commuters were outraged. They responded angrily.
Many refused to pay. Protests erupted. Revolutionary ferment united students, workers, and activists for change.
Anger over doubled gasoline prices became rebellion. Perez's entire neoliberal package was challenged. 
Martial law followed. Perez authorized live ammunition against protesters.
Caracazo was pivotal.  It represented the eventual death knell of business as usual. Rebellion created Hugo Chavez. In 1999, Bolivarianism followed.
Perez was Venezuela's president from 1974 - 1979. He served again from February 1989 - May 1993. In 1992, he survived two coup attempts. 
Chavez led one that failed. His activism catapulted him to prominence. He got national television air time. He called on remaining resistance elements to cease hostilities.
At the same time, he said he only failed "por ahora (for now)." Later success proved him right.
Perez became Venezuela's first president forced from office by the Supreme Court. He was impeached for embezzling 250 million bolivars.
Senate members stripped his immunity. He refused to resign. Venezuela's National Congress ended his tenure permanently.
In May 1996, he was sentenced to 28 months in prison. In 1998, he was prosecuted again. He ended up self-exiled in Miami. He was a vehement anti-Chavista.
A 2003 stroke partially disabled him. In December 2010, he died. He's gone. He remains reviled. Venezuelans remember. They deplore someone like him returning.
On Friday, tens of thousands of Venezuelans rallied in Caracas in support of national sovereignty and Maduro's government.
He addressed the crowd saying "(w)e will go out so that the imperialists of the world know that Venezuela respects itself."
During Caracazo 1989, many opposition figures were in power, he explained. They "ordered massacres and torture and disappear(ances)…Now that they are in the minority, they resort to terrorism."
Times editors endorse fascist extremism in Venezuela, America and elsewhere. Reflecting their longstanding support for wealth, power and privilege at the expense of beneficial social change.
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. 
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