News feeds

EFF's Defcon 22 T-Shirt Puzzle Explained

eff.org - Sat, 16/08/2014 - 05:47

This summer we proudly unveiled EFF's fifth limited edition member t-shirt to DEF CON 22 attendees at the annual hacker conference in Las Vegas. Secretive organizations scheming global domination and watching everything you do may not be very far fetched, but we've turned that concept on its head with a digital freedom society-themed motif created by EFF Senior Designer Hugh D'Andrade. Together we are growing our own conspiracy to defend privacy and free expression for all. Hidden within the rich mystic symbolism of the crossing keypair, ethernet cable crest, lockpicks, and anti-surveillance eye is a secret puzzle for you to decipher, the likes of which would make even Voynich jealous! Warning: spoilers are ahead, and you already know too much!

Displayed on the left is the original shirt as seen in plain daylight. But under the shine of a blacklight, the ciphertext is revealed:

[Iikcggu] Gvdw ag etxlku | [Ptjhafvmkx] rqgrva(cgvs urlaiaixcm Asiixl) | [Gwhusu] akksdx bzqaymoukh(gsyi, Jnsrgo) | [Rmtm] mwllzg(ihrl.qv_e? Wkivav)

What does it mean? A second text is highlighted with the blacklight:

QUISQUE ALIQUID HABET QUOD OCCULTET

Our super secure Key Derivation Function comes in the form of a dictionary. Translated from Latin into English, this phrase becomes:

Everyone has something to hide

And how do you decode the ciphertext? Using a cipher developed in the 16th century called the Vigenère cipher:

[English] Code is speech | [Javascript] assert(code instanceof Speech) | [Python] assert isinstance(code, Speech) | [Ruby] assert(code.is_a? Speech)

The plaintext reminds us of an important ruling made in the historic case Bernstein v. US Department of Justice, which EFF litigated: source code is a form of speech constitutionally protected by the First Amendment. Special congratulations go to 1o57 and the council of 9 for being the first to solve this year's puzzle!



Photo Credit: junkmail.  CC Attribution 2.0 Related Issues: Coders' Rights ProjectComputer Fraud And Abuse Act Reform
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

What You Need to Know About the FISA Court—and How it Needs to Change

eff.org - Sat, 16/08/2014 - 03:39

Should interpretation of the laws and Constitution of the United States take place in one-sided secretive courts, away from the public eye?

For years, it has. But even Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judges don’t agree on how exactly the FISC should work. Since the Snowden disclosures, hundreds of lawmakers have made it clear that they want to see more transparency in the court by supporting various NSA reforms. Most recently, 18 Senators co-sponsored the new USA FREEDOM Act, S. 2685, which offers a few important changes to the FISC.

So who’s right? A look at the history and procedures of the FISC make it clear: real reform is needed now.

How We Think Courts Work, and How that Measures Up to the FISA Court

As a society, we imagine courts are places where adversarial proceedings take place. In television, literature, and movies, we see each side taking responsibility for gathering the evidence and witnesses that will be most helpful to their argument­. They put forth their evidence and argue the law where applicable. And each side has the opportunity to know and take apart the other side’s evidence.

Of course some court situations are not adversarial. The most commonly known situation is when a judge signs a warrant so law enforcement can conduct a search after hearing only from the cops. But when those warrants result in evidence that is used in court, there’s still a chance to challenge the validity of the warrant and the search—and if they were done incorrectly, that evidence can often be suppressed.

The FISA Court is very different. Created by Section 103 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, the purpose of the FISC is to “hear applications for and grant orders approving electronic surveillance anywhere within the United States.”

The court makes its own rules and operates in secret. It decides matters like the now infamous Verizon order leaked by Edward Snowden, which allowed for the collection of call detail records for millions of innocent Verizon customers. It relies on a general “heightened duty of candor,” meaning that the government is supposed to go to extreme lengths to tell the court everything it ought to know to make the right decision.   

Now, if this was just a simple process of approving applications for surveillance, and if the evidence could later be challenged in court, this might make sense. But, as we’ve learned, this process is not so simple and can involve critical issues of constitutional law and interpretations of what Congress meant in FISA. The court must rely on one-sided information from the government and has to trust that that information is complete. And the data collected by the NSA and FBI under those applications often remains secret, even when it, or information derived from it, is used in criminal proceedings.  

Why the FISA Court Needs to Change

Among the myriad reasons the FISC must change, three stand out.

First, FISA has become a drastically more complicated law than when it was originally passed in 1978, and the role of the FISC has accordingly grown far beyond the bounds of what Congress envisioned. Second, because of those changes, the FISC has created a huge body of secret policy and legal precedent. Finally, the court’s reliance on the government to provide all the necessary information needed to fairly make decisions is not sufficient, something that is painfully obvious as one reads the FISC decisions themselves. It’s also something EFF has recently experienced in our NSA cases.  

The court’s mandate has expanded exponentially since 1978, especially during the 90s. More recently, Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—both of which were passed decades after the initial FISA—granted far broader spying authorities to the government than had existed before, and the government has claimed the right to conduct mass surveillance under these provisions. What Congress originally authorized when creating the FISC, with the Church Committee hearings freshly in mind, was an expedited system of approving individualized warrants for foreign surveillance of specified individuals—much like what regular magistrate judges do with warrants now, with safeguards built in for the national security context.

That bears repeating: When FISA was passed, it authorized individualized warrants for surveillance. Now, the court is approving mass surveillance.

This is key, because as “current and former officials familiar with the court’s classified decisions” told the New York Times in July of last year, the court is no longer simply approving applications. It is “regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny," affecting millions of innocent people. As former FISC judge James Robertson stated to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, “What [the FISC] does is not adjudication, but approval. This works just fine when it deals with individual applications for warrants, but the 2008 (FISA) amendment has turned the FISA court into an administrative agency making rules for others to follow.”

The result of this expansion of the FISC’s role is a body of secret law that, now that some has come to light, has shocked most Americans. The most obvious example of this is, of course, section 215 of the Patriot Act, where “the court’s interpretation of the word ['relevant,'] enabled the government . . . to collect the phone records of the majority of Americans, including phone numbers people dialed and where they were calling from, as part of a continuing investigation into international terrorism.”

The “heightened duty of candor” is not enough. FISC decisions that have been made public are full of descriptions of the NSA not fulfilling its duties and being very slow to inform the court about it. Judge John Bates noted: “The court is troubled that the government’s revelations regarding the NSA’s acquisition of Internet transactions mark the third instance in less than three years in which the government has disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of a major collection program,” and noted “repeated inaccurate statements made in the government’s submission,” concluding that the requirements had been “so frequently and systematically violated that it can fairly be said that this critical element of the overall…regime has never functioned effectively.”

Judges have consistently chastised the NSA for “inaccurate” statements, misleading or incomplete filings and for having “circumvented the spirit” of laws protecting Americans’ privacy.

EFF had its own brush with this problem earlier this year, when we discovered that the government had not even informed the FISC of its duties to preserve evidence. In March, after an emergency hearing, a federal court in San Francisco ordered the government to preserve records of Section 215 call details collection. On that same day, the FISC issued its own strongly worded order in which it mandated the government to make a filing explaining exactly why it had failed to notify the FISC about relevant information regarding preservation orders in two related cases, Jewel and Shubert. This failure had affected the court’s earlier ruling mandating that certain information be destroyed.

It’s clear that the FISC simply can’t rely on the government to get the full picture.

How the FISA Court Needs to Change

The FISA Court must change in at least two ways: it needs a true advocate for privacy and civil liberties in the court and it must have institutionalized, systematic publication of significant opinions.

As former FISC Judge James Carr has stated, reform requires an advocate for targets of surveillance, as well as for privacy and civil liberties. A special advocate for privacy would move the court towards the adversarial model. It would end blind reliance on the government’s candor, which has been proven to be less candid than the FISC itself would like. And a special advocate can bring technical expertise that the FISC might otherwise not have and help spot legal issues that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Publication of significant interpretations of the law is also essential; there must be a public understanding of what the law means in practice. For this to work, declassification should not be held captive by the intelligence community, as is currently the case.  At the very least, the Attorney General and the FISC itself should work together to determine what opinions should be published, based on clear guidelines about what significant interpretations of the law actually are.  This is just a small step, though. The FISC secrecy is just one piece of the overall problem of overclassification, which needs broader reform.

How S.2685, the New USA FREEDOM Act, Measures Up to the Needed Changes

As we’ve noted, the bill makes two big changes to the FISC: it directs the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Attorney General, to declassify “significant” FISA Court opinions and to summarize opinions that can’t be declassified. And it creates a panel of special advocates with the purpose of advocating “as appropriate, in support of legal interpretations that advance individual privacy and civil liberties.” The special advocates are meant to serve whenever an application “in the opinion of the court, presents a novel or significant interpretation of the law, unless the court issues a written finding that such appointment is not appropriate.”

Prof. Steve Vladeck at Just Security has pointed out that a recent letter from Judge John Bates arguing against the new USA FREEDOM Act’s FISA Court reforms serves to reinforce exactly why they are needed, and indicates that they may very well be effective. 

Judge Bates, former presiding judge at the FISC, strongly decried several provisions of the new USA FREEDOM Act in his August 5 letter. The letter itself is a little unusual—Judge Bates states that he’s not expressing “preferences on fundamental policy choices,” but makes it clear that he supports the gutted House USA FREEDOM, H.R. 3361.

Judge Bates’ concerns with regards to the special advocate can be summed up like this: non-adversarial proceedings are not a big deal. They happen all the time, and this process allows for lots of great conversation between the court and the government. A special advocate would complicate this. They are more than just an amicus, advising the court. They are advocating for privacy…..but our system isn’t designed to handle adversarial proceedings. An amicus provision, opines Bates, would be preferable. 

And as Judge Carr has pointed out, “An amicus represents no one. Instead, an amicus participates solely for the court’s benefit. This will not achieve true reform, which requires appointment of an attorney to represent the target (whether the target is an individual, group, or the public at large).”

Judge Bates’ concerns are all aimed at maintaining the court as it is. He argues that a special advocate will upset the court's balance. In our opinion, that’s a good thing. Considering Judge Bates' conclusion in his October 2011 opinion that the system has "never functioned effectively," it is surprising that he doesn't agree.

Judge Bates is concerned about potential reluctance on the part of the government to disclose important information to the court if a special advocate position is created. But the government has the obligation to disclose that information no matter what. And what’s more, we already know that the court as it is doesn’t work.

If anything, the special advocate provisions in S. 2685 could be stronger. The special advocate could, when appropriate, have the specific purpose of representing potential targets of surveillance, instead of advocating generally for interpretations of the law that protect civil liberties. Judge Carr points out that counsel for a target is most important “on appeal. Enabling adversarial appellate review is crucial to increased confidence in the FISC and its work.” The special advocate could also have more independence. But the bottom line is that S. 2685’s special advocate provisions are a huge, necessary step forward.

Judge Bates also has concerns about declassification of FISC opinions. S. 2685 directs the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Attorney General, to declassify “significant” FISA Court opinions. He writes that creating summaries of opinions that can’t be declassified is “likely to result in misunderstanding of the opinion’s reasoning and result,” a concern he believes is “heightened when the only party to the proceeding—in this context, the government—is tasked with preparing the summary.”

In contrast, Judge Carr believes that the FISC must have a significant role in the declassification process for the FISC’s own opinions.

These objections point to potential weaknesses in S. 2685. We believe that a less interested party should be in charge of declassification—the legislation puts the Director of National Intelligence in charge of that process, which is a bit like the fox guarding the hen house.

Judge Bates’ concerns that S. 2685 will interrupt the status quo at the FISC make a strong case that the legislation is a much-needed step in the right direction.

The status quo is broken. S. 2685 starts to fix it.


Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

The Great Israeli Iron Dome Hoax

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 15/08/2014 - 18:57
The Great Israeli Iron Dome Hoax
by Stephen Lendman
Call it a billion dollar + scam. Add another congressionally funded $225 million tax dollars. Expect millions more on request.
In April 2002, noted MIT physicist Theodore Postol headlined his Technology Review article "Why Missile Defense Won't Work."
The notion is more hoax than possibility. His reasoning was detailed and technical. What's supposed to work doesn't as claimed
Hitting and destroying a missile with another one isn't possible. It may never be other than occasional lucky exceptions. 
Claims otherwise are fabricated to maintain funding and deceive populations into believing they're safe.
According to Postol, "(t)his should be of profound concern to every US citizen" and every Israeli one.
"The officers and program managers involved in developing the antimissile system have taken oaths to defend the nation." 
"Yet they have concealed from the American people and Congress the fact that a weapon system paid for by hard-earned tax dollars to defend our country cannot work."
The same holds for Israel's Iron Dome. Postol asks is it more sieve than effective missile shield? 
Israel's early warning system alone works as intended. It gives people time to shelter for safety.
According to Postol, "the probability of (Iron Dome) destroying the artillery rocket warhead is essentially zero."
The same holds for Iron Dome intercepts "chasing rockets from behind. Occasional Iron Dome intercept attempts arise in a near-vertical trajectory.
"That is the only engagement geometry where (it) has a non-zero chance of destroying the rocket - the artillery rocket warhead," says Postol.
At least 95% of ID attempts fail. During the 1991 Gulf War, fabricated Patriot missile defense success was reported as 96% or greater.
Postol and others at MIT analyzed the data. They called likely Patriot success ZERO.
When Israelis see overhead explosions erroneously called successful intercepts, they're observing ID warhead explosions.
Money spent on ID and other missile defense hoaxes are wasted taxpayer dollars and shekels. People are deceived to believe otherwise. Safety is available in shelters alone.
"I would not spend money on an interceptor that has a near-zero chance of intercepting an artillery rocket," says Postol.
A July 10 erroneous Reuters report is typical of major media lies. It claimed Israel's Iron Dome interceptor has shot down some 90 percent of Palestinian rockets it engaged during this week's surge of Gaza fighting, up from the 85 percent rate in the previous mini-war of 2012."
Postol calls these type reports media deception. "(T)he press needs to engage in more due diligence on these matters," he says.
Verifiable facts, not fabrications, should be reported. People have a right to know. ID intercept attempts fail the great majority of the time.
Crude Hamas rockets with 10 - 20 pound warheads "are not lethal weapons," says Postol. 
They don't work as intended. Sheltering in time is the best defense. ID success is a political deception.
At the same time, it's expensive. It's a small missile. It weights about 200 pounds. 
It costs $400,000 each, not $20,000 according to some Israeli sources. Raytheon produces it in America.
According to Postol, "(t)here's a significant question there about whether the Congress and the American people have accurate information about what this system is really costing."
Most important is its ineffectiveness. People are deceived. Huge amounts of money are wasted. Big Fat Lies substitute for truth and full disclosure. 
Media scoundrels are complicit. They regurgitate fiction, not verifiable facts. Israelis and Americans are willfully deceived.
On July 19, Postol headlined his Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article "The Evidence that shows Iron Dome is not working."
He explained much of what's covered above. "Close study of photographic and video imagery of Iron Dome engagements with Hamas rockets (currently and during 2012 Pillar of Cloud hostilities) shows that the low casualties…can be ascribed to Israeli civil defense efforts," not ID effectiveness.
Data show its performance hasn't improved from two years earlier. It's a failed system. It's willful deception. It's a hoax.
Effectiveness requires destroying rocket warheads. Their back ends are empty pipes.
If destroyed, warheads will fall and explode on the ground. Destroying a rocket warhead "is a considerably more demanding mission than damaging other parts of the targeted rocket," says Postol.
Success depends on approaching the rocket almost directly head-on. Engaging from the side or back has virtually no chance of success.
Photos of ID contrails show most ID intercept attempts either chase Hamas rockets from behind or the side.
"In both such cases, geometry and the speed of the interceptors and rockets make it extremely unlikely the interceptor will destroy the rocket's warhead," says Postol.
ID can miss many ways. "Because of the uncertainties in the exact crossing speed and geometry of two high-speed missiles, even a perfectly operating Iron Dome fuse may fail to place lethal fragments onto an artillery rocket's warhead," Postol explained. 
"In addition, unless the distance between the Iron Dome warhead and the warhead of an artillery rocket is small (roughly a meter or so), there will be a greatly diminished chance that a fragment from the Iron Dome warhead will hit, penetrate, and cause the detonation of the artillery-rocket warhead."
Front-on engagements guarantee no success. Their "geometry merely indicates that an ID interceptor has a greater-than-zero chance of destroying the target-artillery rocket warhead."
Small-sized incoming rockets pose other problems. Successful intercepts are even harder to achieve.
When ID interceptors explode overhead, but have contrails showing they crossed the expected rocket trajectory from behind or either side, "it can be said with a high degree of certainty, that no intercept could have occurred," says Postol.
"It is absolutely clear: There is no evidence in the public record to show that Iron Dome is performing at an intercept rate of nearly 90 percent."
At best, it's 5% or less. Perhaps it's close to ZERO. Willful public deception deprives Israelis of information they need to know.
Transparency is nonexistent. Big Fat Lies substitute for truth and full disclosure.
ID is a hoax. It doesn't worked as claimed. Perhaps it never will. Hitting a missile with another one is like hitting a bullet with one fired at it.
Success may be a scientific impossibility other than occasional lucky exceptions.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on failure. Willful deception keeps people from knowing they've been had. According to Postol:
"In the absence of Israeli data backing claims of Iron Dome efficiency, and based on the unambiguous evidence I have reviewed, a conclusion seems clear:" 
"The Israeli government is not telling the truth about Iron Dome to its own population, or to the United States, which has provided the Israeli government with the bulk of the funding needed to design and build the much-heralded but apparently ineffective rocket-defense system."
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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Certification Allows US Trade Negotiators to Rewrite TPP Copyright Rules

eff.org - Fri, 15/08/2014 - 05:11

As the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) continue to trudge along, little new information has leaked because the negotiations are being conducted under conditions of strict secrecy.

But this week, the launch of the TPP: No Certification website has shed new light on one issue that has been often overlooked before now. The United States, exclusively amongst the dozen negotiating partners, is reserving the right to vet other countries' implementation of the agreement before its own obligations come into effect. This has worrying implications for other countries planning to take advantage of whatever flexibilities remain in the TPP text after the negotiations are finished.

For example, the leaked draft of the TPP requires signatory countries to provide “legal incentives for service providers to cooperate with copyright owners.” Since “legal incentives” is so vague, there are several ways in which a country might interpret and implement this—a narrow interpretation might merely require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to be offered a tax break for hosting anti-piracy banner ads, but if interpreted more broadly it might penalize ISPs millions of dollars unless they disconnect suspected infringers from the Internet.

Certification means that this ambiguity or flexibility could disappear, leaving countries with only one, extreme interpretation of their obligations under the TPP—whatever interpretation the US Trade Representative (USTR) unilaterally decides.

What Does Certification Mean?

Before the TPP becomes binding on any of the negotiating countries, they will each have to undergo a set of domestic procedures to approve the agreement. These vary from one country to another. For most countries, once this domestic approval process has taken place, this will activate its obligations towards all other countries that have undergone a similar approval process.

But only for the United States, its approval of the agreement will take place in two phases. First, Congress gives its overall approval of the TPP text, and second, the implementing laws of each of the other countries must be individually certified before the obligations of the US take effect for that country. This certification is not conducted by an independent body, but by the USTR, based on its own assessment of what was agreed—even if these supposed obligations were not reflected in the final text. Essentially, it's a way for the US to twist the arm of other nations until they enact policies it couldn't get them to agree to during negotiations.

How It Affects Copyright and Patent Laws

The threat of certification is not widely known in itself, but what has been even more obscure is one of the USTR's main motivations for toughening up certification requirements on its trading partners. Some of those partners have a record of passing more flexible copyright and patents laws than the US would like, so they use these certification powers to try to hold those nations ransom until they can get the policies that appease its domestic interests.

Chile, for example, entered into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States in 2004, but only in 2010 finalized a system for copyright content takedown. Under this system, unlike under the US DMCA, removal of content by intermediaries requires a court order in order to comply with Chile's constitution and its obligations under the American Convention on Human Rights.

The FTA permits this interpretation, but the USTR has strongly criticized it, urging Chile “to amend its Internet service provider liability regime to permit effective action against any act of infringement of copyright and related rights.” Chile remains on the Priority Watch List of the most recent Special 301 Report [pdf] published by the USTR, for this and other supposed deficiencies in its implementation of the FTA.

Australia provides another example. Australia, like the United States, is a signatory to the WIPO Copyright Treaty. Since 2000 it has had its own equivalent of the DMCA that implements that treaty—relevantly including a prohibition on the use of circumvention devices to bypass technological protection mechanisms (TPMs, also known as digital locks) that prevent digital works from being copied.

Following its conclusion of a trade deal with the United States in 2004, Australia was forced to amend this provision, to toughen it in several ways going beyond its WIPO obligations—including criminalizing circumvention and criminalizing trafficking in circumvention devices. Although the act of circumvention was subject to certain “fair use”-style exceptions, the supply of circumvention devices was criminalized outright. A subsequent Parliamentary Report [pdf] noted this as “a flaw that verges on absurdity,” rendering the circumvention exceptions “to be little more than empty promises.” Yet Australia was forced to agree to these absurd changes in order to satisfy US demands.

Certification and the TPP

The USTR has exercised this power for decades for other trade agreements, yet still, the consequences if it is applied to the TPP are difficult to predict and potentially serious. It would jeopardize the ability for other countries to make use of any positive concessions that they may have been able to negotiate in the TPP's copyright and patent text, that could allow their lawmakers to enact better policies that uphold the interests of users and consumers, or oftentimes, preserve such laws that are already in place.

With certification, the US can get away with not holding up their side of the deal as long as the US decides that other countries are not implementing the agreement to their liking. It is in other words, another stick that the USTR can use to force these countries into passing ever more senseless, draconian digital policies that go beyond the TPP's literal wording.

It's important to remember that the policies the USTR is forcing on to other countries are not representative of what the people in the US want, nor even reflective of the policies that are in place in the US. Certification is another way for the USTR to compel negotiating partners to enact policies that are harmful to users. It is reflective of how much Hollywood, major publishers, and other big corporate interests have captured the USTR's objectives.

The specter of the certification process sounds yet another note of caution for countries negotiating the TPP. They should be very wary in committing themselves to uphold such an agreement in circumstances where the flexibilities they believe they are agreeing to could actually be whittled away at the whim of one of their negotiating partners.

Conversely, if it seeks to gain the trust of both its partners and domestic stakeholders, US trade policy requires radical reform, not only to the flawed certification process, but also to the secrecy of trade negotiations in general, the lack of accountability to the public, and Fast Track proposals that insulate trade agreements even from the scrutiny of Congress itself.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceInternationalTrans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Blocking Russian Humanitarian Aid

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 15/08/2014 - 03:11
Blocking Russian Humanitarian Aid 
by Stephen Lendman
Russia is going all-out to deliver vitally needed humanitarian aid to beleaguered Southeastern Ukrainians.
In collusion with Washington, Kiev so far blocked it. Reasons given ring hollow.
Obama officials and their illegitimate fascist allies want war without mercy continued. They want pain and suffering increased. 
They want freedom fighting democrats crushed. They want state terror intensified.
They want desperate Ukrainian civilians denied food, clean water, medicines, medical supplies, and power generators, as well as other vitally needed items to survive Kiev's lawless aggression.
Putschist prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Ukraine can accept humanitarian aid solely from the Red Cross.
He lied claiming Kiev is "delivering first necessity items to all the liberated areas."
"We, as the Ukrainian state, have ensured and are capable of enduring supplies for our citizens," he said.
False! Kiev is going all-out in collusion with Washington to create a humanitarian disaster in Southeastern Ukraine.
On Tuesday, 280 Russian trucks left Moscow with vitally needed supplies. On Wednesday, they arrived at Ukraine's border. 
Putin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said they planned to enter Ukraine at a border crossing agreed on with Kiev.
Arrangements involve the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It requeste a detailed list of items shipped to be able to accept and distribute them to needy Ukrainians.
According to an ICRC official, Russian authorities "handed over a list of goods to the Ukrainian authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross." 
"It includes essentials, bottled water, food and power generators." It shows Moscow's good faith commitment to deliver vitally needed humanitarian aid despite Kiev's efforts to block it.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko said government forces would block the convoy at the border.
A week is needed to determine the need for aid to Donetsk and Lugansk, he claimed. "Only then will the delivery of aid be organized," he added.
He lied claiming Russian aid is a military operation to help beleaguered Southeastern Ukrainians.
Ukrainian deputy foreign minster Danylo Lubkivsky accused Moscow of playing a "completely cynical game."
At issue is turning truth on its head. It's blocking desperately needed aid as long as possible. It's providing more time for war without mercy.
It's maximizing pain and suffering. It's blaming Russia for Kiev's crimes. It's accusing Moscow of aggression if it crosses Ukraine's border - perhaps with or without permission.
Washington is manipulating events behind the scenes. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is a convenient US stooge.
He lied calling Russian military intervention "very likely." It could occur on the pretext of delivering humanitarian aid, he said.
The New York Times serves as a de facto ministry of pro-Western misinformation and propaganda. Its Ukraine coverage alone turns truth on its head.
It's been one-sided since Kiev street protests began last fall. It ignores a Washington orchestrated coup. 
It refuses to admit neo-Nazis infest Ukraine's illegitimate fascist government. Truth and full disclosure are suppressed. Big Fat Lies and distortions substitute.
It regurgitates US and Kiev misinformation ad nauseam. It's shamelessly anti-Russian. 
On August 14, it suggested legitimate Russian humanitarian aid may be an arms smuggling ploy. It refuses to acknowledge a US/Kiev intent to block vital aid as long as possible or altogether.
Playing politics with human lives and welfare is longstanding US policy. Kiev's putschist government is a willing co-conspirator.
Interior minister Arsen Avakov called Moscow's humanitarian aid a "provocation by a cynical aggressor." Prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk characterized it as "boundless cynicism."
Deputy foreign minister Danylo Lubkivsky said Russia is "us(ing) the pretext of humanitarian aid and assistance, and it seems they are just running out of excuses for their aggression."
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said arrangements to deliver aid were agreed on. They comply with Kiev's wishes in all respects.
"We have agreed on a route convenient for the Kiev authorities. We agreed that our trucks would have Ukrainian number plates during their way through Ukrainian territory," said Lavrov.
"We also agreed to take on board not only the representatives of the Red Cross and the OSCE, but also representatives of the Ukrainian authorities.” 
"We have received a note with the confirmation of the Ukrainian side's readiness to receive the aid."
Kiev reneged on its pledge. Russian aid remains in limbo unless or until delivering it is possible.
Lavrov "hopes that public statements made by some Kiev authorities with the demand for new conditions will be disavowed and won't interfere with the accomplishment of the agreement reached between Russia, Ukraine and the Red Cross."
"We firmly rely on the assurances by the Ukrainian authorities. They are guaranteeing the safety of the whole convoy's movement on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian special forces."
"We expect the self-defense forces to express the same attitude toward this humanitarian action." 
"I'm sure there'll be no breaches, as they are now on the territory, the residents of which require badly humanitarian assistance."
At the same time, Russia's Emergencies Ministry said Moscow, the ICRC and Kiev will jointly decide where aid will be delivered.
Kiev's National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andrey Lysenko claimed Russian aid was accompanied by a sophisticated S-300 air defense system able to down Ukrainian warplanes with great precision.
This and similar claims aim disingenuously to portray legitimate Russian humanitarian aid as aggression.
On Tuesday, deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf lied. She irresponsibly called Southeastern Ukrainian crisis conditions "a direct result of Russia's intervention."
"Russia has no right to move into Ukraine unilaterally, whether under the guise of humanitarian convoys or any other pretext, without Kiev's permission," she said.
On Wednesday, she again said "nothing can happen without the express consent, permission, decisions made, by Kiev."
She ignored Washington's longstanding history of intervening lawlessly in the internal affairs of other countries. 
It does so unilaterally or with rogue partners. It does it by military and/or other means. It flagrantly violates international, constitutional and US statute laws in the process.
Bombing Iraq is the latest example. So is replacing Ukraine's democratically elected government with a neo-Nazi infested fascist regime.
On August 11, CIA-controlled Washington Post editors headlined "The West must oppose Russia's 'humanitarian' invasion of Ukraine, saying:
"RUSSIA AGAIN appeared on the verge of invading Ukraine over the weekend, this time in the guise of a 'humanitarian operation.' " 
"President Obama and other Western leaders sounded the alarm, warning that the prospective intervention 'is unacceptable, violates international law and will provoke additional consequences.' "
"(T)he United States and its allies must be prepared to act quickly if Russian military forces cross the frontier."
"The motive for another escalation in Russia's ongoing meddling is clear enough: not the 'humanitarian crisis' the Kremlin claims is occurring in areas held by its surrogate forces but the threat that the Ukrainian army and allied militias will win a military victory."
Fact: No evidence whatever suggests Russia intends to invade Ukraine.
Fact: Claims otherwise are bald-faced lies.
Fact: WP and other Western media scoundrels repeat them with disturbing regularity.
Fact: Russian food, water, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid is intended solely for desperate Ukrainians struggling to survive Kiev's US supported lawless aggression.
Fact: Moscow's motive in delivering it is straightforward, sincere and part of its effort to end conflict conditions peacefully and equitably.
Fact: Suggesting otherwise reflects Western/Kiev propaganda to portray genuine humanitarian efforts as aggression.
On August 13, hawkish Senator Kelly Ayotte (R. NH) lied claiming Russian forces "fire artillery on Ukrainian forces" cross border.
"Putin," he claims, "is attempting to use a so-called aid convoy to portray the Kremlin as a responsible provider of humanitarian relief."
"Putin has instigated, fueled, and perpetuated the crisis in eastern Ukraine." 
"If Putin is truly concerned about the well-being of Ukrainians in Donetsk, he could end this crisis by stopping the flow of Russian fighters and weapons to Ukraine."
Similar Big Lies proliferate daily. Genuine Russian humanitarian/conflict resolution efforts are called aggression.
Media scoundrels bury truth. They substitute Big Lies and other misinformation. 
At risk is an East/West confrontation potentially leading to war between two nations with over 90% of the world's nuclear arsenal and sophisticated delivery systems able to strike targets worldwide with pinpoint accuracy.
Risking something potentially this grave is madness. It remains to be seen if the unthinkable can be avoided.
A Final Comment
As of mid-August, the Southeastern Ukrainian death toll topped 2,000. Thousands have been wounded. 
Hundreds of thousands are displaced. Many fled cross border to Russia for safety.
On average, over 60 people have been killed or wounded daily since Kiev forces attacked Southeastern Ukraine in April.
Since August 1, the figure is 70 daily casualties on average. According to UN human rights spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly, these numbers are "very conservative estimates."
Washington and Kiev's illegitimate fascist regime bear full responsibility.
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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Sham Cairo Talks Continue

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 15/08/2014 - 03:10
Sham Cairo Talks Continue
by Stephen Lendman
The latest 72-hour ceasefire expired at midnight Wednesday local time. Both sides agreed to extend it another five days.
They did so despite seemingly irreconcilable differences. Hamas, other resistance groups, millions of occupied and diaspora Palestinians, as well as growing world public opinion want Gaza's siege unconditionally lifted.
Palestinians want unrestricted movement of people and goods, a seaport to facilitate imports and exports, fishing zones extended, and control over their borders, coastline, air space and resources.
They want long denied fundamental rights. Israel remains hardline. It refuses to offer nothing but token relief too little to matter.
It wants Gaza demilitarized. It wants Hamas and other resistance groups defenseless against certain future Israeli aggression.
It wants control over people and goods entering and existing Gaza. It wants it either directly or indirectly. 
Its other demands run counter to fundamental Palestinian rights.Wide differences between both sides remain. 
Days more talks aren't likely to change things. Palestinian negotiators agreed to continue them as a show of good faith.
As Wednesday's deadline approached, dozens of Israeli tanks and armored personnel carries mobilized on Gaza's border.
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said "(w)e have already sacrificed 64 men and it is possible we may have to sacrifice more.
Palestinian negotiator Azzam al-Ahmad said agreement was reached "on many points," but major differences remain.
His team members left Cairo Thursday to consult with their leaders. Egyptian mediators proposed delaying talks on major issues until a permanent ceasefire is in place for one month.
They include lifting Gaza's siege, permitting a seaport and airport, as well as other major sticking points. 
Delay advantages Israel. It harms Palestinians. Oslo showed why. 
Palestinians got nothing for renouncing armed struggle, recognizing Israel's right to exist, and agreeing to leave major unresolved issues for later final status talks. 
Twenty-one years later, they're still waiting. Israel's occupation remains. Conditions are much worse now than then. 
Land theft continues. Israel's settler population tripled in size. Diaspora Palestinians can't return. 
East Jerusalem isn't Palestine's capital. Israel controls over 60% of West Bank land. Gaza remains the world's largest open-air prison. 
Israeli oppression is unrelenting. Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in its gulag. They do so under horrific conditions.
Torture remains official Israeli policy. So is state terror against an entire Arab population. Palestinian self-determination remains elusive.
Beleaguered people have no control over their borders, air space, coastline, water and other resources. Brutal occupation conditions persist.
Police state oppression characterizes them. Military orders control virtually every aspect of Palestinian life. Abbas and his cronies serve illegitimately as Israeli enforcers.
Fundamental rights are denied. Jews alone are afforded them. Arabs are dehumanized and denigrated. They're considered inferior, violent, immoral, cruel gun-toting terrorists.
At the same time, Jews are called superior, industrious, brave, and God's chosen people. From pre-school through adulthood, an entire population is brainwashed to believe what should be denounced.
No wonder the vast majority of Israeli Jews supported Netanyahu's genocidal Gaza war. They've been taught to hate Arabs since before they could know how their minds were manipulated by a ruthless racist state.
Believing Cairo talks can change things in Gaza for the better is pure fantasy. Israel considers Hamas and other legitimate resistance groups terrorist organizations.
At the same time, it bears repeating what previous articles stressed. Israeli agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on.
They're made to be breached. Israel says one thing. It does another. It's done so throughout its existence.
Daily violations occur straightaway. Palestinians are blamed for Israeli crimes. Peace and stability are non-starters. 
Israel is a modern-day Sparta. Belligerence is a way of life. Zionism harms Jews and non-Jews alike. It's racist, violent and repressive.
It's ideologically over-the-top. It turned Israel into one of the world's most abusive human rights violators. 
It legitimizes state-sponsored terror. It breeds hate. It fosters lawlessness and other egregious behavior.
It suppresses dissent. It justifies the unjustifiable. It considers legitimate Israeli criticism anti-Semitism. 
It considers pacifism sissy. It glorifies militarism and belligerence as a way of life. 
It lets Israel get away with the most extreme high crimes against peace. It's a cancer destroying its adherents. 
It shows up in virtually every facet of Israeli life. It turned Israel into a pariah state. 
Expect Cairo talks to produce no substantive change for the better throughout the territories. 
Expect Israeli oppression to remain unchanged. Expect justice to remain denied. Expect Israeli aggression to erupt any time for any reason or none at all.
Expect Palestinians to be wrongfully blamed for Israeli crimes. Expect Israeli-initiated violence to remain unabated. 
Expect continued full Washington support for its worst crimes. Expect Palestinian liberation to remain a distant dream. 
Negotiations ad nauseam at best achieve tokenism too little to matter. Expect life throughout Occupied Palestine to remain brutally unjust. 
Expect world leaders able to make a difference to do nothing to change things. 
Expect Palestinians to remain isolated on their own. Expect Israel to take full advantage.
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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Australia and Mexico Must Overhaul Data Retention Mandates

eff.org - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 10:41

Today, Mexico’s newest data retention law entered into force. The Mexican telecom law compels telecom providers to retain, for two years, the details of who communicates with whom, for how long, and from where. It also allows the authorities access to these details without a court order, exposing geolocation information that reveals the physical whereabouts of Mexicans. Across the Pacific, the Australian government plans to introduce a data retention mandate for Australian Internet Service Providers.  These developments come on the heels of widespread opposition, and skepticism about whether blanket data retention mandates can ever be consistent with human rights law.

On April 8, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union declared the EU's Data Retention Directive invalid. The top court held that, although the retention of communications data under the Directive was for the legitimate aim of combating "serious crime," the blanket nature of the obligation entailed "an interference with the fundamental rights of practically the entire European population." Essentially, the court criticized the Directive for treating every person as a criminal suspect. The decision was a huge victory for European human rights activists who doggedly fought these draconian rules. The activists waged awe-inspiring advocacy campaigns, pursued effective litigation strategies, and organized what proved to be the largest-ever street protests against excessive surveillance.  In Germany, the battle against the implementation of data retention gathered steam immediately after the law’s passage. The German coalition, AK Vorrat, brought public pressure against it and initiated a lawsuit on behalf of 34,000 citizens. The coalition was successful, as the German constitutional court rejected the data retention law as contrary to fundamental civil liberties guaranteed by the German constitution.

The consequences of data retention mandates are far-reaching, but one particularly troubling outcome is the erosion of journalists’ right to refuse to hand over evidence to law enforcement to protect the confidentiality of their sources. In Poland, the media reported on two major cases where intelligence agencies used retained traffic and subscriber data to illegally disclose journalistic sources.  In Germany, Deutsche Telekom illegally used telecom traffic and location data to spy on about 60 individuals—including critical journalists, managers and union leaders—in order to try to find leaks. And in a particularly egregious case from Ireland, a law enforcement officer reportedly used retained communications data to spy on her ex-boyfriend’s phone activities.

Meanwhile, Latin America saw a judicial rejection of a data retention mandate as early as 2005. An Argentine regulation there had compelled all telcos and ISPs to record, index, and store traffic data for a 10-year period. Argentine civil rights organization, Fundacion Via Libre, fought back with a media campaign, and, in combination with a litigation strategy led by a private sector organization, the regulation was thrown out by the Argentine Supreme Court.

More recently, strong criticisms of data retention mandates have been issued in international policy venues. On March 27, the UN Human Rights Committee (the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties) issued its first-ever official report on privacy in the digital age, calling upon the United States to “refrain from imposing mandatory retention of data by third parties.”

And recently, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, issued a landmark report, expressly criticizing data retention mandates and stating that they are neither necessary nor proportionate:

Mandatory third party data retention, a recurring feature of surveillance regimes in many States, where Governments require telephone companies and Internet service providers to store metadata about their customers’ communications and location for subsequent law enforcement and intelligence agency access appears neither necessary nor proportionate.

For any surveillance measure to be legal under international human rights law, it must be prescribed by law. It must be “necessary” to achieve a legitimate aim and “proportionate” to the desired aim. This requirement is important to ensure that the government does not adopt surveillance measures that threaten the foundations of a democratic society.

The 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles in particular, and international human rights law generally, are premised on the assumption that interferences with fundamental rights must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. In this context, data retention mandates of innocent individuals, by its very nature, eradicates any consideration of proportionality and due process in favor of the indiscriminate interference with the right to privacy—and could never be compatible with States’ human rights obligations. Australia and Mexico must turn back from the dead-end path of data retention mandates, and uphold their international human rights obligations.

References:

International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, updated July 2014 https://en.necessaryandproportionate.org/text

EFF, Article 19: Legal Analysis and Background Materials: International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, May 2014 https://en.necessaryandproportionate.org/LegalAnalysis

The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/DigitalAge/Pages/DigitalAgeIndex.aspx

Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right the privacy in the digital age http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session27/Documents/A.HRC.27.37_en.pdf

Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 2013. Annual Report of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/expression/docs/reports/2014_04_22_%20IA_2013_ENG%20_FINALweb.pdf

Human Rights Committee, General Comment 27, Freedom of movement (Art. 12), U.N. Doc CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.9 (1999). http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/gencomm/hrcom27.htm

UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism, A/HRC/13/37UN

Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, A/HRC/23/40

Related Issues: InternationalMandatory Data Retention
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Obama's War on Iraq

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 06:07
Obama's War on Iraq
by Stephen Lendman
For the third time since January 1991, America is at war with Iraq. It's ongoing lawlessly. 
No nation may attack another except in self-defense. None may do so without Security Council authorization. None exists. Obama is a war criminal multiple times over. 
Bombing Iraq adds another crime to his rap sheet. Reasons given don't wash. US involvement has nothing to do with humanitarian intervention or responsibility to protect.
It has everything to do with protecting the interests of ExxonMobil and Chevron operations. It's about Washington wanting unchallenged regional control.
It's about making the world safe for war profiteers. It's to benefit their bottom line priorities.
It's about stoking fear deceptively. It's about suppressing truth and full disclosure.
It's about using ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) aka ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) as both enemy and ally in different conflict theaters.
It's about carving up whole continents for profits and dominance. It's about imperialism's dark side. It's about pillaging nations for profit.
It's about disenfranchising populations. It's about turning workers into serfs. It's about prioritizing capital's divine right. It's about profiteering as a be-all-and-end-all.
It has nothing to do with external or internal threats. It not about  protecting religious minorities and preventing slaughter as New York Times editors claim.
On August 7, they lied saying "it became impossible for the United States and other civilized nations to ignore" a looming humanitarian disaster.
Air-dropping modest amounts of food and water is a ploy to enlist public support for naked US aggression against a country posing no threat to America.
"Mr. Obama made a wise policy call," claim Times editors. He "showed proper caution." He's "keeping his commitment not to reintroduce American ground troops."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel deployed 130 more marines and special forces trained killers. On Tuesday, they arrived in Irbil.
They're "not a combat-boots-on-the-ground operation," claimed Hagel. He ludicrously said America's combat role is over at the same time US bombing continues and perhaps prepares to escalate.
More US ground forces may follow in what may become another US quagmire. Mission creep often follows initial forays. 
Expect the worst ahead from Obama's latest aggression. Expect Iraq civilians to suffer most.
According to Hagel, the new deployment is temporary. DOD will "take a closer look (on the ground) and give a more in-depth assessment of where we can continue to help the Iraqis with what they're doing, and the threats that they are now dealing with."
Washington already has 250 so-called military advisors in Iraq as well as over 450 security forces and 100 military personnel at its Baghdad embassy.
Obama is playing the humanitarian card deceitfully. He's doing so to advance and protect America's imperial interests. 
On August 7, he authorized lawless northern Iraq air strikes against its ISIL Syrian ally. Concern for Iraqi religious minorities is pretense. 
It's fake. Obama doesn't give a damn about their welfare and never did.
At the same time, he fully supports Israel's genocidal slaughter of defenseless Palestinian civilians.
He was elected on promises to end America's involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead, he escalated conflict, maintained a permanent state of direct and proxy wars, and began bombing Iraq for spurious reasons.
Claiming it's a limited campaign is duplicitous on its face. According to Pentagon press secretary Read Admiral John Kirby, "the United States military will continue to take direct action against (ISIL) when they threaten our personnel and facilities."
Nothing suggests they do except in retaliation against US aggression. The current US campaign could last weeks, months or longer.
It could escalate into another major conflict with US ground troops directly involved. Air campaigns have only limited success.
ISIL forces are heavily armed with US weapons. They're a formidable force to confront. They're involved for the long haul. It'll take more than drone and F-16 attacks to defeat them.
It'll take more than days or weeks under any conditions. It'll take prolonged bloody fighting. It'll take cost many lives. It'll take turning areas of Iraq into rubble.
It may become another US-led NATO war. France agreed to provide Kurdish forces with weapons. Britain is conducting surveillance flights.
It's using combat planes able to supplement US attacks if ordered. Perhaps other NATO countries will get involved. Perhaps full-scale war will erupt throughout the country.
An open-ended campaign is planned. In recent weeks, ISIL captured 17 towns and villages. It controls the Tigris River-based Mosul Dam.
Kurdish forces are no match against their formidable power. The prospect of ISIL overrunning Irbil prompted Obama to authorize war.
A US command and control center is there. Foreign companies and residents are leaving.
When Syrian-based ISIL forces entered Iraq, its army abandoned long held positions, weapons, munitions and equipment. 
Doing so let ISIL obtain armored vehicles, artillery, tanks and other heavy weapons. Open-ended war looks likely. 
According to retired US Army Colonel Peter Mansoor, Obama's war requires an operating base. "You're talking about a 10,000 - 15,000 (force) to include maintenance and medevac and security."
"But that is the price you're going to pay if you want to roll back (ISIL). You can't just snap your fingers and make it go away."
Short campaigns have a way of becoming long ones. Iraqis have been at war since the 1980s. Most never knew a time of peace.
Washington bears full responsibility for turning the cradle of civilization into a dystopian nightmare. Obama continues the worst of Reagan, Bush I and II.
Millions of Iraqi deaths attest to America's barbarity. No end of conflict looms. Permanent war and human misery continue.
The same holds in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and elsewhere thanks to America's rage for world dominance at the expense of millions of victims.
On August 13, deputy national security advisor Benjamin Rhodes said Washington will consider using US ground forces to help Iraqis rescue Yazidi refugees if Pentagon officials recommend doing so.
"We don't believe it’s sustainable to just have, you know, permanent airdrops to this population on the mountain," he said.
"Some of them have been able to escape but, again, we want to get options in place to move them to a safer place."
"There needs to be a lasting solution that gets that population to a safe space where they can receive more permanent assistance."
He disingenuously distinguished between this type role and deploying US forces for combat.
Using them on the ground in any capacity puts them into potential direct conflict with ISIL. All US forces are combat ready. 
Expect them to be used that way sooner or later if they operate in conflict areas. Expect another Obama promise made and broken.
He's a serial liar. He's a moral coward. He's a war criminal multiple times over. He disgraces the office he holds. 
He's waging additional lawless aggression at a time the overwhelming number of Americans want peace. They want neglected homeland priorities addressed. 
They want them no longer to go begging. They want what Obama won't deliver. He's a warrior, not a peacemaker. 
He's beholden solely to wealth, power and privilege. He's mindless of long neglected people needs. Imperial aims and corporate interests alone matter.
At the same time, Washington arranged for Haider al-Abadi to replace Nuri al-Maliki as Iraq's prime minister.
Al-Maliki wasn't convenient stooge enough. It remains to be seen if al-Abadi better serves US interests.
It's unclear if al-Maliki gave up his quest to retain power. It’s likely after Iran endorsed al-Abadi. A key Iraqi general backs Iraq's new president, Fuad Masum, and al-Abadi.
A new subservient Iraqi government is taking shape. It'll replace the al-Maliki one. Washington is orchestrating things. 
It wants convenient stooges in power doing its bidding. It wants control over Iraq's government. 
It's too early to know if its best laid plans turn out as intended. ISIL will have great influence of events ahead. 
Another quagmire seems likely. The fullness of time will tell. In the meantime, ordinary Iraqis continue suffering most. 
America bares full responsibility for one of history's great crimes. It's decades long and continuing. No end in sight looms.
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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Advertising

 


Advertise here!

Syndicate content
All content and comments posted are owned and © by the Author and/or Poster.
Web site Copyright © 1995 - 2007 Clemens Vermeulen, Cairns - All Rights Reserved
Drupal design and maintenance by Clemens Vermeulen Drupal theme by Kiwi Themes.
Buy now