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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 22:07
Tsipras Surrenders to Troika Demands
by Stephen Lendman
Since becoming Greek Prime Minister in January, Tsipras proved he's like all the rest - promising one thing, doing another.
Overnight Tuesday, his public posturing again proved hollow. After calling Troika demands "unacceptable" and urging Greeks reject them with a "resounding NO" in Sunday's plebiscite, he capitulated to most of what he previously opposed.
Things remain fast-moving. Hours earlier, the Financial Times obtained a letter he sent Troika officials. It called his new proposal "a significant climbdown from his previous position." It destroyed what little credibility he had left.
His letter said Athens accepts VAT reforms except for a 30% discount for Greek Islands - many remote in hard to supply areas.
He agreed to incrementally change the retirement age to 67 by 2022 beginning in October, not immediately. He requested a special "solidarity grant" for poor pensioners - agreeing to phase it out entirely by 2019, more slowly than Troika officials demand.
"The Hellenic Republic is prepared to accept this staff-level agreement subject to the following amendments, additions or clarifications, as part of an extension of the expiring (bailout) program and the new (third) loan agreement for which a request was submitted today, Tuesday June 30th 2015," Tsipras said.
"As you will note, our amendments are concrete and they fully respect the robustness and credibility of the design of the overall program."
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble rejected Tsipras' proposal straightaway - calling it "no basis" for serious talks.
An unnamed EU official said "the question now is not whether Greece agrees to certain measures. It’s the political will to reach a deal among the other eurozone partners. And this is very difficult to predict given all the bad will."
At the same time, Eurozone finance ministers said they're still open to a bailout deal provided Greece implements tough anti-populist measures no responsible government would accept.
SYRIZA officials haggled overnight on whether to cancel Sunday's referendum. Their behavior shows they're unfit to govern. 
What little chance Sunday's vote had to reject harsh Troika bailout terms appears lost. Polls show support for accepting them increasing.
Greeks know what Tsipras urged they oppose he largely supports - likely heading toward full capitulation given the largely negative response he's gotten so far and how easily he shifts from one position to another. He was elected on a pledge to end austerity. Instead he increased it harshly and supports tougher measures.
He wants to avoid snap elections in case Greeks vote yes on Sunday to accept Troika terms. Given his public betrayal, SYRIZA would likely lose and he'd be out of a job. He wants to remain prime minister no matter the cost to his own people.
An unnamed senior Greek official said no more concessions are planned. Given how often Tsipras bends, Troika officials know they just have to wait him out until he capitulates entirely.
Tsipras wants a new bailout - Greece's third in five years to pay $32.5 billion in debt service due between 2015 and 2017 - instead of renouncing its odious debt, exiting the Eurozone, regaining monetary and fiscal control, and beginning the process of restoring economic growth, impossible any other way.
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. 

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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 20:16
Israel Violently Assaulted Ship to Gaza Activists
by Stephen Lendman
Israel lied saying interdicting Marianne Ship to Gaza's humanitarian mission was an "uneventful event." It was lawless and violent.  
Israeli Shayetet 13 elite Naval Special Forces were used. Their missions involve violence. They're brutal warriors, highly trained in clandestine sea operations, sea-to-land incursions, assassinations, counterterrorism, and sabotage with a reputation for ruthless efficiency.
Marianne activists weren't treated gently as Israel implied. Four or more were brutally tasered - stunned by enough high-voltage to cause cardiac arrhythmia or arrest in vulnerable subjects, risking death.
Tasering has harmful physical and cognitive effects. Brutal US police use them hundreds of times daily against targeted subjects nationwide. They should be banned altogether as too potentially dangerous to human health and well-being.
Freedom Flotilla III spokesperson Loukas Stamellos said "(a)t least four (Marianne activists) were tasered and one was slightly injured. We were questioning the military's narrative (about intervening nonviolently), but now we know at least some people were (assaulted and) hurt, and there was (likely pre-planned) violence during the interception."
Now released Marianne participant MK Basel Ghattas said Israeli commandos "violently" attacked the vessel about 2AM local time.
Some activists on board used "passive resistance tactics," he explained. Charlie Andreasson was injured from tasering.
"This is clearly pirate work," Ghassas stressed. "We were kidnapped for 24 hours." Some passengers were released. Others remain detained in Ramla prison, awaiting deportation.
A previous article discussed how earlier ship to Gaza activists were treated - assaulted by Israeli commandos, kidnapped, taken to Ashdod, held incommunicado for days at Ramla prison under horrific conditions.
It's one of Israel's harshest facilities, a stinking hellhole with inmates confined to tiny spaces in dark filth. Many had no beds. They were forced to sleep in overcrowded conditions with other prisoners on concrete floors.
They described the facility as cockroach-infested. Armed soldiers guarded them. Their personal possessions were confiscated. Days later, they were taken to Ashdod's central bus station.
They arrived with no money or belongings - left there on their own, treated like criminals for doing the right thing.
Expect Marianne activists experiencing the same harsh treatment - by an outlaw regime known for brutality.
Ghattas expects Israeli recrimination against him - including "attempt(ing) to take some privileges away from (him)…perhaps remov(ing) (him) from a committee."
He took a calculated risk, he explained. His aim was focusing on Israel's lawless blockade. He called its interdiction an "illegal action. Those responsible should be held accountable by international courts."
As this is written, at least nine of the 18 Marianne activists remain in Israeli custody, including two Canadians: Robert Lovelace and Kevin Neish. Flotilla spokesperson Zoe Blunt expressed concern about their welfare. They're likely being treated harshly.
Sweden's Foreign Ministry lodged an official complaint with Israel over the incident. Its spokeswoman Veronica Nordlund said:
From "the information we have been given, the Israeli navy intervention took place in international waters. According to law it’s only the flag State, in this case Sweden, (that) is allowed to act against another ship on international waters. Sweden has expressed (its) opinion on the event to Israel."
"We require consular access to contact (Marianne's) passengers…The situation is alarming, and Sweden considers the opening of the border checkpoints important."
Meanwhile, Israel's security agency Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen irresponsibly accused Hamas of gearing up for more conflict when he and other Israeli officials know it wants differences resolved peacefully to end blockade conditions.
Expect no softening in Israel's militantly hardline agenda. Expect no relief for beleaguered Gazans.
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 Stands With Innovative Developers in the Wake of Oracle v. Google

eff.org - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 16:33

The Supreme Court’s refusal to review the Federal Circuit’s dangerous decision in Oracle v. Google means that court’s decision will stand for now. EFF, along with leading computer scientists and copyright practitioners, thinks the Federal Circuit got it wrong: the legal precedents that the Federal Circuit refused to follow, as well as the realities of software development, argue against treating application programming interfaces (APIs) as copyrightable. And while the case isn’t over, we’re worried that litigious, well-heeled software companies will begin to threaten innovative developers with lawsuits, or demand license fees, when they create interoperable software by using or re-implementing an API. EFF is interested in hearing from software developers or companies that have received these kinds of threats or demands in the wake of Oracle v. Google.

The Federal Circuit’s decision came as a shock to many in the software community. The free and open use of APIs has been both routine and essential in the computer industry since its beginning, and that use was based on the sensible assumption that APIs and other interfaces could not be copyrighted. Aside from the Oracle decision, the federal courts have uniformly upheld that pro-innovation interpretation of copyright law, ruling that copyright doesn’t cover functional elements of software.1 The European Court of Justice has reached the same conclusions. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which hears appeals from the West Coast states where many software companies are located, ruled that the “functional requirements for compatibility” between computer programs “are not protected by copyright.”2 APIs are, of course, functional requirements for compatibility with existing software.

The Federal Circuit hears appeals in certain cases where the complaint includes a patent claim, as Oracle v. Google did, and on non-patent legal issues it’s supposed to follow the precedents of the circuit court in the geographic region where the case arose—in this case, the Ninth. But the Federal Circuit’s decision in Oracle disregarded the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning, essentially rejecting it outright.

While EFF is worried about software developers, coding projects, and small software companies receiving legal threats based on the Oracle decision, we’re looking into how these innovators can push back, and we could use your input. If you’re a software developer, project leader, or business who’s received a threat or demand based on your use or re-implementation of an API, or if you were pressured to take a license to use an API because of Oracle v. Google, email us at info@eff.org.

  • 1. E.g., Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int’l, Inc., 49 F.3d 807, 815 (1st Cir. 1995), affirmed by an equally divided Court, 516 U.S. 233 (1996); Computer Associates Intern., Inc. v. Altai, Inc., 982 F. 2d 693 (2d Cir. 1992).
  • 2. Sega Enters., Ltd., v. Accolade, Inc., 977 F.2d 1510, 1522 (9th Cir. 1992); see also Sony Computer Ent’mt, Inc. v. Connectix Corp., F.3d 596, 599–600 (9th Cir. 2000).
Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceRelated Cases: Oracle v. Google
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Padmapper and 3Taps Settle Suit with craigslist over Use of Real Estate Facts

eff.org - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:27

Padmapper and 3Taps ended their three-year legal fight with craigslist on Monday, agreeing to stop using classified ad data from craigslist on their own sites. 3Taps has also agreed to pay craigslist $1 million on the condition that craigslist donate the money to EFF. While we’re pleased to receive a donation that will help us continue our mission of defending civil liberties online, we’re disappointed that the court won’t be affirming Padmapper and 3Taps’ right to use data from craigslist postings—data that can’t be copyrighted—to create innovative new tools.

3taps collected real-estate data from craigslist and made it available to other companies to use. One of those companies, Padmapper, republished craigslist apartment listings over a map to enable users to view the listings geographically, a feature then unavailable on the craigslist site. Craigslist sued 3Taps, Padmapper, and others in 2012, invoking a variety of laws including copyright and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to stop these companies from using the real estate listings.

EFF saw a lot of problems with craigslist’s legal claims: claiming copyright in users’ posts, attempts to transfer users' copyrights to themselves, and the claim that “scraping” or copying data from the site could be a CFAA violation. We told the court that when a website makes data available to the public, copying it isn’t “unauthorized access” under the CFAA.

Judge Charles Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California made some intermediate rulings in the case, which were mixed. The court rejected some of craigslist’s copyright arguments but allowed its CFAA claim to go forward.

Unfortunately, yesterday’s settlement means the legal issues in the case won’t get a final hearing. According to the settlement agreement published on 3Taps’ website, both 3Taps and Padmapper have agreed to stop using craigslist data. 3Taps will pay $1 million to craigslist, which will be donated to EFF in installments over ten years. Padmapper posted on its website yesterday that it will keep on running, using over 100 data sources to populate the rental listings on its mapping site, which number over 700,000 even without craigslist data.

This settlement doesn’t change any rules. Facts—like the address and details of an apartment for rent—can’t be copyrighted. And violating a website’s terms of service isn’t a CFAA violation. We’re pleased that craigslist, 3Taps, and Padmapper chose to make a generous donation to EFF as part of their lawsuit settlement, and that EFF’s principled commitment to users’ rights was an overarching value that aligned these disagreeing parties. But we’re also sorry to see craigslist succeed at blocking new and innovative uses of their data. Innovation doesn’t happen under one roof alone, and the right to innovate using lawful site scraping and non-copyrightable facts shouldn’t depend on the outcome of a legal war of attrition.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceComputer Fraud And Abuse Act Reform
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As Diego Stands Trial, Show Your Support for Open Access

eff.org - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 04:09

UPDATE 06/30/2015: The hearing has been postponed and will proceed in October. Thanks to everyone who helped us raise awareness today.

"Access to knowledge is a global right."

These are the words of student Diego Gomez, who begins his trial in Colombia today, and faces eight years in prison for posting a scientific paper online to share with his colleagues. Diego's plight highlights three important issues:

(1) stringent copyright regimes around the world are being abused to stifle access to knowledge;

(2) those regimes are in part a result of U.S. efforts to use trade deals to spread bad innovation policy; and

(3) open access is a policy that's critical to education, innovation, and global progress.

We need you to stand by Diego. Help us inform the world about the injustices that turned this student into a criminal, and show your support for advancing open access policies worldwide.

Student Diego Gomez faces 8 years in prison for sharing a paper online. Is this the world we want? https://eff.org/r.uy7p #standwithdiego

Copyright Creates Barriers to Knowledge

Extreme criminal copyright rules chill users' rights, especially when it comes to access to culture and knowledge. When users face the threat of being jailed or hit with debilitating fines over allegations of copyright infringement, everyday activities like sharing academic resources can be intimidating. It doesn't help that Colombia, like most of the world, lacks robust fair use protections.

Most countries only have a weak or outdated list of exceptions and limitations to copyright, which is far less permissive than the United States' fair use system. Colombia's list of exceptions was issued more than 20 years ago and barely apply to the digital age, raising the question of whether any even applies to Diego's case. Copyright law needs to be designed in a way that encourages the spread and access to knowledge and culture, and it must be reformed in every country where it fails to do so.

Copyright should not be used to turn students into criminals for sharing a paper online. https://eff.org/r.uy7p #standwithdiego

The U.S. Needs to Stop Spreading Bad Policy Around the World

We need to question why Colombia has such severe copyright laws in the first place. It directly results from the country's trade agreement with the United States. Colombia reformed its criminal laws in 2006 and expanded criminal penalties for copyright infringement in order to fulfill the trade deal's restrictive copyright standards. While the country already had criminalized copyright infringement, the trade agreement compelled lawmakers to heighten possible prison sentences and monetary fines.

The real human costs to secret trade deals—draconian laws that turn students into criminals: https://eff.org/r.uy7p #standwithdiego

Open Access Is Within Our Reach

Open access to research—especially research funded by taxpayers through government agencies—may in fact be a reality very soon. We've seen immense efforts by research and funding bodies around the world.

In the United States, the White House issued a memorandum mandating federal agencies to create public access policies, many of which have been released over the last several months. Some mirror the NIH's policy of mandating research be openly available within 12 months of publication and will build upon the robust PubMed Central repository. While these steps are promising, an administrative mandate is not law. We've supported FASTR, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research bill, which would set the administration's memorandum into law. The Senate version of this bill is being heard in the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee at the end of July.

If you're in the U.S., take action today and tell your senator to support FASTR.

If you're outside the U.S., sign our petition in support of open access and contact your representatives to make this initiative a priority.

Academic research shouldn't be locked up or cost a fortune. Support open access. https://eff.org/r.uy7p #standwithdiego


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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 01:31
Russia Vows Continued Support for Embattled Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Obama's war is in its fourth year - using Islamic State and other takfiri terrorists as US proxies to replace Bashar al-Assad with a pro-Western puppet.
Continued conflict killed over 200,000, displaced millions more and created the world's greatest internal and external refugee crisis.  Nothing in prospect suggests ending things diplomatically.
Putin and Sergey Lavrov met with Syrian Foreign Minister Wali al-Moualem in Moscow. They pledged continued support in fighting terrorism.
"Our policy of supporting Syria, its leadership and its people remains unchanged," said Putin. "Syrian people will win in the final run."
Lavrov stressed Russia will continue "all possible assistance to increase (Syria's) ability to resist the evil" of terrorist forces battling to overthrow its government.
Al-Muallem condemned Washington for spending a billion dollars supporting terrorists operating in Syria.
"The Americans are making no secret of their support for terrorists," he said. They demand resolving things politically while waging dirty proxy war.
Putin promised support for establishing an anti-terrorism coalition - despite regional countries including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states allied against Damascus.
Al-Muallem said "Syria's main problem is the support offered to terrorists that are active in our country by neighboring nations. But we are ready - based on (help offered by Russia) - to work toward cooperation in the fight against terrorism."
They infest the region - recruited by Washington and rogue allies from scores of countries. Syria's survival depends on defeating them. Iraq and other countries are threatened.
Washington's aim to topple all independent governments is the greatest threat of all. Direct US intervention in Syria and elsewhere looms if proxy wars fail.
Putin confirmed Russia will keep helping Syria economically throughout its current crisis, as well as help strengthen its defense capability.
Saudi documents obtained by WikiLeaks revealed a secret Riyadh, Turkey, Qatar plot to topple Assad. Last month, AP News reported the same thing - citing Saudi Arabia and Turkey alone.
Saying both countries adopted "an aggressive new strategy to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad…their common enemy."
Their alliance reflects impatience with Obama's failure to act more aggressively, said AP. It omitted explaining Obama's war - launched in March 2011 to topple Assad, eliminate an Israeli rival, isolate Iran, and use takfiri death squads to do it.
Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are bit players except for their willingness to supply weapons, funding and training along with US CIA and special forces involved.
The battle for Syria's soul continues. No end of conflict looms - nor relief for millions of Syrians suffering hugely because of Washington's imperial ruthlessness.
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. 

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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 30/06/2015 - 23:29
No Deal as June 30 Iranian Nuclear Talks Deadline Arrives
by Stephen Lendman
Washington remains the obstacle to successfully concluding Iranian nuclear talks - so-called P5+1 negotiations. Instead of sticking to preliminary April Lausanne parameters for final consummation of unresolved issues, new ones were raised contrary to what was agreed on earlier.
Longstanding US hostility toward Iran remains unchanged. Current talks haven't improved relations. Washington wants Tehran's government toppled. It wants its sovereignty destroyed. It wants a puppet regime installed like under the Shah.
Years of nuclear talks reflect red-herring cover for America's real objective. Whatever may or may not be agreed on in current talks, hardline US policy toward Iran remains unchanged.
Millions of Iranians signed a petition supporting principles listed below for a fair and equitable final nuclear deal. Over 17,000 lawyers endorsed them along with family members of Iranian nuclear scientists murdered by Israel's Mossad. Principles include:
  • lifting all sanctions concurrently with the consummation of a deal, if achieved;

  • preserving, protecting and strengthening all Iranian nuclear achievements;

  • permitting nuclear R & D to continue unimpeded as well as no limitations on scientific and technical progress;

  • monitoring nuclear sites should not exceed international laws, norms and standards;

  • no inspections of military sites and security facilities;

  • any agreement reached should be reversible if Washington or other P5+1 countries violate its principles or falsely accuse Iran of breaches. 

Post-Lausanne, Washington kept raising the bar - making demands not agreed to in the first place. Iran justifiably balks. It's made far more concessions than benefits received in return.
Much going on behind closed doors remains secret. Reports indicate Washington keeps making unacceptable demands, new ones not agreed to before - including:
  • wanting modifications in Iranian operating centrifuges and number permitted;

  • R&D restrictions;

  • drawn out sanctions relief instead of immediate with no assurance for follow-through; and

  • unrestricted IAEA access to Iranian military sites and all other facilities nationwide.

These and perhaps others coming prevent equitable resolution of talks satisfying all parties. Washington's idea of a deal is subjugation. Iran wants none of it justifiably.
Last weekend, its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said "(w)e have come to Vienna to reach an agreement which fully respects the Iranian nation's interests and rights and will be a good agreement for the entire world."  
"We are sure that if the other side accepts to recognize the Iranian people's rights and acts upon its undertakings, that is to say it removes the sanctions against Iran and fulfills its part of the undertakings concurrent with Iran's measures and avoid raising excessive demands, we will certainly reach an agreement which will be beneficial to everyone."
He stressed the importance of achieving "a lasting and fair deal" - an "honorable one (without) excessive demands."
Last week, Ayatollah Ali Kmanenei warned about Americans wanting Iran's nuclear industry destroyed. Instead of negotiating fairly, they balked on immediate sanctions relief, and "lengthened negotiations by making repeated excessive demands and even threats to boost sanctions and (suggest) militarism…"
"Contemplation and study (of) demands made by the Americans shows they aim to uproot Iran's nuclear industry and the country's nuclear essence and change it to a caricature and a window without content."
"(T)he Americans mean to destroy Iran's nuclear industry…and somehow keep the pressures and sanctions at the same time."
Washington wants Iran reduced to colony status. It makes promises it intends breaking. It's all take and no give. It's hard imagining a fair, equitable and sustainable deal from ongoing talks. Expect Iran to be unfairly blamed for US deceitfulness. 
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. 

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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 30/06/2015 - 21:28
Greece May Become BRICS Member 
by Stephen Lendman
In May, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak invited Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to become the sixth BRICS member - joining Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
At the time, Tspiras said he was interested - giving Greece access to its $100 billion capitalized New Development Bank (NDB), aiming to break Western dominance and become one of the world's leading lending institutions.
It's headquartered in Shanghai - expected to begin operating in July, according to Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak. Indications are Russia and perhaps China are willing to help Greece financially. So far Greece hasn't requested it.
Athens is holding talks with other BRICS members on possible membership. They'll continue during a July 9 and 10 summit in Ufa, Russia.
Deputy Greek Defense Minister Costas Lsychos warned Greece would become a European "economy colony" if it accepts Troika demanded bailout terms.
He called them "unacceptable to our history, to our national pride and sovereignty." Tsipras urged Greeks to vote no in this Sunday's national referendum on Troika demanded bailout terms. 
He indicated possible snap elections if popular sentiment accepts them. "If the nation wants poverty…we will respect the choice, but will not execute it," he said Monday.
Troika strategy likely involves exacerbating crisis conditions, letting Greece default on its $1.8 billion IMF payment due June 30, reduce the euro's value to benefit Eurozone exports, force new elections, replace SYRIZA with new governance amenable to its predatory terms, and/or use default as a reason to ease Greece out of the Eurozone - a so-called Grexit.
Troika officials have no interest in restructuring Greek debt or helping its economy recover. They have every interest in continuing to strip-mine the country of its wealth, assets and enterprises.
They want Greece serving as model for what's intended for the rest of Europe - thirdworldizing the continent for profit, the same thing planned for America.
Meanwhile, posturing by both sides continues. Troika officials warned Greece of isolation and possible Grexit by rejecting their bailout terms.
Athens frames things as only deciding yes or no on accepting them - not on Eurozone membership. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis indicated a possible European Court of Justice injunction to prevent Grexit.
"The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it," he said. "Our membership is not negotiable."
On Monday, huge crowds demonstrated outside parliament in Athens supporting a no vote on Troika terms. It's hard imagining why long-suffering Greeks would vote yes for greater pain.
They'll have little choice either way. Supporting Tsipras (by voting no) means he'll negotiate for somewhat less increased austerity than Troika officials demand. 
Voting yes means accepting indentured servitude. Grexit assures harder than ever hard times before economic recovery is possible. Remaining trapped in the Eurozone straightjacket assures none at all.
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. 

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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 30/06/2015 - 19:17
High-Seas Piracy: Israel's Latest Bandit Act
by Stephen Lendman
Previous articles discussed Israel's seizure of the Swedish vessel Marianne Ship to Gaza carrying humanitarian aid despite Israel's hollow denial. Rogue states lie to conceal their high crimes.
Israel wants Gazans trapped indefinitely in the world's largest open-air prison deprived of essentials for well-being - suffocated under a policy of slow-motion genocide.
Israeli commandos lawlessly seized the Marianne in international waters. Netanyahu saying it was done lawfully is one of a litany of Big Lies he claimed about the incident - a bandit act like so many others Israel commits endlessly.
A June 29 Ship to Gaza press release said "the 'Marianne' contacted Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) and informed us that three boats of the Israeli navy had surrounded her in international waters, while sailing approximately 100NM from Gaza coast." 
"After that we lost contact with the 'Marianne' and at 05:11AM (Gaza time) the IDF announced that they had visited and searched Marianne. They had captured the boat and detained all on board 'in international waters' as they admitted themselves." 
"The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite Netanyahu’s government recent denial that one exists."
"We have no reason to believe that Marianne’s capture was 'uneventful' (as Israel claims), because the last time the IDF said something like that, in 2012" activists on board the Estelle were savagely tasered and beaten with clubs. 
In 2010, nine Mavi Marmara participants were murdered in cold blood, another died later from injuries sustained. They were designated in advance for assassination.
Israel's so-called "no tolerance" policy assures collective punishment against 1.8 million Gazans - victimized by rogue state ruthlessness.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) "condemn(ed) in the strongest terms the Israeli Navy's interception and seizure of the first vessel of Freedom Flotilla III taking it to Ashdod seaport in Israel." 
"PCHR believes that this attack is aimed to impose the conspiracy of international silence towards crimes committed by Israel against the Gaza Strip's population, including the illegal closure that has been imposed for the ninth consecutive year."
"The act of piracy committed by Israeli occupation forces against solidarity activists who came to the Gaza Strip, unarmed but with their moral strength, is another attempt to silence the voices of the free people of the world who wished to send a message to the whole world that the total siege imposed the Gaza Strip is inhuman, illegal, a man-made disaster and a part of an ongoing war crime against Palestinian civilians."
Israel's summer 2014 aggression left much of Gaza in ruins - not rebuilt because Israel blocks most construction and other supplies from getting in. It holds the entire population hostage to its ruthlessness - high crimes demanding accountability not gotten.
Monday evening, Israel's Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority said it detained 16 foreign nationals for questioning. Deportation would follow.
Hamas condemned the "kidnapping" of activists on board, explaining Marianne "succeeded in showing the crime of blockade."
Flotilla organizers said "(w)e once again call on the government of Israel to finally lift the blockade of Gaza. Our destination remains the conscience of humanity."
They vowed to use "passive resistance," not violence when lawlessly boarded. Israel operates by different standards. Brutality is standard practice. 
Reports indicate its commandos tasered activists on board. It's not know so far if they were beaten or otherwise abused. We'll know more when they're able to speak freely.
So far, they're held incommunicado except for former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, Palestinian MK Basel Ghattas and European parliamentarian Ana Miranda - released in Ashdod.
RT International correspondent Nadya Kevorkova was on board the Marianne. Ghattas said she was OK and would be released Tuesday. He confirmed Israeli commandos attacked some activists. Slight injuries were sustained. Swedish participants were singled out for abuse.
Ghattas explained even though Marianne was seized, activists achieved their goal of "attract(ing) attention of the world toward the issue of the illegal siege and toward the illegal blockade over Gaza."
Crew members left video messages prior to seizure. Marianne's captain Joel Opperdoes said "(i)f you see this video, this means that we are under attack in international waters by Israeli Air Defense Forces." Other messages were similar.
After weeks of reports about Freedom Flotilla III' mission, The New York Times addressed it for the first time Monday - highlighting Israel regarding these "action(s) as highly provocative," failing to explain lawless collective punishment against 1.8 million largely defenseless people for political, not security reasons.
Gazans remain trapped in rubble - "ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished," as Franklin Roosevelt said about one-third of Americans during the 1930s Great Depression. 
His solution was expanded social services. Israel's is continued collective punishment and naked aggression at its discretion.
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.

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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 30/06/2015 - 04:45
Khader Adnan Ends Hunger Strike
by Stephen Lendman
Khader Adnan's lawyer Jawad Boulos said he "ended his (55-day) hunger strike (Sunday night) after an agreement was reached to release him on July 12."
At Israel's Assaf Harofeh Medical Center where he's held, he was moved to where he'll begin being fed - perhaps intravenously at first along with ingesting liquids. He took his first sip of milk on Sunday.
"Khader Adnan is sending his greeting to you all, every man and woman, every person who supported him, and those who gathered here," said Boulos.
"He was very moved when (supporters) chant(ed) for his release. He sends his regards to the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, and historic Palestine, and every person who supported his struggle. He wishes to see you all in his home in Arraba Jenin, once he is released."
His condition deteriorated greatly over the past week - leaving him close to death. He's in serious condition far from home free yet.
His road back to good health will be long and arduous. What he endured took a terrible toll on him physically.
His wife Randa said all guarantees he sought were gotten. "(H)e triumphed over the occupation state after 55" painful days.
"His steadfastness has led to this deal for his release…I saw his pain, all the suffering he has been going through during the strike."
She began hunger striking in solidarity with Khader outside the facility where he's held. At a Ramallah press conference, she said "(t)hank God that my husband is coming back to us victorious."
It felt like "eid (the holiday ending Ramadan) the moment we knew that Khader would eat, that Khader would live."
She thanked Palestinian and worldwide supporters, as well as fellow prisoners offering to hunger strike in solidarity with Khader.
She got permission to visit him for the first time on Sunday. His deteriorated condition made her fear it would be the last time. She was "horrified" by his near-death condition.
Israel confirmed he'd be freed after withdrawing his demand never again to be detained administratively uncharged and untried. Worldwide support made it possible. Israel didn't want him martyred. 
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. 

Bad News: Supreme Court Refuses to Review Oracle v. Google API Copyright Decision

eff.org - Tue, 30/06/2015 - 03:42

Sadly, today the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the Federal Circuit’s dangerous decision in Oracle v. Google. Oracle claims a copyright on the Java Application Programming Interface (API), and that Google infringed that copyright by using certain Java APIs in the Android OS. The Federal Circuit had ruled in Oracle’s favor, reversing a well-reasoned district court opinion holding that the APIs in question were not subject to copyright. Google had asked the Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit decision. On behalf of 77 computer scientists, EFF had filed an amicus brief supporting Google’s petition.

The Federal Circuit’s decision has been harshly criticized for its misunderstanding of both computer science and copyright law. APIs are, generally speaking, specifications that allow programs to communicate with each other, and are different than the code that implements a program. Treating APIs as copyrightable would have a profound negative impact on interoperability, and, therefore, innovation

Today’s decision doesn’t mean that Oracle has won the lawsuit. The case will now return to the district court for a trial on Google’s fair use defense. Both the Federal Circuit opinion and a brief by the U.S. Solicitor General recognized that Google was entitled to a trial on that defense. However, fair use shouldn’t be the only defense to API copyrightability. Fair use is a complex and potentially expensive defense to develop and litigate. While Google has the financial resources to take that defense to trial, few start-ups have the ability to do so. The Federal Circuit’s decision thus could deter new companies from competing with a large, litigious competitor by using the latter’s APIs. Hopefully other courts will decline to follow the Federal Circuit’s unwise opinion, which fortunately isn’t binding on the other appeals courts.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceRelated Cases: Oracle v. Google
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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 30/06/2015 - 03:40
ISIS: US Proxy Foot Soldiers
by Stephen Lendman
Washington recruits, arms, trains, funds and directs ISIS terrorists the same way they used Mujahideen fighters in the 1980s against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan as well as Al Qaeda and likeminded takfiri groups today.
They're US proxy foot soldiers against independent governments Washington wants replaced with pro-Western ones, or in the case of Iraq, weakened and balkanized like Yugoslavia for easier control.
Iraqis don't believe America wants ISIS defeated. On June 25, the Wall Street Journal reported Anbar province Sunni Iraqi "unanim(ity) about whom to blame for their misery."
Shiite lawmaker Alia Nusseif said "(w)e don't have any trust in Americans anymore…ISIS is being used as a tool by America to divide and weaken Iraq."
Former policeman Wassen Khaled said he "hold(s) Americans responsible for destroying Anbar."
"We all know that America is providing ISIS with weapons and food, and that it is because of American backing that they have become so strong," an Iraqi free from Ramadi added.
The Journal, of course, downplayed what it called "conspiracy theories" while admitting this view "represent(s) political reality with real-world consequences" - notably ISIS advances despite months of US bombing Iraqi infrastructure, not their fighters.
US officials lie about waging war on their elements. General Thomas Weidley is chief of staff of Washington's so-called task force against the Islamic State. Claiming America's "mission is to defeat Daesh (ISIS)" and bombing has had a "devastating" effect is polar opposite truth.
Washington created the Islamic State. A previous article explained Judicial Watch obtained a declassified 2012 Pentagon intelligence report anticipating ISIS (the Islamic State - IS) emerging from US support for Al Qaeda and other takfiri terrorists.
It predicted what happened, saying "(i)f the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern Syria…and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."
It anticipated "dire consequences" for Iraq - including the fall of Mosul and Ramadi, saying:
An "ideal atmosphere" was created "for AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi."
"ISI (Islamic State of Iraq) could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory." 
Supporting powers include Washington, Turkey, other rogue NATO partners, Gulf states and Israel. They created and supported takfiri terrorist groups to destabilize Syria, establish a Salafist Principality, isolate the Assad government and topple it.
Pentagon intelligence confirmed US support for ISIS and takfiri terrorists - not opposition as officially reported. 
Bassel Idriss, commander of a so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigade, admitted working jointly with takfiri terrorist groups, including ISIS - providing US-supplied weapons besides what Washington supplies them directly by airdrops and through Saudi channels.
London-based Conflict Armament Research reported "significant quantities" of US weapons used by takfiri terrorists marked "property of the US government."
America's phony war on ISIS uses its forces for its own imperial interests. On Sunday, Fars News listed 10 ways ISIS accumulates huge amounts of money.
1. Selling oil using Turkish firms for $1 million daily.
2. Selling ancient Syrian monuments through Turkish middlemen for billions of dollars.
3. Selling body organs.
4. Collecting ransoms for released hostages.
5. Trafficking non-Muslim women.
6. Selling antique Syrian and Iraqi manuscripts and artifacts.
7. Selling intelligence gained on their battlefields to Ankara spy agencies.
8. Turkish financial and logistical aid during the Kobani occupation.
9. Help from Turkish charities.
10. Over $1 billion annually trafficking heroin, according to Russia's Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov.
Plus enormous amounts of US aid, much channeled through Riyadh. Middle East wars rage endlessly. Stoking conflict and instability serve US interests. Expect no resolution any time soon.
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. 

Stupid Patent of the Month: Wetro Lan Sues Entire Network Security Industry With Expired Garbage Patent

eff.org - Tue, 30/06/2015 - 03:08

Like all of the patents we highlight in our Stupid Patent of the Month series, this month’s winner, U.S. Patent No. 6,795,918, is a terrible patent. But it earns a special place in the Pantheon of stupid patents because it is being wielded in one of most outrageous trolling campaigns we have ever seen.

Patent No. 6,795,918 (the ’918 patent), issued from an application filed in March 2000, and is titled: “Service level computer security.” It claims a system of “filtering data packets” by “extracting the source, destination, and protocol information,” and “dropping the received data packet if the extracted information indicates a request for access to an unauthorized service.” You may think, wait a minute, that’s just a firewall. By the year 2000, firewalls had been around for a long time. So how on earth did this applicant get a patent? A good question.

Here’s how you get a patent on a firewall more than a decade after firewalls were invented. Step 1: File a description of your so-called invention that is nothing more than mundane details about how firewalls work. Step 2: Add some language saying this is totally not just a firewall. Step 3: Claim a firewall. With any luck, the Patent Office will just wave you through

To be fair, the ’918 patent suggests a firewall system that is not “user configurable.” The idea is that unsophisticated home users might misconfigure their firewalls so it is better to give them a system they cannot mess up. Just like a real firewall, only dumber! The patent also hedges its bets by claiming a system that is “substantially free from user adjustment,” whatever that means. Even if that was a new idea in 2000, this is not actually a technological improvement. It’s kind of like putting a padlock on the front hood of a car and then saying you’ve invented a new kind of car.

The ’918 patent spent its entire life in well-deserved obscurity. Indeed, the original inventor chose to let the patent expire in September 2012 by not paying the maintenance fee. This is unsurprising. Why waste money keeping a terrible patent alive? Usually, that is where the story would end. Unfortunately, even an expired garbage patent can be useful in the hands of a patent troll.

In January of 2015, a newly-formed company called Wetro Lan, LLC, purchased the ’918 patent. Shortly after that, it began filing dozens of lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas against companies that provide, you guessed it, firewall technology. The troll can do this because damages for patent infringement go back six years. So, technically, it can still demand damages for alleged infringement that took place from mid-2009 until the patent expired in September 2012 (though the defendants might have a good laches defense). Wetro Lan has sued just about everyone who sells a product relating to network security, from Avaya to ZyXEL.

To take one suit as an example, Wetro Lan has sued Hacom, LLC, a small company based in Santa Ana, California, that provides embedded hardware, software, and consulting for implementation of open-source applications. In its complaint, Wetro Lan says that Hacom’s Phoenix IT-100 Appliance and its other routers directly infringe the ‘918 patent. But Hacom doesn’t sell anything remotely like the dumb, non-configurable, firewall discussed in the ’918 patent. They sell advanced products which enable users to configure settings through a web-based interface or at the command line. In fact, since Hacom’s products incorporate free software (free as in freedom), they are configurable down to the source code level.

There’s no way that Hacom’s products infringe a patent that, even if it were valid, would cover only the dumbest of firewalls. But if Wetro Lan is like most trolls, that’s not the game here. The likely point of this litigation is to extract a nuisance settlement. We have significant doubts that Wetro Lan would ever litigate one of its cases on the merits, and win.

The attorneys behind the Wetro Lan campaign are the same lawyers who sued our client in the Garfum v. Reflections by Ruth case. We desperately need legislative reform to stop more abusive litigation from these trolls. Such reform should include fee shifting, heightened pleading requirements, and venue reform to stop shell company trolls dragging innovators to the Eastern District of Texas. Without help from Congress, trolls will keep shaking down small companies like Hacom.

Related Issues: PatentsPatent TrollsInnovation
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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 30/06/2015 - 01:20
Greece Declares Bank Holiday, Capital Controls Imposed
by Stephen Lendman
Fast-moving weekend events included an impasse in bailout talks, Greek MPs approving a July 5 referendum on whether to accept or reject greater Troika austerity demands, its refusal to extend bailout aid, and the ECB capping Greece's Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) instead of cutting it off entirely as some media reported. 
Word is it'll decide day-to-day whether to lend insolvent Greek banks more funds to prevent their declaring bankruptcy and closing down altogether.
Earlier, Greek banks could borrow through private markets. No longer with access cut off - dependent wholly on ECB funding. On Sunday, it signaled additional steps would be taken as needed to prevent Eurozone contagion - likely greater QE than its current 60 billion euro monthly bond buying program.
Following these events, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras explained his action Sunday on national television, saying:
"Yesterday's decision by the Eurogroup to withhold approval of the request of the Greek government for a short extension of the program - which would allow the public to decide in a referendum on the demands of lenders - is an unprecedented act.
This decision…led the ECB to withhold an increase in liquidity to Greek banks and forced the Bank of Greece to recommend measures for a bank holiday and a limit on bank withdrawals. 
It is more than clear that this decision had no other aim but to blackmail the will of the Greek people and obstruct the smooth democratic process of the referendum.
They will not succeed. This will bring the precise opposite effect. The Greek people will be more resolute in its choice of rejecting the unacceptable bailout proposals and the ultimatum of lenders.
One thing is clear: The refusal of a short extension, and the attempt to nullify a democratic procedure, is an act deeply offensive and shameful for the democratic traditions of Europe."
Tsipras assured Greeks their deposits are safe. As are salaries and pensions. They won't be confiscated or suspended, he implied. It remains to be seen what happens if Athens exhausts funds to pay bureaucrats and run daily operations. 
Anything is possible under these circumstances, including haircuts on depositors - bail-ins to recapitalize bankrupt banks and perhaps fund essential government services, grand theft by any other name.
Earlier articles discussed the views of euro expert Bernard Connolly. Before its introduction, he called it a harebrained idea, doomed to fail.
He explained one or more of Europe's weakest countries would face rising budget deficits, troubled economies, and a "downward spiral from which there is no escape unaided." 
"When that happens, the country concerned will be faced with a risk of sovereign default."
In 1979, Europe's Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) was introduced. It's part of the European Monetary System (EMS). It was intended to propel the continent to one European currency unit (ECU).
ERM never worked. ECU failed. Connolly's views were prescient. His "central thesis is that the ERM and the EMU (European Monetary Union, the mechanism which ultimately brought the Euro into technical existence) are not only inefficient but also undemocratic: a danger not only to our wealth but to our freedom and ultimately, our peace."
A system doomed to fail was fraudulently reengineered to look workable. Europe is banker occupied territory. So is America.
Finance is a new form of warfare. Banking giants run things. Whatever they want they get. Economies like Greece are easy marks - strip-mined for profit.
Communities are laid waste. High-pay, good-benefit jobs disappear - offshored to low-wage countries. Rotten ones replace them for workers lucky to have any employment. 
Ordinary people are impoverished - increasingly left on their own to survive. Essential social services are eliminated.
Bankers hold nations hostage. They're more powerful than standing armies - turning crises into catastrophes for ordinary people. Greece is Exhibit A - raped and pillaged for profit at the expense of serving all its people equitably.
Greeks awakened Monday to capital controls and a bank holiday to stem mass depositor outflows - continuing at least through the July 5 referendum, but who knows what's coming under increasing crisis conditions.
For now, Greeks are limited to $66 daily ATM withdrawals - the only way they can get bank funds from their accounts. Internal transactions alone are allowed - no foreign transfers. 
Some German newspapers (Greece's largest creditor country) headlined "Game Over?" and the word "Exit" in ancient Greek.
Here's what Greeks are asked to vote on July 5 - obscurely worded to be incomprehensible and misleading to most anyone not familiar with Troika demands, stating:
"Greek people are hereby asked to decide whether they accept a draft agreement document submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, at the Eurogroup meeting held on on June 25 and which consists of two documents:
The first document is called Reforms for the Completion of the Current Program and Beyond and the second document is called Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis.
Those citizens who reject the institutions' proposal vote Not Approved/NO
Those citizens who accept the institutions' proposal vote Approved/YES."
How much sense this makes to ordinary Greeks may give many pause which way to go. Instead of itemizing Troika demands in simple, understandable terms, convoluted language substituted.
Most importantly, governments are instituted to serve all their citizens equitably. At least that's how democracies are supposed to work. They rarely do - virtually never in Western countries.
Previous articles explained what a responsible government should do. The euro straightjacket is destroying Greece's economy, relegating its citizens to indentured servitude to bankers wanting their interests alone served.
SYRIZA was elected on a mandate to end austerity.  Instead it increased it and agreed to most Troika demands for greater harm to its own people - instead of renouncing its odious debt, exiting the Eurozone, and reclaiming Greece's national sovereignty despite enormous transitional pain.
It's the only way Greece can survive economically - intermediate-term pain for longterm gain. Remaining subject to Troika diktats assures turning the nation in a greater dystopian wasteland than already. 
Previous governments and SYRIZA never should have let things get this catastrophic in the first place. They capitulated to bankers instead of serving their own people responsibly. 
Will things change for the better ahead? Given war on working people throughout Western and most other societies, don't bet on it.
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. 

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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 29/06/2015 - 22:24
Netanyahu's Statement Following His Latest Bandit Act
by Stephen Lendman
A separate article discussed Israeli commandos lawlessly interdicting the Swedish Marianne Ship to Gaza humanitarian mission in international waters - a blatant act of high-seas piracy, never justifiable for any reason despite Israeli claims otherwise.
You have to be a moron or hate-mongering racist to believe anything Israeli officials say - an over-the-top fascist bunch belonging in prison, not high office.
Netanyahu disgraces the office he holds - an unindicted war criminal multiple times over. Anti-Muslim viciousness defines his agenda - intolerant and ruthless by any standard.
He issued a statement following Israel's high-seas piracy. It included a litany of Big Lies, saying:
"I would like to commend the sailors and commanders of the Israel Navy for their determined and efficient action in detaining the passengers on the ship that tried to reach the Gaza coast in contravention of the law. 
This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.
Preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.
Israel is a democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law. We are not prepared to accept the entry of war materiel to the terrorist organizations in Gaza as has been done by sea in the past. 
Just last year we foiled an attempt to smuggle by sea hundreds of weapons that were destined for use in attacks against Israel's citizens.
There is no siege on Gaza. Israel assists in transferring goods and humanitarian equipment to Gaza - approximately 800 trucks a day that have recently brought into Gaza more than 1.6 million tons of goods. 
Moreover, Israel assists in hundreds of humanitarian projects, through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals.Israel is a state that seeks peace and acts in accordance with international law so that its people can live in safety and its children grow up in peace and quiet."
It bears repeating. Only morons or hate-mongering racists can believe this disgusting rubbish - a beginning-to-end pack of Big Lies.
Fact: Israeli commandos committed high-seas piracy - a blatant bandit act contravening international law.
Fact: Hamas is Palestine's legitimate government - not illegitimate PA enforcers collaborating with Israel against their own people.
Fact: Ship to Gaza Marianne acted according to international law bringing vital aid for people needing far more than any number of flotillas can provide - symbolically calling on the international community to end Gaza's blockade and free its 1.8 million people.
Fact: Israel violates international law multiple times daily - terrorizing West Bank and East Jerusalem communities, Gazan ones, its fishermen, farmers in their fields, young children for the crime of being Palestinian.
Fact: So-called Israeli democracy is pure fantasy. None whatever exists.
Fact: No evidence corroborates Netanyahu's claim about flotillas or other sea initiatives smuggling weapons to Gaza.
Fact: Claiming "no siege on Gaza" exists exceeds absurdity.
Fact: Saying Israel "assists in transferring goods and humanitarian equipment to Gaza" is polar opposite truth. 
Fact: A ruthless, lawless blockade prevents most goods getting in and the ability of Gazan businesses to export to the West Bank and foreign markets.
Fact: Israel systematically blocks reconstruction and vital humanitarian projects.
Fact: It seeks war, not peace. It prevents Gazan children from "grow(ing) up in peace and quiet." Neither exists.
Below is a copy of a letter Israel wrote for Marianne activists - something only a despotic regime could issue. Its willful misinformation and Big Lies speak for themselves, saying:
"You seem to have gotten lost. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here - Syria, where Assad’s army is slaughtering its people every day, and is supported by the murderous Iranian regime.
Here in Israel we face a reality in which terrorist organizations like Hamas try to kill innocent civilians. We defend our citizens against these attempts in accordance with international law.
Despite this, Israel transports goods and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip - up to 800 trucks a day. In the past year we enabled the entry of over 1.6 million tons of products, an average of one ton per person in the Gaza Strip. By the way, these supplies are equivalent to 500,000 boats like the one you came in on today.
Israel provides assistance to hundreds of humanitarian projects through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals.
However, we will not allow the terrorist organizations to transfer weapons into the Gaza Strip by sea. Only one year ago, we thwarted an attempt to smuggle hundreds of weapons into the Gaza Strip by ship. These weapons were meant to target innocent Israeli civilians.
There is no siege on the Gaza Strip, and you are welcome to transfer any humanitarian supplies for the Gaza Strip through Israel.
Barring the entrance of boats and ships into the Gaza Strip is in accordance with international law, and was even backed by a committee commissioned by the United Nations Secretary General.
If you were truly concerned about human rights, you would not be sailing in support of a terrorist regime which summarily executes citizens in the Gaza Strip, and uses children as human shields.
If you were to travel around in Israel, you would see for yourself that the only stable democracy in the Middle East guarantees equality for all its citizens and freedom of worship for members of all religions; it is a country that upholds international law so that its people can live in safety and its children grow up in peace and quiet."
Rogue regimes substitute propaganda for hard truths too disturbing to reveal. America and Israel are Exhibits A and B.
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. 

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sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 29/06/2015 - 20:06
Israel Hijacks Humanitarian Ship to Gaza in International Waters
by Stephen Lendman
Gaza has been lawlessly blockaded for nine years - entirely for political, not security reasons. Israel wants its 1.8 million people slowly suffocated.
Flotilla III is the latest humanitarian mission bringing vital aid - symbolic of how much more is needed and a call for world leaders to intervene responsibly for suffering Gazans, victimized by Israeli viciousness.
The latest news from Ship to Gaza Sweden reads as follows:
"Marianne and the #FreedomFlotilla right now
Boarded by Israeli navy in international waters
Distance to Gaza: 97 nautical miles
Last known position: 31.716667 latitude, 32.550000 longitude
Position received at: 29 June 00:57 (CET)
Speed: Unknown"
Hours earlier, Ship to Gaza's site reported Marianne's interdiction in international waters, then taken to Israel's Ashdod seaport. Activists and international politicians on board include:
Dror Feiler, Sweden: musician and composer
Bassel Ghattas, Israel: Palestinian MK
Dr. Moncef Marzuki, Tunisia: former Tunisian president
Ana Miranda, Spain: European Parliament member
Nadya Kevorkova, Russia: RT International correspondent
Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Sweden: journalist and author
Robert Lovelace, Canada: Queen's University professor
Ammar Al-Hamdan, Norway: Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent
Mohammed El Bakkail, Morocco: Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent
Ohad Herno, Israel: Israeli TV Channel 2 journalist
Ruwani Perera, New Zealand: MaoriTV journalist
Jacob Bryant, New Zealand: Maori TV journalist
Crew members include: Joel Opperdoes (Sweden) Gustave Bergstrom (Sweden), Herman Reksten (Norway), Kevin Neish (Canada), Jonas Karlin (Sweden), Charlie Andreasson (Sweden)
Three other Flotilla III vessels heading for Gaza changed course and returned to their ports of origin - Rachel, Vittorio and Juliano II. 
In total, 47 participants from 17 countries are involved. Their mission is "break(ing) the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza," as well as opening the territory to the world. A statement issued said:
"We once again call on the government of Israel to finally lift the blockade on Gaza. Our destination remains the conscience of humanity."
The Marianne of Gothenburg carried medical equipment and solar panels. Flotilla spokesman Petros Stergiou reported contact with the vessel lost around 2AM local time Monday as three Israeli naval ships approached it.
"What we learned is that the Israeli navy attacked the Marianne about 100 nautical miles from the shore of Gaza," he said.
Activists on board "said they could see three military boats approaching them that had identified themselves as being military."
"Once again, the Israeli government and its military acted like state pirates and attacked our boat in international waters," Stergiou explained. IDF spokesman Peter Lerner called the seizure "uneventful."
Netanyahu commented as expected, saying "(t)his flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region."
He congratulated Israeli naval commandos for their high-seas piracy. He lied saying he acted according to international law and support from a "UN Secretary-General committee."
Defense Secretary Moshe Ya'alon issued a similar statement irresponsibly claiming the mission has "no humanitarian intentions…which instead of caring for Gaza residents, tries to smuggle in weapons (to be) use(d) against Israel and its civilians."
Fact: Hamas is no "terrorist organization." It's Palestine's democratically elected government.
Fact: Israel and America bear full responsibility for regional "horrors." 
Fact: Palestinians are longstanding victims - along with Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Yemenis and others living under monarchal or military dictatorships.
Fact: No flotilla or other humanitarian missions carried weapons for anyone. The whole world knows it. So does Israel.
Its blockade breaches international law. It's an act of war against 1.8 million largely defenseless Gazans - denied their fundamental human rights.
Poverty and unemployment are extreme. Most Gazans need international aid to survive. The Strip's most arable land is off limits. Israeli buffer zone diktats prohibit cultivation. Fishing in 85% of Gazan waters is banned.
A nutritional crisis continues along with inaccessibility to clean water for 90% of Gazans. An acute shortage of medicines, medical supplies, building materials and other essentials exists.
Ship to Gaza activists say the international community fails to help a trapped population desperately in need. "As human beings, we cannot stand by silently while witnessing what the blockade is to doing to" people deserving much better. (T)herefore we will act," they said.
We'll continue "send(ing) more ships with many more people (in) solidarity with the people of Gaza."
"New groups are being formed all over the world…(O)ur coalition is growing…Our (mission) is a natural, brotherly action; our objective is humanitarian; our basis lies in international law; and our method is non-violent."
Israel's blockade severely restricts movement of people and goods into and from Gaza. It constitutes lawless collective punishment - strictly prohibited under international law.
It deprives Gazans of their livelihoods, security, accessibility to proper nutrition, clean water, medicines, medical care, education, and ability to move freely.
Israeli aggression denies many of their right to life and well-being. Israeli media reported IDF commandos seizing the vessel overnight without incident or injuries to activists on board. 
We'll know more when they're able to speak for themselves, explain exactly what happened and how they were mistreated.
Israel's interdiction was high-seas piracy - a lawless bandit act. An IDF statement lied claiming it acted "(i)n accordance with international law." It blatantly violated it.
Pre-recorded SOS messages called for international help before seizure by Israeli commandos occurred.
Based on how other interdicted activists were treated, Marianne participants can expect short-term detention under harsh conditions, abusive interrogations, confiscation of their possessions, and perhaps denial of food, water and outside contacts, followed by deportations.
Gazans remain trapped and isolated under brutalizing siege. The Al Haq human rights organization reported continued Israeli use of "excessive force" across the West Bank and Gaza - using live fire and other forms of brutality against defenseless civilians, "disregarding Palestinians' right to life."
Al Haq director Shawan Jabarin said Palestinian officials delivered documents to the International Criminal Court charging Israel with the crime of apartheid and 22 other criminal offenses, including seven war crimes - pertaining to Operation Protective Edge, illegal settlements, denial of due process and judicial fairness, as well as mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners, mostly held for political reasons.
Throughout nearly half a century of brutalizing military occupation (lawless under international law), punctuated by intermittent acts of aggression, no Israeli government or military official ever was held accountable. Expect justice again denied this time.
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.

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