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Scorecard Update: We Cannot Credit Skype For End-to-end Encryption

eff.org - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 05:50

One of the most debated items in the launch version of our Secure Messaging Scorecard is whether communications via Skype are end-to-end encrypted, so that the provider (which is currently Microsoft) can't access them.

In preparing the scorecard, Skype was a hard case for us. In its early days, Skype was a product with a significant cypherpunk dimension to its design. It was launched in 2003, based on the same P2P codebase that had powered the Kazaa filesharing network, and unlike almost any other communications software of its day, it encrypted users' communications (at least their VOIP communications) by default. Not only was the encryption present by default, but it operated end-to-end so that under normal circumstances, Skype would lack the keys to decrypt calls between its users.1 As we discussed in an analysis last year, this protection was limited by the fact that Skype itself told each client the public key to use for each other user; if Skype collaborated with an eavesdropper by providing a false key to the participants in a call, it would in principle be possible to launch a successful man-in-the-middle or impersonation attack.

In the Scorecard, we try to capture these two questions in different columns: systems which are end-to-end encrypted get a check mark for "encrypted so the provider can't read it"; systems which offer some method of protection against false keys and man-in-the-middle attacks get a check mark for "can you verify your contacts' identities." We know from the leaked Snowden documents that the limitations in the protocol or implementation were such that by 2013, Microsoft was capable of accessing the content of Skype text, video, and voice communications, at least in some circumstances for some users. But we didn't know how that capability worked: was it a break against the RC4 cipher Skype used? Was it a method for compelling Microsoft to issue false keys to selected Skype users? Or was it some other flaw in the traditional Skype client?

Any of these cases would be bad, but their implications for different threat models were different. In the case of a cipher break, we could expect intelligence agencies and many other actors to collect the content of Skype calls wholesale; in the case of compelled false keys, interception might still be limited to a small number of targeted individuals. Furthermore, the details of how Skype works may have changed significantly in the past few months, as Microsoft transitioned Skype to a new protocol that deprecated old clients in August. In principle that could have been a good thing – RC4 is no longer a reasonable cipher choice and other flaws in the encryption might have been discovered. But it's also possible that the change gave Microsoft more visibility into Skype calls and/or messages.

Here's what Microsoft says publicly about encryption in Skype today: "Encryption is the process of encoding a message, using principles of mathematics, in such a way that it is readable only by the intended recipient. . . . For Skype your key is your Skype Name and password, hence the criticality of keeping that safe. Skype uses well-known standards-based encryption algorithms to protect Skype users' communications from falling into the hands of hackers and criminals. In so doing, Skype helps ensure user's privacy as well as the integrity of the data being sent from one user to another." (Emphasis added.)

In an attempt to reconcile what we know from media reporting with what Microsoft says publicly, we gave Skype tentative credit for end-to-end encryption based on an interpretation of Microsoft's statement. We did not give Skype credit in the third criterion – an ability to verify contacts' identity. We hypothesized that Skype may still have end-to-end encryption, though it certainly doesn't protect against man-in-the-middle attacks, and we asked Microsoft whether that analysis was accurate. Microsoft initially told us they would provide a prompt response, asked to schedule a meeting, but failed to do so before our launch deadline.

Since we launched the Scorecard, we reached out again to Microsoft asking for an answer on whether it is – under any circumstances – able to observe the content of Skype users' calls and messages. Microsoft stated that in its view, our scorecard was accurate as originally published, it acknowledged our concern, but to date it has not provided a further response to our question: is Microsoft ever able to access the content of Skype communications?

We've determined that our tentative award of a check mark for Skype in the second column of the Scorecard was premature. In projects such as this, we must sometimes rely on statements from providers where we are not in a position to technically evaluate their veracity. In the case of Skype, we can't tell whether Skype lacks end-to-end encryption, or if it includes an implementation of end-to-end encryption that Microsoft is able to silently compromise in certain circumstances. Given the gulf between Microsoft's public statements, its statements to us, and reports in the media of what Microsoft's capabilities appear to be, we're removing Skype's check mark for end-to-end encryption. We invite Microsoft to publicly clarify the status of Skype's implementation of encryption.

  • 1. The encryption protected not just against Skype but against other parts of the network, since in some cases calls were routed through other users' computers that were acting as supernodes.
Related Issues: Encrypting the WebSecurityTransparency
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Where is Congress After a Summer of Proposed NSA Reform?

eff.org - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 05:50

Congress continues its path towards becoming the least productive Congress in modern history while on its second vacation in as many months. During their first vacation, we ranked Congressional lawmakers on their support for NSA reform by reviewing bills like the Surveillance State Repeal Act, the USA Freedom Act, and the Massie-Lofgren Amendment. While on their second vacation, we want to update you on where each of the NSA reform bills are and what Congress needs to tackle when it comes back on Nov. 12.

The USA Freedom Act

The USA Freedom Act continues to be the most likely vehicle for surveillance reform. In the House, key language in the original USA Freedom Act was changed to effectively cripple the bill's privacy protections. Sen. Patrick Leahy is championing a stronger version of the bill in the Senate; however, the bill is waiting to be placed on the official voting calendar by Majority Leader Harry Reid.

While Leahy's version of the USA Freedom Act may have some flaws, the bill is an important step forward. First, it would stop the government from sending court orders to phone companies for all of their customers' calling records. The bill also introduces much needed institutional changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court), the secretive court that oversees the NSA’s domestic programs. Lastly, the bill introduces transparency requirements by mandating the government report on the number of orders granted by the FISA court and by allowing companies to report on the number of orders they receive.

We urge you to contact your senator and tell them to support the USA Freedom Act.

Surveillance State Repeal Act

The Surveillance State Repeal Act was one of the earliest reform bills introduced after the Guardian revealed the NSA's mass collection of Americans' calling records in June 2013.

The bill, put forth by Rep. Rush Holt, would completely repeal Section 215 of the Patriot Act (used to collect all of your calling records) and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (used to collect content of Internet and phone communications on a massive scale). The bill had little prospect of being passed when first introduced, and will not be passed due to the House's vote on the altered USA Freedom Act.

Fake Fixes and Bad Bills

Other bills suffered the same fate. In many cases, these bills were no great loss, being “fake fixes," or bills that would either codify or expand—not fix—the current spying programs.

Two of these bills are worth highlighting, since they were written and supported by Congressional committees that have a history of rubber-stamping intelligence practices. The House Intelligence Committee's bill was called the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act and the Senate Intelligence Committee's was called the FISA Improvements Act of 2013. Both bills were killed shortly after being introduced, and no further bills by the intelligence committee have come forward. Regardless, eyes must be kept on both chairs of the committees—Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Mike Rogers—as they continue to be stalwart defenders of many of the NSA's more egregious activities.

House Resolutions

Bills are not the only vehicles for surveillance reform. Instead of changing the actual words of the laws that govern NSA surveillance, a group of representatives has decided to take the battle to the budget by offering amendments to NSA's funding bills. This was seen in the Conyers-Amash Amendment in 2013, which would have curtailed funding for the implementation of orders under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Unfortunately, the amendment failed with an extremely close vote of 205 to 217.

Even though the Conyers-Amash Amendment failed, Congress was able to pass the Massie-Lofgren amendment. The June 2014 amendment to the Department of Defense budget bill—offered by Reps. Thomas Massie, Zoe Lofgren, and Jim Sensenbrenner—blocked the NSA from using any of the funding to conduct warrantless searches of information collected under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The amendment was a success and passed overwhelmingly with strong bipartisan support. As a next step we urge the Senate to incorporate it into future budget bills.

Congress Must Act

All of these bills aim for surveillance reform, but only the USA Freedom Act survives. When Congress returns on November 12 it should move swiftly and vote on the USA Freedom Act. If it doesn't, a new Congress will be forced to reintroduce, and possibly redraft, another surveillance reform bill. The next Congress will also be faced with the expiration of three key provisions of the Patriot Act in June 2015. Congress can redeem its historically low output by passing common sense NSA reform. Join us now in telling your Senator to move forward with the USA Freedom Act.


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The White House Gets It Right On Net Neutrality. Will the FCC?

eff.org - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 01:32

Over the past year, millions of Internet users have spoken out in defense of the open Internet. Today, we know the White House heard us.

In a statement issued this morning, President Barack Obama has called on the Federal Communications Commission to develop new “net neutrality” rules and, equally importantly, establish the legal authority it needs to support those rules by reclassifying broadband service as a “telecommunications service.”

This is very welcomed news. Back in May, the Federal Communications Commission proposed flawed “net neutrality” rules that would effectively bless the creation of Internet “slow lanes.” After months of netroots protests, we learned the FCC began to settle on a “hybrid” proposal that, we fear, is legally unsustainable.

Here's why: if the FCC is going to craft and enforce clear and limited neutrality rules, it must first do one important thing. The FCC must reverse its 2002 decision to treat broadband as an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service.” This is what’s known as Title II reclassification. According to the highest court to review the question, the rules that actually do what many of us want — such as forbidding discrimination against certain applications — require the FCC to treat access providers like “common carriers, ” treatment that can only be applied to telecommunications services. Having chosen to define broadband as an “information service,” the FCC can impose regulations that “promote competition” (good) but it cannot stop providers from giving their friends special access to Internet users (bad).

Today’s statement stresses a few key principles:

  1. No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  2. No throttling. 
  3. Increased transparency, including with respect to interconnection. 
  4. No paid prioritization. “No service should be stuck in a 'slow lane' because it does not pay a fee.”

Wisely, the statement explicitly notes the need for forbearance. As we have said for months, reclassification must be combined with a commitment to forbear from imposing aspects of Title II that were originally drafted for 20th century telephone services and that don't make sense for the Internet. While forbearance doesn’t set the limits on the regulatory agency in stone, it does require the FCC to make a public commitment that is difficult to reverse. 

This is an important moment in the fight for the open Internet. President Obama has chosen to stand with the us: the users, the innovators, the creators who depend on an open internet. But the fight isn't over yet: we still need to persuade the FCC to join him. Stay tuned for ways you can help.

Related Issues: Net Neutrality
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Putin Prioritizes Strong Sino/Russian Ties

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 01:14
Putin Prioritizes Strong Sino/Russian Ties
by Stephen Lendman
On November 10, Putin addressed Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum members. Calling Russia's participation strategically important.
Intending expanded cooperation. Through increased trade and investment incentives. "The twenty-first century has already been called 'the Pacific century,' " he said.
"Russia must make use of the competitive advantages offered by this fast-growing economic, technology and innovation centre."
Russian Siberian and Far Eastern regions "offer a unique chance for this vast region’s countries to effectively develop and make use of the opportunities there and further strengthen their potential."
"Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region is one of Russia's strategic priorities. The overall constructive spirit that characterises our relations with the vast majority of countries in the region is very important." 
"We value this spirit greatly and will do everything possible to develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas."
"Trade with the Asia-Pacific region countries represents more than a quarter of Russia’s total trade today."
"We want to increase this share to 40 percent, and we are taking concrete steps to expand the geography of our exports and increase the share of non-raw materials and high-tech goods."
Through "fast-growth zones offering tax incentives and simplified administrative procedures."
Putin called China one of Russia's key trading partners. Increasingly its most important one. Planning expanded bilateral trade in rubles and yuan. 
Bypassing dollar transactions. Weakening it in the process. Welcoming similar relations with other regional countries.
Based on "mutually advantageous cooperation." Saying economic integration "is clearly taking the fore on the APEC agenda today."
Calling China's "concrete steps towards establishing" Asia/Pacific free trade zone agreements a major accomplishment.
Benefitting all participants. Saying "(s)witching (to) large-scale (ruble/yuan transactions) means that the impact of the dollar on the global energy sector will objectively decline."
Advantageus "for the global economy (and) world of finance and (its) energy markets."
Helpful in "expand(ing) our capabilities in mutual trade…In cooperation with (China), we intend to use the national currency more widely in mutual settlements."
Especially in energy transactions. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added:
"Much attention has been paid to the topic of mutual payments in yuan in a variety of areas, including such sensitive ones as military and technical cooperation. This will help to strengthen the yuan as a reserve local currency."
In May, Russia and China consummated an historic gas deal. Largest bilateral one ever. Worth a reported $400 billion for 30 years. 
Potentially much more. Perhaps twice as large as reported. Depending on China's future energy needs.
Establishing a mutually beneficial energy partnership. Increased overall trade. Stronger economic and financial ties. 
Accelerated Russian far eastern economic and social development. Increased ruble/yuan trade. Eventually relying on it exclusively.
Bypassing dollar transactions entirely. In all Sino/Russian trade. Other countries doing the same thing.
In Beijing, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a Western  (Altay) gas supplies route to China memorandum of understanding. 
For 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually. Potentially more based on China's internal needs. 
Along with the Eastern Power of Siberia pipeline. Eventually supplying about 38 bcm of gas annually to China.
Making China more than ever its largest Russian gas consumer. According to Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller:
"After we have launched supplies via the western route," volume to China will exceed European exports.
Commenting on future prospects with China, Putin said:
"We have reached an understanding in principle concerning the opening of the western route."
"We have already agreed on many technical and commercial aspects of this project, laying a good basis for reaching final arrangements."
Sixteen other Sino/Russian agreements were finalized in Beijing. Including a framework Gazprom/China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) agreement.
A separate Gazprom/China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) one.
Gazprom and CNPC agreed on CNOOC acquiring a 10% stake in Vancorneft. A large Russian oil and gas producer.
At the same time, Sergey Lavrov and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed mutual cooperation between both countries.
On Sunday, Lavrov said:
"We appreciate the opportunity to have our meeting today to discuss the current bilateral and international relations, especially minding the tough schedule of our Chinese friends" during the ongoing APEC Forum.
"We are sure the summit will be a success, and we share your optimism about the bilateral meeting of our leaders."
"It will be the fifth meeting on the highest level this year. Other contacts, including meetings of prime ministers, parliament speakers are not less intensive."
"I hope today we shall discuss the current cooperation between the foreign ministries and the role of our strategic partnership in the international arena."
On November 10, China's Xinhua News Agency addressed Obama's APEC participation. After a two year absence.
Saying the "world is closely watching whether" its two largest economies "can figure out a solution to stabilize their relations and manage their differences, for their standoff may lead to collateral damages."
"None can deny" bilateral differences. Numerous "ups and downs" in relations. Tensions remaining unresolved.
Largely from Obama's Asia pivot. Involving advancing America's military footprint. Targeting China's economic and military might.
Checking Russia at the same time. Containment is official policy. Cold war politics is back. 
Unchallenged global dominance is prioritized. Anything goes intends to maintain it. Perhaps war in a part of the world especially hostile to invaders.
Vietnam echoes remain audible. So are Afghan and other US imperial war disasters. China and Russia are formidable powers.
Instead of engaging them responsibly, Washington prioritizes confrontation. Failing to learn history's lessons. Calling repeated failures successes.
According to Xinhua, Obama's so-called Asia/Pacific rebalancing "arouse(s) suspicions in this region."
Common interests outweigh differences. Relations between both countries are based on "the experience of bilateral ties over the past 35 years."
China offers a "new model." Featuring "non-conflict and non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation."
Along with "constructive mindset and pragmatism to minimize" differences. Both countries should prioritize "cooperative coexistence."
It's up to Washington to "embrac(e) China and other emerging powers."
"The vast (Asia/Pacific region) has enough space to accommodate the interests of the United States, China and other economies." 
"Benign collaboration in the region will bring more benefits than troubles. This is the direction towards which the US should rebalance."
So far it shows no intention of doing so. Obama's Beijing address urged China to partner in ensuring world order. 
Suggesting it undermines it. Turning truth on its head saying so. Blaming others for its high crimes. Longstanding US policy.
Both countries have major geopolitical differences. Including on war and peace. Political, economic, and financial relations. Maritime issues. Cyber security among others.
Most of all, China's ascendance as a major world economic/military power. Washington goes all-out to undermine it.
Risking Sino/US confrontation. Potential war when avoiding it matters most.
America's growing Asian military footprint makes the unthinkable possible. Given its rage for war.
Deploring peace. Efforts to contain China and Russia reflect madness. It's hard imagining any country challenging them militarily.
Obama rules out no options. Prioritizing global belligerence. Proliferating violence, instability and chaos. 
Cold-blooded US realpolitik. In Washington's odious tradition. Waging global wars reflect it.
Believing America has sovereign rights over territory, waters and air space not its own. A recipe for heightened tensions. Eventual confrontation.
Washington has been rebalancing for years. Strengthening military, economic, and political ties with Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam.
Aiming to undermine Sino/Russian influence. Isolate them from neighbors. Assert US dominance. Making never again possible.
Flashpoints have a way of igniting the unthinkable. Small disputes precipitate greater ones. 
America's global military footprint generates one conflict after another. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere.
Confronting China and Russia militarily is madness. Doing so threatens world peace. Neocons infest Washington. Lunatics.
Humanity's greatest threat. Stopping them matters most. Survival depends 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. 

Complicity in Censorship: Facebook's Latest Government Requests Report

eff.org - Mon, 10/11/2014 - 21:20

For years, pundits and scholars have warned of the implications of social media companies capitulating to foreign governments, handing over user data or censoring content. Facebook’s latest government requests report, released late last week, demonstrates why: as governments grow aware of the fact that stifling speech is as easy as submitting an order to a corporation, the number of those orders will drastically increase.

The latest report shows that Turkey and Pakistan in particular are keen to exploit Facebook’s willingness to respond to legal orders from countries where they are not legally required to do so. While the largest number of censorship requests came from India (where Facebook has a large presence), Turkey and Pakistan weren’t far behind with 1893 and 1773 requests for content removal respectively.

Facebook states that it only removes content that is "illegal under local law," but does not provide additional information on censored content. In Turkey—where criticism of the state or the country’s modern founder, Atatürk, is prohibited—this means that Facebook is, in effect, complicit in political censorship. Same goes for Pakistan; earlier this year, Twitter reversed a decision to censor content at the behest of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority following criticism from Pakistani civil society. At the time, the company issued a statement that read, in part:

We have reexamined the requests and, in the absence of additional clarifying information from Pakistani authorities, have determined that restoration of the previously withheld content is warranted. The content is now available again in Pakistan.

While we often find the results regrettable, we recognize that when a company opens an office in a given country, it must comply with local laws and remove content accordingly. Nevertheless, we believe that—as Twitter has done—companies should be transparent about the legal requests that they receive and their subsequent actions.

On the other hand, when a company does not have a presence in a given country and is thus not subject to its censorious laws, we believe that it can and should refuse government censorship requests. This is as true for Pakistan and Turkey as it is for countries like Saudi Arabia, Austria, and Kuwait, which all show up in the most recent report.

At minimum, we expect companies to be transparent about the requests that they receive. While Facebook has improved in this area and now issues a regular report showing government requests, we urge the company to take it a step further and display exactly what kind of censorship requests it is receiving from governments. In doing so, the company will allow civil society in these countries to make more informed decisions about how they tackle censorship.

Related Issues: Free SpeechInternationalSocial Networks
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Israel Plans Annexing West Bank Territory

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 10/11/2014 - 21:02
Israel Plans Annexing West Bank Territory
by Stephen Lendman
International law is clear and unequivocal. Settlements and regional councils are brazenly illegal. 
So are West Bank/East Jerusalem closed military zones, no-go areas, nature reserves, national parks, Separation Wall land expropriation, free-firing zones, commercial locations, Jews only roads, checkpoints, other barriers, and other exclusively Jewish areas.
Combined they comprise about 60% of West Bank land. Israel plans annexation. More on this below.
Israeli controlled occupied territory prevents Palestinian self-determination, equality, property and free movement rights. Blatant violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws.
Fourth Geneva prohibits occupying powers from transferring their citizens to occupied land.
Hague Regulations prohibit permanent changes in occupied territories. Unless benefit local residents. 
Or for military necessity. In the narrowest sense of the term. For the shortest period of time.
Since 1967, Israel established 125 West Bank settlements, 100 outposts, and 12 neighborhoods.
Settler enclaves were built in East Jerusalem areas. Including the Old City's Muslim Quarter, Silwan, Sheikh Jarrach, Mount of Olives, Ras al-Amud, Abu Dis, and Jabal al-Mukabber.
In 2005, 16 Gaza settlements were dismantled. As part of Sharon's disengagement plan. Residents were shifted to other settlement locations.
Occupied Palestine reflects militarized colonization. Discriminatory apartheid. Worse than South Africa's system. Separate and unequal is official Israeli policy. 
Civil law governs settlers. Military orders deprive Palestinians of all fundamental rights. With no control over their daily lives. Or ability to stop Israel from stealing their land.
Since Oslo, settler population more than tripled. From around 200,000 in 1993 to over 600,000 today. 
Growing exponentially. Lawlessly. On stolen Palestinian land. It doesn't matter. Israel operates unaccountably.
Palestinian rights don't matter. They're denied free expression and movement. Their homes are bulldozed and destroyed. They're uprooted and displaced.
Forbidden from returning to land once theirs. Denied redress. West Bank reconfiguration plans intend isolating them in ghettoized bantustans. Making sovereign viability impossible.
Two states once were possible. No longer. One state comprised of Israel and Occupied Palestine alone works now. Nothing else is viable. 
Conditions for Palestinians are intolerable. Occupation, land theft, dispossessions, inequality, a permanent non-Jewish underclass, instability, and conflict reflect daily life.
Peace, equity and justice remain pure fantasy. Permanent militarized occupation is official Israeli policy.
Land theft continues unabated. During nine months of 2013/2014 so-called peace talks, Israel approve an unprecedented 13,851 new settler homes.
Declared a record amount of occupied territory state land. According to Peace Now, Israel broke all West Bank/East Jerusalem construction records.
An unprecedented 50 new housing units daily on average. Over 1,500 per month. Tenders issued quadrupled previous numbers.
Showing Israel categorically rejects peace. Claims otherwise are Big Lies. Its latest land grab involves stealing nearly 3,200 acres of Palestinian land.
Adjacent to Jerusalem. Extending its boundaries. Preventing Palestinian farmers from accessing their land. 
For "military purposes," Israel claims. In blatant violation of international law. Part of Israel's Judaization policy.
Proposed new Norms Law legislation aims to annex around 60% of West Bank land. Approved by Israel's Ministerial Committee. Requiring three Knesset readings to become law.
Enforced by military decree. Giving Israel sovereignty over Palestinian land. Annexing it. Applying new legislation exclusively to Jewish settlers.
Legitimizing the illegitimate. "(I)n complete contradiction with international law," according to Meretz party leader Zehava Gal-On.
"Whoever chooses to live in the settlements knows this is occupied territory," she said. 
"Now they want to conduct a de facto annexation while only extending the law to settlers, which creates a policy of apartheid."
At the same time, establishing permanent territorial militarized control, she added.
Worse than what already exists. Norms Law supporters ludicrously claim settler rights currently are compromised.
An "unacceptable situation," they say. Because Israeli law doesn't apply. It always did. It does now. Claims otherwise are false.
Proposed new legislation has nothing to do with applying it.Everything to do with blatant land theft. Annexation. Incorporating around 60% of West Bank territory within Israel.
Denying Palestinians self-determination. Making peaceful conflict resolution impossible. A third intifada more likely.
Norms Law provisions require all Knesset legislation be published as military regulations. By the IDF's Central Command head.
Within 45 days of approval. Only for settlers. Excluding Palestinians. Governed by draconian military orders. 
Affecting virtually all aspects of their lives. Denying them fundamental civil and human rights everyone deserves.
Assuring greater than ever occupation harshness. Making incidents like police unaccountably murdering Palestinians in cold blood more likely.
Giving them license to kill. Making assassinations official Israeli policy. Masquerading as protecting national security. 
Turning Palestine into a free-firing zone. A shooting gallery. Aimed at eliminating nonexistent terrorist threats.
Making Palestinians guilty of being Arabs. Sentencing them to death at Israel's discretion.
Legitimizing Israeli aggression. Blaming Palestinians for state-sponsored crimes.
Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center director Issam Aruri said Norms Law provisions let "Knesset (members) become responsible for (most) of the West Bank…"
"(A) step towards formal annexation…" Without formally declaring it. Israel already applies its laws to settlers.
Doing so constitutes annexation. Norms Law enactment would make it official. Legalized separation and discrimination.
Two separate and unequal legal systems. Based on nationality and religion. Denying Palestinians fundamental rights for being Muslims.
Displacing them from land rightfully theirs. Brutalizing resisters. Calling democratic freedom fighters "terrorists." According to senior PA official Nabil Shaath:
"The (Palestinian) Authority completely opposes applying the Israeli law to settlements in the West Bank because this creates a political context where these settlements become a part of Israel."
It's "disregarding all international pressure and carries on with its occupation projects."
"Palestinians are suffering since the Camp David agreement with Egypt in 1979, especially in the West Bank as Israel has kept us under temporary measures and autonomy."
"They are stealing the land, water, materials, and all natural resources in the West Bank."
B'Tselem calls Israel's settlement enterprise from inception "an instrumental, cynical, and even criminal approach to international law, local legislation, Israeli military orders, and Israeli law, which has enabled the continuous pilfering of land from Palestinians in the West Bank" and East Jerusalem.
Washington supports and encourages it. Obama ludicrously claims Israel is improving things in Gaza. Wants peace.
Truth is polar opposite. Israel's settlement policy alone reveals its dark side. Legitimizing land theft.
Dispossessing Palestinians from land rightfully theirs. Stealing their resources. Exploiting their people.
Controlling their borders, air space and coastal waters. Isolating them in cantonized enclaves. 
Making separate and unequal official Israeli policy. Institutionalizing police state ruthlessness more than ever.
Jewish Home Party/Economy Minister Naftali Bennett matches Netanyahu's extremism. A potential future prime minister.
Wanting non-Jews excluded from Israel. Ethnically cleansed. Genocidally eliminated.
On November 5, The New York Times featured his article titled "For Israel, Two-State Is No Solution," saying:
"Israel cannot afford to gamble with its security. There are no second chances in the volatile Middle East."
"That is why, for its security, Israel cannot withdraw from more territory and cannot allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank." 
"If we were to pull out of the West Bank, the entire country would become a target for terrorists who would be able to set up rocket launchers adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem and on the hills above the runways of Ben-Gurion International Airport and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange."
He proposed a so-called "four-step" (no peace) peace plan. Including unilaterally annexing so-called Area C. Over 60% of West Bank land. Where Israel maintains full control.
Claiming annexation "reduce(s) the scope of the territory in dispute, making it easier to reach a long-term agreement in the future."
Any "Palestinian entity in areas A and B will be short of a state," he maintains. It "will not control its own borders and will not be allowed to have an army." 
Gaza "cannot be a party to any agreement…I am aware that the world will not immediately accept this proposal." 
"It seems to go against everything Israel, the Palestinians and the international community have worked toward over the last 20 years." 
"But I will work to make this plan government policy because there is a new reality in the Middle East, which has brought an end to the viability of the Oslo peace process."
Lunatic extremists like Bennett infest Israel. Palestinian self-determination is verboten. So are fundamental humanitarian and human rights laws.
Israel intends permanent militarized occupation. Peace is a convenient illusion. 
Billionaire casino operator Sheldon Adelson is likeminded. Militantly hard-right. Ideologically racist.
On the one hand, advocating nuking Iran. As prime minister, "I would bomb the daylights out of those sons of bitches," he said. Mindless about potentially millions of lost lives.
On the other, calling Palestine a made-up nation. Existing solely "to destroy Israel," he claims. It can't survive as a democracy, he added.
"So Israel won't be a democratic state. So what!" Build a bigger, better "big wall," he urged. "I would put up a big wall around my property," he said.
Adelson, Bennett, Netanyahu and likeminded lunatics reflect Israeli extremism writ large.
Wanting all valued parts of Judea and Samaria annexed. Permanent militarized occupation.
Palestinians denied all rights. Resisters eliminated. International law ignored.
Naked aggression at Israel's discretion. Peace a convenient illusion. Democracy pure fantasy.
Institutionalized racism official policy. State terror enforcing it. Revealing Israel's dark side more than ever. Might alone makes right.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Netanyahu Vows Zero Tolerance

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 10/11/2014 - 05:14
Netanyahu Vows Zero Tolerance
by Stephen Lendman
Sharonian evil defines him. Unrestrained state terror. Against defenseless Palestinian civilians. Peaceful protesters.
Maliciously claiming they call for Israel's destruction. More on what he said below. On Sunday, Environmental Minister Amir Peretz resigned.
Saying Israel undertook "an earthquake in all fields - diplomatic, social and financial." Netanyahu acted irresponsibly.
Peretz formerly headed Israel's Histadrut labor union. One of its most powerful institutions. With around 650,000 members.
Established in 1920. Formally called the General Federation of Labour in Israel. A key Zionist organization. Largely responsible for Israel's formation. 
Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, once said without Histadrut, he "doubt(ed) whether we would have had a state."
Today it's a shadow of its former self. Politically an arm of Israeli and US foreign policy. Supporting their imperial wars. Collaborated earlier with apartheid South Africa.
As its economic importance declined, its political role increased. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions recognizes it as the representative of all Israeli workers.
It founded Haganah. A Zionist terrorist group. Later incorporated into Israel's armed forces.
It never cared about Israeli wages, benefits or working conditions. Colonizing Palestine mattered most. And the self-interest of its officials.
Like US trade unions today. Corrupted. Conspiring with management against rank-and-file workers. Benefitting hugely from betrayal.
Histadrut accepted Arab members. Never supported their rights. Or denounced institutionalized racism. High-mindedness isn't its long suit. Nor earlier or now.
Peretz joined Labor in 1992. Left in 1999. Formed his own One Nation party. Rejoined Labor in 2004. Joined Hatnuah in 2013.
Formerly served as defense minister and deputy prime minister. Now an outspoken Netanyahu critic. On social issues. Failed political progress with Palestinians.
On Saturday, he said he "did everything (he) could to promote a diplomatic process and fight for the dignity of Israelis."
Things "deteriorat(ed) on all fronts, he added. Diplomatic, social and economic.
"I have no intention of continuing to serve the policies of Netanyahu, who has become a prisoner to the right-wing," he said. 
Isaac Herzog heads Labor. He called Peretz's resignation "the beginning of the end" of Netanyahu's coalition government.
Hatruah is in the center-left camp, he said. "(W)hich Labor will lead in the next elections until the regime is changed."
In September, Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar resigned. For personal reasons, he claimed. To "spend more time at home." 
Insiders said it was for political reasons. Tensions between him and Netanyahu.
Herzog called it a sign of no-confidence in his leadership. Months earlier, former Mossad head Meir Dagan criticized Netanyahu's inflammatory war-mongering. 
Saying no existential threat exists. Netanyahu can't be trusted. Other former officials believe he's heading Israel over a cliff.
Orchestrating hysteria for political reasons. Turning Israel into a pariah state. Looking buffoon-like in the process. Demagogic and then some. This writer calls him the mouth that roars.
On Sunday, he accused peaceful Palestinian protesters of "calling for the destruction of the State of Israel." Considering Palestinians opposing his racist agenda "terrorists."
Ludicrously calling Israel "a nation of law(s)." Mocking their core principles. Operating extrajudicially. Persecuting Palestinians ruthlessly.
Saying anyone "violat(ing) the law will be severely punished." Excluding himself and likeminded extremists.
"We will not tolerate disturbances and riots." His definition of peaceful assemblies. Nonviolent protests. Legitimate resistance.
Palestinians demanding fundamental rights. Core ones denied them.
"We will take determined action against those who throw stones, firebombs and fireworks, and block roads, and against demonstrations that call for our destruction." 
"We are not prepared to tolerate more demonstrations in the heart of our cities in which Hamas or Islamic State flags are waved and calls are made to redeem Palestine with blood and fire - calling in effect for the destruction of the State of Israel."
Peaceful Palestinian protests are verboten. State-sponsored terror is OK. Genocidal mass slaughter and destruction. 
Cold-blooded murder. Targeted assassinations. Torture. Filling Israel's gulag with thousands of political prisoners.
Brutalizing millions of people. Denying them fundamental rights. Calling their legitimate resistance "terrorism."
"I have instructed the interior minister to use all means, including evaluating the possibility of revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel," he said.
"Standing behind this incitement are, first of all, the various Islamic movements: Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel." 
"In the forefront, at least vis-a-vis the agitation on the Temple Mount, are the Mourabitoun and the Mourabiat - movements engaged in incitement and which are financed by funds from extremist Islam."
"I have instructed that they be outlawed. But also standing behind this incitement is the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Abu Mazen (Abbas)." 
"The website of their official body, Fatah, explains that the Jewish people were, in effect, never here, that the Temple was never here, that David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the kings and prophets of Israel are all fiction." 
"This is nothing less than a clear attempt to distort not only the modern truth, but also the historical truth." 
"Against these distortions and these gross lies, we must tell the truth to our people and to the world."
He ranted against Iran's peaceful nuclear program. Repeating one Big Lie after another. 
Saying the international community “faces a simple choice - to surrender to Iran's demands in a deal that’s dangerous not only for Israel, but for the entire world, or to demand that Iran dismantle its capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon."
"Israel will not agree to a deal that leaves Iran as a nuclear threshold state. It is a danger to us all.”
Israel is the region's only nuclearized state. Armed and dangerous. 
Using banned chemical, biological, and radiological weapons in all its wars of aggression. Unaccountably. Blaming victims for its high crimes.
On Sunday, Palestinians protested throughout the West Bank. Against Khair al-Din Rouf Hamdan death.
Israeli police murdered him in cold blood. A general strike was called. Organized by the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens in Israel.
Black flags few on rooftops. In Negev cities, towns and villages. Israel announced a state of alert.
Clashes were sporadic throughout the day. Including stone-throwing. Burning tires. Blocking roads.
In Sha'ab village, activists replaced replaced a police station Israeli flag with a Palestinian one.
Students demonstrated on university campuses. At Tel Aviv University, dozens of Arab students faced off against extremist Israelis.
Hadash, Balad and the Islamic Movement organized student protests at Haifa University.
Doctoral student Hassan Amara addressed Hamdan's murder, saying:
"How could they have shown him such contempt and dragged him like that? You saw the film clip. It was not manslaughter. It was murder."
"(T)he result of the racist policy of the public security minister and also of Minister Naftali Bennett, who says, 'He's no citizen."
"He's a 'terrorist.' His incitement is a policy of terrorists, a policy of murder, of incitement, of simply saying: He's an Arab, so he can be killed."
With impunity. Holding no one responsible. Assuring further cold-blooded murders to follow. 
Official Israeli policy. Bloodlust writ large. Netanyahu bears full responsibility for ongoing violence. 
Likeminded ministers and MKs share it. Arab students called for a third intifada.
Protesters carried Palestinian flags. Signs read "Israel, state of terror."
"Shahid rest in peace." Using the Arabic word for martyr. For slain Kheir Hamdan. Murdered by Israeli police in cold blood.
Jerusalem patriarchs and church officials called for respect for holy sites. Ending violence. Provoked by extremist acts.
Maintaining the "Status Quo of all three Abrahamic faiths." Israel blamed Palestinians for its crimes.
Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying in part:
"Recently tensions in East Jerusalem have escalated to a dangerous level." "
"After an activist of a radical Palestinian group attempted to assassinate right-wing Israeli Rabbi Yehuda Glick on 29 October, Israeli authorities took the unprecedented step of temporarily shutting down access to one of the holiest Muslim shrines - the al-Aqsa Mosque compound." 
"Although they loosened the restrictions later, tensions in the city continue to escalate and there are regular clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli security forces." 
"This is largely due to the attempts by a number of Israeli right-wing leaders to penetrate the al-Aqsa Mosque compound."
"Russia is seriously concerned about the events in East Jerusalem. Condemning any acts of violence without reservation, we are urging Israelis and Palestinians to take urgent steps to deescalate tensions." 
"(A)ll issues related to the status of the shrines of Jerusalem, a holy city for the followers of three monotheistic religions, should be resolved at Palestinian-Israeli peace talks on a solid foundation of international law."
Palestinians tried for decades to do so. Israel categorIcally rejects peace and stability. Militarized occupation prevents it. 
Nothing suggests responsible change going forward. Status quo harshness persists. Whether a third intifada follows remains to be seen.
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. 

Lavrov and Kerry in Beijing

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 10/11/2014 - 00:59
Lavrov v. Kerry in Beijing
by Stephen Lendman
Both officials met on the APEC summit sidelines. It bears repeating what earlier articles stressed.
Lavrov is a world-class diplomat. A model foreign secretary. Working tirelessly for world peace and stability.
Kerry shames the office he holds. Illegitimate and then some. A serial liar. Unfit to serve.
A war criminal multiple times over. Representing America's dark side. Deploring peace. Supporting imperial wars.
Complicit in Ukrainian crisis conditions. Involved in elevating illegitimate fascist putschists to power.
Backing their Donbas war of aggression. Without mercy against freedom-fighting democrats. Civilians in harm's way.
Both officials have polar opposite world views. Lavrov on the right side of history. Kerry supporting imperial lawlessness writ large.
US adventurism. Permanent wars. On humanity. For unchallenged global dominance. Against sovereign independent countries.
Wanting them eliminated altogether. Rogue states operate this way. None match America's ruthlessness.
Its out-of-control rampaging. Appalling civil and human rights record. Plutocracy masquerading as democracy.
On November 6, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said:
"Politicians have recently proposed resuming talks on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis in the so-called Geneva format, which means with the involvement of Russia, the EU, the United States of America and Ukraine."
"This idea was proposed the other day by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the current head of the Ukrainian government." (Its illegitimate putschist prime minister.)
"We would like to say in this connection that the foreign ministers of Russia, the EU, USA and Ukraine and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy coordinated a joint statement at their meeting in Geneva on 17 April 2014, which stipulated initial measures to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens."
"It said that the conflicting sides should refrain from 'violence, intimidation, or provocative actions.' The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-Semitism."
"They also stressed that 'the announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable."
"It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine's regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments."
"It is now clear that Ukraine has flouted these agreements. Instead of de-escalating tensions, Kiev has stepped up hostilities and is using heavy weaponry in the southeastern regions, which has claimed thousands of lives and led to large-scale destruction."
"Instead of initiating constitutional reform and a dialogue with the people, it has undertaken indistinct behind-the-scenes manipulation, which has not produced any concrete result aside from empty promises."
"A look at the current situation makes one wonder about resuming negotiations in a format that has not produced the desired effect. Maybe Kiev should instead try to fulfill the previous agreements and pledges?"
In Beijing, Lavrov said:
"We believe it necessary to complete as soon as possible the settlement of the disengagement line so that the ceasefire and terms of the armistice could be monitored."
He stressed fully implementing Geneva and Minsk agreements. The only way to deescalate tensions. End violence. Restore peace.
Kiev spurns it. Intends continued war. Washington supports and encourages it. Rogue EU states back what demands condemnation.
On the 25 anniversary of beginning the Berlin Wall's demolition (November 9), Kiev forces launched intense shelling.
Continued it overnight. Along the line of engagement. Near Donetsk's airport. Against civilian neighborhoods.
Self-defense forces responded. Engaging Kiev aggressors with artillery fire and other weapons.
Lugansk leaders reported heavy fighting. According to LPR's Defense Ministry Lt. Col. Alexander Bednov:
"In the last few days, there have been intense clashes in the LPR territory. Initially, there were sporadic scuffles that escalated into fierce fights."
"Shelling continues along the entire line of engagement marked by the Seversky Donets River."
So-called ceasefire terms are illusory. Kiev systematically violated them straightaway.
Fighting never stopped. Rogue states operate this way. Peace is a convenient illusion. Naked Kiev aggression continues.
No end in sight looms. Escalated war is likely. Lavrov put a brave face on things, saying:
"John Kerry and I agreed today that (ending conflict remains) relevant and probably even more acute than it was back in April, when the process was supposed to be launched."
Kerry says one thing. He supports another. War without mercy. Advancing America's imperium.
Using Kiev puppet leaders destructively. Destabilizing the entire region.
Wanting regime change in Russia. Pro-Western stooge governance.
Replacing sovereign independence. Responsible leadership. Opposition to US imperial rampaging. Lavrov's comments to Kerry fell on deaf ears.
Saying "(t)he most important thing is not to indulge the ideas floating around in Kiev that they need to gather strength and go back to the use of force as a solution to the crisis, to talk hotheads out of such ideas and to make sure that the authorities in Kiev deliver on the promises they made, that is to pursue the path of political resolution."
Washington's agenda is polar opposite. Kerry citing "disagreements about some of the facts on the ground with respect to Ukraine."
Worlds apart ones. So-called "facts" are Big Lies. Kiev's government is illegitimate. Putschists running things.
Elevated to power by Washington. One fascist regime supporting another.
Waging war without mercy. Against Donbas area residents wanting democratic freedoms. What everyone deserves.
Murdering them in cold blood. Despite agreeing to peaceful conflict resolution.
Obama represents the worst of US rogue leadership. Threatening world peace.
Turning truth on its head saying "…Russia's actions against Ukraine remind us we have more work to do to fully realize our shared vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace."
Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions. Rogue EU partners share it.
Establishing fascist governance in Europe's heartland. For the first time since Nazi Germany's WW II defeat.
Allying Russia and China more closely together than ever in modern times. Against a common threat.
China's President Xi Jinping saying "(w)hatever changes happen in the international situation, we should follow the chosen line, should expand and develop the overwhelming mutually advantageous (Sino/Russian) cooperation."
Putin adding:
"Extremely important is cooperation between Russia and China in order to keep the world in the framework of the international law, making it more stable and predictable."
Telling Xi: "You and I have done a great deal for this purpose, and I am certain we will continue working in this direction."
"Today's meeting and this visit should give an additional impetus to our relations." At a strategically important time.
China is the world's largest economy. On a purchasing price parity (PPP) basis.
Russia matches Washington's military might. In nuclear weapons strength.
Sophisticated delivery systems. State-of-the-art missile and other defensive weapons.
Sino-Russia ties stress unity. More strategically important than ever. Against Washington's imperial adventurism. Going all-out to sabotage what weakens its strength.
Waging economic and cyberwar. Fighting a losing battle. Making more enemies than friends.
Bonding other nations more closely together. Prioritizing world peace. Mutual cooperation.
Multi-world polarity. Sovereign independence inviolability. Respect for international laws, norms and standards.
Against imperial wars. America's "grand strategy." Naked aggression. Carving up whole continents for dominance and profit.
Potential ecocide. Resource wars. A modern-day great game. Risking the unthinkable with today's super-weapons.
Responsible leaders prioritize efforts more than ever for world peace. Anathema to Washington. Permanent war is official policy.
One nation after another is targeted, ravaged and destroyed. Wealth, power and unchallengeable dominance alone matter. World peace hangs by a thread.
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.

Stop the Wall Activism

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 09/11/2014 - 21:53
Stop the Wall Activism
by Stephen Lendman
On November 9, 1989, Berliners began demolishing the wall separating East from West. More on commemorations marking its 25th anniversary below.
Palestinians face their own repression. Israel's Separation Wall one of many ways. Ruled illegal by the International Criminal Court (ICJ).
Calling for it to be dismantled. Reparations paid for lost homes. Businesses. Farmland. Orchards. Olive groves. Other immovable property.
Israel ignores all international laws and rulings. Ones conflicting with its ruthless agenda.
Construction continues. A monstrous 430 mile-long land grab on completion. Stealing 12% of Palestinian land. Build largely for this reason. 
Part of Israel's Greater Middle East Agenda. National security claims a ruse. Big Lies. Cover for Judaization. 
Stealing all valued Judea and Samaria areas. Isolating Palestinians on cantonized scrubland. 
Ghettoizing millions of people. Ethnically cleansing them. Slow-motion genocide by various means.
Longstanding Israeli policy. Supported and encouraged by Washington. Rogue EU states. Despotic regional partners. Palestinians on their own. Struggling to survive.
Stop the Wall is a grassroots movement. Uniting Palestinian civil society. In cities, villages and refugee camps. Against Israeli settlements, land theft and Wall construction.
"The Campaign's aim to tear down the Wall is aligned with the Palestinian desire for liberation - for those of us inside and in exile, the young and old, those who have died, and those yet to be born," it says. 
"We are part of the struggle to protect our birthright to not only exist, but to reclaim our history and our ancestral land, and ensure a just future for the Palestinian people." 
"Our vision is built upon our strength of will and steadfastness, which, like the roots of our ancient olive trees, run deep within our struggle and continue to feed our resistance." 
"We stand firmly in the belief that these basic principles of our cause must no longer be betrayed or compromised." 
"We will not relinquish our right to our lands, and we will not stand by while a new Nakba descends upon our people."
"The Wall is an integral part of the Zionist project to remove Palestinians from Palestine." 
"We strongly believe that it can be torn down, and with it, the racist ambitions of Zionism." 
"We know that our struggle will not be won tomorrow, and we are not in a hurry." 
"Our road ahead is long, and so we must build a strong foundation of resistance by staying honest and true to our principles." 
"Generation after generation, we have to provide the youth with the lessons, guidance and trust they need and deserve so that they can continue to lead our struggle until one day we will be free and able to return to our homes."
"The Palestinian struggle is, at its core, a basic human instinct and drive for self-determination." 
"It is a fight against expulsion and subjugation under Occupation. We ask the world to recognize this and support our path towards liberation without imposing conditions upon this aim."
Israel's Separation Wall is part of Judaization agenda. Militarized occupation harshness.
Colonialism. Apartheid worse than South Africa's. Stop the Wall activists prioritize nonviolent resistance. Committed efforts for long denied justice.
Fundamental civil and human rights. Pressuring "institutions, corporations and governments to hold Israel accountable and stop international support to Israeli occupation, colonialism and apartheid."
The Wall's route is mostly within the Green Line. Confiscating Palestinian land and resources by a network of walls.
Fences. Military zones. No-go ones. Dozens of fortified checkpoints and tunnels.
Hundreds of other checkpoints and obstructions. Electric fences. Razor wire topped ones. Trenches. Cameras. Sensors.
Patrol roads. Paths to trace footprints. Nearly 1,700 km of Jews only roads. 
Seam zone residents between the Wall and Green Line required to have permits to stay in their homes. Access their land.
Israel controls over 60% of the West Bank. Intending total control of all areas it wishes. Including Jerusalem in its entirety. 
Depriving Palestinians of their legitimate East Jerusalem capital. In violation of international law.
Stolen land includes settlements. Regional councils. State land. Military zones. Nature reserves. National parks.
Separation Wall land. Free-firing zones. Commercial locations. Other development areas. No-go ones.
Jews-only roads. Checkpoints. Other barriers. Various other Jews-only areas.
Palestinians denied free movement. Virtually all other fundamental rights. Dispossessing thousands from their property and means of subsistence.
Displacing others for construction. Forcing tens of thousands in dozens of communities to abandon homes, land and livelihoods.
Their ability to access healthcare, education, and religious sites. Their right to move freely in their own country. 
Live normal lives in peace. Enjoy rights everyone deserves. Official Israeli policy denies them.
Stop the Wall activists "underline the obligation of the international community not to recognize and not to render any aid and assistance to Israeli violations of Palestinian rights and international law."
Resisting tyranny is a universal right. Pressure is essential to stop longstanding Israeli ruthlessness. Its "brutal clamp down" on Palestinians demanding long denied justice.
Including demolishing Israel's Separation Wall. Boycotting, divesting and sanctioning Israel. Holding it accountable for decades of high crimes.
Ending ones too egregious to ignore. State terror writ large. Liberating Palestinians to live freely. 
On their own land. In their own country in peace. Enforced by international community leaders.
On November 8, Palestinian activists affiliated with popular resistance committees in villages northwest of Jerusalem commemorated the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the BerlinWall their own way.
By breaking open a section of Israel's Separation Wall. Saying "(n)o matter how high walls are built, they will fall. Just as the Berlin Wall fell, the wall in Palestine will fall, along with the occupation."
Affirming East Jerusalem as Palestine's exclusive capital. Wall construction won't prevent it. Nor militarized occupation harshness.
Or deny all Palestinians free access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Urging them to unite for justice.
Participate in struggling for Jerusalem. Defend Al-Aqsa and other holy sites.
Ready themselves for "the final, fateful intifada to liberate Palestine."
Israel's Separation Wall is double the height of Berlin's wall in places. Nearly six times its length.
Isolating Palestinians lawlessly from each other. Stealing their land. Wanting it for Jews only.
What Stop the Wall and other Palestinian activists won't tolerate. Nor should anyone.
UN resolutions and ICJ's ruling called Israel's Wall and settlements illegal. Flagrant Fourth Geneva violations.
Breaching fundamental international law. Lawless annexation of Palestinian land. Infringing on their fundamental rights.
It bears repeating. Resisting tyranny is a universal right. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Preamble:
"Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law."
Under General Assembly Resolution 2625 - Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, every state must "refrain from any forcible action which deprives people (of) their right to self-determination and freedom and independence." 
When denied, "such peoples are entitled to (resist) and receive support in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter."
Numerous UN resolutions affirmed Palestinian self-determination. Including 3070 in 1973 supporting "all available means" to achieve it.
Resistance and civil disobedience are legitimate self-defense forms. Against lawless repression. For fundamental rights.
Stop the Wall activists ask:
"Does the continuing confiscation of houses, destruction of property and forced evictions taking place in the West Bank in order to build the Wall constitute big enough crimes or risks to justify the measures taken by Palestinians to dismantle the Wall?" 
"And can these measures be further justified by showing that they have a notable impact on those crimes or risks?"
Israeli high crimes against peace persist. Ending them requires sustained resistance. 
The alternative includes continued militarized occupation harshness. Repression writ large. 
No rights. No land. No capital. No right of return. No peace. No justice. What no one anywhere should tolerate.
On November 7, Soviet Russia's last President, Mikhail Gorbachev, opened an exhibition in downtown Berlin. Commemorating its Wall demolition.
He visited Checkpoint Charlie. "I haven't been here for quite some time and I'm really glad I came here again in these important days," he said.
He participated in a symposium titled "The World 25 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: New Crisis, New Doubts, New Walls."
He commented on current conditions, saying:
"We must think again about how to act on time, how to avert bad things and how to preserve everything that has been done in previous years."
"We wasted the chances that the end of the Cold War presented."
"My firmest belief is that Ukraine is just a pretext the United States picked at." 
"Russia agreed to new relations, created new structures for cooperation.
"It would have been OK, but not everyone in the US liked it. They had other plans." 
"They needed a situation that would allow them to intervene everywhere."
Lawlessly. Ruthlessly. Dangerously. Washington and Moscow are rivals. A new Cold War looms, said Gorbachev. 
Risking the unthinkable. Former US National Security Council member/US NATO ambassador/Assistant Defense Secretary NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow effectively runs things.
Jens Stoltenberg is a convenient figurehead. A US stooge. A CIA asset. A caricature of a leader.
According to Vershbow, Russia is "more…enemy than…partner." In October, Vladimir Putin said "(t)he Cold War ended."
But not "with a peace treaty…(W)ith clear and transparent agreements on keeping the old rules and standards or creating new ones."
So-called Cold War winners "decided to push forward, to reshape the world according to their whim, to their interests."
Mindless of rule of law principles. Sovereign independent states' rights. Inviolable international norms and standards.
"(W)here…international relations, international law, checks and balances stood in their way, (US officials) declared (them) useless, obsolete and subject to immediate dismantling."
Washington's campaign to marginalize, contain and isolate Russia constitutes a rebuilt Berlin Wall in new form. Ruthless, destructive, lawless behavior.
Gorbachev called on Western leaders to act responsibly. Deescalate tensions. Renounce "monopoly leadership and domination of the world."
"The events of the past months are consequences of short-sighted policies of seeking to impose one’s will and fait accompli while ignoring the interests of one's partners."
He cited Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine among others. He called Ukraine a "blister turning into a bleeding, festering wound."
Europe suffers most, he said. "Instead of becoming a leader of change in a global world, (it became) an arena of political upheaval, of competition for the spheres of influence, and finally of military conflict." 
"The consequence inevitably is Europe's weakening at a time when other centers of power and influence are gaining momentum." 
"If this continues, (it) will lose a strong voice in world affairs and gradually become irrelevant," he stressed.
Today's "foremost priority is to regain the ability to interact (responsibly), listen and hear each other."
Work cooperatively. Seek convergence. Eliminate anti-Russian rhetoric. Destructive policies.
Putin seeks ways to deescalate tensions, he said. "(U)ltimately to build a new basis for partnership."
It's up to Western leaders to operate the same way. Failure risks open confrontation. 
The unthinkable. Possible WW III. What leaders everywhere should go all-out to prevent. 
It bears repeating what other articles stressed. End wars or they'll end us. There's no in between.
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. 

Loretta Lynch for AG: Holder 2.0?

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 09/11/2014 - 07:11
Loretta Lynch for AG: Holder 2.0?
by Stephen Lendman
On November 7, a White House press release announced her appointment for Attorney General. Succeding Eric Holder.
Calling her a "strong, independent prosecutor who twice led one of the most important US Attorney's Offices in the country."
Obama called her perhaps "the only lawyer in America who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists and still has the reputation for being a charming people person."
Holder disgraced the office he held. Francis Boyle called him "a total disaster for the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Human Rights and the Rule of Law."
White House press secretary Josh Earnest lied. Saying his "tenure (was) marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement."
Obama ludicrously called him another Ramsey Clark. His departure won't change things. Expect business as usual to continue. Nothing suggests otherwise.
Before Lynch's nomination, Boyle said he expects no positive change. It remains to be seen if he's right.
Holder served monied interests. Subservient to wealth, power and privilege. Let Washington's criminal class run things. Complicit with Wall Street and other corporate crooks.
Permitted unprecedented grand theft. Let corporate criminals escape accountability. Not a single culpable executive did prison time.
Authorized out-of-control Big Brother surveillance. Waged war on privacy rights. Due process. Press freedom. Whistleblowers exposing government wrongdoing.
He's what Beltway insiders call a "sin eater," said Law Professor Jonathan Turley. Shielding presidents and other top officials from accountability.
Nixon had Halderman and Ehrlichman. Oliver North and Bud McFarlane served Reagan. Bush had Cheney. The "ultimate sin eater," said Turley.
Obama had "no better sin eater than Holder." Absolving CIA torturers from prosecution. Supporting secretive/lawless/expanded warrantless surveillance.
Rubber-stamping Obama's Murder, Inc. agenda. His kill list policy. His war on dissidents. Anti-war protesters. Muslims. Latino immigrants.
Lawyers defending clients Holder wanted convicted. Investigative journalists. Truth-tellers more aggressively than ever. According to Turley:
His tenure was "one of the most damaging periods in our history with a comprehensive attack on various constitutional rights and principles from free speech to the free press to international law."
He "fought aggressively to expand the powers of the presidency and national security laws over countervailing individual rights and separation of powers principles."
He "personifie(d) an administration of unrivaled ambitions colliding with inescapable realities."
"(I)t didn’t take long for (his) 'Mr. Smith comes to Washington' story to become 'all the king’s men.' "
He was involved in militarizing state and local police forces. Wrongfully used the long outdated 1917 Espionage Act against Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea (aka Bradley) Manning.
Supported Obama’s right to attack other countries without Security Council or congressional authorization. War-profiteers thrived on his watch.
Enforced a litany of police state laws. Shamelessly. Violating core rule of law principles.
He defended entrapment. Occurring when law enforcement officials or agents induce, influence, or provoke crimes that otherwise wouldn't be committed. 
Holder approved the practice publicly. Defending the indefensible. Calling entrapment an "essential law enforcement tool in uncovering and preventing terror attacks."
None occurred on US soil in recent memory. Repeat: None. 9/11 was state-sponsored terrorism.
So-called homegrown terrorist plots virtually don't exist. Alleged ones are hatched. Fake. Big Lies. 
Targeting numerous innocent victims. Falsely accusing them of crimes never committed. Railroading them on bogus charges. Imprisoning them unjustly.
Generating fear. Washington's fake war on terror needs public support. Orchestrated FBI stings entrap innocent victims. 
Familiar schemes repeat. Law and order don't matter. Police state justice replaced them. 
Ends justify means. Expect business as usual under Lynch. Nothing suggests otherwise.
She's currently US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Appointed in May 2010.
Overseeing federal prosecutions in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.
Her mother was a school librarian. Her father a Baptist minister. She's a Harvard College and Law School grad.
"(A)nother member of Obama's Harvard Law School Mafia," emailed Francis Boyle.
"Harvard Law SchoolIs a Neo-Con CesspoolAfter Deans Clark and KaganI would not send my dog (there)I like my dog
Nor my kidsNor others’ kidsI like them too
To learn tortureAnd become torturers
To learn war crimesAnd become war criminals
To learn kangaroo courtsAnd become kangaroos
To learn dronesAnd become droners
To learn murderAnd become murderers
To learn assassinationsAnd become assassins
To trash the ConstitutionAnd International LawHuman Rights too
This is not the HLSI enteredIn 1971
A Pox upon their House
Fab."
Obama said he "can think of no better public servant to be our next Attorney General."
"It's no wonder that the Senate unanimously confirmed her to be the head of the US Attorney's office in two separate situations, once under President Clinton and once under my administration, and it's my hope the Senate will confirm her a third time without delay."
Lynch pledged she'll ''wake up every morning with the protection of the American people my first thought and I will work every day to safeguard our citizens, our liberties, our rights and this great nation which has given so much to me and my family."
If confirmed, she'll be the first female African-American attorney general. 
The content of her character matters most. Especially as America's chief law enforcement officer.
Most predecessors shamed the office. Mocked rule of law principles. It remains to be seen how Lynch performs. If past is prologue, hold the cheers.
She initially practiced law at Cahill Gordon & Reindel. An establishment New York-headquartered international law firm. Since 1919.
Her official Justice Department bio says her federal career began in 1990. Prosecuting Eastern District narcotics and violent crime cases.
From 1994 - 98, she was Long Island Office Chief. After serving as District Deputy Head of General Crimes as well as Intake and Arraignments.
She prosecuted white collar crimes and corruption cases. Was lead prosecutor in trials involving public corruption allegations in Brookhaven, Long Island.
Was a United States v. Volpe trial team member. Involving New York police sexually assaulting Haitian immigrant Abner Louima.
Clinton appointed her US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Serving from 1999 to 2001.
She was a member of his Attorney General's Advisory Committee. Served as White House Crime Subcommittee Co-Chair.
Was a Criminal Trial Advocacy Program DOJ instructor. Served as St. John's University School of Law Adjunct Professor.
From 2003 - 2005, was a Wall Street controlled New York Federal Reserve Bank of New York board member. The mother bank most complicit with its member bank crooks.
Before becoming US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York in May 2010, she was a Hogan & Hartson LLP partner.
New York based. A member of its litigation group. Focusing on commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, and corporate compliance issues.
At the time, serving as Special Counsel for the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
It defined propaganda and other forms incitement to commit genocidal mass killing as follows: 
"Directly provoking the perpetrator(s) to commit genocide, whether through speeches, shouting or threats uttered in public places or at public gatherings, or through the sale or dissemination, offer for sale or display of written material or printed matter in public places or at public gatherings, or through the public display of placards or posters or through any other means of audiovisual communication." 
Like US-led NATO written or verbal communications. Justifying naked aggression. Mischaracterized as humanitarian intervention. Or responsibility to protect.
Regurgitated by supportive scoundrel media propaganda. Misinformation. Other forms of deception.
America and rogue EU partners operate unaccountably. Committing high crimes. Avoiding tribunal justice. Don't expect US officials to explain. Or prosecute high-level culpable ones.
ICTR Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte granted Rwandan President Paul Kagame and complicit officials de facto impunity.
Exonerating them of conspiracy and other high crimes. Justice remains denied. Lynch's official bio leaves her role unexplained.
Her ICRT Special Counsel for the Chief Prosecutor position likely involved her in absolving culpable US allies.
Disqualifying her for the nation's top law enforcement position. Don't expect accountability going forward. 
Justice in America doesn't work this way. For sure not now.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

What Makes a Good Security Audit?

eff.org - Sun, 09/11/2014 - 03:35

EFF recently began a new Campaign for Secure & Usable Crypto, with the aim of encouraging the creation and use of tools and protocols that not only offer genuinely secure messaging, but are also usable in practice by the humans who are most vulnerable to dangerous surveillance, including those who are not necessarily sophisticated computer users. The first phase of this campaign is the Secure Messaging Scorecard, which aims to identify messaging systems that are on the right track from a security perspective. In subsequent phases of the campaign, we plan to delve deeper into the usability and security properties of the tools that are doing best in the Scorecard. One crucial aspect of the Scorecard and the campaign is and will be code auditing. We've gotten a lot of questions about the auditing column in the Scorecard, so we thought it would be good to expand on it here.

In order to have confidence in any software that has security implications, we need to know that it has been reviewed for structural design problems and is being continuously audited for bugs and vulnerabilities in the code. All well-run projects should perform such reviews and audits, as they decrease—but do not eliminate—the risk of problems like Heartbleed, Shellshock, and thousands of other severe vulnerabilities that have received less dramatic press.

Unfortunately, there is a huge variation in the quality and effectiveness of audits. When we use software, our security depends in part on the nature and quality of these auditing processes, but they are difficult to measure. Audits can be partial or thorough; the people conducting them can vary enormously in their levels of skill and experience; the audit can look mostly for common kinds of security errors, or also search for bugs and design issues that are more subtle and particular to the codebase; they can rely primarily on generic software for static analysis and vulnerability scanning, somewhat customized software for "fuzzing" an application, and/or incorporate a great deal of manual analysis by experienced humans. The vulnerabilities found by audits may or may not be fixed, and especially in the case of design and structure flaws that are partially mitigated, it may or may not be clear whether they have been fixed.

In the course of constructing our Secure Messaging Scorecard, we encountered a significant challenge around these variations. We know it is essential that users pick software that is well-audited, but it isn't obvious how to define an objective and practical-to-evaluate metric for the quality of audits. We considered a few options on this front:

  • Transparency. If an audit is published, then the security community can look at its methods and findings, and form opinions about how thorough it was. But some high-quality auditors who work on very widely used software told us that they were nervous about bidding for commercial auditing projects where the audit would be published. Their message was essentially, "if the audit will be published, we will inevitably have commercial incentives to only find bugs that are quick and easy to fix, and not design flaws that are hard or impossible to resolve."
  • Vouching. Will the auditor vouch for the product after the audit is complete and bugs have been addressed (completely, partially, or not at all)? It's a good sign if the auditor is enthusiastic about the code, but it's also risky to try to measure and act on that ("if you won't sign off on our product, we'll find an auditor that will!").
  • Audit metrics. How many bugs of different types were found and fixed, and by what means and how quickly were they found? The problem with such metrics is they commingle the ease of finding bugs in a codebase (which is strongly connected to its security) with the skill levels of the auditors. Unless one can control for one of these variables, the audit metrics may not be especially informative.
  • Facilitating audit quality. Evaluate tools not just on whether they are audited, but on whether they do other things to make auditing (including independent auditing) easier.

Given these considerations, for the Scorecard we included not one but three columns that we believe are indicative of good code review practice, though they cannot categorically guarantee it:

  1. We included a check mark for a recent audit. Audits have to be regular (at least yearly); conducted by individuals or teams other than the developers of the software; and they must examine the design and structure of the project as well the code itself. For the reasons discussed above, we don't require companies to publish their audits, and we don't ask the auditors to vouch for the tools they audited, though we require that the audits be conducted by an identifiable party.
  2. We included a check mark for projects that publish a clear and technically detailed design document, which is essential for both external and internal review of the design; and
  3. We included a check mark for projects which publish independently reviewable and buildable copies of their source code, which ensures that the maker of the software isn't also a gatekeeper for all white-box audits.

We did not review, judge, or vouch for the audits of each technology. However, we wanted to both encourage communication software developers to regularly audit their code and give an indication to everyday users about which tools are at least making a systematic effort to review their codebases. In the near future we plan to publish a document to provide more detail regarding what the developers of each tool said about their audits.

The Secure Messaging Scorecard is the first phase of a longer Campaign for Secure & Usable Crypto. During subsequent phases of this campaign, we intend to delve deeper on the auditing front. This Scorecard represents only the first phase of the campaign. In later phases, we are planning to offer closer examinations of the usability and security of the tools that score the highest here. EFF does not endorse particular communication tools, and we recognize that different users may have different security concerns and considerations. These scores, and particularly the auditing column, are merely indications that the projects are on the right track.

As always, we value feedback from the security community as well as the larger technical community, and we hope to continue to refine our Secure Messaging Scorecard to make it as useful and accurate as possible. To learn more about protecting your communications from surveillance, visit EFF's Surveillance Self Defense.

Related Issues: Encrypting the WebSecurityTransparency
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Categories: Aggregated News

Mission Creep in Iraq

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 09/11/2014 - 02:58
Mission Creep in Iraq
by Stephen Lendman
Ominous Vietnam War echoes. On November 7, a Department of Defense news release said in part:
"The commander in chief has authorized Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to deploy to Iraq up to 1,500 additional US personnel over the coming months, in a non-combat role, to expand our advise and assist mission and initiate a comprehensive training effort for Iraqi forces."
"Secretary Hagel made this recommendation to President Obama based on the request of the Government of Iraq, US Central Command's assessment of Iraqi units, the progress Iraqi security forces have made in the field, and in concert with the development of a coalition campaign plan to defend key areas and go on the offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)."
"US Central Command will establish two expeditionary advise and assist operations centers, in locations outside of Baghdad and Erbil, to provide support for the Iraqis at the brigade headquarters level and above." 
"These centers will be supported by an appropriate array of force protection capabilities."
Washington's so-called "advise and assist mission" is a euphemism for deploying combat-ready personnel. Mission creep. Planned well before around 1,600 US special forces arrived earlier.
On August 7, Obama lied saying deploying them and bombing Iraq had two objectives. On the one hand, rescuing thousands of trapped Yazidi civilians. On Mount Sinjar.
On the other, protecting US personnel in Erbil. Whatever so-called threat existed ebbed. Yazidis are out of harm's way. Far fewer were threatened than Obama claimed.
A third explanation followed. Saying bombing would help Iraqi forces retake Mosul damn. Protect it. Government troops and Kurdish Peshmerga control it.
A fourth objective ludicrously claimed bombing protects America from a nonexistent Islamic State (IS) threat. 
Buying time for Baghdad to "build up" military strength. Combat IS without US boots on the ground.
Obama's Iraq war is Washington's third since 1991. Naked aggression each time. Ongoing again lawlessly. Another high crime on his rap sheet.
US involvement has nothing to do with reasons given. Everything to do with protecting the interests of Big Oil.
Wanting unchallenged regional control. Balkanizing Iraq into the Baghdad center, Kurdish north and Basra south.
Making the world safe for war profiteers. Benefitting their bottom line priorities. 
Fear-mongering. Suppressing hard truths. Substituting Big Lies. Waging phony war on IS fighters. US proxies. Shock troops. Foot soldiers. Boots on the ground.
Armed, funded, trained and directed by US special forces and CIA operatives. In Jordan, Turkey and Georgia.
Taught dirty ways to wage war. With chemical and other banned weapons. Commit atrocities. Deployed cross-border to Syria.
Against Assad. For regime change. For installing convenient US-controlled stooge governance. Similar to Washington's regional objectives.
Waging permanent wars to achieve them. Including partnering with Israel against Palestinians. Isolating Iran. Its turn awaits.
Redrawing the Middle East. Balkanizing it. Restoring colonial rule. Plundering regional resources. Exploiting its people. Eliminating Israeli rivals. 
Propaganda wars rage. Fear-mongering persists. Hyping Big Lies. Media scoundrels regurgitate them ad nauseam.
Systematically burying truth. Substituting deception for reality. Nonexistent threats make headlines. 
Repetition gets most people to believe them. Mindless of reality. What's ongoing. Why. 
How US geopolitical objectives harm ordinary Americans. Trillions of dollars down a black hole. For militarism. 
Foreign conquest. Colonial rule. At the expense of vitally needed popular interests. Gone begging for imperial priorities.
Ravaging one country after another. For unchallenged dominance and profit. Permanent wars without end. 
From one theater to another. Multiple ones. Waging direct and proxy wars. America's dark side was never darker.
Obama a convenient front man. A caricature of a leader. A con man. A "two-bit punk," according to Paul Craig Roberts. 
A war criminal multiple times over. Impeaching him is a national imperative. 
Imprisoning him where he belongs. For high genocidal crimes. Too egregious to ignore. Slippery slope mission creep in Iraq his latest crime.
Heading for full-scale involvement. Perhaps already covertly. Policies implemented long before announced. Big Lies, deception and coverup conceal them.
It bears repeating. Ominous Vietnam echoes are audible. The late Gabriel Kolko wrote the definitive Vietnam War history.
His "Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience" explains what everyone needs to know.
America's objectives, strengths, weaknesses, quest for world dominance and miscalculations. Its advisory role shifted to combat.
Initial deployments arrived in 1950. Sent to help France regain control of its former colony.
After its 1954 Dien Bien Phu defeat, Washington worked directly with Ngo Dinh Diem's government. Against North Vietnam and Viet Cong allies.
From 1955 - 1960, mission creep expanded to 1,500 military advisors. Exponential additions followed. To around 16,000 in 1963. Hundreds of thousands more under Johnson and Nixon.
Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam (MAAG-V) and Military Assistance Command-Vietnam (MAC-V) forces shifted from advisors to open combat. 
Kolko's November 2003 "Vietnam War Reconsidered" article said "nothing happening today either in regard to Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, Afghanistan, or elsewhere, that in principle did not also occur after 1950 under a succession of presidents - whether they were conservatives, liberals, or whatever description fits the murky and contradictory American political environment." 
"Lies, distortions, cynical manipulation but also self-delusions have always been endemic to the way key foreign policies were and are articulated." 
"What is called 'intelligence' is far less a solution to the problem of ignorance than an integral aspect of it." 
"We can rarely believe we are being told the truth, if only because those who proclaim it often are themselves mystified by illusions. If true it is something of an atypical accident."
Earlier congressional investigations confirmed CIA failures, said Kolko. An organization "not merely malevolent but also simply incompetent on many critical matters."
Above all on Vietnam. Well-known and documented, said Kolko. Error after error was made.
To justify greater military spending. Based on information amounting to "garbage." Presidents and trusted advisors ignored reliable hard truths.
Everything that could go wrong, did. The so-called Tonkin Gulf crisis was a duplicitous pretext for mission creep on steroids. Major escalation.
Shoring up Saigon's puppet regime. "The same was true of the Pleiku incidents of early 1965," said Kolko.
"(A)n excuse for retaliation waiting for something to happen…Pleiku attacks were a convenient trigger for intended escalation." 
An excuse for permanent North Vietnam bombing. Echoes of what's ongoing now in Iraq and Syria.
Myths of Southeast Asian war progress were "conscious falsehoods," said Kolko. Carefully nurtured.
Everyone in the Johnson and Nixon administrations on the same page. Spreading Big Lies.
"At no time was truth given a higher priority than political convenience or the lies both the politicians and generals propounded, Kolko explained.
"Manipulating public opinion and politics dictated how the war was justified." Especially during repeated troop deployments.
Big Lies claiming their need. Truth was systematically buried. "On many occasions the truth was grotesquely and deliberately distorted in order to make a point," said Kolko.
Vietnam was one of many examples of corrupted foreign policy. Reflecting willful deception. For imperial aims.
Policy-making "dominated by aggressive individuals or organizations, or by the interplay of bureaucratic politics, rather than by rational deliberation of national interests."
"So much for intelligence guiding policy." No evidence suggests its "options or goals are influenced or defined by information (analytically collected) as truthfully as possible…"
"Were this the case," one mess after another could have been avoided. America's intelligence community supplies lots of "worthless data."
Accurate information "becomes worthless as soon as it fails to reinforce" what policy-makers want to hear. Ideology and imperial goals drive things.
Expecting Washington to behave otherwise is believing in fantasy. "The system…is irrational," said Kolko. Evident in Vietnam. In Afghanistan and Iraw under Bush. Currently under Obama.
What's ahead remains to be seen. Tet was Washington's Vietnam denouement. 
The "beginning of the end for the protracted American effort to win the Vietnam War," said Kolko. Hidden from public disclosure.
He was in Hue when war ended. In April 1975. In February, he predicted a quick end. After Washington's multi-decade involvement.
An unwinnable war. Claiming millions of Southeast Asian lives. Through targeted and indiscriminate terror-bombing. 
Using millions of tons of ordnance. Concealing the worst of the horror from public view. 
Ending with Washington's April 30, 1975 humiliating Saigon embassy rooftop exit. 
Perhaps what Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Syrians and other US victimized people can look forward to one day.
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. 

Israel's Reign of Terror on Palestine

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 08/11/2014 - 21:33
Israel's Reign of Terror on Palestine
by Stephen Lendman
Israel's sordid history is blood-drenched. Unmatched in modern times along with America. 
The late Edward Said called conditions "a disheartening bloody impasse." Blind destructiveness. State-sponsored terrorism. Viciousness writ large.
Palestine is an isolated prison, he said. An entire population being suffocated out of existence.
For decades, Palestinians endured every imaginable indignity, degradation, and crime against humanity.
They're assaulted, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, humiliated, and otherwise abused.
By Israel's vicious, unrelenting killing machine. State terror genocidal agenda. Premeditated wars of aggression.
Unending cycle of violence. Slow-motion extermination. So-called Israeli "pacification" reflects mass slaughter and destruction. 
Brutalizing militarized occupation harshness. Persecuting and terrorizing Palestinians for not being Jews.
Depriving them of fundamental rights everyone deserves. With full US support and encouragement. 
Both nations partner in each other's high crimes against peace. Their killing machines show no mercy.
Targeting non-combatant civilians as legitimate targets. In violation of core international humanitarian and human rights laws.
Francis Boyle calls Palestinians "victims of genocide." As defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Reflecting Zionism's "final solution." Its "very essence…has always been genocide, whether slow-motion or in bloodthirsty spurts of violence."
Israel and its "Zionist agencies, forces and terrorist gangs ruthlessly implemented a systematic and comprehensive military, political, religious, economic, and cultural campaign with the intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnical, racial, and different religious group (Jews versus Muslims and Christians) constituting the Palestinian people." 
"This Zionist/Israeli campaign has consisted of killing members of the Palestinian people in violation of Genocide Convention Article II(a)." 
Causing "serious bodily and mental harm to the Palestinian people in violation of Genocide Convention Article II(b)."
Deliberately and maliciously "inflict(ing) on the Palestinian people conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in substantial part in violation of Article II(c) of the Genocide Convention."
Historian Ilan Pappe accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. Years earlier, he said "(a)n average of eight Palestinians die daily (from) Israeli attacks on the Strip."
Including women and children. "Hundreds are maimed, wounded and paralyzed."
"The inhuman living conditions in the most dense area in the world, and one of the poorest human spaces in the northern hemisphere, disables the people who live it to reconcile with the imprisonment Israel had imposed on them ever since 1967."
During Israel's December 2008/January 2009 Cast Lead war, Professor Jeremy Salt  wrote a message to brave Israeli airmen. His comments apply to Operation Protective Edge. What's ongoing now.
What’s it like firing missiles at people you can’t see, he asked?
Does it help being unable to see who you're killing?
Is your conscience eased by inflicting disproportionate force on people unable to fight back?
Are you comfortable about slaughtering civilian men, women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm?
Does it weigh on your conscience doing so? Or are you at ease?
Do you sleep well or have nightmares about non-threatening civilians you killed at home, in beds, kitchens, living rooms, schools, mosques, at work, or at play?
Do farmers in their fields, mothers with children, teachers in classrooms, imams in mosques, children at play, the elderly, frail or disabled threaten your security?
Do you ever question what you’ve done and why? 
Have you no shame, no sense of decency, no idea of the difference between right and wrong?
Do you know core humanitarian and human rights laws? The laws of war. 
If so, why do you violate them? Doing so makes you complicit in high crimes of war and against humanity?  
Do you blindly follow orders or have a mind of your own? Have you murdered civilians before?
Will you do it again if ordered? Will you keep following orders blindly or do the right thing?
"Brave" Israeli airmen, soldiers, sailors, and other security force personnel are cowards. Acting lawlessly for decades. 
Inflicting horrific crimes on Palestinians daily. Unsure each day if they'll live or die. Remain safe or be brutalized. Stay free or be imprisoned. 
Imagine young children growing up this way. Traumatized early in life. Internalizing justifiable rage. 
Deserving fundamental rights Israel forbids. A killing machine. An unconscionable human rights abuser.
Professor William Cook's book "The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction" explains "methodical genocide in Palestine (since) the 1940s."
James Petras addressed "Israeli genocide and its willing accomplices." Washington. Complicit Western partners. Rogue Arab states. The "major Zionist organizations."
"Moral precepts become debased and supplanted by the ethics of mass murder." 
"Moralists, rabbis and ethical philosophers all join to bless the bombs dropped on hospitals and schools and homes and all living things – even the dead and buried do not rest in peace when the cemeteries are bombed."
Professor Richard Falk asked if it's "irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with (Nazi Germany's) collective atrocity? I think not," he said.
At the same time, Western leaders watch "the ugly spectacle unfold while some of (their most) influential members actively encourage and assist" Israel's genocidal campaign.
Mainly America. Partnering in Israeli high crimes. Complicit in genocidal slaughter. For the third time since 2008.
Meeting "calls for restraint…with contempt." Extremists like Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon calling for "total destruction."
Genocidal slaughter. With impunity. With full US support and encouragement. With other Western leaders turning a blind eye.
Making peace, equity and justice four-letter words. Convenient illusions. Blaming Palestinians for Israel's worst crimes.
Holding them hostage in the world's largest open-air prison. In cantonized/isolated West Bank communities. In Palestine's East Jerusalem capital.
Israeli "state terrorism" is the main culprit, says Falk. Throughout Occupied Palestine. 
British MP George Galloway calls Israel "an illegal, savage and barbarous state." A "hateful and oppressive regime." Lawless by any standard.
Using its killing machine to murder Palestinians. "(I)llegally grab(ing) land and persecut(ing) their rightful owners."
Galloway urges a total boycott of Israeli goods, services, academics and tourists.
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees everyone "the right to life, liberty and security of person."
Article 6 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) says every "human being has the inherent right to life."
Israel systematically denies it to Palestinians. Throughout Occupied Palestine. Especially Gazans under siege.
Showing contempt for law and human life. Netanyahu committed to genocidal slaughter. To achieve his degenerate aims.
Ten years after Israel murdered Yasser Arafat, things are much worse than ever.
Under brutalizing militarized occupation. Lawless by any standard. Barbarous. Ruthless.
Isolating Palestinians in cantonized communities. Fragmenting them by Separation Wall oppression.
Dispossessing and displacing them. Ethnically cleansing them from their own land. Stealing it for Jews only.
Murdering resisters. Imprisoning others. Treating young children like adults. 
Enacting legislation to imprison them up to 20 years for stone-throwing. Brutalizing nonviolent public protesters.
Prohibiting free expression and movement. Criminalizing wanting to live free on land rightfully theirs.
Corrupted PA officials acting as convenient Israeli stooges. Brutalizing their own people. Serving as Israeli enforcers. For special benefits they derive.
Mocking legitimate governance. Lawless by any standard. Amira Hass quoted sociologist Hunaida Ghanem describing PA hierarchical structure as follows:
"There is a small (entrenched) elite…(T)here are those who got rich from the Oslo process." 
"There is the middle class of Ramallah, who live in a bubble and in an illusion that their situation is good because they live on bank loans." 
"And there is the majority of the people, who don't live in a bubble and suffer from the existing reality."
"The middle class chases personal security and car loans. Not even in Tel Aviv and New York do you see cars like the ones here in Ramallah." 
"This is a middle class under occupation that lives in nonprofits, academia, the schools, the government ministries." 
"It used to be the avant-garde of national action, of resistance and the national project." 
"Now it is busy with repaying debts. Those who work in nonprofit organizations are busy with pleasing the donors."
"During Arafat's time, when people said 'peace process,' people trusted in his ability to lead to a breakthrough." 
Despite his irresponsible Oslo surrender. Achieving nothing for renouncing armed struggle.
Palestinians believed things would improve. They worsened. Degenerated more than ever. Without Arafat, "Palestinian society has lost its hope and horizon," said Hass.
Nothing in prospect looks promising. Corrupted PA leadership remains entrenched.
On the one hand, Israeli occupation harshness "provides all the objective and unifying conditions for a third intifada," says Hass.
On the other, "Oslo…created subjective conditions of social stratification, economic disparities and discipline-imposing security agencies that are subject to the will of the donor countries." 
"All this prevents or delays the next uprising." It remains to be seen for how long.
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. 

And The Games Play On: EFF Fights For Users' Rights to Play and Preserve Abandoned Video Games

eff.org - Sat, 08/11/2014 - 09:24

When you buy a book, a record, or a movie, you can expect to be able to enjoy it, on your own terms, for as long as you want. But the same cannot always be said about video games. Over the past several years, video game publishers have increasingly required connection with one of their own servers in order to "unlock" core functionality for gameplay. Publishers often take those servers offline once they stop being economical to run, leaving a typical gamer unable to play her lawfully purchased games. And this affects not just video game players, but archivists and researchers who want to preserve and study the history of games as cultural artifacts.

EFF has filed a petition with the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress this week seeking an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anti-circumvention provision, in order to allow video gamers to modify their software to disable authentication checks or to connect to third party servers after official support for those games has ended.

As with the other petitions we've filed this week, the issue is not one of copyright infringement. Making modifications to lawfully acquired software in order to access its functionality is an established fair use. The problem, instead, is that the DMCA contains a broad anti-circumvention provision that doesn't distinguish between infringing and non-infringing uses. Except for the exemptions created in a time-consuming and laborious process every three years, the DMCA creates a blanket ban on breaking DRM to access copyrighted works, regardless of the ultimate intent.

As you might expect, such a sweeping restriction has many unintended consequences, chilling speech and hindering competition in a ham-fisted effort to limit infringement. The law is sorely in need of an adjustment—one promising reform proposal is the Unlocking Technology Act, introduced last year by Rep. Zoe Lofgren and a bipartisan coalition of legislators.

This petition marks the first time we have requested a specific exemption for abandoned games, reflecting the fact that the problem has become more and more mainstream. Even massively popular franchises like Need For Speed and Mario Kart have had major functionality lopped off by their publishers as their sales waned. And the issue will only become more pronounced as more game sales shift to digital marketplaces, where authentication checks are even more common.

As archivists can attest, there are a number of ways in which digital media in general are more fragile than physical media. The law should not be exacerbating that problem. But with video games in particular, legal restrictions on preserving and maintaining functionality threatens to wipe out communities of players that participate in competitive or collaborative play.

In an ideal world, publishers wouldn't encumber their software with restrictive DRM, mandatory authentication schemes, or proprietary multiplayer protocols. In the meantime though, gamers should be allowed to continue playing the games they've legally purchased without a cloud of legal uncertainty hovering over them.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceDMCADMCA RulemakingVideo GamesRelated Cases: 2015 DMCA Rulemaking
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Palestinian Solidarity Day of Rage

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 08/11/2014 - 07:58
Palestinian Solidarity Day of Rage
by Stephen Lendman
Israeli Al-Aqsa Mosque policy triggered mass protests. Other reasons include Operation Protective Edge ruthlessness. 
Settlement construction. Institutionalized racism. Treating Palestinians like subhumans. Peace process hypocrisy. 
Targeted killings. Terrorizing community incursions. Mass arrests. Brutalizing political imprisonments. Torture. Settler violence and vandalism. Overall occupation harshness. 
Decades of pent up outrage ignited public anger. People endure so much before exploding. Justifiably expressing rage.
Mass protests. Solidarity for long denied justice. Perhaps a third Intifada.
Haaretz columnist Anshel Pfeffer calls Jerusalem protests "a symptom of the dysfunctionality of this place." 
"People don't have any hope here," he says. "This is the most poor and intolerant city."
"We don't have a viable group of people who actually are invested in the city's future, getting together and saying how can we build a city that our kids can live in."
"Revolt and resist" slogans circulate online. Israeli editor Shimrit Meir of the Arabic news site The Source says:
"The way I see it is kind of a postmodern intifada. So we might see periods of intense violence followed by long periods of containment and calm."
Intifada means "shaking off." Palestinian political scientist Khalik Shikaki calls it "reject(ing) the status quo (and) seek(ing) change…through concrete and meaningful steps."
A "history-making event. (A) turning point." Do current conditions reflect it, he asked?
Not yet. "(I)t needs a major spark." Are conditions right? "The answer is yes," he said.
On December 8, 1987, the first Intifada erupted. After an Israeli military vehicle struck cars carrying Palestinian workers.
Killing four. Funerals became huge demonstrations. A new organization followed.
The United National Leadership of the Uprising urged general strikes. Civil disobedience. Boycotts. 
Ariel Sharon's September 28, 2000 provocative Al-Aqsa visit sparked the second Intifada. Lasting until February 2005.
Killing nearly 4,200 Palestinians. Including hundreds of women, children, students, teachers and other civilians.
Injuring thousands more. Imprisoning 8,600. Disabling over 3,500. Committing more than 550 assassinations..
Confiscating over 2.3 million dunums of Palestinian land. Destroying nearly 7,700 homes. Damaging another 94,000.
The overall toll was horrific. Justice remains denied. Conditions remain explosive. Worse now than then. 
A third intifada could happen any time. Exceeding earlier harshness. Netanyahu is a world-class thug. 
Heading Israel's most extremist government ever. Ruthless and then some. Operation Protective Edge proved his viciousness. Barbaric disregard for Palestinian lives.
Outdoing Sharonian evil. Mindless of Palestinian pain and suffering. 
Physician/political activist/human rights champion Mustafa Barghouti believes intifada activism is ongoing. Israel forc(ed) it, he said.
"The Palestinian people as a whole are rising up in response to Israeli crimes and abuses across the Palestinian territories, particularly in Jerusalem." 
"Israel's provocations in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and its unprecedented Judiazation in Jerusalem, in addition to its constantly increasing settlement network, have created a deeply entrenched system of racial subjugation."
Israeli brutality won't stop ongoing protests, he believes. Denouncing occupation harshness.
Urging Palestinians to defend Al-Aqsa. Their dignity and freedom.
"To me, when I say intifada, I mean a general status of public opinion and public readiness to engage in resistance actions," he said.
"If we follow that definition, we are definitely at a new stage."
On November 7, Day of Rage protests followed Friday prayers. Demonstrators threw stones. Chanted anti-Israeli slogans.
Israeli security forces responded with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades. At times, live fire.
On Friday, Chief Sephardi rabbi Yitzhak Yosef told Jews going to the Temple Mount is forbidden.
"This is the place to call on the esteemed public to stop this incitement, from here a call is heard, forbidding any Jews from going up to the Temple Mount," he said. 
"From here a call is heard to stop this so that the blood of the People of Israel may stop being spilled."
He blamed rabbis involved in urging Jewish worship there. "(A)dding fuel to the fire," he said. 
In 1967, Israel and Jordan agreed on permitting Western Wall prayer. Not inside Al-Aqsa's compound.
MK Oriti Struck disagrees, saying: "I protest the blaming of Jews for acts of incitement and murder of the Arab terrorists, and the insult to the great rabbis of religious Zionism."  
Rabbi David Stav chairs the religious-Zionist Tzohar rabbinical association. "Torah sages of religious Zionism don't need anyone's approval," he said.
"Instead of blaming the murderers, the finger is pointed at the victims," he claimed.
Even those "convinced that it is forbidden to enter the Temple Mount will certainly agree that the sovereignty over the holiest place to the Jewish people should be in the hands of the Jewish state," he added.
Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned about inflaming things further.
Bayit Yehudi and Likud parties “only know how to light a flame and to exploit a situation for their own political gains,” Lieberman said.
On Wednesday, Jordan recalled its ambassador in protest. On Friday, demonstrators rallied in solidarity with Palestinians.
Opposition Muslim Brotherhood head, Sheikh Hamam, addressed Amman crowds, asking:
"Why are you keeping the embassy of the Jews? It should be demolished with everyone in it."
Thousands rallied in West Bank cities. Pitched battles erupted. Israeli police responded violently.
Dozens of injuries followed. At least one Palestinian was shot with live fire.
Clashes followed Israeli forces attempting to disperse large crowds. Beginning at Ibrahim al-Akkari's home.
Israeli police murdered him in cold blood. Accusing him of ramming his vehicle into pedestrians.
Killing a policeman. Injuring 14 others. After exiting his vehicle, border police killed him. Calling what happened a "terror attack."
No day in court. No due process. No judicial fairness. Summary judgment only. Guilt by accusation. Death by multiple gunshot wounds.
Murder by any standard. Arousing greater anger. On Friday, Shufat clashes followed. Others across Jerusalem.
Over Al-Aqsa access restrictions. Thousands of Palestinian youths prayed in Jerusalem streets. In Ras al-Amoud, Wadi al-Joz, Salah al-Din, and al-Musrara.
Monitored by hundreds of heavily armed police. Photographing worshipers. 
Tensions heightened further over an expected Knesset vote. Potentially dividing Al-Aqsa between Muslims and Jews.
Doing so would ignite a firestorm. Perhaps throughout the Muslim world. Days earlier, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal urged all Muslims to "defend Al-Aqsa."
He and others call it "our sacred place." The "Nobel Sanctuary is ours. (Jews) have no right to go there and desecrate it."
Palestinians should use "all means" to protect what's rightfully theirs. On Wednesday, permanent Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour wrote Security Council members.
Citing the "critical situation and continuously rising tensions in the Occupied State of Palestine."  
Calling on "the international community to give serious attention to the situation at the Al-Aqsa compound."
Saying "Israel is attempting to create a new reality at the expense of the Palestinians, their religious rights, sites and historical identity and are violating the sanctity of religious sites without consequences." 
"To remain silent in the face of such gross violations is unacceptable and will only bolster Israel's impunity."
Netanyahu claims Jerusalem as Israel's exclusive capital. Permitting unlimited settlement construction, he said. 
Despite international law disagreeing. Jerusalem is an international city under a UN Trusteeship Council.
The area includes all Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Beit Sahour. Including Christian holy sites.
East Jerusalem is recognized as Palestinian territory. Under illegitimate Israeli occupation.
Palestinians justifiably claim it as their exclusive capital. Not as long as Israel denies them.
PLO spokesman Ahmed Assaf says Israel bears full responsibility for ongoing clashes. Its crimes incite Palestinian responses.
Nothing suggests responsible change. Palestinian and other human rights groups demand international community action against Israeli lawlessness. 
Whether intifada activism follows public outrage remains to be seen. Tinderbox conditions make anything possible.
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. 

Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court to Rule APIs Can’t Be Copyrighted

eff.org - Sat, 08/11/2014 - 07:44
EFF Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Tech Pioneers in Oracle v. Google Court Battle

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a brief with the Supreme Court of the United States today, arguing on behalf of 77 computer scientists that the justices should review a disastrous appellate court decision finding that application programming interfaces (APIs) are copyrightable. That decision, handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in May, up-ended decades of settled legal precedent and industry practice.

Signatories to the brief include five Turing Award winners, four National Medal of Technology winners, and numerous fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery, IEEE, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The list also includes designers of computer systems and programming languages such as AppleScript, AWK, C++, Haskell, IBM S/360, Java, JavaScript, Lotus 1-2-3, MS-DOS, Python, Scala, SmallTalk, TCP/IP, Unix, and Wiki.

"The Federal Circuit's decision was wrong and dangerous for technological innovation," EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry said. "Excluding APIs from copyright protection has been essential to the development of modern computers and the Internet. The ruling is bad law, and bad policy."

Generally speaking, APIs are specifications that allow programs to communicate with each other. So when you type a letter in a word processor, and hit the print command, you are using an API that lets the word processor talk to the printer driver, even though they were written by different people.

The brief explains that the freedom to re-implement and extend existing APIs has been the key to competition and progress in both hardware and software development. It made possible the emergence and success of many robust industries we now take for granted—for example, mainframes, PCs, and workstations/servers—by ensuring that competitors could challenge established players and advance the state of the art.

The litigation began several years ago when Oracle sued Google over its use of Java APIs in the Android OS. Google wrote its own implementation of the Java APIs, but, in order to allow developers to write their own programs for Android, Google's implementation used the same names, organization, and functionality as the Java APIs.

In May 2012, Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California ruled that the Java APIs are not subject to copyright. The court understood that ruling otherwise would have allowed Oracle to tie up "a utilitarian and functional set of symbols" that provides the basis for so much of the innovation and collaboration we all rely on today. The Federal Circuit disagreed, holding that Java's API packages were copyrightable, although it sent the case back to the trial court to determine whether Google's copying was nonetheless a lawful fair use.

"For decades, computer scientists and the courts have all understood that copyright doesn't protect APIs," EFF Special Counsel Michael Barclay said. "We hope that the Supreme Court will review this case and reverse the Federal Circuit's misguided opinion, which up-ended decades of industry practice and threatens the basic principles upon which our technology sector was built."

For EFF's amicus brief:
https://www.eff.org/document/amicus-brief-computer-scientists-scotus

Contacts:

Corynne McSherry
   Intellectual Property Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   corynne@eff.org

Michael Barclay
   Special Counsel
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   michael@eff.org


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Another Fake Russian Ukrainian Invasion

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 08/11/2014 - 04:21
Another Fake Russian Ukrainian Invasion
by Stephen Lendman
Claims about Russia invading Ukraine are fabricated. Earlier and current ones. Baseless Big Lies. Media scoundrels feature them.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki cites a nonexistent "pattern of escalating (Russian) aggression in Ukraine."
Nothing whatever exists. Not earlier. Not now. In late August, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov debunked spurious invasion claims," saying:
"It's not the first time we've heard wild guesses, though facts have never been presented so far."
"There have been reports about satellite imagery exposing Russian troop movements." 
"They turned out to be images from video games. The latest accusations happen to be much the same quality."
"We’ll react by remaining persistent in our policies to stay bloodshed and give a start to the nationwide dialogue and negotiations about the future of Ukraine, with participation of all Ukrainian regions and political forces, something that was agreed upon in Geneva back in April and in Berlin (in August), yet what is being so deliberately evaded by our Western partners now."
The latest Big Lie involves Kiev spuriously claiming 32 tanks, 16 howitzer cannons, and 30 trucks carrying munitions and soldiers entered Eastern Ukraine from Russia.
Near Lugansk. Followed by additional trucks and three mobile radar stations in the same area.
Putschist national security and defense council spokesman Andriy Lysenko earlier lied several times. Claiming Russian troops and military equipment entered Ukraine.
His Big Lies wore thin long ago. He's at it again. Saying "(t)he deployment continues of military equipment and Russian mercenaries to the front lines."
Despite no credible evidence whatever. None exists. Moscow debunked his claim. Calling it spurious. Baseless. Provocative. Misinformation rubbish like earlier reports. 
Big Lies stoking conflict. Part of Kiev's collaboration with Washington and rogue EU partners. Russia bashing writ large.
Raging daily. Exceeding the worst of Cold War levels. Malicious. Irresponsible. Rogue states operate this way.
John Kerry lied about America's commitment to peace. At the same time it's waging multiple direct and proxy wars of aggression. 
Permanent ones. Against invented enemies. Claiming Washington "remain(s) deeply committed to Ukraine's sovereignty, to its territorial integrity."
Thinly disguised US opposition to Donetsk and Lugansk self-determination. Legitimate under international law.
Praising Kiev's farcical October parliamentary elections. Ludicrously calling them "a very bold and very clear statement about the choice for change that the people of Ukraine have made."
An "inclusive, accountable government," he claimed. Reality is polar opposite. Illegitimate putschists run Ukraine. Opposition elements aren't tolerated.
Peace is deplored. Oligarch puppet president Petro Poroshenko wages war against his own people. More on current fighting below.
Kerry's comments ignored what's most important. Big Lies substituted. He shames the office he holds. Representing Washington's dark side.
Ludicrously claiming Poroshenko's "determination to maintain high moral ground." Wanting Ukrainians "to determine their future."
Denouncing legitimate Donetsk and Lugansk democratic elections. Polar opposite America's sham process. 
More plutocracy than democracy. Hypocrisy by any standard. Illegitimate and then some.
Don't expect Kerry to explain. His comments reflect imperial arrogance. Anything goes US policy. 
Support for wrong over right. Contempt for democratic values. Rule of law principles.
Brazen demagoguery. Indifference to US-caused human misery. Calling naked aggression humanitarian intervention. Millions of corpses bear witness otherwise.
So-called evidence about the latest fake Russian invasion was displayed online. A photo of a so-called anti-Russian tank ditch. Allegedly near the Ukrainian/Russian border 
Showing a Ukrainian tank called a Russian one. Photographed by Ukrainian journalist Roman Bochkala near Donetsk airport.
Far from Russia's border. The latest Kiev Big Lie. Regurgitated by media scoundrels irresponsibly. 
Headlines said NATO confirmed what never happened. Oligarch  president Poroshenko ordered Eastern troop deployments in response.
He lied claiming "a significant deviation from the implementation of the Minsk (ceasefire) protocol, which is leading to further escalation of the conflict."
Kiev alone violates Minsk terms. Repeatedly. Blaming Donetsk and Lugansk self-defense forces irresponsibly. 
Spreading Big Lies about nonexistent Russian invaders. Heightening tensions. Escalating conflict.
Claiming naked aggression is self-defense. Shelling residential areas. Murdering civilians. Including two children playing football at a Donetsk area school.
Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) self-defense forces repelled Kiev tanks near its airport. They "opened sporadic fire at our positions and residential areas," they said.
Kiev lied about what appears to be a new offensive. Spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said "refute(d) these allegations."
Despite indisputable evidence proving repeated Geneva and Minsk violations, he claimed "(w)e're strictly fulfilling" their terms. 
"We remain within the previously defined borders in our positions. We're not advancing."
DRP self-defense forces say otherwise. Residential area shelling continues. 
"Three homes were hit, according to our records," they said. "We also have information on two civilians being wounded." 
"It's all happening in the Kievsky district of Donetsk, in the territory adjacent to the Donetsk airport."
Donetsk's Railway Transport Institute was shelled. Four civilians were injured.
A Donetsk airport area school was targeted. The day after Kiev shelling killed two schoolchildren playing football. Injuring four others.
Since Kiev initiated naked Southeastern Ukrainian aggression, over 4.000 deaths were reported. Another 9,300 wounded. Many seriously.
On Thursday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Kiev "grossly defied" April Geneva four-party consensus and Minsk protocol terms.
"Instead of de-escalation, Kiev intensified military action in the southeast of the country, using heavy equipment, which led to thousands of casualties and widespread destruction," it said. 
"Instead of real constitutional reform and dialogue with its own people, some vague back-room maneuvers were performed…"
"(E)mpty promises…"  Pledging one thing. Doing another. Resolving nothing. 
Heightening tensions. Escalating conflict. Blaming area self-defense forces for its crimes. Bashing Russia irresponsibly.
"It is now clear that Ukraine flouted" Geneva and Minsk. Killing "thousands." Causing "large-scale destruction."
"(U)ndertaking indistinct behind-the-scenes manipulation…" Its pledges aren't worth the paper they're written on.
Conspiring with America against peaceful conflict resolution. Doing so lawlessly. Duplicitously. Arrogantly.
Russia's lower house State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin accused Washington of "becom(ing) so brassy that it doesn't even hide the fact that it is openly coordinating blackmail and pressure against the Russian Federation."
He expressed disappointment about Japan's "illegal and counterproductive" anti-Russian economic sanctions.
Imposed "under strong pressure from Washington." Damaging "Russian-Japanese relations.
Urging "normalization" instead. Years of cooperation proved both nations can work together constructively, he said.
"We greatly value the results of the Russian-Japanese cooperation and call (on Tokyo) to get back to the normal business relations. We respect Japan and its diligent people." 
Washington bears full responsibility for geopolitical crisis conditions worldwide. Rogue states operate this way.
US policies give ruthlessness new meaning. So does Kiev puppet governance. Russia urged its officials to observe Geneva and Minsk agreements.
Stop spurious claims about Russian forces on Ukraine's borders. Deploying tanks, howitzers and munitions within them.
Building up forces near the agreed on buffer zone. Ahead of escalating conflict, it appears. Self-defense forces expect it any time.
Based on high-level Ukrainian officials saying force is needed. Kiev's Security Service advisor Markiyan Lubkivsky said "sooner or later we will have to start very active actions."
He left no doubt what he meant. In October, Poroshenko aide Yury Lutsenko said Kiev needed time to regroup.
"(T)o maintain ceasefire as long as we can to get our precise instruments, to get military and financial aid from the West." 
"We are the ones benefiting from the ceasefire and peace." An interregnum before escalated conflict.
Canada under extremist Prime Minister Stephen Harper is more US puppet than sovereign state.
Foreign Minister John Baird is likeminded. "(S)trongly condemn(ing) (Moscow's) provocative actions…(F)urther proof that the Kremlin only seeks to hamper the peace process in Ukraine," he hyperventilated.
Russia's Defense Ministry diplomatically denounced him. Blaming Washington without naming it, saying:
"All such provocative ‘reports' aimed at further escalating the tension over the civil conflict in southeast Ukraine have a single source." 
It's "not Ukrainian, although it currently operates from one of the governmental buildings in Kiev."
CIA, FBI and other US elements infest Ukraine's capital. Manipulating events covertly. 
Sabotaging peaceful conflict resolution. Longstanding US policy. Imperial arrogance writ large.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeatedly denounced baseless claims about Russian military forces fighting in Southeastern Ukraine.
"(N)ot once" was any verifiable evidence presented," he said. Spurious allegations only. Bashing Russia irresponsibly.
Lavrov and Kerry intend meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and ministerial meetings.
In Beijing. From November 5 - 10. Putin and Obama are attending. No formal meetings are planned. One or more sideline ones are likely. 
Ukraine a key topic. Putin prioritizes peaceful conflict resolution. Ukrainian independence. Cooperative Moscow relations with all countries. Strict observance of international law obligations.
Obama is polar opposite. Deploring peace. Waging multiple and direct proxy wars. 
Provocatively deploying US-led NATO forces close to Russia's borders. Pushing Congress to enact a new Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF).
Updated carte blanche war-making. Escalated state terror. Continuing Washington's permanent war policy.
On humanity. Against invented enemies. To advance America's imperium. Make things safe for monied interests. At the expense of popular ones.
Risking East/West confrontation. Targeting Russia, China and Iran. 
Neocons infest Washington. Lunatics decide things. Obama nominally heads them.
Supporting permanent war. Premeditated naked aggression. Lots more mass slaughter and destruction. 
Post-election, he claimed "(t)he world needs to know we are united behind (AUMF) and that the men and women of our military deserve our clear and unified support."
He finds ways of concocting Bigger, more outrageous Big Lies. Congress rubber-stamps his imperial agenda.
Authorizing hundreds of billions of dollars pursuing it. Multi-trillions post-9/11. Lying about protecting US security. 
At a time Washington's only enemies are ones it invents. American's have a choice. 
End wars or they'll end us. No debates. No second chances. No in between.
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. 

Join Us This Weekend in Honoring Aaron Swartz's Legacy by Hacking for a Better World

eff.org - Sat, 08/11/2014 - 02:57

Aaron Swartz fought for an Internet grounded in community, creativity, and human rights. By co-creating platforms like RSS, reddit, Creative Commons, and the technology that became SecureDrop, he helped build the tools that make information accessible to all, and in the process, called truth to power while putting power in the hands of the users.

Perhaps more than anything, Aaron Swartz believed that everyone should be able to participate in the political processes that determine the laws we have to live under everyday.

The entire community continues to benefit from and build on top of Aaron’s contributions. And so we at EFF are thrilled and honored to join our friends at the the Internet Archive this weekend for Aaron Swartz Day, a two-day hackathon to celebrate and remember Aaron, while we look towards creating the future he envisioned.

The event at here in San Francisco is just one of many. From Buenos Aries to Kathmandu to Austin and L.A., Internet activists in 11 cities across the world are joining in, organizing hackathons in Aaron’s honor.

A “hackathon” is when programmers, developers, artists, researchers, and activists gather together to work intensively on a project. But one thing that sets the Aaron Swartz Day hackathons off from the rest is that all of the projects being hacked on further Aaron’s dream of a free and open Internet and a more just world.

Aaron Swartz Day and the international hackathon weekend is taking place on what would have been Aaron's 28th birthday weekend, November 8th and 9th, 2014.  In San Francisco, on Saturday, November 8th, at the Internet Archive's celebration, this year's theme is “setting the record straight,” and will feature seven fantastic speakers sharing on the latest developments in many Aaron-related projects and issues, including EFF’s legal director Cindy Cohn and activist April Glaser, as well as developers of Secure Drop, journalist Kevin Poulsen, Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, and Dan Purcell of Aaron’s legal team at Keker and Van Nest.

In addition, Brian Knappenberger, director of the critically acclaimed documentary The Internet's Own Boy, will be at the San Francisco event in person, showing the film and answering questions from the audience afterwards along side Trevor Timm, former EFF activist and Freedom of the Press Foundation executive director.

We’re excited that SecureDrop is one of the many projects being hacked on over the weekend. SecureDrop is an open-source whistleblower submission system managed by Freedom of the Press Foundation that media organizations use to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. The project was originally coded by Aaron.

Learn more about all the events going on this week, in San Francisco and around the world. And be sure to RSVP so organizers will know to have enough food and power strips for everyone.

If you’re inspired, we encourage you to host your own hackathon or host a screening of the Internet’s Own Boy, the deeply informative film on Aaron’s work and the movement for a free and open Internet.

Together, we will continue for fight to ensure our rights go with us when we go online. We invite you, in Aaron’s honor, to join us this weekend. Hope to see you there.

Related Issues: Student and Community Organizing
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Israeli Iron Fist Ruthlessness

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 21:52
Israeli Iron Fist Ruthlessness
by Stephen Lendman
Israel operates extrajudicially. Rule of law principles don't matter. Nonexistent security threats justify anything goes.
Palestinians are victimized for wanting to live free. Demanding fundamental civil and human rights everyone deserves.
Protesting throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Largely peacefully. 
Israel considers legitimate resistance "terrorism." Justifying iron fist harshness.
"We will respond to any attempt to undermine the order and stability of Israel's capital with an iron fist," Netanyahu said. Warning of "a prolonged battle."
"Jerusalem is not up for debate," he added. Its mayor Nir Barket echoed similar views, saying:
"(T)he message we will send the terrorists (is we're) here to stay. We will not budge. We will overcome the challenges and win this battle."
Addressing his November 2 cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said:
"Israel is taking vigorous action against terrorists…We will pass stronger legislation on the issue."
"All of this is in order to restore quiet and security throughout Jerusalem." 
"I have ordered that massive reinforcements be brought in and that additional means be used in order to ensure law and order in Israel's capital." 
"It could be that we are in a lengthy struggle. (W)e are determined to be successful." 
"We will certainly oppose all systematic and continuing attempts by Islamic extremist elements to stir up unrest." 
"They would like to set a religious fire in Jerusalem and thereby ignite the entire Middle East. The place they are most determined on is the Temple Mount." 
"They are disseminating lies to the effect that we intend to destroy or harm the Al-Aqsa Mosque and that we intend to prevent Muslim from praying there." 
"They are using verbal and physical violence in an effort to exclude Jews from going up to the Temple Mount. We will not allow this to happen."
Journalist Dan Cohen says Israeli policy reflects lawless holy war against Palestinians. Extremists like rabbi Yehuda Glick want a Third (Jewish) Temple replacing Al-Aqsa.
Deputy Knesset speaker Moshe Feiglin encourages genocide against Palestinians. On August 1, he published a plan for eliminating them in Gaza.
Calling for the "conquest of the entire Gaza Strip and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters."
"This is our country, our country exclusively," he said. "(I)ncluding Gaza." Urging Netanyahu to "turn (it) into Jaffa, a flourishing Israeli city with a minimum number of hostile civilians."
"Concentrate (and) exterminate," he stressed. He wants IDF forces "designat(ing) certain open areas on the Sinai border, adjacent to the sea, in which the civilian population will be concentrated, far from the built-up areas that are used for launches and tunneling." 
"In these areas, tent encampments will be established, until relevant emigration destinations are determined."
Concentration camps by any standard. Denying them "electricity and water…(S)helling (them) with maximum fire power."
Destroying "down to their foundations" the "entire civilian and military infrastructure of Hamas, its means of communication and logistics."
"Israel will start searching for emigration destinations and quotas for the refugees from Gaza."
"(T)hose who insist on staying, if they can be proven to have no affiliation with Hamas, will be required to publicly sign a declaration of loyalty to Israel, and receive a blue ID card similar to that of the Arabs of East Jerusalem."
Feiglin isn't a lone loose cannon. Other Israeli extremists are likeminded. Supporting genocide.
Willful "commit(ment) with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group…"
Feiglin's full statement was as follows:
"With God’s Help
Attention
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Mr. Prime Minister,
We have just heard that Hamas has used the ceasefire to abduct an officer. It turns out that this operation is not about to be over any too soon.
The failures of this operation were inherent to it from the outset, because:
a) It has no proper and clear goal;b) there is no appropriate moral framework to support our soldiers.What is required now is that we internalize the fact that Oslo is finished, that this is our country - our country exclusively, including Gaza.
There are no two states, and there are no two peoples. There is only one state for one people.
Having internalized this, what is needed is a deep and thorough strategic review, in terms of the definition of the enemy, of the operational tasks, of the strategic goals, and of course, of appropriate necessary war ethics.
(1) Defining the enemy:
The strategic enemy is extremist Arab Islam in all its varieties, from Iran to Gaza, which seeks to annihilate Israel in its entirety. The immediate enemy is Hamas. (Not the tunnels, not the rockets, but Hamas.)
(2) Defining the tasks
Conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters.
(3) Defining the strategic goal:
To turn Gaza into Jaffa, a flourishing Israeli city with a minimum number of hostile civilians.
(4) Defining war ethics: 'Woe to the evildoer, and woe to his neighbor'
In light of these four points, Israel must do the following:
a) The IDF shall designate certain open areas on the Sinai border, adjacent to the sea, in which the civilian population will be concentrated, far from the built-up areas that are used for launches and tunneling. 
In these areas, tent encampments will be established, until relevant emigration destinations are determined.
The supply of electricity and water to the formerly populated areas will be disconnected.
b) The formerly populated areas will be shelled with maximum fire power. The entire civilian and military infrastructure of Hamas, its means of communication and of logistics, will be destroyed entirely, down to their foundations.
c) The IDF will divide the Gaza Strip laterally and crosswise, significantly expand the corridors, occupy commanding positions, and exterminate nests of resistance, in the event that any should remain.
d) Israel will start searching for emigration destinations and quotas for the refugees from Gaza. 
Those who wish to emigrate will be given a generous economic support package, and will arrive at the receiving countries with considerable economic capabilities.
e) Those who insist on staying, if they can be proven to have no affiliation with Hamas, will be required to publicly sign a declaration of loyalty to Israel, and receive a blue ID card similar to that of the Arabs of East Jerusalem.
f) When the fighting will end, Israeli law will be extended to cover the entire Gaza Strip, the people evicted from the Gush Katif will be invited to return to their settlements, and the city of Gaza and its suburbs will be rebuilt as true Israeli touristic and commercial cities.
Mr. Prime Minister,
This is the a fateful hour of decision in the history of the State of Israel.
All metastases of our enemy, from Iran and Hizballah through ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, are rubbing their hands gleefully and preparing themselves for the next round.
I am warning that any outcome that is less than what I defined here means encouraging the continued offensive against Israel. 
Only when Hizballah will understand how we have dealt with Hamas in the south, it will refrain from launching its 100,000 missiles from the north.
I call on you to adopt the strategy proposed here.
I have no doubt that the entire Israeli people will stand to your right with its overwhelming majority, like myself - if only you will adopt it.
With high regards, respectfully,
Moshe Feiglin"
Cohen calls him a "hyper-extremist" for good reason. "See(ing) himself on the front lines of the struggle for Western civilization against Islamic extremism."
A lunatic threatening "holy war." Supported by likeminded MKs and settlers. 
Shalom Hartman Institute senior fellow Yossi Klein Halevi calls the Temple Mount "ground zero" of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Affecting Muslims everywhere.
An unnamed Palestinian perhaps spoke for others saying:
"(T)he situation is on the stove. If (Israel) continues to (restrict or) forbid prayers at Aqsa, we will have another intifada in Jerusalem." 
Throughout Occupied Palestine. Perhaps beyond. East Jerusalem remains a tinder box. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch want elements Israel calls terrorists dealt with accordingly. Summarily.
"A terrorist who attacks civilians should be sentenced to death," he said. No trial, due process or judicial fairness. He wants it made official government policy.
On-the-spot summary executions. Empowering Israeli security forces and armed civilians as judges, juries and executioners.
Creating more explosive conditions than already. Police state ruthlessness by any standard.
Anger over Israeli instigated Al-Aqsa violence reflects decades of justifiable Palestinian pent up rage.
Highlighted by Operation Protective Edge. Settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land.
Occupation harshness. Militarized brutality. Institutionalized racism. Murdering Palestinians in cold blood. Unaccountably.
Extremist Israelis running things saying "this land is ours (exclusively), and that's just the way it's going to be."
Fear-mongering, state terror, premeditated wars without mercy, and slow-motion genocide reflect official Israeli policy.
Peace is a convenient illusion. Israel bears full responsibility. Washington and rogue EU partners share it.
Mindless of Palestinian rights. Criminalizing their liberation struggle. Murdering them in cold blood unaccountably.
Jerusalem remains out-of-control. So do other West Bank cities. Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters continue.
Scores of arrests and injuries follow. Dozens of children affected. Netanyahu wants harsher crackdowns. Iron fist ruthlessness. Escalating intolerable conditions.
On November 3, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined "Israeli Government Persistently Challenges the International Community an Approves Additional Arbitrary Measures in Occupied Palestine," saying:
PCHR "strongly condemns the latest Israeli measures and decisions against occupied East Jerusalem that aims to fully create a Jewish demographic majority in the city."
Closing Al-Aqsa is symptomatic. So is restricting Temple Mount prayer. 
Permitting extremist Israeli settlers access where they don't belong. For provocative Talmudic prayers. Heavily protected by Israeli security forces.
Besieging Al-Aqsa. Denying Palestinian worshippers access.Western community leaders turning a blind eye. Letting Israel operate lawlessly. 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon mostly silent on what demands open condemnation. Holding culpable Israeli officials accountable for high crimes against peace. Ending longstanding impunity.
Hardline Economy Minister Naftali Bennett called for "defensive shield" ruthlessness in Jerusalem. Saying a "government that does not know how to regain deterrence and sovereignty and provide security for its citizens in their capital does not have a right to exist."
Israeli Radio said Netanyahu ordered home demolitions and detentions without charges or trials of anyone designated "terrorists." 
Including Palestinians accuse of committing Jerusalem attacks. With or without corroborating evidence. Guilt by accusation suffices.
On Thursday evening, scores of extremist settlers marched toward Jerusalem's Old City. Heavily protected by Israeli security forces.
Clashes between police and East Jerusalem Palestinians continue. Including in Shuafat refugee camp. 
Youths threw stones at Israeli security forces. They responded with rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.
Police closed off Abu Tor neighborhood. After stone-throwing incidents. 
Addressing European Parliamentarians in Brussels on Thursday, Arab Israeli MK Ahmad Tibi urged sanctions on Israel.
Claiming right-wing extremists control things. Fascists by any standard. 
"There are pyromaniacs in the government and in the Knesset," he said. Determined to inflame Jerusalem.
He urged EU help restraining them. Blaming Netanyahu for ongoing violence. Heightened tensions. Al-Aqsa policies. Gaza aggression. 
Daily ruthlessness. Settlement construction. "The continued construction and expropriation of land impedes any possibility of a two-state solution," he said. 
Or longstanding conflict resolution. Israel deplores peace, stability, equity and justice. Avoids what matters most at all costs.
Occupation harshness persists. Liberation remains a distant dream.
A Final Comment
On Thursday, US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey lied claiming Israel went to "extraordinary lengths" to prevent Operation Protective Edge civilian casualties.
Over 80% were noncombatants. Including hundreds of women and children. Willfully targeted. 
Including in clearly designated UN shelters. Residential homes. Hospitals. Mosques. Schools. Other non-military locations.
Dempsey outrageously claimed what he knows is untrue. Ignoring cold, calculated, premeditated Israeli naked aggression. Saying:
"I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties."
"In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties," he added.
"The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties. They're interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel." 
Israel considers civilians, non-military infrastructure and facilities unrelated to military necessity legitimate targets.
Dempsey lied claiming otherwise. Absolving Israeli high crimes. Similar to US lawlessness. Ruthless by any standard.
It bears repeating. One fascist regime supports another. America and Israel threaten world peace.
Operating extrajudicially. Unaccountably. Denying fundamental rights.

Waging war on humanity. Stopping them matters most. Survival depends 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. 

Notorious Scanner Troll Settles With FTC

eff.org - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 11:04

The FTC has announced a settlement with MPHJ, the infamous scanner troll. MPHJ owns some patents that it claims cover the basic business practice of scanning to email. It sent thousands of letters to small businesses around the country demanding $1,000 per employee. Its letters misrepresented how many other businesses were paying up and often included false threats to sue. To make its deceptive activities harder to track, MPHJ set up 101 shell companies with obscure names. The scheme was run by Jay Mac Rust (the owner and manager of MPHJ) with help from Texas law firm Farney Daniels.

By targeting so many small businesses, MPHJ became a poster child for patent abuse. The attorneys general of Nebraska, New York, and Vermont all took action to stop MPHJ from operating in their states. When the federal government began to investigate, MPHJ took the dramatic step of suing the FTC to argue that its trolling was protected. The court rejected that challenge as premature. With that lawsuit over, MPHJ agreed to settle.

In the proposed consent order [PDF], MPHJ agrees to stop making false or unsubstantiated representations that its patents have been licensed in substantial numbers or at particular prices. MPHJ also agrees not to make further false threats of imminent litigation. While MPHJ did not admit any wrongdoing, the settlement will at least stop the worst of its abuses. And it may deter others from developing similar campaigns.

The FTC notes that MPHJ sent more than 4,800 letters that attached a draft complaint and threatened patent litigation within two weeks. While some might be brave enough to ignore a letter, a draft federal complaint is a clear threat of imminent litigation. Even consulting a patent lawyer can be a huge expense for a small business (not to mention the stress and distraction). MPHJ subjected thousands of small businesses to such a threat without any intention to file a real lawsuit.

The FTC’s success in this case shows there is a role for the agency in responding to the more egregious patent troll activity. It also shows that we should be careful when crafting legislation around demand letters. (For example, a recent bill – called the TROL Act – would achieve little because it drastically reduces state authority while giving little additional authority to the FTC.) And while we are encouraged by the FTC’s work, this is one (long-awaited) action against a single troll. We still need broader reform to deal with low-quality patents and widespread patent trolling.

Related Issues: PatentsPatent TrollsInnovation
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