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Banker Occupied Greece: Requiem for a Failed State

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 16/07/2015 - 19:53
Banker Occupied Greece: Requiem for a Failed State
by Stephen Lendman
It's all over but the obituary. Rubber-stamp Greek parliamentarians overwhelming approved transforming the nation into a banker run colony -  by a 229 - 64 vote. Six lawmakers abstained.
Coalition partner Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos and likeminded party members voted "yes" after rhetorically rejecting Troika terms.
The vast majority of bailout funding goes to pay bankers and other creditors - nothing for economic recovery and growth. The price is deeper punishing austerity, greater poverty and unemployment than already, and far more human misery ahead with no end in sight.
Only 32 of SYRIZA's 149 parliamentarians voted "no" - including banished Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, Finance Ministry Secretary General Manos Manousakis, Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafanzanis, Deputy Labor Minister Dimitris Stratoulis and ousted Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou. 
She called the bailout proposal "social genocide." Other austerity opponents denounced it as "a new Versailles Treaty."
Sovereign Greece no longer exists. Troika bandits own its soul. Democracy's denouement became official in its birthplace.
Meanwhile, police clashed violently with thousands of anti-austerity protesters outside parliament demanding promised relief - social justice, not sellout.
Prime Minister Tsipras rubbed salt on the wound he inflicted saying he "does not believe in (the) irrational" capitulation plan he demanded and voted for.
He lied claiming he had no choice. Terms were forced on him, he said. Responsible leadership would have rejected them outright, walked away and stood tall ahead of being welcomed home as a national hero - challenging Troika bandits courageously, saying "no" when it matters most.
Instead he showed he's like all the rest - pledging one thing, doing another, betraying his constituents in the process, proving he and likeminded SYRIZA officials are pretense populists, more contemptible than right-wing austerity supporters.
Judas officials are the most despised for good reason. They deserve the harshest condemnation. SYRIZA and likeminded traitors agreed to plunge Greece into greater protracted Depression than already and all the extreme pain and suffering along with it - a no-win Faustian betrayal.
Can Tsipras' coalition government survive the sellout? Will he lose majority support? Will enough members bolt to force snap elections? 
Overwhelming parliamentary support for destructive bailout terms may save him - including from nearly 80% of SYRIZA party members. The faithful were too few in number to matter.
At the same time, Tsipras' status as Greece's leader is hugely damaged. Whether he'll remain prime minister remains to be seen - popularly supported last January, a recognized Judas after capitulating in Brussels.
The sobering day after offers no solace - an unsettling aftermath after a tumultuous evening. Reports suggest opposition SYRIZA ministers and other party opponents will be ousted. Rogue regimes operate this way. Affected parliamentarians would have a choice - leave government or continue in office as independents, weakening Tsipras' hold on power.
He faces a near-impossible task of selling betrayal to an angry public. Since sweeping to victory in January pledging no more austerity, he systematically breached his promises.
Approving Troika bailout terms turned Greece into a failed state. Tsipras lost his most important political asset - public trust. 
His explanation rings hollow - claiming he got better terms than Troika officials demanded, saying "we will now fight at home to finish the oligarchy which brought us to this state."
Selling out to Troika bandits shows his rhetoric is meaningless. Fascists rule Greece, masquerading as social democrats. Financial tyranny is official state policy.
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. 

Buenos Aires Censuró y Allanó A Quienes Reportaron Falencias del Voto Electrónico

eff.org - Thu, 16/07/2015 - 06:39

La ciudad de Buenos Aires está en proceso de elegir a su próximo Jefe de Gobierno y a los miembros de la Legislatura. Las elecciones fueron el pasado 5 de julio, cuyos resultados derivaron a una segunda vuelta programada para el 19 del corriente, al mismo tiempo, debutó en la capital Argentina un sistema de votación electrónica denominado Vot.ar, desarrollado por la compañía Magic Software Argentina (MSA).

Como tantos otros sistemas electrónicos de votación en el pasado, la seguridad y la transparencia del sistema Vot.ar, implementado en elecciones anteriores en las provincias de Salta y Córdoba, ha sido puesto en cuestionamiento por técnicos informáticos locales, abogados, defensores de derechos humanos y usuarios de Internet desde su lanzamiento original. Un problema en versiones anteriores de Vot.ar fue un simple hack que transformaba la boleta electrónica en una llave que daba acceso de administrador a un usuario de la máquina de votación, permitiéndole recalibrar la pantalla táctil y engañar a los votantes para que elijan a otro candidato.

Pero en vez de tomar nota de las falencias o posponer la implementación de Vot.ar, las autoridades de la ciudad de Buenos Aires eligieron el silencio, la intimidación a los críticos de los problemas no resueltos del sistema, el bloqueo a sitios web y el allanamiento con secuestro de pertenencias de un tecnólogo y profesor local, Joaquín Sorianello, que reportó a MSA una falencia clave en su ya montada infraestructura. Incluso mientras las elecciones continúen con las fallas tecnológicas, la información en línea de los problemas resulta legalmente censurada a los lectores, así como la vida y las pertenencias de Sorianello siguen en el limbo.

El sistema Vot.ar se basa en una boleta electrónica con chip RFID incorporado. Cada votante inserta la boleta en una máquina de votación y registra su preferencia mediante una pantalla táctil. El voto se imprime en la boleta y (en teoría) también se almacena en el chip RFID incrustado. Para el escrutinio se recogen las boletas junto a sus chips usando los mismos equipos de MSA para la verificación y los recuentos, y se transmiten los datos de cada mesa de los locales de votación a un centro de cómputos.

Las críticas a  Vot.ar, se hicieron más constantes en los días previos a las elecciones en Buenos Aires. A fines del mes de Junio, Sorianello se comunicó con MSA para reportarles que los certificados SSL privados, utilizados para la transmisión segura de datos entre los centros de votación y el de cómputos, se encontraban accesibles al público. Un adversario con acceso a estos certificados podría monitorear o manipular los resultados enviados a las autoridades. Otro grupo de investigadores independientes descubrió que con un teléfono inteligente con capacidad NFC podrían agregar múltiples votos del mismo candidato en el chip RFID de la boleta electrónica, alterando invisiblemente el resultado del escrutinio.

La respuesta de las autoridades no fue investigar el riesgo de los problemas, sino ocultar la evidencia y castigar a los informantes. El 3 de Julio, dos días antes de las elecciones, la división de delitos informáticos de la Policía Metropolitana de Buenos Aires, bajo las órdenes de la Jueza María Luisa Escrich, allanó la residencia de Sorianello. Los funcionarios requisaron sus computadoras, sus lectores de libros electrónicos Kindle y otros dispositivos. El informático no estaba presente en su residencia al momento del allanamiento, pero en una conversación telefónica con un medio local, declaró que "si quisiera hackear o hacer algo dañino no le hubiera avisado a la empresa".

El mismo día del allanamiento, la Jueza Escrich, en un intento de limitar las filtraciones, ordenó a los proveedores de servicios de Internet de Argentina proceder “al inmediato bloqueo” del acceso a cinco URLs de justpaste.it, uno de los sitios donde la información del sistema Vot.ar era difundida. La información sobre la censura se hizo pública luego de la primera vuelta de las elecciones.

Fundación Vía Libre, organización no gubernamental argentina que desde el año 2000 promueve el uso del software libre, el derecho a la privacidad y la defensa de los derechos digitales, ha advertido con antelación sobre los riesgos de la adopción de un sistema vulnerable.

Enrique Chaparro, su director, contó a EFF:

(El sistema) Vot.ar gira en torno al almacenamiento de datos de la boleta en los chips RFID. Se ha demostrado que esta tecnología es insegura en varias ocasiones y eso llevó a Israel a dejar de lado un sistema idéntico en el año 2009. El proceso de adquisición estuvo sesgado y fue inusualmente rápido para cualquier estándar (15 días para la licitación y 4 días para la evaluación).

Beatriz Busaniche, Directora de Vía Libre, agregó:

Toda la implementación del voto electrónico se hizo a través de un Decreto Ejecutivo del Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, mientras que la ley establece que para el uso del voto electrónico, se necesita una mayoría calificada (Ley 4894, Anexo II, art. 25). El código fuente de Vot.ar no se puso a disposición del público y no existieron auditorías independientes, basados en la premisa que MSA no podía mostrar el código por motivos de seguridad.

En la primera ronda electoral de Buenos Aires, los votantes ejercieron su derecho a través del sistema Vot.ar con poco conocimiento de sus problemas hechos públicos y los intentos de silenciar a sus críticos apenas unos días antes. Según la prensa local, 500 de las máquinas de votación no pudieron transmitir sus resultados al centro de cómputos, dando lugar a 184.317 votos que fueron finalmente incluidos solamente después de un recuento físico. La ciudad de Buenos Aires cuenta con más de 2.5 millones de votantes.

La EFF ha seguido de cerca otros casos relacionados con el desarrollo del voto electrónico donde investigadores han sido objetivos o han sido criticados por exponer las vulnerabilidades del sistema. En India, país con las elecciones más extensas en el mundo, el investigador en seguridad informática Hari Prasad y sus colegas Alex Halderman y Rop Gonggrijp habían descubierto severas fallas en las máquinas electrónicas de votación (electronic voting machines en inglés, EVM) que permitían cambiar los resultados y comprometer el secreto del voto en el año 2010.

Por su trabajo, Prasad fue acusado penalmente por supuesto robo de una máquina de votación, quedando detenido en Mumbai por una semana y luego liberado bajo fianza. EFF galardonó a Prasad con el Pioneer Award de 2010 por hacer su trabajo frente al acoso legal, y por hallar las falencias en un sistema que podía socavar el funcionamiento democrático de su país.

Este año, el profesor Halderman y la investigadora de la Universidad de Melbourne Vanessa Teague descubrieron una falla en el cifrado del sistema de votación electrónica en el estado de New South Wales en Australia, que pudieron haber dejado unos 66 mil votos vulnerables a la vigilancia y a la manipulación en las más recientes elecciones a nivel de estados. Un alto funcionario de la Comisión Electoral de New South Wales intentó desacreditar el trabajo de Halderman y Teague como parte de una campaña tendenciosa contra el voto electrónico, pero finalmente admitieron los riesgos y modificaron sus sistemas para hacer frente a las debilidades.

El sistema Vot.ar, como lo es operado actualmente, carece de los requisitos básicos en transparencia, seguridad y rendición de cuentas. Así como en India y en Australia, críticos en público como Sorianello y otros permanecen como la mejor defensa frente a las autoridades argentinas. Y, sin embargo, los funcionarios y los jueces han optado por sostener su deficiente tecnología en lugar de buscar más revisión pública.

MSA, la Ciudad de Buenos Aires y la Jueza Escrich deberían corregir sus propios errores. Deberían dar marcha atrás una investigación infructuosa y perjudicial, y tratar a los expertos y expertas en informática del país con respeto, no con allanamientos y censura en Internet, por el trabajo que han hecho para proteger la democracia y el futuro del voto electrónico. Tienen muchos problemas que resolver en los días previos a la segunda vuelta electoral, no cuentan con tiempo ni la credibilidad para perturbar legalmente a los voluntarios que los ayudan a corregir el desastre del voto electrónico de su ciudad.

Varias fuentes anónimas han colaborado para este material. A ellos/as, muchas gracias.

Related Issues: InternationalSecurityE-Voting Rights
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Buenos Aires Censors and Raids the Technologists Fixing Its Flawed E-Voting System

eff.org - Thu, 16/07/2015 - 06:10

Buenos Aires is currently in the middle of electing its mayor and city council. With a first round that took place on July 5th, and a second round due on July 19th, the election is the first time Argentina's capital city has used an electronic voting system called Vot.ar, created by local company Magic Software Argentina (MSA).

Like many e-voting systems before it, the security and accountability of MSA's Vot.ar has long been questioned by local computer technicians, lawyers, human rights defenders and Internet users. But instead of addressing the flaws or postponing Vot.ar's deployment, the Buenos Aires authorities have chosen instead to silence and intimidate critics of the system's unfixed problems. A local judge demanded ISPs block web pages, and ordered a raid on the home of one technologist, Joaquín Sorianello, who disclosed to MSA a key insecurity in their deployed infrastructure. Even as the election continues with its troubled technology, online information on the problems is legally censored from online readers, and Sorianello's property remains in limbo.

Vot.ar's system relies on a paper ballot with an embedded RFID chip. Each voter places one of these ballots into a polling machine and makes a choice on a touch screen. The selection is printed onto the ballot by the machine, and (in theory) also stored on the accompanying RFID chip. The voter drops this completed “e-ballot” into an ordinary ballot box. Totals are tallied from the collected RFID ballots using the same MSA computer, and transmitted from the polling place to a central server, with the e-ballot being kept for auditing and recounts.

Sorianello reached out in late June to MSA to report that the private SSL certificates used in the secure transmission of data between the polling centers and the central servers were publicly accessible. An attacker with access to these certificates could monitor or manipulate the results being sent to the authorities. Another group of independent researchers discovered that with a normal, NFC-ready smartphone, multiple votes for the same candidate could be added to the e-ballot’s embedded RFID chip, invisibly distorting the electronic count.

The authorities’ response was not to investigate and fix these problems, but to cover up the evidence and punish the whistleblowers. On July 3rd, two days before the election, the computer crimes division of Buenos Aires’ Metropolitan Police, under the orders of Judge María Luisa Escrich, raided Sorianelllo's home. The officers took his computers, e-book reader, and other devices. Sorianello was not present for the raid, but in a telephone conversation with a local newspaper, he pointed out that "if I wanted to do something harmful or hack, I wouldn’t have told the company".

Meanwhile, on the same day, the same judge, in an apparent attempt to limit the spread of the leaks, ordered Argentinian Internet service providers (ISPs) to "immediately block" access to five URLs on justpaste.it, one of the sites where information on the Vot.ar system was being collected. News of the censorship order became public only after the first round of the election was completed.

Vía Libre Foundation, a local NGO that promotes the use of free software, the right to privacy and the protection of digital rights in Argentina, has long warned about the risks of adopting an insecure and unaudited e-voting system in the country. Enrique Chaparro, its head, told EFF:

The (Vot.ar) System is engineered around the storage of ballot data in RFID chips. That technology has been proven insecure in many occasions and led Israel to abandon a similar system in 2009. The procurement process was biased and unusually fast by any standards (15 days for bidding and 4 days for evaluation).

Beatriz Busaniche, another member of Vía Libre added:

The whole implementation of e-voting was imposed through an Executive Decree from the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, while the law clearly states that for the use of electronic voting, an special majority in the Legislature is needed (4894 Act. Anex II art. 25). Vot.ar's source code was never made available for public scrutiny and there were no independent audits, based on the premise that MSA cannot show its code because of security concerns.

On the day of Buenos Aires' first election round, voters used the flawed Vot.ar system with little public knowledge of its problems and the attempted silencing of its critics. According to the local press, 500 of the machines failed to send their results to the central server, leading to 184,317 missing votes that were only finally included after a physical recount (Buenos Aires has an electorate of 2.5 million voters).

EFF has been closely involved in e-voting deployments where researchers have been targeted or criticized by the authorities for highlighting vulnerabilities. In India, a country with the largest elections in the world, computer security researcher Hari Prasad and his colleagues Alex Halderman and Rop Gonggrijp exposed serious flaws in the design of local electronic voting machines that allowed results to be manipulated and could potentially compromise the secrecy of the vote in 2010. For his work, Prasad was charged for the alleged theft of an e-voting machine, and was detained in Mumbai for a week before being released on bail. EFF awarded Hari Prasad our 2010 Pioneer Award for doing his job in the face of legal harassment, and exposing flaws in a system that could undermine the democratic functioning of his country.

This year, professor Halderman and Vanessa Teague of the University of Melbourne discovered a cryptographic flaw in a New South Wales' e-voting system that may have left as many as 66,000 votes vulnerable to surveillance and tampering in that states' most recent election. An official from New South Wales' Electoral Commission attempted to discredit Halderman and Teague's work as a part of biased campaign against all e-voting, but finally conceded the risk and modified their systems to address their concerns.

The Vot.ar system as it is currently operated lacks basic requirements on transparency, security and accountability. As with India and Australia, public critics like Sorianello and others remain the Argentinian authorities' best defence against these flaws: and yet, administrators and judges have chosen to defend their own flawed technology instead of supporting the public review process.

MSA, the city of Buenos Aires, and Judge Escrich should correct their own errors. They should back down from a fruitless and disruptive investigation, and treat their countries' technologists not with raids and Internet censorship, but with the respect for the work they have done to protect democracy and the future of electronic voting. They have many problems to solve in the days before the next electoral round, and have neither the spare time nor the credibility to legally disrupt volunteers trying to help them fix their own city's e-voting mess.

Related Issues: InternationalSecurityE-Voting Rights
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Victory for CloudFlare Against SOPA-like Court Order: Internet Service Doesn’t Have to Police Music Labels’ Trademark

eff.org - Thu, 16/07/2015 - 06:05

Striking a blow against the continuing effort to force service providers to serve as IP police, CloudFlare and EFF have pushed back against a court order that would have required CloudFlare to monitor its service to enforce a trademark held by a group of music labels. Last week, Judge Alison J. Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that CloudFlare does not have to search out and block customers who use variations on the name “grooveshark.” Instead, CloudFlare must take action only if it has “knowledge of an infringement” (for example, when the labels send a takedown notice). Given that this is essentially what US law already requires, Judge Nathan’s order puts paid to the latest strategy to institute trademark- and copyright-related filtering – at least in this case.

The dispute started in May, as record labels sought to disappear a website that called itself Grooveshark and appeared to be a clone of a popular music-sharing site those same labels had shut down in April after settling a copyright lawsuit. That settlement left the labels in control of the original Grooveshark’s trademarks. Claiming trademark infringement, the labels applied to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for a secret order to shut down the site, which was then located at grooveshark.io. Judge Deborah A. Batts granted the order in secret.

Three weeks later, Judge Nathan ruled that the order also applied to CloudFlare, a content delivery network and “reverse proxy” service. The order apparently required CloudFlare to block all of its customers from using domain names that contained “grooveshark,” regardless of whether those domains contained First Amendment-protected speech, or had any connection with the “New Grooveshark” defendants who were the targets of the actual lawsuit.

That ruling spelled trouble. Laws like Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and court decisions on trademark law such as Tiffany v. eBay, protect Internet intermediaries from legal responsibility for the actions of their users, including the responsibility to proactively block or filter users. That protection has been vital to the growth of the Internet as a medium for communication, innovation, and learning. The original order against CloudFlare, if it had become the norm, would put service providers in the uncomfortable position of having to figure out who’s allowed to use terms like “grooveshark” and who isn’t—or of having to block them all. Turning Internet companies into enforcers of who can say what on the Internet is exactly what laws like the DMCA were meant to avoid.

With help from EFF and Goodwin Procter, CloudFlare asked the court to modify the order so that its responsibilities would be limited to blocking users identified by the music labels as being affiliated with the “New Grooveshark” defendants, or if CloudFlare knew of that affiliation through other means. CloudFlare told the court that the music labels shouldn’t be able to “parlay the happy accident (for them) of CloudFlare’s having unknowingly and unintentionally provided its services to a single trademark infringer into a means of compelling CloudFlare to enforce [the labels’] trademark against all comers, potentially permanently.”  Judge Nathan apparently agreed. She issued a new order making clear that CloudFlare does not have to police the “grooveshark” trademark proactively. In fact, the new order tracks existing trademark law very closely.

Although this dispute involved just one provider and a relatively small number of sites, it could have significant implications for Internet speech. Major entertainment distributors, including music labels, want the ability to make websites disappear from the Internet at their say-so. The failed Internet blacklist bills SOPA and PIPA were part of that strategy, along with the Department of Homeland Security’s project of seizing websites based on unverified accusations of copyright infringement by entertainment companies. Entertainment distributors are also lobbying ICANN, the nonprofit organization that oversees the domain name system, to gain the power to censor and de-anonymize websites without a court order. Attempts to impose new policing or filtering responsibilities on infrastructure companies like CloudFlare are another facet of this strategy. Last week’s order should help to close off this avenue towards a website-blocking power and all of the harms to free speech it would cause.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceDMCASOPA/PIPA: Internet Blacklist Legislation
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Israel Intends Blitzkrieg Against Iran Nuclear Deal

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 16/07/2015 - 05:10
Israel Intends Blitzkrieg Against Iran Nuclear Deal
by Stephen Lendman
It's got most House and Senate members convinced. It's working on others directly and through its Lobby - applying their usual heavy-handed pressure.
It's got media scoundrel editors concerned. New York Times ones support the deal with reservations, saying:
"(N)o one should have any illusions about Iran, which considers Israel a sworn enemy; often condemns the United States; supports Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations; and aspires to greater influence in the region." 
"Once sanctions are lifted, it stands to gain access to billions of dollars from accounts in international banks that have been frozen and from new oil exports and other business deals."
Fact: Iran supports mutual cooperation among all nations - what Times and other scoundrel media editors never explain - or that it promotes regional peace and stability.
Fact: Hezbollah is a legitimate, democratically elected part of the Lebanese government. It's no terrorist organization - what's never explained, Big Lies substituting.
Washington Post editors called Tuesday's agreement "complex and costly." They bashed Iran irresponsibly, put the onus on its officials alone to comply - ignoring a seven-country agreement requiring cooperation from all.
They claimed Tehran will likely use some of their unfrozen cash "to finance wars and terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria, the Gaza Strip, Yemen and elsewhere" - polar opposite reality.
They implied Tehran might cheat by doing clandestine nuclear work elsewhere. Not a shred of evidence suggests it. Claims otherwise are fabricated.
Wall Street Journal editors were darned right hostile - headlining "Tehran's Nuclear Triumph." Flat-out lying claiming the "deal leaves Tehran on the cusp of a bomb while sanctions vanish."
It assures Iran "will eventually become a nuclear (weapons) power, while limiting" post-Obama presidents from stopping it. "(T)he Vienna accord promises to usher in a new age of nuclear proliferation."
Rubbish! It does precisely the opposite. The Islamic Republic through words and policies outright rejects nuclear weapons, wants them eliminated to avoid possible mass annihilation otherwise.
For 36 years, it endured relentless irresponsible bashing - including false claims of reneging on agreements and fabricated acccusations of clandestine nuclear weapons development. Tuesday's deal did nothing to change things. 
As long as it remains independent and opposed to US and Israeli aggression, it'll remain a target for regime change - by color revolution or war.
Meanwhile, Israeli bashing is just getting started. Netanyahu reacted as expected with his usual litany of scare-mongering Big Lies. He called the deal "a stunning historic mistake."
He accused Iran of intending to use unfrozen cash to further its "efforts to destroy Israel." It facilitates its "capacity to produce many nuclear bombs."
The whole world knows Israel is the region's sole (armed and dangerous) nuclear power - supplemented by banned chemical and biological weapons arsenals freely used at its discretion.
National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz is Netanyahu's point person on Iran and nuclear affairs.
He lied saying "when you examine the (deal's) details, you discover that the inspection (system) is actually just a mirage" - implying Iran has secret military sites involved in nuclear weapons development, despite no evidence suggesting it whatever. If true, sophisticated US surveillance would have discovered them long ago.
Steinitz called inspection requirements "worse than worthless. It serves only the Iranians," he blustered. He ludicrously called unfreezing Iranian assets "pouring fuel on the burning Middle East."
He failed to explain Washington and Israel ignite all the fires - and keep them burning endlessly at the cost of millions of lives and vast destruction.
Post-Vienna, Iran bashing is just beginning. Congress has two months to decide up or down whether to accept it. 
Expect Israel and its Lobby to take full advantage - pressuring as many lawmakers as possible to vote "no," using their usual tactics of substituting Big Lies for hard truths.
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. 

Tsipras Banishing Ministers Opposing His Sellout

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 16/07/2015 - 03:25
Tsipras Banishing Ministers Opposing his Sellout
by Stephen Lendman
He's governing like a despot. Long knives target opposition ministers. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned after being pushed out - replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos, in bed with Troika bandits like Tsipras.
After leaving, he said he's no longer under "incredible pressure to negotiate for a position I find difficult to defend…"
He cited the "complete lack of any democratic scruples (displayed by) the supposed defenders of Europe's democracy. (V)ery powerful figures look you in the eye and say '(y)ou're right in what you're saying, but we're going to crunch you anyway."
Paying dominant bankers and large creditors like Germany alone matters - no matter the pain and suffering inflicted on millions of Greeks helpless against the war on their well-being.
Make no mistake. What's happening in Greece signifies what's ongoing throughout Europe, America, Canada, and other countries, heading for getting much worse - ending social justice to enrich monied interests more than ever, and at the same time, destroy what remains of democratic rights. Financial tyranny rules!
Varoufakis said dealing with other finance ministers in Brussels was like talking to the wall. His reasoned analysis was ignored. He was unwanted - an annoyance to be humiliated and banished.
He "might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem" for all the good it did to present sensible arguments responded to with "blank stares." His involvement accomplished nothing.
Deputy Finance Nadia Valavani resigned. She called the mandated deal Greek agony, saying she was "ready to serve in any capacity to the end during challenges." 
"However, when our delegation returned with liabilities that are ‘stillborn measures’ and at such a price (demanded by Troika bandits) once again when the dilemma appears of retreating or Grexit, it will be impossible for me to remain a member of the government."
"This ‘capitulation’ is so overwhelming that it will not allow a regrouping of forces. With your signature there will be a deterioration in the status of an already suffering population, and this will be a tombstone around their necks for many years with little potential of redemption."
SYRIZA officials are sharply divided. Stiff opposition denounced Tsipras' betrayal. Retired Greek diplomat Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos called the deal "too tough, too late, the death of Greeks."
"These absurd measures do not reflect the EU we entered back in 1981. It has actually made Greece a colony of Germany, not to say of the European Union. (D)espite the concessions the EU has made to Greece, the country is far from being out of the crisis."
SYRIZA coalition partner Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos/current defense minister rejects Troika demands he and other party members "cannot agree with…"
SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman Nikos Filis said "Germany unfortunately for a third time in 100 years is attempting to destroy Europe."
Overwhelming public sentiment opposes harsh Troika demands. Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis called on Tsipras to reject the deal he agreed to in Brussels.
"Greece had an alternative to the agreement," he said. The creditors’ dilemma: capitulation or destruction is fake. It aims to terrorize and has caused the collapse of popular consciousness."
The agreement signed with the institutions is unacceptable and a radical party, such as SYRIZA, does not deserve to be responsible for bringing such an agreement, after fighting to abolish the bailout programs and austerity measures."
He called German and other Eurozone negotiating partners "financial assassins."
Perhaps more heads will roll before Greece's parliament votes on Troika demands late Wednesday evening Athens time. Reports indicate Tsipras wants opposition ministers replaced so he can get parliamentary approval of what demands rejection.
Around three dozen or more SYRIZA deputies intend voting "no" - including at least two ministers and House Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou.
Sources close to Tsipras say he intends doing whatever it takes to ram through parliament legislation already drafted surrendering to Troika authority.
Public anger spilled into streets near parliament demanding rejection of what looks sure to pass. Civil servants and pharmacists called a one-day anti-austerity strike. Betrayed pensioners plan their own demonstration.
Part of the deal calls for Greece to hand over 50 billion worth of public assets to a fund controlled by German KfW bank run by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble - to be sold at fire sale prices. 
Germany is Europe's economic powerhouse. It dominates Eurozone policy.  What it says goes - including writing Greece's obituary as a sovereign country.
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. 

New EFF Tool Makes Emailing Congress Just a Few Clicks Away

eff.org - Thu, 16/07/2015 - 02:15
Democracy.io Streamlines a Complicated System into a Quick and Easy Process

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created a new tool that makes emailing your congressional lawmakers a quick and easy process. Democracy.io simplifies and streamlines the current fractured system for contacting lawmakers, allowing you to message your two senators and your representative from a single website.

“Democracy thrives when the voices of Internet users are heard in Washington. The easier it is for you to reach your member of Congress, the better,” said EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman. “With Democracy.io, you can send one message to both your senators and your representative right away, instead of tracking down three different forms on three different websites. We are proud to open this tool to the public and increase lawmakers’ awareness of how their constituents really feel.”

At Democracy.io, you enter your home address, and a quick look-up provides the names of your three congressional lawmakers. You then can choose any or all of those lawmakers, and send them whatever message you’d like. Democracy.io follows best practices for protecting the privacy of users, and all of the code is licensed under the AGPL, which means people can create new versions with different features. EFF does not control or influence the messages sent through Democracy.io.  

“Being able to contact your elected representatives is a critical component of a healthy democracy. Making sure that it’s a simple and rewarding process should be one of Congress’s priorities, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to even be on their radar,” said EFF Tech Fellow Sina Khanifar. “Advocacy organizations that can afford it have long had access to tools for delivering bulk constituent messages, but those solutions are expensive for regular citizens. Democracy.io helps to fill in that gap by giving people an easy way to have their voices are heard in Washington. Hopefully the tool will also remind lawmakers that they can and should be building sites like these already."

EFF wrote the backend system that delivers the messages to Congress with inspiration from work by the Participatory Politics Foundation. Delivery is made possible by the open source “contact-congress” dataset that was started by the Sunlight Foundation and completed with help from over 100 EFF volunteer web developers. The dataset is now maintained by EFF, the Sunlight Foundation, and Action Network.

For Democracy.io:
https://democracy.io

Contact:  Rainey ReitmanActivism Directorrainey@eff.org Sina KhanifarTech Fellowsina@eff.org
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Categories: Aggregated News

Iran Nuclear Deal: The Real Battle Begins

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 15/07/2015 - 21:59
Iran Nuclear Deal: The Real Battle Begins
by Stephen Lendman
It's not a done deal yet. It has miles to go with stiff congressional and Israeli opposition. 
A previous article discussed Netanyahu and AIPAC vowing in less than so many words to undermine what was achieved. Expect them going all-out by pressuring for congressional rejection and scare-mongering Americans to think Iran's nonexistent road to the bomb is facilitated.
Two agreements were reached Tuesday. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) begins a lengthy process likely continuing through yearend or longer. Iran must satisfy P5+1 countries and IAEA requirements before implementation of relief in return - including nuclear related sanctions lifted and unblocking its frozen assets.
At the same time, automatic US and Security Council sanctions "snap-back" is mandated if four of the seven countries involved in talks say Iran breached agreement terms - a potentially deal-wrecking setup letting Washington pressure Britain, France and Germany to go along with US officials claiming Tehran reneged on its agreement (almost certainly unlikely).
Why would Iran do anything to undermine what took years to achieve? If at any time, Washington cries foul, for sure it's evidence of planned intent based on fabricated claims. 
It's common US double-dealing - pledging one thing, doing another, blaming others for its transgressions and getting away with it.
The second agreement lets the US-controlled IAEA decide if Iran satisfies nonexistent concerns about its nuclear program having no "possible military dimensions (PMD)."
Earlier false accusations can resurface - based on forged documents and other bogus materials. A decade earlier, a mysterious laptop contained falsified information - alleging a so-called "green salt project" to provide clandestine uranium, high-explosives testing, and reengineering a Shahab-3 missile to carry a nuclear warhead.
At the time, former IAEA inspector/later department director Robert Kelly called the documents involved forged, saying:
"There is nothing to tell that (they're) real. My sense when I went through (them) was that there was possibly a lot of stuff in there that was genuine, (but) it was a kind of junk."
High quality material amounted to "two or three pages (unrelated) to anything else in the package. It was on a different topic, and you just wondered" whether fake evidence was planted.
He recalled 1993 and 1994 when the IAEA got "very complex forgeries" of a nonexistent Iraq nuclear weapons program. "(W)hen we dug into them they were clearly forgeries," he explained.
After 36 years, unrelenting US anti-Iranian hostility continues. Agreed on terms with Tehran belies Washington's bottom line intention - regime change. Nothing consummated Tuesday changes things.
Obama straightaway began selling the deal to skeptics - ludicrously saying "we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region…(T)he international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will no develop a nuclear weapon" it has no intention of producing and never did.
Nor will the deal lessen chances for greater regional war. As long as US policy calls for replacing all independent governments with regimes it controls, nations like Iran are threatened - especially with bipartisan lunatics infesting Washington.
A Final Comment
Congress has 60 days to review what was agreed on in Vienna. It's expected to vote up or down in early September. Obama signed legislation surrendering his executive authority to lawmakers - a potential deal-breaker.
Republicans across the board expressed opposition. House Speaker John Boehner (R. OH) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY) said it'll "be a very hard sell in Congress."
Obama needs strong Democrat support to keep the deal from unraveling before implemented. Whether possible remains to be seen - especially with intense Israeli and AIPAC pressure already begun.
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. 

IMF - Greek Debt Untenable

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 15/07/2015 - 19:57
IMF: Greek Debt Untenable
by Stephen Lendman
Overwhelming Greek debt is a time bomb sure to explode. It's unsustainable. It's just a question of when the Hellenic Republic implodes - crushed under the weight of a deepening financial burden no nation can bear indefinitely - especially ones with no control over their monetary and fiscal policies.
Brussels and Frankfurt run things - a policy designed for predation. Strong nations like Germany and France wage financial war on weak ones like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and others - stealing their wealth, assets and enterprises, harming ordinary people most, colonizing the countries for profit.
Even the Bretton Woods established/US controlled loan shark of last resort IMF astonishingly called for Greek debt relief. It doesn’t care about force-fed austerity harming ordinary people. It’s concerned about contagion. If Greece implodes, expect continental fallout.
Its leaked memo to the European Commission estimates its debt reaching 200% of GDP in the next two years without relief. In 1980, it was 22.6%. In 2008 - 127%. In 2014 - 177.1%. 
Since crisis conditions erupted, Greece's economy plunged over 25%.  It's mired in deepening Depression with European Commission and ECB demands sure to make things much worse - a sinkhole of economic decline and horrific human deprivation to pay bankers at the expense of sovereign independence and providing vital social services.
The IMF memo was blunt, saying "Greece's debt can now only be made sustainable through debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far."
"We have made it very clear that before we go the the (IMF) board (for authorization to release 16.4 billion euros in funding Eurozone officials are counting on as part of their debt relief package), we need a concrete and complete solution to the debt problem."
IMF rules (breached at its discretion - currently for Ukraine, earlier for Greece) prohibit loaning funds to countries with debt burdens deemed unsustainable - unable to be repaid.
The organization urged a 30% haircut - something European officials (mainly Germany, Greece's largest creditor) categorically reject so far.
"Greece cannot return to markets anytime soon at interest rates that it can afford from a medium-term perspective," the IMF memo said.
"The events of the past two weeks - the closure of banks and imposition of capital controls - are extracting a heavy toll on the banking system and the economy, leading to a further significant deterioration in debt sustainability relative to what was projected in our recently published DSA."
Each week capital controls stay imposed increases Greece's bailout requirement by another 10 billion euros. Worse still, IMF "projections remain subject to considerable downside risk, suggesting that there could be a need for additional further exceptional financing from Member States with an attendant deterioration in the debt dynamics."
"The dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well beyond what has been under consideration to date - and what has been proposed by the ESM (European Stability Mechanism)."
The IMF memo exposes the fallacy of European Commission and ECB mandates leading to Greece's economic recovery. They assure destroying its economy altogether without substantial debt relief.
Grexit, regaining monetary and fiscal control, as well as renouncing its odious debt entirely is its only sensible option - freedom from Eurozone rapaciousness, raping and pillaging Greece for profit.
If modest sustainable growth resumed, (impossible any time soon under European imposed demands), it would take many decades to pay down its debt burden to a much lower manageable level - maybe the rest of the 21st century to pay it all off.
The risk of contagion is huge. Greece's tiny percentage of Europe's economy is no protection against it. In September 2008, pushing Lehman Brothers over the edge triggered financial crisis conditions still festering.
Things have gotten so out of hand since then with stock, bond and other financial market bubbles, the next crisis virtually sure to come may be much worse than before with less ammunition to contain it.
Interest rates can't go lower at near zero levels already. Money printing madness only delays eventual day of reckoning time. The longer it continues, the less effective it becomes.
The late Bob Chapman (International Forecaster editor and publisher, former Wall Street insider) called it virtually certain. Only its timing is unknown. It can happen any time. Tipping points often aren't recognized until the wisdom of hindsight.
Trapped in the euro straightjacket, Greece is a European Commission/ECB controlled colony - strip-mined for profit at the expense of its sovereignty and essential popular needs gone begging. SYRIZA bears full responsibility for duplicity and betrayal.
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 and AIPAC Vow to Undermine Iran Nuclear Agreement

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 15/07/2015 - 04:25
Netanyahu and AIPAC Vow to Undermine Iran Nuclear Agreement
by Stephen Lendman
AIPAC is an unregistered foreign agent. It operates illegally and destructively. It deplores peace. It supports wars of aggression and occupation harshness.
Netanyahu is an unindicted war criminal - a hate-mongering racist heading Israel's fascist regime. 
In less than so many words, they declared war on today's important agreement - intending to go all out to subvert it.
AIPAC issued a statement, saying it's committed to "ensur(ing) that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons" - despite the whole world knowing it has no intention of doing so and never did.
The organization earlier issued five "requirements…to block Iran's (nonexistent) path to a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror."
Fact: The region's notorious leading state sponsor of terrorism is Israel. AIPAC supports its worst crimes.
Fact: Iran champions peace, stability and mutual cooperation among all nations. It justifiably wants its sovereign rights respected.
AIPAC denounced Tuesday's nuclear agreement - saying it failed to meet its "requirements." A previous article discussed them as follows:
1. "Unrestricted inspections and verification:" It wants them "anytime, anywhere," including military facilities no country would permit free access to.
It wants them on short-notice anywhere within Iran's borders. "No facilities can be off-limits," it says. "Iran must not be able to veto specific inspections."
AIPAC wants robust inspections continued until the IAEA verifies all Iranian nuclear work is peaceful. It want Tehran's supply chain monitored to check on whether illicit purchases are made.
AIPAC owns Congress. Any member not fully supportive of Israel is targeted for replacement.
On March 18, 2014, 391 House members sent a letter to Obama saying inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities "should include an agreement granting the IAEA necessary access to inspect all suspect sites, including military facilities."
A same day letter signed by 83 senators said "(w)e believe Iran must…submit to a long-term and intrusive inspection and verification regime."
On March 20, 2015, 367 House members wrote Obama saying "(a)ny inspection and verification regime must allow for short notice access to suspect locations." 
2. "Possible Military Dimensions:" AIPAC wants Iran to explain earlier nuclear weaponization efforts whether or not any existed - including revealing documents perhaps never produced.
It claims a baseline must be established from which to judge future actions.
3. No sanctions relief until "Iran complies with its commitments." AIPAC wants stiff consequences for any violations discovered.
It wants Western-controlled monitors to be judge and jury about Iran's well-known peaceful nuclear program.
4. "Duration: Iran's nuclear weapons quest must be blocked for decades," says AIPAC - to prevent Tehran from becoming a nuclear threshold state.
No evidence suggests its intention to develop nuclear weapons. AIPAC demands the impossible.
It wants Tehran to prove a negative - "that it no longer seeks a nuclear weapons capability" no evidence suggests it had in the first place.
It wants Iran's legitimate nuclear program hamstrung - limiting its research and other essential activities needed to operate effectively.
5. "Dismantlement:" AIPAC demands Iran eliminate its essential nuclear infrastructure "so it has no path to a nuclear weapon" it has no intention to develop.
AIPAC's notion of a "good deal" is one no responsible nations with  peaceful nuclear programs would accept - nor should they.
In less than so many words, it wants Congress to challenge Tuesday's agreement and kill it.
So does Netanyahu. Virtually all his remarks are over-the-top, offensive and belligerent. He refuses to recognizes what was agreed on, saying:
"Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves" - against invented enemies.
Fact: No Iranian political leader or its supreme leaders said they seek Israel's destruction. Earlier comments explained its self-destructive policies. Israel is its own worst enemy.
Netanyahu bashed P5+1 countries for negotiating an important agreement if it works - if it stands the test of time.
He wants its main regional rival eliminated. Irresponsibly criticizing its legitimate nuclear program as well as falsely accusing it of terrorism and wanting Israel destroyed are thinly veiled pretexts for supporting regime change.
He lied saying "(b)y not dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, in a decade this deal will give an unreformed, unrepentant and far richer terrorism regime the capacity to produce many nuclear bombs. In fact an entire nuclear arsenal, with the means to deliver it. What a stunning historic mistake."
Tuesday's deal "reward(s) Iran…with hundreds of billions of dollars" - a "cash bonanza (to) fuel (its nonexistent) terrorism worldwide, its (nonexistent) aggression in the region, and its (nonexistent) efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing."
Fact: Israel is the region's sole nuclear armed and danger power - a rogue state partnered with America, both nations willing to wage nuclear war. 
Fact: The more Netanyahu blusters, the more buffoon-like he sounds - a lunatic making absurd off-the-wall accusations the whole world knows are false, duplicitous and polar opposite reality.
His comments, AIPAC's, and anti-Iranian congressional hardliners from both parties show Tehran what it's up against going forward. 
An accompanying article said Tuesday's agreement isn't a done deal. A long tough road ahead needs to be crossed successfully with no guarantees of success.
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. 

Khader Adnan Rearrested, Then Released

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 15/07/2015 - 03:05
Khader Adnan Rearrested, Then Released
by Stephen Lendman
Israel's longstanding treatment of Khader Adnan is one of many examples of its viciousness. 
His extraordinary courage in the face of Israeli brutality made him a national hero. One day after release following 55 painful hunger striking days for justice, Israeli forces rearrested him - another shocking display of racist persecution all too common against defenseless Palestinians under brutalizing occupation.
Adnan was unjustly imprisoned 10 previous times - held administratively uncharged and untried for political reasons. He committed no crimes.
On July 13, he was heading to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Ramadan's holiest night - Leilat al-Qadr. Israel maintains police state rules. Palestinian males aged 12 through 30 are denied entry into East Jerusalem.
Men over 30 to 50 need permits. So do Palestinian females aged 16 to 30. During last year's Leilat al-Qadr, Israeli forces brutally attacked Palestinians protesting Operation Protective Edge mass slaughter and destruction. Nine deaths and numerous arrests followed.
Adnan was detained for entering East Jerusalem without permit permission. He was held for questioning at Ofer detention center in Israel. 
Its interrogations are notoriously brutal. Adnan endured long grueling hours - then taken to Beitunia west of Ramallah around 1:00 AM. From there he was driven to Arraba in southern Jenin, his home village.
On Tuesday, he said he visited four East Jerusalem homes before his arrest and detention -  including his lawyer Jawad Bolous, responsible for negotiating his release.
He and his wife wanted to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque (Islam's third holiest site) on Laylat al-Qadr night. It's when the Koran's first verses were revealed to the prophet Muhammad.
Israel has no respect for Palestinian rights any time during the year - including special holy days and nights. Racist regimes operate this way.
Separately, a previous article discussed Israel's lawless arrest and imprisonment of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member/human rights champion Khalida Jarrar.
She's a woman of extraordinary courage and determination to fight for justice. In August 2014, Israel ordered her expelled from Ramallah to Jericho for six months - reduced to one month following an intense solidarity campaign, as well as international and diplomatic pressure on her behalf.
She defied Israel's order, stayed in her home, and said "it is the occupation (that) must leave our homeland."
She erected a protest tent outside the PLC's Ramallah headquarters. She lived and worked there.
Her daughter, Suha, calls her "an influential leader, feminist and activist. She speaks strongly and loudly against colonization and oppression." 
"Her arrest is a reflection of Israel’s ongoing tactics to attack freedom of speech and silence those who speak freely against occupation and apartheid."
"She's a threat because she speaks the truth. That is why she was targeted before and continues to be targeted now."
On July 13, an Israeli military court hearing was held. Jarrar chairs the Addameer prisoner support group's board of directors. The organization reported the following:
"At the hearing today for Palestinian Legislative Council Member Khalida Jarrar, the defense team submitted preliminary arguments to cancel the charges." 
"The defense argued concerning the legality of the occupation. Particularly, it argued that the occupation’s situation as continued and long-term deems it illegal." 
"The defense also argued that Mrs. Khalida Jarrar is entitled to immunity as a Palestinian Legislative Council Member."
"The defense also argued that Palestine should be considered a sovereign state after the United Nations General Assembly decision to recognize it as such, and the subsequent joining of various international treaties, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court." 
"Therefore, the defense argued, Palestine should be regarded as a state under occupation, and not territory under the jurisdiction of the Oslo accords, which were meant to end within five years." 
"The defense further argued that even if the Oslo accords were applicable, Israeli arrests in Area A are only to take place if the accused is believed to be committing illegal activities in the time of the arrest, which was not the case for Mrs. Jarrar, who was arrested in an overnight raid on her home of justice was also highly contested according to the defense, who argued that the protracted delays in bringing charges against Mrs. Jarrar and the vague dates given to her alleged activities severely affect the ability of the defendant in her defense."
"Furthermore, the defense argued that the arrest of Mrs. Jarrar was a revengeful reprisal for her refusal to comply with a forced residency assignment in September 2014, as indicated by military governor’s statement." 
"Additionally, the defense pointed to the fact that Mrs. Jarrar was initially held under administrative detention, with the prosecution claiming in a hearing that there was not enough evidence to hold her under charges."
Her next hearing is scheduled for  August 2015. Witnesses are expected to testify. 
They weren't informed about Monday's hearing as required. The prosecution has two weeks to respond to the defense team’s  arguments. Expect rubber-stamp rejection when they do.
Jarrar is held administratively uncharged and untried. Her detention can be renewed every six months - as often as Israeli wishes. She suffers from chronic medical issues. Treatment in Israel's gulag is notoriously appalling.
Palestinians struggling for justice face horrific Israeli persecution. Longstanding state terror aims to crush all legitimate resistance.
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. 

Iran Nuclear Talks: Agreement in Vienna

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 14/07/2015 - 22:50
Iran Nuclear Talks: Agreement in Vienna
by Stephen Lendman
Years of talks brought fruition. It's all over except for Iran's continued struggle to be accepted unconditionally as a member in good standing in the world community of nations.
A first step requires full implementation of agreed on terms - no reinterpreting them post facto, a commonplace Washington tactic. 
Iran faces enormous obstacles trying to prevent Israel, its Lobby and congressional hardliners from blocking or undermining what's been achieved. Obama promised to veto congressional rejection of terms agreed on. Whether override is possible remains to be seen.
US, Israeli and other Western accusations about an Iranian road to the bomb were always fraudulent. Tehran abhors these weapons. It wants a nuclear-free Middle East - a world without the threat of mass annihilation.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the deal a "historic moment," a "win-win" solution. "We're reaching an agreement that's not perfect for anybody but (the best) we could accomplish," he said.
"Today could have been the end of hope on this issue…(Instead it begins) a new chapter of hope." EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said it "can open a new chapter in international relations."
Netanyahu reacted as expected - calling the agreement "a bitter mistake of historical proportions." He lied claiming "Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons. Many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted."
"Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and the world."
Tehran is a regional peacemaker, abhorring terrorism in all forms - Israel its leading (nuclear armed and dangerous) belligerent.
Enormous obstacles remain to prevent US and Israeli dark forces from undermining what's been achieved. They're relentless and won't quit even if Congress fails to block it.
Obama signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act of 2015 (INAA) - surrendering his executive authority on an international agreement involving seven countries. 
It gives Congress final say up or down on terms reached - 30 days if by July 9, 60 days thereafter, an enormous amount of time to undermine years of hard work.
Expect congressional and Israeli anti-Iranian hardliners to take full advantage. They'll do everything possible to wreck a major achievement. A done deal isn't final yet. Here's what we know so far on its terms.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) comes after over a decade of standoff. It'll be submitted for Security Council approval within 10 days or less.
It recognizes Iran's legitimate nuclear program - subject to imposed limits for 10 years, constraints then eased over five years. Security Council sanctions will be lifted once a resolution is adopted.
No Iranian nuclear facilities will be dismantled or decommissioned. R & D will continue on all types of centrifuges - including advanced IR-6 and IR-8 machines.
On implementation of the agreement, US and EU nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions will be immediately lifted - ones relating to banking, finance, oil, gas, petrochemical, trade, insurance and transport sectors.
Others wrongfully imposed for alleged rights abuses, nonexistent terrorist activities, support for Syrian sovereignty and other political reasons remain in place.
An arms embargo will end - subject to certain restrictions, on missiles for eight years, on their sale or purchase for five years. Over $100 billion of frozen Iranian assets will be unblocked. Sanctions imposed against hundreds of Iranian enterprises and individuals will end.
The agreement prevents Iran from producing enough enriched uranium for potential bomb-making for 10 years. Procedures for inspecting Iranian nuclear facilities were agreed on.
Its centrifuges will be reduced from about 19,000 to 6,104 - of these, 1044 will be used for purposes other than uranium enrichment.
Iran must reduce its enriched uranium by 96% to 300 kg - likely shipping at least most abroad to Russia. So-called "breakout time" to a bomb (Tehran doesn't want) will be extended to a year for a decade.
Iran won't build new heavy water reactors for 15 years. The underground Fordow site will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center. Two-thirds of its installed centrifuges will be removed - stored under a monitored program.
Separately, Iran and IAEA head Yukiya Amano agreed on a "roadmap" to resolve so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) to Iran's nuclear program.
The text and five annexes are detailed, technical and complex. Disagreements over interpretation and implementation could delay things or derail the deal entirely.
After 36 years of anti-Iranian hostility, it's hard imagining the dawn of a new era in Washington-Iranian relations. 
Regime change remains official US policy - replacing Tehran's sovereign independence with governance America controls. Nothing suggests a new leaf on this intention, by color revolution or war.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Kenya to Require Public Wi-Fi Users to Register With Phone Number

eff.org - Tue, 14/07/2015 - 20:52

“Kenya to require users of public Wi-Fi to register with government,” reads a July 1 Ars Technica headline. At first glance, the east African country’s proposed regulations appeared to extend their reach beyond even that broad subset of Kenyan Internet users. According to quotes from officials included in the article, the new rules would require all users of any device with wireless networking capabilities, not just public Wi-Fi routers, to register their equipment with either their Internet service providers or the Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC).

Even correcting for what seems to be overbroad interpretation of the final regulations, Kenya's plans risk invading the privacy of the majority of its non-mobile Internet users, as well as chasing legitimate anonymous speakers from the country's Internet.

A July 3 press release from the Kenyan Communications Authority (KCA) clarified that users would not be required to register devices with KENIC, and that the draft regulations will be subject to public consultations. A 2010 decision of Germany's Federal Supreme Court resulted in a similar requirement upon WiFi network operators under German law. This decision is currently under review by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The press release adds even more restrictions on Kenyan public Wi-Fi however:

The draft regulations will have provisions that require installations of Public WI-FI to integrate a component that obliges its users to log in for identification purposes. In this regard, operators of cyber-cafes and public wireless hotspots shall be required to identify users before providing them with Internet access services. The identification shall be through a user registration system that ties each user to a registered mobile phone number. Operators of cyber-cafes shall also be required to ensure that system logs are retained in their original form for a defined period, install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) for surveillance and use public Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for its computers.

ITU statistics put Kenya’s Internet penetration at 39% and mobile phone subscriptions at 71% of the population. The country is a regional technology hub with a strong online presence. Many Kenyans access the Internet from public wireless hotspots and cafes.  Its government, however, is also embroiled in conflict with militant group Al-Shabaab, making cybersecurity an administrative priority. Kenya will also soon play host to a center for coordinating the fight against cybercrime in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a free trade area.

Requiring Kenyans to effectively register with personal details in order to use wireless Internet is a blow to the right to anonymity, but it is also burdensome on those seeking to offer widespread broadband access. It assumes criminal intent of those who, through economic circumstances or otherwise, choose to access the Internet in public spaces, rather than at home. Compulsory logging and obligatory surveillance cameras add to a draconian level of invasive monitoring that will primarily affect innocent Internet users in the pursuit of a tiny subset of criminals.

This also amounts to a ban on the common practice of network address translation—which is commonly employed to shield workstations behind a central firewall, as well as to extend the limited capacity of the IPv4 address space. Due to the expense of obtaining IP space for each computer in a cyber-cafe, this will impact significantly on the affordability of Internet access for Kenyans, whose per capita income is about 5% of the U.S. average.  It will also increase the risk of computers in cyber cafes suffering intrusions, thereby placing the privacy and security of users at risk.

With these new proposed regulations, Kenya is falling into the company of states that misuse security issues  to impose unnecessary controls on their citizens’ speech and access to information. Given the country's reputation as a tech innovator, it also risks spreading such poor security policies to other countries that look to Kenya's leadership in this area. The KCA should revise their proposed regulations to respect Kenyan Internet users' civil liberties, and set a standard of Internet freedom that reflects their country's high-tech status.

Related Issues: InternationalOpen Wireless
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Categories: Aggregated News

Choice for Greeks: Rebel, Leave or Starve

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 14/07/2015 - 19:15
Choice for Greeks: Rebel, Leave or Starve
by Stephen Lendman
Tsipras and likeminded SYRIZA officials proved they're like all the rest - masquerading as populists, governing like corporate tools, ready to unleash police state harshness against public anger over betrayal at its discretion.
The price for new bailout funding (mostly earmarked to pay bankers, not aid its crippled economy) is loss of Greek sovereignty - surrendering it to Troika bandits, a death blow to democracy's birthplace.
On Monday, modern Greece died. Troika coup d'etat rule replaced its elected government - serving monied interests exclusively at the expense of equity, justice and fundamental human rights.
Paying tribute to bankers alone matters - the same ones responsible for creating crisis conditions in the first place, for stealing multi-billions of dollars, euros and pounds with impunity, wrecking economies and public welfare for their bottom line interests, using money to make lots more of it, an insatiable lust to steal all they can complicit with corrupt government officials letting them.
Today we're all Greeks. Their fate is ours - victims of neoliberal harshness punishing all Western societies, former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries, as well as most others worldwide. 
Reality for billions of people is mass unemployment or underemployment for poverty or sub-poverty wages, eroded or lost social benefits, homelessness, hunger, untreated illnesses, malnutrition and for millions starvation.
The World Food Programme says around 800 million people worldwide haven't enough food to eat annually - one in nine ill-fed or without food.
Millions die annually from hunger and treatable diseases. Double the number of people die annually from hunger than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. 
Developing or underdeveloped countries are most affected. So are war zones. Growing numbers are in developed countries - devastated by force-fed austerity increasingly hardened with no letup. Greece is Exhibit A. Government neglect in inner-city Western societies is no better.
Inequality and human deprivation are appalling in America. Poverty is a growth industry. Unemployment, underemployment, increasing hunger and homelessness reflect the new normal - at a time vital social services are being cut or eliminated.
A race to the bottom defines official US policy - social injustice enriching its well-off at the expense of its most vulnerable.
On any given night, around 600,000 Americans are homeless - including in sub-freezing temperatures. Volunteer food banks can't keep up with growing demand.
Census data show around half the population living in poverty or bordering it - affecting nearly 60% of children. America has a higher percentage of working poor than any other industrialized country.
Its social contract is on the chopping block for elimination altogether. Depression conditions affect growing millions when monied interests never had it better.
Most Americans with jobs get by from paycheck to paycheck - one missed one away from homelessness, hunger and despair.
Feeding America says "(h)unger exists in every community of our country." One in six people "struggle to get enough to eat." Malnutrition is a national disease - devastating young children when proper nutrition is vital for development.
Over five million seniors aged 60 or older face hunger. Retired after a lifetime of work, they struggle with health issues and meager incomes. Many have to choose between food or medicine.
Blacks are more than twice as likely to be food insecure as whites. They're disproportionately affected by unemployment and poverty. 
Nearly one-fourth of Latino households face struggle to get enough food to eat - compared to one in ten whites.
What kind of societies treat their most needy this way - especially rich developed ones? Western ones march in lockstep against their most vulnerable - victims of appalling social injustice, increasing at a time of growing need.
SYRIZA's anti-austerity mandate was fraudulent - a Big Lie, a campaign ploy, a hoax to win hearts and minds, to be abandoned once elected.
So-called populists were corporate tools in disguise. The mask is off. Tsipras and likeminded SYRIZA officials are no different from their right-wing counterparts - stomping on their own people they pledged to serve responsibly, forcing them to pay more and get less, leaving them increasingly on their own sink or swim.
Tsipras returned to Athens on Monday - a Judas exposed, unable to paper over his betrayal no matter how hard he tries.
What next for beleaguered Greeks? Government they thought responsible turned out like previous hardline ones.
If snap elections loom as some believe, the alternative is fascist rule. Greeks have a choice - the same as others across Europe, in America and elsewhere suffering under force-fed austerity: rebel, leave or starve. 
The right solution is revolutionary change - ordinary people fighting for what everyone deserves, accepting no less. The alternative ia harder than ever hard times.
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. 

Domain Privacy at Risk at the OECD in a Devious Move to Bypass ICANN

eff.org - Tue, 14/07/2015 - 08:28

The powerful interests who shape the development of rules for the Internet have far more resources at their disposal than those who fight for users' rights and freedoms online. As such, they are exceptionally well organized, and you can guarantee for every one of their initiatives that reaches the public spotlight, they have several parallel backup plans that may slip past the radar.

The interest groups and law enforcement authorities behind the proposal to ICANN, the global domain name authority, to limit the availability of privacy services for broadly-defined "commercial" websites are a perfect example of this. That proposal has since blown up into the biggest public consultation ever received by ICANN, and spawned several cross-constituency coalitions and a powerful joint letter. Not only has ICANN issued a face-saving response, but so too has one of the architects of the proposal, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The MPAA's response belittles the concerns that thousand of respondents expressed, making out that groups like EFF had exaggerated the threat, and that its intention was never to stop commercial users from hiding their registration details from the public.

Yet a concurrent proposal for the revision of the of the 1999 Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce [PDF] of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) proves this to be a lie. The proposed text is not yet public, but the committee has authorized members of the Consumer Policy Committee (including EFF) to consult with other stakeholders on its potential impacts, and for that purpose we can exclusively reveal a text proposal that would require any business engaged in electronic commerce to "make readily available" their "domain name registration information".

What are these OECD Guidelines? As a club of developed countries, the OECD does not make laws as such. However it does make influential standards, such as this one, which serve as a template for the development of domestic laws and policies of member countries. It is highly probable that if the OECD were to adopt new rules recommending that e-commerce websites maintain public domain registration information, then this may find its way into laws and policies around the world—thereby precluding the operators of those websites from availing themselves of privacy protective services. Worst of all, such rules could override any decision made by ICANN to maintain the availability of these privacy services for commercial users. Since a "business engaged in electronic commerce" could simply be a fan artist with a domain name linked to an Etsy store, this proposal amounts to exactly what the MPAA claims it wasn't trying to accomplish at ICANN.

And make no mistake that the ICANN proposal does stem from exactly the same source as this OECD proposal. This is made explicit in a statement that former FCC Commissioner Mozelle Thompson made fully 15 years ago, in a speech about the OECD guidelines:

Because many of you have worked on issued related to ICANN, I wanted to let you know that we have provided comments to the organization about the need for stricter requirements on their part regarding complete and accurate domain name registration information. Already in our law enforcement activities, we have uncovered fraudulent web sites only to be hampered in our ability to track the originators due to incomplete or inaccurate registration data. We believe that domain registrars can help us stop online fraud by requiring complete and verifiable contact information at the time a web site is registered.

You can also be assured that the responsible OECD committee has already been made aware of our concerns about this provision. We provided comments to the OECD on an earlier draft of the same provision on June 18 of this year. Those comments were disregarded, and the latest draft of the text, released last Friday, is exactly the same as the text that we objected to. A copy of a follow-up letter from EFF to the OECD, sent today, is appended to this post.

Thus, the war on domain privacy is being fought on several fronts. The battle at ICANN remains a crucial one, and although the official comment period on the current proposal has expired, we intend to maintain the heat on this issue as the decision makes its way from the Privacy/Proxy Services Accreditation Issues (PPSAI) Working Group, to the GNSO Council, and ultimately to the ICANN Board. You can take action and stand up to preserve anonymity and domain privacy, and we will deliver your message to the next public ICANN meeting in Dublin in October.

Meanwhile, EFF also has users' interests covered at the OECD. We will continue to speak out at the OECD's Committee on Consumer Policy as it finalizes what will become the final draft of the text for consideration at the 90th  session of the Committee, which also takes place in October, leading into the its adoption by the OECD Council at a June 2016 Ministerial on the digital economy.

Files:  Letter to the OECD on domain privacy
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Categories: Aggregated News

2015 Pioneer Award Nominations Are Now Open

eff.org - Tue, 14/07/2015 - 05:33

Nominations are now open for EFF's 24th Annual Pioneer Awards, to be presented this fall in San Francisco. EFF established the Pioneer Awards in 1992 to recognize leaders who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. Nominations are open until 11:59 pm PDT on Sunday, July 19. Nominate the next Pioneer Award winner today!

What does it take to be a Pioneer? Nominees must have contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications. Their contributions may be technical, social, legal, academic, economic or cultural. This year’s Pioneers will join an esteemed group of past award winners that includes the late, visionary activist Aaron Swartz; open-source pioneer Limor "Ladyada" Fried; and the documentarian and journalist Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, among many remarkable activists, entrepreneurs, public interest attorneys, and others.

The Yes Men, 2014 Pioneer Awards Special Guests

The Pioneer Award ceremony depends on the generous support of individuals and companies with passion for digital civil liberties. To learn more about how you can sponsor the Pioneer Awards, or if you'd like to receive updates about the event, including ticket information, please email Nicole at nicole@eff.org.

Remember, nominations are due no later than 11:59 pm PDT on Sunday, July 19! After you nominate your favorites, we hope you will join us this fall in San Francisco to celebrate the work of this year’s winners.


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Categories: Aggregated News

Britain Targets Russian Media

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 14/07/2015 - 04:48
Britain Targets Russian Media
by Stephen Lendman
Britain, America and other Western nations disgracefully consider real news, information and analysis Russian media provide propaganda - in other words, anything exposing their destructive agenda truthfully.
Britain is obstructing Russia's international news agency Rossiya Segodnya (RS). On orders from Whitehall, Barclays bank froze its account unjustifiably without explanation.
RS was founded in December 2013 - incorporating the former RIA Novosti news service and Voice of Russia international radio. In November 2014, RS launched Sputnik News and Radio Sputnik.
Dmitry Kiselyov heads RS. He blasted what happened - calling it "censorship. To close the account of one of the world's leading news agencies…direct(ly) obstruct(s) journalists' work," he said.
"What kind of press freedom and democracy can Britain claim to have if it prevents one of the world's largest news agencies from working in the country?"
A Barclays source said Britain's Exchequer put Kiselyov on an anti-Russian sanctions list. RS editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan (serving in the same capacity for RT International) called it "illegal." 
"The sanctions imply that Kiselyov cannot travel to Europe and have bank accounts there," she said. "No sanctions were imposed on Rossiya Segodnya news agency."
Kiselyov is on the EU sanctions list - a shameless one for fabricated reasons pertaining to nonexistent "Russian aggression" in Ukraine and Crimeans reversing a historic error by near unanimously voting to rejoin Russia. No annexation occurred.
Kiselyov is irresponsibly called a "central figure of the government propaganda supporting the (nonexistent) deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine."
He's in good company with top Russian officials, including:
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin
Upper House Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko
Lower House State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin
Putin advisor Sergey Glazyev
Black Sea Fleet Commander Admiral Alexander Nosatov
His deputy Valery Kulikov, among others.
Weeks earlier, France and Belgium extended EU sanctions through January and froze Russian assets at the same time.
The timing wasn't coincidental - on day one of the 19th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) - an impressive three-day event attracting thousands of participants - including world political and business leaders, journalists and others from dozens of countries worldwide.
France targeted VTB, Russia's second largest bank. Diplomatic accounts were frozen, then unlocked. Rossiya Segodnya international news agency's bank accounts were seized.
Belgium seized Russian assets - At the same time, its authorities seized Russian assets - including its Embassy's and Permanent UN Mission accounts. 
The action relates to contested Russian debt former Yukos Oil owners claim they're owed. The company declared bankruptcy after Moscow demanded it pay back taxes evaded for years. 
At the time, Russia's Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov said freezing Russian assets is "a blatant violation of international law." Russia's Foreign Ministry called Belgium's actions "an unfriendly act…a blatant (international law) violation." It indicated retaliatory measures may follow if what happened wasn't reversed.
Putin aide Andrey Belousov called actions by France and Belgium politicized. "Moscow hopes to avoid a new escalation in relations," he said. At the same time, it's "considering a number of measures to deal with" what happened if things aren't resolved responsibly.
These and other actions by European countries and America target Russia irresponsibly for fabricated reasons.
Attempts to isolate and weaken it haven't worked. The just concluded July 8 - 10 BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summits in Ufa, Russia reflect a new (mainly Eurasian) Silk World Order challenging Western dominance and the dollar as the world's reserve currency - a testimony to multi-world polarity.
The New Development Bank (NDB) was launched as an alternative to predatory Western financial institutions - capitalized with $100 billion for starters.
Vnesheconombank CEO Vladimir Dmitriev said "(t)he decision was made to create a financial institution which is to support economic development in BRICS countries. I would rather say that it’s a complimentary vehicle to be focused specifically on the development of BRICS countries."
Transactions increasingly will be in local currencies, bypassing dollar dominance. NBD joins the SCO Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. 
Maybe others to come as alternatives to predatory IMF, World Bank and other Western financial institutions. They represent an idea whose time has come.
So do vital sources of news, information and analysis like Rossiya Segodnya (including Sputnik News) and RT International telling viewers and listeners what they need to know on major issues - what Western media suppress.
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. 

A Case Study of Israeli Murder

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 14/07/2015 - 04:29
A Case Study of Israeli Murder
by Stephen Lendman
Since 2000 alone, Israel killed around 10,000 Palestinians, including over 2,000 children. The Occupied Territories are virtual free-fire zones.
Israeli soldiers, police and other security forces kill defenseless Palestinians with impunity. Israel's record since its 1947-48 war establishing the Jewish state reflects out-of-control violence and persecution - especially since occupying the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in June 1967.
Palestinian witnesses report Israeli soldiers stationed along the buffer zone between Gaza and Israel repeatedly open fire on anyone coming too close to restricted areas - including small children at play and farmers in their fields.
On Monday, local sources said Israeli forces used machine guns against agricultural lands east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Farmers and civilian homes were targeted. No injuries were reported.
Fishermen at sea threatening no one are attacked, at times injured or killed, otherwise arrested, their vessels and gear confiscated.
Terms of last summer's truce following 51 days of mass slaughter and destruction pledged these activities would cease. They continue repeatedly with impunity. 
Palestinian lives don't matter. On July 3, IDF Col. Yisrael Shomer murdered 17-year-old Muhammad 'Ali-Kosba in cold blood.
He threw a stone at his car harming no one. Col. Shomer lied claiming he acted in fear of his life and acted in "self-defense."
False! Video footage obtained by B'Tselem proved otherwise. 'Ali-Kosba was fleeing when gunned down in cold blood. 
Israeli General Roni Numa said he "fully backed the brigade commander and the way he handled the incident, in which the force was faced with real mortal threat" - none whatever as video evidence confirmed.
Other Israeli officials issued statements supporting cold-blooded murder. Hardline education minister Naftali Bennett said "I back completely the Binyamin Commander who acted against a terrorist in order to defend his soldiers."
B'Tselem collected eye witness testimonies and surveillance camera video footage. It got information from Ramallah hospital doctors examining 'Ali-Kosba when he arrived.
Col. Shomer drove his military vehicle toward the Qalandiya checkpoint. As he approached the area, 'Ali-Kosba ran towards it, threw a stone at the vehicle's window screen from short range, causing damage, then fled on foot.
Video footage showed the vehicle stopping. Two soldiers inside began pursuing 'Ali-Kosba. Another stayed with the vehicle. No further stone throwing occurred.
The shooting occurred outside the surveillance camera's range of vision. Eye witnesses said Col. Shomer shot 'Ali-Kosba from about 10 meters away.
Instead of providing or calling for medical aid, he and the other soldiers drove off leaving 'Ali-Kosba to die. He was taken by private car to Ramallah hospital where he was pronounced clinically dead.
B'Tselem said it sent the video footage to Israel's Military Police Investigations Unit (MPIU). It clearly showed 'Ali-Kosba was shot and killed in cold blood from close range. He posed no danger to Col. Shomer. He lied claiming otherwise.
"'Ali-Kosba sustained three bullet wounds to his upper body: one bullet hit the side of his face and two struck him from behind," said B'Tselem. 
"The location and entry points of the injuries corroborate the details provided by the eyewitness accounts and by the video footage, according to which he was shot in the back while running away from the soldiers."
Claiming he "posed a mortal threat to the soldiers at the time of the shooting, having fled the scene, is unreasonable." He threatened no one.Expect coverup and denial to follow - the usual whitewash following these type incidents happening with disturbing regularity.An IDF spokesperson said Col. Shomer followed proper procedure. Military open-fire regulations permit firing at legs only to facilitate arrests - not willfully committing murder by upper body wounds.
Leaving the scene of the incident without offering medical help  violated military regulations. They require soldiers to administer aid to individuals injured by gunfire.A senior commander violating mandated procedure compounds the gravity of the offense. It lets low-ranking soldiers know it's OK to shoot to kill for any reason or none at all.MPIU investigations follow these type incidents. It bears repeating. Expect the usual whitewash result, especially with a high-ranking officer involved.Justice for Palestinian victims and surviving family members is virtually impossible. Their rights don't matter.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. 

Oscar and Pulitzer Award-Winning Journalist Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years of Airport Detentions and Searches

eff.org - Tue, 14/07/2015 - 02:33
Poitras, Filmmaker Behind Snowden Documentary CITIZENFOUR, Searched and Questioned Every Time She Entered U.S. From 2006 to 2012

Washington, D.C. ­– Academy and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. transportation security agencies today demanding they release records documenting a six-year period in which she was searched, questioned, and often subjected to hours-long security screenings at U.S. and overseas airports on more than 50 occasions. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing Poitras in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“I’m filing this lawsuit because the government uses the U.S. border to bypass the rule of law,” said Poitras. “This simply should not be tolerated in a democracy. I am also filing this suit in support of the countless other less high-profile people who have also been subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment at the borders. We have a right to know how this system works and why we are targeted.”

Poitras is a professional journalist who won an Academy Award this year for her documentary film “CITIZENFOUR” about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, shared in the 2014 Pulitzer for Public Service for NSA reporting, and is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. During frequent travel from 2006 to 2012 for work on her documentary films, Poitras was detained at the U.S. border every time she entered the country.

During these detentions, she was told by airport security agents that she had a criminal record (even though she does not), that her name appeared on a national security threat database, and, on one occasion, that she was on the U.S. government’s No Fly List. She’s had her laptop, camera, mobile phone, and reporter notebooks seized and their contents copied, and was once threatened with handcuffing for taking notes during her detention after border agents said her pen could be used as a weapon. The searches were conducted without a warrant and often without explanation, and no charges have ever been brought against Poitras.

After years of targeting by security agents, Poitras last year filed FOIA requests for records naming or relating to her, including case files, surveillance records, and counterterrorism documents. But the agencies have either said they have no records, denying or ignoring her appeals for further searches, or haven’t responded at all to her requests. For example, the FBI, after not responding to Poitras’ FOIA request for a year, said in May it had located only six pages relevant to the request—and that it was withholding all six pages because of grand jury secrecy rules.

“The government used its power to detain people at airports, in the name of national security, to target a journalist whose work has focused on the effects of the U.S. war on terror,” said David Sobel, EFF senior counsel. “In refusing to respond to Poitras’ FOIA requests and wrongfully withholding the documents about her it has located, the government is flouting its responsibility to explain and defend why it subjected a law-abiding citizen—whose work has shone a light on post-9/11 military and intelligence activities—to interrogations and searches every time she entered her country.”   

The detentions ended in 2012 after journalist Glenn Greenwald published an article about Poitras’ experiences and a group of documentary filmmakers submitted a petition to DHS protesting her treatment.

“We are suing the government to force it to disclose any records that would show why security officials targeted Poitras for six years, even though she had no criminal record and there was no indication that she posed any security risk,” said Jamie Lee Williams, an EFF attorney and the organization’s Frank Stanton Legal Fellow. “By spurning Poitras’ FOIA requests, the government leaves the impression that her detentions were a form of retaliation and harassment of a journalist whose work has focused on U.S. policy in the post-9/11 world.”

Poitras’ documentary films include the 2006 Oscar-nominated “My Country, My Country”­—a story about the Iraq war told through an Iraqi doctor and political candidate in Baghdad who was an outspoken critic of U.S. occupation. Poitras also directed and produced the Emmy-nominated “The Oath,” a 2010 documentary film about Guantanamo Bay prison and the interrogation of Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard days after 9/11. Poitras’ latest film, “CITIZENFOUR,” about Snowden and NSA mass surveillance, earned her a Director’s Guild of America Award and an Oscar.

 

For the full complaint:
https://www.eff.org/document/poitras-foia-complaint


Contact:  David SobelSenior Counselsobel@eff.org Jamie Lee WilliamsFrank Stanton Legal Fellowjamie@eff.org
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Categories: Aggregated News

Race and the Media: How a New Generation of Activists Is Challenging the Narrative

freepress.net - Tue, 14/07/2015 - 01:08
Race and the Media: How a New Generation of Activists Is Challenging the NarrativeJoseph TorresJuly 13, 2015When it comes to race, there are so many lessons our nation has either failed to remember or willfully ignored.
Categories: Aggregated News

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