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Washington and Kiev Want War, not Peace - Tue, 17/03/2015 - 01:33
Washington and Kiev Want War, not Peace
by Stephen Lendman
Donbass is Obama's war. He didn't launch it to quit. Minsk II won't work any better than previous failed peace efforts.
Expect full-scale conflict to resume at Obama's discretion. Meanwhile, Kiev is aggressively rearming. 
It's mobilizing its military for more war. It's spending money desperately needed internally for armaments and paying bankers first.
Its forces commit multiple daily ceasefire violations. Western media ignore them. 
They blame Russia and rebels for their high crimes. They've done so irresponsibly throughout months of conflict.
On March 16, Donetsk People's Republic (DPR)  reported 34 truce violations in the last 24 hours.
According to DPR Defense Ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin:
"Over the past day, there were 34 shellings, including 15 violations last night." 
"The attacks were mounted on the villages of Spartak, Shirokino, Gorlovka, Peski and the Donetsk airport."
"Anti-aircraft weapons, mortars and automatic grenade launchers were used in the attacks."
On Sunday, Poroshenko blustered one Big Lie after another. In a German Bild newspaper interview, he blamed rebels and Russia for Kiev high crimes, saying:
"Ukraine has fulfilled every single point of the Minsk agreement." 
"The ceasefire has been implemented immediately on our part, but the Russian fighters have done the exact opposite."
"Every day, there is shooting from the Russian side, often more than 60 times a day." 
"In total, the ceasefire has been broken 1,100 times. The truth is that the agreement is not working."
"The truth is" Poroshenko is a serial liar, an imperial stooge. In league with Washington and rogue EU partners, he wants war, not peace. 
Last April, junta forces launched naked aggression on Donbass. Kiev violates Minsk ceasefire terms multiple times daily. Blaming Russia and rebels for its crimes doesn't wash.
Poroshenko urged more sanctions on Moscow. On March 19 and 20, EU leaders will discuss earlier ones imposed in Brussels.
Germany and other EU states want them maintained. They irresponsibly blame Russia for Kiev junta ceasefire violations. Their commitment to peace remains suspect.
German political expert Ulrich Kuhn fears longterm Donbass conflict. Settling things won't happen easily or soon, he believes.
"I would not speak of a mere 'crisis' anymore because that would be blurring the facts in Ukraine on the ground," he said. "We have a full-fledged war."
Low intensity conflict remains ongoing. Ceasefire is pure fantasy. Anything ahead is possible.
Kiev could surprise, says Kuhn. It could change policy and pursue peace. Continued low intensity conflict is more likely, he believes.Western countries will tighten sanctions. East/West relations will deteriorate further.
Things may head toward resuming full-scale war. Washington and EU nations support Kiev's war machine. 
Poroshenko repeatedly accuses Russia and rebels of Kiev Donbass ceasefire violations.
If they continue, he said, "we will immediately receive both lethal weaponry and new wave of sanctions against the aggressor. We will act firmly and in a coordinated manner."
Kuhn sees no easy end to conflict. Deteriorated East/West relations won't be repaired smoothly, he believes - "even if war in Ukraine comes to an end."
A decade or longer may be needed to restore stability, he argues. If nuclear war erupts, all bets are off.
A Final Comment
On Sunday, Rossiya 1 news channel aired a documentary titled "Crimea - The Way Home." Interviewed for the film, Putin was blunt accusing Washington for Ukraine's February 2014 coup.
"The trick of the situation was that outwardly the (Ukrainian) opposition was supported mostly by the Europeans," he said. 
"But we knew for sure that the real masterminds were our American friends."
“They helped train the nationalists, their armed groups, in Western Ukraine, in Poland and to some extent in Lithuania. They facilitated the armed coup."
US-led Western nations went all-out to prevent Crimean reunification with Russia, he explained - "by any means, in any format and under any scheme."
US/Kiev coup plotters ignored rule of law principles, Putin explained. "And the consequences were grave indeed."
"Part of the country agreed to (what happened), while another part wouldn't accept it. (Ukraine) was shattered."
Putin directed Russian special services and Defense Ministry to protect ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
"Otherwise he would have been killed," Putin explained. Russian intelligence learned his motorcade route would be ambushed.
He wanted to stay, not leave. After spending several days in Crimea, he realized "there was no one he could negotiate with in Kiev." said Putin.
He asked for safe haven in Russia. Putin personally ordered Crimean special operations preparation after Yanukovych fled.
"(W)e cannot let (Crimeans) be pushed under the steamroller of the nationalists," he said.
He assigned "tasks," directed operatives involved, told them "what to do and how (to) do it…"
He stressed acting "only…if we were absolutely sure that this is what the people living in Crimea want us to do."
Overwhelming Crimean sentiment favored rejoining Russia. Putin accommodated popular wishes.
"Our goal was not to take Crimea by annexing it," he said. "(It was) to allow the people to express their wishes on how they want to live."
"I decided for myself: what the people want will happen. If they want greater autonomy with some extra rights within Ukraine, so be it." 
"If they decide otherwise, we cannot fail them. You know the results of the referendum. We did what we had to do."
Putin's personal involvement expedited things. He ordered K-300P Bastion coastal defense missiles deployed to show his willingness to protect Crimea from attack.
"We deployed them in a way that made them seen clearly from space," he said.
He didn't know if US-led NATO would act aggressively or not. He was ready to respond as necessary - including by deploying nuclear weapons.
Crimean based Russian forces never exceeded numbers authorized under agreement on basing its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.
"(N)othing was violated," Putin stressed. He sent allowable additional Russian forces to prevent possible bloodshed during Crimea's legitimate referendum.
He believed he had to act to prevent tragedies like Odessa's May 2014 massacre.
Crimea's decision to rejoin Russia was entirely legal. Self-determination is a universal right.
Putin acted responsibly. Ukrainians are entitled to democratic governance, he believes.
He's gone all-out to resolve Donbass' conflict diplomatically. He's unfairly blamed for US/Kiev high crimes. 
They continue daily. Conflict didn't end. It could erupt into full-scale war any time at Obama's discretion. Sustained, durable peace remains pure fantasy.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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 on the Ropes - Mon, 16/03/2015 - 22:03
Netanyahu on the Ropes
by Stephen Lendman
On Tuesday, March 17, Israelis vote. Will they decide six years of Netanyahu are enough?
He was elected in March 2009. Earlier he served as prime minister from June 1996 - July 1999. At the time, he was Israel's youngest ever leader.
In 1993, he succeeded Yitzhak Sharmir to head Likud. He strongly opposed Oslo. 
He served as Israeli embassy in Washington chief of mission, UN envoy, deputy foreign minister, foreign minister, and finance minister.
He's current Likud party chairman and Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs minister.
He's a former Boston Consulting Group Mitt Romney colleague. In 1978, he told local television viewers:
"The real core of the conflict is the unfortunate Arab refusal to accept the State of Israel."
He consistently blames Palestinians for Israeli crimes. He ludicrously claims to speak for Jews worldwide.
Jewish Voice for Peace executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson says "American Jews are largely appalled by the notion that Netanyahu, or any other Israeli politician - one that we did not elect and do not choose to be represented by - claims to speak for us."
He speaks for increasingly fewer numbers of Jews worldwide. Why Israelis tolerate him they'll have to explain.
He's a a world-class thug, an unindicted war criminal, a threat to world peace.
On Tuesday, Israeli voters will decide if he remains prime minister. Polls show a close race. As Likud party head, he'll retain his Knesset seat whatever the outcome. 
A Panels Research poll published Friday found 12% of eligible Israeli voters still undecided. Who they choose may decide things.
On Sunday, Netanyahu addressed thousands in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. He rallied supporters under the slogan "United for the Land of Israel."
Demagogic bluster characterized his comments like always. Fascists dominate Israeli politics. He warned of a nonexistent left wing electoral victory.
He vowed Jerusalem would always remain Israel's exclusive capital. He claimed main rival Zionist Union party would divide the city.
He said right-wing supporters observe Jewish tradition. They "believe in Israel's eternal values."
He claimed "something is going on during this election that was hidden at first." 
"Now I'm sure everyone is aware of it. A fortune was funneled from abroad to the left-wing organization V15, with one goal, to replace the government led by me with a government led by Tzipi (Livni) and Bougie (Isaac Herzog), supported by the joint Arab party." 
"These efforts focus on one message. Just not Bibi. They're doing it."
Ahead of Sunday's rally, he said "Scandinavian governments have spent millions of dollars on a campaign to remove me from power."
"Western governments, but mostly Scandinavian…They know perfectly well why they prefer Buji and Livni to me."
"Foreign governments, specifically Scandinavians, are part of a worldwide campaign to topple me."
Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg called his comments the "last refuge of the fading strongman." 
He invents enemies. He accuses "outside agitators and foreign governments" of conspiring against him. He's his own worst enemy.
Days earlier, he noted "a very tight race. Nothing is guaranteed because there is a huge worldwide effort to topple the Likud government," he blustered.
A Zionist Union statement called Sunday's rally a "horror show. Bibi is the prime minister of the extreme right, and only (ZU) can halt their control of the state and the government."
Fact: Not a dime's worth of difference separates Likud from Zionist Union and most other competing parties.
Fact: Fascists dominate Israeli politics. So do monied interests.
Fact: Whatever new government is formed post-election, Palestinians, Israeli Arab citizens, and most Israeli Jews lose.
Fact: White supremacist privileged Jews run Israel. They'll continue doing so like always since 1948.
Expect nothing different this time. Business as usual will continue.
Late pre-election polls show Zionist Union winning 24 of 120 Knesset seats to Likud's 20.
Coalitions always run Israel. Winning doesn't mean the prevailing party gets to form the new government.
Whoever wins, Netanyahu may be better able to cobble together coalition partners than Herzog. 
He's on the ropes, widely disliked, despised by many, but could remain prime minister.
It may be days post-election before a new government is formed. Likud and Zionist Union are competing for coalition partners.
Who'll prevail remains to be seen. It bears repeating. For Palestinians, Arab Israeli citizens and ordinary Jews, it's no more different than if Republicans or Democrats prevail in America.
Same old, same old wins every time. Don't expect this time to be different.
Palestine will remain occupied. Racist apartheid policies will continue. 
Settlements will keep expanding on stolen Palestinian land. They'll continue being denied virtually all fundamental rights.
Israeli Arabs are considered more fifth column threats than citizens. Neoliberal harshness remains official policy. Wars of aggression will continue being waged at Israel's discretion.
America, Britain and Israel remain the greatest threat to world peace. Their alliance reflects pure evil. 
Electoral change in each country is pure fantasy. Democracy exists in name only. Illusion substitutes for reality. 
Leaders come and go. Dominant interests control things. On Tuesday, business as usual will triumph like always.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Irresponsible Putin Rumors - Mon, 16/03/2015 - 04:40
Irresponsible Putin Rumors
by Stephen Lendman
Putin's public absence in recent days has rumor-mongers going wild. He's ill, say some.
Sensationalist reports suggest a coup not yet revealed. Chances for one are virtually nil.
His 88% approval rating makes him near-invulnerable. Who'd be fool enough to try unseating an icon? 
Anyone trying would face a tsunami of popular wrath - maybe a public lynching.
Rumors at times have a way of surfacing when there's nothing better to report.
In Putin's case, media scoundrels seek every opportunity to bash, discredit, criticize or tarnish him with a broad brush.
The New York Times is no more reputable than Fox News. On March 13, it irresponsibly said "Putin has vanished."
"He abruptly cancelled a trip to Kazakhstan and postponed a treaty signing with representatives from South Ossetia…"
Instead of explaining these things happen all the time, The Times joined the rumor-mongering crowd it said "went into overdrive churning out" all sorts of explanations.
Maybe he's ill with a "devastating" flu strain, it said. Or "(h)e sneaked off" to be with his longtime friend Alina Kabayeva on the birth of her child.
The Times referred to Putin's "love child." Or maybe "(h)e had a stroke. The victim of a palace coup, he was imprisoned within the Kremlin."
"He was dead, age 62." You can't make this stuff up. Putin bashing persists daily - anything to mock a respected leader.
On Thursday, his press secretary Dmitry Peskov dismissed ill-founded rumors. He attributed them to "spring madness."
"No need to worry," he said. "Everything is all right. He has working meetings all the time, only not all of these meetings are public."
He's "absolutely healthy. (H)is handskake is so strong he breaks hands with it."
"As soon as the sun appears in spring, when the smell of spring is in the air, some people suffer from crises."
"Some have hallucinations about the government dissolution (when) some cannot see Putin on television for several days."
"We have a calm attitude to such crises and keep answering all questions in a patient manner."
Current rumors are similar to November 2012 when media reports suggested Putin's deteriorating health.
They were baseless then. They appear no more credible now. In December 2012, Putin addressed false rumors during a press conference.
He said political opponents circulated false reports about his health to discredit his ability to govern.
Something similar is likely now ongoing. Putin will appear in public when it's appropriate to do so.
An unconfirmed Sunday Dozhd news outlet report suggested he's at his Novgorod province Lake Valdai residence.
If so, maybe he just wanted to get away for a few days - while at the same time conducting important business away from Moscow.
US presidents do it all the time. So do other world leaders. George Bush spent about as much time in Texas as Washington.
On Friday, Kremlin sources said Putin has a scheduled Monday, March 16 meeting with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atamayev in St. Petersburg.
Putin watchers will be on high alert. It bears repeating. His absence from public view doesn't warrant rumor-mongering headlines. 
If it was almost anyone but Putin, they'd be none. Whatever he does or doesn't do draws criticism. 
Media scoundrels take every opportunity to whack him every way they can. Another reason to avoid them altogether.
A Final Comment
Sputnik News published what it called "5 most ridiculous theories about the whereabouts of Vladimir Putin:"
"He's dead."
"He has cancer, no, he hurt his back, no, no, I know, he had a stroke (the flu maybe?)."
"He is witnessing the birth of his love child."
"He was overthrown in a coup."
"He's binge watching House of Cards."
Take your pick or make up your own rumors.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Does Obama Plan Cuba-Style Blockade on Venezuela? - Mon, 16/03/2015 - 02:31
Does Obama Plan Cuba-Style Blockade on Venezuela?
by Stephen Lendman
Expect virtually anything from lunatics infesting Washington. Neocons dominate US policy.
Permanent wars rage against one country after another. US streets are battlegrounds. Virtually every day killer cops murder black youths with impunity.
Independent governments are targeted for regime change. Bush and Obama spent post-9/11 years unsuccessfully trying to end Venezuelan Bolivarian democracy.
Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez accused Washington of planning a "Cuban-style blockade."
"They are considering a financial and commercial blockade, and economic blockade, and (all Venezuelans) should know this," she said.
Obama-imposed sanctions threaten "all Venezuelans," she added. So does economic war.
"What has happened is of monumental gravity, like nothing in the history of our country," Rodriguez stressed.
She called Obama's sanctions the latest scheme in Washington's ongoing political and economic war to destabilize Venezuela.
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs Roberta Jacobson matches Victoria Nuland's chutzpah.
She lied saying "(t)he goal of these sanctions is to persuade the government of Venezuela to change its ways, not to remove that government."
Previous articles explained Bush and Obama foiled coup plots - to replace model hemispheric democracy with fascist dictatorship.
To return Venezuela to its bad old days. To make it look like Ukraine. To steal its vast oil reserves. To impoverish its people. To end Bolivarian fairness. 
Rodriguez responded to Jacobson saying "(i)n a rude and petulant manner, (she) tells us what to do."
"You need manners to deal with people and with countries." US officials use hammers.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called evidence of Obama's coup plot to oust Maduro "ludicrous."
She ignored America's blood-drenched history toppling one independent government after another, saying:
"As a matter of long-standing policy, the United States does not support political transitions by nonconstitutional means." 
"Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful and legal."
Washington deplores democracy. It tolerates none at home and abroad. 
It's just a matter of time before the next plot to oust Venezuela's government surfaces. Maybe with US boots on the ground. Perhaps terror-bombing Caracas.
The possibility of economic blockade is real. Venezuelan oil America buys can be gotten elsewhere.
On March 12, US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) head General John Kelly suggested another coup in convoluted comments, saying:
"A coup? You know, I don't know anyone that would want to take that mess over, but it might be that we see, whether it's at the end of his term or whatever, I wouldn't say - I wouldn't (say) necessarily a coup, but there might be with - the same ruling party - some arrangements to change leadership."
SOUTHCOM's area of responsibility includes Latin American and Caribbean nations. 
Perhaps Kelly will be directly involved if Washington tries toppling Maduro again before his term ends.
He disingenuously denied knowledge of Obama's foiled February coup plot. For sure he was kept informed. He might have been needed.
He claimed no "involve(ment) in any way, shape or form with coup planning. I don't know anyone who is."
"And I probably would know if someone was."
SOUTHCOM calls the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Bolivarian Allliance for our Americas (ALBA) "challenges…which deliberately exclude the United States and seek to limit (its) role in the hemisphere.”
On Saturday, all 12 Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) demanded Washington immediately lift Venezuelan sanctions. A statement said:
"The member states of UNASUR reject the executive order approved by the United States government which declares Venezuela a threat to national security."
Washington's "interference (represents a) threat to sovereignty and to the principle of non-intervention."
"We call upon the United States to evaluate and implement dialogue as an alternative."
"The UNASUR member States believe the internal situation in Venezuela shall be resolved through the democratic mechanisms established in the Venezuelan Constitution."
Rodriguez said "UNASUR has stood firm against imperialism. (Member states were) aware of the seriousness (of the threat) not only for Venezuela but for the whole region."
"We know Venezuela is not alone. If there were to be an intervention on Venezuela, we wouldn't know when it would move beyond our borders."
Latin American governments largely support Maduro. Argentine President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner called Obama's sanctions "an unacceptable attack on Venezuela's sovereignty."
Bolivia's Foreign Ministry "reject(ed) these interventionist actions of the US government to violate the sovereignty and self-determination of the Venezuelan people." 
"These undemocratic actions of President Barack Obama threaten the peace and security of all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean."
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa called Obama's sanctions "a bad joke, which reminds us of the darkest hour of our America, when we received invasions and dictatorships imposed by imperialism."
Cuba issued a statement calling US sanctions "arbitrary and aggressive."
Fidel Castro praised Maduro's "brilliant and valiant" response to Washington's "brutal" action.
Anti-imperialist Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) nations condemned what it called an unprecedented "aggression violat(ing) every principle of international law which governs relationships between states, treating every state as equal and sovereign."
Last December, after Obama imposed earlier sanctions, G77 nations and China demanded they be lifted immediately.
They issued a statement saying Obama's action "undermine(d) the Charter of the United Nations and international law, especially the principles of non-intervention in internal affairs and equal rights and self-determination of peoples."
On Thursday, anti-US imperial protesters filled central Caracas streets. Chanting "Yankee go home" and "Venezuela respects itself," thousands condemned Obama's assault on Venezuelan sovereignty and dignity.
Socialist Environmental Workers' Front's Lies Guzman spoke for others saying:
"We are here to defend the motherland left to us by Chávez, Bolívar, Zamora, and all of our heroes and heroines, because we've also had many heroines, many barefooted women who defended this country. We're following in the same legacy as all of them."
"We are steeled, knee to the ground, for anything that happens, with the women in the vanguard, prepared on all fronts, including the diplomatic, military, and guerrilla fronts if necessary."
As long as rogue US policies continue, no one anywhere is safe from Washington's ravages.
Humanity's top challenge is slaying this monster before it destroys everyone - before it makes life on earth unlivable.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

America v. Humanity - Sun, 15/03/2015 - 21:53
America v. Humanity
by Stephen Lendman
America's rage for global dominance represents humanity's greatest threat. Never before has survival been more jeopardized.
US imperial policies may kill us all. They may end life on earth. Endless wars of aggression are waged against one country after another.
Confronting Russia recklessly risks nuclear war. Media scoundrel complicity makes it more likely.
So do Ukrainian flashpoint conditions. Ceasefire agreed to in Minsk last month is shaky at best.
Multiple junta violations continue daily. Poroshenko said 11 EU nations intend sending Ukraine weapons and munitions.
Washington supplied them throughout months of conflict. Rearming shows Kiev wants war, not peace.
European parliamentarians adopting a resolution demanding an international investigation into Boris Nemtsov's death shows contempt for Russian sovereignty.
It's another example of stoking confrontation, not trying to defuse it.
EU parliamentarians violated international law prohibiting nations from interfering in the internal affairs of others.
Their action reflects ongoing anti-Russian hate-mongering - vicious propaganda war. 
They outrageous accused Moscow of fostering a "state of repression, hate speech and fear."
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman/EU parliament representative Alexander Lukashevich responded sharply. 
He called their resolution "an absurdity-laced compilation of lies an open distortions."
"It's easy to see who benefits from this…It's utter cynicism that these people aren't beyond even speculating on a person's tragic death in pursuit of their narrow political goals."
EU nations continue waging political and economic war on Russia. They're sabotaging Ukraine's fragile ceasefire.
On March 11, ambassadors from 28 NATO countries and 22 partners met to discuss Ukraine.
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) nations continue bashing Moscow irresponsibly.
They claim nonexistent Russian forces operate in Donbass. Their actions are highly provocative. 
They heighten East/West tensions at a time easing them is vital to prevent propaganda war from turning red-hot.
Potential humanity destroying nuclear war looms  greater than ever. Neocons infesting Washington head things recklessly toward the unthinkable.
Relentless media propaganda makes it more likely. 
Irresponsible pieces like The New York Times claiming Poles fear "Russia will march on them next" shows the self-styled "newspaper of record" has no credibility whatever.
The whole world knows Putin threatens no one. The Times knows. Poles know. Claiming otherwise turns truth on its head.
Hyping nonexistent Russian aggression persists. Saying "Russia moved into Crimea" contradicts facts.
Claiming Putin "want(s) more" is willful deception. Saying his "shadow" threatens neighbors is polar opposite truth.
Citing sources calling it "highly probable (he'll) do something against Poland" is pure rubbish.
So is saying "Russia has always been a totalitarian state. Now it is trying to regain the territory it lost at the end of the Cold War."
This type reckless journalism reflects The New York Times war on truth. The entire US major media establishment operates as a virtual war-mongering Washington house organ.
They proliferate administration, congressional and Pentagon press releases masquerading as journalism.
They feature views expressed by a virtual Noah's Arc of scam artists - proliferating willful deception and Big Lies instead of hard truths on issues mattering most.
They bash forthright Russian efforts for regional peace and stability. They call Nazi Kiev putschists democrats.
US media consumers are systematically lied it. Daily disinformation is  standard fare.
American University in Moscow/World Russia Forum Professor Edward Lozansky believes Western "Party of War" adherents risk direct "military conflict" with Russia.
"…Washington continues to sound its war drums despite" Minsk ceasefire terms, he said.
US-dominated NATO "remain(s) (extremely) bellicose…" It wants war, not peace.
"(T)he fate of the world (perhaps) is now being decided in Ukraine (by clashing) geopolitical interests…"
Provocative US behavior heightens chances for nuclear war. Launching it "would destroy a good deal of the northern hemisphere, if not indeed the entire world," Lozansky said.
Yet lunatics infesting Washington risk it. So do irresponsible European partners.
Things risk crossing a rubicon of no return. The possibility of nuclear war should scare everyone. 
Never in human history is global peace more urgently needed. Rarely has it been more elusive.
It bears repeating. Failure to stop Washington's rage for global dominance may kill us all. US imperial madness may end life on earth.
A Final Comment
A personal note. As a 1952 college freshman, I and my classmates enjoyed an evening with singer/songwriter/lyricist/satirist Tom Lehrer.
He taught mathematics at the same time. He was noted for black humor. Perhaps his most memorable song was "We Will All Go Together When We Go."
"For if the bomb that drops on you gets your friends and neighbors too, they'll be nobody left behind to grieve," he said. 
"What a comforting fact that is to know. Universal bereavement. An inspiring moment. Yes, we all will go together when we go."
All suffuse with an incandescent glow. No one will have the endurance to collect on his insurance. Lloyds of London will be loaded when we go." 
"We will all fry together when we fry. We will all bake together when we bake. They'll be nobody present at the wake."
"With complete participation in that grand incineration, nearly three billion hunks of well-done steak."
"We will all burn together when we burn. They'll be no need to stand and wait your turn."
"When the air becomes uranious, we will all go simultaneous. Yes we all will go together when we all go together, yes we all will go together when we go."
An evening with Lehrer was memorable. He's now aged 86. Back then we enjoyed the humor of "grand incineration."
Today it's no joke. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) prevented nuclear war during Cold War years. 
Neocon lunatics infesting Washington today make the unthinkable possible.
Jack Kennedy once commented on crazies in his day wanting to nuke Soviet Russia while America had a big advantage, saying: 
"And we call ourselves the human race."
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Palestinians Suffer Horrifically Ahead of Israeli Elections - Sun, 15/03/2015 - 04:29
Palestinians Suffer Horrifically Ahead of Israeli Elections
by Stephen Lendman
Western and Israeli media report ad nauseam on upcoming March 17 elections. Not a word about daily Palestinian pain and suffering.
Nothing about Israeli persecution, institutionalized racism, apartheid worse than South Africa's, denial of virtually all rights imaginable, and Western leaders able to help supporting Israel's worst crimes.
No explanation about whoever wins next Tuesday, Palestinians lose. No ruling coalition in Israeli history treated them equitably.
All Israeli governments consider them subhumans. Expect nothing different this time. Expect nothing improving their lives and futures.
Expect business as usual like always. Gaza's blockade won't end. Nor its humanitarian crisis.
Nor multiple daily lawless pre-dawn West Bank raids. Terrorizing families. Traumatizing children.
Leaving no one safe. Palestine is a war zone. One of the world's most powerful militaries brutalizes defenseless Palestinian men, women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm.
Israeli high crimes go unpunished. In the last week alone, its goon squads conducted West Bank terror raids against 32 Hamas members.
Lawless arrests followed. Targeted individuals committed no crimes. Israel considers anyone belonging to the wrong party a terrorist.
Israeli gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishermen. On March 7, Sa'id Abu Rayala was shot and killed in Gazan waters.
The same day, two other Palestinian fishermen were arrested. Their vessels were confiscated.
Two days earlier, two Gazan fishermen were attacked at sea. They and four others were arrested for fishing in their own waters.
The following day, four more fishermen were attacked the same way. On March 14, additional attacks occurred.
The Palestinian News Network (PNN) reported intense gunfire on unarmed Gazan fishermen in their own waters. Their boats sustained heavy damage. 
PNN said these type incidents occur almost daily. Operation Protective Edge ceasefire terms Israel agreed to are ignored.
Its word isn't worth the paper it's written on. Israel doesn't negotiate. It demands, bullies and commits high crimes with impunity.
On Saturday, Israeli soldiers near Khan Younis in southern Gaza opened fire indiscriminately.
A similar incident happened the previous day. No injuries were reported.
Palestinian sources say Israel repeatedly uses live fire in border areas regularly since promising to end conflict last August.
During a Friday Nabi Saleh village protest, Israeli goon squads shot one Palestinian, brutalized 10 others, and arrested three nonviolent activists - two Arabs and an Israeli.
The area popular resistance committee said Israeli soldiers "directly attacked" peaceful marchers.
They used tear gas, stun grenades and live fire. Seven other activists were assaulted with rifle butts - including three children.
Nabi Saleh residents protest weekly against Israel confiscating their land. They demand it be returned.
On Friday, Israeli soldiers attacked hundreds of weekly Palestinian, Israeli and international Bil'in nonviolent protesters - on the sixth anniversary of American peace activist Tristan Anderson's maiming by Israeli gunfire.
He remains a quadriplegic blind in one eye. He requires daily 24-hour care. 
He was targeted at point blank range - struck by a high-velocity tear gas canister in his forehead.
He suffered severe brain damage. He's paralyzed. He endures chronic pain. 
His parents are suing to have Israel provide care he needs to survive. On March 23, court proceedings are scheduled to conclude.
Bil'in's Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements said soldiers fired dozens of tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullet at peaceful protesters.
They attacked homes of village residents. Women and children were targeted.
Protesters carried photos of Anderson and Rachel Corrie - crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer driver in March 2003. 
She was heroically trying to protect Palestinian homes from demolition. She was murdered in cold blood.
Longstanding Israeli high crimes remain unpunished. More are committed daily - entirely ignored by Western and Israeli media.
Every day, Israeli goon squads attack defenseless Palestinian men, women and children. Deaths, injuries and arrests follow.
The pattern repeats with disturbing regularity. Justice for Palestinians is systematically denied.
Brutalizing them is standard practice. On March 17, Israelis will elect 120 20th Knesset members - some new, others reelected. Most are fascist hardliners.
A ruling coalition will follow. Perhaps a new prime minister. For Israelis, everything will change but stay the same.
Nothing ever changes for Palestinians. It bears repeating. Whoever wins next Tuesday, they lose. 
It's been this way throughout decades of brutalizing occupation. 
Expect brutalizing business as usual post-election. Expect Western and Israeli media to remain silent.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Hyping a Nonexistent Russian Threat - Sun, 15/03/2015 - 01:54
Hyping a Nonexistent Russian Threat
by Stephen Lendman
Western fear-mongering persists. Russia is relentlessly bashed. Putin is irresponsibly considered public enemy number one. 
Cold War 2.0 rages - heading dangerously toward becoming red-hot. Top US officials consistently lie.
One fabricated Russian invasion of Ukraine after another is hyped. In his January State of the Union address, Obama accused Russia of "aggression" in Ukraine despite none at any time during ongoing conflict
Earlier he said "Russian combat forces and tanks" invaded Ukraine "with Russian weapons and Russian tanks."
"(T)hese are the facts. They are provable. They're not subject to dispute." No proof whatever was cited. None exists.
John Kerry repeats the same Big Lie. On March 2, he met with Sergey Lavrov in Geneva - days after lying about Russian involvement in Ukraine.
He warned Lavrov of new sanctions. They're prepared and ready to be implemented, he said. He lied claiming Russian Minsk breaches.
None whatever occurred. No Russian violations of last year's Geneva and Minsk agreements.
No Russian forces operate in Ukraine. Not now. Not earlier. No planned invasion. 
No seizure of Ukrainian territory. No violations of international law. Big Lies claim otherwise.
Kerry consistently blames Russia for US/Kiev high crimes. Retired US General Robert Scales told Fox News the only way to change things in Ukraine is "start killing Russians."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich responded angrily, saying:
"Some US military and political leaders, who, like General Scales started killing during the Vietnam War, just can’t seem to let go." 
"Blinded by their hatred of Russia, they are unable to see a constructive view of reality."
Lukashevich called it "outrageous that the calls for killing our compatriots have been made on Fox News, a leading network in the US, (in) prime time, obviously to reach as many people as possible." 
"This is how the mainstream US media are creating an atmosphere of Russophobia in the country."
"(T)he tune in this unbridled propaganda campaign is set in Washington where aggressive statements are made every day. We will draw adequate conclusions from this."
"Mr Scales should be informed that a case has been opened against him in Russia under Article 354 of the Criminal Code."
Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said using media to incite aggressive war means imprisonment for up to five years if convicted.
Scales' incitement violates international law. Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states:
"Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law."
"Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law."
Scales isn't alone. He's like many other lunatics in Washington influencing US policy. 
Their ideas risk nuclear war. Giving them air time on national television increases the possibility.
On March 13, NORTHCOM commander Adm. Bill Gortney hyped a nonexistent Russian threat before Senate Armed Services Committee members.
He lied suggesting one, saying "Russian heavy bombers flew more out-of-area patrols in 2014 than in any year since the Cold War."
"We have also witnessed improved interoperability between Russian long-range aviation and other elements of the Russian military, including air and maritime intelligence collection platforms positioned to monitor NORAD responses."
Throughout US supported Kiev's Donbass aggression, Pentagon commanders lied about nonexistent "Russian moves in Ukraine."
Gortney went further saying NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) "face(s) increased risk in our ability to defend North America against Russian air, maritime an cruise missile threats" if their technology keeps improving.
His comments and similar ones by other Pentagon commanders reflect blatant fear-mongering to get Congress to spend more for "defense."
It's more than what all other nations combined spend with all categories included plus black budgets, secret intelligence ones, and regular appropriations added to annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) budgets.
Pentagon chiefs want tens of billions of dollars more. They want blank check funding for war-making. They want what no responsible government should allow.
Gortney lied telling Senate Armed Services Committee members America's biggest security threat is spending constraints.
He ludicrously claimed it risks making America's war machine a "hollow force."
He took full advantage of Senate Foreign Relations Committee time given him.
He hyped nonexistent Russian, Chinese, North Korean, and Iranian homeland threats. He claimed homegrown terrorist ones.
He cited what he called "a transnational criminal network" operating in "seams" between Washington's Northern, Southern and Pacific commands.
He hyped a possible cyberattack able to compromise America's ability to defend itself.
America's only enemies are ones it invents. Permanent wars follow - perhaps heading toward use of nuclear weapons for the first time since WW II.
Far more powerful ones. A previous article explained their destructive force - enough to turn major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to smoldering rubble. Enough to destroy life on earth.
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond sounds like John Kerry. He ludicrously claims Russia "pose(s) the single greatest threat to (British) security."
He cited its nonexistent "increasingly aggressive" behavior. 
"The rapid pace with which Russia is seeking to modernise her military forces and weapons combined with the increasingly aggressive stance of the Russian military including Russian aircraft around the sovereign airspace of Nato states are all significant causes of concern," he claimed.
He turned truth on its head saying "(w)e are now faced with a Russian leader bent not on joining the international rules-based system which keeps the peace between nations, but on subverting it."
Hammond perhaps forgot Britain's alliance with Washington's wars of aggression, its proxy wars, its dirty ones, its plan for global dominance by political, economic and hot wars without end.
Its global death, destruction and human misery trail. Its ravaging and destroying one country after another on the pretext of democracy building.
Last month, Britain's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon absurdly warned about Putin posing a "real and present danger" to Baltic states.
Irresponsible hyped hysteria makes anything possible. Washington and Ukraine plan joint war games next week.
Legislation awaiting parliamentary approval permits multinational military exercises on Ukrainian territory - ahead of resumed war on Donbass.
US-dominated NATO prepares for more war. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hyped "threats (from) aggressive actions of Russia in Ukraine…"
NATO commander General Philip Breedlove hypes the same Big Lie. Things get "worse every day," he claims.
Angela Merkel's office debunked his comments as "dangerous propaganda."
German authorities call him a "super hawk" whose comments show he's increasingly over-the-top. 
He has no credibility whatever. German intelligence contradicts him point for point.
"I stand by all the public comments I have made during the Ukraine crisis," he says.
Others call him a liar. His public statements reflect propaganda, not facts.
As NATO commander, he's extremely dangerous. He could launch European war if not stopped. His public comments suggest a rage to do it.
On Thursday, the Financial Times reported Sweden sending troops to Gotland island in response to nonexistent Russian saber rattling.
Its Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist recommends about 150 soldiers. Gotland lies midway between Sweden and Latvia.
Hultqvist calls it "a strategic location in the Baltic Sea. (A) big worry for us."
A senior Estonian politician claims "(i)t could be overrun by Russia in minutes and then all of us would be vulnerable to an attack."
On the one hand, no threat exists. On the other, 150 soldiers provide no defense whatever.
Manufacturing nonexistent Russian threats continue. Poroshenko's web site said:
"The Head of State has informed that Ukraine had contracts with a series of the EU countries on the supply of armament, inter alia, lethal one."
"He has reminded that official embargo of the EU on the supply of weapons to Ukraine had been abolished."
He didn't name 11 supplier countries. US heavy weapons keep pouring in. Preparations for resumed war continue.
Pororshenko suggested it saying "(f)f there is a new round of aggression against Ukraine, I can surely say that we will immediately receive both lethal weaponry and new wave of sanctions against the aggressor." 
"We will act firmly and in a coordinated manner." If "a new round of aggression" begins, Washington and Kiev will bear full responsibility.
Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) leader Igor Plotnitsky asked "why do (Kiev authorities) want weapons if they they were the first to demand peace?"
Weapons are for offense, not defense. Claims otherwise are false. All signs point to renewed conflict.
Donbass is Obama's war. Expect it to resume full-scale at his discretion. 
Expect more mass casualties and human suffering - perhaps the entire continent and beyond affected this time.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Kiev Junta War Crimes - Sat, 14/03/2015 - 21:54
Kiev Junta War Crimes
by Stephen Lendman
A new Foundation for the Study of Democracy (FSD) report is titled "War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture of the Donbass region residents."
It provides graphic evidence of horrendous Kiev war crimes Western media ignore.
Earlier articles discussed Kiev's dirty war. It deliberately targeted civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and infrastructure.
It used of cluster munitions, white phosphorous and other chemical weapons, as well as cold-blooded murder of hundreds of captives.
Most were abducted civilians. They were brutally tortured, murdered and secretly buried. Eyewitnesses exposed the crimes.
FSD's report provides more damning evidence of junta torture, inhumane and degrading treatment.
Over 100 former regime prisoners were interviewed - ones lucky to be alive. An unknown number of captives were tortured to death. Many others continue being held.
Ukraine's National Guard, other military units, internal affairs ministry and security service (SBU) bear full responsibility for high crimes. 
So does Washington for empowering and supporting them.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) protects fundamental freedoms at all times - including during "war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation."
It's been in force since 1953. It established a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). It adjudicates for anyone claiming lost rights - including nation-states and individuals.
It's the only human rights body of its kind. ECHR says "the State is responsible for the actions of all of its agencies, such as the police, security forces, other law enforcement officials, and any other State bodies who hold the individual under their control, whether they act under orders, or on their own accord."
Article 3 states "(n)o one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Clear evidence shows Kiev culpability. ECHR so far failed to act. Whether it plans to remains to be seen.
Liliya Rodionova is Committee for Refugees and Prisoners of War (Donetsk) deputy head. She commented on junta released prisoners. Her remarks make disturbing reading as follows:
"Almost everyone released comes back with their ribs and legs broken and teeth ripped out. There is not a single person with no marks of beating." 
"Treatment does not begin until right before the exchange. There is a guy with eight gunshot wounds. Even at the hospital, he was beaten." 
"They stuck fingers in his wounds. They use pliers to rip out teeth and beat right in the wounds. Many come back with fractured skulls." 
"One of the torture tools is an awl that they use for stabbing prisoners. Lately, they have been seizing ordinary people, not members of the self-defence forces." 
"They use gunpowder and electroshock to torture people. They brand them." 
"Some were thrown into a pit with dead bodies, crushed with a shovel bucket, had a smouldering iron stuck in their mouth." 
"People were kept in iron containers with no source of oxygen. The torture techniques are sophisticated and brutal." 
"They leave the victims maimed. Those in need of medical treatment, even with diabetes, receive (none)." 
"Prisoners from our side can be told by the color of their skin. It is grayish." 
"Each time an exchange is to take place, we draw up a list of acute patients, but the other side won’t release them."
Junta torturers are US allies - installed by coup replacing Ukrainian democratic governance.
Washington has a sordid history of allying with ruthless despots worldwide for its own self-interest.
In November 2014, SBU operatives tortured Ukrainian citizen Alexander Agafonov to death. His wife, Yana, commented saying:
"They have beaten him to death simply. When they came, they took him away to torture him." 
"When they brought his body back, (his) heels were blue. (His) were blue." 
'He's got some traces of punctures on his hands. I don’t know what they did to him, punctured him or drove the needles under his nails."
"There were holes on his hands. Each bone has a hole in it. They tortured him like…when there was a real war no one has tortured people the way they tortured him."
Evidence FSD obtained showed prisoners were electroshocked.
They were savagely beaten with iron bars, baseball bats, sticks, rifle butts, bayonet knives and rubber batons. Abuse continued for days.
They were stabbed, had ribs, arms and legs broken, were branded with red-hot objects, and were shot in different parts of their bodies.
Pliers ripped out teeth. Civilians were targeted like combatants. Anyone opposing junta rule remains vulnerable. 
Abducted women were repeatedly raped. Some victims had Nazi swastikas and SS symbols burned into their flesh.
They were held for days in freezing temperatures. Denied food and medical treatment.
Force-fed psychotropic substances causing extreme pain. Most endured mock firing squads.
Their family members were threatened with rape and death.
One released prisoners said junta operatives "attached wires from a battery to my hand, poured water and switched on the current." 
"I blacked out several times and just as I came to, they would pour water and after some time continued the questioning."
Another victim said "(t)hey hit (him) in the groin with a shocker and added voltage, because it kept getting more and more painful." 
"It hurt so bad. I fell down, shouting: Just shoot me, why are you torturing me? I do not know anything."
"Then they started hitting me on the legs and on the shoulders with a hammer, an ordinary hammer. They kept doing it until I lost consciousness."
Other released prisoners said the following:
"They executed the beatings in groups of three to four people, used electro-shock devices, made us kneel with bags on our heads, and fired their guns near the ear." 
"Then their commanding officer came, took us and put on a chain in a pit, handcuffed."
"I could not stand on my feet, nor could I lie down, so I was hanging on that chain because my ribs and fingers were broken."
"The (Nazi infested) Azov battalion officers arrested me in Mariupol. I felt machine gun fire over my head." 
"After that, they drove me to the Mariupol airport, where they tried to force me to give testimony by putting a plastic bag on my head that did not let any air get to me." 
"They used a shocker on me and wanted to throw me into a pit filled with corpses."
"I saw a guy standing waist-deep in a hole in the ground and being buried with a shovel bucket and then the truck run over him."
FSD's report makes disturbing reading. It called torture in Ukraine more serious than what it was able to document. 
Horrific abuse made some victims "unrecognizable." They were beaten to pulps. "Every part of their bodies was beaten with meat hanging from their bones," said FSD.
Unknown numbers continue enduring horrific treatment - much like what CIA operatives inflict on victims in global black sites.
Torture is official US policy - complicit with rogue regimes like Kiev fascists. 
Media scoundrels remain silent. Innocent victims suffer horrifically.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Canadians Rally to Defend Their Freedom: A Day of Action to Stop Bill C-51 - Sat, 14/03/2015 - 08:04

EFF is encouraging Canadians to join together tomorrow for a day of action against a dangerous bill that’s navigating through the Canadian legislature and threatening to strip its citizens of their rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, introduces a wide range of sweeping changes to how the Canadian government handles its national security and anti-terrorism efforts. The bill just passed its second reading in the conservative-led House of Commons in late February and the government is now hastily rushing to pass it with less than two weeks of debate.

On the surface, this flawed bill seeks to address terrorist threats, but the reality is that its vague wording and excessive measures allow for overreaching security powers to extend to a range of other, less serious contexts than terrorism. While we’re seeing other overreaching legislation on the table in Canada right now, here’s the breakdown of why Bill C-51, in particular, is so concerning to privacy and security experts.

Prior to 1984, Canada’s national police force (RCMP) had the constitutional authority to conduct both clandestine intelligence-gathering and carry out offensive policing powers. With these capabilities, the RCMP, for decades, repeatedly violated some of Canada’s most fundamental democratic laws and values until it was finally realized that only a separation of powers could stop the abuse. In 1984, the RCMP’s intelligence security mandate was lifted and given to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), which was created in order to safeguard against improper policing activities carried out by the RCMP. Bill C-51 seeks to remove this separation of powers, effectively reverting the country back to an era of repressive domestic policing with very little oversight.

The bill would also authorize open-ended information sharing among Canadian agencies for “security purposes,” by enacting the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act. At present, said agencies are compartmentalized under the country’s Privacy Act, which allows Canadians to provide their information to the state (for census, tax compliance, health services, and a range of other purposes) without fear that the information will be used against them. This compartmentalization will no longer exist if Bill C-51 is put into force. These new open-ended exceptions may form the basis for Canada's own Total Information Awareness initiative. Furthermore, there would be an expanded capacity to share information with foreign governments, even though we’ve seen what lax restrictions on information sharing has led to in the past—the unlawful rendition and torture of innocent Canadian citizens.

The bill provides for various censorship provisions as well, criminalizing the act of advocating or promoting “terrorism offences in general.” Such excessively broad definitions make these provisions dangerously subjective—almost certainly chilling speech and endangering innocent social media users whose posts could be misinterpreted. Even bookstores and online platforms such as Amazon may face liability. The bill further empowers CSIS to take unspecified and open-ended “measures,” which may include the overt takedown of multi-use websites or other communications networks without any judicial supervision. CSIS will also be explicitly authorized to violate the laws of other countries.

Lastly, Bill C-51 is problematic for the powers it implicitly grants CSE. CSE is Canada's most secretive, least transparent agency—Michael Hayden, the former director of the NSA, once said he “envied” the agency for its legal agility. CSE is typically prevented from directing its activities at Canadians and from taking offensive actions. However, CSE is legally allowed to help CSIS. In granting CSIS the power to take unspecified “measures,” the Canadian government is unleashing CSE on innocent and unsuspecting Canadians. Digital “measures” could include the false attribution of disreputable content or commentary to individuals, the takedown of legitimate websites or communications services, and the planting of malware on individual computing devices.

Canadians must rally together in defense of privacy and free expression. Learn more about the legislation here and join the fight by participating in a national day of action tomorrow, March 14, to stop Bill C-51. More information at

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Categories: Aggregated News

Juvenile Lifers in America Without Parole - Sat, 14/03/2015 - 05:21
Juvenile Lifers in America Without Parole
by Stephen Lendman
America is the world's only country imprisoning children for life without the possibility of parole (JLWOP).
Doing so is unconstitutional. It violates 8th Amendment protection against "cruel an unusual punishment." The legal dictionary calls it:
"any cruel and degrading punishment not known to the Common Law, or any fine, penalty, confinement, or treatment that is so disproportionate to the offense as to shock the moral sense of the community."
According to the Sentencing Project, over 2,500 juveniles got life sentences in America with no possibility for parole.
They're treated like adults regardless of age, circumstances, guilt or innocence. 
Thousands languish in US prisons unjustly - many for life. 
Try imagining what it's like living behind bars forever. Children sentenced to a living death have no idea what they're facing.
According to the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY):
Most juvenile JLWOP sentences "are imposed in states where judges are obligated to impose (them) without consideration of any factors relating to a child’s age or life circumstances."
Over 25% of juvenile lifers without parole were convicted of "felony murder or accomplice liability."
They're not primary criminal perpetrators. Some weren't present when crimes occurred.
Most JLWOP victims live in five states - California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
"Children sentenced to life without parole are often" US society's most vulnerable, says CFSY.
Nearly 80% reported witnessing violence at home. More than half saw it weekly in their neighborhoods.
Black juveniles are 10 times more likely to receive JLWOP sentences than whites.
Around 80% of girls and nearly half of all children given JLWOP sentences were physically abused.
Over three-fourths of girls and 20% of all juvenile lifers said they were sexually abused.
CFSY says "children should never be sentenced to die in prison." No other country in the world permits it.
The organization is "a national coalition and clearinghouse that coordinates, develops and supports efforts to implement fair and age-appropriate sentences for youth, with a focus on abolishing life without parole sentences for youth(s)" entirely.
It aims to "help create a society that respects the dignity and human rights of children through a justice system that operates with consideration of the child’s age, provides youth with opportunities to return to community, and bars the imposition of life without parole for people under age 18."
All US states don't operate the same way. Twelve and the District of Columbia prohibit life sentences for youths without parole.
Following the Supreme Court's 2012 Miller v. Alabama ruling, states and federal authorities must consider each juvenile's circumstances in pronouncing sentences.
Recent High Court rulings banned capital punishment for juveniles. They limited JLWOP sentences to homicide offenders.
In Roper v. Simmons (2005), the Supreme Court prohibited sentencing juveniles to death. It ruled doing so cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.
It left JLWOP sentences unchanged. In Graham v. Florida, the High Court prohibited them for non-homicide offenses committed before age 18.
It called the practice "cruel and unusual" punishment, saying:
"Life in prison without the possibility of parole gives no chance for fulfillment outside prison walls, no chance for reconciliation with society, no hope."
"A young person who knows that he or she has no chance to leave prison before life's end has little incentive to become a responsible individual."
America "adheres to a sentencing practice rejected the world over." In December 2006, a UN resolution calling for JLWOP's abolition passed 185 to 1. 
America alone dissented. Few countries ever adopted it. Most have laws explicitly banning it.
The American Law Institute's Model Penal Code calls for ending a practice most countries consider abhorrent. It states:
Children "should be judged less blameworthy for their criminal acts than older offenders - and age-based mitigation should increase in correspondence with the youthfulness of individual defendants."
The Sentencing Project call America "out of step with the rest of the world in its treatment of juveniles who commit serious crimes."
"Sentences that close the door on rehabilitation and second chances are cruel and misguided."
Congressional legislation banning the practice is long overdue. With bipartisan hardliners in charge, chance for responsible policy is virtually nil.
According to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez:
"The US practice of imposing life sentences on children in cases of homicide violates international law on numerous fronts, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).”
America refuses to join the Convention. The so-called standard bearer of democratic values spurns core principles it espouses.
CRC's Principle 1 states:
"Every child, without exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to (fundamental human and civil) rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family."
They're entitled to special protections and opportunities to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially in a healthy normal way under conditions of freedom and dignity.
They deserve normal life, an adequate standard of living, healthcare, education, leisure, safety and peace. Incarceration compromises or denies them entirely.
CRC's Article 37 states:
"No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…"
"No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily…"
"Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect…"
"Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance..."
CRC mandates detention as a last resort for the shortest possible time. Life imprisonment without parole is expressly prohibited.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) mandates special treatment for children. Article 10(1) states:
"All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person."
Under Article 10(3):
"Juvenile offenders shall be segregated from adults and be accorded treatment appropriate to their age and legal status."
Article 14(4) states:
"In the case of juvenile persons, the procedure shall be such as will take account of their age and the desirability of promoting their rehabilitation."
In 2006, the UN Human Rights Committee said sentencing children to life without parole violates ICCPR provisions. 
It called on America to end the practice. It said continuing it "could constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment."
Each year since 2009, the General Assembly called for abolishing "life imprisonment without possibility of release for those under the age of 18 years at the time of the commission of the offense."
Federal law and most states have mandatory sentencing laws. Mitigating factors are precluded.
Age, history of abuse, trauma, degree of criminal involvement, mental health status, or amenability to treatment or rehabilitation don't matter.
Dr. Louis Kraus chairs the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's juvenile justice reform committee.
He calls sentencing juveniles to life in prison "a devastating process to even conceptualize."
"The toughest part is that the crimes children might have committed, as devastating as they may have been, are really in unformed brains."
"These teenagers are not the same as their adult counterparts will be. Many of them are not going to be that same person." 
"They're going to show greater insight, better empathy, less impulsivity, better reasoning ability in terms of understanding the short and long-term ramifications of their behavior."
Imprisoning them for life without parole denies their right to develop normally in society like others. It steals their futures. It denies them hope.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Washington and Kiev Willfully Sabotaging Minsk Agreement - Sat, 14/03/2015 - 01:21
Washington and Kiev Willfully Sabotaging Minsk Agreement
by Stephen Lendman
Washington and Kiev partner in high crimes against peace. Obama uses junta proxies to wage naked aggression against Donbass residents.
They reject fascist rule. They want democratic rights everyone deserves. Minsk failed like earlier agreements.
Washington and Kiev sabotaged it. Fascists don't negotiate in good faith. Expect full-scale war resumed at Obama's discretion - most likely this spring.
Kiev refuses to observe Minsk ceasefire terms it agreed to. Heavy weapons were repositioned, not withdrawn. Economic blockade continues.
In late February, the Ron Paul Institute (RPI) accused Washington, Britain and Kiev of breaching Minsk terms. Obama and Cameron deployed combat troops to Ukraine masquerading as trainers and advisors.
America continues supplying heavy weapons and munitions covertly. It did so throughout months of conflict. 
It's providing generous funding for war-making. Britain may be doing the same thing.
Both countries outrageous accuse Russia of their own high crimes. Though not Minsk signatories, they endorsed ceasefire, demanded compliance, yet "blatantly" sabotage what was agreed on.
According to RPI: "The US and UK demand that everyone else observe the Minsk Agreement, yet somehow they and their proxies in Kiev are exempt."
On March 12, Donetsk People's Republic parliament speaker Andrey Purgin called Kiev's refusal to recognize Donbass autonomy political betrayal.
According to Minsk terms, "the disengagement line is coordinated, that is, coordinated by the two sides," said Purgin. "And here we have a (deceptive political) statement. This is a cover-up operation."
It's aimed at exacerbating things along disengagement line positions, he explained. 
Multiple Kiev ceasefire violations occur daily. "Over the last 24 hours there were 50," Purgin explained. Kiev's rhetoric "masks the real situation."
The reliable Colonel Cassad (CS) site reported Kiev "torpedoing" Minsk. It "didn't finish the POW exchange, didn't stop shooting, didn't pullback its heavy weapons and artillery, denied amnesty to the DPR leaders," and wants Donbass denied local autonomy.
What's ongoing shows junta officials are "systematically and purposefully sabotag(ing) Minisk (with clear intent) to resume war and shift blame…on the DPR, the LPR and the RF (Russian Federation)," said CS.
Donbass freedom fighters routed junta forces earlier. CS expressed confidence they'll be defeated again in the next round of fighting.
On March 13, Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR) accused Kiev of sabotaging Minsk.
A joint statement to Merkel and Hollande said:
"We have to appeal to you as the guarantors of the agreement signed in Minsk with a request to put pressure on Ukraine, up to personal and economic sanctions, to force its authorities to carry out the set of measures agreed upon by the contact group in Minsk on February 12, 2015 with your active participation."
On March 12, Tass reported DPR Contact Group (Russia, OSCE and Ukraine) envoy Denis Pushilin saying:
"Kiev has 24 hours left to comply with its commitments." 
"If the mentioned decision is not taken within 24 hours, then the whole world will see that Kiev is not planning to stick to the road map agreed in Minsk."
The "whole world" already knows. Donbass is Obama's war. He deplores peace. Kiev breached Minsk straightaway - just like previous terms agreed on.
Chances for durable, sustainable peace are virtually zero. It's just a matter of time before full-scale war resumes.
Days earlier, Germany expressed dissatisfaction with Kiev's failure to observe Minsk. 
On Friday, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said "Kiev authorities (are) failing to fulfill Minsk agreements."
On March 12, Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying:
"We are compelled to note the continuing focused policy of official Kiev on infringing on the rights of Ukrainians in the southeast of the country, who, in violation of all legal and moral rules and obligations, are not being paid their pensions and subsidies from the Ukrainian budget."
"By arbitrarily and unilaterally suspending the payment of pensions and subsidies to residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the Kiev authorities have violated their commitments under Articles 9, 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights with regard to a segment of the country’s population." 
"This refers to the rights to social security, to an adequate standard of living (including adequate food, clothing and housing) and to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health."
"Furthermore, the Kiev authorities are acting on a discriminatory basis (with respect to territory), which is therefore in conflict with Article 2, Part 2 of the Covenant, which directly prohibits discrimination in exercising the rights that it proclaims."
"Despite the fact that a month has passed since the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted there is no evidence of Kiev honouring its obligations to resume the operation of the banking system and to restore socio-economic ties, including social security transfers, such as the payment of pensions and other payouts (as stipulated under point 8 of the Package)."
"We call on the relevant international organisations and structures to urge the Kiev authorities to end such an inhuman policy toward socially vulnerable segments of the population."
Germany expressed displeasure about "false information" from Washington - willfully distorting things on Ukraine.
On the one hand, Chancellor Merkel accused US NATO chief General Philip Breedlove of "dangerous propaganda."
On the other, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told John Kerry "(i)t is far too early to pat our shoulders and take pride in what we've achieved" in Ukraine.
Steinmeier discussed Breedlove's Big Lies with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Saying twice "information we had from our sources was not entirely consistent with (what) came from the United States or NATO" - a polite way of calling Breedlove a liar.
Willful lies were hyped to stoke tensions ahead of resuming full-scale conflict. Germany and France appear to want things resolved diplomatically. 
Russia continues doing most to achieve it. Washington, Britain and Kiev want war. 
Saturday is a designated deadline for Kiev to grant Donbass special political and economic status. So far, junta officials obstruct, delay and spurn what they're obligated to support.
According to Russia's OSCE envoy Andrey Kelin:
Kiev's parliament "adopted a statement that it will not cooperate with representatives of the self-proclaimed republics while organising local elections."
It's reneging on everything it pledged. It spurns peace. It's preparing for more war
Russians unsurprisingly support their leadership. New Russian Public Opinion Research Center poll numbers show Putin has 88% public support.
Only 7% expressed opposition. Russians trust him for creating stability, Crimean reunification, strengthening Moscow's world status, and improving the overall well-being of Russian citizens.
An overwhelming 94% oppose a (US manipulated color revolution) Russian maidan. Three fourths believe it's not possible.
At the same time, they're concerned about events in Ukraine. According to poll director Valeri Fedorov:
"People seem to realize that these revolutions result not only in confusion and chaos, but also in serious negative consequences for Russia:"
A Ukrainian Orange Revolution took place as far back as 2004. Last year, Russians had the most negative expectations (about last year's Maidan uprising." 
"They expected an economic downturn, policy reversals, a socioeconomic crisis, etc." 
"These were the expectations, and now a year has passed, and it turned out that everything is even worse than expected, plus a war has started." 
"Therefore, Russians have only become more entrenched in their positions." They rely more on their government for security.
On Maidan's February anniversary, tens of thousands rallied in central Moscow against Kiev's illegitimate coup d'etat government.
They fear its recklessness may launch war with Russia. Given Washington's longstanding regime change plans, their concerns are well justified. 
Things seem headed inexorably toward East/West confrontation. The possibility of nuclear war should scare everyone.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

The New York Times War on Truth Revisited - Fri, 13/03/2015 - 21:40
The New York Times War on Truth Revisited
by Stephen Lendman
The Times consistently buries hard truths on issues mattering most. Managed news misinformation rubbish substitutes.
Professional integrity isn't its long suit. It violates its own editorial policy on ethics in journalism. It professes one thing. It does another without apology or explanation.
Its longstanding record belies its high-minded rhetoric. Popular interests don't matter. Corporate ones count most.
When America goes to war or plans one, Times editors march in lockstep. Rule of law principles are ignored. So does human suffering.
US installed Ukrainian Nazis are called democrats. Russia and Donbass freedom fighters are blamed for their high crimes.
The most brazen European coup since Mussolini's 1922 march on Rome was ignored. Farcical staged elections were called democratic ones.
Mob rule governance is considered legitimate. Police state repression, massive corruption and naked aggression on its own citizens are airbrushed from Times reports.
Nothing is said about seven high-profile murders in one month called suicides - former Yanukovych Party of Regions Zaporozhyzhye governor Alexander Peklushenko the latest victim.
Former Party of Regions State Property Fund head Mikhail Chechetov mysteriously fell from his apartment window and died on the same day Nemtsov was killed.
Kiev fascists are hardening junta rule. They're systematically eliminating former ruling Party of Regions officials and other opposition figures.
Expect more cold-blooded murders to follow. Thousands of political prisoners languish under gulag conditions. Many more may join their ranks.
Ukraine is a fascist dictatorship run by US-installed Nazis. It's unsafe to live in. Anyone opposing junta rule risks imprisonment or death. Don't expect The New York Times to explain. 
It calls fascism's reemergence in Europe for the first time since WW II democracy building. Since US manipulated violence erupted in November 2013, it consistently turned truth on its head.
When Kiev launched naked aggression on Donbass last April, it called area freedom fighters rejecting fascist rule terrorists.
It lies about nonexistent "Russian aggression," Russian hordes invading Ukraine, Russian weapons supplied, and Putin's revanchist aims. 
Not a shred of evidence supports its outlandish claims. None exists.
The Times latest propaganda piece headlines "Russia's Endgame in Ukraine." It features a litany of Big Lies.
"…Russia remains undeterred in its goal of keeping Ukraine from moving closer to the West," it claims.
Fact: Russia respects the sovereign independence of all countries.
The Times: "Russia has backed the violent separatist uprising and taken a pivotal role in the talks about Ukraine's future."
Fact: Donbass residents reject repressive fascist rule. They want democratic rights everyone deserves.
Russia has done more than any other country to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions diplomatically. Putin deplores war. 
He's gone all-out for peace and stability. He supports Ukrainians  deciding their own future - free from outside influence, especially heavy pressure from Washington to provoke conflict with Russia.
The Times: "One of Russia's main goals is for Donetsk and Luhansk to become fully autonomous regions." 
"In months of fierce fighting, separatists took over government buildings in major cities and destroyed or seized crucial infrastructure, like water pipelines in Horlivka and the rail hub in Debaltseve."
Fact: Russia supports universally recognized self-determination rights  - codified under international law Times editors ignore.
Kiev invaded Donbass. It committed naked aggression. It waged dirty war without mercy - committing horrendous crimes of war and against humanity.
Junta forces continue committing multiple ceasefire violations daily. The Times and other media scoundrels ignore them.
Donbass freedom fighters struggle for rights everyone deserves. They merit universal support.
Donbass is Obama's war. Washington and Kiev bear full responsibility for mass slaughter, destruction and Europe's greatest humanitarian disaster since WW II.
The Times: "While Donetsk and Luhansk will almost certainly gain some autonomy, Ukraine would like to minimize their influence and deny any veto over geopolitical alliances." 
Fact: Donbass residents have every right to reject fascist rule. They want democratic rights Kiev rejects.
The Times: "For Russia, a victory would have the eastern regions become autonomous but retain seats in Ukraine’s Parliament, possibly allowing them to derail Ukraine’s aspirations for NATO or European Union membership."
Fact: Russia justifiably won't tolerate Ukraine's inclusion into a US-dominated Alliance committed to replacing its sovereign independence with pro-Western puppet governance.
The Times: "Russia has a string of military bases near the border with Ukraine. When the separatists were faltering, Russia sent weapons, troops and guidance."
Fact: Russia has every right to maintain bases wherever it wishes within its own territory.
America has a global empire of bases in around 150 countries to advance its imperial objectives.
No evidence shows Russia provides Donbass freedom fighters with "weapons, troops an guidance." The Times consistently lies claiming otherwise.
The Times: "Ukraine wants the border sealed…Maintaining the status quo on the border would let Russia continue to supply weapons and fighters to separatists if Ukraine tried to draw closer to the West."
Fact: No evidence supports Times' claims.
The Times: "Crimea was technically an autonomous region of Ukraine until Russia invaded it last year." 
"Ukraine was unprepared to fight Russia. After Russia's annexation of Crimea, the West became wary of Russia's expansionist pursuits."
Fact: Russia didn't invade Crimea or any other part of Ukraine.
Crimeans near unanimously voted by internationally recognized free, fair and open referendum to correct a historic mistake and rejoin Russia.
Putin accommodated their wishes. Other responsible leaders would have done the same thing.
No evidence whatever suggests Russian expansionist aims.
The Times: "So far, economic sanctions from the West have not dissuaded Russia. Neither have two cease-fires. Both have failed, and a third, brokered by Germany and France, could collapse."
Fact: Russia more than any other country went all-out for peaceful conflict resolution since Kiev invaded Donbass last April.
Western economic sanctions are illegal. Security Council members alone may impose them - not individual countries.
Ceasefire failed because Obama wants war, not peace. Expect full-blown conflict resumed at his discretion - likely sometime this spring.
Don't expect The New York Times to explain. Propaganda substitutes for hard truths consistently buried - on one major issue after another.
The Times waged war on Venezuela throughout Chavez's tenure. It backed George Bush's April 2002 two-day aborted coup.
At the time, it disgracefully said "Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator."
Under Chavez and Nicholas Maduro, Venezuelan democracy is the hemisphere's best. 
It shames America's sham system, its farcical elections, its money-controlled governance, its rule of, by and for privileged elites alone.
Venezuelans get real democracy. Constitutional law mandates it. Not according to Times editors.
It blames Maduro's government for US-instigated street violence - open political and economic war Obama continues waging, including a foiled February coup.
Times editors turned truth on its head in their latest propaganda piece headlined "A Failing Relationship with Venezuela."
They support Obama ludicrously declaring Venezuelan democracy a threat to US national security.
They lied claiming Maduro "persecut(es) the political opposition and limit(s) an independent press…"
They ignored Obama caught red-handed plotting Marduro's ouster. They support lawless sanctions no free society or independent media would tolerate.
They blame Maduro for Obama's political and economic war. They suggest he fabricated a coup plot to boost internal support.
They call model Venezuelan democracy "pariah" rule. They urged other regional governments to "isolate" Venezuela - to return it to its bad old days.
To again make it a subservient uS client state, steal its vast oil and gas reserves, and exploit it people.
Times editors oppose what what free people everywhere hold dear - starting with press freedom explaining what everyone needs to know on issues mattering most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Today’s Net Neutrality Order is a Win, with a Few Blemishes - Fri, 13/03/2015 - 10:29

Today, the FCC published its new order [PDF] on net neutrality.  As promised, the rules start by putting net neutrality on the right legal footing, which means they have a much stronger chance of surviving the inevitable legal challenge.  This is the culmination of years of work by public interest advocates and a massive outpouring of public support over the past year. Make no mistake, this is a win for Team Internet!

Now, what about the rules themselves?  We’re still reviewing, but there’s much to appreciate, including bright line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of Internet traffic. For example, an ISP cannot degrade customers’ access to services that compete with its own offerings and cannot charge tolls to privilege traffic from one web service over others.

We applaud the FCC for listening to Internet users and acting to protect the open Internet from unfair discrimination by mobile and wireline Internet service providers (ISPs). The FCC also listened to our advice to forbear from applying numerous aspects of its authority, aspects that are not necessary to address the critical but narrow problems posed by ISP gatekeepers.

For example, the FCC will not set prices for Internet service and the order includes exemptions for small ISPs. Today’s order creates no new taxes or fees, although there is a possibility those will emerge following subsequent hearings and rulemaking regarding disabilities access or a universal service fund to expand broadband coverage. With respect to privacy, the FCC is not forbearing from protecting consumer privacy, but wisely will not import existing rules relating to phone service privacy to broadband providers. Instead, there will be a follow-on rulemaking, one that we will be watching closely.

The FCC generally adopted a positive approach, resting its new rules on the proper legal authority, creating some bright-line protections, and forbearing from most of the provisions that were unnecessary to protecting net neutrality. Nonetheless, we remain concerned about certain elements of the order.

Case-By-Case Evaluation of Reasonableness is Expensive and Leads to Uncertainty

When we first learned of the FCC’s intent to rely on a vague “general conduct rule” to evaluate provider conduct on a case-by-case basis, we pointed out the risks inherent in such an approach. The rule does lay out factors that will help guide the analysis of whether a given practice violates the rules, such as the effect on innovation, free expression, and end-user control.  However, the rule could still lead to overreach, and will certainly lead to expensive litigation. Indeed, today’s order punts many difficult questions to the general conduct rule, which applies whenever conduct doesn’t fall into one of the three categories of blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization, and also applies to all disputes relating to interconnection (ISP deals with other Internet infrastructure companies). That means important net neutrality questions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The expense and expertise to raise and respond to issues on that basis could tilt the process in favor of big and established players, like major ISPs and content providers.

ISPs Should Not Be Allowed to Discriminate Against Content They Deem “Unlawful” Without a Court Order

We have long opposed limitations on net neutrality that suggests ISPs can hinder traffic or applications they deem unlawful, or use deep packet inspection to monitor users’ Internet traffic. Unfortunately, the FCC has maintained the “lawful content” limitation, and gone farther to state that it does not intend “to prohibit or discourage voluntary practices undertaken to address or mitigate the occurrence of copyright infringement.”

The danger of this limitation has already been demonstrated. In 2007, when EFF discovered that Comcast was throttling BitTorrent traffic, Comcast could have argued that it was combating copyright infringement. Of course, BitTorrent was also used to transmit public domain materials such as the Bible, licensed materials such as academic literature and free software, and non-copyrightable data, to name just a few legitimate uses. Under today’s rules, this would arguably not be considered a violation of the blanket prohibition on throttling. A user would have to discover and challenge this practice and bring it before the FCC for a case-by-case determination of its reasonableness. This doesn't make matters any worse than they were before, but it is a missed opportunity to improve on the status quo.

The FCC has also failed to give proper consideration to the invasiveness of deep packet inspection, used by ISPs to read a user’s Internet traffic. The “lawful content” limitation may give legal cover to this privacy-violating practice. In response, the Commission simply suggests that users protect their own privacy using encryption, virtual private networks, and Tor. While it’s a very good idea for users to protect themselves with such tools, that shouldn’t be their only protection against the very companies they are forced to trust in order to gain access to the Internet – particularly when ISPs like Verizon have gone to extreme measures to circumvent users’ privacy controls. Leaving users to fend for themselves does not bode well for the FCC’s future proceedings on privacy rules.

What About Zero Rating?

“Zero Rating” is when an ISP does not consider traffic to a certain website in calculating a user’s data usage, usually with respect to a data cap. For example, T-Mobile zero-rates certain music services and Facebook and Wikipedia have a variety of deals around the world creating zero-rated access to their services. Zero rating presents many of the same harms as paid prioritization, and also presents unique harms to competition when low-income users are effectively only able to access the websites of commercial Internet giants and come to perceive those walled gardens as the entire Internet. We recognize the value of providing low-income users with access to knowledge and the ability to interconnect, but these objectives are better achieved by promoting competition and removing access barriers to neutral Internet access.

Today’s order does not consider zero rating inherently improper, but proposes to evaluate such arrangements on a case-by-case basis. That has some appeal, as it allows the FCC to take into account the potential public benefits of a given program.  But the practice over-all poses significant risks to the future of the Internet, and we’d have preferred a stronger set of parameters.

Overall, today’s order was a great step for net neutrality. It was unthinkable a year ago that we would get this far, and the opponents of net neutrality are now clearly on the defensive. The rules will likely withstand the inevitable court challenges, and their bright-line prohibitions on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization will go a long way towards protecting Internet users. There is still a risk of overreach and uncertainty, however, which means Team Internet must stay vigilant and engaged. And we will.

Related Issues: TransparencyRelated Cases: Net Neutrality Lobbying
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Netanyahu and Herzog Promise Business As Usual for Palestinians - Fri, 13/03/2015 - 05:18
Netanyahu and Herzog Promise Business As Usual for Palestinians
by Stephen Lendman
On March 17, Israelis votes in general elections. On March 12, Haaretz published its final poll numbers.
It showed Isaac Herzog/Tzipi Livni's Zionist Union party winning 24 of 120 Knesset seats v. Netanyahu's Likud getting 21.
Whichever leading party is able to form a majority coalition government gets to choose the next prime minister.
Zionist Union's lead is no guarantee it'll be Herzog. Israeli governance is extremely hardline. Likud should have an easier time cobbling together coalition partners.
At the same time, it's too early to pick winners and losers based on latest poll results. On March 17, Israeli voters will decide.
Behind-the-scenes maneuvering will choose who'll lead Israel's next government. Things can go either way.
For Palestinians, it doesn't matter. Institutionalized racism assures business as usual. Zionist Union's Herzog sounds like Netanyahu.
He's just as hardline. He wants continued conflict. He lied saying "I'm not sure that we have a partner for peace." 
"I am not sure there is a party on the other wide that is interested in peace. So far they have been very happy with their one-sided strategy - his way of blaming them for decades of Israeli refusal to negotiate in good faith.
Herzog abhors Palestinian self-determination. He lied suggesting otherwise. He said Israel will never become a duel ethnic country. He'll yield nothing to Palestinians indicating otherwise.
Hardline Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel's next prime minister must reject Palestinian statehood on any portion of land Israel wants exclusively for itself.
On March 8, Zionist Union published its platform. It spurns core international law. It says a "final status agreement will be based on the following principles:
"Demilitarizing the Palestinian state, keeping the settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria under Israeli sovereignty; strengthening Jerusalem and its status as the eternal capital of the State of Israel, and ensuring religious freedom and access to the holy sites to all religions, along with maintaining Israeli sovereignty; resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem through the establishment of a Palestinian state and not within Israel."
In other words, Israel will keep stealing all parts of Judea and Samaria it wishes.
Settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land will continue unabated.
Jewish Al-Aqsa Mosque provocations inciting violence will continue. 
Perhaps Herzog supports extremist rabbis wanting Jewish control over Islam's third holiest site - a prescription for open warfare and bloodshed.
So is declaring Jerusalem Israel's exclusive capital. Denying diaspora Palestinians their right of return violates international law.
So does rejecting Palestinian statehood within June 1967 borders - 22% of historic Palestine.
"In an ideal world," says Herzog, he wants Jews alone afforded rights. He wants Palestinians entirely denied. 
He wants longstanding slow-motion genocide continued - maybe another war more destructive than Protective Edge.
Herzog and Netanyahu are two sides of the same coin. Their idea of Palestinian statehood ideally is none at all.
At most, they'd accept isolating Palestinians in bantustans on worthless scrub land. Stealing their resources. Controlling their borders and air space. Denying them all fundamental rights.
Maintaining Gaza's lawless siege indefinitely. Herzog saying "(a) government headed by Zionist Union will create significant deterrence vis-a-vis Hamas and the other terror organizations."
It will "take action to weaken and isolate these in order to bring about the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip."
It'll maintain permanent occupation harshness. Institutionalized racism will continue. So will police state repression.
Zionist Union will "allocate the necessary legal and diplomatic resources required (to) fight against the international boycott and delegitimization movements," says Herzog.
It'll maintain Netanyahu's worst viciousness and pile on more of its own.
Palestinians never had an Israeli government treat it equitably according to fundamental international law principles. Herzog or Netanyahu post-March 17 makes no difference.
Palestinians know whoever wins they lose. Fascist regimes operate this way. 
Israel is one of the world's worst. For sure it's the region's most dangerous - a rogue state contemptuous of core democratic values.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Pyrawebs: Paraguayans Rise Up Against Mandatory Data Retention - Fri, 13/03/2015 - 03:02

UPDATED March 12, 2015: Today, the draft bill on Data Retention was rejected in the Deputies Chamber, but the fight is not completely over. We will be keeping a close watch on the bill as it returns to the Senate. We were inspired by the activism of TEDIC, a digital rights organization and our allies in Paraguay, for leading an awe-inspiring campaign fighting for privacy rights. TEDIC, Amnesty International in Paraguay, and Internet users mobilized to push Paraguayan lawmakers in the right direction. Bravo TEDIC, bravo team anti-pyrawebs. You can all be proud today that there was no law enacted on Paraguayan's watch that would have compromised the online privacy rights of Paraguayan Internet users in the name of security.


Paraguay understands the dangers of pervasive surveillance. Its ex-dictator, Alfredo Stroessner, maintained his grip on power with the help of “pyragues”, informers who monitored the civilian population on his behalf. That’s why so many in the country recognise the dangers in its new proposed data retention bill. The bill, currently being debated by its politicians, would compel local ISPs to retain communications and location details of every user for a period of 12 months. No wonder it’s been described as creating a new gang of “pyrawebs”: online informers that the authorities can ask to pinpoint the movements, connections, and associations of any Paraguayan citizen.

"For the amount of data that may be available, I'm sure it will overtake the “Terror Archive of the Stroessner dictatorship,” blogger David Bogado, says of the new bill. “This is the Archive of Terror 2.0.”

Modern Paraguay has strong legal protections against the recurrence of a surveillance state. Its constitution, written after Stroessner,  takes special care to assert the inviolability of private communications. It also gives  international human rights treaties that the Paraguayan state has ratified the binding force of law.  In particular, Paraguay has ratified the Pacto de San José de Costa Rica, which protects civil and political rights, declaring:

“Nobody will be the subject of arbitrary or abusive interference in its private life, family, home or correspondence, nor illegal attacks to its honor or reputation.”

Paraguay does not, however, have a personal data protection law, which makes the unchecked nature of the data retention proposals even more dangerous, as it forces companies to comply with the state’s demand for data, without providing any way for citizens to limit or correct the data collected on them.

Maricarmen Sequera, the executive director of Paraguayan digital rights organization TEDIC spells out what the stakes are for the country.

“Thirty-five years of dictatorship in Paraguay scarred our society with silence and fear. The police state is not new to Paraguay; it makes it worse that in this case, the monitoring will be done by private companies. We want a democracy, not a new set of pyrawebs.”

The risks of Paraguay’s data retention bill

In contrast to other Paraguayan law initiatives which only allow the government access to stored data when investigating serious offenses, the new proposal would grant the government access to data for any type of offense, however minor, such as peer-to-peer downloads and defamation. The current draft does not specify a level of evidentiary proof or justification that should be be met in order to access the data.

“The pyrawebs law is ambiguous because it suggests the prosecution of serious crimes such as terrorism and pedophilia, but actually affects any offense such as slander, bribery, or Internet downloads that might infringe copyright law,” writes the sociologist and free software advocate Luis Alonzo Fulchi, who has been tracking the bill as it passes through Paraguay’s congress.

The bill’s language is vague enough in its scope to potentially require any physical person or entity that offers access to Internet to collect and store data for the government. That include cyber cafes, coffee shops, libraries, or firms that provide work Internet access. As with data retention proposals elsewhere, indisciminate and universal data collection opens the possibility for breaches of confidentiality between doctors and patients, lawyers and clients, journalists and their sources.

The bill does exclude the mass collection of the content of communications. But, as the rest of the world is slowly realizing, the increasing abundance of metadata, and the techniques for aggregating and analyzing it, means that “mere metadata”  on its own reveals a devastating amount about private citizens. The government’s ability to gather even the simplest forms of metadata, over a long period of time, and organize it using modern surveillance techniques can easily garner the kind of vicious insight that the original Pyragues could only dream of.  The Inter American Court for Human Rights made clear in Escher y Otros vs. Brasil1  that content, as well as metadata are protected by the Inter-American's human rights laws:

"Article 11 applies to telephone conversations irrespective of their content and can even include both the technical operations designed to record this content by taping it and listening to it, or any other element of the communication process; for example, the destination or origin of the calls that are made, the identity of the speakers, the frequency, time and duration of the calls, aspects that can be verified without the need to record the content of the call by taping the conversation.”

Paraguay must uphold its current international human rights obligations by introducing a law that will genuinely protect personal data. Moreover, the bill needs to comply with the principles of legality, legitimate aim, necessity, proportionality, among others. Allowing the parawebs law to pass would be an insult to Paraguay’s history, ignore decades of experience of what pervasive surveillance can do to a society. Join Paraguay’s activists and fight against the new bill at TEDIC’s new site:  and share our video explaining the dangers of data retention here.


13 Principles Week of Action: The “Metadata Debate” ~ A Latin American Perspective

Originally published on November, 2014, republished on February 15, 2015. UPDATED: March 12, 2015

  • 1. Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Case of Escher v. Brasil. Preliminary Objections, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgement of 6 July 2009. Series C No. 200, para. 114.
Related Issues: InternationalMandatory Data RetentionSurveillance and Human Rights
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A Description of Life Ending Nuclear War - Fri, 13/03/2015 - 02:52
A Description of Life-Ending Nuclear War
by Stephen Lendman
Think nuclear war is nothing to worry about. Think again!
Nuclear incineration is no way to go. On February 26, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) headlined "What would happen if an 800-kiloton nuclear warhead detonated above midtown Manhattan?"
Saying "Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles are believed to carry a total of approximately 1,000 strategic nuclear warheads that can hit the US less than 30 minutes after being launched." 
"Of this total, about 700 warheads are rated at 800 kilotons; that is, each has the explosive power of 800,000 tons of TNT."
It's hard imagining anything this destructive. It would incinerate New York or any other major city with unimaginable force.
The initial fireball would likely detonate more than one-mile high - for maximum blast wave damage.
"Within a few tenths of millionths of a second after detonation, the center of the warhead would reach a temperature of roughly 200 million degrees Fahrenheit (about 100 million degrees Celsius), or about four to five times the temperature at the center of the sun," explains BAS.
Superheated air would expand outward "at millions of miles per hour…creating a shockwave of vast size and power."
In one second, the fireball would be one-mile in diameter. Its initial millions of degrees temperature would be about 16,000 degrees Fahrenheit - about 4,000 degrees hotter than the sun's surface.
Enormous heat and light would "almost instantly ignite fires over (around) 100 square miles."
Within seconds of detonation, fires "within a few miles of the fireball would burn violently."
They'd "force gigantic masses of heated air to rise, drawing cooler air from surrounding areas toward the center of the fire zone from all directions."
Detonation-set fires would begin merging. In "tens of minutes," they'd form "a single gigantic (irradiated) fire."
Energy released "would be 15 - 20 times greater than the *amount (from) the nuclear detonation."
The firestorm would increase in intensity - heating "enormous volumes of air at speeds approaching 300 miles per hour."
Superheated ground winds exceeding hurricane force would intensify the fire. They'd be "powerful enough to uproot trees three-feet in diameter and suck people from outside the fire into it."
Powerful winds would drive "flames from burning buildings horizontally…filling…streets with flames and firebrands…"
Nothing could withstand their overwhelming power. Affected areas would become "a huge hurricane of fire" - a lethal force throughout the entire fire zone.
Firestorm intensity would vaporize structures - including reinforced concrete ones within a couple of miles of ground zero.
It would "tear apart high-rise buildings" - turning midtown Manhattan to smoldering rubble.
"At the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building, and St. Patrick's Cathedral, about one half to three quarters of a mile from ground zero, light from the fireball would melt asphalt in the streets, burn paint off walls, and melt metal surfaces within a half second of the detonation." 
"Roughly one second later, the blast wave and 750-mile-per-hour winds would arrive, flattening buildings and tossing burning cars into the air like leaves in a windstorm." 
"Throughout Midtown, the interiors of vehicles and buildings in line of sight of the fireball would explode into flames."
Around 100 square miles of vegetation surrounding ground zero would become "superheated dust."
Firestorm-driven high winds would tear apart tall buildings. They'd disintegrate into smaller pieces.
Some would become destructive projectiles causing further damage. Superheated powerful winds could toss around trucks and buses like toys.
"Two miles from ground zero, the Metropolitan Museum of Art…would be obliterated." 
"Two and half miles from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, the fireball would appear 2,700 times brighter than a desert sun at noon."
"(T)hermal radiation would melt and warp aluminum surfaces, ignite the tires of autos, and turn exposed skin to charcoal, before the blast wave arrived and ripped apart the buildings."
Up to nine miles from ground zero, fires would ignite in large areas. Their pattern would be similar to midtown Manhattan.
In 12 - 14 seconds, the blast wave would travel three miles after detonation. Residential structures would be destroyed.
High-rises would at least be heavily damaged. "Fires would rage everywhere within five miles of ground zero."
"Within tens of minutes, everything within approximately five to seven miles of Midtown Manhattan would be engulfed by a gigantic firestorm." 
It would cover from "90 to 152 square miles. (It) would rage for three to six hours."
"Air temperatures in the fire zone would likely average 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit."
Once fires burned out, pavement would remain too hot for vehicles to use for days.
Material from collapsed buildings could continue bursting into flames when exposed to air months after the firestorm ended.
No one in affected areas could escape. Superheated hurricane-force winds would incinerate them.
High-rise sub-basements wouldn't be safe. People would suffocate from fire-generated gases or be cooked alive from oven-like temperatures.
"The fire would extinguish all life and destroy almost everything else." 
"Tens of miles downwind of the area of immediate destruction, radioactive fallout would begin to arrive within a few hours of the detonation."
The entire affected area would be irradiated. Most atomic blast radioactive materials have a half life of 50 years.
Chernobyl is estimated to be unsafe for another 20,000 years. It's unclear when Fukushima will again be safe - maybe not in the lifetimes of anyone now living.
Nuclear weapons are unforgiving. Why disarmament is so urgently needed. BAS' Doomsday Clock shows three minutes to midnight.
Possible nuclear armageddon is real. Failure to eliminate a threat this great endangers everyone everywhere. 
Lunatics in Washington could end life on earth. Stopping them matters most of all.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

USA Today Reveals Ukrainian Forces Include Nazis - Fri, 13/03/2015 - 01:17
USA Today Reveals Ukrainian Forces Include Nazis
by Stephen Lendman
Ukraine is a US-installed hotbed of Nazi extremism - a scourge in Europe's heartland. It threatens continental peace.
Numerous articles by this writer and others explained Obama replaced Ukrainian democrats with fascist thugs. He installed mob rule by coup d'etat in February 2014.
Media scoundrels call them democrats. They combine police state repression with neoliberal harshness, massive corruption and war on their own citizens.
USA Today partly acknowledged what other presstitutes entirely ignore. Instead of explaining illegitimate US-installed fascists run Ukraine, it only discussed what it called "(a) volunteer brigade with self-proclaimed Nazis fighting alongside government troops against Russian-backed separatists."
Azov Brigade in USA Today's report is the tip of the iceberg. Other Nazi government forces, volunteer ones, cutthroat mercenaries and fascist government officials infest Ukraine.
It's Nazified for the first time since WW II. Dangerously confronting Russia - blaming it irresponsibly for its own high crimes.
USA interviewed a sergeant identified only as Alex. Saying he "wore a patch depicting Thor's Hammer, an ancient Norse symbol (used) by neo-Nazis…"
He admitted being a Nazi. So are most of his comrades, he explained. According to USA Today:
"He said he supports strong leadership for Ukraine, like Germany during World War II, but opposes the Nazis' genocide against Jews."
"Minorities should be tolerated as long as they are peaceful and don't demand special privileges, he said, and the property of wealthy oligarchs should be taken away and nationalized."
He said when war ends, he and likeminded elements will oust Kiev's government it considers corrupt.
USA Today claimed Russian media exaggerat saying Azov and likeminded brigades are comprised of "a bunch of thugs who menace the population yet are embraced by Ukraine's national government."
Avov spokesman Andriy Diachenko was quoted downplaying its real threat. It's infested with Nazis.
Diachenko lied claiming only 10 - 20%. So did Azov deputy commander Oleg Odnorozhenko - calling cold-blooded fascist thugs regular troops.
Nazi forces are a key part of Ukraine's military. Billionaire oligarch/lawlessly appointed Dnipropretovsk Oblast governor Igor Kolomoyskyi finances Azov.
Overt Nazi Andriy Biletsky heads it, as well as the fascist Social-National Assembly (SNA) and its Patriots of Ukraine paramilitary wing.
SNA members infest Azov ranks. They support Nazi-like racial purity laws, white supremacy and anti-Semitic hate-mongering.
They openly boast about attacking ethnic, racial and social minorities. Earlier Biletsky said:
"The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen."
Azov displays the Nazi Wolfsangle on its banner - the same one Hitler's 2nd SS panzer division and other forces used.
Its ranks include fascist elements from other European countries and Canada.
Ukraine's national security and defense council head Andriy Parubiy co-founded the overtly Nazi Svoboda party.
He was recently feted in Washington and Ottawa seeking weapons for more war on his own people. He was directly responsible for February 2014 Maidan killings. Snipers he controlled were involved.
Overt Nazi Dmytro Yarosh heads Ukraine's Right Sector. He's unapologetically fascist. He openly boasts about "fighting Jews and Russians til I die."
In March 2014, a Russian court issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of inciting terrorism.
He was directly involved in last May's Odessa massacre. Hundreds were brutally murdered in cold blood. Nazi thugs bore full responsibility.
Washington recruited them for Maidan killings - falsely blamed on Viktor Yanukovych's government.
USA Today papered over the real Ukraine story. Focusing on Azov conceals what's ongoing.
Quoting Ukrainian armed forces Col. Oleksiy Nozdrachov calling Azov members "patriots" flies in the face of reality.
He lied saying they're "volunteers who decided to sacrifice their lives (for) their country." He ignored brigade committed atrocities and other high crimes adding:
"If any cases of misbehavior by Azov brigade are brought by the local population, it will be investigated."
Kiev's Odessa massacre inquiry entirely whitewashed what happened. Cold-blooded killers got off scot-free.
Eye witnesses were ignored. Clear evidence was buried to absolve mass murder. Maidan killings were falsely blamed on Yanukovych. Media scoundrels repeat official Big Lies.
A UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report discussed "credible allegations of arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances, committed mostly by (Kiev's) armed groups but in some instances also by the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies."
Kiev's military prosecutor did nothing to investigate clear evidence showing a "considerable" number of human rights violations - "including looting, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment by members of certain voluntary battalions such as Aidar, Azov, Slobozhanshchina and Shakhtarsk."
Other reports documented their abductions, executions, extortion and other high crimes.
They're not alone. Germany's ZDF television showed Ukrainian soldiers openly displaying Nazi flags, swastikas and other Nazi symbols.
US media scoundrels report nothing. Nazism's reemergence in Europe's heartland isn't important enough to discuss - or the grave danger it poses.
According to USA Today, Azov recruits say "they want to protect their homeland and Europe from the ambitions of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they (wrongfully) blame for the war."
"Deputy commander Odnorozhenko said the brigade preaches Ukrainian patriotism and independence, strong leadership and accountability."
An Azov trainer named Alex Borisov was quoted ludicrously saying he "didn't see any fascists or anti-Semities."
On the one hand, USA Today admitted Nazi elements fight for Kiev's government.
On the other, it buried the real story. It willfully misreported what been ongoing since US-manipulated anti-government violence erupted in November 2013.
Not a word about how Washington replaced democrats with fascists. Nothing about their responsibility for atrocities throughout months of fighting.
Silence about their use of cluster bombs, chemical and other banned weapons.
Nothing about their willfully targeting civilian neighborhoods, hospitals, schools and vital infrastructure - about their economic blockade wanting Donbas residents starved to death, deprived of vitally needed medical treatment.
Not a word about ruthless fascists running Ukraine. Nothing about their dirty war of aggression against their own citizens - killing tens of thousands more than officially reported.
Causing Europe's gravest refugee and humanitarian crisis since WW II. Responsible for horrendous high crimes against peace.
Planning resumed full-scale war at Washington's discretion. Intending more mass murder than already committed.
Risking direct confrontation with Russia. Washington bears full responsibility for what's ongoing.
Rogue EU partners share it. So do US-installed Kiev Nazi thugs. Don't expect USA Today or other media scoundrels to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at
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.

Venezuelan Anti-Imperialist Enabling Law - Thu, 12/03/2015 - 21:31
Venezuelan Anti-Imperialist Enabling Law
by Stephen Lendman
On March 11, Venezuela's National Assembly granted President Nicholas Maduro enabling law powers in response to his request for "anti-imperialist (legislation) to prepare for all scenarios." 
It followed Obama outrageously declaring Venezuela a threat to US national security. A previous article discussed his "aggression" against Venezuelan sovereign independence. 
It represents the threat of a good example. Obama fears its spread. He issued a lawless diktat - usurping powers reserved solely for Security Council members.
They alone may impose sanctions - not individual countries for any reason. Obama sanctioned seven Venezuelan officials extrajudicially.
He lied declaring a "national emergency" when none exists. He claimed a nonexistent "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela."
He nonsensically blustered about America's "commit(ment) to advancing and respect(ing) human rights (and) safeguarding democratic institutions."
No nation more egregiously violates human rights than America. None more breach democratic values it's sworn to uphold. 
None show more contempt for the rights of others. None more threaten humanity's survival.
Maduro has just cause to fear US aggression. He foiled Obama's February coup plot.
It was an outrageous scheme involving targeted assassinations, bombing strategic Caracas targets, ending democratic rule and replacing it with fascist governance.
Venezuelan National Assembly (NA) members approved enabling law legislation. TeleSUR reported it getting "99 percent of votes from the Great Patriotic alliance - the largest (NA) voting bloc…"
A second 60% majority vote is needed for final approval. More on enabling law authority below.
On Tuesday afternoon. Maduro address NA legislators. He explained US threats.
"I ask God for protection, if major events shake our country with me alive or not, the order is rain or shine, parliamentary elections will happen this year whether the empire wants it or not," he said. 
"We are going to parliamentary elections and let the people decide what will happen in this country." 
"And we will go into it with the same position as always…If we win, win, and if we lose, lose and that's it…Democracy, peace and constitution(al) (law) is what we want."
He addressed Venezuelans on national television. He explained he intends to preserve Venezuelan "integrity and sovereignty in the face of any circumstances that could arise with (America's) imperialist aggression."
He said governmental executive bodies discussed actions "to politically and diplomatically denounce this United States aggression to various organizations" - to expose US lawlessness.
He last requested enabling law power in 2013. At the time, it was to fight corruption and economic war waged by Venezuelan fascists, supportive businesses and Washington.
On February 11, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) "reiterate(d) its strong repudiation of the application of unilateral coercive measures that are contrary to international law."
The statement followed earlier Venezuelan sanctions Obama lawlessly imposed in December.
US policy is increasingly rejected regionally. America today is more isolated than any time in recent memory.
Washington represents fascist extremism. Freedom loving people everywhere reject it.
Ecuador's Rafael Correa said Union of South American States (UNASUR) will meet in Montevideo, Uruguay Thursday.
They'll "give the corresponding answer to that gross, illegal, shameless, outrageous, and unjustified act of interference by the United States in the internal affairs of Venezuela," he said.
Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) trade bloc nations promoting regional social, political and economic integration issued a statement, saying:
Calling Venezuela an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to US national security "constitutes an unprecedented aggression against that country and thus our region."
"This aggression violates every principle of international law which governs relationships between states, treating every state as equal and sovereign."
"It also undermines the historic anti-imperialist struggle claimed by our people, and threatens the peace and tranquility of our countries."
ALBA nations include (in alphabetical order): 
  • Antigua and Barbuda;

  • Bolivia;

  • Cuba;

  • Dominica;

  • Ecuador;

  • Grenada;

  • Nicaragua;

  • Saint Kitts and Nevis;

  • Saint Lucia;

  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and

  • Venezuela.

In 2008, Honduras joined ALBA. It withdrew following Obama's coup ousting President Manuel Zelaya - replacing him with fascist dictatorship.
Venezuelan enabling law authority is limited. It's no power grab as critics claim. Chavez used it three times. So did four previous presidents.
Venezuela's 1961 Constitution authorized it. So did its 1999 Bolivarian one under Article 203, stating:
"Organic laws are those designated as such by this Constitution, those enacted to organize public powers or developing constitutional rights, and those which serve as a normative framework for other laws," including amendments. 
A two-thirds legislative super-majority is needed before beginning debate. Measures are then sent to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice's Constitutional Division "for a ruling on the constitutionality of their organic status."
"Enabling laws are those enacted by a three fifths (National Assembly member) vote to establish guidelines, purposes and framework for matters that are being delegated to the President of the Republic, with the rank and force of law."
Enabling law is legitimate, not dictatorial. Its use must adhere to constitutional provisions and restraints.
It applies only for a specified time period. Occasionally, Venezuela's Supreme Court must rule on its constitutionality.
Venezuelans may rescind laws if at least 10% of voters request it. For decree power, it's 5%. A national referendum majority would then decide up or down.
National Assembly members may change or rescind enabling law power any time they wish. In 2007, Chavez used it to:
  • make state institutions more efficient, transparent, honest, and allow more citizen participation;

  • reform the civil service;

  • eliminate corruption;

  • advance the "ideals of social justice and economic independence" through a new social and economic model based on more equitable wealth distribution in areas of healthcare, education, and social security;

  • modernize Venezuela's financial sector - including banking, insurance and tax policy;

  • upgrade science and technology areas to benefit all sectors of society;

  • reform public health, prisons, identification, migration regulations, and the judiciary to improve citizen and judicial security;

  • upgrade Venezuela's infrastructure, transport, and public services;

  • improve the nation's military;

  • establish territorial organization norms in states and communities relating to voting and constituency size; and

  • permit greater state control over the nation's energy sector.

Earlier he used it for land reform, improved credit access for small entrepreneurs, greater equity for small v. large fishers, and increased hydrocarbon state revenue.
In December 2010, he used it to help Venezuelan communities affected by torrential rains and severe floods - displacing about 120,000 people in 11 of the nation's 23 states. 
It's unclear so far what powers Maduro seeks. He'll use them to protect Venezuelans from more US schemes to destabilize and topple his government.
Powers he's given must adhere to Venezuelan constitutional law. He's governed responsibly throughout his tenure.
He knows the rogue challenge Washington poses. It wants tyranny replacing Venezuelan democracy. 
Maduro needs all the help he can get countering it. National Assembly approval is important. Popular support matters most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

The Blurred Lines Copyright Verdict is Bad News for Music - Thu, 12/03/2015 - 12:19

Yesterday, a jury found that the 2013 song "Blurred Lines" was an infringement of Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" composition from 1977. Following the 7-million-dollar verdict, professional musicians are waking up to a fact that ordinary Internet users have long known: our overbearing copyright laws are a threat to creativity.

Numerous musicians are expressing disbelief at the verdict, seeing little similarity between the two songs aside from a general "feel" or "vibe."  According to the LA Times:

Los Angeles composer and producer Gregory Butler said Tuesday afternoon that his friends and colleagues in the industry were stunned by the verdict.

"You've made it illegal to reference previous material," said Butler, also a managing director at music startup WholeWorldBand. "I'm never going to come up with something so radically different that it doesn't contain references to something else."

Joe Escalante, an early member of the Vandals punk rock band and an entertainment law attorney, said he was concerned that the jury's decision had been driven by emotion rather than what's protected under copyright law.

"This may put a smile on the Gaye family's face, but it's a dark day for creativity, and in the end, this will be a net loss for music fans," he said.

Artists evoke elements of common culture all the time, to make their point or simply to entertain by putting their own twist on what has come before. This is what makes culture a conversation and not a series of disjointed soliloquies. Copyright law, though, is dangerously disconnected with the way culture gets made, and as a result it pushes entire genres and communities to the margins, such as those that involve sampling, remix, and other adaptations. A staggering amount of such work is generated noncommercially and available online, but the broad sweep of copyright exclusivity, the risk of disproportionate statutory damages, and the uneven application of the fair use doctrine mean that such authors are typically excluded from commercial opportunities. Far from being incentivized by copyright, such authors typically create in spite of the threats posed by copyright law.

The creators of “Blurred Lines” are likely to challenge yesterday's verdict, but if it is upheld then many more artists could be marginalized or discouraged. Musicians will have to think twice before creating any new songs that evoke the feel of the music that inspired them in their youth. And with the length of copyright we have these days, artists who want to feel confident that their musical influences are in the public domain are going to have to go all the way back to ragtime.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the Balance
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Categories: Aggregated News

Net Neutrality: Are We There Yet? - Thu, 12/03/2015 - 12:07

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in favor of net neutrality rules last month, and we expect the final version of rules to be released shortly. From all reports, it sounds like the rules generally track what we (and four million Americans!) have been urging over the past year. But the incumbent ISPs are working hard to seed fear, uncertainty, and doubt about what the FCC's up to. Let's cut through some of the nonsense.

Net Neutrality, especially the switch to Title II, is a result of grassroots activism, not a regulator's power grab.

The FCC was not the driving force behind the most important piece of the new rules: the FCC's embrace of Title II as the basis for is regulation. For over a decade, the FCC has been issuing Open Internet rules based on the wrong legal theory -- and losing in court every time. In 2014, the FCC was headed down the same wrong path.  What is worse, it actually proposed a very limited order that would effectively bless some non-neutral practices. In response, an extraordinary coalition of public interest groups, private companies, investors, not to mention four million Internet users, spoke up to demand meaningful net neutrality. And we were smart about it, demanding that the FCC use "forbearance" to limit the potential for overreach by designating certain regulatory powers as off-limits. They've done this, too, in the new order.

We've explained, though, that the new rules aren't perfect, and that the "General Conduct Rule" in particular presents an opportunity for abuse.

Net Neutrality is not "regulating the Internet."

Everyone in the net neutrality debate applauds the diversity of the Internet and low barriers to entry for Internet services. Net neutrality is about preventing the companies that connect you to the Internet from acting as gatekeepers and threatening that diversity and opportunity for innovation. The FCC's net neutrality regulations will help make sure that ISPs don't unfairly favor (or disfavor) some applications and services, just as its common carrier obligations helped ensure that phone carriers couldn't strangle the Internet in its infancy, back in the days of dial-up modems. 

The rules are 8 pages long, not 300 pages.

Early reports pegged the new order at 300 pages, but we now know that only 8 pages are actual regulatory text. The source of confusion—which even got us in the past few weeks—is that the whole order is over 300 pages, but consists almost entirely of the record of factual findings by the FCC and responses to comments they received. Opponents of net neutrality have boosted the "300 page" number to suggest onerous complexity, but that's not the case.

The FCC could do better on transparency.

Some of the claims around transparency are pure smoke. For example, the public release of the rules was delayed because the Republican FCC commissioners were stalling, not because the FCC majority wanted them secret.

On the other hand, the massive level of public engagement with the FCC over net neutrality stands in stark contrast to the FCC's business as usual. We learned that ISP lobbyists have a direct channel to FCC commissioners, even as the details of that arrangement appear to be beyond the reach of a Freedom of Information Act request. From the little that has been released, it looks like they send in a stream of bad legal advice and distorted facts until even well-intentioned commissioners hesitate to do the right thing.

The net neutrality debate has been contentious, and there are areas where we're still waiting on important facts. But regardless of your stance on the FCC's new rules, it's important to separate fact from misinformation.

Related Issues: Net NeutralityTransparencyRelated Cases: Net Neutrality Lobbying
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Categories: Aggregated News



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