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Updating Israel's Political Persecution of Palestinian Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 09/04/2015 - 04:58
Updating Israel's Political Persecution of Palestinian Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar
By Stephen Lendman
Israel considers belonging to the wrong political parties a crime. Free expression is criminalized when speaking forthrightly about ruthless persecution of Palestinian rights.
Rogue states operate this way. Israel ranks with the worst - a fascist/racist/apartheid police state by any standard, guilty of the highest of high crimes since inception.
A previous article discussed Jarrar. She's a highly respected Palestinian Legislative Council member, a civil society leader, and PLC Prisoners Commission head. She chairs the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
On April 2, Israeli goon squad thugs abducted her pre-dawn. She's lawlessly administratively detained uncharged and untried.
On April 8, Addameer updated her status. Ofer's military court postponed proceedings on her lawless detention until April 14.
She remains imprisoned. Her attorney Mahmoud Hassan said military prosecutors presented the court with 34 pieces of fabricated "open evidence" - not previously given her defense team.
So-called other fake evidence remains concealed. It's longstanding Israeli practice to trump up phony charges, claim evidence it won't reveal, and prevent defense lawyers from being adequately being able to defend their clients.
Given so-called new evidence presented, Hassan requested six days to review it.
It pertains to Jarrar's legitimate political activities and free expression rights.
It includes her public activities and videos of her attending legitimate nonviolent demonstrations.
Addameer said her arrest and detention were politically motivated - in brazen contravention of Fourth Geneva and other international laws.
She was ordered administratively detained uncharged and untried for six months - renewed as often as Israel wishes.
She can be imprisoned forever under harsh gulag conditions until death.
She's one of 17 Palestinian legislators imprisoned for belonging to the wrong political parties.
Nine are administratively held uncharged and untried. In a recent interview, Jarrar said the following:
She sees no change in US/Israeli relations under Obama after Netanyahu's reelection.
The so-called "peace process does not mean anything for us," she said. Nothing for Palestinians will change.
Reelecting Netanyahu "show(s) the Israeli government is going more and more to the far right-wing."
The peace process is corrupted and flawed without "recognizing the fundamental rights of Palestinians" - including "a fully independent Palestinian state, but also the right of return for the Palestinian refugees."
Palestinian "inalienable rights…should be implemented through an international conference according to international law and the relevant UN resolutions."
"We totally refuse the coordination between the Palestinian security forces and the Israelis, and we think it should be stopped immediately."
"Any security forces should help the Palestinians in their struggle and implement their citizens's rights instead of collaborating with the occupier."
Palestinians are victimized by Israel's forced arrangement, Jarrar said. Ending it is essential.
Palestinian collaborators with Israel are traitors. Resistance against lawless occupation is vital.
"We think that our national struggle needs the active support of the international solidarity movement," Jarrar explained.
It's important for all Palestinians to work together for change - "to immediately end the occupation," she stressed. To give Palestinians their long denied rights.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Bringing Transparency to Patent Law

eff.org - Thu, 09/04/2015 - 03:37

Much of EFF’s transparency work centers around government activities in the executive and legislative branches. But transparency in the courts is also important. That’s why yesterday we sent a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit asking for greater free public access to orders issued by the court.

Previously, the Federal Circuit issued many of its orders for free on its website. They were not necessarily easy to search, but it was at least possible to search by party name or download all orders they issued. But at the end of 2014, the Federal Circuit announced a new policy. Instead of publishing most orders, the Federal Circuit would only publish “selected” orders. (To be clear, PACER is still available, but it is notoriously difficult to navigate and charges both to search and download information. We’re not fans of PACER.)

Unfortunately, “selected” orders seems to mean “few if any” orders. Since the new policy went into effect, only 6 orders have been made freely available (compare that to the quarter from July 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014, where the Federal Circuit published over 180 orders).

We’re concerned that the new Federal Circuit practice is limiting the availability of the public to understand how our courts work. The Federal Circuit hears all appeals in patent cases so its recent practice is especially disappointing since it comes at a time when interest in patent law, and possible reform, is very high.

Parties before the courts sometimes demand too much secrecy. We’ve seen this tactic from patent trolls and are currently seeking to unseal some documents in a case in the Eastern District of Texas. (Our motion there is pending.) But we would hope the Courts themselves would work to increase information available to the public, not limit it.

EFF supports reform of the patent system, but regardless of where people stand on that issue, we hope they will support us in our desire to make the courts more open and available to the public. Our full letter to the Chief Judge and the Advisory Council is available here. Our letter was joined by Dennis Crouch, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, and editor/author of the popular patent law blog Patently-O.com.

Files:  4-7-2015_letter_to_fed_circuit.pdfRelated Issues: PatentsTransparency
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Iran Bashing Heats Up

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 09/04/2015 - 03:26
Iran Bashing Heats Up
by Stephen Lendman
Western/Israeli anti-Iranian sentiment persists. It's hard imagining anything Tehran does ahead in good faith being accepted.
Iran-bashing never quits. Congress, Israel and its Lobby intend going all-out to prevent consummating a final nuclear deal by June 30.
Already, bogus accusations of Iran violating agreed on Lausanne framework terms surfaced. Expect lots more phony claims like it.
Framework details remain confidential. On April 7, Fars News said Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) chief Ali Akbar Salehi briefed Iranian lawmakers on framework terms agreed on in closed session.
Presiding board member Behrouz Ne'mati said "(a)ll together, the MPs voiced satisfaction."
"There is not much concern among the lawmakers now, and their worries were mostly rooted in the allegations raised by the American side in recent days."
They want a way found to prevent Washington from misinterpreting and misusing agreed on terms.
They want a final deal to include full guarantees for lifting all sanctions at a time - not slowly in stages with no assurance agreed on terms will be honored.
Zarif and Salehi said UF-6 gas would be used in the latest IR-8 generation of centrifuge machines as soon as a final deal is consummated.
P5+1 countries agreed on letting Iran continue its legitimate nuclear R&D. 
Now preparing the final Joint Plan of Action can proceed, based on what's been agreed on so far, Zarif said.
Iran's program is entirely peaceful, he added. Terms agreed on in Lausanne will be strictly observed provided P5+1 countries honor their word.
Iran will partner in international nuclear projects - "including power plant and research reactor construction as well as nuclear safety and security."
All sanctions against Iran will be lifted, Zarif stressed. All anti-Iranian Security Council resolutions will be rescinded.
"The EU will terminate imposition of its nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions, and the United States will also stop implementation of its nuclear-related financial and economic sanctions simultaneous with the implementation of Iran's major nuclear undertakings in a way that they are verified by the IAEA," Zarif explained.
"Iran's nuclear program will continue, but we will adopt measures to build confidence at international level."
Zarif hopes all P5+1 countries will act in good faith. Iran absolutely will honor its commitments, he said.
Iran's Defense Minister General Hossein Dehqan called reports about Lausanne negotiators agreeing to let IAEA inspectors monitor military sites a "lie."
"No such agreement has been made. Principally speaking, visiting military centers is among our redlines and no such visit will be accepted," he stressed.
He rejected false media reports claiming otherwise. Basij (volunteer) Force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi expressed concern about public US statements contradicting agreed on framework terms.
"They show the United States strong grudge against the Iranians and proved that the US officials are liars and untrustworthy."
After exhausting talks and agreement reached, "the US president and other officials now deny the principal agreements and present opposing interpretations." he added.
It shows what enormous obstacles Iran faces ahead - toward reaching a final deal and enforcement of terms agreed on.
Washington's word isn't its bond. It notoriously says one thing and does another. 
It's hard imagining treating Iran honorably and fairly after 36 years of intense hostility - especially with straightaway false US interpretations of agreed on framework terms and unrelenting Iran bashing.
Nothing agreed on prevents Tehran from using IR-8 advanced centrifuges once final deal terms are consummated.
Not according to anti-Iranian media reports - falsely claiming their use breaches Lausanne’s framework agreement.
Hyping the bogus accusation that they accelerate Tehran's path to the bomb. They enrich uranium multiple times faster than less advanced machines.
Iran's nuclear chief Salehi said Tehran might release a fact sheet on Lausanne terms agreed on setting the record straight - countering false propaganda now circulating.
He called Washington's so-called fact sheet a mixture of factual and fabricated information and interpretation of agreed on terms.
Iranian lawmaker Gholam-Ali Jafarzade called releasing an accurate fact sheet important to do - so Iranians and others know precisely what was agreed on.
Regardless of Tehran's good faith, expect intense bashing to continue. Expect Big Lies to persist. Expect Western and Israel media scoundrels to proliferate them. 
Expect Iranophobia to persist. Expect anti-Iranian interests to go all-out to undermine reaching final agreement terms. 
Expect continued efforts to marginalize, denigrate, isolate, and weaken Iran. Expect business as usual like always.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

New Coalition Site Fight215.org Launches to Amplify Opposition to the NSA’s Mass Surveillance

eff.org - Thu, 09/04/2015 - 02:27

A coalition of 34 organizations from across the political spectrum is launching Fight215.org today to help concerned individuals contact lawmakers and demand an end to NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance under the Patriot Act.

The launch coincides with the countdown to the expiration of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the NSA claims justifies bulk collection of the phone records of millions of innocent people. Whistleblower Edward Snowden shared these thoughts with the coalition:

Suspicionless surveillance has no place in a democracy. The next 60 days are a historic opportunity to rein in the NSA, but the only one who can end the worst of its abuses is you. Call your representatives and tell them that the unconstitutional 'bulk collection' of Americans' private records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act must end.

The 34 groups and companies joining Fight215 (see a full list at the bottom of this post) have come together to send a clear message: the politics of fear doesn’t trump the Constitution. The unconstitutional bulk collection of phone records must end now. In addition to organizations like EFF and Fight for the Future, the coalition represents the whole political spectrum, from R Street to Demand Progress. It also includes press freedom organizations like Free Press and Freedom of the Press Foundation, civil rights organizations like ACLU and Council on American-Islamic Relations, student organizations like Student Net Alliance, and grassroots groups like Restore the Fourth. The coalition also includes companies like Sonic.net

Fight215 also features a video from intrepid filmmaker Kirby Ferguson, reminding us that the nearly 300-page Patriot Act was passed in the horrible aftermath of 9/11, with little time spent thinking about how it might violate the Constitution. Nearly fourteen years later, we know that one result has been the unconstitutional bulk collection of Americans’ private calling records.

Privacy info. This embed will serve content from youtube.com

It’s exactly that fear of terrorism that the NSA’s defenders have continued to use to defend bulk collection. And though they continue to throw around false claims that the program has stopped 54 attacks, those claims have been solidly debunked. In fact, as Senator Ron Wyden points out, “We have not yet seen any evidence showing that the NSA's dragnet collection of Americans' phone records has produced any uniquely valuable intelligence.”

In fact, the President, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), and the President’s Review Group have all admitted that collection of call detail records is not necessary.

That’s why Fight215 is launching now. While ending phone record surveillance is just the first step to reining in surveillance abuses by the NSA, the expiration of Section 215 in just a few weeks provides a unique opportunity. The last time Patriot was reauthorized, we hadn’t seen the FISA court order authorizing the NSA to collect phone records in bulk. We didn’t yet know just how badly the Patriot Act’s provisions had been twisted by the NSA. But given what we know now, it’s important to send the message that a vote to reauthorize bulk phone records collection is a vote against the Constitution.

This is our chance to end mass surveillance under the Patriot Act. Join us.

The full list of organizations signed on to Fight215.org represents a sampling of some of the strongest voices for freedom today: ACLU, Access, Advocacy for Principled Action in Government, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Brennan Center for Justice, Calyx, Center for Democracy and Technology, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Defending Dissent, Demand Progress, Downsize DC, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Human Rights Watch, the Internet Archive, Liberty Coalition, Media Alliance, Openmedia.org, Open Technology Institute, Participatory Politics Foundation, R Street, Restore the Fourth, Roots Action, Silent Circle, Sonic.net, Student Net Alliance, Sunlight Foundation, Venture Politics, and X-Lab.

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Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games, Even for Museums and Archives, Because All "Hacking" is Illegal

eff.org - Thu, 09/04/2015 - 02:11

The Entertainment Software Association doesn’t want anyone to restore the functionality of older videogames that are no longer supported by their publisher, because, says ESA, this is “hacking,” and all hacking is “associated with piracy.”

EFF, along with law student Kendra Albert, is asking the Copyright Office to give some legal protection to game enthusiasts, museums, and academics who preserve older video games and keep them playable. We’re asking for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions (Section 1201) for those who modify games to keep them working after the servers they need are shut down. Many player communities, along with museums, archives, and researchers, want to keep the games they own playable after publishers shut down the servers the games depend on. Section 1201 creates legal difficulty for these communities, which is why we’ve asked the Copyright Office to give them an exemption.

Section 1201 is often used by the entertainment industries not to prevent copyright infringement but to control markets and lock out competition. So it’s not surprising that ESA (the trade association for the largest game producers), along with MPAA and RIAA, have written to the Copyright Office to oppose this exemption. They say that modifying games to connect to a new server (or to avoid contacting a server at all) after publisher support ends—letting people continue to play the games they paid for—will destroy the video game industry. They say it would “undermine the fundamental copyright principles on which our copyright laws are based.”

ESA also says that exceptions to Section 1201’s blanket ban will send a message that “hacking—an activity closely associated with piracy in the minds of the marketplace—is lawful.” Imagine the havoc that could result if people believed that “hacking” was ever legal! Of course,  “hacking” is legal in most circumstances. ESA, the spokespeople for a group of software companies, knows this full well. Most of the programmers that create games for Sony, Microsoft, EA, Nintendo, and other ESA members undoubtedly learned their craft by tinkering with existing software. If “hacking,” broadly defined, were actually illegal, there likely would have been no video game industry.

Behind this hyperbole, ESA (along with MPAA and RIAA) seem to be opposing anyone who bypasses game DRM for any reason, no matter how limited or important.

Games abandoned by their producers are one area where Section 1201 is seriously interfering with important, lawful activities—like continuing to play the games you already own. It’s also a serious problem for archives like the Internet Archive, museums like Oakland, California’s Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, and researchers who study video games as a cultural and historical medium. Thanks to server shutdowns, and legal uncertainty created by Section 1201, their objects of study and preservation may be reduced to the digital equivalent of crumbling papyrus in as little as a year. That’s why an exemption from the Copyright Office is needed.

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Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection of Americans’ Telephone Records

eff.org - Thu, 09/04/2015 - 01:08
EFF Lawsuit Challenges Drug Enforcement Administration Surveillance of International Call Records

Los Angeles — Human Rights Watch, a nonpartisan organization that fights human rights abuses across the globe, filed suit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration late Tuesday for illegally collecting records of its telephone calls to certain foreign countries as part of yet another government bulk surveillance program. The group is represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which has launched a series of legal challenges against unconstitutional government surveillance.

“The DEA’s program of untargeted and suspicionless surveillance of Americans’ international telephone call records—information about the numbers people call, and the time, date, and duration of those calls—affects millions of innocent people, yet the DEA operated the program in secret for years,’’ said EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo. “Both the First and Fourth Amendment protect Americans from this kind of overreaching surveillance. This lawsuit aims to vindicate HRW’s rights, and the rights of all Americans, to make calls overseas without being subject to government surveillance.”  

The DEA disclosed the existence of its surveillance for the first time in January, after a federal judge ordered the government to reveal more information about the program. The agency made the disclosure in a criminal case against a man accused of violating export restrictions on goods to Iran. In a declaration filed in the case, a DEA agent described the then-secret program of collecting telephone records of calls made from the U.S. to “designated foreign countries’’ that are connected with international drug trafficking. The declaration revealed that DEA relied on administrative subpoenas to amass the database of Americans’ call records. The DEA obtained the records without judicial oversight or approval.

News reports say the program, run by the DEA’s special operations division, began its bulk collection in the 1990s, using the collected records to create a database for domestic criminal probes. The information was shared with other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for reasons unrelated to drug trafficking, media reports said. Although the DEA has indicated the program was “suspended” in 2013, this suit seeks to ensure the program is permanently terminated, that it cannot restart, and that all of HRW’s illegally collected records have been purged from all government systems.

Human Rights Watch and its staff work regularly on issues in countries linked to drug trafficking, communicating with victims or witnesses to human rights abuses.

“Human Rights Watch often works with people in dire circumstances around the world. Our sources are sometimes in life or death situations, and speaking out can make them a target,” said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel of Human Rights Watch. “Who we communicate with and when we communicate with them is often extraordinarily sensitive—and it’s information that we would never turn over to the government lightly.”

“The NSA isn’t the only federal agency collecting Americans’ call records in bulk,” said EFF staff attorney Mark Rumold. “The DEA’s program is yet another example of federal agencies overreaching their surveillance authority in secret. We are asking the court to require the government to destroy the records it illegally collected no matter where they are held, and to declare—once and for all—that bulk collection of Americans’ records is unconstitutional.’’

EFF also represents plaintiffs in First Unitarian v. NSA, a case filed in 2013; Jewel v. NSA, a class action case filed in 2008; and Smith v. Obama, a lawsuit from an Idaho emergency neonatal nurse. Those lawsuits challenge NSA programs of dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans.  
 
For the full complaint in Human Rights Watch v DEA:
https://www.eff.org/document/hrw-v-dea-complaint

Contact:

Nate Cardozo
EFF Staff Attorney
nate@eff.org

Mark Rumold
EFF Staff Attorney
mark@eff.org

Dinah PoKempner
Human Rights Watch
pokempd@hrw.org

Cynthia Wong
Human Rights Watch
wongc@hrw.org

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Why We Sued the DEA: Mass Surveillance Still Illegal

eff.org - Thu, 09/04/2015 - 00:04

We've filed a new lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on behalf our client, Human Rights Watch (HRW), to challenge the DEA’s untargeted collection of billions of international calling records over the course of more than two decades. You may have seen a wonderfully detailed piece of reporting on the program published yesterday by Brad Heath of USA Today. We’ve been working on a lawsuit since the program was initially disclosed to the public in January, and we’re grateful for the renewed attention USA Today’s article brought to the program and the DEA’s mass surveillance program.

Now it’s time to end the program, and bulk surveillance, once and for all.

As we learned from the initial reporting on the program, the DEA used a twisted interpretation of an administrative subpoena statute to collect—en masse—the telephone calling records for massive numbers of calls between the United States and certain foreign countries. What’s more, beginning in the 1990s, the DEA operated the program for decades, completely without court oversight.

USA Today’s report provided even more detail. The article reported that the program began in 1992 and wasn’t limited to calls between the United States and a small number of drug trafficking hotspots. Indeed, we learned yesterday that the list of countries to which Americans’ call data was swept up eventually totaled as many as 116—more than half the nations of the world. Further, that list included not just Iran (as the DEA admitted in a court filing last year) but Italy, Mexico, and even Canada. And as Stewart Baker, the NSA’s former General Counsel admitted in the article, DEA’s database served as a “precursor” for the NSA’s even larger post-9/11 mass collection programs.

Previously, we had seen the DEA’s declaration under oath that the program had been “suspended” as of September 2013, and that the database was “no longer being queried for investigative purposes” (emphasis added).  We’d also seen a Department of Justice official quoted as having said that the information collected had been deleted. But we noted that DEA’s statement under oath contains no such assurance, and indeed the term “suspended” leaves wide open the possibility that collection will resume at any time. And in fact, we learned from USA Today that the DEA asked the Department of Justice for permission to do just that in December 2013.

The disparity between the DEA’s under oath statement—that its collection had been “suspended” and that the resulting database would not be accessed “for investigative purposes”—and the officials’ out-of-court statements—that the program had ended and the data deleted—illustrates the need for this lawsuit. Too often, the government’s public claims about a program’s scope or its status don’t hold up under scrutiny. This lawsuit will ensure that the program is actually terminated—and that it can’t be started again.  It’s also one thing to say that a database has been deleted, but data migrates, especially in law enforcement’s hands. We know that agencies other than the DEA—such as the Department of Homeland Security—had access to the data collected under the program and that they used it for purposes entirely unrelated to the war on drugs. Our lawsuit seeks to root out the data illegally collected by the DEA, wherever that data has gone, and ensure its permanent deletion.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if the agency doing the bulk collection is the DEA, the FBI, or the NSA; and it doesn’t matter if the information collected is the content of communications or metadata—bulk collection of Americans’ records is unconstitutional. And we hope this lawsuit will put an end to the practice, once and for all.  

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Bashing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' Moscow Visit

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 23:53
Bashing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' Moscow Visit
by Stephen Lendman
Media scoundrels are relentless. So are Western officials. 
Tsipras arrived in Moscow Tuesday night ahead of his Wednesday meeting with "Kremlin strongman" Vladimir Putin, some reports headlined.
The Wall Street Journal said he didn't come for money. He's feigning an independent streak.
He's playing to the home crowd. He's faking defiance of EU/IMF creditors.
So far he's saying one thing and doing another. He's business as usual masquerading as a populist leader.
"Analysts say Mr. Tsipras’s trip is unlikely to yield any tangible benefits but risks augmenting the mistrust between Athens and other EU capitals, including Berlin," said the Journal.
Putin stands to gain more by "show(ing) cracks in the West's front against Russia's policy in Ukraine," it added.
Greek analyst Constantinos Filis believes Tsipras won't risk European alienation over Russia. Any big announcement from Moscow would be provocative, he added.
His EU criticism is more rhetorical than real. He declined Putin's invitation to participate in May 9 Victory in WW II commemorations to be held in Moscow.
London's Guardian called his visit "controversial." Saying "the defiant leader flew into Russia on Tuesday amid speculation that president Vladimir Putin might make an offer of financial help he would find hard to resist."
A Tsipras administration statement called his visit "politically friendly and economically promising."
The Guardian said expect "an array of accords" to be signed - "including a three-year plan to strengthen economic and commercial ties." 
Expect no blockbuster announcements. At the same time, it's no secret Tsipras wants Russian sanctions relief - to restore lost trade, especially in agricultural products.
He hopes Russia will agree to deliver natural gas at lower prices. Gazprom supplies 60% of Greece's needs.
Western officials accuse Putin of exploiting Athens to disrupt EU unity. 
Russian economist Vasily Koltashov says "for Moscow, it's very important that Greece adopts a harder position in relations with Brussels over the sanctions with Russia."
Western officials claim Tsipris is playing "a dangerous game of brinkmanship" at a very sensitive time.
New York Times editors are relentless Putin bashers. An embarrassment of Big Lies blast out daily.
They headlined "Greece Should Be Wary of Mr. Putin." Ludicrously saying it would be "misguided (for) Tsipris to seek financial or other support from President Vladimir Putin."
They criticized Tsipras calling sanctions "a road to nowhere." They ignored their blatant illegality.
They called Tsipras' comment "seriously harmful because the sanctions are having an impact on Russia and should be maintained."
"(T)hey have to be renewed periodically and all members of the European Union - including Greece - have to agree to extend them."
Fact: Lawless actions should be universally denounced.
Fact: No nation or political union may impose sanctions on other countries legally.
Fact: Security Council members alone may do so. No such action was taken - nor will it.
Times editors never quit.  One irresponsible Putin accusation follows others.
"Mr. Putin has shown a keen interest in exploiting divisions within the European Union for his own gain," they said.
His legitimate interest in wanting cooperative relations with all nations is called "exploit(ive)."
His all-out efforts to resolve conflict in Ukraine diplomatically is considered disruptive. Irresponsible charges of nonexistent “Russian aggression” persist.
Eurozone straightjacket rules bankrupted Greece. Its debt burden is unrepayable. 
Force-fed austerity makes things worse. Not according to Times editors.
They absurdly claim what bankrupted Greece will help "revive (its) economy." 
They support paying bankers first at the expense of long-suffering Greek people.
"…Mr Tsipras should be careful not to let himself be used to undermine (irresponsible anti-Russian) European unity," they stress.
They prove their uncompromising fealty to wealth, power and privilege daily - at the expense of equity and justice for all.
The Financial Times headlined "Alexis Tsipras' soft fruit ploy with Moscow set to antagonise EU."
Saying he hopes for relief from Russia's embargo on EU agricultural products in response to opposing sanctions imposed on Moscow.
"(W)hat worries European diplomats is that the Putin-Tsipras gladhanding amounts to something more significant than fruit trade," said the FT. 
"The big fear, in the words of one suspicious senior official, is a 'Trojan horse' plot, where Russia extends billions in rescue loans in exchange for a Greek veto on sanctions - a move that would kill western unity over Ukraine."
An announcement this week is unlikely - maybe none at all given Greece's stated commitment to pay bankers first, honor all its EU/IMF financial obligations, its NATO ones, and maintain good European relations no matter the harm to its economy and people.
Berlin-based Greece/Russian relations expert Theocharis Grigoriadis says Tsipras "has no intention of making Greece a Russian satellite."
"The Russians know that. The Germans know that. It is pure theatre, a Greek game, and I’m afraid it looks like a poodle trying to scare a lion."
Tsipras so far is all talk and no bite. He's committed to continue same wrongheaded policies he vowed to end - business as usual harming millions of Greek people.
How long they'll put up with it remains to be seen. It bears repeating. Expect no blockbuster announcements from Tsipras' Moscow visit.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

US-Sponsored Slow-Motion Genocide in Yemen

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 19:43
US-Sponsored Slow-Motion Genocide in Yemen
by Stephen Lendman
Washington planned war on Yemen months ago - preemptive naked aggression by any standard with Saudi-led proxies doing Obama's dirty work.
Plus direct US involvement. Reports indicate one or more American warships shelled Yemeni targets. Israeli warplanes are involved.
Millions of Yemenis are experiencing the horrors of Obama's terror wars - including willfully targeting residential areas, hospitals, schools, power facilities, Yemen's largest food storage center, its largest dairy plant, and other nonmilitary sites. 
Noncombatant men, women and children are being murdered and maimed in cold blood. Bodies are piling up in streets.
America's dark side is in plain sight for everyone to see - imperial arrogance on an unprecedented global scale. 
Yemen is the latest target. Expect others to come. US wars are endless. One country after another is targeted, ravaged and destroyed.
Millions of corpses and mutilated bodies attest to America's depravity - unprecedented in human history, happening in real time on a global scale.
Yemeni terror bombing survivors report the ground shaking beneath their feet.
An Uzbek citizen Russia airlifted to safety said "(w)e couldn't sleep for the last eight days."
"We are thankful to Russia and (President) Putin for organizing the evacuation. 
Russia was the only country (offering help). No one else has done that."
A French evacuee called nightly terror-bombing impossible to bear. A Russian citizen airlifted out feared her children would die.
"The whole city (Sanaa) shook from all sides. That is what made me leave," she said.
On April 7, Pentagon-controlled Stars and Stripes said Washington "is expediting arms deliveries to the Saudi-led coalition that is battling Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, according to US officials."
Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visiting Riyadh said "we have expedited weapons deliveries."
"We have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation center."
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said "the US military continues to support the efforts of Saudi Arabia and some of their partners in the region to try to address the security situation along their border that they’re justifiably concerned about."
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said shipments include "a combination of pre-existing orders made by our partner nations and some new requirements as they expend munitions."
He gave no details on what's shipped. Saying only "we’re working very closely with our partners there to get them what they need."
Washington provides intelligence, air-refueling, logistical help and terror-bombing targets to strike - including residential and other nonmilitary areas murdering civilians.
On Wednesday, at least six children died and others were injured when Saudi warplanes terror-bombed a school in central Yemen.
UNICEF's Julien Harneis said children "are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted."
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said many injured have no access to healthcare. The ICRC indicated it's very hard delivering desperately needed medical supplies.
A spokesperson said if they don't reach Yemen soon, many more people will die.
Over 100,000 Yemenis have been displaced. Others join them daily - fleeing for their lives, many with nowhere to go.
An ICRC spokesperson called conditions in Yemen's southern port city Aden "catastrophic." 
It bears repeating. Obama's war on Yemen is naked aggression by any standard.
International law expert Prof. Francis Boyle calls it a "case of raw, naked, brutal aggression."
"It is about the United States, by means of its proxies and puppets Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), trying to reassert its control over Yemen because of its strategic location," he explained.
"The only way there could be any type of lawful military intervention in Yemen is if it comes from the UN Security Council, and that so far hasn’t happened."
UN Charter Article 2, paragraph 3 states:
"All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered."
According to paragraph 4:
"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."
Paragraph 7 states:
"Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter…"
Article 53 prohibits military force without Security Council authorization. None was forthcoming - nor will there be any. Russia and perhaps China won't permit it.
Horrific ongoing crimes of war and against humanity are being committed. Catastrophic conditions worsen daily.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signaled possible greater US involvement saying Al Qaeda's activities in Yemen are expanding.
It's vying for greater power, he said. Al Qaeda is a US creation. It's used as both ally and enemy in different conflict areas. Carter didn't explain. 
He ludicrously warned its "ambition (is) to strike Western targets and the United States."
Will Washington get more directly involved in Yemen's conflict it initiated? It remains to be seen.
One thing looks certain. Another US targeted country is being ravaged and destroyed.
Millions of lives are at risk. Many tens of thousands may die before fighting ends. It could continue for years.
A Final Comment
Russia urges resolving Yemen's conflict diplomatically. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said waging it has no "international legal basis." 
"We were, of course…disappointed that the operation was launched without any consultations with the UN Security Council or any bilateral talks, and that our partners…post factum came to the Security Council and asked for the approval of their actions," he explained.
"We can’t do this, because it is a request to approve just one side of the conflict and to outlaw the other side."
"Our position is different. Right now we are actively working with our Saudi and Egyptian colleagues, with other countries that are taking part in this operation, and are calling for a peaceful settlement." 
"To do this, both belligerents have to take certain steps: the Houthis should stop the combat operation in southern Yemen where there are attempts to capture new territories." 
"The ceasefire must be unconditional. The coalition must stop air strikes." 
"The forces, which confront the Houthis on the ground, also must join the ceasefire." 
"(A)ll parties must come to the negotiating table. This is not beyond our capabilities."
"The capitals of the region’s countries, possible hosts for the talks, are currently being discussed." 
"They should be acceptable for all of Yemen’s parties and allow for the return to dialogue and peaceful initiatives." 
"The country is in need of national unity and new elections. We have seen all that in Ukraine."
Obama didn't wage proxy war on Yemen to quit - not until Washington regains control of its former client state. 
Expect fighting to continue like in other US war theaters - maybe for years before it ends.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Moscow

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 04:56
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Moscow
by Stephen Lendman
On April 8, Tsipras and Putin will discuss boosting cooperative economic and political relations between both countries - in areas of trade, energy and possible Russian financial support helping Greece deal with its debt crisis.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed these and related issues will be discussed. An anonymous Kremlin source told the daily Kommersant newspaper:
"We are ready to discuss the issue of providing Greece with a discount on gas: under the contract, its price is tied to the price of oil, which has dropped significantly in recent months." 
"We are also ready to discuss the possibility of issuing new credit to Greece."
The source indicated Russia is interested in acquiring certain Greek assets. Loans might depend on coming to terms.
State-owned Russian Railways (RR) held earlier talks with Greece's public passenger and cargo rail operator TrainOSE.
Gazprom offered 900 million euros for Greece's state-owned gas company DEPA. It then backed off, citing concerns about the company's financial stability.
Both countries have strong tourist ties. Over a million Russians visit Greece annually.
It's home to about 300,000 Russian ex-pats. It gets two-thirds of its natural gas from Russia. It's eager to strengthen energy cooperation.
RT International cited Athens saying Germany owes Greece WW II reparations exceeding its total EU/IMF debt.
Deputy Finance Minister Dimistis Mardas said:
"According to our calculations, the debt linked to German reparations is 278.7 billion euros, including 10.3 billion euros for the so-called forced loan." 
"All the other amounts are related to allowances for individuals or infrastructure."
The statement came ahead of Tsipras' Wednesday meeting with Putin.
Raising the issue of war reparations from 70 years ago will likely strain already less than cordial Athens/Berlin relations. Germany denies it owes anything.
Both countries are involved in renegotiating Greece's $270  billion euro debt.
RT indicated issues Tsipras and Putin will likely discuss include:
  • financial aid free from loan shark of last resort troika terms;

  • lower natural gas prices;

  • closer energy ties overall;

  • lifting sanctions on Greek exports to Russia - mainly agricultural ones; 

  • increased trade; and

  • closer political and economic ties.

According to Syriza MP Thanasis Petrakos, Greece intends to deepen (its) relationship with Russia in the energy sector and thereby hope to gain a significant advantage."
In January, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Moscow would consider aiding Greece financially.
"(I)f (a request) is submitted to the Russian government, we will definitely consider it," he said.
On the eve of his visit to Moscow, Tsipras spoke to Tass Deputy Director-General Mikhail Gusman.
He discussed prospects for Greek/Russian relations, a new European security architecture, EU sanctions, and upcoming 70th Victory in World War II anniversary commemoration to be held in Moscow.
Meeting with Putin "is an opportunity to lay a new basis for Russian-Greek relations," said Tsipras.
"We should take a look at how our peoples and countries may really cooperate in many spheres - the economy, energy, trade, and agriculture," he explained. 
"We should consider in what way we can help each other: mostly how constructive our cooperation can be."
Tsipras called sanctions "a road to nowhere." He hopes to strengthen Greek/Russian bilateral relations.
He wants a new European security architecture to include Russia. He recognizes the challenge he faces dealing with Greece's enormous economic and financial burdens.
He intends honoring his odious IMF/EU debt obligations instead of renouncing them and walking away. 
He'll continue paying bankers first, maintain austerity, and provide little or no relief for long suffering Greek people.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Greece "intends to meet all obligations to all its creditors ad infinitum."
Making a 450 million euro IMF payment looms - nine billion euros overall this year plus other repayments.
The more Greece borrows, the greater its debt burden. The less it's able to service it.
Debt too great to be repaid won't be. Noted investor Jim Rogers said Greek debt is so huge it'll "never ever" be paid off.
It's "impossible." If Athens can't get financial help in Russia (or enough of it), China might be its best bet, Rogers explained.
It's "got more money than anybody…than all of us put together," he said.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz warned Greece not to jeopardize its EU relationship by seeking Russian financial aid.
Troika power wants Greece debt entrapped in perpetuity. It wants ordinary Greeks deprived of essentials to life to pay bankers first. 
It wants all long-suffering Europeans treated the same way. So far Tsipras has been very obliging. He surrendered to Troika demands. 
His campaign promises proved hollow. How long Greeks intend putting up with his betrayal remains to be seen.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Data Retention Law Passes in Australia, but the Fight Isn’t Over

eff.org - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 02:29

Mandatory data retention legislation is never a good idea, which is why EFF has vigorously opposed it in the United States, where Congress tried and failed to pass it in 2009. That year, two ill-conceived bills would have required all Internet providers and operators of Wi-Fi access points to keep records on Internet users for at least two years to assist police investigations. Nevertheless, governments around the world, individually, and in concert, continue to argue that the stockpiling of the private, personal data of entire populations become a global norm. It's a constant battle, but one with some clear victories, most notably in the European Union, and most recently in Paraguay. The latest setback in the global fight against data retention has been in Australia, which, despite widespread opposition from journalists, activists and the general public, passed a comprehensive data retention bill this month.

What’s wrong with mandatory data retention? Most ISPs and telecommunications companies give subscribers an IP address that changes periodically. Mandatory data retention proposals force ISPs and telecommunications providers to keep records of their IP address allocations for a certain period of time. This allows law enforcement to ask ISPs and telecom providers to identify an individual on the basis of who had a given IP address at a particular date and time. Government mandated data retention impacts millions of ordinary users compromising online anonymity that is crucial for whistle-blowers, investigators, journalists, and those engaging in political speech. National data retention laws are invasive, costly, and damage the right to privacy and free expression. They compel ISPs and telecommunications companies to create large databases of information about who communicates with whom via Internet or phone, the duration of the exchange, and the users’ location. These regimes require that your IP address be collected and retained for every step you make online. Privacy risks increase as these databases become vulnerable to theft and accidental disclosure. Service providers must absorb the expense of storing and maintaining these large databases and often pass these costs on to consumers.

And why is the Australian data retention bill particularly bad? Let us count the ways. The Australian Parliament passed amendments to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 requiring telecommunication service providers to retain for two years certain telecommunications metadata prescribed by regulations. Don’t be fooled by the argument that it’s “just metadata.” Even if the content of your communication is protected, metadata can be extremely revealing. In the United States, former Director of the National Security Agency Gen. Michael Hayden has gone on the record stating “We kill people based on metadata.” It’s also implementing a data collection regime that has been soundly discredited in the European Union’s courts.

Ars Technica’s Glyn Moody writes:

The two-year retention period equals the maximum allowed under the EU's earlier Data Retention Directive that was struck down last year by the Court of Justice of the European Union for being "a wide-ranging and particularly serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data."

The Australian government was able to win this vote with the cooperation of the main opposition Labor party when they added a requirement to use special "journalist information warrants" for access to journalists’ metadata. Those protections are laughably weak. For example, the law uses a very narrow definition of what constitutes a journalist:

A person who is working in a professional capacity as a journalist. Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA

What’s missing from this definition? Bloggers, lawyers, policy advisers, and any number of other people who may write things that are critical of the government. Additionally, the data retention law explicitly outlaws “warrant canaries,” a novel strategy that some providers use to signal that they have not received a gag order, the theory being that if the signal is not renewed, that status has likely changed. Canary Watch currently tracks the state of warrant canaries for dozens of companies, ranging from VPN providers to reddit.

So where do we go from here? Even if mandatory data retention is the law of the land in Australia, that doesn’t mean the battle is over. It was the passing of the original EU data retention directive in 2006 that mobilized and fueled the growth of a new generation of digital rights groups across Europe, including Germany and Austria's AK Vorrat, the UK's Open Rights Group, and Digital Rights Ireland, whose lawsuit against the mandate led to its final repeal.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA

That fight took eight years; but it shows that overturning data retention is possible. The Australian Green Party’s Scott Ludlam, who has vigorously opposed the bill from its very conception immediately put out a statement vowing to fight: “Our work now turns to repealing this regime.” He also urged accountability for every MP that supports the regime, calling on Australians to contact Bill Shorten and his Labour colleagues and tell them “you’re unhappy with their decision to surrender our digital rights and privacy.”

The legal and policy fight against data retention may take time. But Australians can take immediate steps to protect themselves from mandatory data retention for themselves as well as protecting those who are most vulnerable to illegitimate surveillance with technology. EFF’s Surveillance Self Defense offers tips, tools, and how-tos for safer online communications, whether its protecting your metadata with a VPN or Tor or choosing the appropriate secure communications tools for your needs. The flimsy protections for a small subset of journalists in Australia's law will not be enough: everyone at risk from pervasive, long-term data collection will need to take steps to protect themselves.

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Australians cannot be alone in this fight. Every nation – from the United States, Europe to Paraguay – that rejects data retention, strengthens the arguments in favor of rejecting it globally. Every country that falls prey to data retention law, from Australia to Brazil, encourages other states to press for it in their own legislatures. It's a global fight, and one that will require solidarity and a global alliance against data retention to combat it.

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Congressional/Israeli Determination to Block Iran Nuclear Deal

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 07/04/2015 - 22:51
Congressional/Israeli Determination to Block Iran Nuclear Deal
by Stephen Lendman
Bipartisan congressional hardliners, Israel and its Lobby intend going all-out to undermine a final deal on Iran's known peaceful nuclear program.
On April 6, AIPAC manufactured what it called "significant concerns" about framework terms agreed on.
It absurdly claimed "(t)he emerging deal could leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state and encourage a Mideast nuclear arms race."
It calls the best deal none at all - or one depriving Iran of its legitimate right to develop and use nuclear power the same as dozens of other nations not criticized.
AIPAC ludicrously claims "profound national security implications" are at stake. "Congress must have a role."
"Iran's leaders cannot be trusted. Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terror, which it continues to promote on a global basis."
"It has lied and cheated under its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations for three decades…"
It's "buil(t) a whole nuclear infrstructure clandestinely. (It's) actively cheating."
It "refuse(s) to answer the IAEA's questions about its efforts to weaponize…"
It "refuse(s) access to IAEA inspectors…(It) continues its illicit activity of importing sensitive nuclear technology…Until Iran comes clean, (it) can't be trusted.
Fact: AIPAC's rant makes bad fiction look good.
Fact: It repeatedly and systematically lies about Iran's legitimate nuclear program.
Fact: It's totally silent about Israel's illicit one - a nuclear outlaw state maintaining a formidable thermonuclear arsenal.
Fact: Iran's legal nuclear program threatens no one.
Fact: Congress has no right to serve imperial Israeli interests at the expense of legitimate Iranian ones - or those of any other nation.
Fact: Nothing whatever suggests Iran can't be trusted.
Fact: Claims about Iranian sponsored terror are Big Lies.
Fact: So are bogus accusations of violating NPT provisions.
Fact: No Iranian clandestine nuclear infrastructure exists.
Fact: Its facilities are the world's most intensively monitored.
Fact: It fully cooperates with IAEA inspectors.
Fact: Israel refuses to come clean on its program. Inspections are strictly prohibited.
Fact: Iran absolutely can and should be trusted - not Israel or America, known nuclear outlaws threatening world peace.
Media reports indicate Israeli officials and many congressional members intend going all-out to undermine a final Iranian nuclear deal by June 30.
So-called concerns about Tehran's pathway to a bomb hold no water whatever. Malicious propaganda manufactures Big Lies.
Netanyahu absurdly claims Lausanne terms "threaten the survival of Israel" - increasing the risk of a "horrific war."
Only if Israel or America launches it. On Monday, Israeli strategic affairs minister Yuval Steinitz said the "military option" against Iran still exists.
"It was on the table. It's still on the table. It's going to remain on the stable," he stressed.
Despite no Iranian threat whatever (now, earlier or ahead), Steinitz blustered:
"Israel should be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. And it's our right and duty to decide how to defend ourselves, especially if our national security and even very existence is under threat."
Any deal with Iran "has to be made on the assumption that (it) may violate it."
Steinitz listed demands he and likeminded Israeli hardliners insist on, including:
  • ending Iran's (nonexistent) nuclear weapons R&D activities;

  • greatly reducing numbers of centrifuges more than P5+1 countries and Iran agreed on;

  • closing Fordow - located underground within a mountain for protection against possible US or Israel attacks;

  • complete disclosure of Iran's past nuclear work;

  • removing Iran's entire enriched uranium stockpile from the country; and

  • letting IAEA inspectors monitor any Iranian nuclear or other facilities any time at their discretion.

Obliging Israel would require entirely reworking terms agreed on - something P5+1 countries and Iran reject.
Steinitz claims Israeli military and intelligence officials identified what he called 10 "unanswered questions." 
They include doubts about Iran observing what it agreed to, how quickly sanctions could be reinstated if backtracking occurs, and eventual more advanced centrifuges reducing breakout time to a bomb to three or four months.
"All of our experts are united in their opposition to this bad deal," Steinitz blustered.
Former IAEA deputy director-general/Zionist hardliner Olli Heinonen lied claiming Lausanne terms let Iran remain "a threshold breakout nuclear state for the next 10 years."
After that, things get worse, he added. The deal will encourage other regional countries to strengthen their own nuclear programs, he claimed.
Heinonen and likeminded Zionist zealots want Iran isolated, weakened and eliminated as an Israeli regional political rival. 
They want its government toppled. They want Big Oil able to exploit Iranian resources freely.
Obama said military action remains an option he'll consider if Iran backtracks on nuclear deal terms reached. 
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes indicated the same thing, saying:
"Certainly, if Iran violates the agreement, all options are on the table related to Iran, including military options."
On Monday, senior Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer said he'll back legislation giving Congress vetting power over any final nuclear deal reached - what Obama strongly opposes.
His support appears to give the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act (NWFI) a veto-proof Senate margin. House members overwhelmingly support it.
Enactment could be a deal-breaker. Congress won't support what Israel and its Lobby reject.
Whether a Security Council resolution supported by P5+1 countries can overcome their damage remains to be seen. 
Resolving things responsibly with Iran (short-term at least) hangs in the balance.
Longer-term is an entirely different story given deep-rooted US anti-Iranian sentiment and America's notorious history of breaching virtually all treaties, conventions, deals and core international laws.
Don't expect this time to be different. Business as usual is longstanding US policy.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Obama's Wars Murdering Noncombatant Men, Women and Children

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 07/04/2015 - 19:10
Obama's Wars Murder Noncombatant Men, Women and Children
by Stephen Lendman
In the 1960s, Vietnam war protesters chanted "Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?"
Obama way exceeds his ruthlessness - murdering and maiming noncombatants in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Donbass, Palestinians complicit with Israel and now Yemen.
Who's next? Everywhere he shows up, mass slaughter and destruction follow. So does horrific human suffering words can't explain.
Make no mistake. Yemen is Obama's war. Months of preparation preceded hostilities. Detailed planning chose targets now terror-bombed.
Saudi-led forces are US proxies, serving American regional interests over the corpses of likely many thousands before conflict ends.
Neocon lunatics in Washington consider it a small price to pay. International law calls it the highest of high crimes.
Conditions in Yemen for many were desperate before fighting began. Now they're catastrophic for many millions.
In more normal times, Oxfam estimates around 16 million Yemenis dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.
About 10 million haven't enough food. Around 13 million have no access to clean drinking water. 
Nine million lack basic medical care - greatly exacerbated now because most international aid workers left to avoid danger.
In the last 24 hours alone, reports estimate around 140 killed, many more seriously injured.
After nearly two weeks of terror-bombing, hundreds have been murdered in cold blood, thousands injured. The specter of starvation haunts many as food is increasingly in short supply.
Casualties mount daily. Noncombatant civilians suffer most. On April 6, a UN News Center report said:
"The violence in Yemen continues to wreak havoc upon the country's civilian population and restricts humanitarian access to those most in need amid a spate of aerial attacks and ground incursions."
Residential neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, public areas and vital infrastructure are being deliberately terror-bombed.
The UN reported residential buildings and bridges destroyed in Aden and Ma'ala. Conditions are "rapidly deteriorating" throughout much of the country, it said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the deaths of healhcare workers. It said hospitals were damaged or destroyed. It voiced concern about "the serious implications of these attacks."
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported increasing numbers child deaths and injuries.
It estimates scores killed so far, many others maimed for life. It calls its estimates "conservative."
UNICEF Yemen representative Julien Harneis said:
"Children are paying an intolerable price for this conflict. They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted."
"These children should be immediately afforded special respect and protection by all parties to the conflict, in line with international humanitarian law."
"The conflict is exacerbating the already precarious situation for children in one of the region's poorest countries."
Under more normal conditions, many Yemenis face food insecurity. Severe acute malnutrition is widespread among young children.
Growing numbers of Yemenis are being displaced. UN sources estimate at least 100,000 so far. A major refugee crisis looms.
A humanitarian one already exists. All essentials to life are in short supply or unavailable - including food, clean water, medical supplies, healthcare and electricity.
Terror-bombing disrupted, damaged or destroyed southern area drinking water and sanitation facilities.
Raw sewage flows in streets. The risk of widespread illness and disease is huge.
Aden residents reported one or more foreign warships (maybe US ones) shelling coastlines.
Explosions rocked suburban areas. Houthi fighters continue making gains despite intense terror-bombing and ground fighting.
Reuters reported heavy shelling and street fighting in and around Aden for days.
It indicated mounting food, water, medical supplies and electricity shortages throughout much of the country.
Sanaa, the capital, Aden, and surrounding areas are especially hard hit.
Reuters quoted a woman named Fatima walking through near-barren streets with her young children pleading: "How are we supposed to live without water and electricity?"
Desperately needed ICRC aid hasn't arrived. A spokesperson said:
"We are still working on getting the plane to Sanaa. It's a bit difficult with the logistics because there are not that many companies or cargo planes willing to fly into a conflict zone."
The ICRC is trying to get medical supplies in by sea from neighboring Djibouti. Fighting makes it extremely hazardous doing so.
Food is in short supply. Bottled water is no longer available. Water fit to drink is hard to find.
A mother of three said "(f)ood is in short supply, and thousands of children sleep hungry."
"Where are the international aid organizations? There is no support coming to Yemen. Innocent civilians and children are dying in Aden while the world is watching."
Yemen under normal conditions imports about 90% of its food. Saudi-blocked sea and air routes prevents supplies from arriving.
ICRC spokeswoman Maria Claire Feghali said "(t)he most critical part, the biggest challenge is the medical one. The hospitals are exhausted."
Last week, fighting killed three Red Cross workers. Fars News reports Saudi Arabia enlisting Al Qaeda terrorists to battle Houthis on the ground. 
Yemeni General Khalid al-Barayem said Houthi fighters intercepted trucks with (likely Saudi-supplied) chemical weapons heading for areas controlled by elements loyal to ousted US-installed illegitimate president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Substances seized can produce deadly sarin gas, he said. Turkish aircraft are delivering weapons to Hadi loyalists under the cover of humanitarian aid, he added.
As of April 7, Fars News estimates at least 887 Yemenis killed - "including hundreds of women and children."
Saudi-led terror-bombing is deliberately targeting civilian areas and infrastructure, it added.
"There is no question that the US-supported and Saudi-led attack on Yemen is a blatant act of illegal aggression," it stressed.
Civilian victims are dying. Others are maimed for life. Hundreds of thousands are suffering horrendously from humanitarian crisis conditions.
Where is the international community when most needed? Why haven't responsible world leaders acted to stop US-planned/Saudi-led mass slaughter and destruction?
Hey! Hey! Barack! How many Yemeni kids did you kill today?
And Afghans. And Iraqis. And Syrians among many other victims of US direct and proxy aggression!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

The White House’s New Executive Order On Cyber Crime is (Unfortunately) No Joke

eff.org - Tue, 07/04/2015 - 11:07

On the morning of April 1st, the White House issued a new executive order (EO) that asserts that malicious “cyber-enabled activities” are a national threat, declares a national emergency, and establishes sanctions and other consequences for individuals and entities. While computer and information security is certainly very important, this EO could dangerously backfire, and chill the very security research that is necessary to protect people from malicious attacks.

We wish we could say it was a very well-orchestrated April Fool’s joke, it appears the White House was serious. The order is yet another example of bad responses to very real security concerns. It comes at the same time as Congress is considering the White House’s proposal for fundamentally flawed cybersecurity legislation.

That perhaps shouldn’t be surprising, since so far, D.C.’s approach to cybersecurity hasn’t encouraged better security through a better understanding of the threats we face (something security experts internationally have pointed out is necessary). Instead of encouraging critical security research into vulnerabilities, or creating a better way to disclose vulnerabilities, this order could actually discourage that research.

The most pernicious provision, Section 1(ii)(B), allows the Secretary of the Treasury, “in consultation with” the Attorney General and Secretary of State, to make a determination that an person or entity has “materially … provided … technological support for, or goods or services in support of any” of these malicious attacks.

While that may sound good on its face, the fact is that the order is dangerously overbroad. That’s because tools that can be used for malicious attacks are also vital for defense. For example, penetration testing is the process of attempting to gain access to computer systems, without credentials like a username. It’s a vital step in finding system vulnerabilities and fixing them before malicious attackers do. Security researchers often publish tools, and provide support for them, to help with this testing. Could the eo be used to issue sanctions against security researchers who make and distribute these tools? On its face, the answer is…maybe.

To be sure, President Obama has said that “this executive order [does not] target the legitimate cybersecurity research community or professionals who help companies improve their cybersecurity.” But assurances like this are not enough. Essentially, with these words, Obama asks us to trust the Executive, without substantial oversight, to be able to make decisions about the property and rights of people who may not have much recourse once that decision has been made, and who may well not get prior notice before the hammer comes down. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice has used anti-hacking laws far too aggressively to gain that trust.

As several security researchers who spoke up against similarly problematic terms in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act recently pointed out in an amicus brief:

There are relatively few sources of pressure to fix design defects, whether they be in wiring, websites, or cars. The government is not set up to test every possible product or website for defects before its release, nor should it be; in addition, those defects in electronic systems that might be uncovered by the government (for instance, during an unrelated investigation) are often not released, due to internal policies. Findings by industry groups are often kept quiet, under the assumption that such defects will never come to light—just as in Grimshaw (the Ford Pinto case). The part of society that consistently serves the public interest by finding and publicizing defects that will harm consumers is the external consumer safety research community, whether those defects be in consumer products or consumer websites.

It’s clear that security researchers play an essential function. It was researchers (not the government) who discovered and conscientiously spread the news about Heartbleed, Shellshock, and POODLE, three major vulnerabilities discovered in 2014. Those researchers should not have to question whether or not they will be subject to sanctions.

To make matters worse, while most of the provisions specify that they apply to activity taking place outside of or mostly outside of the US, Section 1(ii)(B) has no such limitation. We have concerns about how the order applies to everyone. But this section also brings up constitutional due process concerns. That is, if it were to apply to people protected by the U.S. Constitution, it could violate the Fifth Amendment right to due process.

As we’ve had to point out repeatedly in the discussions about reforming the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, unclear laws, prosecutorial (or in this case, Executive Branch) discretion, coupled with draconian penalties are not the answer to computer crime.

 

 

 

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New South Wales Attacks Researchers Who Found Internet Voting Vulnerabilities

eff.org - Tue, 07/04/2015 - 10:55

A security flaw in New South Wales’ Internet voting system may have left as many as 66,000 votes vulnerable to interception and manipulation in a recent election, according to security researchers. Despite repeated assurances from the Electoral Commission that all Internet votes are “fully encrypted and safeguarded,” six days into online voting, Michigan Computer Science Professor J. Alex Halderman and University of Melbourne Research Fellow Vanessa Teague discovered a FREAK flaw that could allow an attacker to intercept votes and inject their own code to change those votes, all without leaving any trace of the manipulation. (FREAK stands for Factoring RSA Export Keys and refers to the exploitation of a weakness in the SSL/TLS protocol that allows attackers to force browsers to use weak encryption keys.) But instead of taking the researchers’ message to heart, officials instead attacked the messengers.

The New South Wales (NSW) Internet voting system, iVote, was designed to make it easier for disabled people, residents not in NSW during voting hours, and rural residents 20 kilometers away from a polling location to vote. The problem is that the system was not ready to be one of the biggest online voting experiments in the world. Even before the election, Halderman and Teague warned that the NSW system had not sufficiently addressed potential security concerns.

Sadly, NSW officials seemed more interested in protecting their reputations than the integrity of elections. They sharply criticized Halderman and Teague, rather than commending them, for their discovery of the FREAK attack vulnerability. The Chief Information Officer of the Electoral Commission, Ian Brightwell, claimed Halderman and Teague’s discovery was part of efforts by “well-funded, well-managed anti-internet voting lobby groups,” an apparent reference to our friends at VerifiedVoting.org, where Halderman and Teague are voluntary Advisory Board members.1 Yet at the same time, Brightwell concluded that it was indeed possible that votes were manipulated. Happily, despite criticizing the messengers, the Electoral Commission admitted that there was a FREAK flaw with iVote and scrambled to promptly patch it. 

Criticizing Halderman and Teague for identifying security flaws in an Internet voting system is like criticizing your friend for pointing out that the lock on your front door doesn’t work. While moving to Internet voting may sound reasonable to folks who haven't paid any attention to the rampant security problems of the Internet these days, it's just not feasible now. As Verified Voting notes: "Current systems lack auditability; there’s no way to independently confirm their correct functioning and that the outcomes accurately reflect the will of the voters while maintaining voter privacy and the secret ballot."  Indeed, the researchers' discovery was not the first indication that New South Wales was not ready for an Internet voting system. Australia’s own Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters concluded last year, “Australia is not in a position to introduce any large-scale system of electronic voting in the near future without catastrophically compromising our electoral integrity.”

Perhaps the Electoral Commission lashed out against Halderman and Teague because it has been forced to reckon with the potentially severe consequences of its flawed Internet voting system. Elections, like toothpaste, cannot be put back in the tube; if critical mistakes are made at any point during the voting process, the legitimacy of the entire process may be compromised. The Electoral Commission appears to be nervous that multiple political parties are considering challenging the validity of the election results because of the iVote security flaws.

EFF has long defended the rights of security researchers to give the rest of us bad news so that we can all work toward a more safe and secure digital future. Nowhere is this more important than in voting. Halderman and Teague have our thanks and hopefully, ultimately, they will gain the thanks of the New South Wales election officials. 

  • 1. Note: Both Verified Voting and Professor Halderman have been EFF clients in the past. EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn was a member of Verified Voting's Board of Directors for many years and is still an Advisory Board member.
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Ukraine: Banning Communism and Donbass Autonomy

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 07/04/2015 - 03:44
Ukraine: Banning Communism and Donbass Autonomy
by Stephen Lendman
All police states operate the same way. Their rules alone apply. International laws, norms and standards are ignored.
Anyone opposing their authority is targeted for elimination. State terror is official policy.
So are one-party rule, rigged elections when held, wars against invented enemies, media control, concentrated wealth and power, and government serving monied interests exclusively.
Kiev's regime is Nazified, ruthless, belligerent and illegitimate. Elections when held are farcical. They mock real ones.
Ukraine's US-installed regime reflects the reemergence of Nazism in Europe's heartland for the first time since WW II.
Kiev officials lie denying it. Their claims don't wash. They intend passing legislation banning communism, its ideology, symbols, influence and message.
According to justice minister Pavel Petrenko, "before May 9 (victory over Nazism commemorations), parliament will pass a decommunization package."
It "should have been done 20 years ago," he added. Ukraine's fascist parliament "has the sufficient political will and the votes" to ban ideologies opposed to police state rule.
Prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged members of parliament to "adopt (this legislation), and to finally ban communist and Nazi ideologies as twin brothers opposed to humanity."
He and likeminded lunatics running Ukraine support core Nazi ideology.
Earlier on German television, he claimed Russia invaded Nazi Germany. An apology Moscow demanded never followed.
Kiev's Nazi-infested so-called cabinet of ministers proposed legislative provisions, including:
  • equating communism to Nazism;

  • banning symbols representing each ideology;

  • granting official recognition to Ukrainian independence fighters - including ultranationalist pro-Nazi elements during WW II;

  • celebrating WW II Victory Day on May 8 - calling it a Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation; and

  • calling May 9 a day for surviving WW II veterans.

On Sunday, Russian Foreign Ministry human rights representative Konstantin Dolgov responded to proposed Kiev legislation saying equating communism with Nazism is "a highly cynical position."
It "contradicts international law, including the results of Nuremberg."
Politicizing May 9 commemoration is way out-of-line, he added. The holiday is sacred to Ukrainians, Russians and other across Europe.
Banning communism is Kiev's latest police state stunt. Days earlier, its Nazified Security Service (SBU) summoned Communist Party leader Pyotr Symonenko for questioning about his trip to Russia.
They may charge him with crimes "against the foundations of Ukraine's national security" for comments he made on Russian television.
Earlier this year, Kiev's ministry of justice unsuccessfully appealed to its district administrative court to ban Communist Party activities.
It called their ruling a "connivance to communists' procedural terrorism." Petrenko vowed to pursue the issue further.
Communist Party members are subject to police state persecution. They face fabricated civil and criminal charges.
Their parliamentary bloc was banned by presidential diktat. Rogue states operate this way. Opposition isn't tolerated. One-party rule runs things.
Separately, Poroshenko declared Ukraine a "unitary state." He claims strong public support, saying:
"Decentralization has nothing to do with federalization. Ukraine has always been and, I am sure, will remain a unitary state." 
"And it is not because we, on the top, have decided so, but because we regularly study public opinion." 
Fascist regimes crush opposing views. They don't respect them. They impose their will - forcefully if necessary.
Kiev authorities refuse to grant Donbass local autonomy after pledging to do so.
They're waging war to prevent it. They're regrouping and rearming for escalated conflict. It's just a matter of time before it's launched.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Ukrainian Anti-Russian, Jew-Hating Overt Nazi Given Key Military Post

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 06/04/2015 - 22:03
Ukrainian Anti-Russian, Jew-Hating, Overt Nazi Given Key Military Post
by Stephen Lendman
Overt Nazi Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh openly boasts about "fighting Jews and Russians till I die." He's a wanted man.
In July 2014, Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest for "public incitement to terrorist and extremist activities involving the use of mass media."
Russia issued criminal charges against him for inciting extremist activities. Its Supreme Court banned Right Sector activities on Russian territory.
Yarosh openly urges "more active resistance against Russia." He calls Moscow "an enemy." He threatened to blow up gas pipelines between both countries.
He was part of US-orchestrated Maidan protests ousting Ukraine's legitimate government in February 2014.
He was directly involved in the May 2014 Odessa massacre killing hundreds - shooting them in cold blood, bludgeoning them to death, butchering them with axes, throwing them out of windows.
He rejects Minsk's ceasefire terms. He vows to continue fighting.
Despite his overt Nazism and criminal record, he's a member of Ukraine's parliament.
Over the weekend, state-controlled television reported:
"Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko and the leader of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps agreed to appoint Dmytro Yarosh adviser to the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces." 
"They also squared a format of cooperation between (his Right Sector fighters) with the Ukrainian Armed Forces." 
"Muzhenko and Yarosh agreed about that at yesterday’s meeting at the General Staff of the Ukrainian army."
On April 3, Poroshenko advisor Yuri Biryukov said Right Sector thugs will be incorporated into Ukraine's army as contract soldiers.
So-called Ukrainian Volunteer Corps (DUK Right Sector) members will be part of its 79th air mobile brigade. They'll be used as death squad assassins - targeting Donbass freedom fighters and any other anti-regime elements.
According to Kiev's defense ministry, they'll be "subordinated to (Ukraine's) military leaders."
They'll obey central command orders. Yarosh said "DUK is ready to perform common tasks with the Army, ready to obey the army leadership in matters relating to national defense against an external enemy, which enables every patriot to protect Ukraine."
Code language for his intention to continue committing cold-blooded murder - targeting anyone nationwide against fascist rule.
He'll introduce legislation legalizing private military groups - death squads by any standard.
"I think it could be a good option for people who can't get back from war inside their heads," he said.
"This will provide jobs for many people and stability in the country," he added.
Right Sector thugs and likeminded groups will be officially authorized to continue Ukraine's so-called "anti-terrorist operation" - cold-blooded murder by any standard, war crimes too serious to ignore.
A Final Comment
On April 6, Sputnik News reported on Forbes magazine's Russian edition claiming Poroshenko asked Putin "to take Donbass."
He refused suggesting it be declared an independent territory. Sputnik News said the offer supposedly came during February Minsk ceasefire talks.
Forbes quoted its unnamed source saying:
"He (Poroshenko) said to me (Putin) directly: 'Take Donbass.' I (Putin) answered him: 'Are you nuts? I don't need Donbass.' "
" 'If you don't need it, declare it independent.' " Putin said Kiev isn't ready to oblige.
End economic blockade and restore pensions and social benefits, he added.
Forbes said another Minsk participant explained the comments between both leaders differently.
Saying "Poroshenko offered Russia to take Donbass for financial support. Putin said that it would only be possible if Donbass becomes part of Russia." 
As long as "Donbass is part of Ukraine, all the payments shall be done by the Ukrainian side."
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented as follows:
"It is not very good that some participants of the meeting have revealed the content of their conversation with the president." 
"Leave it to their own conscience whether it was truth or untruth. I am not going to comment on it."
Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Aleksandr Shokhin head claims Putin's comments were distorted, saying:
"The conversation was about the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, about the adherence to the Minsk agreements, but I am not going to retell his words." 
"This was a wrong interpretation and I have no intention to either comment on it or retell it."
Whatever Putin said or didn't say in Minsk, Donbass remains a self-declared autonomous part of Ukraine.
Kiev's dirty war didn't end. It slowed ahead of plans to escalate it at Obama's discretion.
US combat forces are working directly with Ukraine's military. They'll begin training its Nazi death squads later in April.
They want to kill Russians. Direct confrontation may follow.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Israel: A Force of Pure Evil

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 06/04/2015 - 19:17
Israel: A Force of Pure Evil
by Stephen Lendman
Israel from inception threatened regional peace and stability. Under Netanyahu and likeminded fascist thugs, it threatens humanity.
Netanyahu rails irresponsibly about Iran's well-known peaceful nuclear program. He ignores Israel's open secret.
The whole world knows it's nuclear armed and dangerous. Its menacing arsenal includes illegal chemical and biological weapons - freely used in all its wars along with radiological ones.
Iran threatens no one. It values cooperative relations with all nations. 
It deplores war. It's the region's leading peace and stability proponent. It wants a world free from menacing nuclear weapons.
Israel and America reserve the right to use them preemptively against any nation for any reason - including nuclear weapons-free ones.
They threaten world peace and security. Humanity may not survive their recklessness.
Netanyahu rails like a madman. He's apoplectic over preliminary framework Iranian nuclear program terms agreed on last week in Lausanne.
He insists any final deal consummated includes terms he demands.
He wants his say overriding P5+1 countries and Iran. He systematically buries hard truths.
His comments include a litany of Big Lies. On Sunday, he began a US media blitz.
He told CNN Iran is "getting a free path to the bomb." P5+1 countries made "a very bad deal," he ranted.
Terms agreed on don't "roll back Iran's nuclear program. It keeps a vast nuclear infrastructure in place," he blustered. 
"Not a single centrifuge is destroyed. Not a single nuclear facility is shut down, including the underground facilities that they built illicitly. Thousands of centrifuges will keep spinning, enriching uranium."
"…Iran has shown to be completely distrustful." It's a country of "congenital cheating."
Fact: Iran was one of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's (NPT) first signatories. It scrupulously observes its provisions. No evidence suggests otherwise.
Fact: Israel is a nuclear outlaw. It refuses to sign NPT or allow its nuclear facilities to be inspected.
Netanyahu's bluster wore thin long ago. The more he rants, the less his credibility. Even staunch Israel supporter Senator Dianne Feinstein (D. CA) said she wishes he'd "contain himself."
He railed about Iran's ballistic missiles. He ignored Israel's long range ones.
He demands "(t)he ending of their ICBMs, that’s not in the deal, and those missiles are only used for you."
"They’re not used for us. They have missiles that can reach us and they’re geared for nuclear weapons."
On NBC's Meet the Press, he repeated the same Big Lies and more, saying:
"…Iran will have billions of dollars flown to its coffers not for schools or hospitals or roads, but to pump up its worldwide terror machine and its military machine, which is busy conquering the Middle East as we speak." 
"The preeminent terrorist state of our time should not have access to a vast nuclear capability that will ultimately give them nuclear weapons." 
"That's a concern for Israel, for the region, for the peace of the world."
He claimed Tehran is developing ICBMs to reach America.
He intends going all-out to kill any deal with Iran including terms he rejects.
He wants unchallenged control over continued talks trying to reach a final deal by June 30.
He wants tougher illegal sanctions than already imposed. He wants Iran's legitimate nuclear program dismantled. 
He wants the Islamic Republic isolated, weakened and eliminated as an Israeli regional political rival.
Whether he'll wage war to achieve his objectives remains to be seen.
Israel's sordid history of state terror shows it's capable of virtually anything.
Even nuclear war against a nation posing it no threat whatever - despite Netanyahu's claims otherwise. 
He's a known serial liar. He prefers belligerence over diplomacy. He's waging permanent war on Palestine. 
He threatens Lebanon. He'll do virtually anything to achieve unchallenged regional dominance.
He partners in Obama's war on Syria. He launched multiple air attacks since conflict began in March 2011 - naked aggression by any standard.
He actively aids Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups against Assad's government.
He provides weapons, other material support and medical treatment in Israeli hospitals for injured fighters. It's big news when the Wall Street Journal reports it. 
In mid-March, it said "Nusra Front (fighters haven't) bothered Israel since seizing the border area last summer - and some of its severely wounded fighters are regularly taken across the frontier fence to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals."
It turned truth on its head claiming Washington and Israel back different sides.
America actively recruits, funds, arms, trains, and directs IS, Al Qaeda and other extremist elements.
They're used as US proxies against Assad. The Journal quoted him saying:
"Some in Syria joke: 'How can you say that al Qaeda doesn’t have an air force?' They have the Israeli air force. They are supporting the rebels in Syria. It is very clear."
Anti-Assad Free Syrian Army al-Haramein battalion commander Sharif al-Safouri said Israel provided anti-tank and other weapons.
The Journal quoted an unnamed Israeli military official saying:
"There is an understanding and there is a familiarity of the forces on the ground. I wouldn't go the extent of calling it coordination. It is extremely tactical."
Since early 2013, the Journal said hundreds of anti-Assad extremists were treated in Israeli hospitals - so they could return and resume fighting.
An unnamed Israeli military official said "(w)e don’t ask who they are. We don’t do any screening."
"Once the treatment is done, we take them back to the border and they go on their way."
Tel Aviv University faculty of humanities dean Eyal Zisser believes "(i)t is just a matter of time before some of these (fighters) start launching attacks against Israel."
In the meantime, Israel continues partnering with Obama's proxy war on Syria.
Its recklessness threatens the entire region. Its evil agenda may incinerate it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Preparing for War Opposite Ways

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 06/04/2015 - 03:55
Preparing for War Opposite Ways
by Stephen Lendman
America always prepares for war - endless ones against one targeted country after another, fought directly or through proxies. 
Lunatics in Washington deplore peace. Aggressive wars of choice against invented enemies are a national addiction.
US-installed Ukraine puppet leader Poroshenko prepares for war his way irresponsibly. Russia does it the right way. More on its efforts below.
Poroshenko intends escalating aggression on Donbass. According to Novorossia Today, he's rearming for "new battles."
He's building and buying weapons of war - even though Ukraine is so broke it's rationing essentials to life.
It ended pensions and other social benefits for over a million elderly and disabled Donbass citizens entirely dependent on them for survival.
It spends borrowed money for armaments and munitions for war. More on building a quarter million-man combat force.
Still more on integrating Nazi-infested paramilitary groups into its army and Nazifying its Security Service to eliminate anyone challenging fascist ruthlessness.
Rogue states operate this way. Ukraine is Eastern Europe's most dangerous. Its recklessness risks direct confrontation with Russia. It has full US support and encouragement.
Russia is preparing for the worst. It wants peace, stability and mutual cooperation with all nations.
It's preparing for a possible US-led NATO attack - perhaps with its Nazi-infested Ukraine ally. It shares a 1,500 km land and sea border with Russia.
RT International reports Moscow actively "boosting its air and missile defense capabilities (in preparation) against the potential threat of Prompt Global Strike (PGS) which US 'under certain conditions' might decide to carry out, says Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces’ deputy chief."
Major General Kirill Makarov said preparing is one of Russia's top priorities.
Washington's PGS aims to launch precision-guided airstrikes in less than an hour after ordered to do so.
It's of "paramount importance…to combat these aerial assets (so) we are building the air and missile defense of Russia’s system," said Makarov.
Washington's PGS aims for rapid land and sea strikes using ICBMs and submarine-launched ballistic and cruise missiles.
Air-launched hypersonic missiles are currently being developed. So is waging war from space.
According to Markov, Russia estimates a US arsenal of up to 8,000 cruise missiles by 2020 - about 6,000 able to carry nuclear warheads.
They're able to strike Russian targets with pinpoint accuracy. Moscow's military doctrine stresses defense, not offense.
It calls Washington's PGS and US-dominated NATO increasingly encroaching on its borders its main security threats.
Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov indicated earlier Russia may develop its own PGS system for added security.
It's now developing its state-of-the-art S-500 mobile surface-to-air missile system - able to intercept any incoming ballistic or aerodynamic weapon.
Successful tests of its S-400 surface-to-air defense system were conducted.
Markov said Moscow has almost 100% protection from incoming air attacks. It's working on securing its more distant areas.
Air defense missiles and artillery systems are already deployed in its Arctic region.
Plans are to deploy MiG-31 interceptor aircraft to protect Russian ships along its Northern sea route.
A new fully automatic radar system is undergoing final tests. It'll operate with no personnel.
It'll require only monthly maintenance. It'll protect Arctic areas.
Russia wants peace, not war. It's preparing defensively to meet recklessly belligerent challenges America's bipartisan Party of War present.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Israeli State Terror Targets Palestinian Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 06/04/2015 - 02:07
Israeli State Terror Targets Palestinian Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar
by Stephen Lendman
On April 2, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association reported Jarrar's arrest.
She's a Palestinian Legislative Council member, a civil society leader, and PLC Prisoners Commission head. She chairs Addameer's board of directors.
Israeli goon squad thugs raided her Ramallah area home pre-dawn. She was abducted and taken to an undisclosed location. 
Israeli authorities targeted her earlier. They tolerate no opposition to their ruthlessness.
In August 2014, they ordered her expelled from Ramallah to Jericho for six months - reduced to one month following an intense solidarity campaign, as well as international and diplomatic pressure on her behalf.
She defied Israel's order, stayed in her home, and said "it is the occupation (that) must leave our homeland."
She erected a protest tent outside the PLC's Ramallah headquarters. She lived and worked there. 
She enlisted Palestinian and international support. Thousands of individuals and groups opposed Israel wanting her lawlessly transferred from her home area. Doing so grossly violates Fourth Geneva.
Her daughter, Suha, called her "an influential leader, feminist and activist. She speaks strongly and loudly against colonization and oppression." 
"Her arrest is a reflection of Israel’s ongoing tactics to attack freedom of speech and silence those who speak freely against occupation and apartheid."
"She's a threat because she speaks the truth. That is why she was targeted before and continues to be targeted now."
Jarrar suffers from chronic medical issues. Israel denied her permission to travel outside Palestine for treatment. She's been prohibited from traveling abroad since 1998 - except for one time to Jordan for medical care.
Addameer called her arrest "an attack against Palestinian political leaders and Palestinian civil society as a whole." 
"It also constitutes one arrest in the context of continuous arrest campaigns against Palestinians."
Addameer called for her immediate release. As expected, Israel refused.
At the time, Maan News reported her detention "came just one day after Muna Qadan, a political affiliate of Islamic Jihad, was sentenced to 70 months in prison by Israeli authorities for alleged illegal political activity."
Code language for wanting to live free from Israeli persecution.
Jarrar is one of 17 illegally detained Palestinian lawmakers - for belonging to the wrong political parties and speaking forthrightly about Israeli ruthlessness. 
Nine are held uncharged and untried in administrative detention - a repressive way Israel holds hundreds of Palestinians indefinitely.
It accuses Jarrar of being a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member - a heroic resistance group.
Israel outrageously calls its members "terrorists." It considers all forms of legitimate resistance "terrorism."
Rogue states operate this way. Israel is the region's most ruthless. 
State terror is official policy. Racist persecution exceeds the worst of South Africa's apartheid regime.
Israeli-installed PA president Mahmoud Abbas aided and abetted Jarrar's arrest. Addameer explained saying:
"Allowing Israeli occupying forces to enter Ramallah means that in effect the so-called 'security coordination' between Palestinian Authority security forces and Israeli occupying forces allowed for the expulsion of an elected representative of the Palestinian people, an elected representative who has continuously called for an end to such 'coordination.' "
Abbas and other Judas PA officials actively collaborate with Israel in maintaining occupation harshness.
They willfully and systematically betray their own people for special benefits they derive - traitors by any standard.
On April 5, Maan News reported Jarrar was sentenced to four months administrative detention.
She can be held forever this way if Israel wishes. Some Palestinian administrative detainees are lawlessly held for years - out of sight and mind, uncharged and untried.
All Israeli prisoners suffer horrifically under gulag conditions. An Israeli IDF spokeswoman lied claiming Jarrar is a "terrorist organization" leader - encouraging "terror activities."
Palestinian Prisoners' Society head Fares Qaddura condemned her arrest - calling it a "revengeful act" for her refusal to obey Israel's lawless relocation order.
In April alone, seven other Palestinians were illegally sentenced to administrative detention.
Any Palestinian heroically struggling for justice faces vicious Israeli persecution - including imprisonment, at times longterm.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Center for Studies, Israel administratively imprisoned  319 Palestinians this year - threefold the number over the same timeframe in 2014. 
They remain persecuted, uncharged and untried. What's ongoing reflects Netanyahu's stepped up terror campaign against anyone challenging his ruthlessness. 
It shows what Palestinians have been up against for decades - now worse than ever under Netanyahu's fascist government.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

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