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Kiev Fascists Murder Russian Journalist - Wed, 03/09/2014 - 22:18
Kiev Fascists Murder Russian Journalist
by Stephen Lendman
Russian photojournalist Andrew Stenin was found dead in Southeastern Ukraine. He was murdered in cold blood. More on what happened below.
Obama's new friends are cold-blooded killers. They're waging war on freedom. They're killing civilians.
They want all opposition elements crushed. They want fascist rule institutionalized. 
They want democracy in name only. They want it prevented at all costs. 
They want all independent news sources suppressed. They want their message alone getting out.
They harass, beat, terrorize, abduct and murder independent journalists. Russian ones are most vulnerable.
On August 5, Russian photojournalist Andrew Stenin went missing. He was working in Southeastern Ukraine for Russia's International Information Agency Rossiya Segdnya.
For weeks, his whereabouts was unknown. At first, Ukrainian interior minister advisor Anton Herashchenko said he was arrested for "helping terrorists." He then claimed he was misinterpreted.
Earlier, the International Federation of Journalists expressed "serious concern" for his wellbeing. In mid-August, it issued a statement, saying:
"He's a journalist, not a soldier, and as such is entitled to move freely and report the truth without the threat of intimidation, violence or detention."
At the time, Russia's Foreign Ministry said he "could be a victim of a malicious attack."
Reporters Without Borders called for his immediate release. US National Press Club president Myron Belkind issued a statement, saying:
"It is very important that Andrew Stenin be quickly located and freed if he is being held by Ukrainian security services."
It's "crucial that all sides in this conflict…cease obstructing the ability of the press to cover events in eastern Ukraine, which are of great consequence to the Ukrainian public and to the international community." 
Kiev stonewalled Russia's all-out efforts to locate and free Stenin. Ukrainian interior ministry advisor Anton Gerashchenko said he didn't "want to be bothered by questions on (his) fate."
On September 3, Rossiya Segodnya director general Dmitry Kiselev said Stenin died weeks earlier when a car he was traveling in came under fire. It "burnt on a highway in the vicinity of Donetsk."
Autopsy results identified Stenin's body. "He was indeed in that car. The 33-year-old young man (was) a brilliant professional, someone who cared."
Despite all-out efforts to free him, he "was already no longer with us." 
His photographs are "a gift of remembrance…He sacrificed his life (for them)." For "the sole purpose of (telling) the world…the truth."
"Rest in peace, Andrei Stenin. You will never be forgotten."
The Russian Investigative Committee (RIC) said he was among others killed during an attack on at least 10 vehicles carrying civilians.
"It turned out that he was not taken prisoner. It turned out, no one planned to swap him for any Ukrainian military personnel or accuse him of terrorist activities," it explained. 
"All of the announcements that we heard from the Ukrainians about Stenin’s fate were lies." 
"He died one month ago in a car that he was in while fulfilling his journalistic duties." 
"The vehicle came under fire and burned down on a highway near Donetsk."
According to RIC's Vladimir Markin:
The next day, Ukrainian commanders examined what happened, removed civilian contents and identified victims.
When they left, vehicles were "fired on with Grad missiles. The investigation will not stop at determining the exact details of the shooting. It also aims to find those responsible and bring them to justice."
Vladmir Putin sent condolences by telegram, saying:
"We believed that Andrei would return home to his family and friends, but the bitter news has wiped out that hope." 
"He fulfilled his journalistic and human commitment to the end. He did everything possible so that people, the whole world would know the truth of the tragic events occurring in Donetsk."
Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a stinging statement. In part it said:
"We experienced a feeling of deep pain and resentment upon learning about the shocking circumstances of the death of Rossiya Segodnya photojournalist Andrei Stenin, who last called his editorial office on 5 August 2014."
"We express our sincere and deep condolences to Andrei’s family and friends and sympathy for and solidarity with the staff of Rossiya Segodnya and the Russian journalistic community."
"We demand that Kiev conduct a thorough and objective investigation of Andrei Stenin’s murder and mete out severe punishment to the culprits."
"Russia has lost four journalists in Ukraine over the past few months, which is unprecedented…" 
They include correspondent Igor Kornelyuk, video engineer Anton Voloshin, cameraman Anatoly Klyan, and photojournalist Stenin.
"An end must be put immediately to Kiev’s illegitimate efforts to prevent journalists from doing their duty, including by attacking, murdering, detaining and kidnapping (them) from 'undesirable' media outlets." 
"We expect the international community, including the United States and the European Union member-countries, who seemingly care so much for the freedom of speech and media in other countries and regions of the world, to exercise decisive influence on Kiev in this respect."
"How many more innocent lives must be sacrificed before Kiev stops its reckless and criminal policy towards millions of people in southeastern Ukraine?"
"Its (US-led) Western patrons must review their hypocritical and double-dealing approach to the human rights disaster in Ukraine…"
Separately, Russia's Foreign Ministry said:
Forensic examination of his remains "suggests…another barbarous murder - the work of Ukrainian security forces and (neo-Nazi-infested) National Guard (fighters who) controlled, according to eyewitnesses, the territory in which cars came under fire, including" the one with Stenin's body.
Throughout weeks without knowledge of his fate, MSM scoundrels ignored him entirely.
At the same time, they obsessed over US journalist James Foley's beheading. 
Again when an Islamic State video released Tuesday showed American journalist Steven Sotloff met the same fate.
What about thousands of Southeastern Ukrainian victims of illegal US-supported and encouraged Kiev aggression?
What about longstanding Israeli brutalizing collective punishment of millions of defenseless Palestinians?
What about countless millions of post-9/11 victims of US wars of aggression? 
What about many millions more unmentioned, forgotten, ignored and uncared about?
What about unspeakable longstanding US-led Western genocidal crimes of war and against humanity?
What about justice systematically denied? What about Western journalists supporting what demands condemnation? 
What about Big Lies suppressing truth? What about Washington using the deaths of two US journalists to justify more lawless aggression?
What about MSM scoundrels supporting it? What about their reporting nothing about Stenin's disappearance, death, how it happened and who's responsible?
What about a possible planned major false flag on US soil to enlist popular support for more war? A second 9/11 type event. It's been 13 years since the last one.
Before confirmation of Stenin's death, global rallies demanded his release. RT International featured daily "free Andrew" alerts.
Activists collected signatures on his behalf. They did so to petition Kiev for his release. It included thousands of photos he took in Southeastern Ukraine.
Anti-fascist Dveri movement leader Vladan Glisic said "(w)e believe that Ukraine must follow international conventions on the right of journalists and that attacks on journalists must be stopped regardless of where they take place."
Separately, NATO heads of state meeting in Brussels Thursday and Friday are expected to confirm the creation of a rapid reaction force targeting Russia.
Thousands of combat-ready forces will be deployed near its border. NATO calls it "sustain(ing) a robust (Eastern European) presence…"
Doing so risks the unthinkable - direct East/West confrontation.
Russia's Security Council deputy secretary, Mikkail Popov, said Moscow will review its military doctrine in response to NATO's planned Eastern European expansion.
"I have no doubts that the issue of drawing of military infrastructure of NATO member-countries to the borders of our country, including via enlargement, will remain one of the external military threats for the Russian Federation," he said.
"We consider that defining factor in (Moscow's) relations with NATO will remain the unacceptability for Russia of the expansion plans of alliance's military infrastructure to our borders, including via enlargement."
"Many high-ranked officials reproached the leaders of our country saying that NATO isn't a Russia's enemy and will never attack Russia." 
"But is that true? We were assured of good intentions, but the actions of recent years show entirely different things."
Russia's role in Ukraine is mischaracterized. "(W)rong conclusions are drawn and wrong measures are applied."
"There is an unprecedented informational-propagandist campaign against Russia." 
"The image of the enemy is presented in the face of Russia and its politics is considered as a new threat to NATO."
Irresponsible Putin bashing persists. It's a growth industry. Truth is systematically buried. 
Western media consumers get a daily diet of misinformation, distortions and Big Lies.
The latest brouhaha is over Putin's conversation with European Commission president Jose Manual Barroso.
Putin's comment about "taking Kiev in two weeks" was leaked to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. 
It was published on Monday. On Tuesday, the broadsheet criticized Barroso for disclosing content from a private diplomatic phone call.
Putin made it in response to false claims about Russian troops in Ukraine. It was distorted.
It was taken entirely out of context. Presidential aid Yury Ushakov said the quote "had a very different meaning."
He criticized Barroso for making it public. He called doing so "incorrect and goes beyond the bounds of diplomatic practices."
"(I)t is not worthy of a serious political figure." He and other Western leaders irresponsibly accuse Moscow of escalating conflict in Ukraine without verifiable proof.
MSM sources jumped on what happened. On September 2, The New York Times headlined "Putin Reportedly Says Russia Could 'Take Kiev in Two Weeks,' " saying:
He "added a new dimension to the tensions building in Ukraine as Russian forces become more involved in the fighting there."
His "remarks and the increasing presence of Russian military units in Ukraine have posed a stark new challenge to the alliance about how to respond to Moscow's apparent willingness to exert military force to achieve its foreign policy goals."
"Mr. Putin is known for littering his public statements with twists of braggadocio…"
Fact check:
Russia didn't invade Ukraine. Its forces aren't involved in its conflict. No evidence suggests otherwise.
The Times hypes the Big Lie repeatedly. Claims about "Moscow's apparent willingness to exert military force to achieve its foreign policy goals are patently false.
Wednesday reports of a Russian/Ukrainian agreed on "cease-fire regime" are greatly exaggerated.
Ukrainian oligarch president Petro Poroshenko said both sides "reached mutual understanding on the steps that will facilitate the establishment of peace."
At first he said agreement was reached for a "a permanent cease-fire." A retraction followed. It said both presidents exchanged opinions. No formal agreement was reached.
According to Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov:
Both leaders agreed on steps towards peace but no ceasefire. "Russia cannot physically agree to (one) because it is not a party to the conflict," he stressed.
Last week in Minsk, Putin said "we are not in a position to discuss any ceasefire terms or likely agreements between Kiev, Donetsk an Luhansk. That's none of our business but Ukraine's internal affair."
Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) defense ministry press service head Vladislav Brig said:
"Nobody is holding negotiations about a cease-fire with the representatives of the Donetsk People's Republic." 
"As long as there are Ukrainian soldiers on our territory, there will be no cease-fire." The battle for Ukraine's soul continues.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Right to Know: The PACER Mess And How to Clean It - Wed, 03/09/2014 - 09:40

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is the government-run online system used by lawyers, the press, and the public to access public federal court records in the United States. The administrators of that system recently announced that a huge number of documents from five federal courts have been permanently removed from its database and are no longer publicly viewable. For one circuit court, only documents filed within the last 2.5 years are now available; for two other circuit courts, documents now go back only 4 years. 

Though this change appears to be part of PACER’s attempt to join the 21st Century—the removal is part of PACER’s migration to its NextGen system, which is incompatible with the decades-old legacy systems holding these records—it stands in sharp contrast to the Supreme Court’s acknowledgement in Nixon v. Warner Communications that the public has “a common-law right of access to judicial records” and to PACER’s own mission of making records more accessible.1

The removal of the files of five U.S. federal courts from its system deserves to be lambasted for many reasons (don’t worry: we’ll get to that below). But it can also serve as an important—and, we hope, enticing—invitation to the affected courts: Given that the removed documents are already digitized as PDFs and that numerous organizations have offered to host the documents for free, we encourage the courts to publish their records elsewhere and finally make their public records truly accessible to the public.

The Mess

PACER’s removal of records on August 11 has been an undeniable mess. First, the removal happened a mere day after the plan was announced. And the initial announcement didn’t even provide all of the details of the change (a screenshot of the original is available here).

Given that PACER is the one-and-only system for Public Access to Court Electronic Records—including a number of important civil rights decisions the records of which were removed—more notice should have been given.

Second, this shift marks a serious step back, even for PACER.

PACER has long drawn the ire of open-government activists like the late Aaron Swartz and Public.Resource.Org’s Carl Malamud for charging users to access public documents (10 cents per page for search results and 10 cents per page for documents retrieved). These charges quickly add up—both for users and for PACER. In fact, according to a 2009 New York Times report, PACER had a surplus of $150 million. We believe PACER should not charge people to access the law. These records have the potential to impact people’s lives on a daily basis, and the fact that the fees have resulted in a profit is absurd.

The Cleaning Solution

For years, activists like Swartz and Malamud attempted to free court records for the public. In 2008, Malamud raised funds to put 50 years of federal appellate court records online, while encouraging other activists to do the same. Swartz heeded the call and wrote a program to download records that 17 libraries were offering for free as part of a pilot trial. Swartz’s program so alarmed those in charge that they shut the pilot program down, and the FBI even conducted a politically-charged investigation, though no charges were filed.

Since then, tools have emerged to assist in liberating court records. One such tool is RECAP, a Firefox and Chrome extension that allows PACER users to donate the documents they view to the Internet Archive, which can then be accessed by other users without incurring fees. The Free Law Project and Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy maintain the extension.

In response to the current PACER mess, several organizations, including the Free Law Project and Public.Resource.Org, have sent letters to the Chief Judge of each affected court, requesting the removed records so they can make them available once again to journalists, researchers, lawyers, and the general public.

These organizations are giving the courts the opportunity not only to make the records available online again but, even better, to make them available online for free. The courts have nothing to lose and much to gain by fulfilling this request: the records are already digitized, and simply need to be hosted somewhere. The Free Law Project and Public.Resource.Org are offering to do just that, and at absolutely no cost to the courts, litigants, academics, or the public. We urge the courts to take these organizations up on their offer.

  • 1. PACER notes that people who wish to obtain the deleted records can still do so the old-fashioned way, by requesting hard copies directly from the court. But, given that these records are already digitized and were previously available online, this marks an absurd regression.
Related Issues: Open Access
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Top 20 Cosplay Activists from Project Secret Identity at Dragon Con - Wed, 03/09/2014 - 07:28

Over Labor Day weekend, more than 75 cosplayers at Dragon Con became Internet freedom heroes for real, using their fantastic costumes to highlight how anonymity and privacy are crucial to free expression.

It was all part of Project Secret Identity, a cross-fandom activism campaign organized by EFF, io9, the Southeastern Browncoats, the Harry Potter Alliance, the Baker Street Babes, Wattpad and the Organization for Transformative Works. Even avatars from virtual worlds organized a march online in solidarity.

Choosing just 20 of the best images was a superhuman task in itself, so hop over to to see the full selection.

Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy

Black Panther and Storm from the Marvel universe

Tank Girl

Psylocke from the Marvel Universe

A Clockwork Joker

Jase Robertson from Duck Dynasty

A Giant Jayne's Hat from Firefly

Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy

Pam from Archer

Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand from Game of Thrones

Red Lantern and Green Lantern from the DC universe

Jayne from Firefly

Draconian from Dragon Ball

Charles Zi Brittania from Code Geass

Splicer from Bio Shock

Red Green and Raven from the DC universe

Professor Kai Drakken, Steampunk

HUNK and Lady HUNK from Resident Evil

Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter

A Rococo Punk

Pikachu from Pokémon

Related Issues: Free SpeechAnonymity
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Supreme Court Sends Stupid Software Patent Back To Federal Circuit, Again - Wed, 03/09/2014 - 05:38

Update: On August 28, 2014, EFF asked the Federal Circuit for permission to file a short amicus brief in this appeal. Our brief argues that the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank requires that Ultramercial’s patent on showing ads before content (but on the Internet!) be invalidated as abstract. Since this case has bounced back and forth between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit, this is now the fourth amicus brief EFF has prepared arguing that the patent is invalid.

Is adding “do it on the Internet” enough to make an abstract idea patentable? That’s the question for the Federal Circuit when it considers, for the third time, Ultramercial’s idiotic patent on showing an online advertisement before a “media product.” The Ultramercial case is the first big test for the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank. If the patent stands, the Federal Circuit will be insisting on business as usual. If it falls, many other abstract software and Internet patents should soon fall with it.

The Ultramercial case has been bouncing around the federal courts for years. In 2010, a trial court held the patent invalid on the grounds it claimed an abstract idea. On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed, finding the patent non-abstract because it “clearly require[s] specific application to the Internet and a cyber-market environment.” The Supreme Court then sent the case back to the Federal Circuit for reconsideration. In a remarkable decision by former Chief Judge Randall Rader, the lower court thumbed its nose at Supreme Court authority and upheld the patent for a second time. The defendants returned to the Supreme Court. EFF filed an amicus brief urging the Court to take the case and find the patent abstract.

While the second Ultramercial petition was pending, the Supreme Court decided Alice v CLS Bank, holding that adding “do it on a computer” does not make an otherwise abstract idea patentable. Today, rather than issue a ruling on the merits in Ultramercial, the Supreme Court issued what's known as a "GVR order," sending the case back to the Federal Circuit (again) for reconsideration in light of its Alice ruling.

In a sane world, Ultramercial would be an easy case. Tying an abstract idea to the Internet (or even a “cyber-market environment”) should not render it patentable. Also, courts must not be conned by the faux-complexity of the claims. The Supreme Court cautioned in Alice that patent eligibility should not “depend simply on the draftsman’s art.” The techno-babble in Ultramercial’s patent, and the Federal Circuit’s credulous treatment of it, is a good example of exactly the opposite.

Patents like this one, which are the favorite weapon of patent trolls, should never have been granted in the first place. But since the USPTO has already flooded the system with thousands of similarly vague and abstract patents, we need courts to strike them down before they do any more damage. And we need judges to rule early in litigation (like here and here) so that defendants—especially small businesses and startups—don’t have to spend millions to defeat a bad patent.

Back in 2010, after the original trial court decision, Mike Masnick of Techdirt wrote that the Ultramercial case would be “worth watching.” Since then, the patent has become a poster child for stupid software patents. Nearly four years later, we’re still watching to see if the courts will protect innovators from a patent that should never have issued.

Files:  eff_motion_amicus_brief_-_ultramercial_v_wildtangent_-_8-28-2014.pdfRelated Issues: PatentsPatent TrollsInnovation
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Israel Breaches Gaza Ceasefire Agreement - Wed, 03/09/2014 - 04:39
Israel Breaches Gaza Ceasefire Agreement
by Stephen Lendman
Israeli agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on. Straightaway Gaza ceasefire agreed on terms were violated.
Twelve Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) activists were arrested. Their whereabouts remains unknown.
Days earlier, Israeli soldiers targeted Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Khalida Jarrar in Ramallah.
She's ordered deported to Jericho for six months. She got 24 hours to leave. 
Israel wrongfully accused her of "pos(ing) a threat to the security of the region, so she must be put under special monitoring." More on Jarrar below.
On September 2, Israeli warships used live fire against Palestinian fishermen off Gaza's coast. They did so in flagrant violation of Operation Protective Edge ceasefire terms.
It permits fishing within a six nautical mile limit. They were well inside it. They escaped injury. 
An IDF spokeswoman lied claiming they "deviated from the designated fishing zone."
Israel breached its pledge to ease Gaza's blockade. Palestinians report business as usual.
According to OCHA's Occupied Palestinian Territory deputy head of office Maria Jose Torres:
"(T)here hasn't been any change in the regime of allowing passage for people or goods."
"We were expecting that the agreement of the ceasefire would have some kind of timeline for easing and lifting the blockade but so far" there's nothing.
Hamas spokesman Wael Abu Omar said Gazan authorities expected an immediate easing of restrictions following both sides agreeing to ceasefire terms.
Truck traffic entering Gaza hasn't increased. "We are waiting for what (was) promised, but until now nothing has changed," he said.
Fikr Shaltoot heads the UK-based Medical Aid for the Palestinians. She's disappointed by no change.
"We were hoping to see immediate change on all the crossings. So far I don't see any kind of improvement on this," she said. The need for medical care alone in Gaza is acute, she stressed. 
"Even before the aggression, there were severe shortages of drugs - 28 percent of essential goods were at zero stock," she said. "Now the situation is critical."
Egyptian restrictions remain stringent. Cairo and Tel Aviv conspire against Palestinians. This agreement like earlier ones may collapse.
According to Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson, ceasefire terms have virtually no enforcement mechanisms.
Expect promises Israel made to be broken.  Expect business as usual to continue.
Big Lies accompany all Israeli crimes. Doing so justifies the unjustifiable.
On the same day ceasefire terms were agreed on, Israel demolished the Hebron Islamic Charitable Society's (HICS) dairy factory, as well as five East Jerusalem Bedouin homes, four steel structures, and a barn belonging to the affected families.
According to HICS's chairman Hatim al-Bakri, Israel was responsible for "about 2 million US dollars" in damages.
"Services (HICS) offers to orphans in the Nebron district will be badly affected." During Ramadan, Israel confiscated HICS belongings.
On September 2, Israeli forces opened fire on a vehicle carrying Palestinian workers. They did so at a checkpoint near Qalqiliya.
The driver was critically injured. He lost control of the vehicle. It crashed into the side of the road. A passenger with him was shot.
These type incidents occur with disturbing regularity. They reflect police state lawlessness. They generate fear. 
Many Palestinians aren't sure each day at sunrise if they'll see it set. They live in a virtual war zone.
On Tuesday, Israeli forces raided Anzah village near Jenin. They ransacked dozens of homes. 
They arrested 17 men. They committed no crimes. They kidnapped a Husan village resident near Bethlehem. 
They invade Beta village near Nablus. They prevented area residents and trucks from entering or leaving. 
They set up a roadblock at Beta's entrance. They searched cars. They interrogated residents. They closed Beta's flea market. They did so because stones were thrown at a settler's car.
State terror is official Israeli policy. These type incidents happen multiple times daily. 
Amnesty International calls Israel "trigger happy." Excess force is standard practice. Dozens of Palestinians are murdered annually. 
Thousands are wounded. Thousands more lawlessly arrested and detained. Many get long prison terms. Children are treated like adults.
Persecution, deaths, injuries and imprisonment are part of daily Palestinian life. So is war without mercy whenever Israel chooses for any reason or none at all.
Jarrar is one of many Palestinian victims. She remains in Ramallah. 
“It is my right, as an elected parliamentarian, to stay with my people and to serve them from here," she said.
So I announce that I will not go to Jericho, and I will not implement the military order. I’m staying here serving my people and working from here."
“Transferring me from my house to another city is illegal and is against the international humanitarian law."
"There is now (a supportive) international campaign (on her behalf). I hope this will succeed, but I will not leave the Legislative Council." She remains inside for her safety.
On August 25, 12 Palestinian human rights organizations and three other Palestinian groups addressed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on behalf of Jarrar. 
In part they said:
"We, the undersigned Palestinian coalitions and associations, request your immediate intervention on behalf of Palestinian Legislative Council Member Khalida Jarrar who has recently been issued with an Israeli military order detailing her forcible transfer."
"At approximately 1.30AM on 20 August 2014 Israeli forces surrounded Jarrar's home in Ramallah and delivered to her the military order which she refused to sign." 
"The order states that Jarrar is 'dangerous to the general security of the area'. Since then she has taken refuge at the PLC building in Ramallah where she remains."
"The current order is clearly a continuation of the Israeli policy of targeting elected representatives of the Palestinian people. There are currently 36 PLC members being held in Israeli prisons, 28 of these are being held in administration, which is a form of detention without charge of trial."
"For too long there has been an unwillingness by yourself as Secretary-General and the United Nations as a whole to pressure Israel to end its occupation policies, whether these be (waging) war on Gaza, the treatment of political prisoners or the targeting of Palestinian elected representatives." 
"It is this unwillingness that has led Israel to believe that it can continue to act free in the knowledge that it will not be held accountable." 
"It is clear that unless enough pressure is brought on Israel, particularly by the United Nations, Israel will not change its policies."
"Jarrar was elected to the PLC in 2006…" She's been "active within Palestinian society for many years."
She notably advocates on behalf of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners.
She heads the PLC Prisoners Committee. She represents the PLC in the Council of Europe.
Israel's military order violates Fourth Geneva articles 42 and 49. They prohibit assigned residency of protected persons as well as forced collective or individual transfers.
The undersigned called on Ban to intervene immediately. To "ensure that (Israel):
  • Immediately revokes the military order related to Jarrar's forcible transfer.

  • Immediately release all imprisoned PLC members, including all those held under administrative detention, and cease its policy of targeting PLC members."

Signed by:
Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Organization
Aldameer Association for Human Rights
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
Defense for Children International Palestine Section
Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Hurryyat - Centre for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights
Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights
Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights
Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling
Palestine Bar Association
Palestinian Journalist Syndicate
PNGO - Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network
On September 2, Haaretz editors headlined "Netanyahu's government is not serious about peace," saying:
His "conduct during most of his time in office makes a mockery of his various slogans and declarations concerning new diplomatic opportunities."
Straightaway after to agreeing to Gaza ceasefire terms, declaring a "diplomatic vision" and "new opportunities in the Middle East," business as usual continued.
He prioritizes violence and instability. He "continues to prove right the Palestinians' claims that Israel has no interest in peace talks." 
His Civil Administration confiscated nearly 1,000 acres of privately owned Palestinian land. He breached core international law doing so.
On the one hand, he promises peace. On the other, he goes out of his way to prevent it.
He "turn(ed) Israel into an internationally boycotted pariah state that sacrifices the possibility of peace on the altar of its imperialist and messianic aspirations…"
He "perpetuates…bloody conflict." Operation Protective Edge was the latest example. It followed others. It assures more to come.
Rogue terror states operate this way. Israel and America are the world's worst. They commit virtually every crime imaginable and then some.
They violate core international laws in the process. What can't go on forever, won't. 
Nations that live by the sword, die by it. Humanity hopes it can't happen a moment too soon.
A Final Comment
On September 2, Israeli media said Netanyahu told a closed cabinet session he won't send a delegation to Cairo for further discussions.
Operation Protective Edge ceasefire terms require both sides to do so. Major issues remain unresolved. So does addressing Israeli violations.
According to Palestinian Cairo delegation member Qais Abd al-Karim, Israeli ceasefire term breaches render the agreement null and void. 
Things appear heading this way now. Broken promises follow virtually all Israeli agreements. 
It systematically breaches what it pledges. Expect nothing different this time.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Blocking Consumer Choice: Google's Dangerous Ban of Privacy and Security App - Wed, 03/09/2014 - 04:31

As reported last week in the Wall Street Journal, Google has banned the privacy and security app Disconnect Mobile from the play store. By doing so, Google has shown once again that it cares more about allowing third-parties to monetize the tracking of its users than about allowing those users to ensure their own security and privacy. The banned app, Disconnect Mobile, is designed to stop non-consensual third party trackers on Android (much like EFF's Privacy Badger does in Firefox or Chrome). Disconnect released their app in the Android Play Store and Apple's App Store a little over a week ago. Google removed the app just five days after it was released, citing Section 4.4 of the Play Store developer distribution agreement.1 This section states that developers agree not to use the Play Store to distribute apps that interfere with or disrupt the services of any third party.

On its face this may seem like a reasonable rule?it would block DDOS tools from the Play Store, for example?but on further inspection it's obvious that this rule is overly vague, allowing Google to be selective in its enforcement. After all, any antivirus app or firewall could be considered to be violating these terms of service, since they would interfere with the services of a (malicious) third-party. Yet firewall and antivirus apps abound in the Play Store. Clearly enforcement of this clause is selective.

So why is Disconnect Mobile being targeted? This question seems especially puzzling given that Disconnect’s goal—blocking non-consensual third-party trackers—is as virtuous as the goals of any antivirus or firewall app. After all, who would want shadowy services collecting their browsing habits across the Internet without their consent? An app that blocks trackers like this seems like it would be a great thing to have in the Play Store, especially when you consider that the trackers it blocks can be used for nefarious goals such as spreading malware and spying on civilians. Simply put, technologies such as Disconnect and Privacy Badger are important for the security and privacy of end users. They are also incredibly popular?within days of being in the Apple App store Disconnect is already the number one utility app.

So again, why is Disconnect Mobile being targeted? The problem lies in the fact that many online advertisers participate in this sneaky tracking in order to build up reading profiles of users for marketing purposes, whether users have opted in or not. As a result, Disconnect Mobile blocks these types of ads—even though ad-blocking is incidental to its primary goal. Because of this, Google has deemed Disconnect Mobile to be “interfering” with these sneaky third-party services—services its users don’t want. In other words, Google appears to be interpreting its rules to mean that "apps that interfere with Google's business model" will be banned, rather than "apps that interfere with user security and privacy." By removing this app from the Play Store Google is putting its users at risk and sending the message that it cares more about its bottom line than its users' security.2

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Google has decided to prioritize third-party ad services over its users’ privacy. Just last year Google removed a similar application, Adblock Plus, from the app store for the same reasons it cites now. By removing these applications, we believe that Google is setting a dangerous precedent. The profits of Google's business partners should never come before the security and privacy of its users.

Fortunately, this doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Google could easily re-write their policy to allow apps in the Play Store that, at the direction of Android users, block third-party tracking systems while still allowing advertisements that respect user's privacy preferences. We strongly encourage Google to make this change?otherwise their users will start to migrate to app distribution platforms that support privacy and freedom, and Google could see its well of ad revenues start to run dry.

  • 1. The iOS version remains available in Apple’s App Store.
  • 2. We should point out that you can still sideload apps like Disconnect Mobile on to your phone even if they’re not in the Play Store. While we applaud the fact that Google allows sideloaded apps on Android, the fact remains that most users do not know how to sideload applications. Sideloading is also a significantly more time-consuming process, and sideloaded apps also do not benefit from being automatically updated, causing security problems if users are not getting patched software. In light of this, sideloading is obviously not an adequate solution.
Related Issues: PrivacyDo Not TrackSecurity
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Castro Compares NATO to Nazis - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 23:01
Castro Compares NATO to Nazis
by Stephen Lendman
In a Monday Cuba state media article, Castro accused Washington and EU allies of warmongering. 
He compared NATO to Hitler's SS. More on what he said below.
At age 88, Castro is outspoken on geopolitical issues mattering most. His intellect remains keen. 
His honesty and integrity are impeccable. His forthrightness is noteworthy. His knowledge of vital issues is impressive. 
He survived hundreds of US attempts to kill him, a punishing embargo and countless other hostile acts.
In 2006, illness forced him to step down. Reports at the time erroneously pronounced him dead or dying.
He recovered and remains active. Hopefully he has many more productive years left.
On the occasion of his 88th birthday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called him the "central figure of the new independence of Latin America and the Caribbean."
“Fidel Castro is the refounding of the ideas of José Martí and the Bolivarian project in the twentieth century, which led him to victory on an island that was in the plans of colonization of America." 
"Even his bitterest opponents will have to recognize that Fidel managed to bring out the Cuban sentiment, independence and took the island from the colonial clutches of the United States forever, but never in history will be settled."
"Fidel is a giant," said Maduro. He's a role model for right over wrong. He's a legend in his own time. He's polar opposite rogue Western leaders.
US-led NATO is a global killing machine. It threatens humanity's survival. 
It prioritizes war. It deplores peace. It ravages and destroys one country after another. 
Humanity's survival depends on eliminating this cancer once and for all. The alternative is too grim to tolerate.
Castro accused Western politicians of hypocrisy and aggression. The West is "a symbol of imperialist policy," he said. 
Instead of waging war, "governments should produce food and industrial products, build hospitals and schools for the billions of human beings who desperately need them; promote art and culture, struggle against epidemics which (kill) half of the sick (and) finally eliminate…cancer" and many other life-threatening diseases.
"Many people are astonished when they hear the statements made by some European spokesmen for NATO when they speak with the style and face of the Nazi SS." 
"Adolf Hitler's greed-based empire went down in history with no more glory than the encouragement provided to NATO's aggressive and bourgeois governments, which makes them the laughing stock of Europe and the world."
"The world has seen no respite in recent years, particularly since the European Economic Community, under the strict and unconditional leadership of the United States, decided the time had come to settle scores with what was left of two great nations (Russia and China) that…had carried out the heroic deed of putting an end to the imperialist colonial order imposed on the world by Europe and the United States."
Cuba will keep resisting, he stressed. "(T)here is no worse price than capitulating before an enemy who attacks you without any right to do so."
"When the USSR disintegrated and disappeared from the socialist landscape, we continued resisting and together, the state and the revolutionary people, we're continuing our independent march."
Castro praised the former Soviet Union for "gathering its resources and sharing its technology with a large number of weak and less developed nations, the inevitable victims of colonial exploitation." 
He accused Senator John McCain of supporting Israel's Mossad. Washington and Israel created the Islamic State, he said.
Today it "controls a considerable and vital portion of Iraq and reportedly one-third of Syria as well."
"Global society has known no peace in recent years, particularly since the European Economic Community, under the absolute, inflexible direction of the United States, decided that the time had come to settle accounts with what remained of two great nations which, inspired by the ideas of Marx, had achieved the great feat of ending the imperialist colonial order imposed on the world by Europe and the United States."
"Would a true society of nations be convenient or not, in the current world, one in which respect is shown for rights, beliefs, culture, technologies and resources in accessible places around the world…"
"And wouldn't the world be much more just today…if people saw in others a friend or brother, and not an enemy disposed to kill, with weapons which human knowledge has been capable of creating?"
"Believing that human beings could be capable of having such objectives, I think that absolutely no one has the right to destroy cities; murder children; pulverize homes; sow terror, hunger and death anywhere." 
"In what corner of the world can such acts be justified?"
"A colossal fraud is what is seen today, as problems emerge which suggest the possible eruption of a war, with the use of weapons which could mean the end of human existence."
"There are unscrupulous actors, apparently more than a few, which consider meritorious their willingness to die, but above all to kill in defense of their indecent privileges."
"Cynicism is something which has become symbolic of imperial policy."
Castro remains outspoken on major issues. He worries most about possible nuclear war. In March 2012, his article headlined "The roads leading to disaster."
"As far as I am concerned," he said, "I do not harbor the slightest doubt that the United States is about to commit, and lead the world toward, the greatest error in its history."
"Does anyone think that the United States will be capable of acting with the independence that could preserve it from the inevitable disaster awaiting it?"
"It is really extraordinary to observe a nation so powerful technologically and a government so bereft of both ideas and moral values."
"The Israeli government has openly declared its intention to attack the enriched uranium production plant in Iran, and the government of the United States has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in manufacturing a bomb for that purpose."
"Imagine United States (and/or Israeli) forces dropping monstrous bombs, capable of penetrating 60 meters of cement, on industrial facilities. Never before has such an adventure been conceived."
In a July 2010 videotaped interview, he expected Washington and Israel to target Iran, saying:
"When they launch war, they’re going to launch it there. It cannot help but be nuclear. I believe the danger of war is growing a lot. They are playing with fire."
At stake is humanity's survival, Castro explained. It's being "led inexorably toward disaster," he believes. He hasn't "the slightest doubt," he said.
In August 2010, his article headlined "Nuclear Winter," saying:
"(W)e do not need a nuclear world war for our species to perish. A nuclear conflict between any two nations can do it."
"A nuclear war is inevitable," he added. It could happen any time for any reason.
On July 18, his article titled "Astonishing Provocation" blamed Kiev for downing MH17. At the same time, he denounced Israel's Operation Protective Edge.
He called it "a heinous crime." Washington fully backed it. "Obama did not support David against Goliath, but Goliath against David," he said.
"I only wish to express my solidarity with this heroic people defending the last inch of what was their homeland for thousands of years," he added.
In his Monday Cuba state media article, Castro said "(j)ust ideas will triumph, or disaster will triumph."

Given Washington's imperial agenda, he very much fears the latter.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Elizabeth Warren: Hold the Cheers - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 07:18
Elizabeth Warren: Hold the Cheers
by Stephen Lendman
Populism isn't a Beltway attribute. Or good faith. Or supporting government of, by and for everyone equitably and fairly. 
Monied interests run America. Republicans and Democrats serve at their discretion. They constitute duopoly power. 
They're two sides of the same coin. On major issues mattering most, not a dime's worth of difference separates them.
In September 2010, Obama appointed then Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren as interim Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) head until a permanent director was named.
Appointing her let the agency begin operating without going through a potentially contentious Senate confirmation battle.
She became an assistant to the president and advisor to then Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
In July 2011, former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray replaced her. It didn't matter. BCFP is largely toothless.
It's nominally charged with overseeing banking practices with regard to credit cards, mortgages, payday loans, student loans, and other consumer financial products.
It provides consumer-friendly cover for ineffective Dodd-Frank legislation. Enactment did nothing to curtail practices responsible for 2008 financial crisis conditions.
Warren is no consumer rights champion. She did nothing to urge prosecution of Wall Street crooks. She's part of the problem, not the solution. 
She's no threat to business as usual. Her so-called progressive credentials are fake. 
They're based on occasional weak-kneed banking industry criticisms. They're too tepid to matter. Toothless best describes them.
She avoids criticizing appalling administration policies. Its war on humanity doesn't bother her. 
Nor protracted Main Street Depression conditions. Nor Obama's homeland police state apparatus. 
Nor Israel's genocidal Operation Protective Edge. More on this below.
She "came up the hard way," she says. She claims her life's work is fighting for middle class families. Her position on key issues belies her high-minded rhetoric.
At age 16, she was an Oklahoma state champion debater. She's a University of Houston and Rutgers Law School graduate. She was editor of its Law Review.
She taught law at Rutgers, the University of Michigan, the University of Houston Law Center, the University of Texas School of Law, and University of Pennsylvania's School of Law.
In 1992, she became Harvard Law School's Gottlieb Professor of Law.
She's a former FDIC Committee on Economic Inclusion and Executive Council of the National Bankruptcy Conference member.
She served as an American Law Institute vice-president. She was chief advisor to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission.
She chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Her writings include dozens of articles, six academic books and several best-selling ones.
In September 2011, she announced her senatorial candidacy. She challenged Republican incumbent Scott Brown.
On November 6, 2012, she became Massachusetts' first female senator. She holds Ted Kennedy's former seat. 
She serves on the Committee on Aging, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
She's touted as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. She says she has no plan to run.
During a late August town hall meeting, she defended the indefensible. She supports Israel's right bomb and shell hospitals, schools, mosques and residential neighborhoods.
She did so based on its spurious claim about targeting Hamas rockets inside or nearby.
"(W)hen Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they're using their civilian population to protect their military assets," she claimed.
"And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself," she added.
She's mindless of well-planned preemptive Israeli aggression. She ludicrously claimed the "last thing Israel wants" is civilian casualties.
Targeting them is official Israeli policy. It's called Dahiya or the Dahiya Doctrine.
It's named after a Beirut suburb. Israeli forces attacked and destroyed it during their 2006 Lebanon war of aggression.
General Gadi Eizenkot is the most prominent Dahiya exponent. He explained it as follows, saying:
"We will apply disproportionate force at the heart of the enemy's weak spot (civilians) and cause great damage and destruction."
"From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages (towns or cities), they are military bases."
"This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved."
War without mercy is official Israeli policy. Civilians are targeted like combatants. Children are treated like adults. Women like men.
All Israeli wars are dirty ones. Rules of war don't matter. Or core international laws, norms and standards.
Warren defended the indefensible. Over 2,100 dead Palestinians don't matter. 
The vast majority were civilians. They included over 550 children and hundreds of women.
Israel murdered 89 entire families in cold blood. Warren irresponsibly blames Hamas for Israeli crimes.
She justified premeditated aggression based on America's "very special relationship with Israel." It supports its killing machine.
Both nations partner in high crimes against peace. According to Warren:
"Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren't many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law."
"And we very much need an ally in that part of the world."
Israel is no democracy. It never was. For sure not now under Netanyahu-led extremists. 
Fascists best describes them. Palestinian lives don't matter. Or rule of law inviolability.
Or Israel murdering Palestinian journalists and medical workers. And killing children while they sleep.
And displacing almost one-third of Gaza's 1.7 million people. And leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless.
And hundreds of Gazan children orphaned. Who'll care for them  with parents and for many extended families gone?
Who'll provide love and nurturing? Who'll comfort them in times of need?
Eleven-year-old Amir Hamad perhaps spoke for others saying he'd "rather be dead than without my mother and father."
They were home drinking coffee after breaking their Ramadan fast. An Israeli missile struck their house in northern Gaza.
"I saw them lying on the ground and knew immediately they were dead," said Amir.
He's the oldest of five children. "I'll look after my brothers and sisters," he said.
"But I'm scared because my parents are no longer here." Surviving family members include their grandmother and grandfather.
They'll cope best they can, they said. Eight-year-old Bisan Daher lost both parents and several brothers.
"We were all at home," she said. "We don't have anything to hide. No rockets. But they hit our house while we were all inside."
Bandaged from injuries she sustained, she said "(n)ow mum and dad and my brothers are in heaven."
"I really want to see (them) again." She's lucky to be alive. She was trapped under rubble for six hours.
Paramedics found her in time. She's traumatized by what happened. She can't sleep. She cries for what she misses most.
Gaza has only one orphanage. War left it overwhelmed. It hasn't the capacity or resources to cope.
Over 200 schools Israel damaged or destroyed can't open. Eight hospitals it targeted operate at below normal capacity.
Warren is like virtually all other Democrats and Republicans. Her Senate campaign web site called it "a moral duty imperative to support and defend Israel."
"(A)s a United States Senator, I will work to ensure Israel's security and success," she added. Washington's special relationship alone matters.
Both countries threaten world peace. Together they menace humanity.
James Petras once said "(t)he US-Israeli relationship is the first in modern history in which the imperial country covers up a deliberate major military assault by a supposed ally."
He referred to the 1967 USS Liberty attack. Israel bombed and strafed it. Dozens of US seamen were killed. 
Around 170 were wounded. The vessel was heavily damaged. Israel got away with murder. It wasn't the first time or last.
Washington supports its worst crimes. Operation Protective Edge is the latest example. Bernie Sanders is another faux liberal.
He supports Israel's killing machine. He defends funding and arming it. On the one hand, he deplores targeting civilians.
On the other, It's OK "in a situation where Hamas is sending missiles into Israel (from) populated areas."
Except for farmland, Gaza is practically bereft of open spaces. It's heavily congested.
Hamas rockets are pinpricks compared to Israeli firepower. They respond to Israeli aggression. They're not launched preemptively.
Sanders claims he has no magic solution to end decades of conflict. He ignores the obvious.
Isolate Israel. Impose stiff sanctions. End America's special relationship once and for all. 
End all US funding. arming and other support. Boycott all Israeli products. Cut off all Western investments.
What better way to target its killing machine. It's guilty of every high crime imaginable and then some. 
It's high time that changed. It's time its culpable officials were held accountable.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Organized Labor in America Today - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 03:23
Organized Labor in America Today
by Stephen Lendman
Labor Day once had meaning. Workers had reason to celebrate hard won rights. No longer. More on this below. 
The day is commemorated on the first Monday of September. It's been so since 1882.
In June 1894, it became a federal holiday. It was when workers had few rights. Management controlled things. Labor was systematically exploited.
It took many years of organizing, taking to the streets, going on strike, boycotting management, battling police and National Guard forces, and paying with blood and lives to win rights.
They included an eight-hour day, a living wage, employer-paid benefits, and passage of the 1935 landmark Wagner Act.
It established the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It guaranteed labor the right to bargain collectively on equal terms with management. It did so for the first time.
Erosion followed. War on working Americans decimated organized labor. Hard won rights were lost.
Membership has been in steady decline from its 1950s 34.7% post-war high. It remained constant through most of the 1970s.
In 1979, it was 24%. In the late 1980s, it was 16.8%. It's currently around 11%. It's the lowest rate since 1916.
Private sector unionization stands at 6.5%. It's the lowest rate in over a century. 
The business of America is business. America is corporate occupied territory.
Political Action Committees, lobbyists, well-connected consultants, and business-friendly think tanks exert enormous influence.
In 1938, Franklin Roosevelt said:
"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself." 
"That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling private power."
Today it's worse than ever. Monied interests run things. Democracy in America is fantasy. Its criminal class is bipartisan. 
Politicians are bought like toothpaste. Worker rights are systematically smashed. They're heading toward disappearing altogether.
Public sector unionization stands at 35%. Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of government jobs were lost. States and municipalities slashed services and payrolls.
Last year, it largely affected public assistance programs, administrative and support services, public schools and state universities.
Unions did little to fight back. They're corporate occupied territory. Corrupted union bosses and politicians sold out to management for personal gain.
Bargaining collectively with bosses on equal terms no longer exists. Battle lines are drawn. Public and private sector worker rights are threatened unless mobilized resistance saves them.
According to economist Jack Rasmus, trade unionism in America today "is on the road to nowhere." Decades of decline now accelerate.
Since the late 1970s, "union labor in the USA has been steadily in retreat…industrially and politically," says Rasmus.
If current trends continue, trade unionism may disappear entirely in another decade. "Union labor is at a strategic impasse," Rasmus believes.
He's unaware of any "broad-based, grass roots discussion and debate within (its) ranks (to stem) its precipitous decline."
It represents failed organization strategy. Traditional collective bargaining lost clout in terms of generating living wage jobs, healthcare, other important benefits, hours worked, and retirement benefits.
Inflation adjusted wages for full-time workers have been stagnant since the late 1970s. Wages for all union worker categories today are lower. According to Rasmus:
"…When union unemployed, involuntarily part time employed, millions of union workers who have left the labor force, those who prematurely took disability to avoid layoff, those pressured to take early retirement packages that prevent them from working and pay less, etc., are all factored in - union wages may actually be lower in adjusted real terms than they were even three decades ago."
At the same time, offshoring, technological change, so-called free trade agreements, and other anti-labor initiatives lost up to 10 million union jobs.
Vital benefits eroded or disappeared entirely with them. Pensions were destroyed. 
Increasing amounts of healthcare costs shifted from employers to workers. Obamacare provisions assure union negotiated employer healthcare coverage will end entirely within a few years.
Workers will be on their own for what's become increasingly unaffordable. 
"Both pension and healthcare bargaining are destined to fade from the workplace in the not too distant future." says Rasmus.
Labor's ability to influence enactment of worker-friendly legislation has been declining for decades.
Democrats are as anti-labor as Republicans. Workers are increasingly on their own. Welcome to low-wage America.
High-pay/good benefit jobs are offshored and lost. Low-pay/part-time/temp/low of no-benefit ones replace them.
Millions live from paycheck to paycheck. Most have little or no savings.
They're one missed payday from possible destitution, homelessness, hunger and despair.
Most jobs pay poverty or sub-poverty wages. Households need two or more to survive.
Real unemployment exceeds 23%. It makes finding one hard. For millions, finding living wage ones with good benefits is impossible.
Obama's job creation claims are more fantasy than real. He's more jobs destroyer than creator.
He's beholden to monied interests. He prioritizes cutting corporate taxes. It does nothing to create jobs.
Real unemployment persists at Depression era levels. Nothing is done to change things.
Workers deserve social justice. Bipartisan complicity denies them.
Class warfare rages. Neoliberal harshness is official policy. Inequality grows exponentially.
So-called economic recovery is fake. It's absent on Main Street. It's only in corporate profits, financial gains and greater than ever super-wealth.
Most US households struggle. From 2007 to 2012, real median household income declined from $55,600 to $51,017.
The entire fabric of America changed. It did so for the worst. Three decades ago, an auto assembly worker earned $30 an hour or more plus good benefits.
Today it's $15 an hour for new workers with greatly eroded benefits heading toward elimination altogether.
Industrial America like it once was is gone. Workers today face conditions replicating 19th century harshness.
Democrats like Republicans make low-wage labor a centerpiece of their economic policy.
Industrial hubs are shells of their former selves. Detroit symbolizes America's decline. It lost a fourth of its population.
Once mighty Motown resembles a ghost town. It's dying. It's bankrupt. 
Over half its working age residents have no jobs. Most others have rotten ones. They don't pay enough to live on.
"Gary Indiana lost 22% of its population." St. Louis 20%. Flint Michigan 18%. Cleveland 17%. 
Industrialized countries alone enjoy developed economic status. Offshoring manufacturing reverses the development process.
Doing so shows a nation in decline. High-paying/good benefits/full-time jobs are disappearing in plain sight. 
Rotten ones replaced them. America is being thirdworldized. 
It's increasingly a nation of low-paid/unskilled clerks, food preparers, waitresses, bartenders, dishwashers, maids, cashiers, cab drivers, hosts and hostesses, amusement park attendants, movie theater ushers and ticket takers, farm workers, home care providers, and non-professional medical ones.
Economic development depends on "capital, technology, business knowledge, and trained" skilled workers, Paul Craig Roberts explains.
"US capital and technology are being located abroad..." Skilled US workers are disappearing. De-industrialization is the new normal. 
America is a shell of its former self. So is trade unionism compared to its heyday. It's fast-tracking toward vanishing altogether.
Labor Day commemorates US worker struggles. Trade unionism's main one is survival in a nation beholden to capital.
Corporate giants control things. Workers get the best democracy money can buy. The state of today's America is deplorable.

It's being systematically thirdworldized. Unemployment, underemployment, poverty and despair are today's growth industries. A race to the bottom defines things.

Israel's Latest Land Grab - Mon, 01/09/2014 - 20:16
Israel's Latest Land Grab
by Stephen Lendman
On Sunday, Israel's Civil Administration announced confiscation of around 1,000 acres of privately owned Palestinian land. 
It lawlessly declared it State Land. It's to establish a Gva'ot settlement. It's located south of Bethlehem. It's in the Southern West Bank.
Peace Now calls itself "the leading voice of Israeli public pressure for peace." It called Israel's action "unprecedented."
In 1984, Gva'ot was established as a military base. Earlier, Israel's Housing Ministry planned to build 15,000 units. The idea was to establish a city in Gva'ot.
Smaller plans substituted. The new announcement expands Gva'ot. It'll become a new settlement. It may connect to the Green Line.
Peace Now called Sunday's announcement "proof (that) Netanyahu does not (want) a new 'Diplomatic Horizon' but" intends blocking Palestinian self-determination.
He and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon bear full responsibility for Sunday's declaration. It "cannot pass without their approval," said Peace Now.
By confiscating another 1,000 acres of privately owned Palestinian land, they "prove(d) again that violence delivers Israeli concessions while nonviolence results in settlement expansion(s)."
Peace Now official Hagit Ofran believes "Netanyahu will carry out a lot of expansion(s) because of the pressure he feels from his right wing and the feeling that the (Gaza) war did not end up with many successes."
Confiscated land belongs to five Palestinian villages. They include Jaba, Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Nahalin. They lie between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem.
At issue is connecting Etzion to Jerusalem and its surrounding area. Last year, Israel sought bids for 1,000 housing units on the site.
Over 500 are being built. Ten families reside on the site. Many more will follow.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh urged Israel to cancel the takeover. "This decision will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza," he said.
Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi called Sunday's announcement a "deliberate intent to wipe out any Palestinian presence on the land and to willfully impose a de facto one-state solution."
Since mid-June, Israel announced nearly 1,500 new settlement units. They're intended for about 6,000 West Bank settlers.
They're generally built on hills. They're located in and around Palestinian towns and villages.
They encircle them. They isolate them. They make a viable Palestinian state impossible. 
Official Israeli policy goes all-out to prevent it. It intends confiscating all valued parts of Judea and Samaria.
It wants maximum Jews and minimum Arabs. It ignores international law in the process.
Fourth Geneva's Article 49 prohibits occupying powers from transferring its citizens from its own territory to land it occupies.
Hague Regulations ban occupying powers from making permanent changes in occupied areas they control unless what's done benefits the entire local population. 
An exception is made in cases of verifiable military necessity. None exists in this case.
Establishing settlements violate fundamental Palestinian rights. They're enshrined in international human rights law.
Settlements prevent self-determination. They deny equality. They block free movement. They benefit the occupying power at the expense of the local population.
By legal, military and administrative means, Israel prohibits Palestinian construction and development on about 40% of West Bank land.
It includes about 70% of Area C where Israel maintains full control. 
Off-limit areas include:
  • settlements and regional councils;

  • state land;

  • closed military zones; 

  • nature reserves;

  • national parks; 

  • area for Israel's Separation Wall;

  • free-firing zones;

  • commercial locations; 

  • no-go areas;

  • Jews-only roads;

  • checkpoints;

  • other barriers; and other exclusively Jewish areas.

Since 1967, Israel established 125 West Bank settlements, 100 outposts, and 12 neighborhoods.
Settler enclaves were built in East Jerusalem areas. They include the Old City's Muslim Quarter, Silwan, Sheikh Jarrach, Mount of Olives, Ras al-Amud, Abu Dis, and Jabal al-Mukabber.
In 2005, 16 Gaza settlements were dismantled as part of Israel's disengagement plan. Residents were shifted to other settlement locations.
Occupied Palestine reflects militarized colonization and discriminatory apartheid. It's worse than what South Africa experienced. Separate and unequal is official Israeli policy. 
Civil law governs settlers. Military orders deprive Palestinians of all fundamental rights. They have no control over their daily lives. Their land is systematically stolen. 
Since Oslo, settler population tripled from around 200,000 in 1993 to about 600,000 today. 
It's growing exponentially. It's on stolen Palestinian land. It doesn't matter. Israel operates unaccountably.
Palestinian rights don't matter. They're denied free expression and movement. Their homes are bulldozed and destroyed. They're uprooted and displaced.
They're forbidden from returning to land once theirs. They're denied redress. 
West Bank reconfiguration plans intend to isolate them in ghettoized bantustans. Sovereign viability is impossible.
Two states once were possible. No longer. Israel controls around 60% of the West Bank. 
It has much of East Jerusalem. More is added daily. When completed, Israel's Annexation Wall will control over 10% of Palestine.
One state comprised of Israel and Occupied Palestine alone works now. Nothing else is viable. 
Conditions for Palestinians are intolerable. Occupation, land theft, dispossessions, inequality, a permanent non-Jewish underclass, instability, and conflict reflect daily life.
Peace, equity and justice remain pure fantasy. Permanent militarized occupation is official Israeli policy.
From 1967 to 1977, around 30 settlements were established. They were mainly in Jordan Valley locations. Population numbered about 5,000.
Under Prime Minister Menachem Begin (1977 - 1983), things changed dramatically. A new pattern emerged.
Heartland/central ridge West Bank settlements were established. Construction tempo increased.
Dozens of new settlements were added. Increasing amounts of Palestinian land were stolen. 
Construction today continues unabated. Palestinians are driven from their own land. 
What they most value is being systematically confiscated. Self-determination remains a distant dream.
Separately, Netanyahu appeared on three Israeli television networks over the weekend. He defended the indefensible.
He called Operation Protective Edge successful. Palestinians must choose between "Hamas or peace." Toppling Hamas remains an option, he said.
"I never removed the goal of toppling Hamas, and I am not doing that now," he stressed.
"When I look around and see al-Qaida on the (Israeli/Syrian border), ISIS moving toward Jordan and already in Lebanon, with Hezbollah there already, supported by Iran, I defined the goal in the cabinet of delivering a hard blow to Hamas, and we did that."
"I can not rule out the occupation of Gaza,” he added. “I don't know if we will get to that." 
"I thought the best thing is to crush (Hamas). It might be that they are still there, but they are crushed, isolated and unable to smuggle in arms." 
"I think that creates a chance for prolonged quiet, but if not, I won't bear a drizzle of rockets."
Netanyahu left unexplained they're virtually never preemptive. They follow Israeli aggression in self-defense. 
It doesn't matter. Palestinians are blamed for Israeli crimes. They repeat multiple times daily. 
Western media ignore them. israel operates extrajudicially with impunity. 
During the late stages of Operation Protective Edge alone, Israel conducted dozens of military incursions into Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem communities.
Civilian homes were raided pre-dawn. They were ransacked. Families were terrorized.
Dozens of Palestinians were arrested despite having committed no crimes.
In August, nearly 600 West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians were arrested. The Palestinian News & Information Agency (WAFA) called what happened "the cruelest arrest operations launched since mid-June."
Since July 12, Israel kidnapped more than 2,000 Palestinians. They followed the killing of three settlers. 
Despite no corroborating evidence, Israel automatically blamed Hamas. Mass West Bank and East Jerusalem arrests followed. So did Operation Protective Edge.
Collective punishment is official Israeli policy. The Hague Regulations, Geneva III, Geneva IV, Additional Protocols I and II as well as other international laws strictly prohibit it.
It doesn't matter. Israeli accountability never follows.
Around 7,000 Palestinians languish in Israel's gulag. It's one of the world's worst. The vast majority are political prisoners.
They include around 250 children and 19 women. Nearly 500 are serving life terms for wanting to live free on their own land in their own country.
Around 500 others are administratively detained without charges or trial. Six former Palestinian ministers are imprisoned. So are 36 legislators for belonging to the wrong political parties.
Healthcare provided Palestinian prisoners is deplorable. Around 1,500 suffer from serious illnesses and diseases.
They include cancer, heart disease, liver ailments and paralysis. Since 1967, 205 Palestinian prisoners died from torture, medical neglect, or cold-blooded murder.
Dozens more more died shortly after release. They did so from illnesses contracted in prison.
It bears repeating what other articles stressed. Israel is a lawless rogue terror state. Decades of Palestinian suffering attest to its brutality.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Russia's Foreign Ministry on Ukraine - Mon, 01/09/2014 - 05:09
Russia's Foreign Ministry on Ukraine
by Stephen Lendman
Russia's efforts to end Ukrainian crisis conditions are heroic. Washington obstructionism prevents it. 
Complicit EU states share blame. So does Kiev's illegitimate putschist government.
Daily Western propaganda rages out-of-control. It represents upside reality. Truth is repeatedly suppressed. Big Lies substitute.
Russian Federation Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov is a world class diplomat. He deplores war. He champions peace.
He tirelessly pursues it. His heroic efforts to end Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts stand out.
He's done it despite ruthless US-led Western opposition. He deserves Nobel Peace Prize recognition.
War criminals most often get it. Obama is Exhibit A. Nobel committee members believe war is peace. They disgrace themselves in the process.
On August 29, Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) addressed ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
It debunked spurious claims about Russian aggression. About so-called cross-border incursions of its troops and armored vehicles.
"(S)erious questions" are raised, it said.
"Why do those clamouring for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council consistently block our proposals for a comprehensive discussion of the origins of the Ukrainian tragedy and for collective action on a solution that serves the interests of all Ukrainian people, and instead treat Ukraine like a bargaining chip in unilateral geopolitical schemes?"
"Why do our partners in the UN Security Council, the OSCE and other international organisations consistently refuse to discuss the aerial bombardment and shelling of Ukrainian cities and towns, where entire neighbourhoods, schools, kindergartens, hospitals and Orthodox churches are destroyed and civilians continue to be killed?"
"Why do the Western capitals continue only to urge the Kiev government to use 'proportionate' force instead of denouncing these crimes?"
Why does Western rhetoric belie its policies? Why do its leaders block efforts to end actions harming civilians?
Why do they choose war over peace? Why do they consistently, violate core international laws? Why repeatedly? Why flagrantly?
Western nations "surely understand that the military objective of the self-defence forces in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions is to push back Ukrainian forces to a distance where they are unable to use heavy weaponry, including multiple-launch rocket systems and ballistic missiles, against cities, killing innocent civilians and destroying critical infrastructure," said Russia's MFA.
When Kiev demands "capitulation" as a precondition for negotiations, self-defense forces have "no choice but to keep fighting to defend their homes and families."
Parts of the Russian/Ukrainian border aren't clearly demarcated. Nationals and military personnel on both sides often cross over unwittingly.
Russian authorities avoid incidents. They "expect Ukraine to act in a reciprocal way and without delay," said Russia's MFA.
Ten Russian detained paratroopers were finally returned home. It was days after very difficult negotiations. 
Airborne Forces deputy commander Major-General Aleksey Ragozin said "we never abandon our own."
At the same time, he "consider(s) it unacceptable that for so many days our soldiers were held by the Ukrainian side and, moreover, were transferred to Kiev."
"(H)undreds of Ukrainian soldiers who found themselves on the territory of Russia, after the provision of comprehensive care by the relevant authorities were immediately transferred back to Ukraine."
Most recently, 63 Kiev troops crossed into Russia this week. They were transported to the Ukrainian side without incident.
Russia's MFA "call(ed) on Kiev to end provocations against Russian diplomatic missions and staff in Ukraine." 
The latest outrage occurred on 28 August in Kiev. Russian Embassy security staff were involved, "including the bodyguard of the Russian Ambassador." 
"They were detained while exiting a cafe under the patently fabricated charge of carrying grenades, even though they showed their diplomatic passports." 
"We insist on the immediate release of all Russian Embassy staff and urge Kiev to refrain from further violations of international conventions on diplomatic immunity."
Regarding combatants in Southeastern Ukraine, foreign volunteers fight for both sides.
Those supporting self-defense forces are wrongfully called Russian troops. Kiev volunteers and mercenaries go unmentioned.
Russia's MFA "repeatedly inquired about specific media reports on this matter with our partners, including the 'work' of retired US Special Forces soldiers in Ukraine and the role of US advisers and instructors in planning the operations of Ukrainian forces."
The international community's "selective outrage" over this issue won't help end crisis conditions.
Key is what's most important, said Russia's MFA: "the need for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire followed quickly by an inclusive national dialogue in Ukraine."
All sides agreed on this earlier. Russia honored its agreement. Kiev violated it straightaway. Washington and key EU partners "torpedo(ed)" implementation.
Ukraine's multiethnic population "depends on national reconciliation."
Russia is committed to keep "work(ing) persistently to create conditions for negotiations by fostering trust between the opposing sides and taking practical measures to de-escalate the situation and help people who are suffering from the humanitarian crisis." 
"This is the message expressed by President Vladimir Putin in his address on 29 August." 
"We are urging all sides in Ukraine and all Western partners to show the good will to find a purely peaceful solution to the problems we face."
Good will isn't a Washington attribute. Or EU one. Or what characterizes Kiev fascists.
War without mercy takes precedence. So does advancing America's imperium. 
It includes making the world safe for Western monied interests. It lets popular needs go begging. It's raping and pillaging nations for profit.
It's stealing their resources. It's exploiting their people. It's risking humanity ending nuclear war to achieve imperial objectives. 
It's madness. It's official US policy. It's longstanding. It risks the unthinkable if not stopped.
Separately, Russia's MFA addressed a new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on Ukraine.
Despite "hundreds of thousands" of Southeastern Ukrainians fleeing cross border to Russia for safety, Moscow's efforts to help them are ignored.
So is blocking an investigation to learn Kiev's responsibility for downing MH17. "(S)elf-defense fighters (were) falsely accused of barring the access of experts to the crash site."
"…Ukrainian security forces…directed tank fire at roads leading to (it) to keep the experts out."
UN report authors regurgitated "propaganda of Kiev and the West," said Russia's MFA.
They "spread false allegations about the self-defence forces of Donetsk and Lugansk and heap praise on the efforts of the Kiev authorities in 'liberated' areas."
At the same time, the human death, injury, displacement and destruction tolls are so "horrifying," it's impossible to let it go unmentioned.
The report partially addresses Kiev's high crimes against peace. 
They include air, artillery, ground forces and mercenary battalion attacks, as well as "mass abduction(s), detention(s), torture and murder of people and in cleansing operations targeting dissenters."
The report notes "the absence of any progress in" investigating the Odessa and Mariupol massacres.
Since May, Russia called for genuine independent investigations to no avail. Or to who bears responsibility for Maidan violence.
Culpable neo-Nazi thugs are called heroes. They "enjoy complete immunity."
"Kiev continues its witch hunt," said Russia's MFA. It includes "harsh media censorship, a ban on Russian TV channels, the suppression of any dissent, and growing hate speech."
Kiev has done nothing to ease tensions. "It has not carried out promised constitutional reforms, nor has it passed a law protecting minority rights…"
Socio-economic conditions are deplorable. They keep deteriorating.
Calls by human rights observers on Kiev to end hostilities comes too late. It's "after thousands of civilian deaths."
Casualties mount daily. Moscow demands accountability. Kiev's war without mercy continues. Washington supports and encourages it. 
Russia bashing persists. Putin is public enemy No. 1. Conflict resolution hopes look grim. 
Expect worse ahead, not better. EU leaders and Ukraine's Poroshenko call things heading for a "point of no return."
They omit acknowledging complete responsibility complicit with Washington.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Hard Truths on Ukraine MSM Suppress - Sun, 31/08/2014 - 22:47
Hard Truths on Ukraine MSM Suppress
by Stephen Lendman
On September 4 and 5, Britain will host a summit meeting of NATO heads of state. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will chair the proceedings.
At issue is justifying the unjustifiable. It's doing so based on Big Lies. It's wrongfully accusing Russia of "illegal actions in Ukraine."
It's suppressing polar opposite truths. It's supporting Washington's imperial agenda. It's presenting a unified anti-Russian front. 
t's deploying thousands of combat-ready forces closer to Russia's border. It's "sustain(ing) a robust (Eastern European) presence…" 
It's risking the unthinkable. It's risking open East/West confrontation. it's risking global war. 
It's risking the use of nuclear weapons able to extinguish life on earth. If enacted, Senate bill 2277: Russian Aggression Prevention Act (RAPA) increases the possibility.
It's called "(a) bill to prevent Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes."
It's madness. It wrongfully considers Russia an existential threat. It barely stops short of declaring war. 
It provides "major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services."
It effectively incorporates these countries into NATO. It makes its killing machine more formidable. It lets Washington establish bases on Russia's borders. 
Wrongfully accusing Moscow of invading Ukraine provides added justification for challenging Russia politically, economically and belligerently.
This writer's book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
It explains what everyone needs to know. It provides thorough cutting-edge analysis of the gravest geopolitical crisis since WW II. 
James Petras called what happened "the biggest power grab since George Bush seized Eastern Europe and converted it into a NATO bastion confronting Russia…"
Paul Craig Roberts accused Washington of "set(ting) the world on a path to war."
Andrew Kolin discussed how Washington's orchestrated coup transformed Ukraine from a democracy to a police state.
Rodney Shakespeare asked if Ukraine is "a turning point in history." Is imperial America "riding for a fall?"
Will it go the way of other empires? Will arrogance, hubris and overreach bring it down? Will a safer, healthier world follow?
Or is WW III more likely? Russia and China prevent US world hegemony, says Paul Craig Roberts.
Unless Washington's longstanding geopolitical ambitions end, "nuclear war is the likely outcome," he believes.
Rick Rozoff explained Ukraine's geostrategic significance of US-led NATO's imperial advance east.
He calls Ukraine "the decisive linchpin in plans by the US and its NATO allies to effect a military cordon sanitaire severing Russia from Europe."
Its NATO membership is planned. At issue is marginalizing, containing and isolating Russia.
It's positioning new NATO bases on its border. It's threatening its security. 
It's risking East/West confrontation. Humanity's fate hangs in the balance.
John McMurtry calls conditions in Ukraine "another variation on the great crisis of the world - the undeclared global war of transnational corporate money sequences to multiply themselves through human societies and life on earth in the diagnosable form of an invasive cancer."
What's different is Southeastern Ukrainian resistance. Rejecting fascist repression. 
Demanding real democracy. Courageous freedom fighters putting their bodies on the line to achieve it. Risking all for what's too important to lose.
Will Ukraine "be a new turning point against the Great Sickness of our world," McMurtry asked? Or will imperialim's dark side worsen?
The fullness of time will tell. In the meantime, anti-Russian propaganda war rages. Cold War geopolitics never ended.
Since Soviet Russia's 1991 dissolution, Western policy remained hard-wired in place. 
Obama and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's 2009 "fresh start" "reset" was a convenient illusion.
Putin's overwhelming March 2012 reelection heightened tensions. Relentless bashing followed. 
He's public enemy No. 1. He's targeted for supporting multi-world polarity. For defending Russian sovereignty. 
For opposing imperial lawlessness. For deploring war. For championing peaceful conflict resolution.
Distinguished contributors make "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III" must reading.
Its thorough analysis is polar opposite MSM rubbish. Escalating crisis conditions risk global conflict.
Obama bears full responsibility. Complicit EU partners share it. Putin is wrongfully blamed for their crimes.
Washington stops at nothing to advance its imperium. Millions of corpses attest to its barbarity. 
Replacing independent governments with subservient pro-Western ones is longstanding US policy.
Washington-supported Kiev putschists staged the most brazen coup since Mussolini’s 1922 march on Rome. Claims otherwise don't wash.
Obama's new friends represent mob rule. They include a rogue's gallery of societal misfits. They're illegitimate putschists. 
They're xenophobic, hate-mongering, ultranationalist anti-Semites.
They're militant fascists. Many are neo-Nazi thugs. They openly display swastikas, Iron Crosses, SS insignia, other Nazi symbols and Sieg Heil salutes.
For the first time since WW II, overt fascists have real power. They hold key government posts. They mock democratic values.
Washington elevated them to power. It did so by ousting a democratically elected government.
Rule by intimidation is policy. So is waging dirty war on its own citizens.
Ukraine matters. It’s strategically located. It’s in Europe’s geographic center. 
It borders seven countries. They include Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Russia. 
After Western/Central Russia, it’s Europe’s largest country territorially.
Kiev putschists reveal fascism's dark side. Ukraine is its re-emergent epicenter. 
Ruling authorities want all opposition elements crushed. They want fascist rule institutionalized. They want democracy prevented at all costs.
A Russian “White Book” contains documented hard evidence. It reveals appalling Kiev human rights violations. 
It covers them from late November 2013 through March 2014. They include:
(1) Violations of human rights.
(2) Interference by the European Union and United States.
(3) Weapons and violent methods used by protesters.
(4) Restrictions on basic freedoms and crackdown on dissidents.
(5) Discrimination based on ethnic background.
(6) Religious persecution.
According to Moscow's press service, content is "based on reports in the Russian and Western media, as well as statements by representatives of the current Kiev authorities and their supporters, eyewitness testimon(ies), observations and on-site interviews collected by Russian nongovernmental organizations."
A second White Paper covers the period April through July 2014. It calls conditions "aggravated in all areas." They're worse than ever.
Evidence indicts illegitimate putschists. It includes ultranationalist extremists, Nazism’s reemergence, brazen pressure and threats, severe repression, physical violence, and suppressing press freedom. 
Kiev fascists banned Russian TV channels. They suppressed independent news sources. They want their message alone getting out.
They harass, beat, and terrorize independent journalists. They brutalize anti-fascist activists.
They're waging war on freedom. They enjoy full US support and encouragement.
No-holds-barred brutality is official policy. Ukraine is unsafe to live in.
It's reminiscent of 1930s Nazi Germany. History has a disturbing way of repeating.
Its core elements are unchanged. They include waging war on freedom. Anti-Semitism is rife.
Thousands of Jews left. Others prepare to do so. They're vulnerable. They're justifiably scared.
Fascism gives no quarter. Things may become as horrific as before.  Ukrainians have just cause for concern. They're on their own. 
Washington bears full responsibility for conditions. Expect worse ahead, not better.
On Saturday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso promised "very strong and clear (anti-Russian) measures" without change in Southeastern Ukraine or if conditions worsen.
Barroso lied claiming the "opening of new fronts and the use of Russian regular forces against Kiev. It's "not acceptable and represents a grave transgression," he said.
More sanctions are planned. Washington intends imposing additional ones.
Sergey Lavrov responded, saying:
"It’s not the first time we've heard wild guesses, though facts have never been presented so far."
"There have been reports about satellite imagery exposing Russian troop movements. They turned out to be images from video games. The latest accusations happen to be much the same quality."
"We’ll react by remaining persistent in our policies to stay bloodshed and give a start to the nationwide dialogue and negotiations about the future of Ukraine, with participation of all Ukrainian regions and political forces, something that was agreed upon in Geneva back in April and in Berlin (in August), yet what is being so deliberately evaded by our Western partners now."
"From a military point of view, self-defense militia are doing a very simple thing." 
"They are driving Ukrainian troops and National Guards from their positions used to shell peaceful cities, destroying kindergartens, schools, hospitals, Orthodox churches and infrastructure, and killing a large number of civilians."
"Definitely, to stop all this given the conditions of Kiev and its sponsors unwillingness to fulfill unconditional ceasefire obligations, the only way to save lives of civilians and diminish the number of casualties is to force the Kiev forces out of their positions used for bombardment."
Vladimir Putin called on Kiev to begin constructive dialogue. Deescalate conflict, he urged. "We have agreed on a plan, so its realization must be pursued," he said.
Kiev "must immediately start substantial talks - not a technical discussion - on the political organization of society and the state in southeast Ukraine so that the interests of people who live there are protected," he added.
Putin's plan prioritizes constructive peace talks. It's up to Kiev. 
At the same time, self-defense freedom fighters won't patiently await what so far hasn't materialized.
Not while Kiev's military bombs and shells their "cities and towns…to the ground…"
Not while innocent civilians are murdered. Not while hundreds of thousands flee for safety. Not while war without mercy rages.
Putin believes it's impossible to know when crisis conditions will end or under what circumstances.
As long as Washington encourages and orchestrates them, expect conditions ahead to worsen, not improve.
Expect Russia to be wrongfully blamed. Expect war without mercy to continue. Expect innocent civilians to suffer most.
Sanctions wars cut both ways. Putin advised his counterparts to reconsider what they're planning.
"What are the so-called European values," he asked? "Support for an armed coup, suppression of opponents with armed forces?"
"So these are 'European values?' I believe our colleagues should be reminded of their own ideals," he added.
Their policies belie their rhetoric. At issue is marginalizing, weakening, isolating, containing and co-opting Russia.
It's smashing its sovereign independence. It's replacing it with pro-Western stooge governance.
It's turning Russia into another US colony. It's stealing its resources. It's exploiting its people. It's eliminating a major rival.
It's isolating China. It's attempting to replicate the same strategy. 
It's recklessly pursuing unchallenged global dominance. It's risking global war in the process.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Sellling NATO's Killing Machine - Sun, 31/08/2014 - 06:48
Selling Nato's Killing Machine
by Stephen Lendman
On August 17, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post featured op-eds selling NATO at a time when its existence more than ever threatens humanity's survival. More on them below.
Claiming NATO is a "political and military alliance for peace and security" is farcical on its face. Its mission is polar opposite.
US-led NATO is an imperial tool. It's a global killing machine. It prioritizes war. It deplores peace. Humanity's survival hangs in the balance.
NATO includes 28 member nations, 22 Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) ones, seven Mediterranean Dialogue countries, and four Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) states.
They comprise nearly one-third of world nations. NATO plans exponential expansion. It wants new members and partners.
It wants them on all continents. It wants them virtually everywhere. It wants a global military established.
It wants unchallenged control. It wants all outliers eliminated. It wants pro-Western vassal states replacing them.
Its strategy prioritizes war on humanity. It's ravaging and destroying one country after another. 
Its 1999 78-day rape of Yugoslavia was one of history's great crimes. So is its involvement in Washington's post-9/11 wars. 
Naked aggression against countries posing no threat to America, other Western nations and its neighbors defines them. 
Millions were ruthlessly slaughtered to advance Washington's imperium. NATO's confrontation with Russia alone risks global conflict.
Humanity's survival depends on stopping this monster before it's too late. Belligerence and destabilizing events in Eurasia perhaps leaves precious little time left to do it.
US-led NATO bears full responsibility for today's dangerous world. Not according to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and its supreme allied commander, General Philip Breedlove.
Their Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined "A NATO for a Dangerous World." They ludicrously claimed NATO "kept the Cold War from getting hot," and made "an unprecedented period of peace" following WW II possible.
False! War with Nazi Germany devastated Soviet Russia. It needed years to rebuild its shattered country. It wanted peace, not more war.
Claiming a post-WW II period of peace runs counter to actual events. The Vietnam War began.
Wars raged in Indochina, Greece, Paraguay, between India and Pakistan, Palestine, the Korean peninsula, and elsewhere.
What Americans call the Korean War began in 1950. Various others raged at the same time.
Peace was elusive then. Today it looks almost entirely out of reach. Washington bears full responsibility for many of the world's hot spots.
Claiming peace is "challenged by Russia's aggression against Ukraine" turns truth on its head.
Rasmussen and Breedlove lied saying "(f)or the first time since the end of World War II, a European country has grabbed part of another's land by force." 
Claiming Russia invaded Ukraine is polar opposite truth. Suggesting it took Crimea by force ignores near popular unanimity to rejoin Russia.
Calling non-threatening Russian military exercises near Ukraine border disruptive ignores all-out Kremlin efforts to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions peacefully.
Saying Russian humanitarian aid is cynical leaves unexplained why America and other Western countries haven't provided their own.
Suggesting Russian involvement in downing MH17 ignores clear evidence of Kiev's responsibility.
Rasmussen and Breedlove falsely accuse Russia of "resorting to a hybrid war, with snap exercises, secret commandos and smuggled missiles."
They do so despite no evidence whatever supporting them.
At the same time, they claim NATO's mission is to "defend the territory, populations and shared values of all its members (against) any threat."
The only ones they face are invented as pretexts for America's rage to ravage one country after another.
To deploy NATO forces close to Russian and Chinese borders. To surround them. To target their heartlands with nuclear-armed missiles.
To make the world safe for war profiteers, corporate America and its Western counterparts.
To replace independent governments with pro-Western stooge ones. To achieve unchallenged control worldwide. To risk global conflict to achieve it. 
At the same time, America bears full responsibility for threatening humanity's survival. Rogue NATO states and Israel share it.
Rasmussen and Breedlove say they "continue to urge Russia to make the responsible choice: to pull back its troops, stop using hybrid-warfare tactics, and engage with the international community and the Ukrainian government to find a political solution to the crisis."
Fact: Russia deplores war.
Fact: It goes all-out for peaceful conflict resolution.
Fact: It respects the sovereignty of other nations.
Fact: It believes rule of law principles are inviolable.
Fact: It's committed to resolving Ukraine's crisis diplomatically.
Fact: Washington bears full responsibility for generating it. Rogue NATO members share it.
Fact: It bears repeating. US-led NATO is a global killing machine.
Fact: It's for offense, not defense.
Fact: World peace depends on putting this monster of of business.
Fact: Failure to do so risks the worst of all possible outcomes.
On August 17, former US officials Brent Scowcroft, Stephen Hadley and Franklin Miller headlined their Washington Post op-ed "NATO-based nuclear weapons are an advantage in a dangerous world."
They irresponsibly accused Russia of "adventurism in Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe."
They want destabilizing US nuclear weapons maintained in Europe because of "calls for the United States to unilaterally withdraw" its arsenal.
They call arguments to do so "shopworn, familiar - and wrong."
Fact: Nuclear weapons in the hands of imperial America, its rogue NATO allies and Israel are the greatest threat to humanity's survival.
Fact: Peace, stability and security depends on eliminating nuclear weapons altogether.
Fact: Failure to do so is madness.
Scowcroft, Hadley and Miller call these weapons "a visible symbol to friend and potential foe of the US commitment to defend NATO with all of the military power it possesses."
NATO's only enemies are ones it invents. It does so to replace sovereign independent governments with pro-Western subservient ones.  
It wages premeditated wars of aggression to do so. Don't expect Scowcroft, Hadley and Miller to explain.
Instead they claim "newer members joined NATO in large part to get under this nuclear umbrella, and they have been vocal in expressing their concern that withdrawing the weapons would symbolize a diminution in the US commitment to defend them?"
Claiming a recidivist Russian threat doesn't wash. Moscow has no territorial ambitions. It doesn't threaten its neighbors. 
It respects their sovereignty. It deplores war. It goes all-out for peace and stability. It wants crisis conditions resolved diplomatically.
US-led NATO wages one war of aggression after another. It does so to resolve crises it creates. 
Scowcroft, Hadley and Miller turn truth on its head claiming "NATO's principal role is deterring aggression rather than having to defeat it."
It bears repeating. NATO is a global killing machine. It's for offense, not defense. 
Its threatens humanity's survival. World peace and stability depend on dismantling this monster once and for all. Nothing less is acceptable.
NATO members saying "(n)uclear weapons are a core component of NATO's overall capabilities for deterrence and defense alongside conventional and missile defense" runs counter to the clear and present danger these WMDs pose.
Accusing Russia of "seeking to destabilize Ukraine and tak(e) unsettling actions in both the Baltics and the Balkans" is polar opposite truth.
Claiming "this is no time to destabilize the NATO alliance and traumatize our NATO allies by withdrawing our nuclear weapons from Europe" is ludicrous on its face.
It bears repeating. Nuclear weapons in the hands of imperial America, its rogue NATO allies and Israel are humanity's greatest threat.
World peace, stability and survival depends on eliminating them altogether.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Ravaging and Destroying Syria - Sun, 31/08/2014 - 03:26
Ravaging and Destroying Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Advancing America's imperium matters most. Core international, constitutional and US statute laws aren't important.
Nor high crimes against peace. On geopolitical issues mattering most, MSM editors, correspondents, columnists and contributors support what demands condemnation.
Syria is Obama's war. He launched it. He continues it. He’s guilty of horrendous high crimes against peace.
He bears full responsibility for what UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres calls "the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era." Nearly half of all Syrians are affected.
No end of conflict looms. Takfiri extremists serve as US proxies. They're imported from dozens of countries.
Islamic State fighters capture today's headlines. Washington funds, arms, trains and directs them. They serve as allies and enemies in different war theaters.
According to Progressive Radio News Hour guest Professor Rodney Shakespeare, Washington, Saudi Arabia and Israel created, armed and trained Takfiri extremist groups.
At issue is balkanizing Iraq. It's destroying Syrian sovereignty. It's "smash(ing) up any independent Middle East state" challenging Israel's Greater Middle East agenda.
The business of America is war. Enemies are invented. One nation after another is targeted.
Permanent war is official US policy. It's a national addiction. It's been this way from inception.
America's history reflects violence. Policymakers glorify war. Peace remains elusive. Humanity's survival is up for grabs.
Don't expect The New York Times to explain. It's on the wrong side of history. It supports imperial wars.
Cold and hot warriors get feature op-ed space. They include irresponsible government officials.
On August 29, John Kerry headlined "To Defeat Terror, We Need the World's Help. The threat of ISIS (the Islamic State - IS) Demands a Global Coalition."
A previous article called Kerry's posturing bullying, bluster and Big Lies. He's no diplomat. He's a world class thug.
He disgraces the office he holds. He represents the worst of Washington's dark side.
He calls America's own creation "a unifying threat to a broad array of countries, including the United States."
He wants partners for America's wars. Another US-led coalition of the willing. IS is the pretext. At issue is unchallenged regional control.
Attacking Iraq has nothing to do with external or internal threats. Or humanitarian concerns. Or spreading democratic values. 
It has everything to do with serving Big Oil. It's about benefitting monied interests. It's feeding America's addiction for war.
It bears repeating. When enemies don't exist, they're created. Wars without end rage. Battlefields shift from one theater to another.
Don't expect Kerry to explain. He deplores peace. He promotes war. He supports ravaging and destroying one nation after another.
He hypes fear. He claims IS fighters threaten America. Not according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
After Britain raised its international terrorism threat level, he discounted a domestic one.
So does Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey. He considers IS a regional threat. He's not aware of any plots against America or Europe.
On Thursday, Obama said he has no strategy to confront IS. Kerry calls them "a rising threat not just in the region, but anywhere they could manage to travel undetected - including to America."
Post-9/11, Bush officials hyped fake domestic terrorism threats. They featured color-coded alerts.
They ranged from Green (low), Blue (guarded), Yellow (elevated), Orange (high) to Red (severe).
On April 26, 2011, a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) replaced them. Then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said:
"Today I announce the end of the old system of color-coded alerts. In its place, we will implement a new system that's built on a clear and simple premise: When a threat develops that could impact you - the public - we will tell you." 
"We will provide whatever information we can so you know how to protect yourselves, your families, and your communities."
Every post-9/11 terror alert was fake. Alleged ones didn't exist. They don't now. Not according to Kerry.
He urges a US-led "united response…and the broadest possible coalition of nations (to keep what he calls) the cancer of ISIS (from) spread(ing) to other countries."
"Airstrikes alone" aren't enough, he says. "A much fuller response is demanded from the world." 
He wants proxy ground forces involved. He wants regime change in Syria. He wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing its sovereign independence.
On August 15, 2014, SC Resolution 2170 was unanimously adopted. It "condemn(s) gross, widespread abuse of human rights by extremist groups in Iraq (and) Syria."
It "called on Member States to take national measures to prevent fighters from traveling from their soil to join (terrorist) groups…"
"It expressed readiness to consider putting on the sanctions list those who facilitated the recruitment and travel of foreign fighters."
Damascus supports confronting terrorism "within the framework of (its) sovereignty and independence."
SC 2170 prohibits external unilateral action. International law forbids interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. It includes unauthorized surveillance flights.
Attacking other countries or elements therein without Security Council authorization constitutes naked aggression.
In September, Washington holds the Security Council's presidency. Kerry intends taking full advantage.
"We will use that opportunity to continue to build a broad coalition and highlight the danger posed by foreign terrorist fighters, including those who have joined ISIS," he said.
Obama will lead a Security Council summit meeting "to put forward a plan to deal with" another hyped threat.
Former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski calls for a coalition of US partners "patched together, someone ad hoc, with maybe some sort of informal an even clandestine agreements on who does what."
Russia's Foreign Ministry called on Washington to respect international law with regard to whatever it plans in Syria.
Sergey Lavrov said there's "no alternative for settling the crisis other than the political and diplomatic solution."
He cited the 2012 Geneva Communique. He called it a "solid international reference" to resolve conflict responsibly.
It agreed on guidelines and principles for a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. 
Syrians alone may decide who'll lead them. Other nations, groups or elements have no say.
Efforts going forward require "facilitat(ing) a Syrian-led political process." It must represent all its citizens.
Transitional government must be "genuinely democratic and pluralistic." 
It must comply with "international standards on human rights." 
It must include an independent judiciary. It must respect rule of law principles.
It must offer "equal opportunities and chances for all."
Ending conflict depends on establishing "a transitional governing body" with "full executive powers." 
"It could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent."
Syrians alone must "determine the future of the country." 
All groups and segments of society must be able "to participate in a National Dialogue" process. Outcomes achieved "must be implemented."
"The result of the constitutional drafting would be subject to popular approval."
Once established, "free and fair multi-party elections" must be held. Women must be "represented in all aspects of the transition."
"The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected."
Conflict resolution must be achieved through peaceful dialogue and negotiation. Force is ruled out. 
Washington ignores Geneva provisions. It violates them repeatedly. It breaches core international law.
It wants Assad ousted. It's waging dirty proxy war to remove him. It's heading for direct intervention.
The Islamic state is the pretext. Syrian sovereign independence is the target.
Popular support is sought when polls show most Americans want ongoing wars ended. They want peace. They want US resources going for domestic needs.
Extremists they should fear reside in Washington, other Western capitals and Israel. Don't expect Kerry to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Irresponsibly Challenging Russia - Sat, 30/08/2014 - 23:01
Irresponsibly Challenging Russia
by Stephen Lendman
Cold War 2.0 rages. It's heading dangerously toward East/West confrontation.
Putin and Obama are geopolitical opposites. They represent conflicting values.
Putin supports multi-world polarity. He believes national sovereignty is inviolable. He opposes imperial lawlessness.
He believes no nation has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of others.
Obama claims a divine right to wage war on humanity. To invent enemies when none exist. 
To ravage one country after another. To control their resources. To exploit their people. 
To achieve unchallenged global dominance. To risk humanity's survival in the process.
Propaganda wars rage. They precede hot ones. Big Lies launch them. Washington bashes Russia irresponsibly.
US-led NATO marches in lockstep. On August 29, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued a statement following "an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission."
It's a decision-making body. It's responsible for developing NATO-Ukraine relations. It was established in July 1997.
Big Lies followed Friday's meeting. According to Rasmussen,"it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern and south-eastern Ukraine." 
"This is not an isolated action, but part of a dangerous pattern over many months to destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign nation."  
"Russian forces are engaged in direct military operations inside Ukraine. Russia continues to supply the separatists with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and rocket launchers." 
"Russia has fired on Ukraine from both Russian territory and within Ukraine itself. Moreover, Russia continues to maintain thousands of combat-ready troops close to Ukraine's borders." 
"This is a blatant violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It defies all diplomatic efforts for a peaceful solution."
"Today, we expressed strong solidarity with Ukraine. At the Wales Summit next week, we will meet President Poroshenko to make clear NATO's unwavering support for Ukraine."
"We condemn in the strongest terms Russia's continued disregard of its international obligations." 
"We urge Russia to cease its illegal military actions, stop its support to armed separatists, and take immediate and verifiable steps towards de-escalation of this grave crisis."
It bears repeating. Russia didn't invade Ukraine. It's not waging war on its sovereignty. It has no revanchanist aims.
It's not supplying "separatists with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and rocket launchers."
It hasn't fired on Ukraine cross border or from within its territory. It doesn't threaten Kiev with thousands of combat-ready troops near its border.
It doesn't interfere in its internal affairs. It goes all-out for peaceful conflict resolution. Don't expect Rasmussen to explain.
US-led NATO is an imperial tool. It's for offense, not defense. It's a global killing machine. It prioritizes war. It deplores peace.
It's heading for direct confrontation with Russia. It's creating a so-called expeditionary force. It'll include 10,000 troops.
According to the Financial Times, "Britain and six other states (Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway and the Netherlands) (will) create a fully functioning, division-sized force for rapid deployment and regular, frequent exercises."
Increasing its size may follow. British commanders will lead air, naval and ground forces. Canada may become involved.
According to Rasmussen, at issue is establishing "a more visible (Eastern European) presence…to counter Russia."
Putin's NATO envoy, Aleksandr Grushko, said any attempt to encroach closer to Russia's borders will impact Moscow's own security planning.
Until the 1990s, Norway alone adjoined Russia. According to Stop NATO's Rick Rozoff:
In 1999, NATO expansion began. Four new members were added "directly up to Russian territory: Estonia and Latvia to northwestern Russia proper and Poland and Lithuania to the non-contiguous Kaliningrad Oblast."
Ukraine is a NATO partner. It's heading toward full membership status. Most likely with Finland. 
Together they'll "cover (Russia's) entire western flank," said Rozoff.
It extends "from the Arctic Ocean and Barents Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south…"
Plans include "NATO air bases, naval docking facilities, firing ranges and training grounds, airfields, radar installations, storage compounds, cyber warfare centers, interceptor missile batteries, armored vehicles, troops and tactical nuclear weapons."
Washington and its NATO allies see Ukraine "as the decisive linchpin in (their) plans to (establish) a military cordon sanitaire severing Russia from Europe."
In 1995, Ukraine became the first post-Commonwealth of Independent States member to join NATO's Partnership of Peace.
It aims to include all European countries "and the rest of former Soviet space not already in the bloc," Rozoff explained.
It's to marginalize, contain and isolate Russia. In December 2008, Washington initiated the US/Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership.
Its objectives include:
"Deepening Ukraine's integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions…" Doing so is called "a mutual priority." 
Planning will "undertake a program of enhanced security cooperation intended to increase Ukrainian capabilities and to strengthen Ukraine's candidacy for NATO membership."
It will be "(g)uided by the April 3, 2008 Bucharest Summit Declaration of the NATO North Atlantic Council and the April 4, 2008 Joint Statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which affirmed that Ukraine will become a member of NATO."
"Recognizing the persistence of threats to global peace and stability, the United States and Ukraine intend to expand the scope of their ongoing programs of cooperation and assistance on defense and security issues to defeat these threats and to promote peace and stability." 
"A defense and security cooperation partnership between the United States and Ukraine is of benefit to both nations and the region."
"Working within the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, our goal is to gain agreement on a structured plan to increase interoperability and coordination of capabilities between NATO and Ukraine, including via enhanced training and equipment for Ukrainian armed forces."
Before crisis conditions erupted last November, NATO sought four partners for its global Response Force, Rozoff explained. They include Ukraine, Georgia, Finland and Sweden. 
With a US-installed "proxy regime" in Kiev, Ukraine is heading toward becoming "a veritable gargantuan forward base for the Pentagon’s and NATO’s inexorable, now generation-long, drive to the east…"
It's "overrun with Western military advisers and intelligence agents…" It "host(s) warplanes, warships, armor, troops and missiles..."
It courts "Western leaders with a degree of ambitiousness and recklessness surpassing anything hitherto contemplated."
It's a dagger pointed at Russia's heartland. It threatens to escalate crisis conditions into full-blown East/West confrontation.
On August 29, Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers submitted legislation repealing the country's non-bloc status. According to putschist prime minister Arseniy Yansenyuk:
"In accordance with the decision adopted by the National Security and Defense Council, the government of Ukraine has submitted a bill that repeals the Ukrainian state's non-bloc status and re-establishes Ukraine's course towards membership in NATO to parliament for consideration."
The law lets Ukraine belong to any other economic, political and military units as long as they don't interfere with its EU membership plans.
If adopted, Ukraine will be banned from Customs Union, Eurasian Union and similar organization memberships.
Yatsenyuk calls them "the Soviet Union under the name of the Russian Federation."
He urged Ukraine's parliament to consider the bill urgent. Passage is rubber-stamp.
Ukraine and Russia share a near-1,500 mile land and sea border. Expect Washington to take full advantage.
Expect NATO bases threatening Moscow’s security. East/West confrontation looms.
Propaganda wars hasten the possibility. They rage irresponsibly. They threaten world peace.
They turn truth on its head. They blame Russia for US orchestrated crimes. Ukraine is its newest imperial tool committing them.
They risk the unthinkable - possible nuclear confrontation able to end life on earth if launched.
Imperial madness defines Washington's agenda. Permanent war is official policy.
All US wars are based on Big Lies. Truth is suppressed to wage them. Propaganda wars precede them. 
They rage to enlist public support. They stoke fear. They generate misinformation. At issue is advancing America's imperium.
It's making the world safe for monied interests. it's turning ordinary people into low-wage slaves. It's cracking down hard on non-believers.
It's creating full-blown tyranny. It's making America and other countries unfit to live in.
Washington's imperial war machine is humanity's greatest threat. Presidents use it at their own discretion.
International, constitutional and US statute lars don't matter. World peace hangs by a thread. 
Washington created Ukrainian crisis conditions. They're the most serious since WW II. 
Obama's new friends are reckless neo-Nazi infested fascists. They ignore rule of law principles. Their human rights record is appalling.
They're in the eye of the storm. They're waging war on their own people. 
In league with Washington and other rogue NATO states, they recklessly challenge Russia. 
Possible global war looms. Today is the most perilous time in world history. Daily events should scare everyone.
Today's upside down reality threatens everyone.Criminality is rewarded. Warmakers win peace prizes. Peacemakers are vilified. 
On Friday, a Russian-sponsored Security Council Southeastern Ukraine peacemaking initiative was blocked. According to Moscow's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin:
"The Russian delegation's proposal on declaration of a ceasefire was blocked under a frivolous pretext."
"The Security Council as a result of destructive efforts of a number of its members was unable to play its role in resolving the Ukrainian crisis."
Washington's dirty hands bear full responsibility. Britain and France are imperial partners. Other nations are pressured to go along.
Moscow's text expressed serious concerns about Southeastern Ukrainian crisis conditions. It called for "immediate and unconditional ceasefire."
It urged dialogue "based on the Geneva Declaration of 17 April 2014 and the Joint Berlin Declaration of July 2, 2014."
In Geneva, US, Russian, EU and Ukrainian foreign ministers agreed all parties must refrain from "violence, intimidation, or provocative acts."
They "call(ed) for an immediate commencement of a broad national dialogue which must be inclusive, transparent and accountable."
It must be "within the framework of the constitutional process, which must be inclusive and accountable."
It "must be resolved by the Ukrainians themselves concerning an end to the conflict."
Other conflict ending provisions were agreed on. Kiev committed violations straightaway. Washington supports and encourages its crimes.
In July, German, French, Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers met in Berlin. They reaffirmed their commitment to Southeastern Ukrainian peace and stability.
They agreed on the necessity of halting conflict. It rages daily out-of-control.
Russia has gone all-out to resolve things diplomatically. Its proposed August 29 Security Council resolution is its latest effort.
Its text included "multiply(ing) efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the population of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions…"
Churkin was clear, unequivocal and correct. He called Southeastern Ukrainian conflict a "direct consequence of a wreckers policy of Kiev which is conducting a war against its own people."
He called on Washington to "curb their geopolitical ambitions." Stop interfering in the affairs of other states, he urged.
"Then not only Russia's neighbors, but also many other countries around the world will breathe a sigh of relief," he added.
Kiev aggression continues "(w)ith support from and under the influence of a number of well-known states," Churkin explained.
He left no doubt which ones he means. Or which one is most responsible. Or how they influence Kiev to sabotage "all political agreements on settling the crisis in Ukraine."
Its oligarch president Petro Poroshenko's so-called "peace plan" promotes escalated war.
"Where is the inclusive national dialogue promised by Kiev, or the constitutional reform, or the decentralization of the authority or the special status for the Russian language," Churkin asked?
Promises made were empty. They've been systematically broken.
Dissent is criminalized. Regime opposing political parties are banned. Press freedom is nonexistent. Police state authority runs things.
Ukraine is a global flashpoint. Conflict conditions risk the unthinkable. 
Peaceful resolution is urgently needed. Washington's rage to dominate blocks it. World peace hangs by a thread.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Fact-Checking Obama - Sat, 30/08/2014 - 07:08
Fact-Checking Obama
by Stephen Lendman
Obama long ago lost credibility. Nothing he says can be believed. He lies, deceives and misinforms.
His political career reflects it. He can't be trusted.
On August 28, he held a short press conference. He did so ahead of America's Labor Day weekend.
He began with a statement before taking questions. It's painful listening to his dissembling.
His comments exclude telling Americans what they most need to know. Willful deception substitutes.
His agenda excludes good faith. His public posturing reflects it.
His war against American workers went unexplained ahead of the day commemorating their struggles.
His support for corporate America facilitates permanent job losses, lower wages, fewer benefits, gutted work rules, less health and safety protection, and forfeited security through lost benefits and pensions.
Obama: "As commander-in-chief, I will always to what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland."
Fact Check: He's beholden solely to monied interests. His policies harm most people at home and abroad. America's only threats are ones it invents.
Obama: "Because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL (the Islamic State - IS) are losing arms and equipment. In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back."
IS "poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region."  
"And that"s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL."  
"And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress that they've made so far and forming an inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.
Fact check: America created IS. It serves both as enemy and ally.
CIA operatives and US special forces train and direct their fighters.
Washington's enemy in Iraq is its ally in Syria.
Bombing IL has nothing to do with humanitarian intervention, protecting Americans, supporting our partners, and uniting Iraq under inclusive governance.
It has everything with serving the interests of Big Oil. It's about achieving unchallenged regional dominance.
It's about making the world safe for war profiteers. It's about stoking fear. It's needed to enlist popular support for more war.
It's about ravaging one nation after another. It's about assuring pro-Western subservient governance.
It's about plundering nations for profit. It's about imperial's dark side. It's about creating a world unfit to live in.
Obama: "…Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine."
"The violence is encouraged by Russia. The separatists are trained by Russia."  
:They are armed by Russia. They are funded by Russia."
"Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."  
"And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see."  
"This comes as Ukrainian forces are making progress against the separatists."
Fact check: Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions.
It ousted a democratic government. It replaced it with neo-Nazi infested fascists. It did so lawlessly.
Since conflict erupted last November, Russia went all-out for peaceful conflict resolution.
Washington consistently and repeatedly sabotages its best faith efforts.
Russia didn't invade Ukraine. Its military forces don't operate in its territory.
They haven't compromised its sovereign independence. So-called images of heavily armed Russian hoards inside Ukraine don't exist.
Obama: At next week's NATO summit in Britain, "we'll focus on the additional steps we can take to ensure the Alliance remains prepared for any challenge."  
"Our meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will be another opportunity for our alliance to continue our partnership with Ukraine."  
"And I look forward to reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the United States to Ukraine and its people when I welcome President Poroshenko to the White House next month.  
Fact check: US-led NATO's only "challenge(s)" are ones it creates.
Ukraine is America's newest colony. Obama wants it used as a dagger pointed at Russia's heartland.
He wants it part of NATO. He wants US bases on its territory. He wants Russia's sovereignty challenged.
He wants it weakened and destroyed. He wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing it.
Putin is considered public enemy No. 1 for championing multi-world polarity, scorning imperial's dark side, and protecting Russia's sovereign independence.
It bears repeating. Obama solely serves monied interests. He doesn't give a damn about popular ones at home or abroad.
Obama: "Our focus (in Iraq) is to protect American personnel on the ground," provide humanitarian aid where needed, "do an effective assessment of Iraqi and Kurdsish capabilities," and "mak(e) sure that (IS) is not overrunning Iraq."
Fact check: As explained above, US interests are polar opposite ones Obama claimed.
Obama: "(V)iolence…in Syria has obviously given (IS) a safe haven there" in parts of the country. "(T)o degrade (IS) over the long term, we're going to have to build a regional strategy. (W)e're not going to do that alone."
"We're going to have to do that with other partners, and particularly Sunni partners, because part of the goal here is to make sure that Sunnis both in Syria and in Iraq feel as if they’ve got an investment in a government that actually functions, a government that can protect them, a government that makes sure that their families are safe from the barbaric acts that we’ve seen" by IS.  
"And right now, those structures are not in place. And that's why…Syria is not simply a military issue."
It's a "political" one. It "involves all the Sunni states in the region and (their) leadership recognizing that this cancer (must be) defeat(ed)."
IS "has come to represent the very worst elements in the region that we have to deal with collectively."
Expect a "long-term project." It involves "stabiliz(ing) Syria" through "moderate" Sunni governance.
It involves regime change. "…Assad has lost legitimacy (by) killing tens of thousands of people."
"We will continue to support a moderate opposition inside of Syria, in part because we have to give people inside of Syria a choice other than ISIL or Assad."
Asked if he needs congressional approval to confront Syria, Obama said as "Commander-in-Chief, I have the authority to engage in the acts that we are conducting."
"We don't have a strategy yet. "(T)here is no point in me asking for action (by) Congress before I know exactly (what will) be required…to get the job done."
Fact check: Obama uses IL fighters against Syrian ones. They're imported from dozens of countries.
CIA and US special forces arm, train and direct them. Obama's "partners" are rogue NATO ones, Israel, and extremist regional states.
Obama considers Syria's sovereign independence a "cancer." It's important to defeat, he stresses.
Its "worst elements" include opposition to Washington's imperial project. Assad is wrongfully blamed for America's crimes.
He's vilified for defending his nation's sovereignty. He's overwhelmingly popular.
In june, he was reelected president by a nearly 89% majority. It was through a democratic process independently judged open, free and fair.
International law prohibits nations from interfering in the internal affairs of others. America does it repeatedly.
It does it extrajudicially. It does it through heavy-handed pressure, threats, coups, assassinations and war when other methods fail.
People everywhere deserve better. Washington wants them denied free choice. Obama is the latest in a long line of rogue US leaders.
He wants Western interests replacing Syrian sovereign rights. He claims unilateral authority to do it.
Obama: "I consider (current) actions (in Ukraine) a continuation of what's been taking place for months now."
"(T)here is no doubt that this is not a homegrown, indigenous uprising in eastern Ukraine."
"The separatists are backed, trained, armed, financed by Russia."  
"Throughout this process, we've seen deep Russian involvement in everything that they’ve done."
"…Putin and Russia have repeatedly passed by potential off-ramps to resolve this diplomatically."
"(W)e will take additional steps primarily because we have not seen any meaningful action on the part of Russia to actually try to resolve this in diplomatic fashion."
"And I think that the sanctions that we've already applied have been effective." Obama wants tougher ones imposed.
He's "encouraged by the degree to which our European partners recognize even though they are bearing a cost in implementing these sanctions, they understand that a broader principle is at stake."
Fact check: It bears repeating. Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions.
It's dirty hands orchestrate events on the ground. They manipulate them. They harm ordinary Ukrainians.
They create regional instability. They risk belligerent confrontation with Russia.
Moscow has nothing to do with ongoing conflict. Washington supports and encourages it.
Its European partners are pressured to going along against their own interests. Russia wants things resolved diplomatically. It's gone all-out to restore peace and stability.
Obama: "We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem."
Fact check: US-led NATO forces increasingly encroach closer to Russia's borders. Washington wants US bases encircling it.
Doing so is hugely provocative. Imagine Washington's reaction if Moscow planned deploying its forces along America's northern and/or southern borders.
Imagine if its warships patrolled its east, west, and Mexican Gulf waters. Imagine if its warplanes patrolled close to its airspace.
Imagine potential war erupting. Imagine it following provocative US-led NATO plans.
Claiming a Russian threat doesn't wash. None whatever exists. Moscow prioritizes peaceful co-existence.
America is obsessed with empire building. Advancing it matters most.
Confronting Russia is irresponsible. Doing it belligerently is madness. Don't expect Obama to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Texas Supreme Court Rejects Second-Class Status for Online Speech, Finds Internet Speech Injunctions Violate the First Amendment - Sat, 30/08/2014 - 03:54

The Texas Supreme Court today ruled that orders preventing people who have been found liable for defamation from publishing further statements about the plaintiff are “prior restraints,” a remedy that the First Amendment rarely permits. Adopting a position advocated by EFF in an amicus brief, the court also delightfully quoted The Big Lebowski's Walter Sobchak: "For your information, the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint." It further rejected the argument that the ability of Internet publication to reach millions of readers almost instantaneously somehow required a change in First Amendment law.

EFF filed the amicus brief on behalf of itself and First Amendment scholars Erwin Chemerinsky and Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky urging this position, and the brief appears to have been highly influential on the court, which cited Prof. Chemerinsky’s scholarly writings extensively.

The court, in a case called Kinney v. Barnes, not only rejected the Internet-is-different argument, it took the exact opposite position, emphasizing the role of the Internet “as an equalizer of speech and a gateway to amplified political discourse.”

In ruling that post-trial injunctions are prior restraints, the court acknowledged the fundamental free speech principle that a court can prevent someone from speaking only in the most unusual circumstances. The court explained, echoing an argument made in our amicus brief, that such orders were especially inappropriate in defamation cases because a statement that it is defamatory in one context may not be in another: “Given the inherently contextual nature of defamatory speech, even the most narrowly crafted of injunctions risks enjoining protected speech because the same statement made at a different time and in a different context may no longer be actionable. Untrue statements may later become true; unprivileged statements may later become privileged.”

“The Texas Supreme Court reiterates a principle that has long been at the core of the First Amendment—that the government cannot resort to judicial orders to muzzle its citizens from speaking in the future, even if it fears their speech may be disruptive or defamatory,” said Professor Lidsky. “This principle, which prevents the permanent chilling of speech, is arguably even more important today than it was at the founding of the republic, as more citizens than ever before are communicating information, thoughts, ideas, and images to mass audiences.” Prof. Lidsky’s article on defamation in cyberspace had been cited by the plaintiff in support of its extreme position. She appeared as an amicus in this case to emphasize that her article should not be read to suggest that Internet speech should receive diminished First Amendment protection.

Tom Leatherbury and Marc Fuller of the Dallas office of Vinson & Elkins were co-counsel with EFF on the brief.

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Gaza War Postmortems - Fri, 29/08/2014 - 22:21
Gaza War Postmortems
by Stephen Lendman
Israel's Operation Protective Edge (OPE) was well-planned premeditated aggression.
It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. It wasn't about crushing Palestine's legitimate government.
Israel needs enemies. When none exist, they're invented. They're blamed for Israel's crimes.
OPE was about preventing Palestinian self-determination. It was to maintain occupation harshness. It was to keep stealing Palestinian land. 
It was to expand settlements exponentially. It was to control all valued parts of Judea and Samaria. 
It was to keep Palestinians confined on isolated bantustans on worthless scrubland. It was to steal their resources.
It was to assure diaspora Palestinians don't return. It was to maintain Gaza's blockade while pretending otherwise when hostilities ended.
It was to have Jerusalem as Israel's exclusive capital. It was to undermine Fatah/Hamas unity.
It was to give Israel sole prerogative to commit high crimes against peace with impunity. 
It was to show Palestinians they're defenseless against overpowering Israeli might.
It was to wage aggressive wars any time against invented enemies for whatever reasons Israel invents.
It was to enlist popular homeland support for what demands condemnation.
Each side claimed victory. Netanyahu said Hamas was "hit hard and got none of its demands." 
He threatened an even tougher response should there be so much as a "sprinkle" of rocket fire from Gaza.
A late August Shiluv Millward Brown poll on whether Israelis support him showed he plunged from a record 82% high in July to 38% now.
Yedioth Ahronot is Israel's largest circulation daily. According to columnist Alex Fishman:
"Both sides did not exactly want this campaign. Both sides made all possible errors dragging them into it, and both sides find themselves today returning to square one, where they were at the start of the warfare."
Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obeida said:
"Gaza achieved victory because it has done what major armies failed to do. It forced the enemy to retreat." 
"We must know that no voice is louder than the voice of the resistance."
Hamas political head Khaled Meshal said his organization has many rockets left. Tunnels remain.
"If necessary, if the negotiations fail, we will return to resistance until our goals are achieved," he said.
Asked how he could claim victory after accepting the same Egyptian-brokered terms he rejected weeks earlier, he said:
"Our demands were just, but in the end we had the Palestinian demands on the one hand and the pain of Gaza's civilian population on the other." 
"So we agreed to the cease-fire in the knowledge that the siege will be lifted, that the other issues like the seaport and airport will be on the negotiating table in another month, and that the weapon in the hands of the resistance are the guarantees that its goals, above all the building of an airport and seaport, along with the release of the prisoners, will be achieved."
"This military campaign revived resistance as a realistic possibility for the Palestinian people."
"This is not the end of the battle to liberate the land. We presented the Palestinian national issue and the siege of Gaza before the international community."
"The (earlier) peace talks improved Israel's image in the world, but now the resistance has exposed (its) true face." 
"Israel can no longer present itself as the victim. It has become a burden on the world."
Meshal praised Palestinian "resistance forces," saying:
"We shattered the idea of the (Israeli) army that never surrenders. That's already happened before, but this time it happened to an unprecedented degree." 
"We succeeded in creating mutual, equal deterrence on the basis of pain vs. pain."
As for disarming, he added:
"No power on earth can disarm the resistance. Israel is not interested in international decisions because Netanyahu is not interested in a political solution."
Addressing the Israeli public, he said:
"Your leadership lies to you, and acts in the name of its self-interest to survive politically." 
"You need to understand that there is no security as long as the occupation goes on." 
"We are not enemies on account of religion. We respect every religion. Our enemy is the occupation."
Days before the ceasefire, longtime Israeli collaborator Mahmoud Abbas met secretly with Netanyahu in Amman, Jordan.
It was their first face-to-face meeting since September 2010. No confirmation from either side followed. Netanyahu's office declined to comment.
Senior PA official Nabil Shaath said Washington pressured Israel into halting hostilities even though terms announced omitted demanding Hamas disarm.
Days earlier, Netanyahu said Israel was pursuing a new diplomatic "horizon." He declined to elaborate.
Last Sunday, Abbas said he would reveal a "surprise" diplomatic initiative Washington wouldn't like. It won't matter.
According to Shaath, the PA wants a Security Council resolution ending Israel's occupation. It wants a timetable to accomplish it.
Given a certain US veto if this type resolution is presented, Palestinian officials will petition the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon for war crimes.
The ICC is a longtime Western imperial tool. It targets victims. Perpetrators like America and Israel operate freely. 
They do so with impunity. Don't expect this time to be different.
Throughout over seven weeks of conflict, Washington supported Israel's killing machine.
Its posture belied its rhetorical highminded concern for human rights, democratic values and rule of law principles.
It showed Israel can commit high crimes against peace with impunity. Thousands of mostly civilian Palestinian casualties didn't matter. 
They attest to Israel's barbarity. They're considered legitimate targets. International law affirms otherwise.
Large parts of Gaza lie in ruins. Billions of reconstruction dollars are  needed. Where will funding come from? 
How many years are required to complete an overwhelming job? How will affected Gazans cope in the meantime?
Will concern for them fade when headlines disappear? Will reconstruction matter after virtually certain future Israel aggression destroys what's rebuilt?
Without unconditionally lifting Gaza's siege, ending occupation, assuring Palestinian self-determination within June 1967 borders, and holding Israel fully accountable for genocidal mass murder and destruction, will anything else really matter?
After long denied justice, Palestinians remain isolated on their own. Western leaders able to help do nothing.
They support Israeli genocide. Palestinian suffering doesn't matter. Premeditated Israeli aggression is considered self-defense.
Big Lies substitute for hard truths. Fundamental rights aren't important. Wars are glorified in the name of peace.
Israel gets away with genocidal crimes of war and against humanity because nations able to act do nothing.
Expect nothing different this time. Business as usual continues. 
Expect long denied Palestinian injustice to persist. Expect future Israeli aggression. Expect Palestinians blamed for its crimes.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

We're All In It Together: Cosplay With Us Over Labor Day Weekend - Fri, 29/08/2014 - 22:12

Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation, io9, and a coalition of fan groups over Labor Day weekend for Project Secret Identity, a cosplay photo campaign to raise awareness of how online anonymity and privacy are key to free expression. Visit during Dragon Con (Aug. 29 – Sept. 1) to participate online or visit us on the second floor of the Hilton Atlanta or the Southeastern Browncoats booth, #1000 at AmericasMart. 

For the first time in my life, I’m donning a costume at a convention.

At Dragon Con this weekend, I’ll put on a balaclava, a utility vest and a pair of flashlight glasses, shave my beard into a mustache, and draw a mole on my cheek. For a few days I’ll become Robert De Niro’s character, Archibald “Harry” Tuttle, in Terry Gilliam’s classic dystopian dark comedy, Brazil.  

There are three reasons for this.

First: Brazil has had a lasting impact on my life since I first saw it on VHS as a teenager.  It put me on a track that has found me defending civil liberties at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The film is one of the early imaginings of a society where an authoritarian government uses big data to manage and control a population.  The plot revolves around a simple clerical error, which results in government agents kidnapping, torturing, and eventually killing the wrong guy—Harry Buttle, who they’ve confused with Harry Tuttle.  Now, Harry Tuttle is a renegade heating engineer who’s been branded a terrorist for making unauthorized repairs.  He’s a handyman superhero who hates paperwork and throughout the film, he keeps dropping his catchphrase: “We’re all in it together.”

That brings me to reason #2. When it comes to mass surveillance, we are all indeed in it together, both as data points in the giant databases and as allies in the battle against them.

That’s why I’d like to invite you to participate in Project Secret Identity, a cosplay activism campaign by EFF, io9, and a cross-fandom coalition of wizards, space cowboys, and other creative organizations.

We’re asking you to put on your mask and pose for photo holding a sign that says “I Have a Right to a Secret Identity” or another fandom-specific message about the importance of Internet freedom.

As we explain at

From George Orwell's Big Brother to J.K. Rowling's Ministry of Magic, science fiction, fantasy, and other genre fiction have long explored and criticized the intrusion of government on our private lives.

Today, many of those fictions have become reality, whether it's NSA mass surveillance, local police use of spy technology, or big data brokers scraping personal information from social media networks. Some governments are even trying to ban online anonymity.

Project Secret Identity underlines the belief that we must protect and advocate for ourselves in order to shape the future.

In addition to EFF and io9, the campaign is supported by the Harry Potter Alliance, Southeastern Browncoats and the Baker Street Babes. Anonymity isn't just important for privacy; it’s deeply engrained in fan culture, which is why the coalition also includes Wattpad, a community of 30 million readers and writers, and the Organization for Transformative Works.

As OTW's Claudia Rebaza writes:

Fan pseudonyms range from ordinary names to fanciful titles and are a long standing practice. There are many reasons why some fans might choose pseudonymity.  Not only is it a standard identity and privacy-protection precaution, but it may follow fan practice within the spaces they're part of online and it may mirror the use of pseudonyms in publishing where different names are used when writing for different audiences.

You don’t have to be at Dragon Con to participate: Just upload your image at and share it online.

But if you are attending Dragon Con, you can get your photo taken at either our table (second floor in the Hilton Atlanta) or the Southeastern Browncoats’ booth (#1000 in AmericasMart).

Dragon Con is renowned not only for its cosplay, but for the intellectual curiosity of its attendees.  They understand the possibilities of technology and also appreciate that writers, artists, and fans have been censored and oppressed for challenging governments on these issues.

Dragon Con hosts the Electronic Frontiers Forum, a panel track devoted to exploring the intersection of technology with civil liberties.  EFF Deputy General Counsel Kurt Opsahl and I will be participating in a number of discussions on issues ranging from cell-phone searches to the Freedom of Information Act.  Opsahl will also be presenting an updated version of his talk, “Through a PRISM, Darkly: Everything We Know About NSA Spying,” which went viral when it first debuted at the Chaos Communication Congress last winter. We will also help with screenings of the documentaries Terms and Conditions May Apply and The Internet’s Own Boy.

You can check out the forum schedule here

As for the third reason I’m cosplaying as Harry Tuttle: Terry Gilliam himself will be at Dragon Con. If we’re all in it together, surely that includes a selfie with me.

Related Issues: AnonymityPrivacy
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Categories: Aggregated News

Big Lies Risk Confrontation with Russia - Fri, 29/08/2014 - 20:54
Big Lies Risk Confrontation with Russia
by Stephen Lendman
Claims about Russia invading Ukraine are fabricated. Big Lies  proliferate. MSM scoundrels feature them. More on this below.
On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki lied saying "we're seeing…a pattern of escalating aggression in Ukraine from the Russians and Russian-backed separatists."
"And it's clear that Russia has not only stepped up its presence in eastern Ukraine and intervened directly with combat forces -  armored vehicles, artillery, and surface-to-air systems - and is actively fighting Ukrainian forces as well as playing a direct supporting role to the separatist proxies and mercenaries."
The White House is considering a range of options, she said. "We have additional tools and sanctions that we could certainly choose to put in place."
US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, repeated the Big Lie. His Twitter messages falsely claim "an increasing number of Russian troops are intervening directly in fighting on Ukrainian territory."
Russia sent its newest air defense systems, he claims. At an August 28 emergency Security Council meeting, US envoy Samantha Power lied saying:
"Instead of listening, instead of heeding the demands of the international community and the rules of the international order, at every step, Russia has come before this Council to say everything except the truth." 
"It has manipulated. It has obfuscated. It has outright lied. So we have learned to measure Russia by its actions and not by its words."
On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov debunked spurious invasion claims," saying:
"It's not the first time we've heard wild guesses, though facts have never been presented so far."
"There have been reports about satellite imagery exposing Russian troop movements." 
"They turned out to be images from video games. The latest accusations happen to be much the same quality."
"We’ll react by remaining persistent in our policies to stay bloodshed and give a start to the nationwide dialogue and negotiations about the future of Ukraine, with participation of all Ukrainian regions and political forces, something that was agreed upon in Geneva back in April and in Berlin (in August), yet what is being so deliberately evaded by our Western partners now."
On Friday, Vladimir Putin noted clear self-defense forces success against Kiev's military.
At the same time, Donbass area fighting poses a "grave danger" to beleaguered residents, he said.
He and Lavrov deplore war. They've all-out for peaceful conflict resolution since fighting erupted in April.
"(O)nce again (he) call(ed) on the Ukrainian authorities to immediately stop military actions, cease fire, sit down at the negotiating table with Donbass representatives, and resolve all the accumulated problems exclusively via peaceful means."
Moscow's envoy Vitaly Churkin accused Kiev of waging war on its own people.
"Ukrainian forces in defiance of all norms of international humanitarian law and just moral principles are indiscriminately attacking cities, residential areas and infrastructures," he explained.
His comments came on the same day Kiev forces attacked four buses of refugees seeking refuge in Russia. Its dirty war shows no mercy.
The New York Times is America's lead source of media misinformation and propaganda.
On Thursday, it headlined "Ukraine Leader Says 'Huge Loads of Arms' Pour in From Russia," saying:
"…Russian forces are on the move in Eastern Ukraine…" Its president, Petro Poroshenko, accused Russia "of an invasion to aid the separatists."
"(H)is national security council ordered mandatory conscription to help counter what he called an 'extremely difficult' threat."
Poroshenko lied claiming "Columns of heavy artillery, huge loads of arms and regular Russian servicemen (invaded) Ukraine from Russia through the uncontrolled border area."
"Mercenaries, along with regular servicemen, (are) trying to overrun positions held by the Ukrainian military."
So-called NATO satellite images were cited as proof. Its web site claimed they show "Russian combat troops inside Ukraine."
Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Centre director Brigadier General Nico Tak lied claiming:
"Over the past two weeks we have noted a significant escalation in both the level and sophistication of Russia's military interference in Ukraine."
"The satellite images released today provide additional evidence that Russian combat soldiers, equipped with sophisticated heavy weaponry, are operating inside Ukraine's sovereign territory."
Fact: No Russian invasion occurred.
Fact: Claims otherwise are fake.
Fact: MSM scoundrels regurgitate official Big Lies.
Fact: They suppress vital truths.
Fact: Commercial satellite operator DigitalGlobe provided the satellite images.
Fact: Both sides use Russian weapons.
Fact: Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko said around three to four thousand Russian volunteers are aiding self-defense forces.
Fact: Many are retired Russian servicemen, he said. 
Fact: Others on active duty used leave time to help "us struggle for our freedom."
Fact: Moscow didn't send them.
Fact: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ukrainian monitoring team and Russia's representative said no Russian forces are present on Ukraine's border.
Fact: Claims of a Russian invasion are false, they said.
Russia's Defense Ministry exposed a Forgotten Regiment (FR) Russian veterans organization hoax about Russian units involved in Southeast Ukraine fighting.
According to Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov, FR claims have "no relation to reality."
"We have studied the contents of this hoax, and are obliged to disappoint its overseas authors and their few sympathizers in Russia, who have joined forces to publish their 'revelation…' "
The "combat ready" infantry, artillery, paratrooper and reconnaissance exist. They're engaged in routine training exercises in different parts of Russia.
They're not involved in Southeastern Ukraine conflict. Claims otherwise are spurious.
According to Moscow's permanent EU representative Vladimir Chizhov:
NATO, Washington and EU states presented no evidence of Russian military involvement in Ukraine. 
Misinformation substitutes for hard truths. Often it's disseminated ahead of important EU meetings.
This time it precedes an August 30 Brussels summit. Expect more sanctions to follow. Expect Russia to respond in kind.
Washington Post editors are militantly anti-Russian. On August 28, they headlined "The West must make Mr. Putin pay for his aggression."
They lied claiming Putin "sen(t) Russian forces openly into Ukraine in the past 48 hours." They called doing so "a watershed…"
"If Mr. Putin does not pay a high price for this naked, if still cynically denied, attack on his neighbor, the precedent could sow instability (from) the Baltic Sea…to the South China Sea…, they said."
Despite no evidence whatever of Russian revanchist aims, they accused Putin of wanting control over Southeastern Ukraine.
"(T)he United States and its allies cannot afford to let Mr. Putin break the rules. It is time to hit Russia with the full brunt of financial sanctions" and much more, they said.
They want Ukraine provided with arms and intelligence. They want military related sales to Russia halted. They want NATO strengthened.
They ludicrously claimed nations worldwide "rely on US leadership and its commitment to the rule of law…" 
No country more systematically violates it. None more egregiously. None poses a greater threat to humanity.
Don't expect WaPo editors to explain. Or their Wall Street Journal counterparts. On August 28, they headlined "Putin Marches Ahead."
The joined with other MSM scoundrels claiming Russia invaded Ukraine. In February, they accused Moscow of "grabbing Crimea."
They ignored near Crimean unanimity to join Russia. They now accused Russian forces of "firing artillery at Ukrainian positions from both (their own) territory and inside Ukraine."
They claim Putin's strategy is "to open a land bridge between Russia and Crimea." He wants its economy "knit more closely to Russia's," they said.
"(E)scalation…open(ed) up another front for the Ukrainian military as it tries to regain control over the east."
"Kiev forces will now have to fight on a third front against Russian soldiers and armor."
Journal editors want a "serious response to this serious challenge to Europe's political order…" They barely stopped short of urging Obama to declare war.
The risk of direct US-led NATO confrontation grows. Doing so belligerently is madness. 
It risks the unthinkable. It risks potential global war. Deescalating crisis conditions matters most.
Washington's imperial agenda undermines it. The worst of all possible outcomes may follow.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 



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