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Rebooting Hillary - Wed, 09/09/2015 - 19:21
Rebooting Hillary
by Stephen Lendman
Polls show increasing numbers of voters dislike and distrust her. She’s losing ground to Sanders and bested by Donald Trump. 
Voters rate her poorly on honesty, trustworthiness and transparency. When asked to describe her, “liar” is the word most often mentioned - then “dishonest,” untrustworthy,” and “criminal.” 
She can’t convince people she’s not hiding something. Her sordid past perhaps caught up with her. Polls show Joe Biden is most favored against Republicans - maybe enough to convince him to declare his candidacy.
Clinton campaign aides say she’s rebooting, aiming to reinvent herself as kinder, gentler. She’ll find it hard to erase her sordid past or change her image in voter minds once fixed.
In a field of deplorable presidential aspirants without a worthy one in the bunch, she stands out as especially loathsome and dangerous - a war goddess most likely to confront Russia and perhaps China belligerently, a prescription for WW III. Smiles and feigned affability can’t disguise pure evil.
The New York Times explained her new campaign strategy headlining “Hillary Clinton to Show More Humor and Heart, Aides Say.” 
From now on she’ll refrain from “flip jokes about her private email server (and) rope lines to wall off crowds…And there will be new efforts to bring spontaneity to a candidacy that sometimes seems wooden and overly cautious,” said The Times.
A record of being on the right side of major issues and character matter most. Clinton fails on both counts - a shameless self-promoter, an unabashedly hawkish supporter of endless wars, fundamentally against world peace and stability, a nuclear weapons use proponent.
Her earlier attempts to fake a softer side fell flat. Her demeanor shows she’s not genuine. Her record as US senator and secretary of state belies her disingenuous claim about “want(ing) to be the president who addresses the problems in the headlines and the ones that keep you up at night.”
Her agenda is polar opposite her duplicitous rhetoric. Democrat pollster Anna Greenberg was right calling her an “establishment candidate,” without explaining she supports dirty business as usual - in her case much dirtier.
Last April, Politico headlined “Hillary is new and improved! Take as directed,” saying she “invented herself almost as many times as Edison tried to invent the light bulb.”
If she stood for what matters most for most people, reinvention wouldn’t be an issue. Portraying herself as a populist champion is polar opposite her real persona and agenda.
On September 8, the Wall Street Journal picked up on the Politico theme headlining “Hillary, New and Improved,” saying:
She’ll try shedding her “scriptedness.” Political campaigning is choreographed kabuki theater - candidates pretending to be something they’re not, illusion papering over ugly reality.
For eight years as first lady, she partnered in husband Bill’s crimes. She shamelessly self-promoted throughout her Washington years and since leaving government.
Her public service record as senator and secretary of state was scandalous - militantly pro-war, contemptuous of rule of law principles, scornful of democracy, backer of Israel’s worst crimes, anti-populist while pretending to be otherwise, dismissive of human suffering, and supporter of police state legislation.
She represents the worst of America’s dark side, a monument to wrong over right, militantly anti-Russian, a major threat to world peace. 
She stands for everything activists for peace, equity and justice oppose. It’s hard imagining a worse choice for president - or any other public service office.
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. 

Court Ruling Against is a Setback for Online Speech in Washington State - Wed, 09/09/2015 - 07:57

The Washington State Supreme Court delivered a disappointing decision last week, allowing a lawsuit to proceed against for the use of its classified ads service by sex traffickers. Three minor trafficking victims brought the suit against Backpage, alleging that the website played a "substantial role" in developing the content of the advertisements posted by the traffickers who abused them.

EFF and the Center for Democracy & Technology filed an amicus brief in the case, describing the wide consensus among U.S. courts that Section 230 grants broad immunity to website operators against liability for user-generated content. Importantly, many courts have found that a website operator does not become a content creator merely by describing a content policy or terms of use for its website. We urged the court to grant Backpage’s motion to dismiss.

Unfortunately, the Washington Supreme Court found for the plaintiffs, holding that Backpage cannot benefit from the broad legal protections of Section 230 because the plaintiffs alleged that Backpage’s policies defining the kinds of ads it would host “essentially provide pimps with guidelines to have their minor escort ads accepted for posting.” Backpage, the Court ruled, must address the plaintiffs’ assertions that its policies were specifically designed to enable pimps to sell minor victims before the case can be dismissed.

This is a troubling interpretation of Section 230 and is inconsistent with the holdings of other courts. As the Washington Court itself observed, “A website operator … does not ‘develop’ content by simply maintaining neutral policies prohibiting or limiting certain content.” But this is precisely the result of the Court’s decision to allow the suit against Backpage to proceed on assertions about how Backpage designed its content policy and a single bare allegation that Backpage “has a substantial role in creating the content and context of the advertisements on its webpage.”

Congress drafted Section 230, in part, to protect websites from lawsuits based on their moderation of user postings. This protection from liability was deigned to encourage voluntary monitoring for offensive, obscene, or illegal content. Section 230’s immunity was designed to shield website operators from defending themselves from bare allegations that they are responsible for the content of their users.    

Online providers do not become content “developers” merely because plaintiffs claim that it is so. As we argued in our brief, “Plaintiffs must allege specific, non-speculative behavior that a provider authored or developed the content in question or else the claim must promptly be dismissed.” Where a website clearly participated directly in developing the alleged illegal content, immunity from suit is properly lost. But in cases like this, where the provider has allegedly colluded by the apparent implications of website design and content policies, Section 230 requires that the complaint be dismissed. This is because Section 230 is intended to shield online intermediaries not only from ultimate liability, but also from the cost and uncertainty associated with protracted litigation over claims that should have been promptly dismissed.  

A primary goal of Congress in passing Section 230 was to encourage the development of speech-facilitating technologies and to spur innovation and growth of the digital economy. To expose digital speech technologies to recurring liability claims on unsupported allegations that providers “developed” their users’ content would inevitably make technology and online services more expensive, more restrictive, and ultimately less available for public use. Section 230’s immunity from third-party liability helped to create the diverse, expansive Internet we know today.

For anyone who hosts third-party content, the simple takeaway of decisions like the Washington Supreme Court's is that they are safer if they do nothing to create and enforce rules against unlawful and abusive activity—and safest if they provide no interactive services at all. This is the opposite outcome envisioned by Section 230 and a dangerous precedent for innovation and online expression.

Related Issues: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
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EFF Applauds Apple’s Refusal of Government Demand for iMessage Backdoor - Wed, 09/09/2015 - 07:44

Earlier this summer, when FBI Director James Comey made his case for backdooring strong encryption, he told us that he wanted to hash out the policy considerations surrounding encryption, law enforcement, and security in public: “Democracies resolve such tensions through robust debate.” This week, we learned that Comey apparently actually meant that he wanted the debate resolved in secret, before a judge known only to the government, by way of a sealed wiretap order.

In a brief article in Monday’s New York Times, the paper confirmed a rumor that has been circulating since the beginning of this summer. Apple has been involved in a dispute with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding iMessage encryption, with the DOJ demanding that Apple give them plaintext copies of iMessages in real time, pursuant to a wiretap order. Because iMessage uses end-to-end encryption, where only the users hold the keys, Apple is unable to comply with such an order unless it compromises its system and implements a backdoor for the U.S. government. This would compromise the security of every iMessage user, something that Apple has steadfastly refused to do.

According to the Times report, the DOJ obtained a sealed order from an unknown federal district court (not the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) ordering Apple to turn over a suspect’s iMessages. After Apple informed the government that it couldn’t comply with the order, the government backed down rather than seek sanctions or an order holding Apple in contempt.

There’s still much we don’t know about this showdown, but it is far from the robust public debate Director Comey promised. It’s no answer to point to the secret or urgent nature of the case that led the DOJ to seek its wiretap order. Even in the context of ultra-sensitive drug or national security investigations, courts can partially unseal dockets in order to inform the public and allow the participation of interested parties (like EFF!). It’s a technique we’ve seen in important cases concerning cell phone location tracking and even NSA surveillance.

The first “Crypto Wars” of the 90s were largely fought in public over specific technical and policy proposals, such as the Clipper Chip. These proposals couldn’t bear scrutiny, and the pro-backdoor crowd lost. Today, rather than accepting that outcome, the government has instead relied on scary anecdotes and vague calls for the companies themselves to engineer a “golden key” that allows “exceptional access” to encrypted communications—a backdoor, in other words. This allows the government to simply raise the specter of widespread encryption as an overall threat to society without subjecting their demands to the very public debate that Director Comey claimed to welcome. Their endgame is worrying: either a secret court order forcing companies to reengineer their systems and never speak about it, or possibly worse, a backroom deal with the government that achieves the same thing.

In addition to the questionable legality of any "exceptional access" requirement, experts in the field of cryptography have raised major concerns as to how such a system would implemented without putting the public at significant risk. Without any solid technical requirements proposed by the DOJ, at this point we can only guess as to how exceptional access might be granted to law enforcement.

Mandated key escrow seems like one real possibility. Key escrow is a system by which a message is encrypted not only to a key belonging to the intended recipient (as with classic public-key cryptography), but also a key held by law enforcement (or potentially one key held by law enforcement and one by the company, with both necessary for decryption—known as a “split key” system). But as a group of computer security experts noted, such a schema would expose the public to a greater risk in two ways. Firstly, mandating the inclusion of escrow capabilities increases the complexity of software, and more lines of code means more opportunities for the inclusion of security vulnerabilities. Secondly, as the expert report continues, the buildout of a centralized data collection hub makes it a salient target for hackers:

Building in exceptional access would substantially increase system complexity. Security researchers inside and outside government agree that complexity is the enemy of security - every new feature can interact with others to create vulnerabilities.

We’ve seen this in the past with the buildout of wiretapping capabilities: in an notorious case in 2004 and 2005, a hundred top officials in the Greek government were illegally surveilled for a period of ten months by parties unknown when Greece implemented a lawful access program that was subsequently compromised. And the U.S. is no exception. As described in the expert report, an audit conducted by the NSA discovered that all telephone switches intended to comply with government demands for wiretapping were found to have security flaws.

The deployment of Clipper chip hardware to intercept communications went wrong within well-funded, centralized, and highly organized telecommunications infrastructure. We have every reason to believe that the problem will only get worse when the onus is put on the plethora of end-to-end encryption providers (often developed by startups, small teams, or independent developers) to build mandatory backdoors in their software.

Finally, government demands to access users private communications raises major policy and regulatory questions. Can any government force a U.S. corporation to fork over user data stored outside the U.S.? Will an app developer in the United States with users in Russia be forced to build in a Russian backdoor? Are companies operating in multiple countries forced to build in separate decryption keys for each of the countries they operate in?

These questions should be discussed in a public forum with public participation before any such system is built out, and not as a result of secret court decisions and under a gag order. We applaud Apple’s resolve in standing firm, and we strongly urge the government to bring this debate out in the open where it belongs.

Related Issues: Coders' Rights ProjectPrivacySecurityTransparency
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Dragon Con Cosplayers Fiercely Defend Privacy and Free Speech in Project Secret Identity 2015 - Wed, 09/09/2015 - 05:53

More than 120 cosplayers posed for privacy and free speech at EFF and Access Now's Project Secret Identity station at Dragon Con. Over the Labor Day weekend, we were visited by Scarecrow and "Weird Al," Marvel Zombies and self-designed Steampunk characters, and heroes and villains from anime and video games—all with a common interest in defending Internet freedom. has the full collection. Here are some of the cosplayers that we'll never forget: 

Marvel Zombies

The 11th Doctor

Scarlet Witch


Anger and Disgust from Inside Out (Two perfectly normal emotional responses to mass surveillance)

Sugar Plum Fairy from Cabin in the Woods


Boba Fett on Vacation

Team Fortress 


Scary Terry

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Wolf, Turtle, and Gryphon Shamans

Linda Belcher



Yinz and Sally the Rag Dog

Cheetara and Bane


Star Trek engineer with Geordi La Forge



Lana Kane from Archer

Forecast Janna and Sakura Kasugano 

Mal Reynolds from Firefly

Hawkeye, Spider Gwen, and Black Widow

"Weird Al" Yankovic

Now for the Steampunk contingent: 

Mala Mul'tave'rii

Ysabet and Scareltt

Charley Hankins

Lady Phoenix and Queen Victoria 

Dr. Drakken

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Brits Denounce Netanyahu's London Visit - Wed, 09/09/2015 - 04:09
Brits Denounce Netanyahu’s London Visit
by Stephen Lendman
As of Tuesday, September 8, over 107,000 angry Brits signed a petition demanding his arrest for high crimes too grave to ignore - mass murdering Gazans last summer, part of Israel’s longstanding genocidal anti-Palestinian campaign.
Netanyahu and likeminded regime thugs are war criminals by any standard. Universal warrants should be issued for their arrests.
Israel should be boycotted, isolated and stripped of its UN membership. It military and government officials should be automatically arrested, detained, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned by authorities of any countries they visit.
Noted British peace activists, union leaders and three MPs want Netanyahu disinvited before his scheduled Wednesday arrival.
They want tough sanctions imposed on Israel - long denied accountability most of all. London’s Guardian published their open letter, saying:
“This week, David Cameron is due to welcome the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to the UK. As head of government, Netanyahu must bear responsibility for war crimes identified by the UN human rights council in its investigation into Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza.” 
“And yet, while Cameron continues to impose limits on the number of refugees who can take shelter in the UK, he is willing to welcome Netanyahu to our shores.”
“Palestinians fleeing the hell that Israel has created in Gaza are among the thousands of refugees who have drowned in the Mediterranean in the last year.” 
“Our prime minister should not be welcoming the man who presides over Israel’s occupation and its siege of Gaza. We call on him to instead impose immediate sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel until it complies with international law and ends the blockade and the occupation.”
Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite the Union
Mick Cash General secretary, RMT 
Mick Whelan General secretary, Aslef 
Manuel Cortes General secretary, TSSA 
Jo Stevens MP
Cat Smith MP
Tommy Sheppard MP
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Geoffrey Bindman QC
Hugh Lanning Chair, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Bruce Kent CND
Professor Steven Rose
Professor Ilan Pappe
Professor Karma Nabulsi
Alexei Sayle
Bella Freud
Benjamin Zephaniah
Paul Laverty
Ken Loach
Victoria Brittain
Ahdaf Soueif
On Wednesday, large demonstrations are expected near Cameron’s Number 10 residence - protesting Netanyahu’s visit, two war criminals supporting each other’s high crimes, complicit with Washington and other rogue partners, waging endless war on humanity, their bloodlust never satiated.
On Monday, thousands of Palestinians attended Reham Dawabshe’s funeral - immolated along with her husband, Saad, and 18-month-old son Ali, settlers committing the murders free to kill again, Israel fully responsible for daily state terror against millions of defenseless Palestinians.
Overnight Monday, its forces terrorized West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians, broke into homes pre-dawn, kidnapped over a dozen youths, clashed   violently with protesters, and attacked worshipers after completing their funeral procession for Reham.
They razed Gazan and Bethlehem area agricultural land and raided an al-Khader school - Netanyahu’s parting shot before heading to London to be feted, not arrested, on arrival, free to continue state terror while away and on his return home, with full Western support and encouragement.
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. 

Nothing Is Agreed Yet—We Can Still Stop The TPP's Copyright Trap - Wed, 09/09/2015 - 02:07

Trade negotiators have a saying—that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. What that means is that despite all of the deals that has been struck in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations so far, they remain tentative until each country signs off on the final agreement. A consequence of this is that no matter how far advanced the parties are towards agreeing on repressive copyright rules, it is still not too late for them to turn back.

That's why EFF continues to call on TPP officials to renounce misguided plans to extend the length of copyright by 20 years in half of the 12 TPP-negotiating countries. This is despite the seeming inevitability of this extension—it has been included in all U.S. free trade agreements after NAFTA. There have been repeated reports that little to no opposition to it remains amongst the negotiating countries.

Even so, we can't simply sit back and accept this, because what's wrong is wrong. Even the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that has been hell-bent on pushing this change cannot be unaware that this places them at odds with almost all economists [PDF]. That's because copyright term extension has never been about economics, it has been about placating a big content sector that takes pride in its ability to demand, and to receive, copyright laws that benefit nobody but themselves.

Big content threw a hissy fit over the proposal of slightly more liberal language on copyright exceptions during last month's negotiations. This was not because this damaged their interests—on the contrary, creators depend upon fair use as much as anyone. Rather, because it marked a slip in their control over a U.S. government agency that they are used to manipulating like a puppet (partly by offering plum jobs to USTR staff who toe the line). We can only imagine how much more incensed big content lobbyists will be if their demand for Pacific-wide copyright term extension is rejected.

Over the past few weeks, we have heard from experts in four of the six TPP countries that may be forced to extend their copyright terms by 20 years under the TPP. They have spoken with one voice about how harmful this change will be for their citizens:

  • Professor Michael Geist of Canada sounded a warning about the potential for the TPP to eviscerate many of the reforms found in Canada's new copyright law, despite the lack of any public consultation over changes that would upset these finely balanced domestic policies. Further perspectives from Canada were contributed by filmmakers Andrew Hunter and Brett Gaylor.
  • We heard from Malaysian entrepreneur Shawn Tan, in a piece that the local press also picked up about how the extension of Malaysia's copyright term would lock up materials from the country's early history, while doing nothing for high-tech innovators who are finding more value in open collaboration than copyright monopolies.
  • In Japan, consumer policy expert Martin Frid described how the Japanese government is aligned with the U.S. against local creators and fans, threatening their ability to bring historical plays and the characters they love from anime and manga, to life through theatre, costume, and fan art.
  • Finally (for now) economist Eric Crampton from New Zealand, taking the rightsholders' argument to the extreme, asks why copyright should not be infinite? He explains that longer copyright terms impose a disproportionate cost on the creation of new works, leading to an impoverished global cultural commons.

We also heard cautionary tales from Jamaica and South Africa about how the copyright trap is never-ending: it has been well-described as a ratchet that goes up, but never down. Today it's life plus 50 years, tomorrow life plus 70, then life plus 95, or 100, or… forever. Since the public domain ought to provide a rich and diverse pool of works that constitutes our shared cultural heritage, every year that is stolen from it tightens the straightjacket of those who depend upon accessing it.

It's not just about protecting the interests of users and creativity, either. It's also a dollars-and-cents argument for the countries concerned. Do the math: in a country like Malaysia, where less than 20% of music consumed is locally produced [PDF], that means that over 80% of the music royalties paid during the extended copyright term will be headed overseas with a negligible amount received in return. Similar figures apply to other countries and other cultural sectors.

This makes it obvious why, if not for the leverage of offering them more favorable terms for trade in their manufactured and agricultural goods, the USTR would not have a leg to stand on in its demands that other countries adopt a costly extension to their copyright term.

So we won't be giving up this fight and neither should those countries. Either we'll convince them to reject the unwarranted extension of the copyright term by 20 years, or we'll have given them fair warning: if they press ahead and include this term in the agreement regardless of the public's wishes, we will together rise up and defeat the TPP as a whole, just as we defeated ACTA and SOPA before it.

On our TPP's Copyright Trap page we link to more articles about how the threat of copyright term extension under the TPP impacts users around the world.

Related Issues: TPP's Copyright Trap
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Western Logic: War Is Peace - Tue, 08/09/2015 - 19:55
Western Logic: War Is Peace
by Stephen Lendman
Stop Nato editor Rick Rozoff posts important “anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts” by notable earlier figures from ancient Greece and Rome to modern times.
Their consistent theme is fundamental opposition to war, its carnage and ruthless objectives. Some current postings call “(m)ilitary glory the most mean, the most cruel and contemptible thing under the sun!” (William Black 1881)
“All wars arise for the sake of gaining money.” (Plato) “The highest good is not war but peace.” (Plato) “War’s cannibal priest, druid red from his human sacrifice.” (Walter Scott 1816)
“A shuddering lump of tattered wounds lifted up a mangled head and whined.” (Alfred Noyes 1913) “The bestialization of man by war.” (Polybius)
“We spilt blood enough to swim in, we orphaned many children and widowed many women. (Thomas Love Peacock 1829)
These thoughts and countless others explain the horrors of war, why they’re fought and importance of mass activism for peace - most of all today when super-weapons can kill us all in the hands of US lunatics perhaps eager to use them.
History shows wars benefit the few at the expense of the many. Aggressor criminality is worst of all - none more power-crazed than America, an unparalleled evil force.
Its hegemonic agenda threatens world peace. Its sham democracy mocks the real thing. Its apathetic public and world community let lunatics in charge get away with mass murder.
Russia is polar opposite - a vital force for world peace and stability. Syria is in the eye of the storm, making daily headlines, Obama’s war fully responsible for its human refugee flood.
On the one hand, Russia urges resolving the conflict diplomatically. It continues working tirelessly to achieve it. On the other, it supports an international anti-terrorism coalition - to free the region and beyond of its scourge.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova explained “(w)e have always supplied equipment to (Syria) for (its) struggle against terrorists.”
“We are supporting them. We were supporting them, and we will be supporting them.”
“Our proposal is to gather all the efforts together - all the international players, all Syria’s neighbors, all members of the opposition coalition, all of those who are involved,” to unite against Islamic State and other terrorist groups.
Moscow fundamentally opposes ousting Assad. Syrians alone should decide who’ll lead them, no one else. Washington, Britain, France, Israel and rogue partners have other ideas - ignoring the human catastrophe they caused, blaming others for their crimes.
Half the Syrian population is displaced, millions externally, a human flood desperately seeking safe haven refuge wherever possible out of harm’s way - the direct result of Obama’s war with complicit partners.
Their solution to resolve the mass exodus - more war, more carnage, more butchery, more atrocities, more mass destruction, then bomb and destroy another country and create a greater refugee flood.
On Sunday, Syria’s Foreign Ministry condemned Britain’s “political hypocrisy,” its “brazen” attitude toward Syria, its urging escalated war instead of demanding all foreign meddling in its internal affairs stop.
Britain has no right to preach to others about democracy, human rights and combatting terrorism, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said. Its policies are polar opposite. It provides direct support to radicalized Islamists - imported death squad killers working with Washington to destroy Syrian sovereignty and replace it with a puppet regime they control.
Britain should preach to itself instead of others, Syria’s Foreign Ministry explained. The same goes for Washington and other complicit partners.
Obama continues bombing Syrian infrastructure targets daily, supporting ISIS terrorists, not attacking them - Britain and Canada aiding its imperial campaign.
Britain wants parliamentary approval for escalated terror bombing. Francois Hollande intends greater French involvement to oust Assad.
Things appear moving inexorably toward Libya 2.0 - greater mass carnage than already, continuing until Assad is eliminated like Saddam and Gaddafi, perhaps as violently.
He’s irresponsibly blamed for the human refugee flood caused by Obama’s war with rogue partners. Western media blame Russia for everything.
Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland blames Putin for Syria’s refugee crisis. Major media in America proliferate propaganda, not real news, information and analysis. 
Their reports on major world and national issues consist of regurgitating administration, congressional and pentagon press releases masquerading as journalism.
War causes human refugee floods. Washington, complicit NATO powers, Israel and rogue Arab states bear full responsibility for mass slaughter and destruction in one country after another and the endless subsequent human refugee flood.
The only solution is ending devastating wars - and holding culpable officials responsible for waging them fully accountable. The alternative is endless conflicts heading for the unthinkable - global nuclear war threatening life on earth.
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. 

Abbas Tortures Palestinians for Israel - Tue, 08/09/2015 - 19:45
Abbas Tortures Palestinians for Israel
by Stephen Lendman
Mahmoud Abbas is a longtime Israeli collaborator, an illegitimate Palestinian president, a Judas belonging in prison for his high crimes - a flagrant human and civil rights violator, the Al Haq human rights group explained.
It documented numerous PA freedom of expression violations - especially targeting journalists, human rights workers, imams and students.
On September 7, it headlined “A Failed Justice System: Torture and Ill-Treatment in Palestinian Prisons.” Muhammad Ahmad Salah was lawlessly detained for 65 days - subjected to torture and ill-treatment throughout his ordeal.
On June 21, 2015, it began. Arrested at work, he was taken to PA intelligence headquarters in Tulkarem - then transferred hours later to its Nablus facility.
He was blindfolded and shackled - then taken to a cell with no ventilation. His interrogation began at midnight while forced to stand with his arms lifted facing the wall (the Shabeh position) for two hours.
Seven interrogators ordered him to confess and “say what he has to say.” After returned to his cell, he was forced to maintain the Shabeh position until 2:00PM the next day - guards monitoring him to assure it.
He collapsed from exhaustion, revived with no medical care, returned to his cell and forced to remain standing. At 9:00PM, interrogation resumed.
He denied false charges of planning attacks on Palestinian officials. His detention was extended another 48 hours. Fabricated accusations continued. So did mistreatment.
On June 25, a Nablus magistrate court justice extended his detention an additional 15 days. The PA prosecutor general falsely accused him of organizing armed militias.
He was severely beaten in his cell, his left foot bound to his left arm tied around his neck, and forced to stand on one foot. He collapsed in extreme pain.
Beatings continued. Each time he tried standing, he fell. Ill-treatment continued for hours. The next day, he was taken to a medical center, prohibited from lying down, injected with a pain reliever and returned to his cell.
Torture and ill-treatment continued for days. On July 9, his detention was extended another 15 days. The same pattern of horrific abuse followed - then 15 more days of detention ordered.
On August 6, a Tukarem magistrate court judge ordered him released. Instead, he was transferred to a Bethlehem prison, held six days, then another 13 in a Tulkarem intelligence prison.
On August 23, his ordeal ended. He was released but not freed. All Palestinians, especially male youths and adults, can be arrested and detained any time for any reason or none at all - by Israeli or complicit Palestinian authorities.
Fundamental human and civil rights are systematically denied. Muhammad Ahmad Salah’s treatment is common practice. Al Haq said the number of tortured and abused detainees increased significantly this year.
Israeli and Palestinian security authorities are responsible for these crimes - systematically violating the Convention against Torture and other fundamental human rights laws. 
Law Professor Francis Boyle accused Israel of committing “heinous war crimes…every day…against the Palestinian people,” including willful killings, torture and other high crimes.
PA officials operate largely the same way against their own people - serving Israeli interests, profiting from betraying the people they’re sworn to protect.
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. 

US/Media Misinformation on Russian/Syrian Relations - Tue, 08/09/2015 - 16:21
US/Media Misinformation on Russian/Syrian Relations
by Stephen Lendman
Obama began premeditated aggressive proxy war on Syria in March 2011 - using imported Islamic State and other takfiri terrorists to do his dirty work. 
There’s nothing civil about ongoing conflict - claims otherwise one of the many Big Lies repeated ad nauseam, proliferated by Western officials and media scoundrels, regurgitating state propaganda, their main role, not honest reporting. 
Russia maintains normal diplomatic relations. It supplies contractually arranged arms as well as other products and services. It has every legal and moral right to support a longstanding ally.
It’s gone all-out for diplomatic conflict resolution. Putin urges an international coalition against terrorism and extremism - not efforts to topple an independent government. Obama wants endless imperial wars - against one country after another, ongoing in multiple theaters, likely to erupt in new ones any time.
US officials give chutzpah new meaning. On September 5, a State Department web site spokesperson statement said:
“The Secretary called Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning to discuss Syria, including US concerns about reports suggesting an imminent enhanced Russian military build-up there.” 
“The Secretary made clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL coalition operating in Syria.”
Fact: No evidence suggests a “Russian military build-up” in Syria. Satellite images would clearly show it. None exist.
Fact: No “anti-ISIL coalition” exists. US-led aggression using imported ISIS and other takfiri terrorists foot soldiers targets Syria for regime change.
Fact: Obama bears full responsibility for mass slaughter and destruction against the Syrian nation and its people, as well as the greatest refugee crisis since WW II.
Major media reports exclude what readers and viewers most need to know. State-sponsored propaganda substitutes.
On September 4, The New York Times headlined “Russian Moves in Syria Pose Concerns for US,” saying:
A Russian “military advance team (was sent) to Syria (plus) other (unmentioned) steps” taken - citing unnamed administration officials, claiming Putin’s possible intention “to vastly expand his military support” for Syria, despite no evidence showing he’s doing anything beyond fulfilling contractual agreements between both nations.
Despite clear evidence otherwise, The Times cited “Kerry’s repeated efforts to enlist Mr. Putin’s support for a diplomatic solution” to continued conflict.
It bears repeating. Syria is Obama’s war. He didn’t wage it to quit. Indications suggest he intends escalating it. Libya 2.0 appears likely.
Russia deplores war. It’s done more for world peace than any other nation - yet gets irresponsibly criticized. Proliferating anti-Russian propaganda is longstanding Times policy - now suggesting possible deployment of thousands of Russian forces to aid Assad, despite no evidence suggesting it.
State Department spokesman Admiral John Kirby was quoted saying “(w)e have regularly and repeatedly expressed our concern about Russian military support for” Assad.
Fact: No nation is more responsible for global wars and unspeakable human suffering than America.
Fact: Post-Soviet Russia never attacked another country. Its August 2008 South Ossetian incursion was to protect its own citizens - initiated after hundreds were murdered by Georgian forces, deployed by US-installed fascist despot Mikheil Saakashvili.
On September 5, The Times headlined “US Warns Russia Over Military Support for Assad,” saying:
Kerry warned Sergey Lavrov “that such a move might lead to a ‘confrontation’ with the American-led coalition…”
US anti-Russian propaganda war rages unabated - facilitated by media scoundrels proliferating managed news misinformation and Big Lies, notably in New York Times feature reports.
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. 

California: Protect Your Driver License Privacy - Tue, 08/09/2015 - 14:53

The California Legislature wants the DMV to start issuing “Enhanced Driver Licenses” (EDL), similar to a REAL ID, that contain an RFID tag that could expose information about you from up to 30 feet away.

We need your help to bring S.B. 249 to a screeching halt by calling or emailing your state legislator today.

Up until a few days ago, the EDL program proposed in the bill would have prohibited companies from requiring employees to get EDLs, or discriminating against those who refused to get them. The bill also required the unique ID number stored in the RFID tag to be encrypted or otherwise protected from unauthorized reading.

Notice how we’re using past tense?

At the 11th hour, the legislature stripped nearly all the privacy protections. The only security that remains is a DMV-issued sleeve for the card that’s supposed to block RFID readers. But at least one study showed that these sleeves don’t completely block EDLs from being read—they just require someone to get a little closer. And worse yet, now an employer can force its employees to apply for this privacy nightmare, or risk termination.

Supporters argue that you don’t really need to worry, since the RFID tag only contains a randomly assigned “unique identification number that links to information contained in a secure Department of Homeland Security database.” But we’ve seen companies and government agencies use otherwise anonymous ID numbers to track people’s locations before. If S.B. 249 passes, we predict a thriving industry of covert EDL location tracking—and unlike your cell phone, you won’t be able to turn this tracking system off.

Given the changes, and how they were snuck in at the last minute, we’re concerned that a voluntary, opt-in program that was originally intended to help residents and workers who cross the border on a regular basis will eventually become the default for the entire state.

But we can stop these changes before they become law. If you live in California, please contact your legislators right now to let them know you don’t support the privacy-invasive amendments made to S.B. 249.

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Categories: Aggregated News

Refugee Crisis Straight Talk - Tue, 08/09/2015 - 05:26
Refugee Crisis Straight Talk
by Stephen Lendman
Official accounts from Washington and European capitals along with duplicitous major media reports suppress what’s most important to know.
Volumes are written without a single explanation of why a refugee crisis exists in the first place, what should be done about it, and most important, how to prevent future ones.
Millions fleeing troubled lands aren’t migrants. They’re refugees and asylum seekers - desperately seeking safe havens anywhere out of harm’s way.
Washington bears full responsibility for the gravest refugee crisis since WW II - because of its devastating post-9/11 wars. Resolving the problem isn’t rocket science. 
It’s as simple as declaring peace, stopping US wars, ending its support for ISIS and other takfiri terrorists, establishing effective transition policies, and caring for displaced people humanely until they’re able to return home, adjust to a new environment on their own or go elsewhere.
RT International interviewed Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro. He correctly blamed America for refugee crisis conditions.
“It is Europe that has to deal with the disaster caused by the US, because it is Europe that is now taking in thousands of migrants and they don’t know how to cope with this situation,” he said.
“By deception, (America) invaded (Afghanistan), then (Iraq), the cradle of civilization - and razed it to the ground. Now it is literally split into thousands of parts and engulfed by terrorism in its cruelest form” because Washington wanted to steal its oil and exploit its people.
“Who bombed Libya! Who took the lives of more than 100,000 Libyans! Who is now bombing Syria,” Maduro stressed!
“Who financed the terrorists that are now seeking to destroy it. The US has caused a real disaster, chaos, and now it wants to cause chaos in other regions of the world.”
Britain’s Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn blasted David Cameron - calling his response to the Syrian refugee crisis (the worst one globally) “wholly inadequate.”
Images of a dead child washing up on Turkey’s shoreline reflect the horrors of Washington’s imperial wars - endless ones taking millions of lives, displacing millions of survivors fleeing for safety, enduring extraordinary hardships few can comprehend, and treated with deplorable callousness most everywhere they arrive.
Tory leadership failed, said Corbyn. Britain granted asylum to less than 300 Syrian refugees since January 2014.
Cameron dismissively says “I don’t think there is an answer that can be achieved simply by taking more and more refugees” - while his complicity with Obama’s wars creates more of them.
Corbyn calls it Britain’s “duty under UN law, but also as human beings, to offer a place of safety, and play a role internationally to share our responsibilities, and to try to end (ongoing) conflict(s)” - ones Britain complicit with Washington wage.
On September 4, Human Rights Watch (HRW) listed “five steps to tackle (the) refugee crisis:
1. Establish safer legal ways to aid desperate people - helping them avoid the horrors of hazardous journeys, “dangerous routes and unscrupulous smugglers.” 
2. Fix “the EU’s broken asylum system.” Different polices among member states created a dysfunctional process.
3. Institute “robust search and rescue operations” sustained as long as needed.
4. Establish a “permanent relocation (policy) to share asylum seekers.”
5. “Develop a list of ‘unsafe’ countries whose nationals…need international protection.”
HRW omitted what’s most important. Declare a universal commitment to peace and stability. End US imperial wars. End European involvement in them. Hold Israel accountable for slow-motion genocide against Palestinians.
When swords are turned into plowshares, refugee crises won’t exist. Instead, Washington’s solution to everything is war, endless conflicts for wealth and power, turning planet earth into a dystopian wasteland - or maybe destroying it 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. 

Israel to Demolish 13,000 Palestinian Structures - Tue, 08/09/2015 - 02:31
Israel to Demolish 13,000 Palestinian Structures
by Stephen Lendman
Longstanding Israeli policy calls for Judaizing Palestine, ethnically cleansing non-Jews, continuing slow-motion genocide against Muslims, and prohibiting Palestinian self-determination.
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) says nothing demonstrates Israel’s racist policy “more graphically than…house demolitions” - over 46,000 Palestinian owned homes and other structures destroyed since June 1967, to facilitate exclusive Jewish development on stolen land.
A new UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report is titled “Under Threat: Demolition Orders in Area C of the West Bank” - comprising over 60% of its land,  including its valued water resources and most agricultural areas.
Israel considers it sovereign territory. Hardliners want it officially annexed, displacing its Arab population entirely.
OCHA cited Israeli data indicating plans to demolish an estimated 13,000 Palestinian owned structures - “heighten(ing) the vulnerability of thousands of poor Palestinian households, some of whom are at imminent risk of forcible displacement.”
Racist Israeli policy makes it “nearly impossible for Palestinians” to build on their own land. Over 300,000 reside in Area C - in 532 residential areas. 
Structures built without permit permission risk demolition. Orders once issued are permanent, executed at Israel’s discretion, often on short notice or none at all, residents often losing possessions they had no time to remove before Israeli bulldozers destroyed their property.
Displacement, loss of livelihoods, destitution, deprivation and increased dependency on aid follows. “The entire West Bank population is affected by what happens in Area C,” said OCHA.
Israel demolishes Palestinian homes punitively, for lacking building permits, for military reasons or undefined ones - a racist policy flagrantly breaching international law.
The Al Haq human rights group calls it collective punishment amounting to “a war crime and a crime against humanity.”
Earlier, Rabbis for Human Rights said “(A) politically motivated land policy must not come at the expense of the rights of a population subjected to occupation, which is excluded from the decision-making processes of those shaping its destiny.” 
“The procedures empower the ability to use the mechanism Israel set up for declaring 'state lands' for the purpose of dispossessing Palestinian communities and individuals of their rights and lands.”
ICAHD calls Israel’s demolition policy a peace-destroying initiative - reflecting institutionalized racism constituting state terror.
According to OCHA, Palestinian construction is prohibited in 70% of Area C - heavily restricted in another 29%, permitted in only 1% of Palestinian owned land.
“The rapid increase in demolitions shows that we must move beyond words towards concerted action to stop these violations of international law,” Medical Aid for Palestinians head Tony Laurance explained.
OCHA discussed a “dual system.” The “planned area per Israeli settler is more than 13 times larger than the planned area per Palestinian" - about 790 square meters per settler, versus 60 square meters per Palestinian.
Demolished houses and other structures leave thousands of Palestinians homeless and destitute. Fourth Geneva’s Article 49 prohibits forcible displacement of protected persons or transferring parts of an Occupying Power’s own civilian population to territory it controls.
Israel wants Palestinians forcibly displaced for land it wants exclusively for Jews. During decades of occupation harshness, it systematically destroyed privately owned Palestinian homes, other structures, businesses, agricultural land, livestock facilities and other property.
ICAHD calls home demolitions and forced evictions “among Israel’s most heinous practices” - violating the letter and spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25) stating:
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
Fourth Geneva and other fundamental humanitarian and human rights laws are violated. Apartheid is racism’s worst form. Militarized Israeli occupation the worst type - systematically displacing Palestinians for exclusive Jewish development in flagrant violation of international law.
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. 

US-Led Western Nations Plan Escalated War on Syria - Mon, 07/09/2015 - 23:53
US-Led Western Nations Plan Escalated War on Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Obama’s proxy war on Syria is in its fifth year - using Islamic State and other takfiri terrorists as proxy foot soldiers, supported by US terror bombing of Syrian infrastructure targets on the phony pretext of defeating ISIS.
Britain, Canada and Israel are involved, complicit in Washington’s campaign against Assad - their warplanes covertly terror bombing Syrian infrastructure targets along with America’s.
UK SAS special forces masquerading as ISIS fighters operate covertly on the ground - likely with their US and Israeli counterparts.
Full-blown US-led Western war on Assad looms - Libya 2.0. In mid-August, Israeli media reported IDF preparations for possible Golan Heights ground operations in Syrian territory - readied to respond if its military attacks Israel, a likely false flag scheme for anti-Assad aggression if ordered.
Events on the ground and planned show America, Britain, Canada, France, perhaps other Western countries and Israel likely intend using phony war on ISIS and the refugee flood caused by regional conflicts as a pretext for full-scale war on Syria - to topple Assad and replace him and his government with a US-controlled stooge regime, the same old imperial plot.
David Cameron wants Britain’s covert bombing of Syria escalated. In October, he’ll seek parliamentary approval. 
A source close to Downing Street said “(t)he government is essentially posing a question: Could we do more? Should we do more? But Syria is where the fight should be taken to.”
Former UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox said “(o)ur response is inadequate. The policy of attacking ISIS in Iraq but not in Syria is patently absurd.”
No such policy exists. US-led terror bombing in both countries targets infrastructure, not ISIS.
French and international media report the Hollande’s government may ally with Washington’s terror bombing campaign - on the same phony pretext of fighting ISIS and resolving the refugee crisis.
Wars cause human floods - people fleeing for safe havens to survive. Escalated terror bombing and ground attacks assure greater numbers of Syrians displaced to get out of harm’s way.
Canada’s Harper government says resolving crisis conditions in Syria requires more military action. He’s allied with Obama’s war on Syria and Iraq - Canadian warplanes terror bombing selected infrastructure sites in both countries, supporting Washington’s imperial campaign. 
Putin urges “an international coalition to fight terrorism and extremism” - the monster Washington created and actively supports.
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. 

Israel's War on Refugees - Mon, 07/09/2015 - 18:52
Israel’s War on Refugees
by Stephen Lendman
America and Israel are two of the world’s least welcoming countries for refugees. Both nations share responsibility for the human flood overwhelming Europe. Yet neither does much to help.
In the past year, only around 1,000 desperate people fleeing countries ravaged by US wars were granted asylum in America. Israel only accepts Jewish refugees. 
Muslims from countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen aren’t wanted - victims of US imperial wars, Israel partnering in its regional aggression.
On Sunday, Netanyahu said “(w)e  will not allow Israel to be submerged by a wave of illegal migrants and terrorist activists.”
Fact: They’re not “migrants” or “terrorist(s).” They refugees fleeing countries America complicit with Israel and rogue NATO partners ravaged by endless wars.
“(W)e must control our borders,” Netanyahu blustered.
Fact: Israel is the world’s only country without declared borders - because of its expansionary policy, wanting Palestinian land and more from neighboring countries annexed to its own territory, exclusively for Jews, no others wanted or tolerated, especially Muslims.
Official figures show around 45,000 refugees in Israel - Black Jews almost entirely from Eritrea and Sudan, unwanted because of their race, involuntary departures commonplace.
Israel is the only nation surrounding itself with walls - to steal land, keep out unwanted refugees and enforce repression. They have nothing to do with security. Israel’s claim otherwise rings hollow.
Its Apartheid Wall will exceed 800 km when completed - its route largely within the Green Line, stealing around 12% of Palestinian land. 
Gaza is surrounded by walls and razor wire - extending 55 km from northwest Beit Lahia to Rafah, including a 300 - 600 meter buffer zone, off-limits for badly needed agriculture.
Israel prohibits it on around 30% of Gaza's most fertile land. Thousands of Palestinian farmers can't access their fields. Anyone trying is shot - children as vulnerable like adults.
A barrier separates Israeli occupied Golan from Syria - fortified with concertina and razor wire, touch sensors, motion detectors, infrared cameras and ground radar.
A completed Sinai border fence walls off Israel from Egypt - 150 miles long, over 16 feet high. Others run along Lebanon’s border and under construction separating Israel from Jordan.
It builds separation walls of oppression and land theft, turing Gaza into a walled in prison, preventing diaspora Palestinians from returning home, keeping unwanted refugees out, serving its own self-interest at the expense of people it harms.
Walls don’t provide security. They separate people unjustly, isolate them, create problems, make enemies, prevent peace, equity and justice - another reason why Israel is one of the world’s most hated countries.
It’s separate and unequal policy makes normal life impossible. Socioeconomic discrimination affects land policies, urban planning, housing, infrastructure, economic development, employment, education, healthcare, and personal safety.
Arabs aren’t wanted - or non-Jewish refugees and asylum seekers, despite international law protecting them. Article I of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees calls them:
"A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country."
Post-WW II, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established to help them.
To gain legal protection, they must:
  • be outside their country of origin;

  • fear persecution;

  • be harmed or fear harm by their government or others;

  • fear persecution for at least one of the above reasons; and

  • pose no danger to others.

Israel is a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention. Interior Ministry procedures and secret inter-ministerial decisions ignore it. 
Compared to Western countries, Israel accepts the fewest number of temporary or permanent refugees even though legally and morally bound to help. America operates the same way.
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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