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New York Times: Enemy of Truth

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 27/12/2014 - 21:14
New York Times: Enemy of Truth
by Stephen Lendman
The Times is America's leading establishment publication. Its longstanding history is unprincipled. 
Supporting wealth, power and privilege. At the expense of populist interests.
Functioning as a quasi-official propaganda ministry. Offering a daily diet of managed news misinformation rubbish. On issues mattering most.
It bears repeating what other articles stressed. All the new it claims fit to print isn't fit to read.
No nation in world history committed more high crimes against humanity than America. The Times supports its worst policies.
Ignoring rule of law principles. Supporting might over right. When America goes to war or plans one, it marches in lockstep.
When sitting governments are opposed, it vilifies them supportively. Backing numerous ruthless regimes Washington supports. Including ones installed by rigged elections, coups or  US wars.
Throughout his tenure, The Times vilified Hugo Chavez. After his 1998 election, its Latin American correspondent, Larry Roher, lied calling him a "populist demagogue. (A)n authoritarian. (A) caudillo (strongman)." 
On April 13, 2002, a Times editorial headlined "Hugo Chavez Departs," saying:
"With yesterday's resignation of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator." 
"Mr. Chavez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona."
Carmona represented business interests. Corporate predators. Chavez established model democracy. Bolivarian fairness.
Removing him was short-lived. Lasting two days. Overwhelming public support returned him to office. Including from Venezuela's military.
Times editors endorsed his ouster. Consistent bashing followed throughout his tenure. 
Continuing against current President Nicholas Maduro. Carrying Chavez's torch. Honorably. Serving all Venezuelans responsibly.
After Washington toppled democratically elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004, The Times lied.
Claiming he resigned. Sending in Marines to abduct him was "the right thing to do," it said. Arriving after "Mr. Aristide yielded power."
Blaming him for "contribut(ing) significantly to his own downfall." Because of his "increasingly autocratic and lawless rule."
Accusing him of manipulating 2000 elections. Not "deliver(ing) the democracy he promised."
Aristide's tenure was Haiti's only democratic governance since its short-lived 1804 independence. Times editors didn't explain. Substituting Big Lies for hard truths.
Discredited correspondent Judith Miller represented one of the most deplorable chapters in Times history. In the run-up to Bush's Iraq war. 
Functioning as weapon of mass deception. Writing daily propaganda rubbish. 
Pentagon press releases masquerading as real news and information. Featuring a Noah's Ark of scam artists.
The late Gore Vidal called The Times the "Typhoid Mary of American journalism" for good reason.
Currently bashing Russia relentlessly. Targeting Putin irresponsibly. Practically labeling him public enemy number one.
Backing fascists running Ukraine. Ones Washington lawlessly installed. The most brazen European coup since Mussolini's 1922 march on Rome.
Supports Obama's war on Syria. His Iraq war. His 2011 Libya war. Bush I's Iraq war. Years of illegal sanctions. Responsible for killing around 5,000 Iraqi children monthly.
Bush II's Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Homeland force-fed austerity when vital stimulus is needed. 
During protracted Main Street Depression conditions. Pretending phony numbers claiming otherwise are real.
"Magic growth numbers," according to Paul Craig Roberts. Manufactured. Not real. "Not from rising real consumer incomes," he explained.
Or growing consumer credit. Or higher retail sales. Or an improving housing sector.
Economist John Williams reengineers phony government data. Offering a true picture of economic conditions. Calling recent US growth numbers "nonsense." 
Misleading garbage. Not according to The Times. Citing the "fastest" economic growth "in over a decade."
Providing "the strongest evidence to date that the recovery is finally gaining sustained power…" Despite hard truths proving otherwise.
Including sharply lower commodity prices. A key indicator of economic weakness. At a time "30% of 30-year old Americans and almost 50% of 25-year olds liv(e) with parents," said Roberts.
Because of unemployment or underemployment. After six years of fake economic recovery, Eurozone countries face deflation and recession.
Economist Jack Rasmus calls Japan's economy "a spent force since the late 1990s." China's economy is slowing. 
So are emerging markets. Real US growth is subpar. Global debt levels are unprecedented. Leaving world economies vulnerable to financial crisis.
Roberts calls America's economy "a house of cards." Don't expect the Times to explain. Or promote healthy eating.
Last February, it gave agricultural economist Jayson Lusk and right-wing Hoover Institution fellow Henry I. Miller op-ed space. They took full advantage.
Headlining "We Need GMO Wheat." Saying "not a single acre of genetically engineered wheat being grown commercially in the United States."
Claiming wheat farmers and consumers lack "the benefits of (so-called) newer molecular techniques of genetic engineering."
A litany of misinformation followed. Touting nonexistent benefits of GMO crops. Ignoring their hazards to human health.
Vandana Shiva calls genetically transformed seeds "food totalitarianism." Waging war on human health. By corporate giants like Monsanto.
"We would have no hunger in the world if" ordinary farmers controlled their own seeds and land, she maintains.
Calling enormous sums the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation spends on agricultural research and assistance "the greatest threat to farmers in the developing world."
"If you look at the graph of the growth of GMOs, the growth of application of glyphosate and autism, it's literally a one-to-one correspondence," she explains. 
"And you could make (the same) graph for kidney failure…for diabetes…for Alzheimer's." For other diseases.
Clear evidence shows GMO foods and ingredients are toxic. Unsafe to eat. Harmful to human health. 
Producing hazardous intestinal bacteria. Responsible for numerous illnesses. infertility. Immune problems. Accelerated aging.
Faulty insulin regulation. Gastrointestinal abnormalities. Major organ changes. Lower life expectancy.
Roundup pesticide used for GM crops causes birth defects. GM soy causes sterility.
Americans don't know what they're eating. Labeling is prohibited. Violating First Amendment rights.
The Center for Food Safety (CFS) calls GM plants and animals "one of the greatest and most intractable environmental challenges of the 21st century."
Over 90% of US soybeans are genetically engineered. Around 85% of corn. About 88% of cotton. Cottonseed oil commonly used in processed foods.
Over 80% of them contain GM ingredients. From soda pop to soup to salad dressings. Crackers to condiments. Potatoes to "super" pigs. Bananas to baked beans.
Despite known harm to human health, no congressional legislation regulates GM foods and ingredients.
Americans are human guinea pigs without knowing it. Part of an unregulated mass experiment, Entailing enormous risks.
Once GM seeds are planted, nothing known to science can reverse their contamination. Over two-thirds of arable US farmland is affected.
Despite known human health risks. US politics trumps science. Unsafe foods and ingredients are declared fit to eat. 
So far, wheat is GMO free. For how long remains to be seen. It's one of America's three major crops. Along with corn and soybeans.
GMO crops are toxic. Poison. Hazardous to human health. Banning them should be mandated. Don't expect The Times to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

A Holiday Season Message

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 27/12/2014 - 05:29
A Holiday Season Message
by Stephen Lendman
Borrowing a line from Dickens, 2014 was the best and worst of times. Multiple illnesses slowed me down. Stopped me for a while.
At age 80, the flesh doesn't always respond to the spirit's willingness. Or as easily as years earlier. When healthy, I manage to do what I love best. 
Daily articles. Media work. Another book or two ahead. This year my 4th. Hopefully not my last.
My edited and contributed to book on Ukraine. Titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
The definitive work on the topic, I believe. Because of the distinguished contributors. An honor for me to include my content with theirs.
Ukraine a topic I revisit regularly. Because of its importance. A tinderbox in Europe's heartland. US-installed fascists in charge.
Heavily armed and dangerous. Waging dirty war on Donbas freedom fighters. Rejecting fascist rule. Wanting real democracy.
Putting their lives on the line to achieve it. Deserving universal support. Facing long odds with US-led NATO backing Kiev's killing machine.
Confronting Russia. Jointly with Washington and rogue NATO partners.
Making anything ahead possible. Likely escalated civil war. Potential central European conflict. Perhaps setting the continent ablaze. 
For the first time since WW II. US-led Balkan wars aside. Culminating with Yugoslavia's 1999 rape. Clinton's war. One of many countries Washington destroyed.
Expect many more articles on Ukraine ahead. Lots on Obama's war on Syria. Allied with rogue NATO partners. 
Israel very much involved. Supporting Islamic State death squads. Partnered with Washington against Assad.
Wanting pro-Western stooge leadership replacing him. Despite his overwhelming popularity. Reelected in June by a nearly 90% majority. 
An election independent monitors called open, free and fair. Polar opposite America's sham process. 
One-party rule. With two wings. Controlled by monied interests. Business as usual winning every time. Voters having no say whatever.
Iraq war III rages. Obama's war. US combat troops directly involved. Despite his promise otherwise.
On December 19, RT International cited Kurdish media reporting US forces "c(oming) to the aid of tribal fighters and the Iraqi Army battling Islamic State militants in the Al-Dolab area, 10 km (6.2 miles) from the Ain Al-Assad base, which is about 90 km (56 miles) west of Anbar's capital, Ramadi."
" 'US forces intervened because…ISIS started to come near the base, which they are stationed in so out of self-defense, they responded,' said Sheikh Mahmud Nimrawi, a tribal leader in the area…" 
"The base hosts about 100 US military advisers, the report claimed."
Pentagon officials said nothing about escalating US intervention. Nor media scoundrels. John Kerry said US policy leaves open the option of US combat troops involvement.
Calling it the "soundest policy." Saying Obama "has been crystal clear" in not wanting US combat forces excluded from operations on the ground.
Polar opposite his August 7 announcement. On targeted US airstrikes. Saying:
"As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq."  
"And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq."  
"The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces."
Another promise made. Another broken. Every major pledge made violated. None observed. Implemented policies polar opposite what he said.
Including on ending Washington's Afghanistan war. Its longest ever. Most expensive. America came to stay. 
Claims otherwise are Big Lies. Thousands of combat troops remain. Drone attacks continue. 
Mostly killing noncombatant men, women and children. Rarely striking so-called "high-value" targets.
How many more wars does Obama intend to wage? Against what new adversaries? Enough is enough. 
Humanity's fate hangs in the balance. A comment I repeat often is saying either we end wars or they'll end us.
I've been writing and doing media work in retirement for nearly a decade. Entirely pro bono. Something I never planned or imagined. 
What I look forward to daily. My reason for being. Staying alive.
I've made wonderful friends worldwide. I get marvelous supportive emails. At age 80, I don't know how many more good years I have left.
This year's health issues were a wakeup call. Telling me I'm getting old. Not young like I used to me. Needing to adjust accordingly.
Borrowing a line from John Lennon's "Yesterday." A shadow hangs over me. Not about to stop me. From confronting US-led imperial dark forces.
Not as long as I draw breath. Believe a better world is possible. Intend working every day for what everyone deserves.
Peace, equity and justice. For everyone everywhere. Every day of the year.
My sincere thanks to my readers and listeners. Web editors posting my articles. Your support means everything. More than I have words to say.
Hopefully I'll stick around a good while longer. Doing my best daily. Grappling with dark forces. Ruthless ones vital to defeat. 
Making a small contribution toward something better. A new dawn. Societies fit to live in worldwide. 
At peace. Free from war. Banished to history's dustbin. "Imagine," said Lennon. "And the world will live as one."
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

War in Ukraine Over Christmas

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 27/12/2014 - 02:48
War in Ukraine Over Christmas
by Stephen Lendman
On Wednesday, Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine members met in Minsk. Discussing ongoing onbas conflict conditions. Ways to end them.
Attended by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. Donetsk People's Republic Vice Chairman Denis Pushilin.
Lugansk People's Republic representative Vladislav Deinego. Russia's ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov. OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavini.
Nothing so far was accomplished. Except agreement on exchanging prisoners. Talks will continue. 
A date yet to be announced. While conflict persists in Donbas. Kiev bears full responsibility. Virtually ignored in the West. Ukraine's defense ministry lied.
Claiming heavy artillery will be withdrawn from Donbas after December 26. Allegedly creating a 30-kilometer security zone.
Ukraine's armed forces general staff representative Alexander Rozmaznin saying:
"We are trying to unconditionally implement the Minsk memorandum. The first stage is to observe ‘silence regime.' "
"We will get over to the next stage after December 26. We will start withdrawing 100-mm and over 100-mm artillery guns to the established distances." 
"That is how a 30-kilometer security zone will be created." In April, Kiev agreed to four-party Geneva terms. Involving America, Russia, the EU and Ukraine.
Agreeing to end hostilities. Disarm and restore peace. Violating terms agreed on straightaway. Again after agreeing to Minsk protocol terms.
Kiev's word isn't worth the paper it's written on. Conflict never ended. Continuing now. During illegitimate oligarch president Petro Poroshenko's declared "regime of silence."
Nothing in prospect suggests peaceful conflict resolution soon. Kiev wants Donbas democracy destroyed. Hardline rule instituted nationwide. 
IMF-demanded austerity imposed. Benefitting Western corporate predators. At the expense of impoverished Ukrainians.
While increasing military spending. Police state crackdowns. Renouncing Ukraine's nonaligned status. Seeking NATO membership. Despite strong Russian opposition.
On Christmas day, Stop NATO reported Kiev's "night of the long knives." Poroshenko sacking 77 district administration heads.
In 18 regions. Including Kiev, Lugansk, Lvov, Poltava, Rovno, Kharkov and Kherson. With no explanation. Perhaps on orders from Washington.
On Christmas day, legislators expanded national security and defense council (NSDC) powers. Supposedly in line with constitutional and Ukrainian statute laws. The kind commonplace in police states. 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov oftenstresses the urgency of fundamental Ukrainian constitutional reform. Promised but not delivered.
Legislation adopted lets NSDC authorities act independently. Without head of state or legislative approval. Under whatever they call emergency conditions.
Permitting martial law. Poroshenko appointing former parliament speaker/neo-Nazi Oleksandr Turchynov NSDC secretary. Succeeding Andriy Parubiy. 
One fascist extremist replacing another. While Kiev's dirty war on Donbas continues. Including on Christmas day.
Voice of Sevastopol reported artillery fire on Petrovsky district. Other militia held areas attacked. Using "cannon artillery." "(I)ncenriary shells." "(M)ortars." (S)mall arms."
"In the area of the settlement Peski, there was a shooting battle at night of December 25." 
"It began around midnight and gradually gained strength, but in the morning the battle subsided." 
"Around 20:52, it was again uneasy…(T)he sounds of small and barreled weapons were heard."
A tank battle between Mayorsk and Shumy settlements began. Militia forces fought it off.
Fighting in various areas continued until around midnight. Before subsiding. Ready to resume at Kiev's discretion.
"At Zholtoye, Ukrainian security forces attempted to cross the river Seversky Donets by 15 floating AFVs and infantry on several rafts," said Voice of Sevastopol.
Militia forces blocked them. Lugansk explosions were heard. Ukrainian artillery fire targeted various other Donbas areas.
Deaths and injuries were reported. On both sides. During Christmas day, "a battle began in the settlement Valuiskoye at Stanitsa Luganskaya" was reported.
Kiev advanced troops "and up to five tanks with the strong support of artillery." 
Militia forces repulsed them. "(F)ive houses of local residents were destroyed."
On Christmas day, Itar Tass reported an "unidentified attacker fir(ing) a hand grenade at (Kiev) lawmakers…"
Standing outside a central Kiev hotel. A Ukrainian press service statement saying:
"A young man threw an explosive device at members of Ukraine’s parliament. Experts are to establish whether it was a hand grenade RGD-5 or a flash bang grenade."
The same individual fired another grenade at policemen chasing him. One injury was reported. A criminal case was opened. On hooliganism charges.
Ukraine is a hotbed of fascist extremism. On Christmas day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich addressed Moscow's concerns.
Including categorical opposition to Ukraine's NATO membership. "Our fundamental position…is well known," said Lukashevich.
"The alliance’s further advance to the east will imminently lead to a serious military and political shift in Europe and the world, affect Russia’s national security interests and compel our country to retaliate appropriately."
"The impression is that the Ukrainian authorities today regard rapprochement with NATO as an alternative to the development of normal relations with Russia." 
"This can further worsen Russian-Ukrainian bilateral ties and impede the resolution of important issues pertaining to collaboration in various fields, including the economy and the energy sector."
"(T)he Ukrainian leadership’s NATO ambitions will further impede the Ukrainian state in tackling the major challenge it is facing: a search for national accord."
Russia urges mutual cooperation among all nations. Putin and Sergey Lavrov stress it. So did Lukashevich. In an "atmosphere of trust," he said.
Conditions today call for "non-confrontational formulas in interstate interaction."
Ukrainian and NATO officials say all nations have the right choose methods for ensuring their own security. True enough, said Lukashevich.
But they forgot a key OSCE/Russian-NATO Council principle. "(N)amely that in choosing the forms of ensuring national security it is essential to take into account the threats this can create for other states."
"(N)ational security must not be ensured at the expense of the security of others."
Doing so is longtime US policy. Pursuing its imperial agenda. Heading for direct confrontation with Russia. Perhaps in the new year.
Obama governs recklessly. Waging multiple direct and proxy wars. Threatening world peace. A previous article calling impeaching him a national imperative.
Removing him from office. Holding him accountable for high crimes against peace. For governing under a police state apparatus. 
Destroying fundamental freedoms in plain sight. Letting Big Brother watch everyone. Risking the unthinkable. Direct confrontation with Russia.
Mission creep heads in this direction. Imposing sanctions. Perhaps more to come. Deploying US combat troops close to Russia's border.
Flying thousands of sorties close to its airspace. Sailing US warships in Black Sea waters. 
Pressuring NATO members to support its rogue agenda. It bears repeating. Risking the unthinkable. 
Possible war with Russia no one can win. Assuring mass casualties. America's homeland perhaps attacked for the first time since mid-19th century civil war.
A catastrophic conflict killing the equivalent of millions of Americans today. Lunatics influencing policy in Washington make anything possible. Stopping them before it's too late matters most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

More Time in the Spotlight for NSLs : 2014 in Review

eff.org - Fri, 26/12/2014 - 22:00

Last year, EFF took a huge step toward eliminating a highly problematic government surveillance tool—national security letters (NSLs). EFF clients won a major victory when a district court found that the NSL gag provision, which allows the government to bar recipients from speaking about NSLs without judicial review, is a prior restraint on speech in violation of the First Amendment. 2014 was a year of critical next steps and increasing attention for these often overlooked—but heavily used (and sometimes abused)—tools.

On October 8, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument in the government's appeal of the district court’s 2013 decision. At argument, the court asked whether this gag order would bar recipients such as EFF’s clients from engaging in political debate about NSL reform. In contrast to its earlier position, the government responded to the court's question by claiming that NSL recipients can lobby Congress, thereby implicitly acknowledging that they have received an NSL. However, after EFF pressed the government on this inconsistency, the government sent a letter to the court retracting this statement—and conceding that the gag order extends to all discussion that might indicate receipt.  

The limitations on what Internet companies can say about NSLs they receive were at the heart of another important NSL development. On January 27, the Deputy Attorney General sent a letter to Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Facebook that outlined two options for increased transparency reporting in response to actions these companies brought in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The letter allows reporting about national security requests—including NSLs—in broad numerical bands. Neither of the options allows providers to definitively state that they have received zero NSLs.

Twitter didn't think this was good enough. On October 7, the company sued the Department of Justice and the FBI, asking a federal court to declare it had the right to publish details about national security requests it did or didn't receive. Although Twitter wasn't a party to the companies’ FISC action, the government told Twitter it was bound by the terms of the Deputy Attorney General’s letter. Twitter’s complaint argues that it shouldn’t be bound by a settlement it wasn’t a party to, and asks the court to rule that NSL gag orders and judicial review procedures are unconstitutional.

Just this month, Nicholas Merrill, who ran an ISP called Calyx Internet Access, filed an action to finally dissolve the gag order tied to an NSL he received in 2004. Merrill previous challenge to NSLs resulted in a decision by the Second Circuit partially invalidating the NSL statute. But ten years later, he remains gagged about some elements of the NSL he received, even after the FBI’s investigation has been closed.

Finally, legislative reform of NSLs unfortunately wasn’t on the agenda for 2014. The USA Freedom Act, which died in the Senate on November 8, included small changes to the statutes that govern NSLs. But those changes would have amounted to little more than the status quo. The legislation improved some judicial review procedures, and ensured NSLs wouldn’t be used for bulk collection, but it wouldn’t have cured the unconstitutionality of the NSL statute.

In 2015, we'll continue to spread awareness of NSLs and fight for accountability and oversight in the NSL process. To keep updated on what’s happening, check out our NSL timeline.

This article is part of our Year In Review series; read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2014. Like what you're reading? EFF is a member-supported nonprofit, powered by donations from individuals around the world. Join us today and defend free speech, privacy, and innovation.

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Categories: Aggregated News

Israeli Good Tidings for Palestinians

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 26/12/2014 - 21:04
Israeli Good Tidings for Palestinians
by Stephen Lendman
Israel holds around 4.5 million Palestinians hostage on their own land in their own country. Under military rule. Affording them no rights whatever.
Especially 1.8 million besieged Gazans. Trapped in the world's largest open-air prison. Another 1.7 million Israeli Arab citizens treated like enemies of the state.
No signs of change whatever exist. Occupation harshness continues. Palestinian self-determination remains as distant as ever.
Besieged Gaza lies in ruins. Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement executive director Eitan Diamond reports a dire picture, saying:
"The tragic story of Gaza began before the latest hostilities, but the situation has become more dire as a consequence of the destruction caused by the hostilities." 
"There are over 100,000 people who have lost their homes. They still haven’t found a new home. Not a single house, four months after the hostilities, has been rebuilt (up) to this point."
"There’s also been a very slow movement of construction materials which are desperately needed in Gaza. A fraction of the quantity of construction material that is needed has gone through, so people are in a desperate state."
"Seventy percent of the population, even before the hostilities, depended on humanitarian aid just to get by." 
"In this kind of a reality it is not surprising that people are desperate, and many take desperate measures."
Gaza's main markets are Israel and the West Bank. Since 2007, hey've been completely "sealed," said Diamond.
Positive rhetoric for change belies tragedy without end on the ground. Gazans' ability to live normally is "nonexistent." Nothing is being done to change things.
Israel's war on Gaza continues. Ceasefire terms are breached almost daily. Cairo peace talks accomplished nothing.
Corrupted PA officials siphoned off half the $5.4 billion pledged for rebuilding. For unspecified budget purposes. Money down a black hole.
Israel maintains total control over rebuilding what it destroyed. Gazans have no say. Border crossings remain largely closed.
London's Guardian reports corruption hampering rebuilding. Saying "a controversial UN-designed mechanism to control the supply of building materials (favoring Israel at the expense of Gazans) has been widely corrupted."
Oxfam reports less building materials entering Gaza than before Israel's war. Despite ceasefire terms stipulating otherwise.
In November, Israel let only 287 truckloads enter Gaza. "(A)t this rate, reconstruction and development could take decades," Oxfam said.
UN officials estimate around 100,000 homes damaged or destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans lack municipal water network access.
Daily blackouts persist up to 18 hours daily. Promised aid hasn't come. Gazans needing rebuilding help need Israel's approval to get it.
Under a system requiring registration. For specified amounts of materials. From special warehouses. 
Monitored by UN inspectors. Serving Israeli interests. Taking bribes. For cement to be sold at black market prices.
One warehouse manager, Maher Khalil, explained what's happening as follows:
"We do what we are supposed to do. There is a list published with people's names which we post outside." 
"They check their name and come with their (authorization). We check the ID and then give them the cement."
"We told the UN inspectors who came to see us we can only check what is going on inside the warehouse, not what is happening outside." 
"Inside we sell the concrete for 500 shekels ton. Outside they sell it for 1,600."
Economist Omar Shaaban calls what's happening "a disgrace. The new reconstruction mechanism has reproduced the Israeli siege of Gaza, only this time it is the UN that is regulating it." 
"The UN is trading stability for cement - and not very much of it. And most of the cement that is coming in is being sold on the black market." 
"Israel knows it. (UN Mideast envoy Robert) Serry knows it. The mechanism (is) a license for corruption." 
"It is a license to prolong the siege. It is a license for big salaries for the UN officials running it."
According to Oxfam's regional director Catherine Essoyan:
"It is deplorable that such little progress has been made given the enormous scale of needs and massive destruction." 
"People in Gaza are becoming increasingly and understandably frustrated at the lack of progress."
"The international community has repeatedly failed the people of Gaza. It must not fail them again at such a critical time."
It's doing so in real time. In plain sight. Violating a clear obligation to help. 
Expect things a year or two from today to be little different. Maybe worse than now. Depending on what Israel has in mind.
Gazans remain largely on their own. Trapped by international community indifference. Collusion with Israel. Corrupted PA officials profiting at the expense of their own people.
Largely out of sight and mind. London's Guardian article a rare mainstream explanation. On December 26, Haaretz editors headlined what US editors ignore.
Saying it's time to end Gaza's blockade. Without explaining its lawless imposition. For political reasons. Unrelated to Israeli security. 
Targeting Palestine's legitimate government. Imprisoning about two dozen Hamas legislators. For belonging to the wrong party.
Gaza was largely isolated before Hamas' rise to power. "By restricting movement and by controlling the land, sea and air space surrounding and above Gaza, Israel controls its economy and dictates its poverty," said Haaretz editors.
"Israel must rescind its policy of closure and of cutting the Gaza Strip off from the world and recognize the fact that the residents of Gaza are part of the Palestinian people, whose official leadership is striving to establish a state alongside Israel."
Why won't New York Times editors express this view. Their longstanding pro-Israeli bias is deplorable.
On October 10, they headlined "Having to Rebuild Gaza, Again." Not a word about Israel's premeditated naked aggression.
It's ruthless killing machine. Its responsibility for lawless mass slaughter and destruction. 
Its willful targeting of non-combatant men, women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm. It's collusion with Washington in all its wars.
It's Big Lie about Hamas being a terrorist organization. "Israel's implacable enemy," said Times editors.
Not a word about ending what they called a "draconian blockade." Instead urging corrupt PA officials to "assert leadership in Gaza…(As) a credible political alternative to Hamas."
Palestinians alone have say over who'll lead them. Not Israel or Times editors. Don't expect them to explain.
Or about ongoing Israeli crimes during holiday season festivities. On Christmas day, Israel's West Jerusalem municipality approved 380 new illegal settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem.
On stolen Palestinian land. Meaning Palestinian family dispossessions coming. To accommodate Israeli lawlessness.
At least 12 Palestinians were kidnapped. In pre-dawn raids. In Nablus, Hebron and East Jerusalem. 
Another 14 in Azzoun. East of Qalqilia. On suspicion of hurling a Molotov cocktail at a settler's car. Setting it ablaze. Injuring a child inside. 
Mass indiscriminate arrests are longstanding Israeli practice. Guilt by accusation follows.
Silwan resident Mousa Odeh's home was targeted. Israeli soldiers kidnapped his 15-year-old child, Musallam. Two other Silwan children were kidnapped. One identified as Mohammad Nasser. Aged 12.
These type incidents occur multiple times daily. Terrorizing Palestinian communities. Christmas day no exception.
Israeli security forces demolished six EU-funded Palestinian irrigation pools. Used by northern Jordan Valley farmers. Now without a vital water supply.
Israel destroyed Gaza resident Shuruq Abu Tu'eymah's home. She struggles to survive in an UNRWA school. With her husband and four daughters.
She dreamed of her own home. Her husband is an electrician. He worked on Gazan lifeline tunnels. On Egypt's border.
In 2010, one collapsed on him. Fracturing his back and ribs. "He hasn't been able to work since," said Shuruq.
In 2012, she borrowed money from her family. To build a home on a plot of land she and her husband owned. In Abasan al-Jadidah. About 1.5 kilometers from Israel's border.
The house was about 125 square meters. Unfinished because of lack of money. Shuruq and her family moved in anyway.
Thrilled to have a home of their own. Feeling "on top of the world." About two months before Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, "my house was finally ready," said Shuruq.
When war began, she was pregnant with her fifth child. She and her family were scared. They moved to her parents' house.
East of Khan Yunis. Remaining until July 27. When air strikes and shelling became intense. "We were afraid we would all be killed," said Shuruq.
Her father called for ICRC help. To relocate them somehere safe. On August 1, Shuruq's fifth child was born. 
While hospitalized, her husband told her their home and his parents' house were bombed. She couldn't bare to see what happened.
Years of s and work destroyed. "(I)n a single moment," she said. "(T)rough no fault of (their) own."
"We (did) nothing wrong. My family and I have a lot of beautiful memories from that house and I didn't want them spoiled."
She called UNWRA school living conditions "hard." Basic needs aren't met. Family members sleep on mats. With blankets they supplied themselves.
"We keep getting the flu and stomach ailments because of the cold and our unhealthy diet, which consists mostly of dry or tinned food," she said.
"The bathroom is in the schoolyard, at a distance from the building. We're afraid of sleeping here because of all the strangers." 
"We have no privacy and I'm tense. There are a lot of families here. Almost sixty women and children living together."
She goes to her sister's or parent's homes to do laundry. To shower. "There is no hot water at the school, and it's getting cold," she explained.
"We're waiting for the world to help us, so we can at least go back home."
Despite large parts of Gaza turned to rubble. Practically no reconstruction began.
Israel controls everything. Complicit with corrupted UN and PA officials.
Hundreds of thousands of Gazans in need don't matter. At Christmas or any time of year.
Israeli ruthlessness decides things. Collectively punishing 1.8 million people. 
Held hostage for political reasons. Suffering horrifically. Out of sight and mind. 
World leaders remain beholden to Israel. Rhetoric substitutes for help.
A Final Comment
In 2014, the Al Haq human rights group documented 60 Palestinians Israeli security forces murdered in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Aside from Operation Protective Edge's genocidal slaughter. Israel has no concern for Palestinians' lives and welfare.
Treating young children like adults. Ignoring fundamental international humanitarian and human rights laws.
Operating with impunity. Committing virtually every high crime imaginable. 
On Christmas like every day. Throughout the holiday season. Israeli state terror never rests. 
Palestinian corpses attest to its barbarity. So do its thousands of mutilated victims.
Many more in its gulag. For wanting to live free. On their own land in peace. 
What Israel categorically won't tolerate. On Christmas and every day of the year.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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