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Ravaging and Destroying Syria

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

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Irresponsibly Challenging Russia

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

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Fact-Checking Obama

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

Texas Supreme Court Rejects Second-Class Status for Online Speech, Finds Internet Speech Injunctions Violate the First Amendment

eff.org - Sat, 30/08/2014 - 03:54

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

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

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

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

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

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

Files:  Kinney opinionRelated Issues: Free SpeechBloggers' Rights
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Gaza War Postmortems

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

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

We're All In It Together: Cosplay With Us Over Labor Day Weekend

eff.org - Fri, 29/08/2014 - 22:12

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

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

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

There are three reasons for this.

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

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

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

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

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

As we explain at ProjectSecretIdentity.org:

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

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

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

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

As OTW's Claudia Rebaza writes:

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

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

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

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

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

You can check out the forum schedule here

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

Related Issues: AnonymityPrivacy
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Big Lies Risk Confrontation with Russia

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

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Magical Drug Wins EFF’s Stupid Patent of the Month

eff.org - Fri, 29/08/2014 - 11:17

Good news everyone! The Patent Office has granted a patent on a cure for cancer.

Last December, the Patent Office issued Patent No. 8,609,158 on a “potent drug” that “rebukes cancer, cancer cells, and kills cancer.” According to the patent, this drug cures a litany of other maladies. What is this wonderful invention, you ask? It is a combination of “evening primrose oil, rice, sesame seeds, green beans, coffee, meat, cheese, milk, green tea extract, evening primrose seeds, and wine.” As the patent’s abstract says, “it works.” 

There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the person who filed this application. But the patent examiner could and should have rejected it on any number of grounds, including enablement, indefiniteness, and utility. Why would the examiner issue the patent despite its clear infirmities? The answer to that question reveals the fundamental imbalance at the heart of the patent system.

This patent’s most obvious flaw is lack of utility – there’s no proof that the invention works. But the system places the burden of proof on the Patent Office, not the person asking for a 20 year monopoly. The examiner likely decided a rejection was not worth the effort – frankly, we wonder whether the examiner even read the application. In a similar case, the Patent Office issued a patent to an applicant whose work was widely known to be fraudulent. (The purported inventor had even spent time in jail for the fraud.) As Professor James Grimmelmann observed at the time: “The USPTO is an armory handing out legal howitzers on the honor system. What could possibly go wrong?”

The patent system also provides inadequate review of the crucial questions of anticipation and obviousness, i.e. is the patent really a new invention? Buried by hundreds of thousands of applications, the Patent Office can preform only a cursory review of each one. Examiners spend an average of only 19 hours per application (assuming that the claimed hours are real) and only a portion of that time is spent on the difficult and time consuming task of searching for prior art. Recent research confirmed that “examiners are more likely to approve marginal inventions when pressed for time.”

Despite this plainly inadequate review, granted patents are powerful litigation weapons. An issued patent, even Patent No. 8,609,158, is presumed valid and can only be invalidated in court with clear and convincing evidence. This is part of the reason why defending a patent suit is so expensive, even when the patent is weak. Patent trolls use this as leverage to extort settlements.

This month’s winning patent may be something of an outlier. But finding other bad patents is not difficult. Our (dis)honorable mentions this month include the recent patents US 8,793,159, US 8,793,178, and US 8,793,183. (Each of these patents, despite being issued after the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, merely ties an abstract business process to a computer.) Whether we consider this month’s stupid patent or the runners-up, it’s clear we need fundamental reform to stop the flood of bad patents.

Related Issues: PatentsInnovation
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Internet Governance and the NETmundial Initiative: A Flawed Attempt at Turning Words into Action

eff.org - Fri, 29/08/2014 - 07:16

EFF was amongst a handful of user representatives invited to attend the initial scoping meeting of a new global convening called the NETmundial Initiative, which was held today in Geneva. In introducing the event, Virgílio Almeida of Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation gave his prediction that the new Initiative could eventually come to take its place amongst other high-profile Internet governance institutions such as the IGF, ITU and ICANN.

If this is so, then we certainly hope that today's meeting doesn't set a standard for the nascent initiative to follow, because it wasn't a promising start. But before explaining why, a little more background information is in order.

Internet governance—which, broadly defined, is the network of mechanisms, ranging from laws to technical standards, that affect use of the Internet—can impact people's rights and freedoms. When Spain signed the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention in 2010, amending its criminal law that same year to meet its heightened standards, and used those provisions over the following two years to track down and arrest Anonymous hacktivists, that is an example of one form of Internet governance at work. When the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) decided to consider a DRM standard called Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) that could take control of the Web browser away from the end-user, that was another example of a different form of Internet governance with real life impacts.

In other Internet governance processes the real-world impacts seem more remote. They may seem to be all talk, without any proximate effect on ordinary Internet users. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which doesn't make any recommendations or standards—let alone laws or treaties—is often accused of this (though others see its lack of real-world impact as a benefit, as it allows participants to discuss and network at the IGF in a low-pressure environment).

Earlier this year, a global meeting called NETmundial was held in Saõ Paulo, Brazil, at which participants collaborated upon a different form of Internet governance—norms, or non-binding (sometimes called “soft law”) principles. The NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement that encapsulated these principles was ultimately disappointing. Even so, in some areas it does make some important points (such as that “Rights that people have offline must also be protected online”), and it has been cited as a rough consensus statement of these principles by other influential governance institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council.

The question raised today was, will these NETmundial principles turn out to be “just talk”, like the IGF's meetings often are, or could they have a real (and hopefully positive) impact on people's rights and freedoms in the real world? The purpose of the NETmundial Initiative was to make sure that it would be the latter, the hope being expressed that the Initiative could “apply the NETmundial Principles to solve issues in concrete ways”, through a series of activities building upon those principles.

So far, so good. But the execution of the event was a significant departure from the earlier NETmundial meeting in Saõ Paulo with which it shares both its name and a parent in the form of ICANN CEO, Fadi Chehadé (but little else). The Saõ Paulo event was relatively transparent and open to all, from the agenda setting phase through to the drafting, and was executed by a structure of multi-stakeholder committees to which stakeholder groups nominated their own representatives.

The Geneva NETmundial Initiative on the other hand was hosted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), a think-tank of the world's largest companies. The participants and, from amongst those, the proposed steering committee members, were hand-picked by the organizers rather than being nominated by their own stakeholder groups (as, ironically, the NETmundial Principles set out as a best practice). The agenda was pre-written and released less than two weeks ahead of the meeting, but only after it had already been leaked. As for the meeting itself, much of the time allotted was taken up with closed-door bilateral meetings. In what scant few hours remained for discussion of the WEF's proposals, little receptivity was shown to those being reopened for discussion, or alternative proposals being entertained.

When civil society representatives took issue with these shortcomings, we were bizarrely accused (here, at 1:15), of being exclusive and elitist for rejecting what the WEF had come to offer. Now, surely nobody will stop the WEF or any other entity, multi-stakeholder or not, from executing initiatives designed to further the NETmundial Principles. But we are entitled to object to what is essentially a pre-cooked, big business initiative (well intentioned as it may be) from co-opting the name of an overtly more inclusive and grassroots-directed Internet governance meeting.

Too often there is a division between Internet governance processes that are truly open, inclusive and transparent on the one hand, and on the other hand those with the potential to actually produce tangible results that make a difference to real people's lives. Unfortunately the NETmundial Initiative scoping meeting maintains that distinction, in proposing a laudably action-focused agenda to take forward the NETmundial Principles, but by means of a rather closed, top-down and opaque process.

We don't think that the NETmundial Initiative will do any harm, but initial indications suggest it is far from an ideal model of global Internet governance in action, nor a worthy successor to its Saõ Paulo namesake. Equally though, it is not the only such model on the table. Next week's Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul (and the parallel Internet Ungovernance Forum organised by Turkish activists) illustrate two other approaches to the vexed question of how best to govern the global Internet. EFF will be on the ground there too, and will report back in this space next week.

Related Issues: International
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Targeting Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 29/08/2014 - 04:28
Targeting Syria
by Stephen Lendman
On Tuesday, Obama addressed the American Legion's annual convention in Charlotte, NC. More on his speech below.
The next day, the so-called UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria (COI) issued its latest anti-Assad report.
Its mandate is investigating human rights abuses. It's a pro-Western imperial tool. Paulo Pinheiro heads it.
His reports bear testimony to his bias. He largely blames Assad for Western-sponsored crimes.
Last summer, Syria's permanent UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari addressed the General Assembly, saying:
"The Commission of Inquiry on Syria is still deliberately blowing things out of proportion when displaying its findings, also fully disregarding or downplaying core issues.''
''There are blood-curdling scenes that flagrantly contravene the Syrians' dignity and human rights regarding the crimes of the armed terrorist groups, ranging from eating human flesh, cutting throats, mutilating bodies, beheadings on sectarian and confessional grounds, throwing bodies from rooftops to committing hundreds of suicide bombings using car bombs in populated areas, recruiting children, abducting and slaughtering clergymen, assassinating scholars in mosques, issuing instigative fatwas on 'sexual jihad,' killing children on the charges of infidelity, robbing factories and transporting them to Turkey."
COI largely ignored them until Obama declared war on IS. Doing so is a pretext to advance Washington's regional imperium.
It has nothing to do with humanitarian intervention. Democratic values don't matter. 
It has everything to do with seeking unchallenged dominance. It's about serving monied interests instead of popular ones.
COI's new report headlined "Syria's brutal war threatens international peace and security."
It ignores Washington's full responsibility for waging it. Proxy death squad killers are used. They're imported from dozens of countries.
They include growing numbers of Islamic State (IS) fighters. COI cited "(m)ass atrocities by Government and non-State armed groups."
It highlighted the risks of spreading conflict. "Hundreds of civilians are dying each day as the fighting goes on with no regard to law or to conscience," said Pinheiro.
In areas IS controls, "Fridays are regularly marked by executions, amputations and lashings in public squares." 
"Civilians, including children, are urged to watch. Bodies of those killed are placed on display for several days, terrorizing the local population." 
"Women have been lashed for not abiding by (IS's) dress code."
Its members committed crimes of war and against humanity, said Pinheiro.
They include "torture, murder, enforced disappearances and forcible displacement."
IS "poses a clear and present danger to civilians, and particularly minorities, under its control in Syria and in the region."
Other non-state groups pose similar threats, said Pihheiro. He saved his toughest criticism for Assad.
He did so unjustly. He did in previous reports. He's now apparently promoting direct US intervention.
He's a legal scholar. So is former Constitutional law professor Obama. They know only the Security Council can authorize letting one country attack another.
It can only be in self-defense. It's never how America wages wars. It doesn't matter. 
Naked aggression is official US policy. Pinheiro apparently supports it wholeheartedly. 
Damascus keeps committing crimes of war and against humanity with impunity, he claimed.
From January through July, he alleged government forces killed hundreds of men, women and children weekly.
He lied claiming government forces prevent injured civilians from reaching hospitals. Saying they block medical supply deliveries is false.
So is claiming "(h)umanitarian aid (is) obstructed as a weapon of war." And "(i)n Government prisons, detainees were subjected to horrific torture and sexual assault."
Saying "Government forces used chemical agents, likely chlorine, in eight separate incidents in western Syria" during April and May is a bald-faced Big Lie.
Anti-government accusations exclude credible evidence proving them. Plenty attests to the barbarity of extremist groups like IS, Jabhat al-Nusra and others.
Pinheiro largely points fingers the wrong way. He's done so as COI head since its August 2011 establishment.
His mandate is pro-Western propaganda. It's helping Washington oust Assad. Credibility isn't his long suit.
Reports targeting Assad up the stakes for direct US intervention. US surveillance flights began.
IS is the pretext. Syria is the target. Air strikes could begin any time.
IS fighters are proxies in Washington's war against Assad.
Stop NATO editor Rick Rozoff believes intelligence Washington wants aims to help them.
In 2012, CIA operatives trained them in Jordan. They're US allies against Assad and enemies in Iraq at the same time.
Obama speeches defend the indefensible. They repeat one Big Lie after another. 
He told Legionnaires they helped America "become what we are today - the greatest democratic, economic, and military force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known."
No nation has a more appalling human rights record. None is more responsible for genocidal mass murder, destruction and human misery worldwide.
None inflicted more harm on more people longer. None has less right to be called democratic.
Despite protracted Main Street Depression conditions since 2008, Obama lied claiming "we are stronger at home."
Economic conditions for most Americans are deplorable. Most jobs are part-time or temp ones with few or no benefits.
Most don't pay a living wage. So-called "quality, affordable healthcare" falls way short of touted benefits.
America's privileged alone are well-off. Most others struggle to get by.
Obama's claim about America best positioned "to lead in the 21st century than any other nation on Earth" is utter rubbish.
Indeed America's military is strongest. Unexplained is how it ravages one country after another.
Obama is waging America's third Iraq war. Syria is on deck. So-called surveillance flights are a ruse to target Assad.
To oust him. To replace him with a subservient pro-Western stooge. To remove a key Israeli adversary.
To isolate Iran. To head Washington closer to unchallenged regional dominance. To exploit its resources.
To enlist popular support for another US war of aggression indefensibly called just.
Obama is much more than a war criminal multiple times over. At stake is world peace. It's humanity's survival.
"(N)obody else can do what we do," said Obama. Nobody else does what we do the way we do it worldwide.
"No other nation does more to underwrite the security and prosperity on which the world depends," claims Obama.
No nation does more to undermine it than America. None disdains peace more. 
None is more dismissive of rule of law principles. None more contemptuous of democratic values.
Calling "the United States…the one indispensable nation in the world" belies its decades of genocidal crimes against humanity worldwide.
After vowing "American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq," Obama deployed 1,000 special forces killers to do so. 
Perhaps many more will follow. He ludicrously claimed "Al Qaeda affiliates (threaten) our homeland."
He lied saying "the security of the American people is my highest priority…" He claimed attacking Iraq is "to protect our diplomats and military advisors."
To help "thousands of men and women and children who were trapped on a mountain." To root "out a cancer like" IS.
To "protect our people and support our partners to take the fight to" IS.
False on all counts!. It's about protecting the interests of Big OIl. It's wanting unchallenged regional dominance.
It's about making the world safe for war profiteers. It's stoking fear deceptively to enlist public support.
It's plundering nations for profit. It's exploiting their people. It's prioritizing capital's divine right. It's imperialism's dark side and then some.
It's not about humanitarian intervention. It has nothing to do with defending the homeland. 
It's not to counter external or internal threats. It's not about spreading democratic values.
Obama left unexplained US surveillance flights over Syria in preparation for targeted air strikes.
He was silent about using IS fighters against Assad. He said nothing about likely direct intervention against another regional country posing no threat to America.
At the same time, he ignored how all US wars violate core international and constitutional laws. 
Attacking Syria will add another war crime to his rap sheet. Throughout his tenure, he ravaged one country after another. 
He targeted one independent government after another. He did so for regime change. Don't expect him to change now.
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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

The Russians Are Coming Big Lies

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 28/08/2014 - 21:57
The Russians Are Coming Big Lies
by Stephen Lendman
Anti-Russian lies keep repeating. So many proliferate, it hard keeping up. The latest is over-the-top and then some.
It accuses Russia of launching a major offensive against Ukrainian forces.
Accusations without evidence are made. Kiev sources are cited. They've been caught red-handed lying many times.
Nothing they say is credible. It doesn't matter. Major media scoundrels repeat their rubbish like gospel. More on this below.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki claimed unsubstantiated reports "indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in Donetsk and Luhansk."
"(W)e're also concerned by the Russian Government's unwillingness to tell the truth even as its soldiers are found 30 miles inside Ukraine," she said.
"Russia is sending its young men into Ukraine but are telling - are not telling them where they’re going or telling their parents what they’re doing."
Asked why she said "likely" instead of saying a Russian invasion is underway, Psaki said she "decided to say likely."
"But why," she was asked? "(L)ikely implies…some uncertainty because there is a possibility that it's not."
Psaki ducked the question. She merely cited "a range of (unsubstantiated) reports." 
"Well, is it an invasion," she was asked? "(A)re we seeing, like, brigades or divisions crossing the borders into Ukraine?"
"I don't have any other details to read out for you at this point in time," she said.
Fact: Washington's dirty hands are involved in Ukraine's war without mercy.
Fact: Obama officials support and encourage it.
Fact: Intelligence and material support are provided.
Fact: Parts of the Ukrainian/Russia border aren't clearly demarcated. 
Fact: Nationals and military personnel on both sides often cross over unwittingly.
Fact: Ukrainian soldiers did recently.
Fact: They've done it before.
Fact: Russian authorities send them home without incident.
Fact: If Moscow's intent was hostile, large numbers of heavily armed forces would have invaded.
Fact: Nothing of the kind happened.
Fact: No evidence suggests it.
Fact: No verifiable satellite images exist.
It doesn't matter. Big Lies proliferate.
On Wednesday, The New York Times first headlined "Ukraine Says Russian Forces Lead Major New Offensive in East," saying:
"Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in this small border town but also a wide section of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials described on Wednesday as a stealth invasion."
The report was then replaced by one headlined "Ukraine Reports Russian Invasion on a New Front."
Five armored personnel carriers replaced tanks, artillery and infantry. According to The Times, it’s Moscow’s attempt to blunt "the momentum of Ukrainian forces..."
Both reports lacked verifiable evidence. Ukraine, Washington, other Western countries and NATO have every incentive to lie. Times and other MSM reporters repeat them like gospel.
Numerous earlier anti-Russian accusations were false. Moscow is discretely neutral.
It urges both sides settle things diplomatically. Military solutions won't work, it stresses.
It wants friendly relations with Ukraine. Putin and Ukrainian president Poroshenko just held official bilateral talks for the first time.
Putin said "Russia will do everything to promote this peace process if it is launched, and in our view, this process needs to be launched as soon as possible."
Why would Russia invade Ukraine hours after Putin stressed the urgency of pursuing peace? For what benefit?
What sense would it make? What credibility would Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other top Russian officials have left?
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly denies claims about Russian military activity on Ukraine's borders.
On Wednesday, he said they have "nothing to do with reality." Claims about an alleged Russian build-up aren't new, he added.
"Such speculations are uttered regularly." They're false. "Russia regularly refutes (them)."
Washington, rogue NATO allies and Ukraine gain greatly by proliferating Big Lies. Media scoundrels repeat them ad nauseam.
Truth is suppressed. It's systematically buried. John Pilger is right. He calls journalism the first casualty of war.
It's a weapon of war, he stresses. It's virulent censorship. It's deception. 
It's repeating one Big Lie after another. They substitute for honest reporting. 
When America goes to war, plans one, or supports an aggressor ally, it's entirely absent. Managed news misinformation rubbish substitutes.
According to The Times, Russia's alleged incursion involved "five armored personnel carriers" and unnamed weapons.
It claimed "(e)vidence of a possible turn…in the panicky retreat of Ukrainian soldiers…"
Fact: Ukraine has thousands of heavily armed forces waging war.
Fact: Would they fear confronting five Russian armored personnel carriers if they did cross Ukraine's border?
Fact: Would they retreat in panic?
Fact: Answers are self-evident.
Don't expect Times or other MSM reports to explain. Instead, The Times quoted an unnamed "senior American official" claiming without proof:
"Russia is clearly trying to put its finger on the scale to tip things back in favor of its proxies."
"Artillery barrages and other Russian military actions have taken their toll on the Ukrainian military."
Previous articles explained Ukrainian soldiers are notoriously underpaid, poorly fed and clothed, as well as deplorably retreated.
Morale is low. Many are forced to serve involuntarily. Many others oppose fighting Ukrainian citizens.
Some defect. Most prefer being home. Some seek refuge in Russia. Many young men cross over to avoid military service altogether.
Even The Times described them as "(e)xhausted, filthy and dismayed." Many are "unwilling to fight," do so reluctantly or back off "in full retreat."
In contrast, self-defense forces show remarkable courage, resilience and strength. In recent days, they achieved impressive gains.
According to RIA Novosti, they took "control of checkpoints and strongholds in the outskirts of Mariupol…"
They hold "the bridge across the Gruzsky-Yelanchik River." They "moved tanks into Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov" on the Russian/Ukrainian border.
They captured dozens of Ukrainian border guards and soldiers. According to Itar Tass, "Ukrainian troops suffer(ed) heavy losses in southeast Ukraine."
Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) self-defense forces said their counteroffensive killed or wounded around 750.
Overnight Wednesday, over 150 voluntarily surrendered. Dozens more crossed into Russia for asylum.
According to DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko, around three to four thousand Russian volunteers are aiding self-defense forces.
"Many of them have left the republic, but the majority stayed here," he said.
"Today very many questions are asked how this could have happened that the DPR army grew from scattered guerrilla units in a strong military organization which can not only resist Ukrainian armed forces, but also defeat them on the battlefield."
“Kiev and the West stated repeatedly about Russian military invasion to justify somehow massive defeats which Ukrainian army has been suffering already for several months."
"We have never concealed that many Russians are fighting in our ranks without aid of which we would be in a very difficult situation and this would be much heavier for us to fight.”
Many retired Russian servicemen are involved, said Zakharchenko. 
“Current servicemen are also fighting in our ranks (voluntarily), as they came to us to struggle for our freedom…" Moscow didn't send them.
Public anger is growing in Ukraine. According to Itar Tass:
"Hundreds of protesters blocked one of Kiev's thoroughfares on Thursday demanding the resignation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and urgent deployment of military hardware in the combat area in eastern Ukraine."
"The protesters who gathered near the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's headquarters are also seeking the resignation of Minister Valery Geletei and commanders of the military operation in the southeast."
Others "rall(ied) with similar demands near the presidential administration…"
Meanwhile, US-led NATO intends a "readiness action plan." It plans one to counter a nonexistent Russian threat.
For the first time, it will establish military "reception facilities" in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
According to Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen:
"We have something already called the NATO response force, whose purpose is to be able to be deployed rapidly if needed."
"Now it's our intention to develop what I would call a spearhead within that response force at very, very, high readiness." 
"In order to be able to provide such rapid reinforcements you also need some reception facilities in host nations." 
"So it will involve the pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, headquarters."
In other words, US-led NATO intends a hostile Eastern European presence encroaching on Russia's border. Asked if it'll be permanent, Rasmussen said "yes."
"(F)or as long as necessary," he stressed. He lied claiming:
"We have seen artillery firing across the border and also inside Ukraine. We have seen a Russian military buildup along the border." 
"Quite clearly, Russia is involved in destabilizing eastern Ukraine."
"You see a sophisticated combination of traditional conventional warfare mixed up with information and primarily disinformation operations." 
In response, Russia's permanent mission to NATO said Moscow "will react to NATO moves eastward with a view to ensure its security."
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin called NATO's threat serious. They come from "the secretary-general level," he said.
"They have probably already come up with some plan while moving NATO eastward" to confront Russia.
Doing so advances US-led recklessness to a new level. It increases chances for direct confrontation.
So do anti-Russian Big Lies. According to Rasmussen:
"Since the end of the Cold War we have lived in relatively good weather. Now we are faced with a profound climate change."
Washington bears full responsibility. Weeks earlier, Putin said "(n)o matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we can see what's going on."
"…NATO is blatantly building up its forces in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea areas." 
"Its operational and combat training activities are gaining in scale."
Plans are to incorporate Ukraine into NATO unofficially. Western funding will finance its military. 
At issue is targeting Russia. The threat of direct confrontation grows.
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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Aaron Swartz's Work, Computer Crime Law, and "The Internet's Own Boy"

eff.org - Thu, 28/08/2014 - 16:58

It’s been more than a year since Aaron Swartz’s tragic death, and now Aaron’s life is the subject of a new documentary, The Internet’s Own Boy, directed by Brian Knappenberger. The documentary has received much acclaim and deservedly so. It tells the story of a political activist and innovator who put theory into practice, always experimenting and building new tools and methodologies to animate his theory of change.

Aaron Swartz fought for an Internet grounded in community, creativity, and human rights. By co-creating platforms like RSS, reddit, Creative Commons, and the technology that became SecureDrop, he helped make information accessible. Perhaps more than anything, Aaron Swartz helped hundreds of thousands of people participate in the political processes that determine the laws we have to live under everyday.

There are so many things that Aaron accomplished by the age of 26 that we thought it may help to make a companion for the film, a guide for those who want to watch with a deeper understanding of the issues behind Aaron’s projects.

We begin with the projects discussed in the film and then examine the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the law that was used to indict him on 11 criminal charges before his tragic death.

Creative Commons and the Problem with Copyright

As a teenager, Aaron was a core member on the team of lawyers and copyright wonks that developed Creative Commons, a project that simplifies sharing with easy-to-use copyright licenses. Aaron Swartz helped to design the code behind Creative Commons licensing.

Creative Commons was a revolutionary project that remains significant today. It’s a suite of licenses that artists, writers, and other creators can use to enable sharing, remixing, and collaboration. Online, it’s incredibly easy to copy and paste, to edit, and to share instantaneously. Doing so can sometimes run smack in the face of copyright law, which requires explicit permissions to be granted in advance of sharing or using a creative work in many contexts.

Creative commons is more compatible with the intensive sharing environment of the Internet. It allows for artists, makers, programmers, writers, and everyone in between to only reserve some rights, not all rights. With a Creative Commons license, one can encourage the sharing of her work while still being attributed. One can choose not to allow others to monetize a work, but still invite remixing, or block remixing while still encouraging distribution. Brian Knappenberger has made The Internet’s Own Boy available under a Creative Commons license and can be downloaded and shared for free from the Internet Archive.

Open Access and Open Government

A large part of The Internet’s Own Boy traces Aaron’s various projects aimed at furthering the pursuit of information. He wanted to make it easier to learn about the laws that we have to live with everyday, as well as ease access to the academic articles that form the building blocks of our knowledge about the world.

“The world's entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals,” reads the Open Access Manifesto, which was written by Aaron and is quoted in The Internet’s Own Boy, “is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations.”

Aaron started projects like The Open Library that seeks to make one webpage for every book published (imagine a future where we don’t link to Amazon when directing people to a book). And during his brief stint at Stanford, Aaron worked with a law student to download the entire Westlaw database of law review articles and found troubling connections between funders of research and favorable conclusions.

Aaron’s quest led him to the PACER system, the federal judiciary’s pay-walled public court record database. PACER charges per page to view US court documents that are a matter of public record. Journalists, students, litigants, academics, and all kinds of people need access to the details of the litigation that defines our laws in order to do their work. We shouldn’t have to pay to see the law.

Information activists like Carl Malamud have long been critical of PACER and in 2009, when the system launched a project to allow free PACER access at 17 libraries nationwide, Malamud encouraged patrons to download PACER records and share them on an online repository. Aaron Swartz accepted the invitation and wrote a computer program that downloaded 20 million pages of federal court documents. In the process, scores of privacy violations were found in the PACER documents, which revealed Social Security numbers, Secret Service agents’ identities, and the like, leading to stricter privacy enforcement in the courts.

For doing this Swartz became the target of an FBI investigation that was later dropped. But as Malamud remembers in The Internet’s Own Boy, “I’ll grant you that downloading 20 million pages had perhaps exceeded the expectations of the people running the pilot access [PACER] project, but surprising a bureaucrat isn’t illegal.”

Stopping SOPA

Aaron Swartz played a central role in the fight to stop the censorious Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that snowballed into the largest online campaign in history. SOPA was a poorly worded bill would have allowed the Department of Justice to shut down entire Internet domains because content posted on a single website might be infringing copyright—and without a trial.

Swartz co-founded Demand Progress, a digital rights organization that EFF continues to work with closely today. Demand Progress was instrumental in organizing the grassroots outcry; they boiled down the bill into super simple language and asked that people take a quick action to stop it. Most people in DC were trying to make slight improvements to a terrible bill, but Demand Progress, along with EFF, Fight for the Future, and Public Knowledge, and others mounted a campaign to stop it completely.

Wikipedia, Mozilla, Google, and countless others blacked out websites and displayed banners over their logos sending people to a petition to oppose the bill. It worked. SOPA didn’t pass, and today it remains one of the most important chapters in the history of the digital rights movement.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

“There’s no justice in following unjust laws,” reads the Open Access Manifesto penned by Aaron Swartz. And an unjust law is exactly what prosecutors used against Swartz, who was charged with 13 criminal counts for downloading millions of articles from an academic journal database, on MITs network. An unjust system charged Aaron Swartz in a way that would have put him in jail for years (the maximum sentence possible added up to 35 years, yet we realize that would have been an unlikely outcome) in jail for [HF1] violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The prosecution of Aaron also reflected profound problems with the criminal justice system far beyond the CFAA, including the incentives for prosecutors to pursue charges as aggressively as possible to try to make a defendant plead guilty. [HF2] 

Eleven of the thirteen counts against Aaron were based on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a law written in 1984 that makes it a crime to access a computer without “authorization” or in excess of authorized access. But these terms aren’t clear and the Department of Justice in the past has argued the CFAA makes it a federal crime to violate [HF3] a website’s terms of service, meaning that something like lying about your age or your height online could be counted as a federal crime.  

Framing Aaron’s Law as a Good Start

The Internet’s Own Boy points viewers to Aaron’s Law, a bill proposed soon after Swartz’s passing that would partly fix the broken and outdated CFAA. We support Aaron’s Law. If it passed, everyday computer users wouldn’t face criminal liability for violating a terms of service agreement and would protect users who access information in ways that protect their anonymity. But unfortunately, the bill does not go far enough and does not—currently—have wide spread support in Congress.

Aaron’s Law, as drafted wouldn’t have protected Aaron Swartz from the excessive penalties mounted against him. The CFAA currently punishes low-level offenses as felonies that, in a saner world, would be classified as misdemeanors. Currently, the CFAA is structured so that the same behavior can often be double-counted as violations of multiple provisions of law, which prosecutors then combine to beef up the potential penalties to an absurd degree. We strongly believe that CFAA reform should eliminate this kind of double-counting.

The Fight Continues

Aaron sought to make the world a better place; he wanted to share access to knowledge and expose corruption. Our movement to defend digital rights is stronger because of him. And we can only imagine how Aaron would have contributed to the fight to protect our rights and expand our freedoms as more people come to depend on an open Internet.

We will continue to fight. Aaron’s story is one worth telling. That’s why we encourage everyone who has seen this documentary to show it to a friend, host a screening at work or on campus, and encourage others to watch it. In a following post we will provide materials to host a viewing party of The Internet’s Own Boy and outline what we can all do to restore justice to computer crime laws, to improve access to knowledge, and defend free speech, and the future of our open Internet. We hope you’ll join us.

Related Issues: DMCASOPA/PIPA: Internet Blacklist LegislationInnovationCoders' Rights ProjectOpen AccessComputer Fraud And Abuse Act ReformStudent and Community Organizing
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Categories: Aggregated News

Washington Sabotages Russian/Ukrainian Summit

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 28/08/2014 - 06:11
Washington Sabotages Russian/Ukrainian Summit
by Stephen Lendman
Washington wants control over all former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries. 
It wants pro-Western governance replacing sovereign Russian independence. 
It's part of its longstanding world dominance agenda. It wants all challengers eliminated. 
On Monday, Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko met in Minsk. It was their first official bilateral meeting.
They discussed relevant geopolitical issues. Key is resolving Southeastern Ukraine's ongoing conflict. 
Putin urges doing it peacefully. Poroshenko's continues war without mercy. He deplores democracy.
He wants freedom fighting self-defense forces crushed. He wants unchallenged hardline rule.
He lied saying his visit was "to stop the bloodshed and to start the process of finding a political compromise. The interests of the people of Donbass should and will be taken into account."
His actions speak louder than words. Peace is an executive decision away. 
He can make it by calling off his dogs. He can choose diplomacy over confrontation. 
He can order a ceasefire. He can do so straightaway. He can meet face-to-face with Southeastern Ukrainian leaders. He can respect their democratic credentials. He can listen to their demands.
Washington supports and encourages his dirty war. Its February coup helped elevate him to power.
He's a billionaire war criminal. He's anti-democratic, fascist, neoliberal, belligerent and lawless.
He's opposite what Ukrainians deserve. He OK'd war without mercy. He did so straightaway in office.
He's beholden to Western interests. Behind the scenes, Washington pulls the strings. He supports its anti-Russian policy.
Monday talks went nowhere. It didn't surprise. Ukraine's coup-appointed prime minister Aseniy Yatsenyuk called bilateral ones with Putin fruitless.
He called NATO "our partner. We expect the Western countries and NATO to provide practical assistance," he said.
"We also expect decisions to be made at the (September 4-5) NATO summit" in Wales.
Putin's worldview is polar opposite Poroshenkno's. His Minsk's speech stressed Russian respect for inviolable national sovereignty.
"Russia has always respected the sovereign choice of any nation to organize its political life and make all sorts of unions, both military and economic, and we will continue to do so," he said. 
"However, we hope that this will not be detrimental to other participants in international communication, and not at our cost."
He believes crisis conditions "can’t be resolved by further escalation of the military scenario, without considering the best interests of the southeastern regions of the country, without a peace dialogue with their representatives."
"(W)e are ready to have an exchange on (Ukraine's) critical situation…which, I am certain, cannot be resolved…without a peaceful dialogue with these regions' representatives."
Talks produced no significant breakthroughs. They weren't expected. Not when Washington sabotaged them without even attending.
Not when it prioritizes Russia bashing. Not when it considers Putin public enemy No. 1.
Not when it chooses confrontation over peaceful conflict resolution. Not when it wants Russia marginalized, weakened, isolated, contained and co-opted.
Not when it wants pro-Western governance replacing its sovereign independence. Not when it risks war to achieve it.
Putin pledged all-out efforts for peace. It "must be launched as soon as possible," he stressed.
He acts in good faith. He wants to build trust. At the same time, it's not Moscow's prerogative to propose ceasefire terms between Kiev and Southeastern self-defense forces.
"We didn't substantively discuss that, and we, Russia, can't substantively discuss the conditions for a ceasefire, or agreements between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk, " he stressed. 
"That’s not our business. It's up to Ukraine itself. Certain agreements were reached, he added.
He discussed the urgency of providing Lugansk and Donetsk with humanitarian aid.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expects Russia to send another convoy this week. He suggested more may follow. 
Dire conditions demand it. Many lives are at stake. It remains to be seen if Kiev will obstruct and delay like last time.
Given how often it falsely accuses Russia of directly aiding Southeastern Ukraine freedom fighters, it's hard imagining things will go smoothly.
On Monday, Ukrainian NSDC Information-Analytical Center spokesman Andriy Lysenko said:
"Yesterday, violation of the airspace of Ukraine was recorded by the army aviation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the area of the settlement of Chervony Chaban, Kherson region, where three helicopters of the Russian Federation flew up to 500 meters from the territory of Crimea to the mainland of Ukraine."
He accused Moscow of spying. At the same time, Yatsenyuk ludicrously said Russia wants Ukraine "fully cut" off from energy supplies.
"We know about (Russia's) plans…to cut transit in winter - even for the EU member countries," he said.
He accused Moscow of "global military and global energy security" benefitting Russia at the expense of Ukraine.
He lied claiming "Ukrainian border guards were shelled with unguided rockets from two Mi-24 combat helicopters of the Russian Armed Forces."
Four border guards were killed and three wounded, he added. Maybe Ukrainian forces killed their own. Maybe self-defense forces deserve credit.
On Wednesday, Lysenko said Russian soldiers illegally crossed Ukraine's border in armored vehicles and a truck not far from where 10 others were detained on Monday.
Videos were released. They showed men in so-called "camouflage" clothing. Ukraine's Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey's Facebook's post lied, saying:
"Officially, they are on military exercises in various corners of Russia. In reality they are involved in military aggression against Ukraine."
Areas of the Russian/Ukrainian border aren't clearly demarcated. Nationals on both sides often cross over unwittingly.
Ukrainian soldiers did so recently. They've done it before. Russian authorities send them home without incident.
According to a Russian defense source: 
"The servicemen in question were indeed patrolling the Russian-Ukrainian border." 
"They had probably crossed it by mistake through an area which wasn’t manned."
"As far as we know, there was no resistance during their arrest."
Putin hadn't yet received an official Defense Ministry report. "From what I heard," he said, "they patrolled the border so could have ended up on Ukrainian territory" by mistake.
"But they crossed to us, too, Ukrainian soldiers in armored vehicles. And no problems arose." Putin hopes Kiev will reciprocate in kind.
If Moscow's intent was hostile, large numbers of heavily armed forces would have invaded. Nothing of the kind happened.
Western media Big Lies followed. The New York Times said "camouflage(d) (men) identified themselves as members of a Russian airborne division who had been sent into Ukraine in unmarked vehicles."
"Analysis by Western officials indicates that Russia is orchestrating a multipronged offensive against Ukrainian forces."
Moscow is "trying to help separatists in eastern Ukraine break the siege of Luhansk…and open a corridor to…Donetsk."
Fact: Throughout months of conflict, Russia has been discretely neutral.
Fact: No evidence whatever suggests it's helping Southeastern Ukrainian self-defense forces.
Fact: None shows it's supplying them weapons and munitions.
Fact: None indicates Russian forces are involved.
Fact: Moscow has gone all-out for peaceful conflict resolution.
Fact: Kiev wages dirty war.
Fact: Washington supports and encourages it.
Fact: Moscow's involvement sticks to diplomacy and delivering urgently needed humanitarian aid.
Fact: Claims otherwise are false. They stoke conflict in lieu of attempts to resolve it responsibly.
A same day NYT editorial featured Big Lies. It unjustifiably accused Russia of "pretending that it is not in the fray."
Moscow "blithely denies it is involved in the fighting at all, despite incontrovertible evidence that it is, and seems prepared to stoke the fires until Kiev accepts a political arrangement that would give the eastern regions a veto over any moves toward the West."
"Mr. Poroshenko is right to avoid an unconditional cease-fire at this time."
His "challenge…and the West('s) is how to persuade Mr. Putin that Russia cannot impose it will on Ukraine through economic and military pressures…"
Fact: Times editors repeatedly turn truth on its head.
Fact: Spurious accusations falsely accuse Moscow of involvement in Southeastern Ukraine fighting.
Fact: Verifiable proof is absent.
Fact: None exists.
Fact: Times editors know it.
Fact: They "blithely" claim otherwise.
Fact: In Minsk, Putin was clear and unequivocal.
Fact: Russia respects Ukrainian sovereignty. 
Fact: Putin won't interfere in its internal affairs.
Fact: "It's not Moscow's prerogative to propose ceasefire terms between Kiev and Southeastern self-defense forces," he said.
Fact: He hasn't and won't.
Don't expect Times editors to explain. Big Lies substitute for accurate reporting and analysis.
Times editors are on the wrong side of history. Western leaders must support Ukraine, they insist.
They should pile on more "sanctions against Russian businesses and financial institutions…"
Endorsing Poroshenko's opposition to ceasefire shows Times support for premeditated Ukrainian aggression.
It doesn't surprise. When America wages war or plans one, Times editors march in lockstep.
They back Israel's genocidal Gaza wars. They support mass murder and destruction. 
They ignore rule of law principles. They endorse wrong over right. 
They ignore Kiev's putschist governance. They treat ruling fascists like democrats.
They claim Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters are pro-Russian separatist terrorists.
They repeat one Big Lie after another. They keep their readers misinformed. 
They betray them in the process. All major Western media print and electronic media operate the same way.
Managed news misinformation substitutes for what readers and viewers need to know. Fiction substitutes for facts. 
News is carefully filtered. Dissent is marginalized. Monied interests matter more than popular ones.
Imperial wars are called liberating ones. Human suffering is a small price to pay. 
Human rights and civil liberties are suppressed for our own good.Patriotism means supporting lawless governance. Democracy is pure fantasy.
Ukraine's war without mercy continues. So does Russia bashing. "(L)ong before (Ukrainian crisis conditions erupted), the West's attacks on Russia assumed an irrational form," said Lavrov.
"We are not interested in confrontation. We are not interested in" sanctions wars.
Western leaders lie. They "incite public opinion, and then claim it is the people who are forcing them to take anti-Russian measures."
Relentless pressure on Russia stems from its forthrightness to express opinions candidly, Lavrov believes. It's speaking frankly about its interests.
Moscow values its independence. It listens "open(ly) to others." It deserves likeminded treatment.
Washington and other Western countries are "going against the course of history." Some try "to restrain the emergence of an egalitarian international arena."
Russia will respond in kind to more unjustifiable sanctions. US-led Western countries create more problems than they solve.
"Cold War blocs" aren't relevant in today's multipolar world.
Moscow supports the right of Southeastern Ukrainians to live like their ancestors, "speaking Russian, teaching their children in Russian schools, and electing their own governors, as well as having the chance to retain some of the taxes they pay as a result of their economic activities," said Lavrov.
They're entitled to democratic rights. They deserve better than Kiev-imposed diktats. Especially ones imposed "under the cover of bomb blasts."
Washington's agenda is polar opposite. Its orchestrated coup installed fascist rule. 
It wants internal challengers crushed. It wants democracy in name only. It wants what freedom-loving people deplore.
We're all Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters. They're on the right side of history. Their struggle is ours.
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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Gaza Ceasefire: Hold the Cheers

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 27/08/2014 - 22:48
Gaza Ceasefire: Hold the Cheers
by Stephen Lendman
On Monday, both sides agreed to open-ended ceasefire terms. Peace talks will resume in Cairo within a month.
Terms agreed on include opening border crossings, "enabl(ing) the rapid entry of humanitarian aid," as well as construction supplies for rebuilding.
Monitoring will ensure reconstruction is solely for civilian purposes.
Effective immediately, coastal fishing waters will expand from three to six nautical miles. They'll gradually increase to 12 miles by yearend.
Israel agreed to halt targeted assassinations. Days earlier, Netanyahu called Hamas leaders legitimate targets. 
Israeli hardliners want Hamas and other resistance groups entirely crushed. They reject peace out of hand.
Terms largely replicate how both sides ended Israel's November 2012 Pillar of Cloud aggression.
Hamas stuck to the letter of the deal. Israel violated it straightaway. It blamed Hamas for its crimes. Expect nothing different this time.
Israel's agenda excludes good faith. Decades of conflict, repression and occupation harshness attest to its dark side. 
Expect no change enough to matter this time. Promises made are broken. It's longstanding Israeli policy. Major issues remain unresolved. 
They include Hamas wanting Gaza's siege entirely lifted, permitting an airport and seaport to facilitate imports and exports, and releasing Palestinian political prisoners.
Israel wants Gaza demilitarized. It wants resistance groups defenseless against certain future IDF onslaughts.
It wants overall siege harshness maintained. It largely prohibits Gazan product sales to its two primary markets - the West Bank and Israel. They amount to 2% of pre-2007 levels.
It permits minimal exports overall. It restricts imports. Israeli policy perpetuates dependency on outside aid.
It prevents economic development. It leaves almost half the working-age population unemployed. Youth unemployment tops 60%.
Free movement of people is more myth than reality. Restrictions are unrelated to security.
Exit permits are hard to get. Adults with them can bring children under age six. Older ones are excluded.
Israel's blockade has nothing to do with security. In June 2010, McClatchy newspapers headlined "Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn't about security," saying:
"McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as 'economic warfare' against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory."
In response to a Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement lawsuit, documents obtained said Israel called blockading Gaza "economic warfare." According to a government statement:
"A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using 'economic warfare.' "
Nations may indeed decide whether or not to have relations with other states. It may not interfere in their internal affairs. Doing so violates core international law.
Blockading Gaza is illegal. Doing so is an act of war. It's a crime against humanity. Israel remains unaccountable.
Monday's ceasefire is a temporary respite. Hold the cheers. Expect no substantive change in Israeli policy.
It prioritizes violence and instability. It excludes peace and good will.
It's just a matter of time before more conflict. Pretexts are easy to invent. Blaming victims is longstanding Israeli policy.
Washington supports its worst crimes. It doesn't give a damn about Palestinian rights. It never did. It doesn't now.
On August 26, John Kerry lied saying Washington is "fully committed…to work with our international partners on a major reconstruction initiative…to ensure (it's) for the benefit of the civilian population in Gaza…"
He turned truth on its head calling Hamas and other legitimate resistance groups "terrorist organizations."
Throughout 50 days of conflict, Washington supported Israel's killing machine. According to Gaza's Health and Interior ministries, one of its many high crimes included murdering 89 entire families.
Israel bears full responsibility for well-planned naked aggression.Launching it had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. It had everything to do with maintaining business as usual.
On the day both sides halted hostilities, Israeli forces terrorized West Bank and East Jerusalem residents.
Twelve Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) activists were arrested. Their whereabouts remains unknown.
Days earlier, Israeli soldiers targeted Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Khalida Jarrar in Ramallah.
They ordered her deported to Jericho for six months. They gave her 24 hours to leave. 
Nonexistent secret information claims she "poses a threat to the security of the region, so she must be put under special monitoring."
Jarrar is a senior Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member. She's an Addameer Prisoner Support group board member. 
She's banned from traveling abroad. Freedom fighting comes with a price.
During Monday ceasefire discussions, Israel kidnapped two Palestinians in Hebron, three in Bethlehem, six in Nablus, nine in Jenin, and one in Jerusalem.
Homes were invaded, searched and ransacked. Property was damaged or stolen.
Amjad Abu 'Asab heads the Jerusalemite Family Committee of Palestinian political prisoners. He said Israeli soldiers went on a rampage.
Former political prisoner En'am Qalanbo was arrested for participating in a solidarity with Gaza march.
'Asab expects many arrests following Monday's ceasefire deal. He believes Israel wants Jerusalem and other West Bank Palestinians punished for supporting Gazans and resisting occupation harshness.
According to the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center,  Israeli police attacked Palestinians marching for liberation with tear gas, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets.
On Tuesday, other marches and demonstrations occurred in Shu'fat refugee camp, al-Eesawiyyam, Wad al-Jous, al-Jabal, Silwan, al-Mokabber Area, Hizman and East Jerusalem.
Israeli soldiers and police responded violently. Scores were injured. Arrests were made. Israel prohibits public demonstrations. It calls legitimate resistance terrorism.
On August 27, Maan News said "Palestinian communities in Jerusalem are experiencing the largest upsurge in detentions since the Second Intifada, with a marked increase in Israeli police brutality and the collective punishment of entire neighborhoods, local organizations say."
Since Israel murdered teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir, over 770 East Jerusalemites were arrested.
After three Israeli youths were abducted on June 12, up to 1,000 West Bank Palestinians were detained.
Collective punishment is official Israeli policy. Hamas leaders were unjustifiably blamed for the June kidnapping/murder of three Israeli youths.
Operation Protective Edge followed preemptively.  It bears repeating. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. Firing them responded to Israeli aggression.
Jeff Halper heads the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). He calls motivation for Operation Protective Edge twofold. 
It was an effort to "get Israel off the hook for massive" human rights and international law violations.
It sought to "help other governments overcome similar ('asymmetrical warfare,' counterinsurgency' and 'counter-terrorism') constraints…against peoples resisting domination."
Israel calls it "lawfare." It followed "notable legal setbacks and challenges Israel incurred" since 2001.
For his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacres, Ariel Sharon was indicted. It didn't matter. He wasn't tried.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Israel's Separation Wall illegal. Enforcement didn't follow. Construction continues.
Israel considers civilians legitimate targets. Its policy violates core international humanitarian law.
Israel circumvents it by "creat(ing) new categories of combatants." They call them "non-legitimate actors."
They include anyone Israel calls "terrorists," "insurgents," or "non-state actors." An entire population is held hostage.
Israel claims it warrants no protection and other fundamental rights for resisting repression.
Obama and other Western leaders support Israel's right to self-defense. Victimized Palestinians are denied the same right.
Israel's lawfare strategy considers them villains. It's a "new doctrine of military ethics." It's based on a "Just War Doctrine of Fighting Terrorism."
It bears repeating. Terrorists include adversaries and others legitimately resisting Israeli repression.
Its lawfare strategy uses "new military ethics" to justify lawlessness. 
It's based on the notion that wrongdoing repeated often enough unaccountably will get nations worldwide to accept it or do nothing to stop it.
It lets Israel get away with high crimes against peace. It assures business as usual. 
It's just a matter of time before Israeli rampaging repeats. Expect Palestinians to be blamed for its crimes like always. 
Expect Western leaders to support them. Expect no change in long denied justice. Palestinians remain isolated on their own.
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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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