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Hard Truths v. Obama Big Lies

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 05:40
Hard Truths v. Obama Big Lies
by Stephen Lendman
Ahead of Tuesday's mid-term elections, he's mostly shunned. Considered toxic. Damaged goods. 
Disgracing the office he holds. A caricature of a leader. Shameless. Lawless. Dishonest. Most Democrat candidates want no part of him.
Where he shows up, Big Lies follow. Truth is nowhere in sight. Duplicitous demagogic boilerplate substitutes.
So often perhaps he's no longer able to distinguish between facts and fiction. Mumbo jumbo rubbish repeats with disturbing regularity.
Political doublespeak. Newspeak. Contrary views considered thoughtcrimes. Dissent increasingly an endangered species. 
Obamaspeak gives Big Lies new meaning. On November 1 and 2, he campaigned in Detroit and Bridgeport, CT.
Surprisingly anyone showed up to hear him. Or stayed to listen. Similar rubbish repeats in all his speeches. Polar opposite hard truths.
At Wayne State University, MI, he said it's "(t)hree days until you get to choose a new governor and senator." 
In a city reflecting America's decline. Bankrupt. A shadow of its former self. Once with the nation's highest per capita income. Its industrial heartland.
Today a hollow shell. Once mighty Motown now a ghost town. A desolate wasteland. Only its obituary remains to be written.
Public education is being dismantled. Dozens of schools closed. Thousands of teachers sacked. Along with police, firemen and other civil servants.
Two-thirds of its public parks remain permanently closed. Tens of thousands of buildings are abandoned. Similar numbers of neighborhood residences.
Half or more of its working-age population unemployed. Most with jobs have rotten ones. Paying poverty or sub-poverty wages. With few or no benefits.
Child poverty is off-the-scale. Extreme by any standard. Matching impoverished third world countries. No one gives a damn to help.
Crime is a growth industry. Desperate people do anything to survive. Things get worse, not better.
Detroit's so-called "Plan of Adjustment" intends gutting pensions. Healthcare. Other vital benefits. Affecting city workers and retired ones.
Establishing financial dictatorship. Giving it new meaning. Beholden to Wall Street and other corporate predators. 
Carving up Detroit for profit. Selling off municipal assets at fire sale prices. Eliminating vital social benefits. Voiding union contracts.
Leaving working-class families high and dry. On their own. Out of luck. Sink or swim.
What's happening in Detroit reflects America. Vitally needed services are disappearing. Vanishing when most needed. 
Obama ignored what most needs explaining. He lied claiming "real progress since the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes."
Protracted Main Street Depression conditions persist. Real unemployment tops 23%. Not the fake reported 5.9%.
Tens of millions of Americans are ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed and ill-cared for. Human misery is unprecedented. Poverty a growth industry.
US-style casino capitalism failed. Growing millions struggle to get by. One missed paycheck away from homelessness, hunger and despair.
"I don't have to tell you the auto industry that was on the brink of collapse is back on its feet, making better cars than ever, right here in Michigan," said Obama.
It's a shell of its former self. Downsized and largely offshored. Profitable on the backs of exploited workers. Paying new ones half what older ones get.
Gutting pensions and benefits. Demanding more from workers at less pay. Obama didn't explain. 
Or mention Detroit's bankruptcy. Symbolic of predatory capitalism's failure. A looting mechanism. Transferring wealth from ordinary people to super-rich ones already with too much. 
Washington's criminal class is bipartisan. Facilitating what demands condemnation. Eliminated altogether. Replaced by fairness entirely absent.
Democrats share guilt with Republicans. For appalling conditions. Worsening, not improving.
Privatizing profits. Socializing losses. Facilitating corporate grand theft. Targeting America's social contract for elimination. Doing so when most needed.
Heading it for history's dustbin. Thirdworldizing America. Banana republicanizing it. Institutionalizing inequality.
Unprecedented in modern times. Serving monied interests only. America no longer fit to live in.
Detroit symbolizes its decline. Plundering public resources for profit. Finance is a new form of warfare. Economies strip-mined for profit.
Communities laid waste. Detroit is ground zero. Reflecting what's wrong with America. 
Exposing predatory capitalism's failure. Its dark side. Symbolic of much worse to come.
Monied interests alone matter. Democracy is pure fantasy. Obama didn't explain. Regurgitating one Big Lie after another. 
Like he always does. Ignoring his direct responsibility for dire economic conditions. Sacrificing Main Street for Wall Street.
Doing nothing to help beleaguered Detroit residents. Supporting its bankruptcy process. On the backs of ordinary people. 
Complicit with business and corrupt labor bosses. In America's poorest big city. A testimony to blight, impoverishment and despair. Obama ignored what's most important.
Again in Bridgeport, CT the next day. Repeating similar Big Lies. Selling snake oil. Business as usual. Same old, same old.
Ignoring hard truths. The American dream. The one you have to be asleep to believe. In one of its poorest cities. One of its most unequal.
Claiming "it doesn't matter who you are, what you look like, where you came from, what your last name is, who you love."
"What matters is, are you willing to work hard? Are you willing to take responsibility?" 
"Because if you are, you deserve to be able to make it in America. That's what the American Dream is all about."
Truth is polar opposite. Hard times keep getting harder. Growing millions of unemployed, underemployed, and ill-served when most in need deserve better.
Not in America. Beautiful for wealth, power and privilege alone. Republicans and Democrats reflect two sides of the same coin. 
Throwing out bums assures new ones. US-style electoral democracy is pure fantasy. 
Dysfunctional. Unaccountable. Beholden to monied interests alone. Duopoly power excludes choice. Elections are a convenient fiction.
Legitimizing the illegitimate. Perpetuating a broken system. "(V)alidating the unaccountability of government," says Paul Craig Roberts.
Run by crooks and scoundrels. Giving ordinary people no say. Fooling enough of them most often to matter. 
Perpetuating what belongs in history's dustbin. Replaced by governance of, by and for everyone equitably.
Real democracy. Not fantasy like today's. What Americans never before had. For sure not now. 
Elections are a convenient fiction. Institutionalizing business as usual. US-style democracy is none at all. 
Pretense can't change things. Rotten-to-the-core reality reflects them. Realpolitik should scare everyone.
Democratic values don't exist. Peace, equity and justice are four-letter words. Freedom is dying in plain sight.
Elections provide fig leaf legitimacy. Phony by any standard. People power alone works. Grassroots commitment matters.
Americans did it before. They can do it again. Anti-war activists helped end war in Vietnam.
Abolitionists ended slavery. Civil and labor rights were won. Now lost because energy waned. 
Ordinary people have power when they use it. Change requires longterm struggle.
Former Supreme Court Justice William Douglas (1898 - 1980) once said: "Power concedes nothing without a demand."
Community organizer Saul Alinsky (1909 - 1972) said the way to beat organized money is with organized people. Always bottom up. Never top down.
Authority can be challenged and beaten. Social movements are pivotal forces. Disruptive activism works.
According to Political Science Professor Frances Fox Piven:
"Ordinary people (have) power." They do so "when they rise up in anger and hope, defy the rules...disrupt (state) institutions (and) propel new issues to the center of political debate."
When they force "political leaders (to) stem voter defections by profering reforms." 
"These are the conditions that produce democratic moments." 
Electoral politics doesn't work. It bears repeating. Replacing bums with new ones assures business as usual.
Things are too corrupted to fix. Scattered reforms won't work. An entire makeover is needed. From the bottom up. 
For revolutionary change. Through truth-telling in times of universal deceit. Disruptive power when most needed.
No other way works. Not Western ballot box democracy. For sure not US-style. Assuring same old, same old. 
It's long past time for real change. Noted cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901 - 1978) once said:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has," she explained.
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. 

EFF Fights for Common Sense, Again, in DMCA Rulemaking

eff.org - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 05:31
Ridiculous Exemption Process Forces Consumers to Beg for Basic Rights

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed six exemption requests with the U.S. Copyright Office today, part of the elaborate, every-three-year process to right the wrongs put in place by the Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). EFF's requests received crucial assistance from the Organization for Transformative Works, the NYU Technology Law & Policy Clinic, attorney Marcia Hofmann, and former EFF intern Kendra Albert.

Two of EFF's requests this year are on behalf of people who need to access the software in cars so they can do basic things like repair, modify, and test the security of their vehicles. Because Section 1201 of the DMCA prohibits unlocking "access controls"—also known as digital rights management (DRM)—on the software, car companies can threaten anyone who needs to get around those restrictions, no matter how legitimate the reason.

"The DMCA was supposed to help protect against copyright infringement, but it's been abused to interfere with all kinds of lawful activities that have nothing to do with infringement," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "Software is in all kinds of devices, from cars to coffee-makers to alarm clocks. If that software is locked down by DRM, it's likely that you can't tinker, repair, and re-use those objects without incurring legal risk."

EFF's other requests this rulemaking include one for users who want to continue to play "abandoned" video games. For example, some users may need to modify an old video game so it doesn't perform a check with an authentication server that has since been shut down. EFF has also asked the Copyright Office to renew previous exemptions issued for jailbreaking smartphones, and extend them to tablets and other mobile devices—liberating them to run operating systems and applications from any source, not just those approved by the manufacturer. EFF also asked for renewal and partial expansion of the exemptions for remix videos that use excerpts from DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, or downloading services.

"These requests highlight some of the ways that Section 1201 of the DMCA has given the Librarian of Congress a veto on innovation and creativity," said EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz. "We and many other organizations will have to spend the next year begging the Copyright Office to make sure copyright law doesn't stop user choice and creative expression."

EFF's exemption requests are part of the regular rulemaking process from the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office. Congress created this system to act as a "safety valve" to mitigate the harms the law has caused to legitimate, non-infringing uses of copyrighted materials. But that safety valve is hugely flawed. The every-three-year procedure is burdensome and confusing, with high hurdles to success. Even if an exemption is granted, supporters still have to come back to get it renewed or expanded, as technology develops.

"Technologists and artists should not have to get permission from Washington before they create, learn, and innovate, especially when the window to seek permission only comes once every three years," said EFF Staff Attorney Kit Walsh. "This rulemaking isn't the 'safety valve' we need to defend free speech and innovation from Section 1201. But until the law is fixed, we'll do our part to fight for those rights before the Copyright Office and in the courts."

For the full petitions:
https://www.eff.org/cases/2015-dmca-rulemaking

Contacts:

Corynne McSherry
   Intellectual Property Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   corynne@eff.org

Mitch Stoltz
   Staff Attorney
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   mitch@eff.org

Kit Walsh
   Staff Attorney
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   kit@eff.org


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Verizon Injecting Perma-Cookies to Track Mobile Customers, Bypassing Privacy Controls

eff.org - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 04:51

Verizon users might want to start looking for another provider. In an effort to better serve advertisers, Verizon Wireless has been silently modifying its users' web traffic on its network to inject a cookie-like tracker. This tracker, included in an HTTP header called X-UIDH, is sent to every unencrypted website a Verizon customer visits from a mobile device. It allows third-party advertisers and websites to assemble a deep, permanent profile of visitors' web browsing habits without their consent.

Verizon apparently created this mechanism to expand their advertising programs, but it has privacy implications far beyond those programs. Indeed, while we're concerned about Verizon's own use of the header, we're even more worried about what it allows others to find out about Verizon users. The X-UIDH header effectively reinvents the cookie, but does so in a way that is shockingly insecure and dangerous to your privacy. Worse still, Verizon doesn't let users turn off this "feature." In fact, it functions even if you use a private browsing mode or clear your cookies. You can test whether the header is injected in your traffic by visiting lessonslearned.org/sniff or amibeingtracked.com over a cell data connection.

How X-UIDH Works, and Why It's a Problem

Like a cookie, this header uniquely identifies users to the websites they visit. Verizon adds the header at the network level, between the user's device and the servers with which the user interacts. Unlike a cookie, the header is tied to a data plan, so anyone who browses the web through a hotspot, or shares a computer that uses cellular data, gets the same X-UIDH header as everyone else using that hotspot or computer. That means advertisers may build a profile that reveals private browsing activity to coworkers, friends, or family through targeted advertising.

Also unlike a cookie, Verizon's header is nearly invisible to the user and can't be seen or changed in the device's browser settings. If a user clears their cookies, the X-UIDH header remains unchanged. Worse, ad networks can immediately assign new cookies and link them to the cleared cookies using the unchanged X-UIDH value. We don't know which data brokers and ad networks are using the header to create behavioral profiles, but Cory Dunne found at least one GitHub repository contained code to extract the header value, as of October 27. The repository has since been quietly deleted but can be viewed at the Internet Archive. Twitter's mobile advertising division also appears to use the header for ad auctions.

Besides cookie clearing, the X-UIDH header bypasses several other built-in browser privacy mechanisms. Cookies belong to a single website and aren't shared with other websites. But one unique X-UIDH header value is shared with all unencrypted websites a user visits, making it easier for ad networks to track that user across many sites in a way not possible with cookies alone. Browsers provide Incognito Mode or Private Browsing Mode in order to defeat some kinds of tracking, but the X-UIDH header, since it is injected at the network layer, ignores those modes. Verizon also chooses to ignore Do Not Track, a setting users enable in their browser to indicate they do not want to be tracked. Similarly, disabling third-party cookies in browser settings does nothing to stop the X-UIDH header.

To compound the problem, the header also affects more than just web browsers. Mobile apps that send HTTP requests will also have the header inserted. This means that users' behavior in apps can be correlated with their behavior on the web, which would be difficult or impossible without the header. Verizon describes this as a key benefit of using their system. But Verizon bypasses the 'Limit Ad Tracking' settings in iOS and Android that are specifically intended to limit abuse of unique identifiers by mobile apps.

Because the header is injected at the network level, Verizon can add it to anyone using their towers, even those who aren't Verizon customers. Notably, Verizon appears to inject the X-UIDH header even for customers of Straight Talk, a mobile network reseller (known as a MVNO) that uses Verizon's network. Customers of Straight Talk don't necessarily have a relationship with Verizon.

But according to AdAge, "Corporate and government subscribers are excluded from the new marketing solution." We haven't verified (and Verizon refuses to say) whether the header is still sent for those subscribers or not. If they are indeed excepted from the program, that indicates to us that implementing an opt-out is feasible. We're disappointed that Verizon takes some of its users' privacy more seriously than others.

Verizon's Claimed Protections

Verizon does provide a sort of limited opt-out for individual customers, but it appears that the opt-out does not actually disable the header. Instead, it merely tells Verizon not to share detailed demographic information with advertisers who present a UIDH value. Meaningful protection from tracking by third parties would require Verizon to omit the header entirely.

According to Verizon, the header value is a salted hash, and the hash changes on an undisclosed frequency. However, it's easy for third-party ad networks to create a continuous profile by associating old and new X-UIDH values through their own identifier cookie1. Verizon has refused to say what identifier they hash to create the identifier, but their recent patent suggests hashing a phone number. If they are indeed hashing phone numbers, it would be a major cryptographic mistake. Phone numbers can easily be deduced from hashes, so sending those hashes to untrusted web sites is practically equivalent to giving them your phone number.

Besides the ad networks, the unique X-UIDH header is a boon to eavesdroppers. We have seen that the NSA uses similar identifying metadata as 'selectors' to collect all of a single person's Internet activity. They also have been shown to use selectors to choose targets for delivering malware via QUANTUMINSERT and similar programs. Having all Verizon mobile users' web traffic marked with a persistent, unique identifier makes it trivial for anyone passively eavesdropping on the Internet to associate that traffic with the individual user in a way not possible with IP addresses alone.

According to Verizon, it began the Precision Market Insights program in 2012, but has consistently refused to provide technical details about how the program worked. The injection of the X-UIDH header went largely unremarked by the technical community until recently because it is so hard to observe. The header is inserted in requests after they leave the phone, so customers cannot detect it using only a phone. In order to detect it, a user needs to run a web server configured to log or echo all HTTP headers, which is very rare.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Verizon can only modify plaintext traffic. It can't modify encrypted requests without breaking the whole connection. There are four options for encrypting web requests: HTTPS, an encrypted proxy, a VPN, or Tor. Only a VPN or Tor provide full protection in this case.

The best protection against this specific problem is to use a VPN that encrypts all requests made from your phone, regardless of whether they were made by an app or a browser. Most VPNs are paid services, and when using a VPN you have to trust the VPN operators the same way you would normally trust your ISP. Advanced users can also use Tor via Orbot Android app in transparent proxy mode (requires root). Tor is free, but you have to trust exit node operators not to interfere with your connection. Tor is more appropriate if you are trying to be anonymous.

The second-best protection is to use an encrypted proxy, which protects browser traffic but not mobile apps. Mobile Chrome provides the 'Reduce data usage' setting, which is reported to prevent the X-UIDH header injection. Unfortunately, this connection is not reliably encrypted, because an ISP can disable encryption on it at any time.

HTTPS, which is the best protection for many types of harm, is actually the least powerful protection for this one. The header cannot be injected into an HTTPS request, but since websites choose whether to offer HTTPS, a site that wants to track users can simply avoid HTTPS and get the tracking headers. The web needs to become fully encrypted, and these X-UIDH headers provide a strong disincentive for sites and advertisers who wish to track their users to adopt HTTPS. In fact, the AT&T patent on similar headers recommends downgrading (redirecting) secure HTTPS requests to HTTP ones in order to receive the tracking header.

What Verizon Should Do

Verizon should immediately stop injecting the X-UIDH tracking header into its users' traffic. It is entirely possible to re-design their marketing programs so that the header is only injected for users who explicitly consent to having their Internet connections modified to add tracking information, and to do so in a way that doesn't allow third-party sites to track users across the Internet.

We're also concerned that Verizon's failure to permit its users to opt out of X-UIDH may be a violation of the federal law that requires phone companies to maintain the confidentiality of their customers' data. Only two months ago, the wireline sector of Verizon's business was hit with a $7.4 million fine by the Federal Communications Commission after it was caught using its "customers' personal information for thousands of marketing campaigns without even giving them the choice to opt out." With this header, it looks like Verizon lets its customers opt out of the marketing side of the program, but not from the disclosure of their browsing habits.

More generally, Verizon should stop tampering with their customers' Internet traffic without their customers' consent. ISPs like Verizon act as trusted connectors to the world, and shouldn't be modifying our communications on their way to the Internet. People should not be required to subscribe to a VPN and put their trust in a third party in order to get a modicum of privacy on the Internet.

AT&T has been reported to be testing a similar header.

  • 1. For instance, suppose an ad network assigned you a cookie with the unique value "cookie1," and Verizon assigned you the X-UIDH header "old_uid." When Verizon changes your X-UIDH header to a new value, say "new_uid," the ad network can connect "new_uid" and "old_uid" to the same cookie value "cookie1" and see that they all three values represent the same person. Similarly, if you subsequently clear cookies, the ad network will assign a new cookie value "cookie2." Since your X-UIDH value is the same (say, "new_uid") before and after clearing cookies, the ad network can connect "cookie1" and "cookie2" to the same X-UIDH value "new_uid." The back-and-forth bootstrapping of identity makes it impossible to truly clear your tracking history while the X-UIDH header is enabled.
Related Issues: AnonymityPrivacyDo Not TrackOnline Behavioral Tracking
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In Klayman v. Obama, EFF Explains Why Metadata Matters and the Third-Party Doctrine Doesn't

eff.org - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 01:32

How can the US government possibly claim that its collection of the phone records of millions of innocent Americans is legal? It relies mainly on two arguments: first, that no one can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their metadata and second, that the outcome is controlled by the so-called “third party doctrine,” which says that no one has an expectation of privacy in information they convey to a third party (such as telephone numbers dialed). We expect the government to press both of these arguments on November 4, before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. We look forward to responding.

Oral argument will take place at 9:30 am at the D.C. Circuit Court at 333 Constitution Ave., NW, Courtroom 20, before Judges Sentelle, Williams and Brown. The public is welcome to attend.

A little context for EFF’s role in this case: EFF and ACLU filed an amicus brief in Klayman v. Obama on August 20, 2014. The case itself was first filed June 6, 2013, just one day after journalists began publishing information from the Snowden leaks, and it was the first challenge to the government’s “telephony metadata” collection. Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction. The government appealed, Mr. Klayman cross appealed some issues, and now the case is headed to the Court of Appeals.

Judge Leon found that the government’s bulk collection of telephony metadata likely constitutes an unconstitutional search under the Fourth Amendment. We agree, and since the issue is so important, we weighed in on the case along with the ACLU and the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital. We asked the court for the right to participate in the oral argument, and the court agreed, giving us 10 minutes and also giving 10 minutes to another amicus, the Center for National Security Studies. Cindy Cohn will argue the case for EFF and ACLU.

Here’s what we’ll be saying on those two key points:

Metadata Matters

We want to ensure that the court recognizes that: “The call records collected by the government are not just metadata—they are intimate portraits of the lives of millions of Americans.” 

The argument that the bulk collection of private information from millions of Americans is no big deal because it’s “just metadata” is a tired one. It’s been disproven by research—and it doesn't stand up to common sense. First, there’s no bright line. What is deemed “metadata” is often murky (such as subject lines and URLs) and context dependent—and not clearly distinguishable from content, which everyone agrees is protected by the Fourth Amendment.

Second, and more important, even without listening in on a conversation, metadata reveals private information—sometimes more than would be revealed by content.

We offer some examples where metadata is more revealing in our brief: people can “donate to charities by sending a text message…The metadata about these texts reveals that the subscriber has donated to a specific charity or cause, while the content of the message contains at most a donation amount.” Similarly, “an hour-long call at 3 A.M. to a suicide prevention hotline” could be very revealing. In fact, even a single piece of metadata could reflect an individual’s political or religious associations or mental health issues.  

Consider a short-term study at Stanford that analyzed only a few months of telephony metadata from just 546 people focused partly on individual calls. The researchers found many calls that even in isolation could be revealing, such as a call to a political campaign, noting: “Many organizations have a narrow purpose, such that an individual call gives rise to sensitive inferences.” The study found “numerous calls within our dataset that give rise to these sorts of straightforward inferences.”

By contrast, the government is collecting huge amounts of metadata—by conservative estimates at least billions of call records. And as the Stanford study showed, these records are exponentially revealing in the aggregate: “A pattern of calls will often, of course, reveal more than individual call records. During our analysis, we encountered a number of patterns that were highly indicative of sensitive activities or traits.”

As important as the sensitivity of the information here is the fact that the potential sensitivity is exactly why the government wants the information. The government has emphasized repeatedly, in speeches and in legal briefs that it needs to collect so much metadata specifically so that it can analyze complete (or at least very big) datasets. That makes sense, since as we point out in our brief, this aggregation provides context and information to metadata, and allows analysts to create “social graphs” that map webs of relationships between individuals and groups. In fact, aggregated metadata could allow an analyst to determine “the membership, structure, or participants in organizations and movements like the NAACP, the Tea Party, or Occupy Wall Street . . .”  

To compound the privacy invasion, metadata is highly structured, making it ideal for the kind of analysis that reveals highly personal information. It’s easier to review than the content of communications. And since the government’s argument is that all metadata is unprotected, it’s important not to consider it in a vacuum. As we note, metadata “is truly ubiquitous, created through the innumerable and near-continuous digital transactions and interactions attendant to modern life.”

The “Third Party Doctrine” is Not Controlling

After trying to convince the court that metadata just isn’t that revealing, the government says that the Fourth Amendment also doesn’t apply because we “voluntarily” turn over the numbers we dial to telephone companies—as if this wasn’t just an artifact of how the phones work and instead was some kind of individual choice we make.  Because of this, the government argues, the situation is governed by  the “third party doctrine,” the idea that people have no expectation of privacy in information they entrust to others.

That argument is almost as tired as the metadata claim and ignores the realities of modern life. The third-party doctrine comes from a 1979 Supreme Court case, Smith v. Maryland, which involved the collection of the phone numbers dialed by a criminal suspect over the course of three days using a rudimentary pen register. And as Judge Leon said in his opinion in the lower court:

“the Court in Smith was not confronted with the NSA’s Bulk Telephony Metadata Program. Nor could the Court in 1979 ever have imagined how the citizens of 2013 would interact with their phones.”

Judge Leon hits the nail on the head. As we point out, the issue in Klayman is not limited to collection of the numbers dialed by one individual suspected of criminal wrongdoing, over a very short period of time. The issue here is bulk collection—and sophisticated analysis—of the detailed telephone records of millions of people suspected of nothing at all.

We emphasize five significant points of difference in our brief:

  • Scale: The program collects data for all or nearly all Americans, rather than one individual suspected of a serious crime.
  • Duration: The current program captures years of data, while the pen register in Smith captured data for only three days
  • Changes in telephone use: Use of the telephone has changed dramatically since 1979, when telephones were largely stationary devices shared among a number of users, with one number per household or organization. Today, as landline usage dwindles, mobile phones have become personal, not shared, devices that many people carry constantly with them and use dozens, if not hundreds, of times per day.
  • Information collected: The phone records in this case include whether the call was completed, its duration, and other information rather than simply which numbers were being dialed, as in Smith.
  • Individualized suspicion: The program does not collect information based on individualized suspicion of any sort, much less individualized suspicion of a crime.

These differences mean that it’s just not credible to try to cram the government’s  gigantic, revealing telephone records collection into the narrow box of the Smith line of cases. As our brief notes, that's “a result unimaginable when Smith was decided and certainly not considered by the Court.”

In short, both the government’s metadata argument and its third-party doctrine argument are wrongly applied to massive telephone record collection. Moreover, both ask the court to ignore how we live today, with our “papers and effects” stored with third parties and metadata trailing our every move. Yet even with technological changes, we can and do have reasonable expectations that this information will remain private. We look forward to the court’s careful consideration of these and other points on Tuesday. 

Related Issues: PrivacyNSA SpyingPATRIOT ActRelated Cases: Smith v. ObamaKlayman v. ObamaJewel v. NSAFirst Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA
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Southeastern Ukrainian Elections: Scoundrel Media Misreporting

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 00:52
Southeastern Ukrainian Elections: Scoundrel Media Misreporting
by Stephen Lendman
Managed news misinformation is longstanding scoundrel media practice. Truth-telling on issues mattering most is verboten.
Big Lies substitute. Western media support Kiev's coup d'etat government. Infested with neo-Nazi putschists. Illegitimate by any standard.
At the same time, they oppose Southeastern Ukrainian freedom. Universally recognized self-determination. Democratic elections affirming it.
On November 2, The New York Times headlined "Rebel-Backed Elections to Cement Status Quo in Ukraine,' saying:
"The campaign billboards in this city suggested a tight race between Aleksandr Zakharchenko and Aleksandr Zakharchenko."
"As voters in rebel-held areas of Ukraine went to the polls on Sunday, in defiance of the central government, the European Union and the United States, the only visible campaign advertising in Donetsk was in support of the current separatist leader, Mr. Zakharchenko, who is, not surprisingly, expected to win."
"Rather than offering a range of plausible opposition candidates, the voting for members of Parliament and heads of state in Donetsk and the other breakaway region of eastern Ukraine, Luhansk, was significant for highlighting Ukraine’s loss of control over these territories, and Russia's strengthening influence."
"The elections will likely cement the status quo for Luhansk and Donetsk, which have been controlled in large part by pro-Russian separatists since the spring." 
"Russia has said it will recognize the results, while Ukraine, along with European governments and the United States, has said it will not, maintaining that the elections violated a cease-fire agreement signed in Minsk in September."
Fact check
Unmentioned was Southeastern Ukraine's democratic process. Monitors judging it open, free and fair. Zakharchenko's overwhelming popularity.
Elected by popular mandate. Unlike sham Western elections. Especially money-controlled US ones. Making democracy pure fantasy. 
Southeastern Ukrainians have the real thing. In strict accord with Minsk protocol terms. Big Lied claim otherwise. 
Don't expect The New York Times to explain. Representing wealth, power and privilege alone. Longstanding editorial policy. Mocking journalistic legitimacy.
The Washington Post headlined "Ukraine pro-Russian rebels hold elections in the east, fueling conflict," saying:
"A Ukrainian military spokesman said Sunday that Russian military support had been flowing into eastern Ukraine in recent days, and witnesses on Sunday reported long columns of unmarked military trucks traveling into the rebel stronghold of Donetsk."
Illegitimate Ukrainian oligarch president Poroshenko was quoted saying: 
"Ukraine and the entire civilized world will not accept this farce. I hope that Russia does not recognize these pseudo-elections!"
Fact check:
Russia supplies vitally needed humanitarian aid only. To war-torn Southeastern Ukrainian residents. 
No evidence whatever suggests military weapons, munitions or suppllies. Or Russian involvement in fighting. Claims otherwise are Big Lies. Proliferating shamelessly.
It bears repeating. Southeastern Ukrainian elections were open, free and fair. Observers from around 30 countries affirmed it.
So-called Kiev presidential and parliamentary ones were farcical. Illegitimate by any standard. 
Mocking real democracy. Verboten nationwide. Except in Donbas' oasis of freedom. What all Ukrainians deserve. What fascist rule prohibits.
WaPo published an AP report. It headlined "Russia backs Ukrainians separatists' election," saying:
"Russia gave its backing Monday to a contentious election held by separatists in eastern Ukraine, setting the stage for renewed diplomatic tensions with the West."
"Plans for the vote had been sharply criticized by the EU and the US, which said it violated Ukrainian law and undermined a two-month old cease-fire deal."
"…Ukraine accuse(d) Moscow of undermining its sovereignty."
Fact check:
Media scoundrels call real democracy "contentious." Sham governance they support is called legitimate.
Sunday's elections violated no laws or agreements. Big Lies claim otherwise.
The Wall Street Journal headlined "Russia Says It Respects Results of Eastern Ukraine Separatist Vote," saying:
It "revive(d) tensions with Kiev and the West, which denounced the votes as illegal and a threat to a fragile cease-fire."
"Russia had signaled last week it would recognize the vote, which took place Sunday in the presence of tanks and with results cementing the status quo all but predetermined."
Fact check:
Washington bears full responsibility for stoking tensions. Rogue EU partners share it.
So-called ceasefire conditions don't exist. Kiev violated agreed on enforcing terms. Fighting continues daily.
Peace is a convenient illusion. Fascists don't wage aggression to quit. 
Washington provides support and encouragement. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain. Or German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
He lied saying Donbas elections "infringe on the letter and spirit" of Minsk. "From our point of view, the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine should not be put into question."
"(W)e will not accept either the elections nor their results."
Berlin marches in lockstep with Washington. Supporting Kiev fascist illegitimacy. Rejecting Donbas democracy.
Europe's new foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini repeated the same sentiment. Supporting wrong over right. Doing so shamelessly.
"Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a law on a special status for the separatist-controlled regions that provided for regional elections to be held in December, but the rebels ignored it to go ahead with the vote," sad the Journal.
Providing for December elections contravened what he agreed to in Minsk. The Journal didn't explain. 
Or denounce fabricated reports about Moscow supplying Donbas self-defense forces with "fighters and weapons." No evidence suggests it. None exists.
Russia is scrupulously neutral. It supports regional peace and stability. It's gone all-out to achieve it since conflict erupted. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.
Britain's BBC is a longstanding imperial tool. Government owed and operated. 
Eschewing real news and information. Proliferating state propaganda. 
Substituting Big Lies for truth and full disclosure. No different from America's scoundrel media. 
Lying for power. Suppressing what people most need to know. On November 2, it headlined "Ukraine crisis: Separatists hold controversial polls," saying:
"Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have held elections denounced by the West as "illegitimate."
Unidentified so-called "sources told the BBC that a huge convoy of up to 90 military trucks had been seen passing through rebel held areas of eastern Ukraine."
"The convoy, which bore no military insignia, was carrying multiple rocket launchers and other weapons."
"It came as the Ukrainian military reported an 'intensive deployment' of troops and equipment crossing the border from Russia into the east of the country through the area of the border currently under rebel control."
Fact check:
It bears repeating. Russia supplied war-torn Donbas with vitally neede humanitarian aid only. Nothing else.
No evidence suggests otherwise. BBC claims are shameless. Big Lies. Reflecting official UK policy.
Militant. Pro-war. Anti-populist. Anti-democratic. Anti-Russian. Pro-fascist dictatorship rule. 
Don't expect BBC to explain. It's a propaganda bullhorn for imperial power. 
Mimicking America's scoundrel media. Truth is strictly verboten. Big Lies substitute daily. Journalism the way it should be is nowhere in sight.
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.

Democratic v. Sham Elections

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 03/11/2014 - 21:54
Democratic v. Sham Elections
by Stephen Lendman
Sunday's democratic Southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics' elections shamed America's sham process. Legitimately choosing leaders and MPs.
Observers judging the process open, free and fair. "(W)ell organized. Calm and peaceful. (N)o provocations or violations," according to German monitor Manuel Ochsenreiter. 
"We were visiting polling stations. They are all very crowded." 
"It's a huge interest of the population at the elections. You can see it by masses of people standing inside and in front the polling stations."
US attorney/Ukraine Observer magazine publisher Frank Abernathy said "elections followed international standards of democratic elections." 
"I was very impressed with the enthusiasm and the vigor with which the people went to the polls to express their opinion," he said.
Russian observers called Sunday's process "absolutely legitimate." Just Russia MP Oleg Pakholkov said "(t)he choice has been definitely made."
"I have worked as an observer at many elections, but neither in Russia nor in Europe people have voted so actively as here," he said.
He urged Moscow to extend recognition as soon as possible.
Russia's Rodina (Motherland) Party MP Alexey Zhuravlev called American and European failure to recognize electoral results "absurd."
"No observers from any country were barred from monitoring the voting process." 
"In our view, the elections have been absolutely legitimate in full compliance with international standards. These elections should be recognized," he stressed.
According to Russian Communist Party Duma MP Alexander Yushchenko:
"After these elections the republic's residents have legally won the right to freedom. Before that they defended it by arms."
"DPR has all chances to build a social state, free from the power of oligarchs."
State Duma international affairs committee head Leonid Slutsky said:
"We have visited different polling stations. Our impressions surpassed all our expectations." 
"People were voting enthusiastically and were certain that they open a new page in their history, linked with peaceful life and, strange as it may appear, with prosperity." 
Sunday's process was open, free and fair, he added. 
"The right to a nation's self-determination is enshrined in the UN Charter and we see as the Donbas residents are exercising it." 
"As for the elections, we have not recorded any significant violation." The voting was held very successfully and very effectively."
It bears repeating. Polar opposite America's sham process. A separate article explains illegitimate duopoly power. 
Controlled by monied interests. People have no say. Half opt out for good reason. Their interests aren't represented.
Washington and rogue EU partners denounced what deserves support. US National Security Council spokesman Mark Stroh lied, saying:
"We condemn the illegal so-called elections, carried out on Sunday by the separatists in Eastern regions of Ukraine." 
"We again urge the Russian Federation and its supporters among the separatists to meet its obligations in the framework of the Minsk agreement of 5 September and Minsk Memorandum dated September 19." 
"The US will not recognize any results of these so-called elections and (urge) all members of the international (community) to do the same thing."
An EU statement said: 
"We deplore Minister Lavrov's remarks about Russia's forthcoming recognition of the elections "on the territory of the proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics."
It lied adding: "The holding of 'presidential' and 'parliamentary' elections, called by the self-appointed authorities, would run counter to the letter and the spirit of the Minsk Protocol and disrupt progress towards finding a sustainable political solution in this framework."
Fact: Self-determination is universally recognized.
Fact: Ukraine's coup d'etat government has no legitimacy whatever.
Fact: DRP and LPR reject fascist putschist rule.
Fact: They fought and died for real democracy.
Fact: They intend having it. Preserving it. Preventing efforts to deny them.
Fact: Minsk protocol terms affirm Southeastern Ukrainian elections between October 19 and November 3.
Fact: Claims otherwise are Big Lies.
Russia supports Southeastern Ukraine's democratic process. It  intends recognizing electoral results. Believing they're a positive step forward.
On Sunday, its Foreign Ministry said:
"The elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions were held in an organized way in general and with high voter turnout."
"We respect the will expression of the citizens of the south-east."
"The elected representatives have received a mandate to solve political tasks to restore normal life in the regions."
"Taking into consideration the elections, it is essential to take active steps to set up a sustainable dialogue between the central Ukrainian authorities and representatives of Donbas in line with agreements reached in Minsk."
Moscow is "ready together with international partners to further contribute in a constructive way to the settlement of the crisis situation in Ukraine."
In contrast, Washington intends going all-out to sabotage Southeastern Ukrainian democracy. So do rogue EU partners.
On Monday, Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Prime Minister Alexsandr Zakharachenko said Minsk protocol terms affirm "the right to hold our own elections."
Sunday's process "do(es) not contradict the Minsk agreements." DPR is open for dialogue with Kiev, he added. It's waiting for "adequate action" from Ukrainian leaders.
Political Science Professor Henry Srebrnik calls electoral legitimacy "in the eye of the beholder."
"The United States and the EU have recognized all kinds of elections around the world which were of dubious legality, and which were clearly less than free and fair" than Southeastern Ukraine's process.
"Since Washington refuses to accept the fact that there was an unconstitutional regime change in Ukraine last February, it won't accept any election result in eastern Ukraine, even if it completely reflects the wishes of the population there," he added.
Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Central Election Commission head Roman Lyagin said incumbent Prime Minister Alexsandr Zakharachenko is DPR's new head of state.
Winning about 75% of the vote. In Lugansk, incumbent leader Igor Plotnitsky won a 63% majority.
Illegitimate Ukrainian oligarch president Petro Poroshenko shamelessly denounced electoral results, saying:
"I count on Russia not to recognize the so-called elections because they are a clear violation of the September 5 Minsk protocol, which was also signed by Russia's representative."
It bears repeating. Minsk protocol terms affirm Sunday's electoral legitimacy. Poroshenko lied claiming otherwise.
According to Institute for CIS States deputy head Vladimir Zharikhin:
"Elections will help to legitimize the authorities of DPR and LPR and the republics themselves…"
"Of course, the elections will not be acknowledged de jure in the West and in Kiev. But de facto, they will have to take into account the will expression of the citizens."
"Stability will increase in these republics. As the situation with the vertical power structure was still uneasy there, by receiving the mandate, the new authorities will be able to resolve these problems."
Caspian Cooperation Institute director general Sergey Mikheyev believes Sunday's elections won't resolve crisis conditions.
"(S)helling and provocations will continue until the resumption of (more intense) armed actions," he said.
Center for Political Information director general Alexey Mukhin agrees, saying:
Kiev wants war. "The West and in particular the US gives money only for elections and war."
Rada elections are over. "The only way to get (Western) funds is to continue the so-called anti-terrorist operation…in eastern Ukraine."
Kiev's national security and defense council spokesman Andriy Lysenko lied, saying: 
"The intensive movement of military equipment and troops from the territory of the Russian Federation to the territory temporarily controlled by (Donbas) militia continues."
No evidence whatever was cited. None exists. Ukrainian authorities proliferate Big Lies. So do Washington and rogue EU partners.
On Monday, activists rallied outside the European Parliament in Brussels. Supporting Sunday's elections. According to Euro-Rus movement head Kris Roman:
" The European Parliament that considers itself as the main citadel of democracy in Europe has already said it will not recognize Sunday's elections." 
"But what is the price for its democracy if it refuses to acknowledge (its) direct expression…"
"Well, the European Parliament may say whatever it wants. People in eastern Ukraine do not care if the European lawmakers recognize their will or not."
An unnamed Belgian participant added:
"People in the West…think…the same way. The elections in various countries of the world are divided into the bad or good ones…(B)acked by mass media tr(ying) to persuade all of us to believe in this."
"I have come here to voice my support for Russia, which today is the only real counterweight to this liberal dictatorship."
On Sunday, Southeastern Ukrainians voted. Democratically. Legitimately. 
For governance of, by and for all Donetsk and Lugansk residents equitably. Polar opposite America's sham electoral process.
Democracy in name only. For its privileged few alone. The best money can buy. 
Illegitimate by any standard. Empowering wealth, power and privilege. The late Gore Vidal called US democracy "bribery on the highest scale."
A process "where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates."
Governance of, by and for America's privileged few alone. Monied interests running things. 
Legitimizing the illegitimate. Mocking real democracy. None whatever exists. Believing otherwise is pure fantasy.
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. 

Serial Killer Netanyahu Calls for Calm

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 03/11/2014 - 06:39
Serial Killer Netanyahu Calls for Calm
by Stephen Lendman
On Saturday, Netanyahu called on Knesset members to restore calm. Referring to Temple Mount tensions. Ones he willfully provoked. More on this below.
He heads Israel's fascist government. It's most extremist ever. Democracy for privileged Jews alone.
Neoliberal harshness for others. No rights whatever for Palestinians. Militarized occupation denies them.
Exceeding Sharonian evil and then some. An unindicted war criminal multiple times over.
Guilty of premeditated murder. Genocidal slaughter. Mass destruction. Waging daily war on Palestine.
His November 2012 Operation Pillar of Cloud murdered 170 Palestinians in eight days. Injured hundreds more. Many maimed for life.
An unnamed Gazan woman put a human face on Palestinian suffering.
On November 20, her letter from Gaza said the following:
"The situation here is really terrible and it’s getting worse day after day..."
"This morning, the Israeli F16 military jets hit our area twice. The first time, they hit the building of the council of ministers with 5 huge missiles just a few homes away from our home."
"Our home was shaking like an earthquake, and our windows broke and shattered everywhere, and I felt the missiles inside our home. It was very scary. Of course serious damages happened to all surrounding buildings in the area."
"The first time, the Israeli F16 military jets hit Palestine stadium, which is located in the neighborhood next to my neighborhood, with 4 huge missiles, and caused some damages to my home as well."
"I heard the huge explosions and saw the flames and it was very terrifying. We see and feel death very close with each bombing. Israel is bombing everywhere in Gaza all the time by air, sea and land."
“Nowhere to hide…Nowhere is safe...We don’t have shelters. We just stay at home so all of us can die at once if a missile would strike our home."
"We are still recovering from the trauma of (Cast Lead). How will we recover from this?"
"This is insane…How much is too much?...I hope this madness will stop as quickly as possible."
Pillar of Cloud and December 2008/January 2009 Cast Lead were skirmishes compared to Protective Edge.
Over 2,200 died. Around 11,000 wounded. Over 80% of casualties were civilians.
Willfully targeted lawlessly. Israel considers them fair game. Around 600 children killed. Another 3,300 wounded. Many disabled for life. Virtually all traumatized.
Around 300 women killed. Another 2,100 injured. Palestinian suffering continues daily. Besieged Gazans remain isolated.
On their own out of luck. Israel spurned agreed on ceasefire terms straightaway. Agreements its signs aren't worth the paper they're written on.
It says one thing. It does another. Palestinians suffer. Many die. Since 1948. After 66 years, Palestinians haven't achieved a single meaningful victory. Relief is nowhere in sight.
Israeli hegemonic ambitions are boundless. Its culture reflects  violence, belligerence, occupation harshness, land theft, Palestinian dispossession, institutionalized racism, and contempt for rule of law principles and democratic values.
Post-conflict deals mean nothing. Change won't come until Israel and Washington are held fully accountable. For decades of crimes of war and against humanity.
Day of reckoning time is nowhere in sight. Resolution won't happen until it arrives. Netanyahu's call for calm rings hollow.
He spoke with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. Asked for help with other MKs. Urging "responsibility and restraint." Regarding Temple Mount status quo issues.
Despite none from him forthcoming. On this or other issues. Saying one thing. Doing another. His call came after Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel harshly criticized Jordan.
Responding to its government spokesman. Saying Israeli East Jerusalem actions and attempts to change longstanding Temple Mount status quo puts Jordanian/Israeli peace at risk.
Days after the 20th anniversary of their treaty.
"I hear that the Jordanians are threatening the peace agreement, and I wonder whether they've forgotten the Six-Day War and all the years in which Israel supported King Hussein," said Ariel.
"The Temple Mount and Jerusalem are under Israeli sovereignty just as Amman is under complete Jordanian sovereignty, and they should take this to heart."
Other extremist MK's made similar comments. A previous article discussed John Kerry's remarks about escalating Jerusalem tensions.
Particularly surrounding the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.
Referring to violence following its closure. After radicalized right-wing rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot and seriously wounded.
Before Al-Aqsa's Friday reopening, Kerry said:
"The continued commitment by Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians to preserve the historic status quo at this holy site is critical. Any decisions or actions to change it would be both provocative and dangerous."
In a Friday press briefing, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry demanded Netanyahu eschew provocative statements.
Abstain from actions regarding Jerusalem. Preserve the Temple Mount's status quo.
Kerry and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat will meet in Washington Monday. Addressing Jerusalem conditions. Suggesting efforts to revive moribund peace talks.
On Sunday, Netanyahu addressed cabinet ministers. Saying no changes in Temple Mount regulations are forthcoming.
After days of unrest and protests. After protest marches throughout the West Bank following Mutaz Hijazi's murder. Israeli police blamed him for shooting Glick.
Despite no evidence proving it. Denying him due process. Murdering him in cold blood. It's longstanding Israeli practice. He never had a chance.
Fatah's Jerusalem secretary-general, Adnan Ghaith, called killing him an "act of terrorism."
Persecuting Palestinians bears full responsibility for public anger. Civil uprisings. Violent clashes. Deaths and injuries following.
Over the weekend, Israeli security forces detained two Palestinian children. A two-year-old and nine-year-old. On suspicion of stone throwing.
Nine-year-old Izz al-Din al-Qassam had "colored rocks" in his pockets. Presumably to throw at soldiers. It was candy. Apologies didn't follow.
According to a 2013 UN Children's Fund report, Israel is the only country where children are systematically tried in military courts.
Subjected to "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment."
In the past decade, Israeli forces arrested, interrogated, and prosecuted around 7,000 children. Between ages 12 and 17.
Some younger. Mostly boys. "(A)n average of two children each day," according to UNICEF.
Friday was marked by extreme Israeli violence. Throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Numerous Palestinian injuries followed. Israeli forces show no mercy. Netanyahu's call for calm rings hollow. He bears full responsibility for police state viciousness.
Extremist ministers share it. So do radicalized MKs. Community incursions and clashes occur multiple times daily.
Palestinian rights are systematically denied. Every day is Kristallnacht in Palestine. Fear is constant. Collective punishment is official policy.
Fundamental civil and human rights are denied. Crimes of war and against humanity repeat without redress.
Wanting to live free in sovereign Palestine is called terrorism. Brute force targets resisters.
State-sponsored genocide threatens Palestine's existence. Responsible change is nowhere in sight.
Palestinian Knesset member Ahmad Tibi called Netanyahu urging calm "unacceptable." Accusing him of escalating tensions. Stoking violence.
Calling Netanyahu "a thief who tries to find stolen things which he himself stole." Accusing him and likeminded extremists of "playing with fire."
"The problem lies in the ruling party and the Likud lawmakers and their supporters."
"They are the ones who stir up the situation by storming Al-Aqsa Mosque."
"They are the main cause of what is going on in addition to Netanyahu's decision to shut down the Al-Aqsa Mosque to Muslims."
Bearing full responsibility for occupation harshness. Long denied justice remains nowhere in sight.
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.

Southeastern Ukrainians Vote

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 03/11/2014 - 03:25
Southeastern Ukrainians Vote
by Stephen Lendman
Fascist illegitimacy grips Ukraine. Southeastern Donbas People's republics reflect an oasis of freedom. Residents intend keeping it this way.
They haven't struggled hard for months to quit. Today they're holding real democratic elections. For leaders and MPs. 
Polar opposite Kiev illegitimate process. Limited self-rule permitted under Minsk protocol ceasefire terms. 
Claims otherwise are false. Big Lies. Proliferated to sabotage real democracy. Absent throughout Ukraine. Except for Donbas.
Polling stations opened at 8:00AM Moscow time. Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics are heavily protected. Against expected sabotage Kiev plans. More on this below.
Donetsk has 363 polling stations. Including three in Russia for refugees. For more than three million eligible voters. Lugansk has 102 stations. For about 1.5 million potential voters.
Anyone aged 16 or older may vote in Donetsk. In Lugansk, it's aged 18 or older. High turnout is expected in both regions. No minimum numbers are required.
Internet voting is permitted. Inauguration date for new leaders remains open. Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Central Election Commission head Roman Lyagin said:
"There are several variants, when it may be held, but I cannot name them yet."
"An inauguration ceremony will be held at a Donetsk theatre. We are still thinking over an oath of the parliament." 
"We (plan a) bright swearing-in ceremony which will be interesting for spectators and journalists," he added.
Key is establishing democratic governance. Polar opposite fascism's grip throughout other Ukrainian areas. 
Perhaps Donbas democracy will inspire change elsewhere. Ukrainians deserve better than they're getting. 
Their solution is nationwide revolution. Perhaps one day for currently absent freedoms.
One Donetsk voter perhaps spoke for many others, saying:
"Our opinion was simply ignored (by Kiev) when we took part in (May's independence) referendum."
"Now it's time to take the people's will into account. That's why I have come today to cast my vote."
For fundamental freedoms Kiev denies. Candidates to head DPR include acting Prime Minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko.
Donetsk and Lugansk Federal State of Novorossia parliamentary First Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Kofman.
Donetsk Berkut (elite police) veterans organization head Yuri Sivokonenko.
All support democratic freedoms. Restoring peace and stability. Rebuilding infrastructure and residential homes. As well as resolving social problems.
Zakharchenko backs instituting social payments to teachers, pensioners, and students as soon as possible.
His top priority is rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by months of war. So is incorporating Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and other Southeastern cities into Novorossia. Currently controlled by Kiev.
Sivokonenko wants DPR accession into a Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan Customs Union.
"We are strongly linked with Ukraine, but I call with all my soul and heart for integration, including Donetsk People's Republic’s entry in the Customs Union," he said.
Economic restoration depends on responsible cooperative relations, he believes.
Kofman supports Novorossia governance. At the same time, he prioritizes resolving humanitarian problems.
Zakharchenko, DPR's Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin, and its co-chairman Denis Pushilin head the list of candidates likely to lead DPR post-election.
According to Purgin:
"Election campaign of the Donetsk Republic movement is a programme of people's economy, people’s Donbas without oligarchs."
The prevailing system elsewhere throughout Ukraine. Corrupting the country hugely. Putting crime bosses in charge of policies.
Donbas intends change. People power, openness and social justice. Governance of, by and for everyone equitably.
Hundreds of observers from about 30 countries monitored voting. European Parliamentary members, Russia, France, Britain, Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Serbia, South Ossetia, Montenegro, NGOs and various other representatives among them.
Including an unofficial Russian lower house State Duma delegation. Representing various parties.
OSCE officials opted out. Bulgarian lawmaker Magdalena Tasheva perhaps spoke for other observers, saying:
"Only elections will bring peace to Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. We hope that elections will pass calmly, fairly, openly and will meet all international standards."
Russia intends recognizing electoral results. Believing they're a positive step toward resolving crisis conditions.
According to Russia's Foreign Ministry:
"Before the start of the Minsk peace process leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics have laid down their negotiating positions in public, particularly noting that free elections on these territories based on the principles of people's self-governance would pave a way to joint effort to preserve a common economic, cultural and political space in Ukraine."
"Russia will assist the leaders of the country’s southeast winning at elections to confirm this policy."
"According to Minsk peace accords reached in September between representatives of the Ukrainian president and militias in southeast, Ukraine with assistance of representatives from Russia and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) holding of mentioned elections is agreed between October 19 and November 3."
"References to the law on special procedure of self-governance on these territories signed by (Ukraine's oligarch president Petro) Poroshenko on October 16 setting the date of elections on December 7 contradicts the Minsk peace accords."
Washington, other NATO members, OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reject real democracy. 
They support illegitimate fascist rule. Violating agreed on Minsk protocol terms.
On November 2, Itar Tass headlined "Two subversive groups neutralised in Donetsk," saying:
They tried sabotaging elections. According to CEC head Lyagin:
"Two subversive and reconnaissance groups operate in the DPR territory. We neutralised two groups in Marinovka and Yelenovka. They were armed with heavy weapons."
"All roads to the DPR territory have been blocked off by Ukrainian security forces,” he added.
On Sunday, Kiev announced a criminal investigation into Donetsk and Lugansk elections. According to its Security Service:
"The criminal case has been launched under Part 1, Article 109 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (actions aimed at forcibly changing or overthrowing the constitutional order or seizing power)."
Despite electoral legitimacy. What Kiev agreed to under Minsk protocol terms. 
Again proving its word isn't its bond. Putschist fascist regimes operate this way. With no legitimacy whatever.
It bears repeating what other articles stressed. Obama's new friends are xenophobic, hate-mongering, ultranationalist anti-Semites.
Representing mob rule. European fascists in power for first time since WW II.
Taking full advantage. Violating core democratic principles. In lockstep with US hardliners. Mocking what they claim to support.
In response to Kiev's "criminal case," DPR Prime Minister Zakharchenko said republic authorities intend criminal proceedings "on genocide after the polls."
"If we don't fear shelling, we don't fear the criminal case," he said. "No matter what Ukraine is opening." 
It's "broiling with powerlessness…We've made the choice and we follow our way. We don't intend to turn off our path."
Freedom is too precious to lose. Nothing remains without it. Ordinary Southeastern Ukrainians put their bodies on the line to save it.
Representing model resistance for others to emulate. Deserving universal support and then some.
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.

Collective Punishment: Official Israeli Policy

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 02/11/2014 - 23:41
Collective Punishment: Official Israeli Policy
by Stephen Lendman
Israel gives rogue state lawlessness new meaning. Rule of law principles don't matter. Repeated breaches occur.
Unaccountably because Western leaders support its worst crimes. International law is clear and unequivocal. Collective punishment violates Fourth Geneva's Article 33, stating:
"No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed." 
"Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."
Throughout over 47 years of militarized occupation harshness, Israel willfully, maliciously and consistently spurned virtually all humanitarian and human rights laws. 
With impunity. Getting away with mass murder and then some. Genocide by any standard.
Agreements Israel signs aren't worth the paper they're written on. Violations occur straightaway.
Operation Protective Edge ceasefire terms are meaningless. Virtually no enforcement mechanisms exist. Israel violates its obligations unaccountably.
The latest incident involves breaching its pledge to ease Gaza's blockade. Palestinians report business as usual. Virtually no promised change occurred.
On Friday, Israel closed its Erez and Kerem Shalom Gaza border crossings. It did so indefinitely. Allegedly after a projectile was fired toward the Eshkol Regional Council. 
Three other border crossing aren't operating. Part of longstanding Israeli collective punishment. For political reasons, not security.
Possibly a mortar shell or rocket was fired. Striking an open field. Causing no injuries or damage. A virtual non-incident.
No claim of responsibility followed. Israel blew what happened way out of proportion. Minor compared to its repeated high crimes.
On Thursday, IDF Chief of Staff/unindicted war criminal Benny Gantz said "quiet achieved in the south of the country is the product of continuous and strenuous work, and it could be interrupted at any time."
IDF forces must keep their "eyes open in the different fronts, from Lebanon to the Golan Heights, to the West Bank, to Gaza. We remain alert and ready for action at any intensity needed."
Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities notified Palestinians of closure. At the same time, Rafah crossing to Egypt remains closed.
Allegedly because of a Sinai attack killing 33 soldiers. Wrongfully blamed on "Palestinian militants." 
Major General Sameeh Beshadi claimed "no doubt that Palestinian elements had taken part in the attacks."
Coup d'etat president Abdel Fattah al-Sissi blamed "foreign forces." Without elaboration. Beshadi lied claiming Gazans infiltrated via tunnels linking Gaza to Sinai.
Booby-trapped a vehicle reportedly used to attack an army checkpoint near El Arish in northern Sinai. Used rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and mortars in a second attack.
Wrongfully blamed "Palestinian elements" for other attacks earlier. Why wasn't explained. 
How could Hamas or other Gazan resistance groups benefit from attacking Egypt? Every reason to avoid doing so is clear.
Egypt postponed Israeli/Hamas talks following Sinai's attack. They're rescheduled after mid-November.
Cairo intends establishing a buffer zone between Sinai and Gaza. Displacing thousands of residents. Some leaving voluntarily. Others forcibly removed.
At the same time, using military courts for civilians accused of attacking public property, blocking roads, or other civil offenses.
Part of Sissi's war on freedom. Usurping police state powers. Prohibiting dissent. Imprisoning thousands of political opponents. 
Banning Muslim Brotherhood membership. Sentencing hundreds to death in kangaroo tribunal proceedings.
Imposing martial law unilaterally. Replacing it days earlier with a three-month northern Sinai state of emergency. 
Rogue states operate this way. Washington provides support and encouragement. So does Israel. 
Partners in crime govern extrajudicially. State repression opponents suffer hugely.
On Sunday, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq condemned Israeli Gaza crossing closures. Calling it "collective punishment."
Saying "justifications given…are unacceptable." Criticizing PA officials for not reacting responsibly. Failing to assure entry of vital goods into Gaza.
"Where does the PA come in regarding this Israeli closure," he asked? "And where does it come in regarding its responsibilities, especially after PA employees have resumed work at Gaza crossings?"
Instead of closing crossings, more need opening. To facilitate free movement of people and goods in an out of Gaza.
Isolation exacerbates dire humanitarian conditions. Arab League countries held an emergency Sunday meeting.
Focusing on regional conditions. Especially relating to Palestine. Discussion included East Jerusalem tensions following Israeli "violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
Israel's Operation Protective Edge aggression. The Sinai attack killing 33 Egyptian soldiers.
Palestinian officials blame East Jerusalem unrest on public anger and hopelessness. Leaving many Palestinian youths feeling resistance is their only option.
Israel countering with longstanding brutality. State-sponsored terrorism. Mass arrests and imprisonments. Blaming Palestinians for its crimes of war and against humanity.
Stealing more Palestinian land. Salfit residents say Israeli forces bulldozed district village lands. For more settlement construction and Jews-only roads.
Palestinian researcher Khaled Ma'ali said Israel intends expanding four settlements lawlessly. Ariel, Brukhin, Zafafa and Leshim.
Salfit district land theft is second only to East Jerusalem. Lawless expansion proceeds in 24 Israeli settlements surrounding the city.
Taking over 18 area villages. Dividing Salfit into four cantons. Weakening its economy, agriculture and societal viability. Aiming to steal over 70% of area lands. Perhaps more later on.
Salfit is valued for its water resources. The West Bank's largest supply. Strategically located. 
Connecting northern and southern Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarim, and Qalqilya. Close to Israeli-occupied northern West Bank areas.
Israel egregiously breaches core international law. Prohibiting reconfiguring occupied lands. 
Ethnically cleaning them. Making room for Jews-only residency and development. Systematically displacing thousands of Bedouins.
Stealing their land. For a new Jordan Valley settlement. Named Ramat Nu'eimeh. Built near Jericho. Intended for about 12,500 Jews.
Plans were made without consulting affected residents. Or asking their consent. Ignoring their agrarian way of life. 
Relocating them multiple times since 1948. Issuing hundreds of demolition orders to expel them from their own lands.
Bedouin rights aren't recognized. They're denied access to power grid connections, water, healthcare, education and other vital services.
They're virtual nonpersons. Earning meager income from shepherding. In limited areas Israel permits.
At issue is destroying their way of life. Displacing them for Jews-only development. Violating core international humanitarian and human rights laws in the process.
Occupying powers are required to provide for the welfare of residents they control. Forced displacement breaches their fundamental obligations. For their own self-serving interests.
Rule of law principles don't matter. Rogue states ignore them entirely. On Sunday, Haaretz headlined "Netanyahu's cabinet backs bill to jail stone-throwers up to 10-20 years." For allegedly targeting vehicles.
"(E)ven without proof of intent to harm." Or corroborating evidence proving guilt. Accusation alone suffices.
Militarized occupation gives no quarter. Cabinet approval precedes Ministerial Committee consideration. Followed by Knesset up or down voting.
Netanyahu is a world-class thug by any standard. Blaming Palestinians for Israeli crimes.
Calling legitimate self-defense "terrorism." Considering premeditated Israeli aggression "self-defense."
"Israel is operating aggressively against terrorists, against stone throwers, against hurlers of firebombs and firecrackers," he said. 
"We will legislate more aggressive legislation to this regard, in order to return quiet and security to every part of Jerusalem."
Hard-right wing Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit proposed legislation. Cracking down on legitimate Palestinian resistance.
Current legislation must prove stone-throwers intent to cause harm. Or base accusations on other laws to convict.
Mandelblit's bill permits convictions and imprisonments without proof to commit harm. Dividing stone-throwing into two categories.
Minimal 10-year sentencing for throwing stones or other objects at vehicles in motion. Allegedly endangering public safety.
Maximum sentencing up to 20 years. For intending to cause serious bodily harm. 
By throwing stones or other objects at vehicles. No verifiable proof required. Guilt by accusation suffices.
A new offense involves stone or other object throwing at police vehicles or officers. Interfering with their duties. Punishment of five years imprisonment is mandated.
Mandelblit's bill affects youths and children. Some aged 10 or less. 
Imagine a small boy incarcerated for up to 20 years. For justifiable resistance. Imagine police state harshness and then some.
Imagine intolerable conditions persisting. Racist hate. Extreme persecution. 
Premeditated wars at Israel's discretion. Genocidal high crimes repeating with disturbing regularity. 
Police state justice writ large. Mandelblit's legislation the latest example. Rogue states operate this way.
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. 

Ray McGovern Brutally Arrested

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 02/11/2014 - 19:31
Ray McGovern Brutally Arrested
by Stephen Lendman
Seventy-five-year-old McGovern is a former CIA analyst (1963 - 1990), turned activist/political critic/social justice advocate.
On October 30, he was brutally and lawlessly arrested in New York. For exercising his constitutional rights.
Attempting to attend an event featuring former CIA head General David Petraeus, former right-wing Center for a New American Security president Lt. Col. John Nagl, and neocon foreign policy commentator Max Boot.
Charged with criminal trespass, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. It bears repeating. For exercising his constitutional rights.
Tickets cost up to $45. McGovern had one. He had every right to attend. Stopping him reflects police state lawlessness. In the so-called land of the free and home of the brave.
Guards blocked his entry. At the 92nd St. Y venue. Calling itself "a world-class cultural and community center."
Connecting people "through culture, arts, entertainment and conversation. For 140 years."
"(H)arness(ing) the power of arts and ideas to enrich, enlighten and change lives, and the power of community to repair the world."
Not on October 30. Principled ideas were absent. Tyranny replaced them. 92nd St. Y officials have lots of explaining to do. 
Why McGovern was denied entry. Brutalized for trying. Why neocons were featured. 
Militarists. Spokesmen for imperial power. Permanent war. Extremist views demanding open challenge.
Activists from The World Can't Wait, the Granny Peace Brigade, Brooklyn for Peace and Veterans for Peace urged people to protest police state harshness.
McGovern planned challenging Petraeus the way he questioned former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2006.
About false statements on Iraq's WMDs and nonexistent Al-Qaeda ties.
He was arrested. Jailed overnight. Saying he was warned "as soon as (he) got to the ticket-taker. 'Ray, you're not welcome here,' " he was told.
Video footage showed him screaming in pain as police pinned his left wrist behind his back. During arrest, lots of blood was visible on his pants.
Given out-of-control violence and human misery in Iraq, McGovern planned asking Petraeus if he'd "come out of retirement and try to do it better this time to train the Iraqi forces?"
He's "no saint," he said. "(N)o great strategist. (A)n embarrassment to the US Army in which (McGovern) used to be proud to have served."
In April 2011, he wrote about "Petraeus at CIA - Can He Tell the Truth?" Saying Obama's choice "raise(d) troubling questions."
"What if CIA analysts assess(ed)" his Iraq and Afghanistan performance as failure? Would he accept or punish "critical analysis?"
"The Petraeus appointment also suggests that the President places little value on getting the straight scoop on these key war-related issues." 
"If he did want the kind of intelligence analysis that, at times, could challenge the military, why is he giving the CIA job to a general with a huge incentive to gild the lily regarding the 'progress' made under his command?"
McGovern compared Petraeus to the "ghost of Westmoreland Past." His Southeast Asia record included "deliberate distortion and dishonesty." Intelligence analysts proved it.
Progress he touted was failure. Petraeus was Westmoreland redux. Lots of evidence confirmed it. 
He's gone. Critics debate whether by resignation or sacking. For sure, not for extramarital sex. Unless state secrets were compromised.
He wasn't an Obama favorite. His loyalties were suspect. His departure removed the last Bush administration neocon holdover.
An unnamed administration source said "some key figures close to the President wanted (him) out, and there was no sadness" to see him go.
Media reports said FBI investigations began months ago into a "potential criminal matter." Not specifically focused on Petraeus.
Information surfaced about a potentially compromised computer he used. Security concerns were raised. FBI agents discussed this with him.
An unnamed congressional official briefed on the matter urged him to fall on his sword and leave. Whether he did or was pushed who knows.
John McCain once called him "one of (our) greatest generals." His judgment leaves much to be desired. 
He's not Capitol Hill's best and brightest. He graduated near the bottom of his Naval Academy class.
White House and media spin praised Petraeus' performance. As Iraq commander, CENTCOM head, commander US Forces Afghanistan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) chief. 
Falsified hype and then some. Failure defined his performance. Mythology turned it into successes. 
Time magazine named him 2007 runner-up Person of the Year. As meaningless a designation as Nobel Peace awards.
Before he fell from grace, he was called aggressive in nature. An innovative thinker on counterinsurgency warfare. A talisman. A white knight. A do-or-die competitive legend. A man able to turn defeat into victory.
His record was polar opposite. Competence didn't earn him four stars. He was more myth than man. His Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria commands failed. 
His former commander, Admiral William Fallon, called him "a piece of brown-nosing chicken shit." 
Former peers accused him of brown-nosing his way to the top. Hoping to get there by manufacturing successes. 
Concealing failures. Supporting Washington's imperial agenda. Advancing through super-hawkishness. Brown-nosing superiors. 
Lying to Congress. Hyping a fake Iranian threat. Supporting Israel's worst crimes. Even though suggesting the longstanding special relationship at times does more harm than good.
In March 2013, he joined the American Corporate Partners. An NGO "assisting veterans in their transition from the armed services to the civilian workforce."
At the same time, he became honorary OSS (Office of Strategic Services/CIA's predecessor organization) Society chairman.
A City University of New York (CUNY) visiting professor. A University of Southern California Judge Widney professor. 
A UK University of Exeter Strategy and Security Institute honorary visiting professor. Students are advised to avoid him.
He chairs investment firm Kiohlberg Kravis Roberts' KKR Global Institute. Harvard's JFK School of Government Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs named him non-resident senior fellow. He belongs to various other organizations.
After arrest, McGovern was transferred to the 100 Center Street police station. Placed in central booking ahead of arraignment.
He's on the State Department's Diplomatic Security "Be on the Look out" (BELO) list. In 2011, he turned his back on then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at George Washington University.
According to former State Department foreign service officer Peter Van Buren:
"University cops grabbed McGovern in a headlock and by his arms and dragged him out of the auditorium by force, their actions directed from the side by a man whose name is redacted from public records." 
“Photos of the then-71 year old McGovern taken at the time of his arrest show(ed) multiple bruises and contusions he suffered while being arrested." 
"He was secured to a metal chair with two sets of handcuffs. (A)t first refused medical care for the bleeding" they caused.
At the time, disorderly conduct charges were dropped. FOIA documents obtained showed State Department investigations for his "political beliefs, activities, statements and associations."
He sued the State Department for violating his First Amendment rights. Winning an injunction against inclusion on its BELO list.
His treatment now and earlier reflects America's abysmal state. More police state than democracy. 
More battleground than homeland. More tyrannical than free. More unfit to live in than ever.
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. 

Ukraine in the Eye of the Storm

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 02/11/2014 - 05:47
Ukraine in the Eye of the Storm
by Stephen Lendman
A previous article called peace in Ukraine a convenient illusion. September Minsk protocol agreed on terms didn't end fighting.
On October 29, the Washington Post headlined "Donetsk airport: From a shiny testament of hope to a burned-out hulk," saying:
"(I)ntense fighting continues despite a nearly eight-week-old cease-fire." Its ongoing after both sides agreed to lay down arms.
Reflecting unresolved conflict between Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters and Kiev fascist putschists.
"For now, (fighting) rages as the tenuous cease-fire persists, in name if not in actuality."
Moscow's NATO ambassador Alexander Grusko accused Alliance members of suppressing Kiev violations of Minsk protocol ceasefire terms.
"Instead of advising their 'special partners' in Kiev on scrupulous compliance with the Minsk accords and the opening of a full-scale political dialogue with representatives of the country's eastern regions, NATO prefers to hush up encroachments on the obligations the Ukrainian authorities undersigned," he said.
"Along with it, NATO officials feel unrestrained as they conjure up ever more new arguments about the allegedly continuing Russian efforts to destabilize the situation in Ukraine."
"That’s a sign of the same distorted logic and it testifies to a firmly formed habit of laying fault at others' doors,” he stressed.
On Sunday, Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics vote. Holding real democratic elections. 
In full compliance with Minsk protocol ceasefire terms. Polar opposite Kiev's farcical electoral process. Illegitimate by any standard.
Moscow hopes results will facilitate constructive dialogue between both sides. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement said:
"All the references to the law on a special administrative regime for the aforesaid territories, which President Poroshenko signed October 16 and which set the date of elections at December 7, run counter to the Minsk accords."
"Prior to the start of the Minsk process, the Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics' leaders publicly outlined their negotiating positions, which in particular stress that the holding on those territories of free elections on the principles of people's self-governance will open the way for joint work to preserve the common economic, cultural and political space of Ukraine."
"Russia will contribute to confirmation of this policy by the leaders of the southeast who win the elections."
"We expect specific actions on bona fide fulfillment of the Minsk agreements both from the Ukrainian authorities and their Western partners, as well as the OSCE."
"Today there is a chance to use the November 2 elections not for a thoughtless and unjustified escalation of confrontation but for transfer of the situation to the constructive channel of dialogue based on mutual respect and search for compromises on the basis of balance of legitimate interests of all Ukrainian sides, just like the documents signed within the framework of the Minsk process require."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed Sunday's electoral legitimacy, saying:
"In accordance with the Minsk agreements reached in September this year by representatives of the President of Ukraine and the self-defence forces of southeastern Ukraine with the mediation of Russia and the OSCE, these elections can be held between 19 October and 3 November of this year." 
"The argument that the law on a special self-government procedure for these regions, which Petro Poroshenko signed on 16 October, has set 7 December as the election date contradicts the Minsk agreements." This date, 7 December, was added to the law arbitrarily and unilaterally, without consulting the self-defence forces."
"Moreover, this law cannot be applied in practice because it does not identify the area it applies to." 
"The issue of identification has been suspended pending an additional decision by the Verkhovna Rada, which cannot be taken because Kiev has withdrawn its signature from the document that set out the disengagement line between the Ukrainian and the self-defence forces." 
"The situation has been further complicated by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's refusal to implement the 16 October law signed by Petr Poroshenko."
"Kiev has also violated other provisions of the Minsk agreements. It continues to bomb the regions controlled by the self-defence forces contrary to the ceasefire terms." 
"It has not adopted, contrary to its pledge, acts on amnesty and security guarantees for the representatives of the self-defence forces that attended the Minsk talks." 
"It has not honoured the provisions on the decentralisation of authority and continuation of a nationwide dialogue." 
"The Kiev government is not fulfilling its commitment to improve the humanitarian situation in Donbass and is creating artificial obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid from Russia."
"The Minsk agreements also stipulate the adoption of an economic revival programme for Donbass." 
"But politicians in Kiev said after the parliamentary election (on 26 October) that this assistance would be provided only to those regions in southeastern Ukraine that accept Kiev’s authority, which directly contradicts the letter and spirit of the Minsk Protocol."
"Overall, it appears that our partners’ arguments against the 2 November elections are designed to delay them as long as possible, probably in the hope that the problems in the region would grow with the coming winter and hence influence voter mood and the turnout."
"In this situation, the self-defence forces’ intention to hold the elections on 2 November is completely legitimate and fully in keeping with the temporal parameters coordinated in Minsk." 
"Adequate authorities must be created without delay in southeastern Ukraine, so that they can address the critically important issues of the regions’ vital needs, including law and order."
"Efforts to bring about a settlement in southeastern Ukraine are being taken in an extremely difficult and even conflicting situation." 
"The main task now is to do everything necessary to maintain the fragile truce and to begin the region's economic and humanitarian revival and sustained political dialogue." 
"Attempts to select one of the interconnected provisions of the Minsk agreements - the election date - without good reason or even in the form of an ultimatum, and to use it to judge the sides' 'behaviour' could derail the peace process and make it a hostage to geopolitical ambitions." 
"We cannot rule out that those who advance these ultimatums want to destroy the Minsk agreements, just as they destroyed the agreement of 21 February 2014, and to gain a pretext for resuming the hostilities in southeastern Ukraine."
"Russia strongly urges the sides to prevent this and instead to provide general assistance to turn the 2 November elections into another step towards normalisation and comprehensive settlement of the crisis in Ukraine."
"(B)efore the meeting in Minsk, the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics publicly put forth their negotiating stands, which stipulated, in part, that free elections held in these regions based on the principles of self-government would create conditions for a cooperative effort to keep Ukraine united economically, culturally and politically."
"Russia will encourage the election winners in southeastern Ukraine to act towards this proclaimed goal." 
"We also expect the Kiev authorities and their Western partners, as well as the OSCE, to act faithfully to fullfil the Minsk agreements." 
"The 2 November elections can be used not to recklessly foster tensions without good reason, but to nudge the situation towards a constructive path of dialogue based on mutual respect and the search for compromise on the basis of a balance of the sides’ legitimate interests, as is stipulated in the documents signed within the framework of the Minsk process."
"(W)e are sure to recognize" electoral results in both people's republics, Lavrov stressed. Reflecting legitimate "expression of people's will" to live free. Deserving universal recognition of their inalienable rights.
Donetsk and Lugansk authorities believe Kiev intends sabotaging Sunday's elections. A joint statement said:
"The law enforcement authorities of the People's Republics have information about the sabotage, planned by Ukrainian military, and have undertaken preventive measures." 
"We guarantee security at the elections. We control the situation."
"Annoying information from Ukraine's Security Service about possible provocations at the elections in Donetsk and Lugansk proves Kiev wants to frighten people." 
DPR army political head Eduard Basurin said his ministry knows about Kiev's plans to deploy reconnaissance and sabotage groups.
"(W)e have improved our guards and also undertake certain measures against possible sabotage actions," he said.
Security procedures were instituted for November 1 and 2, he explained. DPR and LPR prepared for whatever Kiev may intend. 
With full US support and encouragement. One fascist regime supports another.
White House national security council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said Washington won't recognize Sunday's vote.
She "caution(ed) Russia against using any such 'illegitimate' vote as a pretext to insert additional troops and military equipment into Ukraine, particularly in light of (alleged) indications that the Russian military is moving forces back to the border along separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned truth on its head. Calling Sunday's vote illegitimate.
Saying she and other European leaders won't recognize it. Despite Minsk protocol terms stipulating its legitimacy.
Ukraine's oligarch president Petro Poroshenko spurned Minsk agreed on terms. Expressing a "clear, general position" against Sunday's elections.
Calling on Russia to withhold recognition. Despite indisputable legitimacy only despots would reject.
On Friday, Ukrainian putschist foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin denounced what he called "totally fake, unlawful elections with people trying to elect so-called presidents of Donetsk and Luhansk and a so-called parliament."
"Russia must discourage the terrorists from carrying out these elections," he added. 
Holding them "will be yet another step towards a 'frozen conflict' which is what we have to prevent there." he claimed.
Kiev supports so-called local elections under terms it unilaterally stipulates. Ones denying Donetsk and Lugansk real democracy. Affording their residents no say. 
Including candidates representing putschist power. What freedom fighters categorically reject for good reason.
They fought and died for freedom. They deserve universal support. Expect protracted conflict continuing. Perhaps more intense than so far. Putting all Ukrainians at risk. 
At issue is freedom v. fascism. Living free or ruthlessly ruled. A struggle vital to win. Nothing less is acceptable.
Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters didn't fight and die to quit. They continue struggling for precious rights vital to achieve.
Ones people everywhere deserve. Including Ukrainians nationwide.
What better way to defeat fascism's reemergence in Europe's heartland. Eliminating Washington's control of their country. 
At the same time, subverting its Eurasian imperial grip. It can't happen a moment too soon.
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. 

Sadistic Israeli Murder

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 02/11/2014 - 02:51
Sadistic Israeli Murder
by Stephen Lendman
It continues with disturbing regularity. Mass murder or one targeted Palestinian at a time. 
Usually an innocent youth or child. In harm's way in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On October 24, Israeli soldiers murdered 14-year-old Orwa Hammad. American born. The second US child Israel killed in recent days.
Its killing machine is shows no mercy. Operating unrestrained. Mindless of rule of law principles. 
Doing whatever it damn pleases. For any reason or none at all.
Hammad was part of a demonstration against against Israeli repression. Occupying Palestinian land around Silwad. Protecting a Jews-only road. Used eclusively by Ofra settlers.
On October 26, thousands in Silwad attended his funeral. Shops closed in his honor. 
Posters displaying his image were everywhere. Pallbearers carried his body through Silwad streets on a stretcher.
His mother was visiting relatives in Jordan. She headed for Silwad straightaway.
Hammad's funeral was delayed until last Sunday. To give his father time to travel from America to attend. So did parents of other slain Palestinian youths.
The procession moved from a mosque to the funeral sight in Silwad's center. A somber service followed. 
Anger erupted. Village residents burned tires. Chanting anti-Israeli slogans. In response, soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades. Causing numerous injuries.
An Israeli IDF spokeswoman lied. Claiming soldiers fired at a "Palestinian adult" preparing to throw a Molotov cocktail.
Silwad's Mayor Abu Salah said an "Israeli soldier shot directly at the child" without just cause. Murdering him in cold blood.
Witnesses said an Israeli soldier killed Hammad at close range. Shotting to kill. An innocent youth posing no threat.
Local residents said Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers after Friday prayers. Hammad was killed hours later.
The Electronic Intifada published wrongfully imprisoned Holy Land Foundation charity founder Shukri Abu Baker's comments to family and friends, saying:
"On Friday, October 24, Israeli soldiers swarmed the northern West Bank village of Silwad to quell a protest by dozens of frustrated youngster." 
"Upon arriving, the heavily armed soldiers opened fire at 14-year-old, Orwa Hammad, aiming at his head and neck." 
"The boy fell to the ground and bled to death before the soldiers called an ambulance. Six others were wounded."   
"In summer 1992, during a visit to my home village, Silwad, I met Nabil Qaddorah, 19, handsome, full of energy and optimism, and excited about his planned engagement to the love of his life."
"The Israeli soldiers raided the village with their military jeeps and started shooting at a crowd of youngsters who had started to throw stones at the military vehicles." 
"Nabil received multiple wounds in his chest. As he fell to the ground, a soldier started to jump up and down pounding on his chest." 
"They carried him inside a jeep and took off. After dark, two days later, his family claimed his body and brought him home for his elderly parents, relatives, and friends to view before he was put to grave in the same night." 
"I viewed his body, kissed him on the forehead, and said goodbye.Nabil’s sister is Orwa’s mother (Ikhlas Hammad)." 
"In a span of 22 years, she has lost a brother and a son. Orwa’s father, Abdelwahab, is my wife's maternal cousin who was in New Orleans, Louisiana when his son was murdered." 
"He asked that the burial of his son be put off for three days to allow him to make it back in Silwad and attend the burial. Orwa was an American citizen by birth."
"His family is expecting a statement from the State Department demanding answers from the Israelis, and I say, it won’t happen because we already know that it was the soldiers who shot Orwa, but where did the bullets that killed him come from?"
It bears repeating. America and Israel partner in each other's high crimes. Accountability is absent. It's nowhere in sight.
Palestinian youths and children are fair game. Murdering them in cold blood persists.
Attorney Brad Parker is Defense for Children International-Palestine's international advocacy officer. He commented, saying:
"Impunity is the norm for Israeli soldiers that commit violence against children as they consistently violate their own live-fire regulations and know that they will not be held accountable for their actions no matter what the result." 
"There is no justice or accountability for child victims." No one knows from day to day who'll live or die. Remain free or be thrown in Israel's gulag. 
In spring 2014, Palestinian Center for Human Rights Director Raji Sourani called 2013 "the worst year ever due to the Israeli crimes which went unpunished…" 
"(T)he world's silence towards Israel's closure of any door to justice in the face of the Palestinian victims (includes) pressure exerted on countries which adopt universal jurisdiction…"
Israeli war criminals have immunity. Unrestricted freedom to brutalize Palestinians unaccountably. 
Committing slow-motion genocide against besieged Gazans. Operation Protective Edge killed over 2,200. 
Around 80% noncombatants. Wounding about 11,000 others. Many maimed for life. Unconscionable war crimes by any standard. Accountability is absent.
Incarcerating thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in Israel's gulag. Cruel and unusual treatment is official Israeli policy. So is collective punishment. Mercy is verboten.
World leaders able to make a difference turn a blind eye. Doing so lets Israel get away with murder. Palestinian suffering continues. Conditions go from bad to worse.
A previous article discussed Amnesty International's report titled "Trigger-Happy: Israel's Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank." 
Discussing crimes too grave to ignore. Palestinian children posing no threat are murdered in cold blood. Soldiers and responsible superiors remain unaccountable.
They're promoted. Decorated. Honored for committing high crimes. Dozens are killed. Some are shot in the back.
Thousands of Palestinians are wounded annually. Thousands more are lawlessly arrested and detained. Many get long prison terms.
Persecution, deaths and injuries are part of daily Palestinian life. World leaders able to make a difference do nothing to change things. Media scoundrels report virtually nothing.
Lawlessness continues unabated. Yusef a-Shawamreh was another Palestinian victim. Israeli soldiers shot him without just cause. He bled to death unattended.
Soldiers lied saying "they noticed three suspicious Palestinians who were vandalizing the separation fence, and opened fire at them according to the procedure for arresting a suspect." 
"When the Palestinians refused to respond to the soldiers’ calls, the force opened fire, wounding one of the Palestinians."
No vandalism occurred. Shots were fired preemptively. Without warning. Yusef and two other Palestinian youths crossed through a breach in Israel's Separation Wall.
To pick gunelia. Edible thistle-lie flowering plants. Commonly found in semi-desert areas. Providing income for local residents.
Yusef's family owns farmland. Separated by Israel's barrier. Land where the three youths headed. Threatening no one.
Survivors said they heard three or four shots. Fired without warning. Yusef was hit. One of his friends helped him back to the road.
Soldiers emerged. Help arrived too late. Yusef was pronounced dead at Beersheba's Soroka Hospital. 
One of many Palestinian victims. Blamed for Israeli crimes. Perpetrators go unpunished.
Yusef's friend al-Muntaser Beallah a-Dardun said Israeli police detained him and three other Palestinian youths days earlier. At the same location.
Beating them. Confiscating their plants. Lucky to avoid not being shot.
Murdering Palestinian youths posing no threat is longstanding Israeli practice. Arab lives are considered cheap. 
Israeli security forces are trained to kill. Youths and children are prime targets. A previous article discussed Mutaz Hijazi.
He was blamed for killing extremist rabbi Yehuda Glick. With no corroborating evidence proving it. Guilt by accusation is official Israeli policy.
Police murdered Hijazi in cold blood. Autopsy results showed he was shot at least 20 times. 
In the chest, neck, hands, legs, lungs and heart. With different type bullets. Able to deform and crush bones. Death by severe bleeding followed. Cold-blooded murder denied him due process.
Maan News said "(t)he latest killings come at the end of four months of almost continuous violence in Jerusalem, as Israeli authorities have launched massive arrest campaigns that critics say are politically-motivated while simultaneously imposing heavy religious restrictions on worshipers who seek to pray at Islam's third-holiest site, the Al-Aqsa mosque."
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat blamed violence on Israel's longstanding occupation. "We regret all loss of life," he said. 
"At the same time we reiterate that the Israeli occupation of Palestine remains the main source of violence and instability in the region." 
"Palestinian citizens continue to be oppressed, imprisoned, injured and killed by the occupation forces, with impunity and the full backing of the Israeli government."
Unrest grips East Jerusalem. Other West Bank cities, towns and villages. Fueled by anger and hopelessness. 
Long-suffering Palestinians deserve better than they get. Israel persecutes them with impunity. 
Fundamental rights don't matter. Palestinians are prisoners on their own land. High Israeli crimes go unpunished. Justice remains denied.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

The Day Israel Attacked America

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 01/11/2014 - 23:01
The Day Israel Attacked America
by Stephen Lendman
One ally attacking another willfully is unheard of. Israel violated its special relationship. 
What James Petras called "the first (instance) in modern history in which the imperial country cover(ed) up a deliberate major military assault by a supposed ally."
He referred to the 1967 USS Liberty attack. An intelligence-gathering ship. On June 8. In international waters. About 25.5 nautical miles northwest of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
During Israel's Six Day War. Killing 34 crew members. Wounding 171 others. Causing severe vessel damage.
Deployed to monitor belligerents' communications. After Israel's premeditated attack on Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq.
In August 1982, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin admitted Israel had a choice, saying:
"The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches (did) not prove that (President Gamal Abdel) Nasser was really about to attack us." 
"We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him." 
In February 1968, future Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1974 - 77 and 1992 - 95) told the French newspaper Le Monde: 
"I do not believe Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it."
In 1978, Israeli Air Force Commander General Mordechai Hod said:
"Sixteen years of planning had gone into those initial eighty minutes. We lived with the plan. We slept on the plan. We ate the plan. Constantly we perfected it."
In April 1972, IDF chief General Haim Barlev said:
"We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the six-day war, and we had never thought of such a possibility."
Other Israeli leaders and generals voiced similar sentiments. Israel wasn't threatened. It attacked non-threatening Arab states. Willfully. Aggressively. Without just cause. Lawlessly. 
Clear naked aggression. Including against America. Getting away with cold-blooded murder. Not for the first or last time. 
Then Defense Secretary Robert McNamara lied. Calling it a case of "mistaken identity." Knowing precisely what happened and why.
Retired Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer later called the incident "one of the classic all-American coverups." One of many times Washington disgracefully alibied for Israeli high crimes.
Israel knew Liberty's identity. It flew a clearly visible US flag. Good weather conditions made it easy to spot.
Israeli warplanes circled overhead before attacking. At times low enough for US sailors to wave to Israeli pilots. They waved back.
On June 5, Israel attacked Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. At the time, then IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin told US naval attache Commander Ernest Carl Castle Israeli forces would sink unidentified ships.
He requested US vessels stay away from Israel's coastline. Or at least report their exact position.
US sources said no inquiry was made until after LIberty's attack ended. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk asked Washington's Israeli ambassador, Walworth Barbour, for "urgent confirmation" of Israel's statement.
He responded saying "(n)o request for info on US ships operating off Sinai was made until after Liberty incident."
"Had Israelis made such an inquiry it would have been forwarded immediately to the chief of naval operations and other high naval commands and repeated to" the State Department.
When war began, Liberty commander, Captain William McGonagle, asked US Sixth Fleet Vice Admiral William I. Martin to dispatch  destroyer help.
An armed escort. For Liberty's protection. An auxiliary communications center. Martin replied:
"Liberty is a clearly marked United States ship in international waters, not a participant in the conflict and not a reasonable subject for attack by any nation. Request denied."
At the same time, he promised US warplanes would respond in 10 minutes in case of willful or inadvertent attack. 
No response came. Liberty was on its own. Virtually defenseless against Israeli air and sea power.
Throughout the morning of June 8, official testimonies and Liberty's deck log confirmed Israeli warplanes close monitoring.
When attack began, it was following its signal-intercept mission course about 25.5 nautical miles off Sinai's coastline. At about five knots.
Israeli forces were ordered to fire on any unidentified vessels proceeding at over 20 knots. At the time, a speed only warships could attain.
At around 2:00PM local time, two Israeli warplanes arrived at Liberty's location. Formation leader, Captain Iftach Spector, communicated information of its position to nearby Israeli torpedo boats.
He and other Israeli pilots lied. Claiming no distinguishable ship markings or flag. At the same time, chief Israeli air controller Lt. Col Shmuel Kislev authorized IDF warplanes to attack.
Liberty commander Captain McGonagle requested urgent Sixth Fleet help, saying:
"Under attack by unidentified jet aircraft, require immediate assistance." None arrived.
At around 2:35PM, an Israeli torpedo struck Liberty. On its starboard side. Creating a 40-foot-wide hole in its hull. 
Killing 25 servicemen. Wounding dozens of others. Marine staff sergeant Bryce Lockwood later said he'd "never deny that God kept Liberty afloat."
Four other Israeli torpedoes missed their target. Its gunships strafed Liberty at close range.
At about 4:00PM, Israel contacted Washington's Tel Aviv embassy. Claiming it mistakenly attacked Liberty.
Crew members somehow kept it afloat. Despite severe damage. Later met by US destroyers USS Davis and Massey as well as cruiser USS Little Rock.
Providing medical help. Escorting Liberty to Malta. For interim repairs. Completed in July. After which Liberty returned to America. 
Then decommissioned in June 1968. Struck from Naval Vessel Register listings. Part of Washington's coverup and denial.
Later transferred to the US Maritime Administration (MARAD). In December 1970. Then sold for scrap in 1973.
On June 10, 1967, Secretary of State Dean Rusk told Israel's ambassador:
"At the time of the attack, the USS Liberty was flying the American flag and its identification was clearly indicated in large white letters and numerals on its hull." 
"Experience demonstrates that both the flag and the identification number of the vessel were readily visible from the air." 
"Accordingly, there is every reason to believe that the USS Liberty was identified, or at least her nationality determined, by Israeli aircraft approximately one hour before the attack." 
"The subsequent attack by the torpedo boats, substantially after the vessel was or should have been identified by Israeli military forces, manifests the same reckless disregard for human life."
According to Political Science Professor George Lenczowski:
"It was significant that, in contrast to his secretary of state, President Johnson fully accepted the Israeli version of the tragic incident."
Maintaining strong US/Israeli relations mattered more. So did protecting his own political interests. In case he chose to run for reelection in November 1968.
In later naval court of inquiry testimony, McGonagle said:
During "the latter moments of the air attack, it was noted that three high speed boats were approaching (Liberty) from the northeast on a relative bearing of approximately 135 (degrees) at a distance of about 15 (nautical) miles." 
"The ship at the time was still on (westward) course 283 (degrees) true, speed unknown, but believed to be in excess of five knots."
McGonagle "believed that the time of initial sighting of the torpedo boats…was about (2:20PM). 
Approaching "boats appeared to be in a wedge type formation with the center boat the lead point of the wedge." 
"Estimated speed of the boats was about 27 to 30 knots (50 to 56 km/hour). It "appeared that they were approaching the ship in a torpedo launch attitude."
They flew Israeli flags. Liberty's identity was clear and unmistakable. McGonagle later received Medal of Honor recognition.
Virtually always presented by presidents ceremonially at the White House. This time breaking with tradition. Awarding it in privately. At Washington's Navy Yard. By the Secretary of the Navy.
Other Liberty survivors were decorated. Without mentioning willful Israeli aggression. Terry Halbardier got a Silver Star. For repairing a damaged antenna during intense Israeli strafing.
The US Naval Court of Inquiry claimed no responsibility "to rule on the culpability of the attackers, and no evidence was heard from the attacking nation."
It lied saying "available evidence combines to indicate a case of mistaken identity."
At the same time, it found "heroism displayed by the commanding officer, (as well as) officers and men of the Liberty was exceptional."
A Joint Chief of Staff's report contains evidence relating only to communication system failures. Nothing about clear Israeli culpability.
A June 21, 1967 CIA memorandum said "(t)he attack was not made in malice toward the US and was by mistake…"
"(B)ut the failure of the IDF Headquarters and the attacking aircraft to identify the Liberty and the subsequent attack by torpedo boats were both incongruous and indicative of gross negligence."
A CIA informant said Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan personally ordered Liberty's attack. He wanted it sunk. All crew members killed. A redacted report said in part:
The unnamed source "said that Dayan personally ordered the attack on the ship and that one of his generals adamantly opposed the action and said, ‘This is pure murder.’ One of the admirals who was present also disapproved of the action, and it was he who ordered it stopped and not Dayan."
The report remains classified. According to an insider, "(s)o as not to embarrass Israel." Even 47 years later.
LBJ's Intelligence Advisory Board Chairman Clark Clifford issued a damning report. Containing "all information on the subject." Discussing "the question of Israeli culpability."
Calling what happened an "unprovoked attack." Constituting "a flagrant act of gross negligence for which the Israeli Government should be held completely responsible, and the Israeli military personnel involved should be punished."
He later fell from grace. Adopting the official line. About a tragic Israeli mistake.
Defense Secretary Robert McNamara lied to Congress. Claiming no "evidence of a conscious intent to attack a US vessel."
Two Israeli inquiry reports whitewashed what happened. Claiming Liberty was believed to be an Egyptian vessel. Because of failed US/Israeli communications.
Hours before attacking, IDF naval headquarters knew Liberty was "an electromagnetic audio-surveillance ship of the US Navy."
It lied claiming information was lost. "(N)ever passed along to the ground controllers who directed the air attack nor to the crews of the three Israeli torpedo boats."
Israeli Judge Yerushalmi conducted his own fact-finding inquiry. He claimed no "deviation from the standard of reasonable conduct which would justify committal of anyone for trial."
In other words, naked Israeli aggression was OK. Case closed!
Unresolved questions remain. At the time of the attack. Secretary of State Dean Rusk said he "was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation."
"Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander," he maintained. 
"Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn't believe them then, and I don't believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous."
Navy Captain Ward Boston was US Court of Inquiry senior counsel. In 2002, he said C of I's findings reflected coverup and denial.
Israel willfully attacked a clearly identified US ship, he stressed. He called denying it an "insidious attempt to whitewash the facts." He wrote in part, saying:
"The evidence was clear. Both Admiral Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack, which killed 34 American sailors and injured 172 others, was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew." 
"Each evening, after hearing testimony all day, we often spoke our private thoughts concerning what we had seen and heard." 
"I recall Admiral Kidd repeatedly referring to the Israeli forces responsible for the attack as 'murderous bastards.' " 
"It was our shared belief, based on the documentary evidence and testimony we received first hand, that the Israeli attack was planned and deliberate, and could not possibly have been an accident."
US intelligence agencies expert James Bamford believes Israel attacked Liberty to suppress its high crimes against peace. Including massacring hundreds of Egyptian prisoners.
NSA intercepts showed Israeli pilots clearly knew they attacked a US ship, said Bamford.
Israeli aggression continued for over an hour. Liberty was severely damaged. A smoking hulk. Listing at about 10 degrees.
Lucky to stay afloat. With two-thirds of its crew dead or injured. Two US destroyers took 16 hours to arrive. To provide help. 
Coverup and denial began immediately. Survivors were ordered to remain silent about what happened.
Israel seized Syria's Golan Heights one day after attacking Liberty. Had it remained operable, it might have gotten clear evidence of willful Israeli aggression. Countering IDF lies.
Israel's Six Day War bonded Washington and Tel Aviv more closely together. Politically. Economically. Militarily.
Both countries partner in each other's genocidal crimes. Their special relationship reflects pure evil. 
Advancing their imperial interests. Threatening world peace. Humanity's greatest menace by far.
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. 

What We Can Learn From The Adobe E-Reader Mess

eff.org - Sat, 01/11/2014 - 10:48

Earlier this month we wrote about potential malicious behavior in Adobe's e-reader software, “Digital Editions.” There were several independent reports claiming that Adobe's software was sending back to Adobe—in the clear—a list of books read in the software. There were also independent reports that the program was sending back lists of books on an attached e-reader, even if those books had never been opened in ADE itself—in other words, collecting information not just about the book you are reading now, but your electronic library.

On the other hand, not everyone was able to replicate the all of this behavior, so we decided to run our own tests. We were able to confirm that Adobe Digital Editions 4.0.0 was sending back metadata, including the title and pages read, about books read in the software. Even more troubling, the software was sending back information about books loaded onto certain attached e-readers – contrary to Adobe's claim that it collected information solely “for the eBook currently being read by the user and not for any other eBook in the user’s library or read/available in any other reader.”

To perform these tests we ran Wireshark, an open source program that records network traffic, allowing researchers to analyze it. With Wireshark running we opened Adobe Digital Editions and performed some tasks such as adding books to the library, reading books, and deleting books. On each start of the software it would send back metadata about the previous session such as titles of books, pages read, time spent reading and more.

Data being sent to Adobe's servers. Including book title and pages read.

We were also able to reproduce the results of the experiment run by The Digital Reader. To perform these tests we again used Wireshark. We plugged a Sony Reader PRS-600 into a computer with ADE installed. When we started ADE with the reader plugged in, we observed ADE sending back data about what has been happening on the reader such as books added and deleted from the reader. Books which were never opened in Adobe Digital Editions.

We were also able to confirm that Adobe Digital Editions gets information from other e-readers that simply have Adobe software installed on them, such as the Sony Reader, Nook, and Boyue. Of course, there may be other readers that are also susceptible.

Last week, responding to criticism about these privacy violations, Adobe released a new version of their reader software. The changelog states that it has “Enhanced security for transmitting rights management and licensing validation information. With this latest version of Digital Editions 4.0.1, the data is sent to Adobe in a secure transmission (using HTTPS).”

We decided to run more tests to determine exactly what data—if any—Adobe was still collecting about reading habits. To perform these tests we used Fiddler. Fiddler is a local proxy that intercepts HTTPS traffic and allows you to decrypt it. It does this by performing a “man in the middle” attack, where it intercepts the traffic before it is encrypted, and encrypts it to a key that you control, allowing it to be decrypted.

With this test we were able to determine that Adobe is now encrypting the connections between ADE and Adobe servers. But more importantly, it appears that Adobe is no longer sending back metadata on what books you read. When we performed tests with the new version, the only time we saw data going back to an Adobe server was when an ebook with DRM was opened for the first time. This data is most likely being sent back for DRM verification purposes, and it is being sent over HTTPS. It even seems that Adobe has gone one step further and shut down plaintext HTTP access to their logging servers, so that even ADE 4.0 is no longer able to send back data about what books you are reading.

It appears the problem is solved, for now. So, what can we learn from this mess?

  1. If you make a mistake that violates your user's privacy, you must immediately and completely fix the problem. We applaud Adobe for taking action to fix the privacy problems in their Digital Editions software.
  2. Adobe has a lot more to do to restore reader trust. First, they developed and marketed a product that seriously compromised reader privacy. Second, when the flaw was exposed, they admitted one error (transmitting data in the clear) but continued to deny collecting information about reader libraries.
  3. We can't trust vendors to protect our privacy for us. We expect Adobe didn't deliberately set out to undermine our privacy – but it happened anyway, and could have continued indefinitely if the Digital Reader hadn't done a little investigating. Which leads to the final lesson:
  4. Doctorow's Law: Anytime someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and doesn't give you the key, they're not doing it for your benefit. ADE is not exactly a lock, but it collects a host of information about the reader in order to, among other things, “facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers.” In other words, to assist sellers, not readers. So let us suggest a corollary to Doctorow's law: Anytime someones collect information about you, without your knowledge and against your wishes, they're not doing it for your benefit.
Related Issues: DRMReading AccessibilityDigital Books
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Fed Ends QE

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 01/11/2014 - 06:42
Fed Ends QE
by Stephen Lendman
On October 29, A Federal Reserve press release said in part:
The Open Market Committee (FOMC) "decided to conclude its (QE) asset purchase program this month."
It's "maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction." 
"This policy, by keeping the Committee's holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions."
Months earlier, former Reagan administration Office of Management and Budget Director David Stockman called QE "high grade monetary heroin." One day, it'll "kill the patient," he said. 
Over the last quarter of a century, "(w)hat has been growing is the wealth of the rich, the remit of the state, the girth of Wall Street, the debt burden of the people, the prosperity of the beltway, and the sway of the three great branches of government which are domiciled there - that is, the warfare state, the (corporate) welfare state and the central bank."
"What is failing, by contrast, is the vast expanse of the Main Street economy where the great majority has experienced stagnant living standards, rising job insecurity, failure to accumulate any material savings, rapidly approaching old age and the certainty of a Hobbesian future where, inexorably, taxes will rise and social benefits will be cut."
"And what is positively falling is the lower ranks of society whose prospects for jobs, income and a decent living standard have been steadily darkening."
Current conditions reflect a dystopian new normal, he believes. Historic patterns no longer apply. America is a "foundering leviathan."
It can't save the economy or society. It's "fallen victim to its own inherent shortcomings," mismanagement, and "inefficiencies."
It's "dysfunction(al) and incoheren(t)." It operates on "continued flows of maniacal monetary stimulus."
Monied interests run things. So do powerful lobbies representing them. Private looting takes precedence over popular interests. Things go from bad to worse.
"Washington's machinery of national governance is literally melting down," said Stockman. It's victimized by Wall Street controlled Fed greed and ineptitude. Compounded by congressional malfeasance.
Budget and debt ceiling battles are theater. What's ongoing reflects the tip of the iceberg. Years of monetary heroin show how far off the rails the Fed strayed.
It's "the next best thing to bank robbery," said Stockman. "(A) stunning case of bureaucratic mission creep. (With) virtually no statutory mandate. And dubious economics is only the half of it."
Out-of-control debt isn't resolved by more of it. Doing so leaves less for goods and services. Economies suffer.
In 1988, Bernanke knew QE didn't work. Two Fed economists explained. Seth Carpenter and Selva Demiralp headlined "Money, Reserves, and the Transmission of Monetary Policy: Does the Money Multiplier Exist?"
Their conclusion:
"In the absence of a multiplier, open market operations, which simply change reserve balances, do not directly affect lending behavior at the aggregate level." 
"Put differently, if the quantity of reserves is relevant for the transmission of monetary policy, a different mechanism must be found." 
"The argument against the textbook money multiplier is not new. For example, Bernanke and Blinder (1988) and Kashyap and Stein (1995) note that the bank lending channel is not operative if banks have access to external sources of funding." 
"The appendix illustrates these relationships with a simple model. This paper provides institutional and empirical evidence that the money multiplier and the associated narrow bank lending channel are not relevant for analyzing the United States."
QE doesn't work. It could if properly used. It hasn't been. Boosting aggregate demand is needed. Doing so requires putting money in consumers' pockets.
Money printing madness doesn't stimulate growth. Or create jobs. It flows to bank balance sheets. For speculation, high salaries, big bonuses, buying competitors, and consolidating to greater size.
Helicopter Ben dropped lots of money on Wall Street. Doing so sent financial asset prices soaring. 
None went to Main Street where it belongs. Dire economic conditions remain. Things go from bad to worse. Nothing ahead looks promising.
At near zero short-term interest rates, money printing madness handed Wall Street around $3.5 trillion in free money. On top of trillions more in bailout funding.
As much as $23.7 trillion, according to former Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) administrator Neil Barofsky. Grand theft by any standard.
TARP didn't require recipients to report or internally track funds used. Accountability wasn't mandated. Nor fraud prevention standards. 
Banks took full advantage. Near-free money didn't stimulate economic growth. Main Street was sacrificed for Wall Street.
Banks hoarded cash. Acquired other financial institutions. Paid off debt. Speculated. Knowing plenty more help was there for the asking.
Economist John Williams says QE failed because bank balance sheets remain toxic. They're not lending. Reported economic growth overstates reality.
Third quarter 3.5% growth reflects "guessed-at" trade numbers. Plus resurgent defense spending for Obama's wars. 
Williams expects "significant downside revisions" ahead. Chickens have a way of coming home to roost.
Money printing madness since 2008 kicked significant financial crisis conditions down the road a few years. 
Protracted Depression already affects Main Street. No end in sight looms. Not as long force-fed austerity substitutes for stimulative economic and jobs growth.
Fed governors pretend things are OK. Truth-telling isn't a central banker's long suit. For sure not in America or Eurozone.
On October 29, the Wall Street Journal headlined "Former Fed Chief Greenspan Worried About Future of Monetary Policy."
He said QE fell short of its goals. Bond-buying was a mixed bag. It lifted asset prices hugely. Lowered borrowing costs.
Did little for the real economy. "Effective demand is dead in the water," he said. Bond buying didn't help.
"I don't think it's possible" for easy money to end trouble-free, he added. 
"We've never had any experience with anything like this, so I'm not going to sit here and tell you exactly how it's going to come out."
"I think that real pressure is going to occur not by the initiation by the Federal Reserve, but by the markets themselves."
"Recent episodes in which Fed officials hinted at a shift toward higher interest rates have unleashed significant volatility in markets, so there is no reason to suspect that the actual process of boosting rates would be any different."
Greenspan failed to explain how much he contributed to today's debacle. He chaired the Board of Governors from August 11, 1987 until January 31, 2006.
Supporters praised his steady hand. Critics called him Maestro of Misery. 
"Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country" author William Grieder ranked him "among the most duplicitous figures to serve in modern American government."
Using "his exalted status as economic wizard (to) regularly corrupt the political dialogue by sowing outrageously false impressions among gullible members of Congress and adoring financial reporters."
Exceeded by Ben Bernanke. His Fed tenure was deplorable.Betraying the public trust and then some.  
His agenda was ruthlessly anti-populist. Doing more to thirdworldize America for profit than any of his predecessors. 
Handing Wall Street crooks multi-trillions of dollars. Facilitating the greatest wealth transfer in history. 
Creating a protracted Main Street Depression. Making poverty, unemployment and underemployment growth industries. Wrecking millions of lives. Unapologetically to this day.
Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith believes Fed governors know "QE was largely a failed experiment. (They) never gave Congress an adequate explanation of the logic and expected effects of QE so (they) could be held accountable" for their actions.
Former fed official Andrew Huszar witnessed Bernanke's scam firsthand. He managed its $1.25 trillion mortgaged-backed security purchase program. 
"I can only say: I'm sorry, America," he said after resigning. "(O)ut of frustration, he explained. 
"As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed's first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing." 
"The central bank continues to (disingenuously) spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street." It was "a feast for Wall Street."
America's 1% never had it better. Banks, major corporations, big investors, and high net worth individuals alone benefitted. They did so at the expense of ordinary Americans.
Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, hunger and overall human needs remain at Depression era levels. 
"The banks were only issuing fewer and fewer loans. More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn't getting much cheaper." 
"QE may have been driving down the wholesale cost for banks to make loans, but Wall Street was pocketing most of the extra cash."
Other Fed managers voiced concerns. "Our warnings fell on deaf ears," said Huszar. QE was "an absolute coup for Wall Street."
It did nothing for Main Street. "The banks were only issuing fewer and fewer loans. More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn't getting much cheaper." 
"QE (is) the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history." It did pathetically little to stimulate growth. It wasn't designed for that purpose.
It sacrificed Main Street for Wall Street. Fed chairmen and governors lied claiming otherwise. A day of reckoning looms.
Noted investor Jim Rogers believes it. "We're all going to pay a terrible price" for money printing madness, he said.
Conditions are deplorable. No wonder Paul Craig Roberts calls America's economy "a house of cards."
Corrupted. Controlled by Wall Street. Lock, stock and money supply. Casino capitalism. 
Socialism for bankers, other corporate predators and rich elites. Free market capitalism/law of the jungle for ordinary Americans.
According to Roberts, "(t)he US economy no longer is based on education, hard work, free market prices and the accountability that real free markets impose."
It reflects fraud, grand theft, market manipulation, front-running, pumping and dumping, scamming investors, buying politicians, bailouts with taxpayer money, and eventually stealing it from depositor accounts.
Wall Street transformed America into an unprecedented money making racket. Facilitated by government collusion. At the expense of popular interests. 
Ordinary people suffer most. Never recovering from 2008. Left unemployed or underemployed. Increasingly on their own.
One missed paycheck from homelessness, hunger and despair. It's the new normal. 
It bears repeating. Nothing ahead looks promising. Expect hard times to get harder.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

New Study Shows Internet Users Caught in the Crossfire in ISPs’ War Against Edge Providers

eff.org - Sat, 01/11/2014 - 04:44

Almost any time you access the Internet, your computer transmits and receives data that travels across not only your own Internet provider’s network, but also the networks of Internet backbone providers and other ISPs before reaching its final destination. This is what puts the “inter” in the “Internet”: independent networks connected together physically at interconnection points. But this same feature that makes the Internet so powerful can also be a weakness. If the interconnection between two networks doesn’t have the capacity to handle the traffic being sent across it, then that interconnection can become a point of congestion, leading to slower speeds and dropped packets.

A report released earlier this week published by M-Lab, a research consortium focused on measuring global Internet performance, studied this problem. They were curious how interconnection affected US Internet users’ connection quality, and how particular interconnections between “access” ISPs (e.g. Comcast, Verizon, Cox, Time-Warner Cable, etc.) and “transit” ISPs (Internet providers that connect between access ISPs and websites or other Internet services) were performing. Sadly, the results were not encouraging.

M-Lab’s data showed that the interconnections between certain access ISPs and transit ISPs were subject to consistent congestion, causing customers to experience sub-broadband speeds, more latency, and more dropped packets. In particular, for a period of nine months from May 2013 to February 2014, customers of Time-Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and CenturyLink all experienced degraded connections to the transit ISP Cogent.

For those following the net neutrality debate, this should be no surprise. It was during this period that transit ISPs like Cogent and Level 3 accused access ISPs like Verizon and Comcast of refusing to upgrade their interconnections to handle the increased traffic load, unless transit ISPs agreed to pay substantial fees above and beyond the cost of upgrading the interconnection infrastructure. In return, the access ISPs claimed that transit ISPs were at fault for trying to send so much traffic (primarily Netflix video) onto their networks.

While much of the congestion subsided once Netflix acceded to the access ISPs’ demands and paid up, the fact remains that for nine months, ISPs did not deliver the speeds they promised to many of their customers. As we explained in our reply comments to the FCC:

[B]y advertising a given speed to a customer, an ISP is essentially promising that customer that they will be able to move data at that speed through the ISP’s own network and to any network with which the ISP is peered. If the data transfer is slower because networks beyond the ISP’s are congested, that is not the ISP’s fault. But if the data transfer is slower than advertised because the ISP refuses to augment congested ports to a peer network, even when the peer network is willing to do so, then that congestion is solely the fault of the ISP.

But instead of upgrading their interconnection infrastructure (which one transit ISP even offered to pay for) access ISPs instead treated their customers like hostages in their negotiations with transit Internet providers.

In an ideal world, there would be enough competition among access ISPs that this situation would never have happened: if your traffic was experiencing congestion because your current Internet provider was refusing to interconnect with a certain provider, then you could simply switch to another ISP that was interconnected.

But we don’t live in an ideal world; we live in a reality where most large ISPs act as quasi-monopolies and changing ISPs comes with high switching costs. And of course, reality is also more complicated. After all, nobody expects an ISP to interconnect with every single organization that demands an interconnection. And nobody expects an ISP to enter into a commercially unreasonable peering contract.

Unfortunately, the one thing the M-Lab study can’t tell us is whether or not the contracts the transit ISPs suggested were unreasonable or whether the demands of the access ISPs truly were tantamount to extortion. This underscores the need for more transparency when it comes to peering and interconnection agreements. As we told the FCC, we believe such agreements should be made public so that transit providers and ISPs can see for themselves if they’re getting a fair deal, and so that customers can see if their Internet provider is causing congestion by making outrageous demands.

Without greater transparency, Internet customers will be in the same position the next time this happens: caught in the crossfire in the battle between access and transit ISPs.


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Categories: Aggregated News

Halloween Special: New Frankenstein Proposal That's Not Net Neutrality

freepress.net - Sat, 01/11/2014 - 03:57
Halloween Special: New Frankenstein Proposal That's Not Net NeutralityCandace ClementCraig AaronOctober 31, 2014Halloween came early to the FCC: Last night, word leaked that Chairman Tom Wheeler’s building a new Frankenstein proposal that’s not Net Neutrality (NOT Neutrality?).
Categories: Aggregated News

Media Alert: EFF, ACLU to Present Oral Argument in NSA Spying Case on Nov. 4

eff.org - Sat, 01/11/2014 - 02:24
Court Should Rule That Mass Telephone Records Collection Is Unconstitutional in Klayman v. Obama

Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will appear before a federal appeals court next week to argue the National Security Agency (NSA) should be barred from its mass collection of telephone records of million of Americans. The hearing in Klayman v. Obama is set for 9:30 am on Tuesday, Nov. 4 in Washington, D.C.

Appearing as an amicus, EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn will present oral argument at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on behalf of EFF and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which submitted a joint brief in the case.

Conservative activist and lawyer Larry Klayman filed the suit in the aftermath of the first Edward Snowden disclosure, in which The Guardian revealed how the NSA was collecting telephone records on a massive scale from the telecommunications company Verizon. In December, District Court Judge Richard Leon issued a preliminary injunction in the case, declaring that the mass surveillance program was likely unconstitutional.

EFF argues that the call-records collection, which the NSA conducts with claimed authority under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, violates the Fourth Amendment rights of millions of Americans. Separately, EFF is counsel in two other lawsuits against the program—Jewel v. NSA and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA—and is co-counsel with the ACLU in a third, Smith v. Obama.

What: Oral Argument in Klayman v. Obama

Who: EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn

When: 9:30 am (ET), Nov. 4, 2014

Where: E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse and William B. Bryant Annex
Courtroom 20
333 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

For background and legal documents:
https://www.eff.org/cases/klayman-v-obama

The audio of the oral arguments is expected to be available on the court's website sometime after the hearing: http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/recordings/recordings.nsf/

Contact:

Dave Maass
   Media Relations Coordinator
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   press@eff.org


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Categories: Aggregated News

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