Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump Plans Mass Deportations

Trump Plans Mass Deportations

by Stephen Lendman

Obama was notoriously called America’s “deporter-in-chief” for conducting sweeping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids nationwide - expelling record numbers, more than all his predecessors combined.

He largely targeted undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans, averaging over 1,000 deportations daily - people in the United States because destructive NAFTA and DR-CAFTA trade deals destroyed their jobs at home, or sought asylum from domestic violence and chaos.

Trump appears bent on exceeding Obama’s viciousness. Thousands of new ICE and border patrol agents are being hired. Stepped up sweeping raids will follow, more than already.

Family members will be separated, including spouses from each other and children from parents. 

Under new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines, ICE agents have broad latitude to arrest and detain undocumented and legal immigrants with offenses on their record as minor as traffic violations or alleged long ago inconsequential misdemeanors.

New guidelines cover interior and border enforcement. Immigrants of color have cause for concern, especially Latinos.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, over half of nearly two million immigrants legally in America have past offenses on their records - in many cases minor infractions or wrongful charges.

US prisons hold mostly nonviolent offenders - either wrongfully convicted, incarcerated for illicit drug related charges, or other minor ones  most developed countries punish by small fines or community service, not hard time locked in cages.

DHS guidelines prioritize deporting immigrants who’ve allegedly abused public benefits, or “in the judgment of an immigration officer,” misrepresented themselves or “otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”

ICE agents are being given sweeping authority to target, arrest, detain and abuse immigrants for their ethnicity and race ahead of mass deportations.

Millions are vulnerable to police state mistreatment. DHS will “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”

“The Department will no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are neither US citizens nor lawful permanent residents.”

“…ICE is committed to arresting and processing all removable aliens.” Many details remain to be determined. Roundups and deportations will be expedited.

Expect lots of immigrants to be harmed, including many here lawfully, because sweeping arrests grab legal and undocumented individuals alike, besides separating family members.

How dozens of so-called sanctuary cities will be affected remains to be seen. Their authorities refuse to help round up undocumented immigrants.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals still protects them from deportation - young people referred to as Dreamers.

Trump promised an enhanced get tough on immigrants policy. Millions potentially are vulnerable.

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: How the 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.

Posthumous Honors for Russia's Vitaly Churkin


Posthumous Honors for Russia’s Vitaly Churkin

by Stephen Lendman

A same day article (on Lendman blog) discussed his untimely death on the eve of his 65th birthday - whether of natural causes or something more sinister remains to be determined.

Admirers worldwide mourn his passing. Vladimir Putin posthumously awarded him Russia’s Order of Courage - recognizing selfless acts of courage and valor, well deserved by Churkin, serving his country honorably and effectively with distinction since 1974 in numerous diplomatic capacities.

Putin called his premature demise “the gravest, truly irrecoverable loss the Russian foreign policy.”

He was “without an exaggeration was one of the most outstanding diplomats," a man of high intellect and energy, greatly respected by allies and adversaries alike.

He’s best known as Russia’s permanent UN envoy, serving in this capacity since 2006. (S)ometimes in the most strenuous conditions, he firmly and systematically pressed for Russia’s stance on the most important world issues, which required immense efforts and complete self-sacrifice,” Putin explained. 

“However hard the tasks were, he brilliantly coped with them and never suffered defeats. (He) was a true patriot and citizen. Bright memories of this man will live on in the hearts of all those who knew him.”

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he championed peace, democracy and human rights, adding his UN diplomatic post was more than a job. “It was service to our country.”

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mourned the passing of his colleague, saying Russia and many others will remember him for his skillful diplomatic efforts at a time of world turmoil.

“The continuation of the work on creating the fundamentals of a calmer, safer and democratic world will be the best manifestation of the memory about our comrade,” Lavrov stressed.

He laid flowers beside a portrait of his deceased colleague. On Monday, he became ill while performing his duties, succumbing hours later after being hospitalized.

UN colleagues honored him with tributes and a moment of silence. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he served his country “with distinction through some of the most challenging and momentous periods of recent history.”

He was the Security Council’s longest serving ambassador. His UK colleague Matthew Raycroft called him a “diplomatic giant.”

A Final Comment

Ukraine’s US-installed putschist regime blocked adoption of a Security Council commemorative statement honoring Churkin.

Sergey Lavrov responded sharply, saying “I know how the UNSC works. I have almost no doubt that (Ukraine’s) permanent representative would not have done this on his own. This means that he was ordered to do it.”

“This goes against Christian values. It’s beyond good and evil. Thanks to the current Ukrainian authorities, however, we are accustomed to the fact that someone in their country treats Russians, and anyone who refuses to dance to the pipe of neo-Nazis, precisely like that.”

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: How the 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.

Remembering Vitaly Churkin

Remembering Vitaly Churkin

by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, on the eve of his 65th birthday, Russia’s UN envoy died - cause of death so far not announced, perhaps a heart attack, though given US hostility toward Russia, foul play remains a possibility unless forensic analysis rules it out.

Family, friends, colleagues and admirers like myself mourn his tragic loss. Vladimir Putin “express(ed) condolences to (his) family and friends, and to the entire Foreign Ministry following” his death. “The head of state highly valued Churkin’s professionalism and diplomatic talent,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov called him “a rock against which attempts of our enemies to undermine all that makes the glory of Russia break.”

“It will be impossible, very difficult to replace him as a symbol of Russia’s foreign policy and Russia’s voice on a key international platform in the Security Council.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakhavova said he was “admired not only by those who loved him. His opponents also admired him.”

A Foreign Ministry statement said he he “died suddenly in New York on February 20…The outstanding Russian diplomat died in harness.”

In early February, he said diplomatic positions are “much more hectic” than they used to be, very “stressful” because of instability worldwide.

On April 8, 2006, he was appointed Russia’s UN envoy, serving in this capacity honorably and effectively with distinction until his tragic death.

In 1981, he earned a doctorate in history from Soviet Russia’s Diplomatic Academy. After graduating from Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1974, he joined Soviet Russia’s Foreign Ministry as a translator.

From 1974 - 1979, he was a USSR Strategic Arms Limitation Talks staff member. From 1979 - 1982, he served as Foreign Ministry US desk third secretary.

From 1982 - 1987, he was USSR’s Washington embassy second, then first secretary. From 1987 - 1990, he served as Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) International Department staff member, then special advisor and press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Shevandnadze.

From 1990 - 1991, he was Foreign Ministry Information Department director. From 1992 - 1994, he served as Russian Federation deputy foreign minister, and special representative of Russia’s president to talks on the former Yugoslavia.

From 1994 - 1998, he was Russia’s ambassador to Belgium, then liaison ambassador to NATO and the Western European Union (WEU).

From 1998 - 2003, he served as ambassador to Canada. From 2003 - 2006, he was ambassador at large, along with other diplomatic responsibilities before his appointment as permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.

In February 2012, then President Dmitry Medvedev awarded him the Order of Merit to the Fatherland 4th class - Russia’s highest civilian honor. 

Admired by allies and adversaries alike, he’s survived by his two children, Anastasia and Maksim.

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: How the 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.

Trump Chooses Hawkish National Security Advisor

Trump Chooses Hawkish National Security Advisor

by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, Trump named hawkish Army Lt. General HR McMaster to replace Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor (NSA). 

Political pressure lead to his unfortunate sacking for harmlessly discussing sanctions with Russia’s US ambassador.

Twice passed over for brigadier general, McMaster earned two more stars in less than six years after getting his first one, a remarkable advancement - given to warriors, not peace advocates.

As a lieutenant general, he was US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) deputy commanding general in charge of the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) - tasked with devising strategies for America’s next war and how to win it.

Known as a tough, outspoken, detail-oriented intellectual with a reputation for battlefield acumen, he remains on active duty in his new position.

Acting National Security Advisor General Keith Kellogg will work with him as chief of staff, Trump announced.

A 1984 West Point graduate, McMaster earned a doctorate in American history at the University of North Carolina. His dissertation criticized US Vietnam War strategy, explained further in his book titled “Dereliction of Duty.”

The war’s illegality went unmentioned, US naked aggression against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, nations threatening no others.

As a captain, McMaster won a Silver Star for service during the 1991 Gulf War, illegal by any standard, a walkover from mid-January to February 28, massacring tens of thousands of Iraqis. US aggression remains ongoing, defenseless civilians suffering most.

During Bush/Cheney’s war on Iraq, McMaster served under General David Petraeus, involved in his so-called counterterrorism operations.

Known for challenging conventional wisdom, a White House spokeswoman said Trump “gave full authority for McMaster to hire whatever staff he sees fit.”

Passed over for NSA, Trump said former UN envoy (neocon) John Bolton will serve in an unspecified administration role, a disturbing development, given his rage for endless wars.

McMaster will be chief advisor to the president on national security issues, a major administration position, needing no Senate confirmation.

He’s a warrior, in 2015 saying “(w)hat we have to do is really develop the ability to think clearly about future war.” Last spring, he lied, accusing Russia of invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea. “What is needed is forward deterrence,” he advised. Not good signs! 

Washington has lots of hawks, doves in short supply - especially with disturbing hostility toward Russia, China and Iran, risking direct confrontation.

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: How the 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.

Light Sentence for Israeli Killer Soldier

Light Sentence for Israeli Killer Soldier 

by Stephen Lendman

Last March, Israeli sergeant Elor Azaiar Elor Azaria murdered Palestinian ‘Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif in cold blood as he lay helpless, wounded on the ground, threatening no one.

Video evidence showed Azaria lethally shooting him in the head at point-blank range. A nearby soldier said he “did the right thing.”

He was charged with manslaughter instead of first-degree murder, a capital offense, requiring significant punishment.

Never in Israel when a Jew kills an Arab, especially a soldier, free to murder Palestinians with impunity, or almost in the case of Azaria.

Video footage exposed his cold-blooded assassination. Just societies imprison convicted killers longterm.

Azaria was charged and convicted of manslaughter. Most Israelis consider him a hero. Supportive rallies were held on his behalf, signs displayed, saying “KILL THEM ALL” and “Free Elor.” Extremists chanted “death to Arabs.”

Netanyahu supported Azaria, saying “(o)ur soldiers are not murderers.” The so-called world’s most moral army myth was debunked long ago.

Israeli soldiers are trained to hate Arabs, to kill with impunity. If video evidence of Alor’s high crime hadn’t gone viral, he never would have been charged, tried and convicted.

He’s the exception proving the rule. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, a slap on the wrist.

He likely won’t stay incarcerated long, likely quietly released at some point to go on with his life.

In pronouncing sentence, a military judge said his offense was mitigated by being on active combat service.

It was a judicial acknowledgement of Israel’s war on Palestine - no mention of its illegality, occupation harshness, institutionalized racism, and longstanding state-sponsored terror.

After sentencing, extremist MKs called for pardoning him. It’s likely given Netanyahu’s earlier expressed support.

Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheim called his sentence “embarrassing in its leniency, and even more embarrassing is the conduct of politicians who still demand pardon for a man who shot a terrorist in the head, because he deserved it.”

Extremist education minister Naftali Bennett tweeted the “security of the citizens of Israel requires immediate clemency for Elor Azaria, who was sent to protect us.”

Likudnik David Bitan said “I don’t want him to sit a single day in prison.” His lawyers plan to appeal, requesting no imprisonment until the process is completed.

Despite committing cold-blooded murder, Azaria may spend no time in prison - or at most a token amount.

Miscarriage of justice is longstanding Israeli policy.

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: How the 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.

Pro-Palestinian Conference in Tehran

Pro-Palestinian Conference in Tehran

by Stephen Lendman

Palestinians endured decades of vicious Israeli persecution. They remain on their own with little outside help and scant hope for ending occupation harshness.

On February 20 and 21, the 6th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada (ICSPI) is being held in Tehran - around 700 pro-Palestinian delegates and guests from 80 countries attending.

“The Zionist regime is trying to distract the Muslim world from the Palestinian issue through proxy wars and other regional issues,” Iranian MP Kazem Jalali explained.

In January, ICSPI secretary general Amir-Abdollahian said “the just cause of Palestine must always be the leading and focal issue of the Muslim and Arab world.”

Trump’s one-sided support for Israel infuriates many Palestinians, believing occupation harshness won’t end on his watch.

In opening remarks on Monday, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed all Muslim countries are obligated to support Palestinian resistance, saying:

“Despite the differences that exist among Islamic countries - some of these differences are natural, some originate from the enemy’s plot and the rest are because of negligence - the issue of Palestine can and should be the pivot of unity for all Islamic countries.”

Palestinian liberation is the top priority of the Islamic world and all other freedom-loving people everywhere, he said. 

“The intifada that has begun for the third time in the occupied lands...is still moving forward in a bright and hopeful manner. And by Allah’s permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping (Israeli) regime.”

Resistance “managed to defeat the main plot of the Zionist regime (to) dominat(e) the whole region…Supporting the resistance is the responsibility of all of us.”

Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri accused Israel of “state-sponsored terrorism,” citing settlement expansion on stolen Palestinian land as “the worst kind…a flagrant violation under international law.”

He called for solidarity to reach consensus for resolving longstanding Palestinian persecution. He urged Arab countries to close their Washington embassies if Trump moves America’s embassy to Jerusalem - increasingly unlikely knowing a regional firestorm would follow the move.

Iran is targeted by Washington for its 38 years of sovereign independence, its opposition to US and Israeli hegemonic aims, and strong support for Palestinian liberation.

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: How the 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.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ecuador's Presidential Election

Ecuador’s Presidential Election

by Stephen Lendman

Last year, President Rafael Correa said he wouldn’t seek a third term after 10 years in office.

In December 2015, Ecuador’s constitution was amended to permit unlimited re-election runs, including for president - term limits eliminated after May 24, 2017, following this year’s general elections, held on February 19, including for five regional MPs, 137 federal lawmakers, the nation’s president and vice president.

With nearly 90% of votes counted as this is written, Lenin Moreno, Correa’s former vice president, leads right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso by a 39.11 - 28.28 percent margin - close to the 40% threshold needed to avoid a second round runoff. 

Ecuador’s National Electoral Council said final results may take several more days as results trickle in from isolated areas, Ecuadoreans abroad, bureaucratic delays, and inconsistencies in some ballots.

Six other candidates competed. Moreno, a paraplegic, was nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize because of his advocacy for handicapped people.

In 1998, he was seriously wounded in a Quito robbery attempt, paralyzed, unable to walk. Years of therapy restored his ability to move around in a wheelchair, able to continue working in the public sector.

He promotes humor and joy as a way to overcome serious physical limitations. It worked for him, a remarkable story, especially if he becomes Ecuador’s next president.

As vice president, he increased the federal budget for disabled people manyfold. Hundreds of thousands are helped.

Guillermo Lasso is a banker, businessman, running for president after losing to Correa decisively in 2013.

As Banco de Guayaquil president and largest shareholder, he coordinated right-wing attacks on Correa’s agenda. During former Ecuadorian president Lucio Gutierrez’s neoliberal tenure, he developed relations with US business elites.

Pre-election, Moreno was favored to win. His lead over Lasso makes him most likely to become Ecuador’s next president.

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: How the 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.

Pence and WaPo on NATO

Pence and WaPo on NATO

by Stephen Lendman

As long as NATO exists, world peace, stability and security are impossible. 

The alliance is a US-dominated killing machine, used for endless wars of aggression, not defense at a time the only threats are invented ones.

Candidate Trump called NATO “obsolete.” UK Prime Minister Theresa May said he’s “100% behind NATO.” 

In early February, he expressed “strong support” for the alliance, according to a readout of his conversation with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, “agree(ing) to continue close coordination and cooperation to address the full range of (invented) security challenges facing NATO.”

Representing the Trump administration at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Vice President Pence said “the United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to this trans-Atlantic alliance.”

Urging member states to increase military spending at a time no enemies exist, he added “(a)s you keep faith with us, under President Trump, we will always keep faith with you.”

He ignored Kiev aggression on Donbass, instead bashed Russia irresponsibly, saying Washington will hold Moscow “accountable” on Ukraine and its (nonexistent) efforts to redraw international borders by force” - while “search(ing) for new common ground.”

How many resets will Russia tolerate, given a history of US broken promises? On Monday, Sergey Lavrov diplomatically blasted US intelligence, anonymously admitting it routinely wiretaps the communications of Russia’s ambassador to Washington, including “reports to Moscow about his activities in” America’s capital.

Neocon, CIA-connected Washington Post Editors urged European NATO members to increase their defense spending when cutting it sharply should be prioritized.

They quoted former Obama defense secretary Robert Gates, saying “(i)f current trends in the decline of European defense capabilities are not halted and reversed, future US political leaders…may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.”

Gates’ hyperbole fooled no one. Washington uses NATO as an imperial tool. Imagine how much safer humanity would be if it didn’t exist.

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: How the 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.

Western Russophobia

Western Russophobia

by Stephen Lendman

Russia is stereotypically portrayed in the West as the world’s leading bad guy. 

Along with Islamic terrorists, it’s Hollywood’s favorite villain. Czarism, Bolshevism, Stalinism and Communism are long gone. Western-style capitalism replaced them.

Yet Cold War mentality persists in America and Europe because of Russia’s sovereign independence, a nation state able to match America’s nuclear capability. 

Its overall military might is impressive, evident in Syria with a token force. Putin’s opposition to US imperial madness is cause for bashing him.

America’s hegemonic ambitions tolerate no challengers to its political, economic and military dominance. China is considered a threat, notably because of its growing economy, on track toward eventually becoming the world’s leader.

Russophobia has to be created. Legitimate reasons don’t exist so they’re invented. 

Examples include nonexistent “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, fake news claims about Russian US election hacking, fabricated Russian hybrid warfare, credible news by Russian media called propaganda, phony INF Treaty violations, and Vladimir Putin falsely portrayed as an ex-KGB spy chief and world’s number one bad guy, among others.

Virtually everything considered negative about Russia in the West is politicized - the latest example a disgraceful fake news London Telegraph story.

It claims a (nonexistent) foiled Russian intelligence “plot to overthrow Montenegro’s government last year by assassinating Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic…to sabotage the country’s plan to join NATO,” citing unnamed so-called UK sources.

It sounds like a bad Hollywood script, stuff only uninformed, ignorant people might believe.

Montenegro is tiny in area, population and GDP, the equivalent of a medium-sized Western city. Its military has less than 2,000 active duty personnel, its budget a scant 50 million euros.

In contrast, Chicago’s police force has over 12,000 militarized officers and nearly 2,000 other staff. Montenegro as NATO’s 29th member would be insignificant to the alliance’s military strength.

Russia’s embassy in London denounced The Telegraph’s fake news report, tweeting: “As usual, no evidence, pure innuendo.” What’s next, it asked? Fabricated accusations keep coming.

Montenegrin special prosecutor for organized crime, Milivoje Katnic, earlier explained no “evidence that the state of Russia is involved” in a plot against the country’s prime minister exists.

It’s another example of Russia bashing. Claiming it wanted PM Milo Djukanovic assassinated to prevent Montenegro from joining NATO is pure nonsense.

The Telegraph published fake news based on Big Lies from unnamed UK intelligence sources.

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: How the 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.

Russia's Main Threats

Russia’s Main Threats

by Stephen Lendman

In his annual address last week to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Vladimir Putin discussed the nation’s main threats.

Along with US-led Western imperialism, he cited international terrorism, foreign intelligence services and unstable neighbors, notably Ukraine - saying “many existing threats and challenges have only become more acute.”

“Military-political and economic rivalry between global and regional policy makers and between individual countries has increased. We see bloody conflicts continue in a number of countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.” 

“International terrorist groups, essentially terrorist armies, receiving tacit and sometimes even open support from some countries, take active part in these conflicts.”

“At the NATO summit last July in Warsaw, Russia was declared the main threat to the alliance for the first time since 1989, and NATO officially proclaimed containing Russia its new mission.” 

“It is with this aim that NATO continues its expansion. This expansion was already underway earlier, but now they believe they have more serious reasons for doing so.” 

“They have stepped up the deployment of strategic and conventional arms beyond the national borders of the principal NATO member states.”

“They are provoking us constantly and are trying to draw us into confrontation. We see continued attempts to interfere in our internal affairs in a bid to destabilize the social and political situation in Russia itself.”

Kiev-instigated conflict in Donbass again flared up with intent to scuttle Minsk peace provisions, blaming its defense force and Russia for its own aggression.

“…Ukrainian authorities…obviously (reject) a peaceful solution,” Putin explained. They openly speak about organizing sabotage and terrorism against Russia.

Trump’s position is unclear. He said little about Ukraine so far. Conditions Putin named require special FSB attention, he said, calling for additional measures to protect Russia’s security, including its diplomatic missions abroad.

His warning followed a Kiev law, permitting its intelligence service to engage in state terrorism abroad, enacted with Russia and conflict in Donbass in mind.

Ukraine is a cancer in Europe’s heartland, a Nazi-infested putschist regime, a dagger targeting Russia, tolerating no opposition.

Free expression is banned. Independent journalists risk harassment, assault, arrest, imprisonment, even death. Russian nationals aren’t safe.

Thousands of political prisoners languish under gulag conditions, enduring torture and other forms of abuse.

Russian media, films, communism and its symbols are banned. State-controlled media allow regime-approved propaganda alone. 

Putin’s address followed a report by Russia’s Investigative Committee, citing “irrefutable evidence that the Ukrainian armed forces used weapons of mass destruction, namely, the Tochka-U tactical missile systems against civilians during the armed conflict.”

Missiles equipped with banned cluster warheads are being used to cause mass casualties and destruction. 

Putin signaled if US-led Western support for Kiev continues allowing its aggressive actions to go unaddressed, Russia will respond appropriately as needed, without further elaboration.

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: How the 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.

Netanyahu Rejected Secret US Peace Plan

Netanyahu Rejected Secret US Peace Plan

by Stephen Lendman

If Israel agreed to Palestinian statehood within June 1967 borders, peace would follow.

According to Haaretz, John Kerry proposed resolving longstanding conflict in secret February 2016 talks with Netanyahu, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el Sissi and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Despite including recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and cooperation with regional Arab nations as part of the deal, imperatives Netanyahu demands, he rejected the proposal, claiming inability to get his coalition partners to go along.

Kerry included the following principles:

  • secure and recognized Israeli borders, partially based on 1967 lines - with mutually agreed on land swaps, permitting a contiguous Palestinian state;

  • fulfillment of UN Resolution 181, calling for two states for two people;

  • a fair solution for diaspora Palestinians, leaving “the fundamental character of Israel” unchanged;

  • Palestinians and Jews sharing Jerusalem as their capital, assuring free access to holy sites and the city undivided;

  • Israeli security guaranteed, along with ending occupation once and for all; and

  • an end of conflict, settlement of all outstanding claims, and establishment of normalized relations between both states.

El Sissi and King Abdullah accepted the proposal. Netanyahu equivocated, agreeing only to release a positive statement in return for a regional peace summit.

Talks fell apart when ultranationalist, Arab-hating Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu joined Netanyahu’s coalition, becoming defense minister as part of the deal.

Peace remains unattainable the way things have always been. 

Trump’s likelihood of achieving what his predecessors failed to accomplish is virtually nil - because Israel wants conflict, not resolution. So do neocons infesting Washington.

A Final Comment

On Monday, Haaretz reported increasing Israeli West Bank industrial and commercial development, deepening control of the territory - making conflict resolution even more unlikely.

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: How the 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. 

US Political Prisoner Omar Abdel Rahman Martyred in Captivity

US Political Prisoner Omar Abdel Rahman Martyred in Captivity

by Stephen Lendman

Known as the “blind sheikh,” he was unjustly framed in a 1995 show trial connected to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing he had nothing to do with.

Clear evidence proved his innocence. It didn’t matter. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 15 years for seditious conspiracy and terrorism, a shocking miscarriage of justice so common in America, especially against people of color and Muslims.

Sheikh Rahman was targeted for his anti-Western views, not any crime committed. He was connected to the Egyptian-based Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group) - a 1997 State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). 

In the 1980s, he was used as a CIA asset, involved in recruiting Mujahadeen fighters against the Soviets in Afghanistan. 

He was rewarded with a US visa, green card and State Department/CIA protection for as long as he was valued. When no longer, he was unjustly arrested, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned.

At the request of former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, human rights attorney Lynne Stewart joined him in representing Rahman in his appeal. Her involvement got her targeted, prosecuted and imprisoned on phony charges for defending a figure authorities wanted incarcerated.

Her best efforts were no match against federal viciousness. Rahman was aged 78, his death attributed to diabetes and heart disease.

Muslim activist Nadrat Siddique called his passing “a dismal day in the history of the United States,” saying he was “left to die a slow painful death from untreated medical conditions.”

He opposed Egyptian dictatorship under Hosni Mubarak long before the made-in-the-USA Arab spring. He sought political asylum in America. Instead of freedom, he faced cruel and unusual punishment.

Siddique “lament(ed) his tragic death under clearly dehumanizing conditions,” much of it in brutal solitary confinement. 

Michael Mukasey was his sentencing judge. He later served as Bush/Cheney’s attorney general from November 9, 2007 - January 20, 2009.”

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: How the 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.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

US Terror-Bombed Syria Toxic DU Munitions

US Terror-Bombed Syria with Toxic DU Munitions

by Stephen Lendman

America uses banned depleted uranium (DU) weapons in all its wars, ongoing since first developed during the Vietnam era.

The 1925 Geneva Protocol and succeeding Geneva Weapons Conventions prohibited use of chemical and biological agents in any form as weapons of war.

Although no Geneva Convention or other treaty specifically bans radioactive uranium weapons, including DU ones, they’re illegal de facto and de jure under the 1907 Hague Convention, prohibiting use of any “poison or poisoned weapons.”

DU munitions are radioactive, chemically toxic and poisonous. America is a signatory to the Hague and Geneva Conventions. Using these weapons in combat is a war crime.

US Code, Title 50, Chapter 40, Section 2302 defines a WMD as "any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors, (B) a disease organism, or (C) radiation or radioactivity.”

Armor-piercing DU munitions enable their ability to penetrate targets, enhancing their destructive capability. On detonation, depleted uranium aerializes, contaminating land, air and water, acting as a miniature dirty bomb.

It caused an epidemic of cancer, numerous other diseases and serious birth defects in Iraq - including children born with two heads, one eye, and legs grown together.

Miscarriages are frequent. Hundreds of newborns had cleft pallets, elongated heads, overgrown or short limbs, and other malformed body parts.

Iraq remains a toxic wasteland. So do other US war theaters. The Pentagon admitted using thousands of DU rounds in Syria in 2015, falsely claiming attacks were against ISIS, imperial foot soldiers America created and supports.

Pentagon warplanes began terror-bombing Syria in September 2014, conducting thousands of airstrikes, continuing under Trump against infrastructure and government targets.

It’s unknown if DU weapons were used throughout this period, as well as against Iraq since US terror-bombing began in June 2014 - on the phony pretext of combating ISIS.

Whatever the Pentagon admitted to is likely a small fraction of what it’s done. Its high crimes are notoriously whitewashed.

In March 2015, US-led coalition spokesman John Moore lied, saying its warplanes “have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria…”

Now we know part of the truth. Most of it remains hidden.

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: How the 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.