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Tibetan monk protests reflect growing activism

More Buddhist monks, nuns likely to revolt against injustice, oppression. BANGKOK, Thailand - Buddhist monks hurling rocks at Chinese in Tibet, or peacefully massing against...

#AdaptAndResist: More Than 200 Protesters Demand Senators Reject Graham-Cassidy

More than 200 members of the disability rights group ADAPT forced lawmakers to delay their hearing on the latest Republican attempt to repeal the...

Journalist Desmond Cole on How the Toronto Star Tried to Silence His Activism for...

Last month here in Toronto, journalist Desmond Cole was told by his editor at the Toronto Star that he had violated the newspaper's rules...

Thousands protest across US on Trump’s 100th day in office (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Published time: 30 Apr, 2017 00:52 Thousands of people took to the streets in Washington to protest...

Activism Is The Only Hope Of Restoring America's Democratic Principles

The list of progressive innovations at the grassroots level goes on and on, dealing with one big, complex issue after another that small-minded, corporatist...

Police Are Using Facebook and Apple to Data-Mine Accounts of Trump Protest Arrestees

(Photo: Gilles Lambert; Edited: LW / TO) The Trump administration has made it clear that dissent will not be tolerated -- and that's why we're...

Pro-Palestine activism must be ‘managed’ under counter-extremism strategy, universities told

British universities have been advised to “manage” Palestinian activism on campus in order to comply...

Extreme Center Goes After Anti-Trump Protesters

After Donald Trump’s surprise victory last week, protests against his pending presidency—and against the racism, misogyny and xenophobia he embodies—popped up from New York...

Largest-ever Protest in Seoul to Demand President Resign

by RT / November 12th, 2016 Hundreds of thousands are walking the streets of Seoul in the latest protest against South Korean President Park Geun-hye,...

Is Soros Funding the Trump Protests?

Paid instigators are making an already bad situation much much worse. As riots and protests rage through the streets of America, the question has to...
video

Video: Activism Works: Charlotte Police Release Dashboard & Body Camera Video in Keith Lamont...

http://democracynow.org - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have yielded to days of protests and released two videos of the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont ... Via Youtube

#MoralMondays’ Day of Action protests call on politicians nationwide to help poor, minorities

Protesters in 30 states and Washington, DC have taken part in a “Higher Ground Moral Day...

Ferguson protest organizer found shot to death in burning car

Darren Seals, a prominent organizer for the Ferguson protests in response to the killing of a...

‘We Are Peaceful Protectors of Water and of Health’ – CounterSpin interview with Kandi...

Janine Jackson interviewed Kandi Mossett about the Native American pipeline protest for the August 26, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited...

UC Berkeley chancellor gets $9,000 'escape hatch' to dodge student protests

The campus that gave birth the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s, UC Berkeley, has installed...

Dueling Trump & Clinton rallies disrupted by protesters

At campaign rallies on opposite ends of the country, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton...

Holocaust survivor was monitored by FBI for her Palestinian activism

The FBI has released files revealing Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein was under government surveillance for her...

Bloody Thursday: Reagan’s deadly war on student protesters (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Forty-seven years ago, the US National Guard and armed police violently targeted students and anti-war demonstrators...

A Five-Step Guide to the Police Repression of Protest from Ferguson to Baltimore and...

Last week, as Baltimore braced for renewed protests over the death ofFreddie Gray, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) prepared for battle. With state-of-the-art surveillance...

US media in propaganda war with global anti-fracking activism

As 2014 comes to a close the American mainstream media has represented the most aggressive attack on global environmental movements that defend peoples’ right...

Ferguson Braces for Protests After Police Kill Black Teen Weeks After Michael Brown’s Death

Missouri authorities prepare for a weekend of reinvigorated protests after another black 18-year-old was shot dead by a police officer in nearby St Louis. Authorities...

Look At How These Activists Created A Unique Way To Protest Illegal NSA Spying

Bluffdale, UT - The environmental campaigning group Greenpeace, digital rights watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) joined forces today...

The Value of Water Coalition: Corporate greed masquerading as activism

At the end of May, both houses of the US Congress overwhelmingly passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA). The...

Big Tent Activism: On Why I Painted Kevin Zeese

Robert Shetterly The artist's essay that follows accompanies the 'online unveiling'–exclusive to Common Dreams–of Shetterly's latest painting in his "Americans Who Tell the Truth" portrait...

Why Risk Prison to Protest Drone Murders? An Activist Explains.

Judging from my email box in recent years -- which often differs on this question with such sources of knowledge as my television or the New York Times -- the conscience of our country lies somewhere near Syracuse, New York.  Here's an email from an activist named Judy Bello, for example:
"Breaking news: 
"MaryAnne Grady-Flores was convicted in DeWitt Town Court last night on 2nd Degree Contempt of an Order Of Protection.  Grady-Flores, who did not intend to violate the Order despite its immorality and invalidity, was taking pictures of others at the base - the Ash Wednesday Witnesses -  who engaged in nonviolent civil resistance blocking the front Gate to Hancock base for which they were subsequently acquitted.

"In a heinous abuse of an instrument meant to protect the innocent from violence, Orders of Protection are being used to protect violent transgressions of international and moral law from citizen oversight. While trying to publicize and support a movement to ground the drones and end the wars which take countless innocent lives, Grady-Flores was arrested for noncompliance with an order that does not specify particulars outside of how you might attack another human, something she would never do. She understood the Order to mean that she was forbidden to join the protest.

"The Guilty verdict was proffered by a jury 5 minutes after they had asked the judge for a legal definition of 'keep away', and he had replied that they 'are the sole triers of fact'.

"The two-day trial included testimony from Colonel Earl A. Evans who is the party protected by the OOP, Catholic Priests Father Bill Pickard and Tim Taugher, Catholic Workers Bill Frankel-Streit and Ellen Grady, sister. Grady-Flores also testified on her own behalf."
So, a woman dedicated to nonviolence was convicted of going near a military base, where a Colonel, not feeling safe enough with, you know, the military base, had a legal order of protection against her.  Of course this is a legalistic gimmick aimed at denying people their rights to speech and assembly, as at least one court has already ruled.  But it isn't working.  These people are continuing to speak and assemble.  And they're refusing to take plea bargains that would keep them out of prison.
 
 
I emailed another activist, Jack Gilroy, to ask what's going on. Here's what he sent back in response to my questions:
 
What is your background as an activist?
 
My activism began in 1964 with the Tonkin Bay lies. Later in that decade I took on the job as UpState NY Director of Committee of Responsibility, a group organized by Quaker MD’s who were treating Vietnamese war injured children. After Nixon blocked our confirmed hospital beds and plastic surgeons in upstate NY, my family and I emigrated to Australia. While there teaching high school I had my students help wake up Aussies to French Nuclear testing off the coast of Australia. Other groups (Greenpeace etc) were involved by the sight of fourth form (10th grade) Aussie kids on top of the ABC (Australian Broadcasting System) at the French Consulate in Sydney led to other actions around the country to press the French.

Back in the USA I had my senior high students watch as I climbed a fence into the largest store house of nuclear weapons in the USA. I was in a Santa Clause suit and a bag with candy and hand bills urging federal workers to find a real job….a life giving job.

Environment was major with my students and they commandeered the four corners of the original IBM setting in Endicott NY demanding that IBM pay per pound of hydroflorocarbons emitted each year…IBM the greatest polluter of the Ozone according to the EPA. Locals, with IBM the backbone of the job force, had no idea that their wonder company was doing wrong -- until students contacted media and the story was blasted. Kids can make a difference.  (Two years later, President Bush met with IBM officials in the Rose Garden to award them for their winning reduction of ozone pollutants. Students by then were in college or elsewhere and of course, not mentioned.)  My main claim to fame is my thousands of students who understood I didn’t buy the lies fed to them by the text books and media bullshit. I hope they are questioning and acting. But being a sheep has its advantages even for the committed.

So, my activism has been education. Our play, The Bench, a story about apartheid, made it to many schools around the Southern Tier of NY while Mandela was still incarcerated at Robins Island. Today, my play, The Predator, (you helped clean up a few items in it) has been done around the nation in small group settings such as the Pittsburgh Foreign Affairs Council etc. I believe education is the key -- slow, but it works if persistence is one’s forte.

I told you a bit about my activism to close the US Army School of the Americas and my southern jail, federal diesel therapy and various federal prisons for a six month ‘holiday’. It did close but opened up weeks later with a new name. C’est la vie. C’est la guerre.
 

Why do you believe protesting is a strategic tool?

It has worked historically. Need I repeat what most people of historical awareness know as fact….in the past 100 years….Gandhi, King, Chavez, Walesa, Mandela, Romero, Berrigans, etc.

Silence is the enemy of justice and we have great silence today. Silence is based in fear but is comfortable and safe. Sheepherders are our guides today rather than national leadership. Hiding in the middle of the flock is safe. Few speak out about our murderous ways. 

 

What has been accomplished?
 
It has been noted that drone action has been cut back in Afghanistan over the past year (as well as in Pakistan, but Hancock targets are in Afghanistan). Have we made a difference? Don’t know, but we’re trying.
 
So many eloquent statements have been made in so many trials at DeWitt, the Hancock Killer Drone court room. We hope that at least some local people and base personnel have to have had their consciences pricked. Since our actions, media has perked up info on drones --- we may be part of that nationwide drone talk, especially killer drones, not cutesy drone ideas like delivering packages to one’s door. Most people were ignorant several years ago and most people are still ignorant. But there is a swell of information and we think our actions have contributed to that.
 
My good friend, Ed Kinane, a long time justice activist from Syracuse, has much more experience in dealing with the media on the drone issue. Ed says that he takes from activist Dorothy Day who said: "Being faithful is more important than being effective." My own take is that Ed and the many that have put themselves on the line have been effective…even if only to their own conscience.
 

How have the approaches of the police and the courts changed?

Police are doing their job. I once witnessed Federal Marshalls at the Pentagon (back in pre 2001 days) hosing down old ladies who were doing a ‘die in’ to protest Pentagon support for a school of assassination at Ft Benning. Elizabeth McAllister (widow of Phil Berrigan) was standing next to me and she asked one of the Marshalls if he would do the same thing if it was gasoline. The Marshall turned to Liz and said: "I'd follow my orders, Lady".

So cops are doing what they are paid to do. They are not told to stop the killing going on inside of the base so they do what they are told and arrest those who say our government should not be breaking the law of country and God and natural law. But like the pilots who do the killing and the surrounding support people, it's the system that thrives on doing what they are told to do by the criminals at the top. We need to educate the police to have a conscience and see the real enemy . . .  the killers, not those who protest.

Courts are not much different. There is a sense of affinity between the Air Force personnel, smartly dressed, ramrod straight who stand or sit before judge and/or jury and make a fine presentation of patriotism . . . doing the job of heroes. It's a tough act to question. Judges and jurors have been taught to respect those who kill to keep us safe. The decisions made by the judges have been almost all in favor of the base and the killing Q9 drones and their crews. The one jury trial so far, just last week (May 17th.) rendered a decision in favor of the base. The case was a charge of a violation of an Order of Protection. An OPP is usually used to allow a spouse to keep away an abuser. Now, it is being creatively used at Hancock Air Base as an instrument to prevent First Amendment Rights to be practiced. Mary Anne Grady, a long time nonviolent peace activist, mother of four, every day hard working business woman was at a demo on Ash Wednesday at Hancock to do the media work of photos and video. She did not engage in the demonstration for she was ordered to not go on the base. She is shown in videos on the road in front of the base (cars and joggers going by right next to her) but Hancock Air Base now claims to have a lease on half of the public road that Mary Anne stood on and filmed. She faces a possible severe sentence on July 10th being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a Syracuse jury of six. (Mary Anne was told months ago that juries may not be any better than judges -- tens of thousands stand and cheer at Syracuse Basketball games for the military and staff of the 174th Attach Wing at Hancock.)

 

What is your current legal situation?

My legal status is a jury trial at DeWitt Court starting at 8:30 a.m. on July 14th. First day mostly picking of jurors and opening statements and second day direct and cross examination, judge advise to jury and decision of guilt or innocence. I could be sentenced to one year in the Jamesville Penitentiary for my nonviolent die to remember those we have killed in Afghanistan (and God and the NSA only know where else). I think there is a chance of winning this one. If so, it could set a precedent. There are many jury trials to follow mine. Schedules go into late 2015….all for the same action. One judge said: "This has got to stop". Former President of Veterans For Peace, Elliott Adams, agreed with the judge. Elliott said, "Yes, your honor, it has to stop, we need to stop the killing and you need to be part of that stop effort."

I’ve been to most trials and have to say that there is little concern of judges to do anything to stop the assassinations. They are doing their job and following the "law". Now, we need to prove the so called law is illegal.

 

What would you recommend that people do who share your concern?
   
Here is what Ed Kinane had to say about recommending what to do. Ed walks the walk. Ed has lived in federal confinement for his peace and justice activism. Ed says:

That depends on whether they are far or near and where they are in life (in terms of dependents and responsibilities). Our campaign has a whole range of tactics they can join in or support: educate themselves; read some of the key drone books and reports; write letters to the editor...to elected officials...to base commanders; take part in our twice-monthly demos across the road from Hancock; attend the De Witt court when we defendants appear there; take part in annual conferences (usually in April); invite us to speak to their classes, community groups or congregations; contribute $$$ to our bail fund or to such anti-drone groups as codepink; work to pass local resolutions and ordinances restricting surveillance and weaponized drones over local or regional airspace; take part in fact-finding delegations to drone-plagued areas (Pakistan); risk arrest at Hancock, at other drone bases, or other relevant venues (federal buildings, drone research or production facilities, etc.); become a federal tax resister -- i.e.stop paying federal income taxes (much of which goes to the Pentagon war machine).

 

*****

I'll add a few more:

Visit Upstate Drone Action Reports at http://upstatedroneaction.org/wordpress

Spring Days of Drone Action.

Sign the petition to ban weaponized drones.

Get your city or state to oppose drones.

Get anti-drone shirts, stickers, hats, etc.

Every Tuesday: Stop the Killing.

Read about drones.

Plan for a Global Day of Action Against Drones on October 4, 2014.

Join the movement to end all war, with all weapons, at http://WorldBeyondWar.org

read more

Chris Hedges: The Crime of Peaceful Protest

Chris Hedges Cecily McMillan, wearing a red dress and high heels, her dark, shoulder-length hair stylishly curled, sat behind a table with her two lawyers...

Fascist Police Attack Anti-Maidan Protesters

Fascist Police Attack Anti-Maidan Protesters

by Stephen Lendman

Fascist police operate the same way everywhere. They do it across America. They brutalized nonviolent Occupy Wall Street activists.

FBI officials equated them with terrorists. Independent journalists covering them were harassed, arrested, handcuffed and beaten.

It happened in New York's Zuccotti Park. They were accused of trespassing. They had valid NYPD-issued press passes.

It happened nationwide. Peaceful protesters were accused of pursuing violence. Rogue cops got free reign to attack them. 

Global justice activists are treated the same way. Free expression is denied. So is public assembly. Petitioning government about grievances is considered heresy.

A previous article discussed Eastern Ukrainian resistance. Thousands in Kharvov, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Nikolayev and elsewhere reject Kiev putschists.

They want local autonomy. They want Crimean-style referendum authority to decide. 

They took over Donetsk's Security Service building. They proclaimed a People's Republic of Donetsk.

Kharkov protesters took over the Regional State Administration. They occupied the putschist UNIAN news agency building.
They proclaimed independence.

Protesters flooded streets. It's happening across Eastern Ukraine. 

On April 8, RT International headlined "Kiev cracks down on eastern Ukraine cities after two proclaim independence."

Police arrested at least 70 activists. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said:

"The anti-terrorist operation has begun. The center of the city and Metro stations are closed. As soon as we finish the operation, we will unblock them." 

"The building of Regional State Administration is totally free from the separatists who seized it earlier."

He threatened to sack 30% of Khakov's police, adding:

"I said yesterday that a considerable number of police officers not so much had been serving their Motherland as sabotaging the process." 

"I believe at least 30% of Kharkov police will be dismissed."

According to RT, police attacked protesters violently. They "used fire-hoses, stun grenades, and tear gas…" 

In response, activists threw Molotov cocktails. They did so at the building. They avoided harming anyone. They set tires ablaze.

It spread on the building's first floor. Fire crews extinguished the blaze. Minor damage was reported. 

Eye-witnesses said putschist provocateurs triggered violence. Earlier, pro-EU elements clashed with federalization supporters.

Witnesses said demonstrators still control the building. RT said an activist used a loudspeaker.

He proclaimed Kharkov independence. He said a regional referendum will decide it up or down. Demonstrators responded supportively.

Protesters erected barricades around administrative buildings. They did so around Security Service headquarters.

Donetsk protesters reacted the same way. Mariupol Donetsk region port city conditions remain tense.

On Saturday, pro-Russian activists stormed the local prosecutor's building. They demanded people's mayor Dmitry Kuzmenko's release.

Odessa residents protested against Kiev repression. Clashes erupted in Nikolaev. It's in southern Ukraine.

Hundreds of activists tried storming the city's administration building. Police attacked them with rubber bullets.

At least 15 injuries were reported. Eleven were hospitalized. Over 20 arrests were made.

Dnepropetrovsk authorities tried reason over violence. They moved to negotiate with protesters.

Boris Filatov is regional vice governor. Protesters agreed to refrain from "calls for separatist actions," he said.

Authorities let them operate out of administrative building facilities. They provided free print media access.

On April 8, Voice of Russia (VOR) headlined "Tanks heading for Ukraine's Lugansk on Kiev order," saying:

Southeastern self-defense squads are readying "for an armed attack." According to activist Yury Germes:

"Citizens are all wound up. Lugansk residents are demanding a referendum on self-determination. It was hard to negotiate with the interior ministry representatives." 

"We've just got info on six armored vehicles and soldiers heading for Lugansk. We will not give in. There must be a referendum!"

Donetsk mayor Alexander Lukyanchenko blamed Kiev. Fascist extremists ignited protests.

"New Ukrainian authorities do not quite understand what is happening in Donetsk now."

"Indeed, the seizure of administrative buildings is illegal and bad. Separatist slogans that were voiced in city squares are unacceptable." 

"Yet all these problems are a consequence of the new authorities' incorrect policy, their unwillingness to look into the problems to understand them."

They have themselves to blame. Protesters reject them. They want their rights respected. Putschist extremists deny them.

On April 8, Itar Tass headlined "Federalization crucial for Ukraine - Russian lawmaker."

According to Moscow's lower house State Duma Education Committee chairman Vyacheslav Nikonov:

"It's perfectly clear that if the Kiev authorities do not go the way of federalization, do not give official status to the Russian language and non-aligned status to Ukraine, it will probably be doomed as an independent and integral state."

Growing thousands across Eastern Ukraine demand it. Protesting reflects "the extremely near-sighted nationalist policy pursed by so-called incumbent Kiev authorities," Nikonov added.

Russia may have to intervene to avoid violence and bloodshed, he said. Doing so would excluded troops, he stressed.

Socioeconomic conditions alone are deplorable. IMF diktats assure far worse ahead. Plundering Ukraine is planned. 

So is sacking thousands of workers. Increasing poverty exponentially is certain. Ukraine heads toward becoming Greece 2.0. 

Horrific conditions reflect things. Growing human misery describes them. Expect angry Ukrainians becoming enraged ahead. 

They've yet to feel neoliberal harshness full force. It's coming. It's planned. It'll hit like a hammer on arrival. It'll leave millions of Ukrainians on their own out of luck.

It remains to be seen how they'll react. Perhaps not just in Eastern cities. Maybe nationwide. People take only so much before rebelling. A potential social explosion looms.

Maybe civil war. Maybe what opposition putschists can't contain. Will US-led NATO forces intervene? Will mass slaughter follow? 

Will Obama's grand strategy fail? Will conflict spread cross-border? Will Russia be targeted? Will it be blamed for US-led lawlessness? These and other important questions remain unanswered.

Sergei Lavrov is a consummate diplomat. He shames John Kerry. He deserves Nobel Peace Prize recognition. War criminals alone get it. Obama is Exhibit A.

On April 7, Lavrov's London Guardian commentary headlined "It's not Russia that is destabilizing Ukraine."

He called what's ongoing a "profound and pervasive crisis." It's "a matter of grave concern," he added.

External forces should be helping Ukraine, he stressed. At issue is "protect(ing) the foundations of civil peace and sustainable development…"

Moscow goes all-out to do it. Lavrov is front and center involved. Russia more than any other country. Best efforts are criticized.

Misguided Western ones substitute. Kiev was "undemocratically" seized. Putschists have no legitimacy.

No one elected them. Legal authority is absent. Self-appointing themselves mocks lawful governance. It reflects tyranny writ large.

At the same time, US-led NATO encroaches closer to Russia's borders. Doing so is provocatively dangerous.

"No less troubling is the pretence of not noticing that the main danger for the future of Ukraine is the spread of chaos by extremists and neo-Nazis," said Lavrov.

"Russia is doing all it can to promote early stabilisation in Ukraine." 

"We are firmly convinced that this can be achieved through, among other steps: real constitutional reform, which would ensure the legitimate rights of all Ukrainian regions and respond to demands from its south-eastern region to make Russian the state's second official language; firm guarantees on Ukraine's non-aligned status enshrined in its laws, thus ensuring its role as a connecting link in an indivisible European security architecture; and urgent measures to halt activity by illegal armed formations of the Right Sector and other ultra-nationalist groups."

Moscow imposes nothing on anyone, Lavrov added. If policies benefitting all Ukrainians fairly aren't implemented, crisis conditions may spiral out-of-control.

With "unpredictable consequences," said Lavrov. Russia is ready to partner with Western nations. It urges "achieving (important) goals."

Belligerent actions worsen things. Sanctions are counterproductive. They cut both ways. They're stupid. They're lose - lose.

"De-escalation should begin with rhetoric," said Lavrov. It's time to stop "whipping-up" tensions. He urges cooperation. Serious work remains unresolved.

It's up to both sides to do it. Russia wants no less. It can't pursue mutually beneficial policies without a willing partner.

It has none. Washington prefers confrontation. It drags its EU partners along. Doing the wrong thing assures its own punishment.

What's worse than global war. Odds of it erupting increase with every Western provocation. 

They repeat with disturbing regularity. Media scoundrels echo Big Lies. Murdoch controlled Wall Street Journal editors are some of the worst.

Putin bashing writ large persists. On April 7, they headlined "Putin's Latest Escalation."

He's "back on the offensive," they said. They lied claiming it. They outrageously blamed him for Eastern Ukrainian protests.

Moscow has nothing to do with them. Claiming otherwise hypes a Big Lie. It's featured. It's longstanding Journal editorial policy.

Truth is systematically buried. It's verboten. It's not tolerated. It's opposite the acceptable narrative.

Journal editors suggest "bloodshed could provide the excuse Mr. Putin wants to order Russian forces to take over another chunk of the country, not that the Russian has shown he needs a pretext."

They hyped the Big Lie about Russia invading Crimea and annexing it. Crimeans acted on their own. They did so overwhelmingly.

They voted 96.77% for reunification. Record turnout made it more impressive. Ordinary Crimeans chose. International law supports them. UN Charter principles endorse self-determination.

Washington can't deny them. Nor Journal editors. Big Lies can't hide truth. Calling Crimea's referendum a "sham" doesn't wash. 

Nor blaming Russia for Eastern Ukrainian activism. It's spontaneous. It's self-generated. It's real. It's legitimate. It has legs.

It's spreading. It may go nationwide. Obama's new imperial trophy may slip from his grasp. Maybe he'll go to war to save it. 

Maybe Journal editors will cheerlead it. They're in lockstep with all US imperial wars. Calling them humanitarian interventions turns truth on its head.

So does saying Putin uses Russia's "military (for) leverage." Claiming its parliament is "rubber-stamp." 

Suggesting "Russian forces (are) green-lighted…anywhere in Ukraine to protect Russian speakers." Lying about them ready to invade Ukraine "at any moment."

They bury legitimate voices. They give them no say. They quoted illegitimate/fascist extremist/self-appointed president Oleksandr Turchynov. He maliciously accused Russia of:

"Debstabilization, toppling the current government, thwarting elections and tearing the country apart."

Things were stable until he and other putschists allied with Washington and Western partners. They wrecked Ukraine doing it.

They established illegitimate fascist rule. They plan sham May elections. They'll be manipulated to install likeminded extremists. 

Democracy is strictly verboten. Ukrainians have no say. Not according to Journal editors.

They praised coup d'etat "democracy." They hailed a "prosperous alignment with the West." They lied claiming Putin wants things his way.

His "troops on the border are a reminder of what can happen by force if Kiev declines the offer."

Legitimate editors wouldn't touch this rubbish. Journal ones feature it. Propaganda substitutes for required reading. War winds head toward gale force.

A Final Comment

On April 8, John Kerry testified before Senate Foreign Relations Committee members. He highlighted the Big Lie.

He blames "Russian provocateurs" for spontaneous Eastern Ukrainian protests. He claimed Moscow may use them as a pretext to invade cross border.

He cited nonexistent Russian special forces involvement. He mentioned intelligence operatives. He said they're acting as catalysts. They're stoking unrest, he claimed.

"Quite simply, what we see from Russia is an illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state and create a contrived crisis with paid operatives across an international boundary," he said.

It's hard understanding why anyone takes him seriously. He's transparently disingenuous. He hypes one Big Lie after another. He's been caught red-handed many times.

He's not deterred. He blames Russia for US crimes. He blames Syria and Palestinians the same way. 

He mocks legitimate statesmanship. He lacks honor. Integrity isn't his long suit. Nor credibility. Sergei Lavrov shames him by comparison. 

Mismatch describes their relationship. A diplomatic giant v. a tactless incredibly shrinking pretender.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

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As pressure grows for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform now that the government shutdown is over, we spend the hour with one of...

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In a Major Privacy Victory, Seattle Mayor Orders Police to Dismantle Its Drone Program...

In an amazing victory for privacy advocates and drone activists, yesterday, Seattle’s mayor ordered the city's police agency to cease trying use surveillance drones and dismantle its drone program. The police will return the two drones they previously purchased with a Department of Homeland Security grant to the manufacturer.

A victory for privacy advocates, the Mayor of Seattle has ordered police to dismantle a domestic drone program (Photo: Casey McNerthney/seattlepi.com) EFF has been warning of the privacy dangers surveillance drones pose to US citizens for more than a year now. In May of last year, we urged concerned citizens to take their complaints to their local governments, given Congress has been slow to act on any privacy legislation. The events of Seattle proves this strategy can work and should serve as a blueprint for local activism across the country.

Back in early 2012, the Seattle city council was told that the Seattle police agency had obtained an authorization to fly drones from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But they did not find out from the police; they found out from a reporter who called after the council after he saw Seattle’s name on the list obtained by EFF as part of our lawsuit against the FAA.

City council was understandably not happy, and the police agency was forced to appear before the council and apologize. It then vowed to work with the ACLU of Washington and the FAA to develop guidelines to make sure drones wouldn’t violate Seattle citizens’ privacy. But as long as the guidelines weren’t passed in a binding city ordinance, there’d be no way to enforce them.

After a townhall meeting held by police, in which citizens showed up in droves and angrily denounced the city’s plans, some reporters insinuated that city counsel members’ jobs could be on the line if they did not pass strict drone legislation protecting its citizens privacy.

Documents obtained by MuckRock and EFF in October as part of our 2012 drone census showed that the Seattle police were trying to buy two more drones despite the controversy. But that ended yesterday as the Mayor put a stop to the program completely.

Critics of the privacy protests said the participants were exaggerating the capabilities of the Seattle drones, given they would only fly for less than an hour at a time and are much smaller than the Predator drones the military flies overseas and Department of Homeland Security flies at home.

But while Seattle’s potential drones may not have been able to stay in the air for long, similar drones have already been developed and advertised by drone manufacturers with the capability to stay in the air for hours or days at a time. In fact, Lockheed Martin has been bragging about a drone that weights 13.2 pounds (well within the FAA’s weight limits) that can be recharged by a laser on the ground and stay in the air indefinitely.

Since the Seattle protests have heated up, similar complaints have been heard at local city counsels and state legislatures across the country. At least thirteen states are now considering legislation to restrict drone use to protect privacy, and there are also members of Congress on both sides of the aisle pushing the same thing.

Here in the Bay Area, we’ve experienced a similar situation. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office tried to sneak through drone funding without a public hearing and told the county board of supervisors it only wanted to use the drone for emergency purposes. Yet in internal documents obtained by EFF and MuckRock as part of our 2012 drone census, the Sheriff’s Office said it wanted to use the drone for “suspicious persons” and “large crowd control disturbances.”

When EFF and ACLU held a press conference pointing out this discrepancy, the county backtracked and is now attempting to write privacy guidelines that could potentially be turned into binding law. We will keep you updated on further developments.

But regardless, it’s important that privacy advocates take the lesson from Seattle and apply it all over the country. This is an important privacy victory, and like we said back in May, local governments will listen to our concerns, so let’s make our voice heard.

Labour is stifling the right to protest

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Anonymous protests Scientology corporation

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Pro-worker, anti-racist organization, Redneck Revolt. The Left Calls Out The Left

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Why Anyone Who Votes for Hillary Is Ignorant, Stupid, and/or Psychopathic

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Microphone surrounded by crowd at Trafalgar Square.

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Saudi Arabia is shooting itself in the foot by executing Shiite cleric

The House of Saud’s plans to execute a revered Shiite cleric and protest leader reveal the extent to which the regime is vulnerable and desperate to perpetuate itself. Going ahead with the execution would be strategic miscalculation.

Significant political developments have unfolded in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks following a court decision to execute Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a polarizing Shiite cleric and political activist who has campaigned for civil equality, an inclusive socio-political system, women’s rights, minority rights, and the release of political prisoners. Prosecutors condemned the cleric to death by beheading as punishment for charges of sedition, though the execution date has not yet been set.

Sheikh Nimr has been the fiercest critic of the Kingdom’s absolute Sunni monarchy for the last decade, but gained a considerable public following after leading a series of protests in 2011 in opposition to the Saudi military’s violent intervention and suppression of the pro-democracy movement in neighboring Bahrain, a satellite state with a Shiite majority ruled by a heavy-handed Sunni dynasty. His sermons and political activism continually emphasized non-violent resistance.

The Kingdom’s decision to sentence Nimr to death has complex implications that will push sectarian tensions to fever pitch inside Saudi Arabia and throughout the region, dangerously sharpening tension with Iran. Prominent clerics in Iran and Bahrain, as well as Shiite militant groups such as Hezbollah of Lebanon and the Houthi movement of Yemen, have all condemned the verdict and warned the Kingdom not to proceed with the execution.

Read the full story on RT.com

Nile Bowie is a columnist with Russia Today, and a research affiliate with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), an NGO based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Israel plans to outlaw Islamic party

Middle East Eye - 4 June 2014

Israel is preparing to shut down the most popular Islamic party among its large Palestinian minority, apparently hoping to exploit the rising tide of repression against the Muslim Brotherhood in the region.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told his cabinet last week that the northern branch of the Islamic Movement should be outlawed as a terror organisation, according to a leak published in the Israeli media.

Netanyahu has reportedly already established a ministerial team to examine banning the movement, which is led by Sheikh Raed Salah. Three sources at the cabinet meeting provided confirmation to the Haaretz newspaper.

The planned crackdown coincides with claims by the Israeli security services that the Islamic Movement is cooperating with Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic faction that rules Gaza, to help the latter retain influence in East Jerusalem.

“Outlawing the Islamic Movement is intended to send a clear message to all Palestinians, in Israel and the occupied territories, that Israel will not tolerate political Islam,” said Asad Ghanem, a politics professor at Haifa University.

Strengthen terror

Israel has intensified its attempts to isolate and weaken Hamas since the Gaza group signed a reconciliation deal in April with Fatah, the party of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Netanyahu is fearful that the agreement may bolster Palestinian efforts in the international arena towards statehood.

The formal declaration this week of a Hamas-Fatah unity government prompted Netanyahu to warn: “This will not strengthen peace; it will strengthen terrorism.” Ahmad Saadi, a Palestinian political analyst, said moves against the Islamic Movement should also be seen as part of a wider attack on the political representation of Israel’s 1.5 million Palestinian citizens, who comprise a fifth of the population.

He noted that Israeli parliament had raised the electoral threshold in March to the point where it was doubtful any Palestinian parties could be elected. “Israel would prefer that there is no Arab leadership of any sort organising the community.”

Al-Aqsa in danger

The Islamic Movement, in particular, has been successful in challenging key Israeli policies at the highly sensitive site of the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem and among the Bedouin in the Negev region.

Israel has been seeking to strengthen its control over the mosque site, which it refers to as the Temple Mount because it is assumed to have been built over two long-destroyed Jewish temples. Salah has mobilised tens of thousands of Muslim followers in Israel to take an active role there under the campaign slogan “al-Aqsa is in danger”. In recent weeks, following the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks late April, there has been a spate of violent clashes between young Muslims and Israeli security forces at the site.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Movement’s popularity has soared among the Negev’s Bedouin in recent years. Israeli officials have blamed the movement for being behind mass protests last year that scotched controversial legislation to move 40,000 Bedouin off their ancestral lands to make way for Jewish communities. “Judaisation of Jerusalem and the Negev are big issues for the Israeli right,” said Saadi.

Israel not recognised

In the 1990s, the Islamic Movement split into two branches. A southern wing is represented in the Israeli parliament, while the northern branch refuses to recognise Israel and does not participate in national elections.

Although the Islamic Movement has ideological sympathies with Hamas, Salah has publicly disavowed violence.

The movement’s popularity among the Palestinian minority is based largely on its charitable and welfare work, and on an image of Salah as incorruptible and persecuted by Israel.

He has been arrested many times. On several occasions charges have been later withdrawn or convictions secured with evidence provided solely by security officials.

Last month Salah was fined £1,500 for obstructing security officials, after he tried to stop his wife being strip-searched three years ago as the couple returned from a trip to Jordan. Zahi Nujeidat, a spokesman, said the Islamic Movement’s legitimacy derived from its wide support. “We do not need a licence from the government. We will stick to our principles and not be intimidated.”

Comparison with Kach

At last week’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu compared the northern wing of the Islamic Movement to Kach, a Jewish extremist group that was declared a terror organisation in 1994. That was shortly after one of its members, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 28 Muslim worshippers in Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque.

“There was no problem outlawing Kach, so there ought to be no problem doing this in the case of the Islamic Movement,” the Israeli prime minister reportedly told his ministers.

He was backed by the transport minister, Yisrael Katz, who noted that the Muslim Brotherhood had been designated a terror organisation in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. “Only in Israel do they [the Brotherhood] freely incite against the existence of the state. There has to be a stop to that,” he said.

Ofer Zalzberg, an Israeli analyst with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based conflict resolution organisation, said: “Israeli decision-makers are seizing an opportunity to act on long-standing concerns about political Islam. Given events in Egypt, the timing is convenient.”

Saadi said the success of anti-Islamic parties in last month’s European elections may also have spurred Netanyahu into action.

Democracy at risk

According to the Israeli media, a ban on the Islamic Movement has been delayed by the justice ministry, which is concerned that the decision might not survive a petition to the Israeli supreme court.

Ghanem dismissed the suggestion that the Islamic Movement could be compared to Kach.

“Kach was a racist organisation with a clear intention to harm Arabs individually and collectively. It is still active and carrying out attacks through its supporters in the settler movement. Kach is a real threat, not the Islamic Movement.”

That assessment was shared in a Haaretz editorial, which feared that a ban would redefine terror in a way that “puts the principles of democracy at risk”. It noted that Netanyahu had refused to classify as terror organisations Jewish extremist groups that in recent years have been attacking Christian and Muslim sites in Israel and the occupied territories.

As a result of the hostile regional climate in the past few years, the Islamic Movement had adopted less radical and confrontational positions than a decade ago, said Ghanem.

“It espouses a political view of what kind of state Israel should be – a position different from, but certainly no more extreme than, that taken by some members of Netanyahu’s government.” Both wanted their own religious-ethnic group to dominate, he said.

Hamas link?

Leaks from last week’s cabinet meeting were followed by reports that a Hamas leader, Mahmoud Toameh, had revealed during interrogation that his group was directing money to the Islamic Movement in Israel.

Toameh, who was arrested at an Israeli-controlled crossing between Jordan and the West Bank on 14 April, reportedly said Hamas was paying youths from the Islamic Movement to study at seminaries in the al-Aqsa compound.

According to the Israeli media, the youths were chiefly employed to fight with Israeli police and “harass Jews” – a reference to mounting tensions over an influx of Jewish extremists trying to pray at the compound.

Zalzberg said Israel was worried that religious activism at the al-Aqsa compound of the kind promoted by the Islamic Movement might lead to intensified clashes with Israeli police that could damage relations with Egypt and Jordan.

Both Hamas and the Islamic Movement have been concerned that most Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza are unable to reach the al-Aqsa site because of Israeli movement restrictions, leaving the compound vulnerable to an Israeli takeover. Israeli politicians recently tried to introduce legislation to force Islamic authorities to share control of the site with Israel.

Hamas leaders have been barred from occupied East Jerusalem in recent years too. Following Palestinian national elections in 2006, three legislators from Jerusalem had their residency revoked and were expelled to the West Bank. In their absence, the Islamic Movement has taken an increasingly prominent role in Jerusalem and at al-Aqsa.

Anti-Israeli crusade

Moshe Arens, a former defence minister from Netanyahu’s Likud party, wrote this week that Salah’s party was “far more dangerous” than either Hamas or Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shiite group that Israel engaged in a month-long war in 2006. He called it “an enemy within” that was “gradually mobilising the Muslim population in Israel in an anti-Israeli crusade”.

Discussions on outlawing the Islamic Movement took place as the cabinet approved plans to set up a ministerial committee to examine the economic development of Israel’s Palestinian minority. It will be headed by Yaacov Perry, a former head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service.

Zalzberg said the committee was intending to create a distinction between loyal and disloyal Arab citizens.

“The government’s strategy is to offer incentives to those who are considered loyal, and limit the rights of groups not seen as acting in accordance with the state’s objectives.”

Last week the Islamic Movement announced that it had discovered bugging equipment on a phone line in Salah’s office recently installed by Israel’s national telecom company.

Tagged as: , ,

Battling for Ukraine’s Soul

Battling for Ukraine's Soul 

by Stephen Lendman

Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters aren't quitting. They reject Kiev putschists. 

They deplore fascist governance. They want fundamental democratic rights everyone deserves.

So do Maidan activists. Nonviolent ones. Thousands. On Sunday, they convened a People's Veche (assembly).

The first in two months. In Kiev's Independence Square. Thousands participated. To decide whether to continue tent city activism.

"We are not going to go away," they said. They're watching president-elect Poroshenko. They'll give him a month to deliver on promises made.

On Sunday, activists spoke publicly. They said they protested "to change the system of power." They saw "no changes so far. 
Maidan must stand firm until the goal is achieved," they stressed.

They passed a manifesto. It says "Maidan will not be dissolved until all (their) demands are met."

They include:

  • "punishing criminals, lustration, a package of laws to change the structure of power bodies, punishing those involved in the killings and torture of activists,

  • changing the structure of Maidan;

  • developing a system for dialogue with the authorities," and

  • including Maidan activists in municipal police.

Where this goes remains to be seen. What's ongoing is encouraging. Perhaps growing numbers of Western Ukrainians will join their Eastern counterparts.

Perhaps Obama's newest imperial trophy isn't as secure as he thinks. Perhaps defeat will be snatched from the jaws of victory. 

Perhaps the battle for Ukraine's soul looks more promising than earlier thought. The fullness of time will tell. 

Eastern Ukrainian fighting continues. On May 31, Itar Tass headlined "Ukraine forces resume massive shelling on Semenovka near east Ukraine's Slavyansk."

Sirens warned area residents. Gunfire was heard. Heavy shelling began Friday evening.

Intensive mortar and howitzer fire lasted hours. On Saturday, center city was attacked.

Residential areas were targeted. Revolution and Lenin Street houses were partly destroyed.

On June 1, Itar Tass headlined "Six killed as self-defense forces come under attack at Donetsk airport."

According to Donetsk People's Republic's (DPR) press office:

"During an attempt to take away the bodies of self-defense militiamen, the Ukrainian army fired at an ambulance and self-defense fighters, killing six people."

Ukrainian forces killed dozens of self-defense fighters and civilians. They did so in battles for Donetsk's international airport.

Regime snipers target anything that moves. Civilians are fair game. They're as vulnerable as freedom fighters.

According to DPR Prime Minister Alexander Borodai:

They "continue to be killed every day. No one can give exact figures because access to the airport area is now impossible." 

"We still can’t take away all the bodies and give the exact figure of how many people were killed."

On June 1, Voice of Russia (VOR) headlined "Chinese military official speaks of need to stop punitive operation against civilians in east Ukraine."

Russia's Defense Ministry press service was quoted saying:

"During the discussion of topical international security problems, separate attention was paid to the situation in Ukraine." 

"The head of the Chinese delegation expressed support for the Russian position and voiced serious concern about the developments in Southeastern Ukraine stressing the importance of stopping Kiev's punitive operation against civilians."

According to China's Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guopin:

"Concerning the ongoing violence in Ukraine, I think this is the result of the toppling of the legitimate authorities of this country in the course of disturbances and provocations staged on Maidan." 

"This is the direct cause of the crisis." So is interventionist Western policy, he added.

He stressed "(e)xternal influence, primarily, that of the United States and Western countries which are trying for force Ukraine to follow the(ir) development path…"

"This has an extremely negative effect on the stability and economic development of Ukraine."

"The Ukrainian issue is an internal affair of Ukraine, which needs to be resolved by the Ukrainians themselves." 

"We are opposed to any forms of external interference." Cheng called sanctions on Russia counterproductive. Destabilizing.

"We believe (they're) unable to help resolve the Ukrainian crisis" responsibly, he added. They make crisis conditions worse.

China "is ready to play a constructive role in the cause of resolving the Ukrainian issue by political methods based on the principles of objectivity and justice and in compliance with international law."

"(D)omestic affairs in Ukraine should be settled by the Ukrainian people" alone. "The legitimate interests of all peoples in Ukraine should be respected."

Resolving crisis conditions should "meet the just, legitimate and reasonable demands of the parties comprehensively, in a balanced way and in full measure."

"(O)n the basis of law and order." Without no outside interference.

On June 1, VOR headlined "US/NATO/EU nazi thugs continue killing Ukrainians."

Noncombatant civilians as well as freedom fighters. In cold blood. With impunity. With full Western support.

According to VOR:

America's "foreign policy establishment" is mindless of other people's interests.

Washington's "backed armed coup d'etat in Ukraine (took) this egregious inexcusable ignorance to the next level…"

Ukraine "show(ed) the world that not only is the US completely out of touch with the peoples of the world but in fact has proven to anyone who may have had a doubt that the US not only has no interest in the people being affected and killed by its policies but in fact is completely contemptuous of anyone that is not of use to their waning empire."

Junta power runs Ukraine. War without mercy rages. Calling it an "anti-terror operation" doesn't wash.

It's to institutionalize what growing numbers of Ukrainians reject. Imagine shelling residential areas.

Imagine targeting apartment buildings, hospitals, daycare centers and schools.

Imagine indiscriminate bombing runs. Imagine shooting anything that moves. 

Imagine dead women and children. Imagine US-supported fascist ruthlessness. 

Imagine ongoing atrocities. Imagine media scoundrels ignoring them. 

Imagine propaganda substituting for real news and information. Imagine supporting what demands condemnation.

Imagine lawless aggression without mercy. Imagine bashing Russia irresponsibly. 

Imagine risking possible East/West confrontation. Lunatics infesting Washington make it possible.

So does rogue administration policy. Bipartisan complicity. Criminals making policy.

Imperial madness writ large. War on humanity persist. Risking eventual mass annihilation. 

It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. Today is the most perilous time in world history.

Daily events should scare everyone. Wars rage without end. Popular needs go begging.

Today's upside reality threatens everyone. Criminality is rewarded, not punished.

One country after another is ravaged and destroyed. Wars are the national pastime. 

Maybe until all nations are turned to rubble. Until societies no longer exist. 

Until roaches and bacteria alone remain. Until it's too late to change things.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

AFTER THE MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO, MOMENTUM FAVORS THE PEOPLE

While the smoke is still clearing from what may be the final 'March Against Monsanto' it appears that momentum favors the people.

Activist Professor Denis Rancourt’s Judicial Lynching

Activist Professor Denis Rancourt's Judicial Lynching

by Stephen Lendman

Rancourt reflects academia's best, most competent, most responsible and bravest. He has two blog sites. Visit them for updated information.

Activist Teacher and U of O Watch provide updates. They explain what most people can't imagine. 

What happened to Rancourt can happen to anyone responsibly challenging what's too deplorable to accept.

Injustice defines Western societies. Canada marches in lockstep with Washington. 

Rogue state ruthlessness defines both countries. Imperial priorities matter most. Inviolable laws don't matter. Nor judicial fairness. 

Rancourt is a distinguished University of Ottawa (U of O) professor. He's tenured. He's a recognized physics and environmental science expert.

Students loved him. He's a "phenomenal teacher," they said. He didn't teach to the test like in America.

He prioritized learning. He inspired academic achievement. He supports fundamental human and civil rights.

Political activism caused his dismissal. University of Ottawa's campus isn't safe. President Allan Rock is a former Canadian politician. 

He runs U of O like his private fiefdom. Like a police state. He's unprincipledly hard right. He ignores fundamental Canadian law doing so.

Academic freedom doesn't matter. Or free thought, opinion or expression. U of O is a hotbed of fascist extremism. It's inhospitable to learning.

U of O Law Professor Joanne St. Lewis colluded with Rock. She did so against Rancourt. 

She sued him unjustifiably. She wants $1 million. She irresponsibly charged racism.

It related to his legitimate blog site comments. He called St. Lewis a "house negro." He cited Malcolm X. He first used the term.

A 2011 Statement of Claim (SOC) against Rancourt said:

"The Defendant's conduct and actions are reprehensible insulting, high-handed, spiteful, and outrageous." 

"Such conduct warrants condemnation by this Court by means of an award of punitive damages." 

It spuriously claimed "(t)he Defendant defamed Professor St. Lewis in furtherance of his personal animosity towards President Allan Rock and the University of Ottawa which terminated him as a Professor."

U of O pays all St. Lewis legal fees. Doing so smacks of collusion. It violates Rancourt's Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

For over three years, he's battled for justice so far denied. One-on-one against St. Lewis is one thing.

Against U of O maliciousness another. Against courts piling on something else entirely. Against systemic injustice matters most.

Cynthia McKinney is special. She's extraordinary. She's an exception that proves the rule. She's a true profile in courage. 

She supports right over wrong. She does it courageously. She's a committed human/civil rights champion.

She was Georgia's House of Representatives first African American member.

She represented Georgia's 11th district. She did so from January 1993 - January 2003. 

She was 2008 Green Party presidential candidate. She's close to receiving her doctorate.

She supports judicial fairness. She wants Rancourt given no less. She's involved helping him get what he's so far denied.

He was fired for doing the right thing. Over three years of battling judicially followed. It's not east challenging systemic injustice.

McKinney circulated a petition. It protests Ontario Superior Court Judge Michel Z. Charbonneau's judicial lynching.

Rancourt is his own legal defense. He taught himself law to do so. During his opening jury statement, Charbonneau silenced him. 

He did so reprehensibly. He acted extrajudicially. He took the law into his own hands. He twisted it irresponsibly.

He prohibited Rancourt's fundamental right to speak. He violated Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It's a constitutional bill of rights. It states:

"Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association."

Article 7 assures "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and the right not to be deprived thereof in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

Academic and speech freedoms are inviolable. So is the right to a fair and just legal defense. America denies them. So does Canada.

Doing so reflects police state injustice. Charbonneau is more hanging than real judge. He shames the office he holds.

He has no legitimacy whatever. Rancourt walked out of court in disgust. He explained why, saying:

"On May 16, 2014, at 10:00 AM, in courtroom #36 of the Ottawa Courthouse of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, I walked out from the trial in which I am being sued, and in which I was representing myself without a lawyer." 

"The trial is continuing in my absence, before a Jury of my peers." He continued, adding:

"Your Honour, the law foresees that I must be free to advance the very serious charge of “reasonable apprehension of bias."

"It is very difficult for me to make this intervention. Give me five minutes because I must present the new evidence."

"During my motion of May 7, 2014, asking that Your Honour recuse himself, Your Honour's decision was silent on the central point that I had made that Your Honour's decisions in this action could affect the reputation of the University of Ottawa and affect the monetary value of its scholarships, to which Your Honour donates money regularly and annually." 

"Then, on the first day of trial, Monday May 12 of this week, we did a motion in the afternoon, a so-called 'Voir Dire,' with detailed facta." 

"Mr. Dearden (plaintiff's lawyer) brought the motion with a factum of 32 pages served on May 9 and accompanied by a book of authorities of 347 pages." 

"His motion was to eliminate my defence called 'Litigation by proxy contrary to the Charter.' "

"I answered with a factum of May 9 containing 14 pages and accompanied by a book of authorities of 342 pages." 

"I argued in detail that, in fact, my defense was a defence of abuse of process having three branches, with one branch being the 'Jameel' defence based on a 2005 decision of the England and Wales Court of Appeal: Dow Jones Inc. v. Jameel, and I pointed to paragraphs 68 to 71 of my 'Statement of Defence' as pleading this Jameel defence." 

"The decision of this Court (of Your Honour) was pronounced on May 14 regarding the said motion or Voir Dire: The paragraphs 61 to 67 of the Statement of Defence were struck." 

"Paragraphs 68 to 71 remained intact, as did my Jameel defence."

"Then, on May 15, yesterday, during my Opening Statement, the Court allowed Mr. Dearden to interrupt me when I was explaining my Jameel defence to the Jury." 

"And Your Honour, off the cuff, struck and forbade my Jameel defence despite my protest, and despite the fact of not having done so when Your Honour should have done so if you had had that intension."

"It has been more than three years that I have been fighting for procedural justice in this action - and my 'Statement of Claim' is struck, cut into pieces, before my eyes during my Opening Statement, in contradiction with the considered decision of May 14 of Your Honour."

"This would give nightmares to Kafka himself."

"To my eyes, we are no longer in Canada - and we can no longer claim to have a system of justice in this action before you Your Honour."

"I am outraged by this gag order imposed in a manner that is apparently arbitrary, which does not allow me to be heard and to 'have my day in court.' "

"I have pleaded 'abuse of process' at every step and now, at trial itself, I don't even have the right to say that the University of Ottawa is entirely financing the plaintiff or the right to use the Jameel defense that applies to situations where the defendant advances a lack of actual damage to reputation, that’s 'actual' damage, and to 'reputation,' not some other kind of damage."

"I was very disturbed by these incomprehensible events, and I have been deeply perturbed all day yesterday; confused also, as a self-represented litigant." 

"This morning I inform the Court that I can no longer participate in such a process." 

"Therefore, I'm leaving this unjust process. You will take the decisions in my absence. It's over for me: I’m leaving."

McKinney represents Rancourt's fight for justice. He deserves universal support. He's battling Canadian injustice singlehandedly. 

He's doing it on a shoestring. He performed courageously. He accomplished what few others would dare.

He's a true justice champion. He's a modern-day Don Quixote. He's battling an entire judicial system. He's entitled to fair proceedings. 

A "judge cannot be or appear to be biased," said McKinney. Each side deserves due process. Fairness requires defendants knowing charges against them.

Defenses available must be be permitted. "(A)fter more than three years of legal procedures," said McKinney, "Charbonneau summarily denied Rancourt's opening jury statement."

His main defense. Without justification. Without legal basis. With unconscionable bias. One-sidedly supporting his opponent.

Perhaps unprecedented or close to it. Doing so was outrageously egregious. It reflected hanging court injustice. It has no legal standing.

Under Canadian law, Rancourt's trial continues without him.

Prior to trial, he asked formerly involved Regional Senior Judge Charles Hackland to appoint a case judge with no U of O connection.

Charbonneau is an alumnus. He's an endowment fund contributor. His university connection disqualifies him. 

He's unfit to serve. He's judge, jury and executioner.

Rancourt formally petitioned him to recuse himself. He refused to do so. He acted irresponsibly.

"Help defend justice," Mckinney urged. Sign the attached petition. It tells national, provincial and regional Canadian chief justices to halt trial proceedings.

Start over. Under a new judge. With no U of O ties. Under scrupulously free, fair and open proceedings. 

With both sides treated justly. With due process respected. With jurors given all relevant information. 

With them able to decide responsibly. With justice prevailing. With assuring it above all else.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

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Obama’s War on Net Neutrality

Obama's War on Net Neutrality

by Stephen Lendman

In 2008, candidate Obama pledged "(s)upport (for) the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet." 

He'd "take a back seat to no one," he said. He lied. He didn't surprise. He's a serial liar. He broke every major promise made.

He heads a repressive homeland police state apparatus. He's waging war on free expression. He prioritizes intellectual property protection over Internet freedom. 

He's targeting it for elimination altogether. His first FCC chairman Julius Genachowski was disastrous. He established an "Open Internet Rule."

It was "doomed from the start," said Free Press.net. It was "(b)uilt on a flimsy legal foundation." 

It was riddled with corporate-friendly loopholes. In January, federal appeals court judges shot it down. According to Free Press Senior Director of Strategy Tim Karr:

They "stripped the agency of its ability to stop companies like AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable from blocking websites and degrading Internet access."

Last November, Genachowski stepped down. Tom Wheeler replaced him. Obama lied saying he's "a strong supporter of Net Neutrality." He's polar opposite.

On April 24, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) headlined "FCC's New Rules Threaten Net Neutrality." 

They let Internet service providers (ISPs) charge content companies extra for preferential treatment.

It lets content they send reach "pay to play" users ahead of others. On May 15, FCC commissioners hold their next public meeting. 

They'll vote up or down on Wheeler's rules. Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron said the following:

"With this proposal, the FCC is aiding and abetting the largest ISPs in their efforts to destroy the open Internet." 

"Giving ISPs the green light to implement pay-for-priority schemes will be a disaster for startups, nonprofits and everyday Internet users who cannot afford these unnecessary tolls." 

"These users will all be pushed onto the Internet dirt road, while deep-pocketed Internet companies enjoy the benefits of the newly created fast lanes."

"This is not Net Neutrality. It's an insult to those who care about preserving the open Internet to pretend otherwise." 

"The FCC had an opportunity to reverse its failures and pursue real Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband under the law." 

"Instead, in a moment of political cowardice and extreme shortsightedness, it has chosen this convoluted path that won't protect Internet users."

"This approach is almost certain to be rejected by the courts. Contrary to statements by Chairman Wheeler, the court did not invite the FCC to pursue this path." 

"The court clearly told the FCC that if it wishes to ensure Internet users can send and receive information free from ISP interference, then the FCC has to classify ISPs as telecom carriers under Title II of the Communications Act."

"The FCC apparently doesn't realize the dangerous incentives these rules would create. The routing of data on the Internet is a zero-sum game. Unless there is continual congestion, no website would pay for priority treatment." 

"This means the FCC's proposed rules will actually produce a strong incentive for ISPs to create congestion through artificial scarcity." 

"Not only would this outcome run counter to the FCC's broader goals, it actually undermines the so-called Section 706 legal basis for these rules."

"This proposal is short-sighted and should be strenuously opposed by the broader Internet community - including millions of Americans who have urged Chairman Wheeler and his predecessors to safeguard the open Internet." 

"The only parties cheering this idea on will be the largest ISPs that stand to profit from discrimination. We urge Chairman Wheeler's colleagues not to support this item as currently drafted and to demand nothing less than real Net Neutrality."

Internet architecture lets anyone innovate. It does so without ISP permission. Wheeler's scheme plays favorites. 

Pay more, get more. At the same time, weaken Net Neutrality on route to destroying it altogether.

Prioritizing Internet data is a zero-sum game. Unless congestion exists, web sites so far don't pay extra for special treatment.

Wheeler's scheme encourages congestion. It does so through "artificial scarcity," says Free Press.

It does it by "clamping down on the data stream and charging more per bit." Internet users deserve opposite operating rules. 

They deserve "fast, open, affordable and abundant" ways to access data, Free Press added.

"Under Wheeler's scheme, there is no motivation for ISPs to deliver the next-generation Internet." He lied claiming it protects Net Neutrality.

Doing it, said Free Press, requires "reclassif(ing) broadband providers as common carriers they are." 

Wheeler's "convoluted prioritization scheme…undercuts" level playing field conditions. Existing ones made the Internet "a powerful engine for opportunity."

EFF called Wheeler's "pay to play" scheme "profoundly dangerous for competition." Innovator startups can't afford extra costs. They can't to reach customers at same speeds. 

Nor can most web companies. Wheeler rules make ISPs "gatekeepers to their subscribers." On April 24, an FCC statement lied, saying:

Proposed new rules won't let ISPs "act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity."

At the same time, ISPs will decide how "commercially reasonable" will be interpreted. They'll take full advantage. Maximize profits matters most.

The devil is always in details, said EFF. FCC procedure requires a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

Once issued, people are invited to comment. Protecting Net Neutrality demands it. FCC members must respond. Much is on the line on how they rule.

Wheeler assumed FCC duties last November. He's not what Net Neutrality supporters had in mind.

He's a former top Obama fundraiser. He's an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He's a former cable and wireless industries lobbyist.

Candidate Obama pledged "to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over."

President Obama benefits enormously from millions they contribute and raise on his behalf. They host fundraisers.

They're White House favorites. They got the FCC boss they wanted. The Los Angeles Times once called Wheeler "the rock star of telecom."

He's a longtime communications industry insider. He was an Obama 2008 transition team member. He served on his Intelligence Advisory Board.

He previously headed the National Cable Television and Cellular Telecommunications and Internet (lobbying) associations.

He's Core Capital Partners' managing director. He previously founded cable, wireless and video communication services companies.

He's connected to 16 board members in 16 organizations representing 21 communications-related industries." 

He's industry friendly and then some. He's opposite of what Net Neutrality advocates deserve. Consumer advocacy isn't his long suit.

His "pay to play" scheme is polar opposite his duplicitous commitment to "free and open Internet" policy.

During his June 2013 Senate confirmation hearing, he lied saying:

"If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed, my client will be the American public and I hope that I can be as effective an advocate for them as humanly possible."

His "payola Internet" policy insults "millions of people who have actively called on (FCC members) to preserve the open Internet," said Free Press.

It belies Obama's promise to do so. Free Press is blunt saying:

Obama's choice is clear. He's either "for Net Neutrality (or) Wheeler's Internet payola." No in between. No longer "for both."

On April 25, Free Press headlined "It's Time to Launch the Biggest Protest the FCC Has Ever Seen."

It's vital to stop Wheeler's "pay to play" rules. Establishing them lets telecom giants "pick winners and losers."

It lets them "discriminate against online content and applications." Wheeler "has the nerve to call this 'Net Neutrality.' "

Users demand the real thing. Grassroots activism is needed. "Demand Real Net Neutrality," said Free Press.

"Stop the FCC from Breaking the Internet." Write Tom Wheeler as follows:

"The future of the open Internet is in your hands. And yet you have proposed rules that would actually break it.

Your proposed path would open the door to widespread discrimination online. 

It would give Internet service providers the green light to implement pay-for-priority schemes that would be a disaster for startups, nonprofits and everyday Internet users who cannot afford these unnecessary tolls.

I urge you to scrap these proposed rules and instead restore the principle of online nondiscrimination by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service."

May 15 is decision day. Pay for play rules are planned. "Goodbye open Internet," says Free Press President Craig Aaron. "Hello payola Schinternet."

His scheme isn't the last word. He needs majority FCC agreement to prevail. 

Public comment comes next. Final rules not until late summer. Most likely after November elections.

Acting now is crucial. Doing so through mid-May builds public pressure. 

Plenty is needed to defeat Wheeler. It's his way or Net Neutrality. It's top down or bottom up control. There's no in between.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

Israel Targets Fundamental Freedoms

Israel Targets Fundamental Freedoms

by Stephen Lendman

Numerous Knesset bills compromise speech, assembly, association and dissent. Israel's free press is endangered. 

Palestine is ruthlessly targeted. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) documents events daily. Monthly updates follow.

It's latest report covers March. "(N)o significant improvement" occurred, it said. Throughout the Occupied Territories, "violations against (Palestinian) journalists" increased.

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) target them with "stun grenades and rubber bullets…" Injuries result. Arrests follow.

On March 23, Israeli forces attacked AP photographer Iyad Hamad. He was covering Israeli soldiers. They were targeting Aida refugee camp Palestinian youths.

On March 29, IOF attacked journalists covering a Jerusalem Earth Day commemoration.

On March 7, Israeli settlers assaulted three Palestinian photojournalists. Abbas Momani, Maath Misha'al, and Abdul Karin Mesetif were victimed.

On March 16, settlers attacked Palestine Today TV correspondent Fida Nasser. IOF ignored their violence. 

They detained Nasser. She was preparing a report on how Jewish holidays affect Palestinians in Hebron.

On March 23, IOF detained six Palestinian journalists near Nablus and Bethlehem. Mohamed Assayed, Mohamed Hassan, Rami Abdu, Mousa Alshaer, Abd-Alrahman Younis, and an unnamed US photographer were targeted.

On March 29, IOF Al Roaya TV correspondent Ahmed Barahma and cameraman Mohamed Shousha were attacked.

They were en route to a village near Jericho to film "Bab Alkarama."

On March 2, OIF prevented Alquds Net correspondent Diala Jwehan from covering protests against closing the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On March 18, Maan TV cameraman Jalal Hamied as well as photojournalists Abd-Alrahaman Younis and Mousa Alshaer were prevented from covering a Tekoa area military jeep rollover incident.

On March 24, IOF prohibited Shihab News Agency correspondent Amer Abu Arafa from covering Israeli forces raiding Hebron City near Alansar Mosque.

Journalist Diala Jwehan said she moved from one place to another to take photos. A "Special Forces man approached and he pushed me hard," she said.

"I was also approached by security men who were about to beat me, but colleagues quickly dragged me away from them."

Faten Alwan-Alhura said:

"(S)ecurity personnel in…civil cloth started pushing us and all the journalists who were present on site, including my colleague, Yahya Habayeb - (an) Alhura TV cameraman…" 

"(W)hen (she) asked him why are you doing this…he commanded me to stay away or he (would) confiscate the camera…"

"(W)hen (she) asked him what his name was, he told (her): 'you journalists need discipline,' and then he said: 'Thank your Lord that you are not a man." 

She demanded knowing the security person's name. She wanted to file a complaint against him. "I'm a ghost no one can punish me," he said.

Journalist Abu Taima expressed frustration saying:

"There is a heavy burden on Palestinian women, and for 20 years we have begged the successive governments to protect women by amending the legal penalties and personal status, but without a avail, and since all Palestinian laws guarantee citizens the right to freedom of expression, it is our right as journalists to express our opinions about the government's different policies especially those relating to women." 

"The attempts to intimidate women journalists, offending and abusing them in any form, and imposing censorship on their writing are unacceptable and contrary to the spirit of the laws."

Photographer Abbas Momani said:

"I went to cover the clashes happening near the Israeli settlement of Beit Eil, and before I arrived to the site, I was surprised by armed settlers, they attacked my car and began throwing large stones at it from within a walking distance, and I remained inside the car." 

"The Occupation soldiers did not interfere to prevent it or stop it, and the settlers were moved away by the soldiers after they caused major damage to my car." 

"Luckily I only got minor injuries in my left hand, but they caused major damage to the car, the windshield was crashed and many parts of the car were damaged."

Photojournalist Maath Misha'al said:

"While I was shooting the attack on Momani, a group of arm settlers attacked me and my colleague Mesetif, where one began to beat us and put his hand on the camera lens to prevent us from coverage, and told us that photography is prohibited, and I told him you are not entitled to prevent us and you do not have the authority to do so, he pointed the gun at me, and the situation was scary, so I screamed at the Israeli army, and they moved him away."

Soldiers nearby did nothing to help him while under assault. He could have been seriously injured.

Complaints when filed are whitewashed. Most often Israeli security forces are at fault. Palestinian journalists aren't safe. Attacking them is standard practice.

Fida Nasserfor said settlers attacked, beat and sprayed her with red wine. Soldiers detained her.

Police interrogated her. She was charged with assaulting female settlers. They testified against her. They lied. Their word against Fida's mattered most.

Incidents like these are commonplace. Palestinian rights are violated. Journalists aren't safe. They're fair game. They're targeted for doing their job.

Majd Kayyal is an Israeli Arab journalist/researcher/political activist. On April 12, Richard Silverstein reported his arrest on return from Lebanon and Jordan.

Israel calls him a national security suspect. He attended a Beirut event. It commemorated As-Safir's 40th anniversary. It's a supportive Hezbollah publication, said Silverstein.

Kayyal participated in a 2011 humanitarian flotilla to Gaza. He's involved with the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. He's linked to the Israeli Arab Balad political party.

His activism makes him vulnerable. He's a "ready target," said Silverstein. After his arrest, Israeli security forces raided his Haifa home. They stole his computer. They took other electronic devices and materials.

He's denied him access to counsel. Doing so is standard Israeli practice during interrogations. 

Kayyal's lawyer said "prohibiting a meeting with an attorney is a gross violation of the suspect's basic rights." 

Victims are isolated. They threatened. They're beaten. They're tortured. Some face rape and/or other forms of sexual abuse threats. They're forced to sign confessions. 

Innocence is no defense. Persecution is longstanding Israeli practice. Palestinians are criminalized for not being Jewish. Rogue states operate this way. Ruthlessness defines Israeli policies.

Silverstein posted an earlier Kayyal Mondoweiss interview. He was asked about being concerned about mistreatment for being Palestinian.

"I hope not, but usually Palestinian activists face more problems from Israeli armed forces," he said. 

"However, as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, it's extremely important to show the unity of the Palestinian people to the international community and remind the political leadership that they cannot abandon our rights and must include the status of '48 Palestinians in any just solution."

Asked how he sees today's Palestinian struggle, he said:

"I think that the Arab spring is the most inspiring and is providing us with a renewed motivation."

He misread events at the time. Arab spring was far from blooming. Conditions today in countries like Egypt and Bahrain are worse than ever. 

Iraq, Libya and Syria are cauldrons of violence and human misery. Saudi Arabian persecution continues unrelenting.

Tunisians where Arab spring protests began remain repressed. Yemenis got same old, same old under new leadership. Palestinian suffering remains extreme.

Kayyal was hopeful, saying:

"I see that we need to rebuild the popular struggle on the ground. We need to revitalize the participation of the youth and the students in forging a more powerful movement…"

"Now is the time to move beyond partisan problems and focus on the main target, which is the colonial and racist regime Israel has imposed on the Palestinian people."

His arrest "constitutes a severe assault on press freedom," said Silverstein. 

Israeli lawlessness is under gag order. Israeli media can't report what happened or remains ongoing. Doing so risks possible prosecution.

On April 14, Silverstein reported more. Kayyal's remand was extended until April 22. Doing so gives Israeli interrogators more time to brutalize him. 

He remains incommunicado. He's isolated from outside help. Police state ruthlessness defines official Israeli policy.

Silverstein got a copy of Israel's gag order (o139 blog). The Electronic Intifada obtained a copy of the charge sheet.

Kayyal is being lawlessly investigated for "unlawful travel to Arab counties." For "contact with a (so-called) foreign agent."

Israel lies calling doing so constitutes "serious offenses against the security of the state."

Jewish Israeli journalists travel freely to Lebanon, Jordan and other Arab countries. Some are told not to. Prosecutions don't follow.

Jewish justice is one thing. Arabs another. Even for Israeli citizens. Rights aren't apportioned equally. Racism is institutionalized. Persecution follows.

Kayyal's freedom flotilla participation to Gaza alone makes him an enemy of the state. He's a marked man. Expect justice systematically denied. Perhaps longterm imprisonment.

Thousands like him languish in Israel's gulag. It's one of the world's worst. Abuse and other forms of ill-treatment are common practice.

Palestinians have no rights whatever. Silverstein puts it this way. Israel is the only so-called regional democracy "where citizens are created equal and treated so - unless you're Palestinian."

Adalah criticizes Israel restricting Palestinian citizens from traveling to other Arab countries. Doing so "impose(s) severe limitations on social, cultural and religious ties between (them and) wider Arab and Muslim nations."

Translated court proceedings indicate Kayyal said:

"I ask to be told the names of the attorneys and the court gave me their names." 

"The court has explained to me about the prohibition from meeting attorneys until 14 April 2014, at midnight, and told me that the hearing was held in the presence of my attorneys, who asked the representative of the police questions." 

"The court has explained to me that my father, mother and brother were present in the courtroom. I have nothing further to add."

Full translated court proceedings were as follows:

At the Magistrate’s Court in Haifa

13 April 2013

Days of Arrest 23318-04-14 Central Unit vs. Kayyal

Before the honorable justice Dr. Zayed Falah

Petitioner: Police Central Unit Versus Suspect Majd Kayyal
Present

  • Attorney for the petitioner - Warrant Officer Marcel Daman
  • Attorney for the suspect - Adv. Aram Mahamid and Adv. Fadi Khouri

  • Suspect - no appearance (he is brought into the court after the interrogation by the attorney for the suspect and the summaries)

  • Relatives of the suspect – his father, brother and mother

Minutes

Attorney for the Petitioner

Restates the content of the petition. Presents the investigative file to the court for perusal. Presents secret material.

Attorney for the Petitioner, in response to questions from the attorney for the suspects:

Q: Are you informed about all the investigative actions taken to date:

A: No.

Q: Have you given the court all the investigative material that has already been collected?

A: Indeed.

Q: Does the material presented to the Court include investigative memoranda and investigative actions that have already been done?

A: Yes.

Q: Have you also conveyed all of the actions that are yet to be taken?

A: Yes.

Q: At what stage is the investigation?

A: The investigation is still at its very beginning. The suspect was only arrested yesterday. According to the material that was found, he is expected to be investigated a few more times and the full future plan is before the court. I cannot commit myself to the number of investigations because I am not an investigator.

Q: What is the suspect suspected of?

A: What appears in the warrant. Contact with a foreign agent, leaving the country unlawfully.

Q: Is there a version for the suspicions?

A: (it is) all before the court. I have not investigated him and I will not investigate him. It’s all by the Security Service (Shabak).

Q: About the foreign agent crime - is it known who he is?

A: I cannot specify. It is all in the secret report.

Q: What are the circumstances of the contact with the agent?

A: It’s indicated in the secret report. As to dates - there is no exact date, everything is in the secret report.

Q: About the two suspicions - are they related?

A: I think so.

Q: Did the contact with the foreign agent happen while he was carrying out the second offense?

A: The investigation is being performed by the security services. All the material is before the court, for perusal. I cannot specify beyond this.

Q: An order restraining a meeting with an attorney at 8. The arrest warrant was issued at 9:30. Explain the gap.

A: It’s a technical computer transaction, (it took) until we took out the computer. He was arrested yesterday evening. He was apprehended at 19:50 hours. This restraining order is under the responsibility of the security entities.

Q: In the matter of the order - did you explain the suspect that he is prohibited from meeting an attorney?

A: I did not review the content of the warning because the security service did the investigation. All the material is before the court and there is a secret report attached. The security services could not appear in court, and that is why I am here.

Q: Did he wish to give a message to his relatives?

A: I know that there was contact with his relatives. He was informed that he is under arrest. Beyond that I have no idea.

Q: Did you inform one of his relatives that he is restrained from contacting an attorney?

A: I have no answer about that. It is in the investigative material.

Q: Was the suspect investigated about one event or about several events?

A: All the material is before the court, all the actions taken from the moment he was arrested to this day. I cannot confirm the number of events.

Q: Can you confirm that the suspect cooperated in his interrogation and answered all the questions?

A: I have not reviewed what was investigated and asked. I was asked to come [here] for extension of the detention. The security services continue their investigation. All the material is before the court.

Q: How many investigative activities did you do yesterday?

A: A preliminary investigation and a continuation today. I don't know how many investigations were done yesterday. There was a preliminary investigation.

Q: Explain why you are asking for 15 days of detention?

A: These are serious offenses against the security of the state and there is material to be investigated.

Q: Are there details of all 15 days that require his continued detention, in the form of a work plan?

A: There are not specific details of each stage and what is done every day. The actions that are detailed could change, because they are dynamic. They cannot be done when he is discharged. The suspect was arrested at his home in Haifa.

Q: Was the search performed in one house or two?

A: The material is in the investigative file.

Q: Did you have a search warrant?

A: Yes. I know about the search warrant at the up-to-date address, which the Israel Police has. I know one address, (REDACTED) Street.

Q: Did you issue search warrants to two addresses?

A: I issued a search warrant for (REDACTED) Street, which is his address, as recorded in his personal ID card.

Q: Confirm that the suspect has no criminal record.

A: I did not examine his criminal record.

The attorney for the petitioner summarizes:
I repeat the petition. I ask that it be fully granted.

The attorney for the suspect summarizes:

This is a 23-year old journalist, with no criminal record, who was apparently apprehended on the Israel/Jordan border. 

Since his arrest he has not been permitted to consult an attorney. No notice was given to his attorney and/or his family to visit him in his detention nor with regard to the prohibition on his meeting an attorney. 

As you know, and it is decided law, that prohibiting a meeting with an attorney is a gross violation of the suspect’s basic rights. I ask the court to take this into account and examine how many actions are required when the suspect is under arrest. 

I ask that he be released immediately. Alternatively, that he be released under conditions. As another alternative, that the number of days required under detention be reduced.

The suspect is brought into the courtroom, his family and attorney leave the room.

The suspect:

I ask to be told the names of the attorneys and the court gave me their names. 

The court has explained to me about the prohibition from meeting attorneys until 14 April 2014, at midnight, and told me that the hearing was held in the presence of my attorneys, who asked the representative of the police questions. 

The court has explained to me that my father, mother and brother were present in the courtroom. I have nothing further to add.

Decision

1. I have before me a request to extend the suspect’s detention for 15 days, due to suspicion of committing the crimes of contact with a foreign agent and unlawful travel to Arab countries.

2. I have reviewed the evidentiary material presented to me and have been persuaded that there is reasonable cause to suspect that the suspect has committed the crimes he is charged with. 

I have also been persuaded that there is the risk that if he is released he could disrupt the investigation and endanger public security.

3. I have perused the secret report prepared by the Shabak, which I have marked BM/1. 

This report includes background, investigative actions taken, and investigative actions that are still required, and I have been persuaded that the security entities must be permitted to complete their investigation fully, to come to the study of the truth.

4. I considered the possibility of releasing the suspect for an alternative form of custody and come to the conclusion that at this stage, there is no space for any alternative.

5. I have taken into account the fact that an order has been issued to prohibit meeting an attorney and I have also taken into account that the court must be permitted to oversee the investigative actions performed by the security entities, and for this reason I have decided to grant a number of detention days (than those) requested.

6. For this reason, I am extending the detention of the suspect until 22 April 2014, at 10am.

7. I issue an order prohibiting publication with regard to all proceedings in this case until 22 April 2014 at 10:00 and the proceedings will be held in camera until that date.

These minutes constitute reference for the detention.
Handed down and informed today, 13 Nissan 5774, 13 April 2014, in the presence of those persons present.

(signature)

Dr. Zayed Falah, Judge

Note: Israeli media are forbidden from publishing this transcript. Israelis are denied permission to read it. 

Police states operate this way. Israel is one of the world's worst.

A Final Comment

On April 17, an Israeli court lifted Kayyal's gag order. According to Adalah:

"Following a request we submitted to the court, the gag order regarding the matter of a visit to Lebanon that foreign media have reported on will be canceled. The cancellation will take effect at noon" April 17 local time.

Lifting it doesn't help Kayyal. At the same time, he was released from detention. It doesn't matter. Israel wants him prosecuted. His fate hangs in the balance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

Ukraine on the Brink

Ukraine on the Brink

by Stephen Lendman

Obama declared war on Ukraine. He dispatched CIA chief John Brennan to Kiev. He arrived with administration instructions.

Obama's proxy putschist stooges were unleashed to wage war on Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters. The battle for Ukraine's soul escalated.

The country is "on the verge of civil war," said Putin. Prime Minister  Medvedev said the same thing. Putschists launched violence.

"The illegal rulers are trying to restore the order they cynically trampled on when they participated in an armed uprising," Medvedev added.

Their military forces headed east. Tanks, armored vehicles and artillery are on the move. An assault on activist controlled Eastern Ukrainian cities began.

Kramatorsk's airfield was stormed. Gunfire and explosions were heard. Ukrainian warplanes were involved.

Soldiers manning six tanks switched sides. They hoisted Russian flags. A local resident said:

"We found them at a square near the railway station. A group of women surrounded them." 

"We started telling them we were peaceful residents who are just fighting for their rights and that there are no terrorists. They won't shoot us."

"The main armored transport vehicle had a Russian flag on it and they left together with our insurgents towards Slavyansk."

"We are deeply concerned over the military operation launched by the Ukrainian special forces with support of the army. There have already been victims," he said.

"Current events demonstrate persistent unwillingness of Kiev's authorities to organize a dialogue with Ukrainian regions, which is necessary for the country," he added.

On Tuesday, Slavyansk was attacked. According to Donbass people's militia head Sergey Tsyplakov:

"Currently there is a major attack on Slavyansk. Armored personnel vehicles are entering the city."

"There are many troops. The men are getting ready to defend" the city. "There is a lot of military machinery here. But the shooting hasn't started yet."

An uneasy calm awaits a likely storm. Activists still maintain control. Hundreds gathered in central Skavyansk. 

They're not leaving. They want local autonomy. So do growing thousands across Eastern Ukraine. They're putting their bodies on the line for freedom.

One activist said civil war erupted. So far no major hostilities. Just local flareups. It remains to be seen what's next.

Fascists operate lawlessly. Washington runs things. Putschists are proxy stooges. Claiming they acted with "great caution" is polar opposite truth. So is saying they're "prov(ing) law and order."

Behind the scenes manipulation is longstanding US practice.

Sergei Lavrov condemned using military force against Eastern Ukrainian civilians.

"We will seek tranquility and insist on the respect of Kiev leaders for the opinions and demands of the southeast and Ukrainian citizens who live there, as well as on negotiations aimed to de-escalate the situation rather than escalate it with the involvement of law enforcement authorities, moreover, the army, which is clearly prohibited by Ukrainian law," he said.

Putschists have no legitimacy. Growing numbers of Eastern Ukrainians reject them. East/West divisions threaten civil war.

"(U)nity state (authority) stopped working in Ukraine," Lavrov added.

"Its foundations were shattered by a series of political disasters that were shaking the country for years." 

"One of the main reasons of such situation is the absence of a balanced basic law in Ukraine, which adequately takes into account the interests of all ethnic and language groups and ensures the rights and interests of all the citizens of Ukraine."

"It is impossible to consider the situation, when after each Presidential election the Constitution of the country fixing a particular form of government was changed depending on the desire of the victorious political forces, to be normal."

"Therefore, federalization is a way to ensure that each region feels comfortable and secured in his rights, traditions and traditional ways of life."

"All this should be reflected in the reformed Constitution, and the multi-ethnic Ukrainian society should treat it as a reliable foundation of the legal state meant for a long-term perspective." 

"I am convinced that it will be difficult for Ukraine to preserve its unity and to solve urgent tasks aimed at overcoming the current severe crisis."

"Of course, no one can dictate a scheme of organizing a state system to the Ukrainian side. But Ukrainians must start a dialogue and ensure its inclusive and comprehensive character." 

"The idea is that all regions and political forces of Ukraine, without exceptions, should participate in it on an equal basis and have equal rights in solving essential issues."

Media scoundrels twist truth daily. They disgrace themselves in the process. They're presstitutes. They make street whores look respectable by comparison.

On April 15, The New York Times continued its daily Russia bashing. Gore Vidal once called The Times the "Typhoid Mary of American journalism."

He did so for good reason. It headlined "Russia Is Quick to Bend Truth About Ukraine."

It called above quoted Putin and Medvedev comments "bluster and hyperbole." It lied calling their honest assessment "misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally outright lies…"

It claimed "an extraordinary (Kremlin) propaganda campaign." A "new brazenness," it added.

A "24-hour vortex of alarmist proclamations of Western (sponsored) aggression…"

"Sinister claims of rising fascism and breathless accounts of imminent hostilities by the 'illegal' Ukrainian government in Kiev…"

You can't make this stuff up. It bears repeating what earlier articles stressed. All the news Times editors call fit to print isn't fit to read.

Truth is systematically buried. Lies, damn lies and bigger ones substitute. Times editors and management notoriously support lawless US imperialism. 

Their longstanding overall record is deplorable. It's worst of all when America goes to war, plans one or uses proxy stooges. Unquestioning support follows.

A companion April 15 Times article headlined "UN Cites Abuses in Crimea Before Annexation Vote."

A litany of lies followed. A previous article discussed duplicitous human rights misinformation on Ukraine. Not according to The Times.

It reported bald-faced lies as truth. It said Crimea's model democratic voting process was "rigged." 

It falsely claimed harassment, journalist abductions and torture occurred. It ignored independent monitors saying Crimea's process was scrupulously open, free and fair. 

Not a single irregularity took place. Not a sign of wrongdoing. No crimes were committed before, during or after Crimeans voted. Claims otherwise were false.

Twisting truth for power is longstanding Times policy. It's buried. Readers are systematically lied to. Misinformation is featured.

Washington propaganda is worst of all. On March 5, the State Department published misinformation on Russia. It claimed Putin "fiction."

Russia "spins a false narrative to justify its 'illegal' actions in Ukraine," it said. It wrongfully claimed "Russian aggression in the Ukraine."

A litany of lies followed. More on April 13. The State Department headlined "Russian Fiction the Sequel: 10 More False Claims About Ukraine."

It lied claiming "Russia continues to spin a false and dangerous narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine." 

"The Russian propaganda machine continues to promote hate speech and incite violence by creating a false threat in Ukraine that does not exist." 

"We would not be seeing the violence and sad events that we've witnessed this weekend without this relentless stream of disinformation and Russian provocateurs fostering unrest in eastern Ukraine.

More lies, damn lies, and bigger ones followed.

(1) "Russia Claims: Russian agents are not active in Ukraine."

No evidence suggests otherwise. Not according to the State Department. 

It said Kiev putschists arrested "more than a dozen 'suspected' Russian intelligence agents…"

Innocent victims are targeted. Lies substitute for truth.

(2) "Russia Claims: Pro-Russia demonstrations are comprised exclusively of Ukrainian citizens acting of their own volition…"

Again no corroborating evidence refutes this. "This is not the grassroots Ukrainian civic activism of the EuroMaidan movement," said the State Department.

No "grassroots" activism existed. Washington orchestrated Kiev lawlessness. It manipulated events disruptively. 

It funded fascist thugs. It did so to unleash violence. It ousted Ukraine's democratically elected government.

(3) "Russia Claims: Separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine enjoy broad popular support."

The State Department claims a "large majority" of Donetsk region residents reject them.

No evidence suggests it. Growing thousands across Eastern Ukraine reject Kiev putschists. The State Department didn't explain.

(4) "Russia Claims: The situation in eastern Ukraine risks spiraling into civil war."

It's happening. It risks spilling cross-border. It risks a potential East/West confrontation.

Uprisings "would not be happening without Russian disinformation and provocateurs fostering unrest," claims the State Department. 

They "would not be happening if a large Russian military force were not massed on the border, destabilizing the situation through their overtly threatening presence."

No Russian disinformation exists. No provocateurs. No Russian forces massed on Ukraine's border. No threatening presence. State Department Big Lies don't wash.

(5) "Russia Claims: Ukrainians in Donetsk rejected the illegitimate authorities in Kyiv and established the independent 'People's Republic of Donetsk.' "

Not according to the State Department. It ignored mass anti-Kiev opposition. It lied claiming a "small number of separatists" are involved.

For every one active on Donetsk streets and elsewhere across Eastern Ukraine, hundreds, perhaps many thousands, more support them.

(6) "Russia Claims: Russia ordered a 'partial drawdown' of troops from the Ukrainian border."

"No evidence" suggests it, said the State Department. Russian forces are involved in nonthreatening military exercises.

Western monitors observed them. They've had direct contact with Russian commanders. 

They took on site photos. They reported no irregularities. Nothing suggests Moscow threatens Ukraine. US officials lie claiming otherwise.

(7) "Russia Claims: Ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat."

The State Department lied claiming no threat exists. Neo-Nazi thugs run key ministries. They hate all opposition elements. They live under threat. Their lives and safety are endangered.

(8) "Russia Claims: Ukraine's new government is led by radical nationalists and fascists."

The State Department twisted truth claiming otherwise. Neo-Nazi thugs prominently display swastikas, Iron Crosses, SS insignia and other fascist symbols.

US officials ignore it. Obama's new friends are thugs. They represent the worst of societal misfits. 

They threaten all Ukrainians. They threaten regional peace. They risk turning Ukraine's crisis into global conflict.

(9) "Russia Claims: Ethnic minorities face persecution in Ukraine from the 'fascist' government in Kyiv."

All Ukrainians are at risk. Fascists tolerate no opposition. Presidential aspirant Oleg Tsarev is Exhibit A. He opposes Kiev putschists.

A previous article discussed him. Neo-Nazi Right Sector Sector thugs attacked him. They brutally beat him. He's hospitalized in critical condition. Washington ignored what happened. Scoundrel media buried the story.

His candidacy stands. He's not pulling out. If he recovers, maybe putschist thugs will kill him. Fascists operate this way. Obama supports them.

(10) "Russia Claims: Russia is not using energy and trade as weapons against Ukraine."

The State Department lied claiming otherwise. Since 2009, Moscow subsidized Ukraine's economy.

It provided unprecedented natural gas discounts. They totaled $17 billion. Plus another $18.4 billion Ukraine incurred as a minimal "take-or-pay fine."

"No other country provided such support except Russia," said Putin. Western ones provided none.

They want Ukraine colonized. Plundering its resources is planned. Exploiting its people. Turning Ukraine into a pro-Western vassal state. Incorporating it into NATO. 

Deploying US nuclear armed missiles on Russia's borders. Threatening regional peace and stability unconscionably. Risking WW III.

Don't expect the State Department to explain. Or neocon infesting Washington. 

Or supportive scoundrel media. War winds head dangerously toward gale force. Risks demanding headlines are buried.

A Final Comment

On April 16, Odessa anti-Maidan activists proclaimed the People's Republic of Odessa. They issued a statement saying:

"From today, Odessa region becomes the People's Republic of Odessa, where the power belongs to the people living in its territory."

City residents were urged to prevent outside traffic from entering except ambulances. Odessa activists joined their counterparts in over a dozen other Eastern Ukrainian cities.

Growing protests demand local autonomy and democratic rights.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

We’re All Ukrainians Now

We're All Ukrainians Now

by Stephen Lendman

On February 22, 2014, Ukrainian freedom died. Western-supported fascist putschists seized power. They ousted Ukraine's democratically elected government. 

Mob rule replaced it. Illegitimate xenophobic, ultranationalist, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic thugs run things. They do so with full US backing.

Eastern Ukrainians reject Kiev putschists. They want democracy. They want the real thing. They want what Americans don't have. They're going all-out to get it.

They're a role model for freedom fighters everywhere. They deserve universal support. 

They continue rallying across Eastern Ukraine. They seized government buildings. They're peaceful. They're courageous. 

They want local autonomy. They want Crimean-style referendum authority to decide. They want their democratic rights respected. They're entitled to demand them. So do people everywhere.

Illegitimate putschist prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk backed off from earlier threats. He promised legislation granting regional referenda.

He spoke as a 48-hour deadline given protesters to evacuate public buildings expired. He'll support greater autonomy, he said.

His U-turn was short-lived. He ordered crackdowns on Slavyansk protesters. Kiev calls them terrorists. They're in Donetsk's industrial region. They're under attack.

Transport helicopters ferried in troops. They besieged the city. Fighting erupted. Gunfire was heard. Injuries were reported.

Illegitimate putschist interior minister Arsen Avakov called protesters "Russian aggression." He announced a "zero tolerance policy." He ordered an "anti-terrorist operation." He issue a statement saying:

"An anti-terrorist operation has begun in Slavyansk. It is being directed by the anti-terrorist center of the state security service." 

"Forces from all the security units of the country have been brought in."

He claimed one Kiev security force member killed. Another five injured. Protesters sustained casualties, he said. He gave no further details.

Donetsk region health authorities reported one person killed. It happened on a road connecting Slavyansk with Artymovsk. Another five Slavyansk residents were injured.

It's unclear whether these casualties are ones Avakov reported. Slavyansk protesters reported one death. Two other protesters were injured. Two Kiev troops were killed, they said.

Barricades were set ablaze. New ones were erected. Activists persist courageously. Freedom fighting entails risks.

Protesters still control Slavyansk police headquarters. They reinforced it with barricade protections. They're confronting siege conditions valiantly.

Reuters said "(a) group of up to a 100 civilians, many of them elderly women, stood in front of (an occupied government) building, chanting messages of solidarity to the protesters inside, including "Referendum!"

Conditions are fluid. Local security forces refused orders to attack protesters. Western Ukrainian elements came in.

John Kerry blamed Russia for Eastern Ukrainian protests. He lied calling called them "orchestrated and synchronized." 

They're "similar to 'previous attacks' in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea," he claimed. He warned Sergei Lavrov.

"If Russia didn't take steps to deescalate in Eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from (its) border, there would be additional consequences," he said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry dismissed Kerry's arrogance. Lavrov justifiably blamed crisis conditions on Kiev's failure "to take into account the legitimate needs and interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population."

He denied Kerry's allegations about Moscow's involvement. In diplomatic language, he said put up or shut up. 

No evidence whatever links Russia to Eastern Ukrainian protests. They local. They're homegrown. 

They're spontaneous. They're glorious. They're growing. They're spreading. They reflect the best of legitimate resistance.

Lavrov warned Kerry saying:

"If Kiev’s threats to use force against people driven to despair in the southeast are carried out, prospects for further cooperation on the Ukrainian issue, including a planned four-party meeting in Geneva, will be foiled."

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement said "the acute political crisis in Ukraine in general and in its south-eastern regions in particular was caused by the present Kiev authorities’ failure to take into account the legitimate needs and interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population."

"The leadership in Kiev is showing its inability to assume responsibility for the fate of the country and to effectively engage all political forces and regions in an inclusive process of drafting a new constitution."

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt pointed fingers the wrong way. He condemned Eastern protests. 

He lied calling them "a coordinated armed action to seize control over key parts of Eastern Ukraine."

US-led NATO lied. It issued a so-called "Fact Sheet." It's titled "Russia's accusations - setting the record straight."

It twisted reality to fit Western policy. It accused Russia of "aggression." A litany of lies followed. So-called "facts" were invented to do so. It's longstanding US policy.

"To divert attention away from its actions, Russia has leveled a series of accusations against NATO which are based on misrepresentations of the facts and ignore the sustained effort that NATO has put into building a partnership with Russia," it said.

"Russia has also made baseless attacks on the legitimacy of the Ukrainian authorities and has used force to seize part of Ukraine's territory," it added.

"…Russia now appears to be attempting to recreate a sphere of influence by seizing a part of Ukraine (and) maintaining large numbers of forces on its borders…"

On Sunday, Itar-Tass said Kiev putschists "may impose a state of emergency in Eastern Ukraine. (They) would not have happened without Russia," they claimed.

Voice of Russia headlined "Operations begin in three cities in east Ukraine('s) (Donetsk region) to knock protesters out of seized administrative buildings."

Putschist appointed Donetsk regional governor Sergei Taruta said:

"In connection with the current developments the decision has been made to reinforce law enforcement agencies of the Donetsk region." 

"We will use all legal means for prompt restoration of order."

Former Berkut riot police refused to obey orders. They side with protesters. They offered security and protection.

They occupied Donetsk police headquarters. They tied St. George ribbons to their uniforms. A representative said:

"Berkut has always been and will remain with (Ukraine's) people. I want to assure you that if you're faced with threats, any type of threat, we will all rise up and come to your rescue."

Crowds cheered his statement. They shouted "Berkut! Berkut!" Protesters demanded Donetsk's police chief resign. Major General Konstantin Pozhidaev obliged. 

Neo-Nazi Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh ordered militants he controls mobilized. He issued a statement saying:

"Considering the current situation, I order all of the Right Sector structures to conduct full mobilization and prepare for decisive actions to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country."

He urged law enforcement authorities "not to block" him. He accused Kiev officials of failing to act decisively.

Kiev's interior ministry said protesters occupied Kramatorsk's police headquarters. The city is an important mechanical engineering center. 

Three administrative buildings in Enakiyeve were seized. Others were occupied in Druzhkovka, Krasny Liman, Konstantinovka, Snezhnoe, Mariupol and elsewhere.

Eastern Ukrainian activism is growing. It's spreading. Perhaps it's just a matter of time until Western Ukrainians react. '

Repression gets people to react. Combined with force-fed neoliberal harshness, conditions are potentially incendiary.

Perhaps hindsight will show Washington reaped the whirlwind in Ukraine. It's post-9/11 agenda did so. Perhaps its entire post-WW II one.

It hasn't won a war since then. It makes more enemies than friends. Its influence is waning. Eventually it'll go the way of all empires.

None survived. Nor will America. Extremism is its own worst enemy. Washington is worst of all. 

Will Ukraine be its Waterloo? Will people power show its strength? Will ordinary Ukrainians defeat its might? 

Will dismissive Americans be awakened? Will they act in their own defense? Public anger across Europe is encouraging. 

"When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose, they lose it," says Gerald Celente.

When pain levels cross a threshold of no return, all bets are off. Change never comes top down. Bottom up alone works.

Hindsight is the best foresight. The moment of truth perhaps draws closer. It can't come a moment too soon. The fullness of time will tell.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

Ukrainians Denied Democracy

Ukrainians Denied Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Moscow called Kiev events "an illegitimate fascist coup and a military seizure of power." Western-supported putschists seized it.

At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urges deescalating crisis conditions. It's completely possible, he said.

It requires replacing putschists with democratic governance. It involved instituting responsible policies. Ones that protect fundamental legal rights and freedoms of all Ukrainians. Ones that guarantee them.

Russia is on the right side of history. It promised help. It set four conditions. It wants legitimate Crimean independence recognized.

It wants Ukrainian democratic constitutional reform. It wants Eastern Ukraine's crisis conditions resolved responsibly. It wants Russian speakers' rights guaranteed.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said:

"If Ukraine fulfills these four conditions, then Russia will be able to propose further steps on additional help both on financial and gas issues."

He urged deescalating Eastern Ukrainian crisis conditions peacefully. He said doing so "without discrimination against Russian-speaking population, without victims and bloodshed" is fundamental.

He stressed holding legitimate May presidential elections. Early indications suggest they'll be polar opposite.

Moscow rejects Kiev putschists. It wants legitimate governance "with which one may negotiate," said Siluanov. Vladimir Putin addressed 18 EU leaders. He did so by letter. He did it responsibly.

He called for urgent cooperation. He said Ukraine's gas debt reached a "critical" level. It's been unpaid for three months. He wants addressing it prioritized. 

At issue is cutting off supplies. Gazprom wants advance payments going forward. Putin's letter was forthright. Ukraine's economy is "plummeting," he said.

Its industrial and construction sectors "declin(ed) sharply." Conditions head from bad to worse.

"Its budget deficit is mounting," said Putin. "The condition of its currency system is becoming more and more deplorable." 

"The negative trade balance is accompanied by the flight of capital from the country. Ukraine's economy is steadfastly heading towards a default, a halt in production and skyrocketing unemployment."

Russia and EU nations are major Ukraine trading partners. They agreed to consult on ways to develop its economy.

"(A)ll attempts on Russia's part to begin real consultations failed to produce any results," said Putin.

Plundering Ukraine for profit takes precedence. Western nations plan unrestrained looting. Corporate interests matter most. Human needs don't count.

Washington wants Russia shut out entirely. Western partners share blame. They want unfettered freedom to control Ukraine their way.

They want their interests alone served. Putin said they "want to unilaterally blame Russia for the consequences of Ukraine's economic crisis."

"Right from day one of Ukraine's existence as an independent state, Russia has supported the stability of the Ukrainian economy by supplying it with natural gas at cut-rate prices."

(U)ninterrupted transit through" its territory was guaranteed. Russia fulfilled its contractual obligations. It did so "to the letter and spirit" of what was agreed on.

It "granted Ukraine a whole string of unprecedented privileges and discounts on the price of natural gas," Putin added.

From 2009 to today, they total $17 billion. Plus "another 18.4 billion US dollars incurred by the Ukrainian side as a minimal take-or-pay fine."

Russia subsidized Ukraine's economy. It provided $34.4 billion since 2009. It helped preserve "stability and credibility." It saved jobs.

"No other country provided such support except Russia," said Putin. "What about European partners?"

They deny support. They "talk about a declaration of intent." Actions don't follow promises. EU nations take full advantage.

They want Ukrainian resources. They want its "raw foodstuffs, metal(s) and mineral(s)." They want free market access on their own terms. They want it for their own products and services.

They want unlimited profits. They want them at Ukraine's expense. They created a huge trade imbalance. It exceeds $10 billion. It's two-thirds of Ukraine's 2013 deficit.

It negatively affects Ukraine's ability to fulfill "its contractual obligations to pay for deliveries of natural gas supplied by Russia," said Putin.

Moscow won't "unilaterally bear the burden of supporting Ukraine's economy by way of providing discounts and forgiving debts…"

Ukraine's unpaid gas Gazprom debt grows monthly. In November/December 2013, it was $1.451.1 billion.

"(I)n February 2014, it increased by a further 260.3 million and in March by another 526.1 million US dollars."

Gazprom deserves payment. It intends "switch(ing) over to advance payment for gas delivery, and in the event of further violation of the conditions of payment, will completely or partially cease gas deliveries," said Putin.

"In other words, only the volume of natural gas will be delivered to Ukraine as was paid for one month in advance of delivery."

It's "an extreme measure." It's coming. Businesses don't provide products or services free. For sure, not Western ones.

"In order to guarantee uninterrupted transit, it will be necessary, in the nearest future, to supply 11.5 billion cubic meters of gas that will be pumped into Ukraine's underground storage facilities, and this will require a payment of about 5 billion US dollars," said Putin.

EU nations "unilaterally withdr(ew) from the concerted efforts to resolve" Ukraine's crisis responsibly. They shut out Russia entirely. It leaves "no alternative," Putin stressed.

Resolving things requires "consultations…without delay," he said. He urged them "at the level of ministers of economics, finances and energy…"

At issue is stabilizing Ukraine's economy. It's ensuring uninterrupted Russian natural gas deliveries.

Doing so requires fulfilling contractual obligation terms to the letter. Putin emphasized Russia's considerable "investments, contributions and expenditures…"

It "shouldered" the burden "alone" long enough. It's time for Western nations to step up to the plate and help.

"(O)nly such an approach can lead to success," Putin stressed. He did so forthrightly. He showed responsible leadership.

He shames his Western counterparts. Major ones lack legitimacy altogether. Especially Obama. Hegemonic US ambitions trample on fundamental freedoms.

White House press secretary Jay Carney's comment didn't surprise." He outrageously said "(w)e've made clear in the past that it is wholly inappropriate to use energy exports to achieve diplomatic or geopolitical objectives."

Maybe he wants Russian gas supplied free. Maybe he supports what he'd denounce if US corporations were affected.

Angela Merkel got Putin's message. She responded differently, saying:

"(T)here there are many reasons to seriously take into account this message…and for Europe to deliver a joint European response" straightaway.

She and other EU foreign ministers plan meeting on Monday. Other talks will involve Russia, Washington, and Ukraine.

"When we take all these steps, we can be sure that we have reached a joined response for the countries that encounter this problem because they get natural gas from Gazprom," she said.

"We want to be good clients, but it means that we can base ourselves on the supplies, and Ukraine knows this and should understand it," she added.

It remains to be seen what follows. Putin showed extraordinary patience. He deserves praise, not irresponsible treatment.

Instead endures unconscionable bashing. He's vilified for doing the right thing.

Sohrab Ahmari is a Wall Street Journal Europe editorial page writer. He substitutes lies for truth. On April 11, he headlined "Waking Up to the Russian Threat."

None whatever exists. He lied claiming otherwise. He called NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen "one of Europe's most serious thinkers on defense matters."

He's a convenient US stooge. He supports Pentagon policy. He's an unindicted war criminal. He spoke to Ahmari. His comments didn't surprise.

He lied saying Putin wants "to restore Russian greatness by re-establishing a sphere of influence in the former Soviet space."

His strategy, said Ahmari, involves "(d)estabilizing Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus."

According to Rasmussen, "(i)ts in Russia's interest to see frozen, protracted conflicts in the region, such as in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, Transnistria in Moldova, and Crimea."

He's alarmed, he said. "(W)e have seen an incredible development of (Russia's military) to act determinedly and rapidly."

He ignored US-NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. He was silent about its killing machine. 

He said nothing about its responsibility for millions of deaths. Their corpses bear testimony to lawless US-led NATO policy. Ahmari didn't challenge Rasmussen responsibly.

He lied claiming 40,000 Russian troops are massed on Ukraine's border. Calling them an imminent threat rings hollow. 

Rasmussen's claims are polar opposite truth. He expressed concern about increased Russian military spending. It's a tiny fraction of NATO member expenditures. 

Moscow isn't belligerent. It poses no threat. Putin prioritizes peace and stability. US-led NATO threatens humanity.

Not according to Rasmussen. He bashed Putin irresponsibly. He considers NATO a threat. "He can't seriously" think so, Rasmussen said. 

"We have never had an intention to attack Russia," he claimed. He left unexplained why NATO wants all former Russian republics and Warsaw Pact countries incorporated into its alliance.

Why it's deploying hostile forces close to Russia's borders. Why it irresponsibly lies about its threat. Why it's poised perhaps to strike belligerently if it chooses.

Rasmussen lied claiming NATO members and others on Europe's periphery share basic people-friendly values.

They include "individual liberty, democracy, the rule of law and on top of that economic opportunities, because our community of nations also represents economic freedom," he said.

He turned truth on its head saying so. He's militantly anti-Russian. He lied claiming otherwise. 

Ahmari let him comment without challenge. Doing so showed complicity with NATO lawlessness. 

It showed support for war. It showed disdain for peace. It showed contempt for growing thousands across Eastern Ukraine.

They're protesting for fundamental rights too important to sacrifice. They continue in Kharkov (Ukraine's second largest city), Donetsk (its largest industrial city), Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Odessa and Nikolayev.

They spread to Slavyansk and elsewhere. Government and police headquarters buildings were seized.

Activists reject Kiev putschists. They urged local authorities join them. What's ongoing is spreading. 

Maybe Western Ukrainians will rally the same way. Obama's new imperial trophy looks insecure. It may slip-slide away. 

His entire tenure reflects failure. It reflects lawlessness writ large. 

Mass protests reflect people power. Ordinary Ukrainians want better. They deserve it. They're putting their bodies on the line responsibly. 

They're role models for freedom fighters everywhere. Resisting tyranny is a universal right. It's a moral obligation. 

Ukrainian protesters take their role seriously. Perhaps others may follow. Defeating hegemonic ruthlessness depends on it. Hopefully activism will grow when most needed.

A Final Comment

On Saturday, Chicago activists held a Ukraine teach-in. Speakers included Stop NATO's Rick Rozoff, Anti-War Committee member Holly Kent-Payne, and International Action Center's Sara Flounders, among others.

Advance information expressed outrage over US hegemonic ambitions. Anti-Russian sentiment exceeds the worst of Cold War days. Putin is public enemy number one.

Obama ousted Ukraine's democratic government. He elevated illegitimate putschist fascists to power.

He sanctioned Moscow for rejecting them. He did so for embracing lawful Crimean reunification. 

He deployed US military forces close to Russia's borders. He did it belligerently. He risks a potential East/West confrontation. 

He threatens global conflict. Stopping him is top priority. Ordinary people have power to do it.

Protests work when sustained. The more disruptive the better. Jefferson's opposition to John Adams' repressive 1978 Alien and Sedition Acts is relevant. He commented saying:

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles." 

Ordinary people have power when they use it. Collective defiance works when sustained. It's essential for real democracy.

Eastern Ukrainians can teach Americans a thing or two. They deserve worldwide support. Humanity stands to benefit. It needs all the help it can get.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

Big Lies Drown Out Truth

Big Lies Drown Out Truth

by Stephen Lendman

Beating up on Russia persists irresponsibly daily. Big Lies repeat ad nsuseam. Truth is systematically suppressed.

Fake satellite photos are the latest. Images of Russian troops allegedly massed on Ukraine's border date from August 2013. More on this below.

On April 10, The New York Times hyped the Big Lie. It headlined "Satellites Show Russia Mobilizing Near Ukraine, NATO Says."

Times correspondents, contributors and editors avoid due diligence. Regurgitating official Big Lies substitutes. The pattern repeats daily. Truth is systematically buried.

"NATO released satellite photographs on Thursday showing Russian military equipment, including fighter jets and tanks, that it described as part of a deployment of as many as 40,000 troops near the border with Ukraine," said The Times.

Images "offered some of the first documentary evidence of a military buildup that the West says Russia could use to invade Ukraine at any moment."

Brig. General Gary Deakin heads NATO's Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Center. He lied claiming photos show a menacing force.

"The Russians have an array of capabilities, including aircraft, helicopters, special forces, tanks, artillery, infantry fighting vehicles," he said. "These could move in a matter of hours."

He lied claiming images were taken between March 22 and April 2. One showed 20 helicopters near Belgorod. It's 25 miles from Ukraine's border. Other images were further away.

Russia categorically denied NATO accusations. Deploying alliance forces near Russia's borders violates international agreements. 

They include the 1997 Founding Act. It's based on "mutual relations, cooperation, and security between NATO and the Russian Federation signed in Paris, France."

In response to NATO's accusation, a Russian General Staff statement said:

"Satellite imagery of Russian troops allegedly amassed at present on the border with Ukraine dates back to August 2013…"

"In reality, the images released by NATO show units of Russia's Southern Military District taking part in various exercises last summer, including near the borders with Ukraine."

They're routine. They're not threatening. Nor are more recent ones. Claims otherwise are lies. They persist maliciously against Russia.

On April 7, Times editors headlined "A Familiar Script in Ukraine," saying:

Events in Eastern Ukraine follow "the script laid down in Crimea to the letter. (Putin) may not have the same designs (there as) on Crimea, but it is no longer possible to preclude any such moves."

Washington and EU partners "said time and again that 'further' Russian aggression would prompt a stern and painful response. Now is the time to prepare for it."

Times editors barely stopped short of urging war. They lied accusing Putin and "his jingoistic supporters" of massing "tens of thousands of well-equipped troops…within striking distance of Ukraine…"

They turned truth on its head claiming Crimean reunification "was a blatant transgression of international law."

"The next Western response must be ready and credible," they urged. It must challenge Russia more than already, they added. 

Times editors march in lockstep with US imperial lawlessness. Lies substitute for truth. Don't expect them to explain.

NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen is a convenient US stooge. He regurgitates official US policy. He's militantly anti-Russian.

He sent Moscow a message. He lied saying "(y)ou have a choice. (S)top blaming others for your own actions."

"(S)top massing your troops. (S)top escalating this crisis and start engaging in a genuine dialogue."

"Pull back your troops…For the first time (since) the Cold War ended, we see one state trying to grab a part of another's territory at gunpoint."

"We have seen the satellite images, day after day. Russia is stirring up ethnic tensions in eastern Ukraine and provoking unrest. And Russia is using its military might to dictate that Ukraine should become a federal, neutral state."

Fact check

Russia supports peace and stability. It respects nation-state sovereign independence. It affirms rule of law principles. Its actions back up its words.

Russian troops aren't massed on Ukraine's borders. Claims about imminent invasion are false.

US-led NATO aggression was conveniently forgotten. Raping Yugoslavia was ignored. So was ravaging and destroying Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. 

NATO EU nations and Turkey partner in Obama's war on Syria. What's next remains to be seen.

NATO is an aggressor. It's a killing machine. It threatens world peace. Don't expect Rasmussen to explain.

US-led NATO forces are deployed in Eastern Europe. Perhaps more are coming. On April 10, Stars and Stripes (S&S) headlined "NATO to focus on reassuring allies worried about Ukraine," saying:

"NATO's next move in response to the crisis in Ukraine is likely to be more of the same: more NATO fighters patrolling over the Baltics, more rotations of warships into the Black Sea and more surveillance of Russian movements around Ukraine."

NATO aims to boost its presence Eastern European countries close to Russia. According to its commander/US European Command head General Philip Breedlove:

"Essentially, what we are looking at is a package of land, air and maritime measures that would build assurance for our easternmost allies."

"I'm tasked to deliver this by next week. I fully intend to deliver it early."

Texas-based 1st Cavalry Division forces are part of NATO's Reaction Force. They're ready to be deployed to Eastern Europe.

Other alliance options include "deployment of aircraft to guard NATO airspace that borders Russia as well as planes capable of striking against ground forces," said S&S.

"A more prominent naval presence in the Baltic and Black seas could also be an option for the alliance."

S&S cited former NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis. Likely alliance actions include deploying aircraft, ships and troops in Eastern Europe. Especially in the Baltics and Poland, he said.

Expect more support for Ukraine's military. It'll take various forms. Included will be weapons and munitions transfers, training, intelligence sharing and more.

Washington may enhance its Eastern European force level in response to regional conditions, said Stavridis.

"I would guess the entire drawdown is being re-evaluated, and we may end up with three or even four combat brigades back in Europe, as well as restoration of the combat aircraft cuts of recent years," he added.

US European Command and US authorities are likely "to look seriously at the US ground and air footprint. Assuming decisions by the end of the year, effects would begin to be felt in 2015."

"(W)e certainly look to be heading into a very frosty (posture) in the years ahead."

On April 9, NATO headlined "Transformation Seminar Charts Path to Summit," saying:

On April 8 and 9, "(m)ore than 250 NATO and military and civilian leaders met in Paris…"

Topics addressed included "How to Adapt NATO to Face Multiple and Complex Challenges."

"(T)he current crisis in Ukraine also drove much of the discussion."

"Ukraine highlighted the need for a strong commitment as well as solidarity in what we should do to face this crisis." 

"It highlighted as well the need for us to deliver on the major initiatives we have enhanced."

Former Yugoslavia Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic said Europe suffers from the effects of US-led NATO aggression on his country.

A precedent was set. "US/NATO aggressive wars in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Mali and other locations" followed.

Millions of victims suffer from "endless war and aggression." 

"These crimes against humanity have not been only military in nature but also clandestine, such as what we are seeing in Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela today." 

"The West has had only objective: the domination of the world by the US/NATO and its surrogates."

He called 1999 NATO/US led aggression against Yugoslavia "a turning point toward globalization of interventionism, toward militarization of European and international relations." 

Toward "global domination of the West," he added. He thinks "the Ukrainian case and the Crimean referendum to reunite with Russia is another kind of turning point."

He believes "multi-polar world relations" will follow. Western global dominance efforts will be resisted, he said.

Ongoing events are the "the beginning (of) relieving Europe and the world of the threats of domination from one side only."

His vision is well-meaning. Shorter-term, major threats exist. Escalating East/West tensions risk conflict. Major ones start this way.

Today is the most perilous time in world history. Washington bears full responsibility. Out-of-control hegemonic ambitions risk global war. Preventing it matters most.

A Final Comment

Growing thousands of Eastern Ukrainians reject Kiev putschists. They want local autonomy. They want their democratic rights respected.

Previous articles discussed their activism. They occupied government buildings. They did so nonviolently. 

Kiev threatened brute force. Protesters braced for it any time. For now apparently it's not coming. More on this below. 

Donetsk activists include civil volunteers, police and army defectors. They're ready to "defend their motherland from the fascist army that’s going to kill them," they say.

They demand "a referendum to be independent from Kiev." They favor "being with Russia."

They abhor violence. They'll respond accordingly if targeted. An unnamed protester said:

"I only have a stick to defend myself. They are coming with machine guns, and all I (have is) a chair leg."

Another activist said:

"The protest in Donetsk is against nationalism. We are for social justice. The creation of our republic means drastic changes in the way our territory is organized." 

"We are for equality of languages. We are against the oppression by the majority by the nationalist minority, and against threatening ethnic Russians."

Lugansk protesters refused unconditional surrender demands. It masqueraded as an amnesty offer.

One protester spoke for others saying: "We demand concretely a referendum on federalization so that the will of the people is heard."

Apparently they'll get it.  Illegitimate putschist prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk promised legislation permitting regional referenda. 

It's a key protester demand. They want their rights respected. They want local autonomy. They want democracy. They reject fascist rule.

Yatsenyuk spoke as a 48-hour deadline given protesters to evacuate public buildings expired. He'll support greater autonomy, he said.

He'll abolish Kiev-appointed regional governors. His U-turn perhaps is significant. It came after Ukraine's elite Alpha unit reportedly refused to roust protesters from government buildings.

In Donetsk, one of its commanders said his mandate is rescuing hostages. It's fighting terrorism. He'll only act lawfully, he explained. He won't attack nonviolent protesters.

His comments came days after Kharkov police arrested dozens of activists. Local police lieutenant-colonel Andrey Chuikov said Kiev deceived him and others.

They were lied to. They were told to go after dangerous armed bandits. They were peaceful protesters. They posed no threat. They showed no resistance when confronted.

Chuikov said he'll no longer take "criminal" orders. He resigned in protest. He wants no part of lawless governance.

Eastern Ukrainian putschist rejection deepens. It may be just a matter of time until it spreads nationwide. Western Ukrainians haven't yet felt the full impact of what's coming.
  
It combines fascist governance with IMF-imposed neoliberal harshness. Hammering impoverished Ukrainians harder risks mass rebellion. 

It remains to be seen what follows. Obama's imperial trophy may slip from his grasp. It can't happen a moment too soon.

John Kerry lied. He accused Moscow of stirring Eastern Ukraine unrest. He claimed Russian agents, special forces and provocateurs are involved.

This "could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea," he said.

Nothing whatsoever took place. Kerry is a serial liar. He consistently twists facts his way. He's been caught red-handed lying many times.

IlIegitimate putschist interior minister Arsen Avakov outrageously pointed fingers the wrong say, saying:

"All this was inspired and financed by the Putin-Yanukovych group."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Eastern European protests bear "all the hallmarks of a Russian strategy to destabilize Ukraine."

Putin and Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov go all-out to resolve things responsibly. Washington bears full responsibility for crisis conditions. EU partners share it.

On April 10, neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland testified before Senate Foreign Relations Committee members.

She conveniently twisted truths. She did so to fit administration policy. She lied claiming Russia "occup(ied) Crimea."

She called its legal referendum "illegitimate." She outrageously claimed it was "conducted at the barrel of a gun."

It was open, free and fair. It was a model democratic exercise. It mocked America's sham process. It has no legitimacy whatever. Especially in federal elections.

Nuland ludicrously claimed "Russia('s) occupation shocked the conscience." She lied about "intimidat(ing)" Russian forces on Ukraine's borders.

She called peaceful Eastern Ukraine protests "violent." She called Ukraine's illegitimate fascist government "a frontline state in the struggle for freedom…"

She wants Russian "aggression" punished. She claimed upcoming sham May elections will be "free (and) fair."

She called Russian truth and full disclosure "propaganda, lies and efforts to destabilize Ukraine's regions."

She accused Russia of "pressur(ing) Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and other neighbors of Ukraine."

She called them "victims" of Moscow policy. She ludicrously claimed Washington supports peace, security and prosperity.

She urged greater NATO diligence in Eastern Europe. She wants military budgets increased, not reduced.

She blamed Russia for US crimes. Earlier she was caught red-handed urging regime change on video.

Her conversation with US Ukraine ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt was recorded. It circulated on You Tube. It's more evidence of America's dark side.

Nuland fronts for imperial lawlessness. So do likeminded extremists infesting Washington. 

It bears repeating. Challenging Russia irresponsibly risks confrontation. It risks possible global war. Humanity's fate hangs in the balance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

The Down and Out Make More Sense than Any Billionaire

So why aren’t we listening, shaping policy around what the downtrodden know and see? Paul K. Haeder  RINF Alternative News I’m receiving the All-American love channels. You...

Sham Peace Talks Continue

Sham Peace Talks Continue

by Stephen Lendman

They mock legitimate ones. Palestinians agreed to continue them despite zero chance for success. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once said:

"I would have conducted the autonomy negotiations for 10 years, and in the meantime we would have reached half a million souls in Judea and Samaria."

"I didn't believe there was a majority in favor of a greater land of Israel. But it could have been attained over time." 

"Without such a basis, there would be nothing to stop the establishment of a Palestinian state."

Shamir went all-out to prevent it. So did other Israeli prime ministers before and after him. Netanyahu deplores the notion.

He demands unconditional Palestinian surrender. He wants occupation harshness continued. He wants all valued Judea and Samaria land stolen.

He wants Palestinians denied all rights. Talks with his negotiators reflect the futility of hoping for what won't happen.

UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian human rights Richard Falk condemns Israeli colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. In late March, he said:

"Every increment of enlarging the settlements, or every incident of house demolition is a way of worsening the situation confronting the Palestinian people and reducing what prospects they might have as the outcome of supposed peace negotiations."

"To sustain indefinitely an oppressive occupation containing many punitive elements also seems designed to encourage residents to leave Palestine, which is consistent with the apparent annexationist, colonialist and ethnic-cleansing goals of Israel, especially in relation to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem."

Falk noted "a strong internal Israeli opposition" to Palestinian self-determination. Netanyahu and other right wing extremists mock it. They deplore it. They won't permit it.

Ongoing talks are a charade. They mock legitimacy. They continue. Why Palestinians participate futilely they must explain.

Every stolen dunum of Palestinian land makes viable statehood less likely. Every settlement expansion.

Every demolished Palestinian home. Every ethnically cleansed resident. Every Palestinian blame game victim of Israeli intransigency. 

Every Palestinian murdered. Everyone arrested. Every day without conflict resolution. Every Israeli effort to subvert talks. Every opportunity lost.

Israeli/Palestinian/US negotiators met Monday. Again on Tuesday. Zero progress was made. An unnamed Israeli official said talks will continue. No date for more was set.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki lied saying: "Gaps remain but both sides are committed to narrow the gaps."

Chasms remain. Nothing whatever was resolved. Nothing will be. Israel won't permit it. Nor Washington. They want unconditional Palestinian surrender.

Israeli rights alone matter. Palestinians are on their own like always. They're blamed for what Israel denies them. Netanyahu and likeminded extremists call wanting to live free on their own land "terrorism."

New York Times editors one-sidedly support Israel. It's longstanding policy. It goes back decades. Jodi Rudoren serves as Jerusalem bureau chief. Her agenda is obscuring reality.

She avoids discussing Israeli torture, targeted assassinations, cold-blooded murder, demolished Palestinian homes, dispossessions, and other lawless practices, as well as unaccountable settler violence and vandalism.

She equates BDS activism with anti-Semitism. It reminds her of Nazi era practices.

At best, she calls Israeli settlements "controversial." International law calls them illegal. No ambiguity exists.

She believes sham peace talks are legitimate. Palestinians share blame for no progress, she claims. On April 7, she discussed political prisoner Marwan Barghouti.

She linked him to peace talks. She lied calling him a convicted "murderer." He faced spurious charges. He's no terrorist. 

He calls himself "a political leader, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, elected by my people." Israel had no right to try him, he said.

He's a political prisoner. Israel lawlessly gave him multiple life sentences plus 40 years. He's Palestine's most popular political figure. 

Why Israel wants him imprisoned and forgotten. In a free, fair, open presidential election, he'd win in a landslide. Palestinians want him freed to participate.

Rudoren ludicrously calls him Palestine's Jonathan Pollard. He's a convicted spy. Barghouti is a framed Palestinian hero.

He challenges Israel responsibly. His political statements circulate. Rudoren ignores Palestinian suffering. She ducks controversial issues.

She ignores key Palestinian voices. She substitutes one-sided Israeli support for full and accurate reporting. 

She blames Palestinians for peace talks failure. She called legitimately applying to 15 UN bodies and treaties "contentious."

Her featured Netanyahu comments suggest she believes he negotiates in good faith. Truth is polar opposite.

The Elders is an independent group. Its members include global leaders. They support peace and human rights. Archbishop Desmond Tutu formerly served as chairman.

In May 2013, he stepped down. He remains an Honorary Elder. Members have shared interests. They call human rights universal.

They support Palestinian self-determination. They endorse fair and equitable peace talks.

They issued a supportive Palestinian statement. They're "deeply worried by the impasse in peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians," they said.

They "welcome(d) Mahmoud Abbas' decision" to join 15 UN bodies and treaties.

Gro Harlem Brundtland is a former Norwegian prime minister. He's current deputy Elders chair. He issued a statement, saying:

"As a UN non-member observer state, Palestine is entitled to join international bodies. We welcome President Abbas’ decision to sign the Geneva Conventions and other important international human rights treaties."

"This move opens the way to more inclusive and accountable government in the West Bank and Gaza." 

"It has the potential to strengthen respect for human rights and provide ordinary Palestinians with essential legal protections against discrimination or abuses by their own government." 

"In global terms, it will also increase their ability to enjoy, in practice, the protection of their basic rights granted to them by international law."

Jimmy Carter is an Elders member. He supports Palestinians joining 15 UN bodies and treaties. 

"The decision by the Palestinians to exercise their right to join international organizations should not be seen as a blow to the peace talks," he said.

"I hope that, on the contrary, it will help to redress the power imbalance between Israelis and Palestinians…"

"More than ever, both parties urgently need to make the necessary compromises to reach a lasting peace with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security."

In 2012, Carter criticized Netanyahu. He rejects a two-state solution, said Carter. Conditions reached "crisis stage," he added. Decades-long conflict shows no signs of resolution.

Carter's book titled "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" called Israel's version "worse…than what we witnessed in South Africa."

He hoped his book would stimulate debate. "There's never been (any) on this issue of any significance," he said. 

He holds Netanyahu and other Israeli hardliners responsible. They're "moving forward towards a 'greater Israel," he stressed. 

Doing so makes peace impossible. Achieving it is more distant now than then.

"Israel will never have peace until they agree to" end occupation and grant Palestinians self-determination, Carter said. 

They show no signs of doing so. They negotiate one-way. They're hardline. They're unbending. They're all take. They're no give. Militarized occupation is illegal. It's unforgiving. 

So is the worst of Israeli apartheid. It's institutionalized. It's illegitimate.

International law is clear and unequivocal. Article 7(1)(j) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court calls apartheid a crime, stating:

"For the purpose of this Statute, (a) 'crime against humanity' means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

The crime of apartheid" includes murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, arbitrary arrest, illegal imprisonment, denial of the right to life and liberty, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and other abusive acts imposed by one group on another.

Racist Zionist exclusivity is key to understanding Israeli policy. It's extremist, undemocratic and hateful. 

It denies non-Jews equal rights. It claims Jewish supremacy, specialness and uniqueness.

It eschews peace and reconciliation. It chooses confrontation over diplomacy.

It believes in strength through belligerence and intimidation. Doing so threatens Jews and non-Jews alike.

Apartheid extremism is longstanding Israeli policy. Palestinians suffer horrifically.

They're denied their cultural heritage. They're driven from their own land. Israeli settlers occupy it. More come daily. 

Doing so violates international law. Fourth Geneva's Article 49 states:

"Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportation of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of the motive." 

Neither shall "The Occupying Power...deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

Apartheid is the worst form of racism. Israeli militarized occupation is the worst form of apartheid. 

It incorporates state terrorism, belligerence, land theft, home demolitions, dispossessions, targeted assassinations, mass arrests, torture, destruction of property and agricultural lands, isolation and genocide.

Besieged Gazans suffer most of all. Slow-motion suffocation explains their condition. West Bank Palestinians face multiple daily community incursions. Arrests and detentions follow.

Sham peace talks continue. They do so despite daily Israeli violence. On April 8, Israeli soldiers invaded Tal and Osarin villages.

They kidnapped five Palestinian civilians, including one child. Two more were lawlessly abducted in Hebron. 

Army elements bulldozed two Bethlehem homes. Israeli naval vessels attacked Gazan fishermen. They used live ammunition.

They do it often. Deaths, injuries and heavy property damage follow. Bulldozers escorted by Israeli troops destroyed agricultural structures northwest of Hebron.

At the same time, they uprooted fields. PA security forces collaborate. Doing so shows which side Abbas supports.

He uses riot police and undercover security service forces against his own people. They attack anti-sham peace talks protesters.

They do so violently. Dozens are arrested. They're accused of protesting without permit permission. Abbas serves as Israel's enforcer. 

Conflict resolution is impossible with him in charge. Expect applying for membership in 15 UN bodies and treaties to be all show and no dough.

Membership is worthless without taking full advantage. Full UN membership is important. Abbas could have gotten it straightaway as president.

Most UN members support it. An overwhelming number. Enough to assure de facto and de jure membership. 

Petitioning the General Assembly through the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377 assures it.

It's veto proof. Washington can't override it. Membership gives Palestinians the same rights as all other member states.

Observer status lets them join the World Court and International Criminal Court. Doing so lets them challenge Israel as well as current and past government and military officials.

Perhaps holding them accountable is possible. Not if attempts aren't made to do so. Abbas never tried. 

Nor will he. He's close to retirement. He won't spoil a good thing now. He's on the wrong side of history. Betrayal is one of the worst crimes. Abbas stands guilty as charged.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

Good News Next Week — #NewWorldNextWeek

Welcome to http://NewWorldNextWeek.com — the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week: Monsanto’s ‘Healthier Environment’ Ads Ban...

Eastern Ukrainian Resistance

Eastern Ukrainian Resistance

by Stephen Lendman

Thousands of Eastern Ukrainians reject Kiev putschists. Perhaps millions. They want local sovereignty. They want autonomy rights.

They want them respected. They reject fascist rule. They demand their own referendum. They want Ukraine federalized.

Protests continue in Kharkov (Ukraine's second largest city), Donetsk (its largest industrial city), Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Nikolayev and elsewhere.

They're growing. They're spreading. They have legs. Maybe parts of Western Ukraine will join them.

Ukrainians are long-suffering. They rejected Orange Revolution rule years earlier. Perhaps Orange Revolution 2.0 won't fare better. It remains to be seen what happens going forward.

Will Eastern Ukrainian resistance spread? Will it do so nationwide? Will Ukrainians overwhelmingly reject fascist/predatory IMF rule? Will they demand equitable change? 

Will they protests en masse like before? Will they sustain it long enough to matter? Will they refuse what demands rejection?

Eastern Ukrainians reacted first. On April 7, RT International headlined "Pro-Russian protesters seize govt buildings in Ukraine's Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov."

Included was Donetsk's Security Service building. "The people's militia seized Ukraine’s Security Service in 15 minutes, at 3:32 in the morning," its members said.

It's blocked to protect against local security forces. On Sunday, thousands rallied in Eastern Ukrainian cities.

They flooded streets. They waved Russian flags. They chanted "Russia! Russia!" 

They demanded local sovereignty. They called Kiev putschists an "illegal junta."

They demand Kiev appointed governor/oligarch Sergey Taruta "get out." They burned a Nazi zealot's effigy publicly.

They called doing so "an act of annihilation of fascism." Clashes with police broke out. Protesters seized their riot shields.

They entered the Security Service building. They replaced the Ukrainian flag with the Russian one.

According to activist Aleksandr Borodin:

"The situation is pretty tense. The demonstrators are occupying the city council building and are demanding that an independence referendum is held to determine the future of the region of Donetsk."

"The protesters are calling on officials to conduct a special session over the referendum situation." 

"If it doesn't take place, the demonstrators say they will organize an initiative group to settle the issue." 

They won't "acknowledge the Kiev-appointed authorities and are also demanding freedom for the recently elected so-called 'public governor.' "

On April 7, Itar Tass headlined "Legislature of just proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic asks Putin move in peacekeepers."

They formed a Republican Council of the Donetsk's People's Republic. They adopted legislation saying:

"The territory of the republic within the recognized borders is indivisible and inviolable."

They ruled on holding a referendum. They'll do so no later than May 11. They'll decide whether or not to join Russia.

"On March 1," said Itar Tass, "Russia's Federation Council gave its consent to the president for using the armed forces on the territory of Ukraine." 

"The relevant decision was unanimously adopted by the upper house of Russian parliament at an extraordinary session." 

"Earlier, Vladimir Putin submitted to the Federation Council an address on using the armed forces of Russia on the territory of Ukraine until the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country." 

"This initiative was proposed with regard to a plea by Ukraine's legitimate president Viktor Yanukovych."

At issue is protecting the security of Russian-speaking nationals. It's securing their rights.

Lugansk events are unfolding like Donetsk's, said RT. Around 1,000 people rallied outside the local Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) building.

They demand protest leader Aleksandr Kharitonov's release. He's been lawlessly detained since mid-March.

So were 15 pro-Russian activists on Saturday. People carried Russian flags. They chanted "Shame on the SBU." "Freedom to political prisoners."

Clashes erupted. Injuries were reported. Kiev appointed governor released six anti-putschist activists.

Violence erupted in Kharkov. Pro-Russian protesters clashed with Right Sector extremists. Police separated both sides. No injuries were reported.

Around 1,500 pro-Russian supporters occupied the putschist UNIAN news agency building.

According to RT:

"Pro-Russian rallies are taking place almost every weekend in major cities in the Russian-speaking part of Ukraine since the nationalist coup ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, in late February."

Things remain fluid. The struggle for Ukraine's soul continues. RT highlighted Donetsk activists declaring a local republic.

They want one independent from Kiev. They reject putschist rule. They want legal governance replacing it. They proclaimed their Regional Council the sole legitimate governing body.

They did so pending a planned referendum. It'll be held by May 11 or sooner. Ukrainian activism is spreading. So far in Eastern cities. Perhaps nationwide soon.

At the same time, Russia bashing continues relentlessly. So do US-led Western efforts to marginalize, isolate, weaken and contain Moscow. 

Political and military cooperation was suspended. Other options include positioning US-led NATO forces closer to Russia's border. 

Provocative military exercises are planned. Challenging Moscow is madness. It's happening in real time. It's escalating dangerously. Doing so risks potential major conflict madness.

A previous article discussed Zero Hedge headlining "Petrodollar Alert: Putin Prepares to Announce 'Holy Grail' Gas Deal With China," saying:

If Washington and EU partners intended greater Sino/Russian unity, "one (nation) a natural resource…superpower and the other a fixed capital/labor output…powerhouse, in the process marginalizing the dollar and encouraging Ruble and Renminbi bilateral trade, then things are surely 'going according to plan.' "

Moscow/Beijing unity against Western imperialism is their best defense. Conditions head both nations more closely together against it.

Russia is preparing a "Holy Grail" energy deal with China. Doing so will send "geopolitical shockwaves around the world," said Zero Hedge.

It'll lay "groundwork for a new joint, commodity-backed reserve currency…" It'll bypass dollar transactions. It'll weaken petrodollar strength.

Moscow's "Holy Grail" is a major natural gas deal with Beijing. Negotiations are close to complete. It involves supplying 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.

It'll do so via pipeline. It's the first one between both nations.

Putin plans visiting China in May. He's expected to close the deal. The more Western nations pressure Russia, the closer it's drawn to China.

Bilateral ruble/renminbi trade weakens dollar strength. Perhaps other countries may follow in their own currencies. 

India and Iran are prime candidates. Perhaps Brazil and others will follow suit.

Washington reacted as expected. According to Zero Hedge, it threatened Russia. It did so over a "petrodollar-busting deal."

It warned against "possible oil barter(ing)" transactions. It warned Iran against them. US-led Western sanctions are counterproductive.

Perhaps Washington shot itself in the foot. Russia has plenty of retaliatory ammunition. What better way than by weakening petrodollar strength.

It's a pillar of America's geopolitical/military might. It furthers US supremacy. It does so at the expense of other nations.

It finances America's global military machine. It advances US imperialism. It furthers financial speculation. 

It facilitates corporate takeovers. It does so at the expense of beneficial social change, human and civil rights. It prevents potential democratic change outbreaks.

Global central banks recycle dollar inflows. They do so into US Treasuries. They finance America's deficit. It matters with QE diminishing. Perhaps ending.

Moscow/Beijing bilateral trade in their own currencies "is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of (US) weakness," said Zero Hedge.

"Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and perhaps gold) and shortly other 'regional' currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar," it added.

It's "hardly the intended outcome of the western blockade, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar."

"If Washington can't stop this deal," perhaps others will follow. Perhaps a groundswell among leading nations.

Petrodollar trading gives America major unfair advantages. According to Voice of Russia, "Moscow is ready to take (them) away."

So is China. Imagine a combination petroruble/petrorenminbi weakening petrodollar strength. Imagine other petrocurrencies doing it further.

Imagine petrodollar might becoming a shadow of its former self. Imagine destructive US policies waning. Imagine a world safer to live in.

Imagine a fairer one. Imagine what won't happen easily or soon. Imagine what one day perhaps is possible. Top Russian officials support petrodollar weakening.

Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukaev urged Russian energy companies to ditch the dollar. "They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and (partner country) currencies," he said.

Last month, VTB CEO Andrei Kostin said gas giant Gazprom, state-own oil company Rosneft, and exclusive defense-related weapons/ technologies/dual-use products/and services company  Rosoboronexport "can start trading in rubles."

They don't mind switching, they said. They need a "mechanism" to do so. Russian upper house Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said no efforts will be spared to create one.

Putin intends challenging Washington responsibly. Chinese leader Xi Jinping appears willing to join him. Together they're a formidable combination.

Perhaps Moscow/Beijing commodity exchanges will exclude dollar transactions. Maybe they'll replace them with ruble/renminbi ones.

Rosneft signed large oil contracts with China. It's close to major ones with Indian companies. They exclude dollar transactions.

Russia heads toward trading goods for oil with Iran. If Rosneft deals in rubles, petrodollar strength will suffer.

According to Zero Hedge, "US sanctions have opened a Pandora's box of troubles for the American currency." Russian retaliation promises unpleasant consequences.

What if other countries follow Russian and Chinese examples? What if avoiding dollar transactions catches on?

What if long prevented US comeuppance happens? What if America met its match? What if it's responsibly weakened? The sound you hear is overwhelming popular approval.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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


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

Teachers Push Back Against High-Stakes Testing

Peter Rothberg  RINF Alternative News This post requires full disclosure: I could hardly be more involved in what I'm writing about here. Not only do my...

Interview 853 — New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato

On this special edition of the New World Next Week, James and James bring you the good news from around the world thanks to our friends in the Twittersphere...because it can\'t be doom and gloom all the time.

The War Activists

David Swanson  RINF Alternative News War activists, like peace activists, push for an agenda. We don't think of them as activists because they rotate in and...

The War Activists

War activists, like peace activists, push for an agenda.  We don't think of them as activists because they rotate in and out of government positions, receive huge amounts of funding, have access to big media, and get meetings with top officials just by asking -- without having to generate a protest first. 

They also display great contempt for the public and openly discuss ways to manipulate people through fear and nationalism -- further shifting their image away from that of popular organizers.  But war activists are not journalists, not researchers, not academics.  They don't inform or educate.  They advocate.  They just advocate for something that most of the time, and increasingly, nobody wants. 

William Kristol and Robert Kagan and their organization, the Foreign Policy Initiative, stand out as exemplary war activists.  They've modified their tone slightly since the days of the Project for the New American Century, an earlier war activist organization.  They talk less about oil and more about human rights.  But they insist on U.S. domination of the world.  They find any success by anyone else in the world a threat to the United States.  And they demand an ever larger and more frequently used military, even if world domination can be achieved without it.  War, for these war activists, is an end in itself.  As was much more common in the 19th century, these agitators believe war brings strength and glory, builds character, and makes a nation a Super Power.

Kristol recently lamented U.S. public opposition to war.  He does have cause for concern.  The U.S. public is sick of wars, outraged by those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and insistent that new ones not be begun.  In September, missile strikes into Syria were successfully opposed by public resistance.  In February, a new bill to impose sanctions on Iran and commit the United States to joining in any Israeli-Iranian war was blocked by public pressure.  The country and the world are turning against the drone wars. 

The next logical step after ending wars and preventing wars would be to begin dismantling the infrastructure that generates pressure for wars.  This hasn't happened yet.  During every NCAA basketball game the announcers thank U.S. troops for watching from 175 nations.  Weapons sales are soaring.  New nukes are being developed.  NATO has expanded to the edge of Russia.  But the possibility of change is in the air.  A new peace activist group at WorldBeyondWar.org has begun pushing for war's abolition.

Here's Kristol panicking:

"A war-weary public can be awakened and rallied. Indeed, events are right now doing the awakening. All that's needed is the rallying. And the turnaround can be fast. Only 5 years after the end of the Vietnam war, and 15 years after our involvement there began in a big way, Ronald Reagan ran against both Democratic dovishness and Republican détente. He proposed confronting the Soviet Union and rebuilding our military. It was said that the country was too war-weary, that it was too soon after Vietnam, for Reagan's stern and challenging message. Yet Reagan won the election in 1980. And by 1990 an awakened America had won the Cold War."

Here's Kagan, who has worked for Hillary Clinton and whose wife Victoria Nuland has just been stirring up trouble in the Ukraine as Assistant Secretary of State. This is from an article by Kagan much admired by President Barack Obama:

"As Yan Xuetong recently noted, 'military strength underpins hegemony.' Here the United States remains unmatched. It is far and away the most powerful nation the world has ever known, and there has been no decline in America's relative military capacity -- at least not yet."

This pair is something of a good-cop/bad-cop team.  Kristol bashes Obama for being a wimp and not fighting enough wars.  Kagan reassures Obama that he can be master of the universe if he'll only build up the military a bit more and maybe fight a couple more wars here and there.

The response from some Obama supporters has been to point out that their hero has been fighting lots of wars and killing lots of people, thank you very much.  The response from some peace activists is to play to people's selfishness with cries to bring the war dollars home.  But humanitarian warriors are right to care about the world, even if they're only pretending or badly misguided about how to help.  It's OK to oppose wars both because they kill huge numbers of poor people far from our shores and because we could have used the money for schools and trains.  But it's important to add that for a small fraction of U.S. military spending we could ensure that the whole world had food and clean water and medicine.  We could be the most beloved nation.  I know that's not the status the war activists are after.  In fact, when people begin to grasp that possibility, war activism will be finished for good.

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From Helen to Hillary: Women in War

Accepted wisdom in U.S. culture, despite overwhelming evidence, holds that the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan shortened World War II and saved more lives than the some 200,000 lives they took away.

And yet, weeks before the first bomb was dropped, on July 13, 1945, Japan sent a telegram to the Soviet Union expressing its desire to surrender and end the war. The United States had broken Japan's codes and read the telegram. U.S. President Harry Truman referred in his diary to "the telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace."

Truman had been informed through Swiss and Portuguese channels of Japanese peace overtures as early as three months before Hiroshima. Japan objected only to surrendering unconditionally and giving up its emperor, but the United States insisted on those terms until after the bombs fell, at which point it allowed Japan to keep its emperor.

Presidential advisor James Byrnes had told Truman that dropping the bombs would allow the United States to "dictate the terms of ending the war." Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was "most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in." Truman wrote in his diary that the Soviets were preparing to march against Japan and "Fini Japs when that comes about." Truman ordered the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th and another type of bomb, a plutonium bomb, which the military also wanted to test and demonstrate, on Nagasaki on August 9th.

Also on August 9th, the Soviets attacked the Japanese. During the next two weeks, the Soviets killed 84,000 Japanese while losing 12,000 of their own soldiers, and the United States continued bombing Japan with non-nuclear weapons. Then the Japanese surrendered.

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that,"… certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." One dissenter who had expressed this same view to the Secretary of War prior to the bombings was General Dwight Eisenhower.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy agreed: "The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender."

It was with knowledge of these undisputed but collectively ignored facts that I recently read a review of a book called The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II.  The women or girls involved did not in any way help win World War II, and the author and publisher surely know that.  These women worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, producing the bombs that would kill, injure, traumatize, and destroy on a scale never before imagined -- leaving us decades later in serious danger of accidental or intentional apocalypse. But the idea that they helped win or end a war is a lie.

That the atomic girls didn't know exactly what they were building is no excuse any more than the Nazi's "I was just following orders" was an excuse.  But these women's ignorance of what they were making would, I think, diminish their heroism had they done something at all heroic.  In reality, they blindly participated in mass-murder by knowingly assisting a war effort, and were willing to do so without being given any of the details. In other words, they proved capable of doing just what millions of men have done. Should we be proud?

The point of the book and the article seems to be that young women did something.  The author describes them as "brave" and compares their bravery to that of U.S. soldiers off obediently killing and dying in the war. The review describes the U.S. government's eviction of 1,000 families from their homes in Tennessee to make room for the nuclear bomb making.  "Only something of the magnitude of saving the nation could possibly justify causing such heartbreak," writes the reviewer. Really? What could justify the mass-slaughter of some 200,000 people?  And what exactly was the nation saved from? Shouldn't such language  ("saving the nation") be made to mean something rather than being tossed around carelessly?  And hadn't the U.S. government just 10 years earlier evicted 500 families to build Shenandoah National Park, neither to save the nation nor to kill lots of foreigners, but just because?

The relationship of women to war has changed dramatically in recent decades, even while remaining the same.  Attractive women recruiting young men into the army can trace their lineage to Helen of Troy.  Women raped and killed in war have a history as old as war.  Women resisters to war are as old as war as well.  But there are at least four big changes. First, women now participate in war, as well as in weapons production, in a major way.  (Why the great ineluctable forces of genetics and destiny that always justify evil in weak minds will allow women to join in war but not allow men to abandon war is not clear to me.) Second, women -- to a limited extent -- participate in making the decision to wage wars.  Third, women are not just secondary victims of war anymore; rather, female babies, toddlers, girls, women, and grandmothers make up about half of wars' casualties, 90% of whom are civilians.  And fourth, with wars no longer solely advertised as ways to seize territory or develop manhood or bring glory to a flag, it has become common to advertise them as a way to bring women their rights and freedoms.

Not the right not to be bombed, of course.  But the right, if they survive the war, to work and drive and vote and endure invasive ultrasounds, or whatever the West believes a woman's rights should be.  In 2001, the United States was told that Afghanistan would be bombed for revenge.  But since revenge is barbaric and vile, and since the criminals being punished were already dead, and since most of the people in Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9-11 and wished no part in any war, it was helpful to add another motivation.  Afghanistan would also be bombed, we were told, for women's rights -- rights that had indeed been devastated following U.S. efforts to provoke the Soviet Union and then arm religious fanatics against it.  Five weeks into the bombing, Laura Bush, the U.S. "first lady," proclaimed: "Because of our recent military gains in much of Afghanistan, women are no longer imprisoned in their homes. The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women."

Of course, when U.S. special forces burst into a home and shot pregnant women, and then dug the bullets out with their knives in order to blame the murders on the women's husbands, the goal was not the advancement of women's rights.  But the war had nothing to do with that in reality.  The U.S. empowered the warlords of the Northern Alliance, whom the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) denounced as "brethren-in-creed of the Taliban and Al-Qaida." RAWA reported: "The war in Afghanistan has removed the Taliban, which so far does appear to be an improvement for women in certain limited parts of the country. In other areas, the incidence of rape and forced marriage is on the rise again, and most women continue to wear the burqa out of fear for their safety."  After over a decade of U.S./NATO liberation, Afghanistan remains one of the worst places to be a woman or to become a mother.  Child marriage, rape in marriage, and prosecution of rape victims for adultery remain legal and accepted.  It was in this context that Amnesty International put up big posters on bus stops in Chicago during a NATO meeting, reading -- without intended irony: "Human rights for women and girls in Afghanistan. NATO keep the progress going!"

"Progress" is rolling ahead in liberated Iraq as well, where the legal age of marriage is being lowered from 18 to 9.  Similarly in liberated Libya, women are worse off.  Similarly in monarchies and dictatorships that the U.S. government chooses to arm rather than overthrow because of their cooperative behavior: women are not enjoying the blessings of freedom unimpeded in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, et cetera -- although many women are struggling admirably to advance their rights by nonviolent and effective means.

Another place women's rights are suffering is in the U.S. military, where studies have found that a third of women are sexually assaulted or raped by their fellow soldiers and commanders. One expert believes that the frequency of such attacks on male recruits is just as high but less often reported.  Of course, if that's true, it does nothing to mitigate the horror, but simply adds to it.  So young women reading about the glories of "saving the nation" by building nukes should think hard before joining the military -- hard enough, perhaps, to oppose it on the grounds that it's mass murder.

There's another story from Oak Ridge that ought to be read more widely, the story of one woman and two men just sentenced to prison for nonviolently protesting the nuclear weapons facility still found there.  Here's a story of heroism and inspiration with no falsehoods, a story of wisdom and thoughtful action requiring incredible bravery and selflessness.  Why we strain so hard to find such stories outside of nonviolent activism would be a mystery to me, were the reasons not readily to be found in the massive investment that war profiteers make in selling the idea of war.

There's a broader story, as well, of heroic women advancing a movement against war and toward a culture of peace.  Here's proof aplenty of that:

http://codepink4peace.org

http://nobelwomensinitiative.org

http://wilpfus.org

http://worldwidewamm.org

http://wand.org

And here's what we're up against: the coming promotion of a woman warmonger as a token carrier of progressive liberalism. Don't fall for it.

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Israel Steals Palestinian Resources

Israel Steals Palestinian Resources

by Stephen Lendman

Ethnic cleansing is official Israeli policy. So is stealing Palestinian land and resources. Fundamental rule of law principles don't matter.

What Israel wants it takes. It's longstanding policy. Martin Schulz is European Parliament president. He visited Israel. 

On February 12, he addressed Knesset members. Outrage followed his remarks. Fascist Israeli MKs walked out in protest.

Days earlier he met a Palestinian youth. "Why can an Israeli use 70 cubic liters of water daily and a Palestinian only 17," he asked.

Schulz raised the issue in his remarks. He said he hadn't "checked the data. I'm asking you if this is correct."

Right-wing extremist MK Moti Yogev shouted at him while he was speaking. "Shame on you," he said. "You support someone who incites against Jews.

Fascists infest Israel's Knesset. Naftali Bennett is one of the worst. He's Israel's Economy Minister. He heads the fascist Habayit (The Jewish Home) party.

He's a Netanyahu coalition partner. He deplores political activism. He wants truth and full disclosure suppressed. He and right-wing ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman are ideological allies.

They spurn rule of law principles. They want settlements expanded. They want Palestinian resources stolen. They want them denied all rights.

Bennett left during Schulz's speech. He said "I will not tolerate duplicitous propaganda against Israel in the Knesset…especially not in German." 

He accused Schulz of lying. He disgracefully alluded to Germany's Nazi past. "I say unequivocally that someone speaking in German should be even more careful about saying things critical of" Israel, he added.

Culture and Sports Minister Lomor Livnat expressed a similar sentiment, saying:

"We gave him every respect...but when he tells an outright lie, and in German, no wonder MKs and ministers got upset."

Likud party extremist Moshe Feiglin boycotted the Knesset session. He called it "inappropriate that a speech is given in the parliament of the Jewish state, in the language used when our parents were thrust into the railway wagons and in the crematoria."

Netanyahu accused Schulz of repeating claims without "check(ing) first." Doing so would largely verify his comments. 

Israel systematically denies Palestinians their own resources. It steals them for its own use. It sells them for profit.

Schulz's comments addressed Palestinian persecution, saying:

They "have the right to self-determination and equality." They want to "live in peace and have unlimited freedom of movement." Gazans are entirely denied it, he added.

"The blockade...is your reaction to attacks on the civilian population. But it does not allow real development and drives people to despair, which in turn is used by extremists. Perhaps the blockade creates not more, but less, security."

Before he spoke, he said Israel won't tolerate justifiable criticism. It's "quite normal in a democracy," he stressed.

"The EU stands by its special relationship with Israel, but that does not mean that it has to agree every decision of (its) government."

B'Tselem monitors human rights in Occupied Palestine. There's "undeniable (Israeli) discrimination in the amount of water allocated to Israelis and Palestinians," it said.

Jews get up to over double the World Health Organization's (WHO) minimum daily recommendation. Palestinians on average get less than three-fourths the minimum needed. In Jenin, they get less than 40%.

More below on B'Tselem's analysis of polluted water Gazans are forced to use.

On Wednesday evening, Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein met privately with Schulz. He lied about water amounts Israel allows Palestinians.

He shamelessly claimed "no blockade of Gaza" exists. He lied saying Israelis are bombarded by missiles. 

Israel attacks Gaza repeatedly. It does so by air, land and sea. It does so preemptively. It does it lawlessly

It shoots Palestinian farmers in their fields. It uses Palestinian children for target practice. It gets away with cold-blooded murder unaccountably. It calls legitimate self-defense terrorism.

On February 9, B'Tselem headlined "Over 90% of water in Gaza Strip unfit for drinking." Offshore waters are dangerously contaminated.

Coastal aquifer water is Gaza's main source for drinking. It's "been continuously over-pumped for decades."

"(T)he Palestinian Water Authority pumps some 180 million cubic meters (mcm) a year..." Replenishment falls way short of what's needed. It's about 50 - 60 mcm annually.

Groundwater is significantly lowered. Contamination results from seawater seepage as well as saline water "rising from deeper in the reservoir."

Israel sells Gaza 4.2 mcm of water annually. It agreed to sell another 5 mcm of desalinated water a year. Infrastructure to transport it doesn't exist.

It remains to be completed. Besieged Gaza has no proper wastewater treatment facility. Many residents aren't connected to a sewage system.

Domestic waste flows into cesspits. It seeps into groundwater. It contaminates it. "The problem (worsened) in recent years, primarily due to electricity shortages," said B'Tselem.

It's one of many serious problems affecting Gaza. Israel bears full responsibility. Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud attacks severely damaged power and wastewater treatment facilities.

Huge amounts of sewage go untreated. War inflicted damage was largely repaired. Capacity can't keep up with need. "Gaza's wastewater treatment facilities are far from able to meet the required amounts and standards," B'Tselem explained.

Projects to improve things haven't progressed. Blockade restrictions bear full responsibility. Construction materials and equipment are inadequate. Lengthy bureaucratic delays exacerbate conditions.

The Palestinian Water Authority found a dangerous rise in nitrate levels. It's from contamination from agricultural pesticide use. It's from sewage seeping into aquifer water.

"Every day, only some 25 percent of Gaza's wastewater - about 30,000 cubic meters - is treated and recycled for agricultural use," said B'Tselem.

"Some 90,000 cubic meters of untreated or partially treated wastewater flows into the Mediterranean." Contamination follows. So do health hazards and damage to Gazan fishing.

Aquifer water is dangerously high in nitrogen and chloride. It makes "90 to 95% percent of (Gazan) water unfit for drinking and problematic for agricultural use."

PA Water Authority officials said only 6.5% of Gazan well water meets WHO minimum standards.

"Ninety-seven percent of Gazans are connected to the public water supply system." It doesn't provide enough water. Shortages exist. Inadequate infrastructure and power complicate things.

Residents suffer regular water outages. They "receiv(e) running water for only six to eight hours at a time: 25% of households on a daily basis, 40% every other day, 20% once every three days, and the remaining 15% (in Gaza City, Rafah and Jabaliya) only one day out of four."

Erratic supplies force Gazans to collect water in containers. They're placed on rooftops.

Power outages put pumps out of commission. Water can't be channeled into containers. Residents are forced to collect water at ground level.

Wafa al-Faran is a married mother of eight. She lives in Gaza City's a-Shuja'iya neighborhood. She explained her ordeal, saying:

"The power outages really interfere with the water supply to our houses. When there's no electricity, there's very little water in the taps." 

"We had to buy a pump so that the water would reach the containers on our roof. We have four containers of 4,000 liters altogether." 

"When we get running water, we turn the pump on and fill up the containers. But sometimes, there's no electricity when there’s water." 

"When that happened, we used to operate the pump with a generator, so that we wouldn't run out of water. But the generator uses a lot of fuel, which is very expensive." 

"Now there's no fuel from Egypt and the fuel from Israel is very expensive, so we don't use the generator at all. Even at night, when we don't have power, we make do with candles and flashlights." 

"A few months ago, my husband bought a new water container, which we put at the entrance to the house, so that we can fill it up when there's no power." 

"We get water out of the container in buckets, because it's not connected to our plumbing."

"We don't drink the water that from the pipes and don't use it for making coffee or tea or for cooking. We buy fresh water from water vendors." 

"Sometimes, I use the fresh water to wash my daughters’ hair, and in the morning we use this water to wash our faces, because the water from the taps burns our eyes."

Imagine living through this daily ordeal. Most Gazans are impoverished. Many can't afford to buy fresh water. Imagine consuming what's unfit to drink. 

Imagine the health risks doing it. Average Gazan daily water consumption falls below WHO minimums. Residents struggle to get by.

Ibtesam Kheir a-Din is a married mother of six. "The water we get is salty and unfit for drinking," she said. "Sometimes it even smells bad."

"We only use it to clean the house and do dishes and laundry, but nothing ever feels really clean."

"Clothes smell bad and get stained." She and family use vendor-supplied water for drinking.

Last November, Gaza's power plant shut. Enough fuel wasn't available. Generators ran sewage pumping stations.

In mid-month, one in a-Zaytun broke down. A generator malfunction caused 35,000 mcm of raw sewage to flood the neighborhood. Leakage entered homes.

In 2009, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) recommended ceasing coastal aquifer pumping. At issue is possible collapse of Gaza's water system.

Over-pumping continues. What other choice do residents have? No longterm solution exists. Gaza's water crisis deepens.

The Palestinian Water Authority and UNEP agreed. Coastal aquifer supplies "passed the point of no return in terms of rehabilitation options."

By 2016, pumping water no longer will be possible. Crisis conditions are serious. Another solution must be found. 

At stake is the health and welfare of nearly 1.8 million Gazans. They need potable water to survive. Siege conditions exacerbate crisis conditions. It's unclear how they'll be resolved.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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

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Palestinians in Israel: Squaring the circle

An interview with Jonathan Cook

Five Books – 25 February 2014
Interviewed by: Bethan Staton

Outside of the Middle East, many people understand Palestine to mean the West Bank and Gaza, and Palestinians as the people living in these areas. But Palestinians who remained in Israel after the creation of the state in 1948 – when some 700,000 were displaced in the Nakba or catastrophe – now make up around 20% of Israel’s population. Could you explain a bit more about this community, and why it has been overlooked?

The difficulty for Palestinians remaining in what becomes Israel after 1948 is that the Palestinian national movement develops in exile, in the occupied territories and the neighboring Arab states. Palestinians in Israel are excluded and shielded from these developments and left in what amounts to a political and social ghetto. Israel strictly circumscribes their understanding of who they are and anything to do with their history, heritage and culture. Israel controls the education system, for instance, and makes it effectively impossible to talk about Palestinian issues there: you can’t discuss what the PLO is or the nakba, for example. This is designed to erode a sense of Palestinian-ness.

For most of the Palestinian minority’s history inside Israel, there’s also a reliance on the Israeli media, which won’t allow discussion of Palestinian identity either. In the state’s early years, Israel does not even refer to Palestinians as Arabs; they are described as ‘the minorities’, purely in sectarian or tribal terms as Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bedouin. It’s an innovation later on that the state recognises them as generic “Arabs”.

Another thing to remember is that the urban, educated middle class is destroyed in 1948. The elites are almost completely expelled. Nazareth is the only city where an urban population survives in any significant numbers. What you are left with is a series of isolated rural peasant communities, and these are not likely to a be the vanguard of a Palestinian national movement. So after 1948 we are already looking at an isolated, severely weakened Palestinian community within Israel, and it is very easy to manipulate this community, to strip it of its identity.

But this system of control starts to break down, first with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in 1967. That releases the ‘virus’, as some would see it, of Palestinian nationalism to the Palestinians inside Israel. They start to reconnect with people on the “other side” in places like Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah. Families are reunited. Palestinians in Israel begin to realise how much they have been held back, oppressed.

The shift is only reinforced later with Israel’s loss of control over the media. When Arabic satellite television comes along, for example, the state is no longer able to control what its Palestinian citizens hear and see. And Palestinians are provided with an external window both on the ugliness of the occupation and their own situation, and on the centrality of the Palestinian cause to the rest of the Arab world.

So in more recent decades have we seen an increase in the kind of literature that deals with these identity issues? And a change in how these issues are considered?

The greatest problem facing Palestinians inside Israel is how to respond to their situation. They are cut off, isolated, excluded from the centres of power and even from the self-declared identity of a Jewish state. They’re an alien, unwelcome presence within that state. So the question is: how do you respond?

There are two main possibilities: through resistance, whether violent or non-violent, whether military, political, social or literary; or through some form of accommodation. And herein lies the tension. And this is what is especially interesting about the Palestinians in Israel, because to remain sane in this environment they have to adopt both strategies at the same time.

You see this politically in the Israeli Communist Party, the most established of the non-Zionist parties Palestinians vote for. The Communist movement is a Jewish-Arab one, so its Palestinian members are especially exposed to this tension. It is no surprise that some of the leading figures of Palestinian literature and art in Israel have been very prominent in the Communist party. Emile Habiby, for instance, was the editor of the Communist newspaper Al-Ittihad. The tension is obvious in the philosophy of the Communist party, which supports the idea of Jewish-Arab equality but within the framework of a Jewish state. This is a very unusual kind of communism: one that still thinks it’s possible to ascribe an ethnic identity to the state and yet aspire to the principle of equality within it. Palestinian Communists have been struggling with this paradox for a long time.

How successful is the attempt at reconciliation? Is there continued belief in, and support for, a Jewish state?

A central tenet of the Israeli Communist Party is “two states for two peoples”. So who are the “peoples” being referred to? One is the Palestinian people. But what is the other? Is it the Israeli people or the Jewish people? For Israeli Jews at least, it is clearly the Jewish people. In fact, within Israel there is no formally recognised Israeli nationality – only a Jewish nationality and an Arab nationality. The idea of “two states for two peoples” is vague, and it’s meant to be vague to keep Palestinians comfortable within the Israeli Communist Party. But the implication is that we are talking about two states, one for the Palestinians and one for the Jews.

The Communist Party stands for elections as the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Hadash). The implication is that peace (a Jewish state) is reconcilable with equality. This is very problematic: the Palestinian intellectuals at the forefront of the party try to evade this contradiction. But you can’t really fudge it, you can’t square the circle.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Emile Habiby ends up writing the quintessential character in Israeli Palestinian literature: Saeed the Pessoptimist. This character represents the tension the minority lives: pessimism imbued with optimism. The Jewish state is the situation you’re trapped in, that’s pessimistic; the optimism looks to the equality you think you can aspire to, despite the reality. Saeed is always trying to square the circle. This very much becomes a theme of Palestinian literature in Israel.

Somebody like the poet Mahmoud Darwish, on the other hand, chooses a side. He does not try to keep a foot in both camps. Darwish says ‘I’m with the resistance’, and he leaves.

Sabri Jiryis also left Israel, after the publication of his book The Arabs in Israel, which is on your list. Could you tell us a bit more about the book, which could perhaps serve as an introduction to the background to this context?

That’s right. The book came out in English in 1976, but in Hebrew it was published in 1966. That is a very important date: it marks the end of the military government, the first 18 years when Israel imposes a system of military rule over its Palestinian citizens, separate from the democratic system that governs the Jewish majority. It is rather like the system of military rule that operates in the occupied territories today. When Jiryis was writing, of course, he didn’t know the military government was about to end, but he produces the definitive book on that period.

Jiryis is a lawyer writing a largely academic book, and it’s the first of its type to be written by a Palestinian inside Israel. Interestingly, like several other prominent Palestinian writers, he chooses to write in Hebrew – as do, for example, Anton Shammas and Sayed Kashua. In resorting to the language of your oppressor, you accommodate. Jiryis is resisting through content, but the language he employs is an accommodation.

He is writing at the close of the military government, and giving a victim’s view of it. It tells the Palestinian side but it is accessible to the Jewish population. So the work is highly subversive. It is also a counterpoint to Jewish academics who are writing books about Palestinians inside Israel in this period, people like Ori Stendal, who works with the intelligence services. The Israeli ‘experts’ studying the minority, and this is true to this day, are mainly working within the security paradigm, trying to understand the threat posed by the ‘Arab Israelis’ and refining the system of control. Jiryis is doing the exact opposite: he is trying to expose and shame the system.

Many of the Palestinians in Israel who write of the horrors of this period end up leaving. We see this, for example, with Fauzi el-Asmar, a Palestinian poet and a contemporary of Jiryis, who is forced out. His writings and activism are subversive, and so the state jails him. In his book To Be an Arab in Israel, he recalls his interrogators telling him ‘We will only make your life easy once you sign this piece of paper to say you’re leaving’. The task here is to get him out of the country, because the last thing Israel wants is people who are defining and shaping an identity for Palestinians within Israel. El-Asmar ends up leaving and becomes an American academic. Jiryis, too, leaves and goes to Lebanon and joins the PLO there. Those who stay but want to keep their integrity keep trying to square the circle: accommodating on one level, while resisting on another.

And I guess this process has the effect of shaping the landscape of Palestinian literature and identity within Israel – making it more accommodating?

More pessoptimist! Nazareth and Haifa are the only two places where a Palestinian middle class, an intellectual elite survived. They had to find some way to be true to themselves as intellectuals, but they also had to find a way to accommodate with the oppressor. And the ways they accomodate are interesting: their subversion is subtle, ironic, and so on. Kashua ends up living among Jews, speaking Hebrew with his kids, half in the Jewish camp and half in the Arab camp, ashamed and proud of his Arabness at the same time. This is the eternal problem of the pessoptimist.

One also has to understand where this comes from: choice. Early figures like Jiryis end up leaving. The process of writing his book seems to resolve in his own mind his status. He confronts the problem of his half-citizenship and rejects it.

So the Jiryis book you have chosen is this book, the book he wrote in Israel before he left. What precisely does he produce before leaving?

He is like a political scientist examining a Kafkaesque situation. He is analysing these absurd laws that look like they are the foundations of a democracy while they are really the walls of a prison. He is trying to explain the paradoxes in the law, and in the wider concept of a Jewish and democratic state. The abuses of the military government simply clarify things.

Take, for example, the Fallow Lands Law, an Ottoman law adopted by Israel that requires landowners to farm their land. If they leave the land untended for more than three years, it can be taken by the ruler and reassigned to those who need it. Under the Ottomans, it is a piece of almost-socialist legislation.

Israel, however, totally subverts the law’s intent. Now the military governor has each Palestinian land owner in his malevolent grip. In this period, no Palestinian resident can leave his or her community without a permit from the military government. So the farmer who needs to get to his land to tend it must either accommodate with the military government (i.e. become a collaborator) or resist and lose his land. In short, he has two awful choices.

As a lawyer, Jiryis is trying to understand how these laws work, how they cohere, how they create a system of control. And he’s really the first Palestinian to try and do that. Another writer, Fauzi el-Asmar embodies the emotional, poetic, artistic response to the situation, but Jiryis grasps the dynamics of it and breaks down the complexity. Really he is describing Israel’s version of Apartheid.

As you said, the book documents the period of military rule, which came to an end in the 1960s. How do you think a reader coming to the book should understand those details in relation to what has happened since, and what the situation is today?

This is one of the things I find interesting about Jiryis. The book is an act of resistance: he was trying to produce a road map that would allow Palestinians to understand the nature of their oppression, so they could be better equipped to fight it. If you don’t understand a problem you can’t fix it, and what Jiryis is trying to do is make the hidden and veiled visible: he’s taking apart the clock to see how all the mechanisms fit. When people understand the system, they can challenge it, try to remake it.

What may not be clear to him when he is writing is whether the system is reformable or needs overthrowing. In the end, Jiryis sides with the military resistance: he goes off and joins the PLO in exile. Although he’s not a fighter, he takes a side. He’s no longer a Palestinian Israeli: he’s simply a Palestinian.

At the same time, though, he’s rooted to the idea of steadfastness, or sumud – this is another feature of Palestinian literature. As soon as Oslo is signed, he returns. In fact, he is the first of the PLO exiles to apply and come back to Israel under the terms of the Oslo Accords. But when he returns, he chooses to live in Fassuta, his ancestral village way up in the north, next to Lebanon. The place is really out in the sticks. But this is where he wants to be: it is his home, his village, his land.

This is very much a response to the peculiarity of Israeli citizenship, which lacks a corresponding Israeli nationality. For most citizens their nationality is Jewish or Arab. That means for Palestinians there is no common nationality that connects them with the Jewish population. And unlike Jewish Israelis, those with Arab nationality have no national rights, only inferior individual rights. In other words, Palestinians in Israel have a very deprived form of citizenship, almost like a guest worker. That creates a very strong feeling of insecurity, impermanence, temporariness: the antithesis of sumud. So they root themselves to a place. Jiryis is a good example of this. I think it is incredible for a man who was such a central figure in the legal establishment of the PLO to come back to the anonymity of Fassuta the first chance he gets.

Perhaps that would be a good time to mention Sayed Kashua’s Let it be Morning?

Sayed Kashua is a great example of the pessoptimist, especially in terms of the way he writes and what he writes about. He has developed a semi-autobiographical character over many years in the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz. He also has the only sitcom on mainstream Israeli TV written by a Palestinian, in which the main character Amjad tries to square the circle: he aspires to live in a Jewish community, to live like a first-class citizen, while constantly fearing that the pretence on which he has constructed his life will be exposed and shattered. Fear of exposure and humiliation drives him. In other hands it would be tragedy, but because Kashua has a wicked sense of humour it is uproariously funny.

It is never quite clear how much Amjad or Kashua’s other characters are really him. He is always playing around with identities, and this is another interesting feature of Palestinian art inside Israel, especially cinema. When reality is so strange, a hybrid documentary style – fact merged with fiction – helps to capture the truth while also offering the protection of distance. Humour does the same. Good cinematic examples of this are films like Hany Abu Assad’s Ford Transit or Eli Suleiman’s Divine Intervention.

Palestinian identity in this context has to be very fluid. One weakness of Jewish academic studies of Palestinians in Israel is that they ascribe the population linear identities. One professor, Sami Smooha, is famous for identity surveys in which he tries to assess whether the minority is becoming ‘more Palestinian’ or ‘more Israeli’. That is really wrong-headed: for Palestinians in Israel there has to be a fluidity of identity to cope with these terribly complex legal, political, emotional situations. And that’s reflected in the character of the pessoptimist.

In Let it be Morning there’s definitely a sense of tension between what the narrator wishes to be the case, and the reality of what’s going on in his life. When he returns from Tel Aviv to the Arab village where he grew up it’s difficult to tell what reality is, and what is coloured by his needs and desires. And the sense of everything slipping out of control is very overwhelming.

Let It Be Morning is unusual for Kashua because it is a serious, nightmarish work – it is the pessoptimist at his very darkest. There is a reason for that: Kashua is writing in the early days of the second intifada when things reached a nadir for Palestinians in Israel. They were living in Israel, often under threat from suicide bombings just like Israeli Jews, but at the same time constantly under suspicion as terrorists themselves from the Jewish population. This is precisely the problem faced by the narrator, a journalist like Kashua working for a Hebrew newspaper and who feels increasingly alienated from his workplace and the Jewish city where he and his family live. He craves a sense of security and so decides to return to his Arab village, right next to the West Bank.

But the relocation offers him no real comfort. He has become too Jewish after a 10-year absence to fit back into the village, torn itself between lingering patriarchal Palestinian traditions and the faux-modernity and materialism its residents aspire to as “half-Israelis”. Their constant accommodations and dependence on their state, Israel, are simply vulgar reminders of the narrator’s own more sophisticated efforts at the same. So the narrator finds himself a “dancing Arab” – the title of his first, seemingly very autobiographical novel – trying to please everyone, and failing dismally.

Survival for Palestinians depends on creativity and adaptability, and a sense of communal cohesion. This is at the heart of the concept of sumud (or steadfastness). But the village is put to an extreme test in Kashua’s book when it is surrounded by tanks and its inhabitants find themselves cut off from the modern world, Israel, and from the old world, Palestine. This is a clear metaphor for the Palestinians inside Israel: they are cut off from both sides. Suddenly the villagers are isolated, and their society and sense of solidarity quickly break down. They stop being a community and become instead competing families, capable of cruelty and inhumanity.

Kashua is playing with a very familiar nightmare scenario for Palestinians inside Israel – the continuing fear of transfer, the threat of being expelled this time, of not holding on to what was kept in 1948. This is something I did not understand until I was living here. There really is a tangible fear that at any moment they and their families could be transferred, that the war of 1948 never finished. This is a large part of the incentive for accommodation: there is a huge sword hanging over your head. You could be expelled; if you put a foot wrong, you could be out the door; the trucks are waiting.

In the book, Kashua seems to communicate an unsureness about the extent to which he’s cooperating or collaborating. The mechanisms and institutions of society are always working towards strengthening themselves. Just by participating in society you are necessarily a part of that, contributing to it. I’ve spoken to many people about this sense, even in the West Bank.

The difference in the Occupied Territories is that for Palestinians there the Israelis are basically the Shin Bet, the army, the police and possibly the settlers – agents of the state. These people appear as unfamiliar, hostile beings. When Palestinians encounter them, it is clearly a master-slave relationship.

Inside Israel it is different. If you are a Palestinian taxi driver in Israel you spend all day speaking Hebrew to people in the back of your cab. You are constantly accommodating, performing as the Good Arab. For most Palestinian youth in Israel this experience arrives as a shock when they start a first job or go to university. They move from a familiar place where all the children around them are like them, speaking Arabic, and then suddenly they are in a world where they are seen as something alien. Often they face hostility, contempt, aggression, subtle or otherwise, from those they must spend time with.

So one thing you often see with Palestinians in Israel is a need to declare their separateness, to make a statement about their identity. That may not necessarily be as a Palestinian; it can be a sectarian identity. So, for example, you see many young Muslim women wearing the hijab, while Christian girls walk around with a cross around their neck. People don’t want to be caught in embarrassing or humiliating situations. It is a way to avoid the danger of being accepted and then rejected, revealed as the Other.

The next book on your list is Hatim Kanaaneh’s A Doctor in Galilee. I guess this gives a very human perspective on some very practical issues and material manifestations of the situation now and historically, obviously through the context of healthcare.

Hatim is a friend, and he sought my opinion on the book while he was drafting it. I find his story, again, illustrative of the problems we’ve been talking about. His family realises he has a talent and they make major sacrifices to send him to Harvard to get a medical degree. This is at the end of the military government, and a very difficult time for Palestinians inside Israel. They are a very isolated community, cut off from the world, barely connected to the transport infrastructure, living in a ghetto, and Hatim makes this incredible leap to go and train as a doctor at Harvard.

Hatim, I think, embodies the qualities of the pessoptimist, even if a very self aware one, one who understands early on that he is trying to square the circle. He has a set of impressive skills, ones denied to other Palestinians in Israel, and acquired because his family suffered to make this possible for him. It is both a huge burden and a considerable weapon. So he wants to put his new skills to good use, to the benefit of his society. The pessimist understands the disastrous circumstances of his community, but the optimist wants to believe his community – and the relationships between Jews and Arabs – can be improved.

He is not simply fixing broken bodies, he is trying to create an infrastructure of public health care for his community. He’s trying to create sewage systems and bring fresh water into the villages, to liberate the inhabitants from the prisons created for them by the state. Israel is a modern country, but it has left the Palestinian villages a hundred years behind. Kanaaneh comes with the tools of modernity to save these villages. The optimist wants to believe this can be done, and that once Israelis see what Palestinians are capable of they will warm to them, see them as human, as equals.

Hatim’s struggle is conducted through the Health Ministry, where he rises to the most senior position ever held by a Palestinian citizen. He assumes he is going to break down the stereotypes, that he will win over the Jews as friends, and that when they revise their opinion of him they will do the same with the rest of the Palestinian minority. He is a man with vision and optimism, but he is trapped in a world that demands pessimism. He starts to see himself more and more as an Uncle Tom and to lose faith in the Jewish colleagues around him. He identifies the racism as so entrenched that he doubts there is a way to circumvent it. He becomes deeply disillusioned. But despite all that he chooses sumud as his act of part-accomodation, part-resistance.

I think the sense of responsibility among people to give back to one’s community is quite common, but in this context the feeling of being ‘unwanted’ within a state structure, so to speak, adds an element of feeling the need to justify one’s own existence. And in the book everything seems pretty hopeless at points. You get a real sense of banging your head against a brick wall.

When Hatim finally quits the Health Ministry, he sets up the first real NGO for Palestinians inside Israel with an international perspective, the Galilee Society. This is an act of subversion. He is trying to bypass Israel and go directly to the international community, because he realises that otherwise no help will be forthcoming from his own state. But at the same time it is not a completely rejectionist stance: he also knows he must work with Jewish society. By reaching out to the international community, he hopes to shame Israel into action.

So the potential for the community to create alternative structures to serve itself is limited, and when it comes to things like infrastructure and healthcare, the state is very necessary. And this makes cooperating and working with the state necessary.

He is resisting by setting up the Galilee Society, but he is also doing it within the framework of accommodation. He’s got a foot in both camps because that is the only option for those who stay. Leaving is a defeat for sumud, for steadfastness. That is why Palestinians see the need to come back to the place where they started: that is the only thing that distinguishes them from other Palestinians, it is the only strength they have.

You’ve also selected So What by Taha Muhammad Ali. It’s a selection of his poetry from 1971-2005. How does this deal with ideas of longing and return?

Taha Muhammad Ali was an internal refugee, or a “present absentee”, this gloriously Orwellian term Israel assigns to those who after 1948 are still present in Israel but absent from their property. Safuriya, his village, which is right next to Nazareth, represents this tension acutely – of presence and absence. Many of the refugees, like Taha’s family, fled to Nazareth and set up their own neighborhood called Safafri that overlooks the old, destroyed village. So they wake up in the morning and open the curtains to look out on the land that they lived on before they were expelled in 1948. He is so present he is almost there, but at the same time he is always absent. This is not an untypical condition: one in four Palestinians in Israel are present absentees.

Here you have another way of looking at the pessoptimist: the present and the absent. The present person is the optimist, the absent person is the pessimist. Some of the best Palestinian poets, including Darwish, were internal refugees, always living with this tension in their being.

Poetry has a very important place in the Palestinians’ artistic pantheon, and it becomes particularly powerful as a vehicle for the Palestinians because it speaks to the whole Arab world. People set poems to music, so it was more than literature, it became part of a wider Arabic culture. It was a way to tell the Palestinian story, the Palestinian sense of loss to the whole Arab world; it was the best kind of newspaper you could have and at the same time gave a sense that the loss of the Palestinian homeland was also a loss for all Arabs, a loss of independence and a sense of self respect that they all shared.

Darwish, the most famous Palestinian poet, faces the tension and stays inside Israel for quite a while. But in the end he, like Jiryis, cannot live with it. Taha Muhammad Ali is a pessoptimist. He does not have the heart for pure resistance. He prefers to find the middle ground, some kind of accommodation.

And how is that expressed in the poetry?

Famously he said ‘There is no Israel and there is no Palestine’, which is something you could never imagine Darwish saying. In fact, invariably there is from Taha a rejection of posturing, self-importance and, above all, a deep disquiet at all-consuming hatred, however justified it might seem by circumstance. In one poem,’Twigs’, he focuses on the things he remembers – small things, details like the taste of bread and water. It ends with an assessment that at our death “hate will be / the first thing / to putrefy / within us”. But at the same happiness is never quite present either. One of his lines, used as the title of a great biography in English, is “My happiness bears no relation to happiness”.

There is also a poem, Revenge, where he talks about how he wants to kill the man who stole his family’s home in 1948, thereby “expelling me into a narrow country”. He says “if I were ready – / I would take my revenge!” So for a brief, deceptive moment it seems as though he has found an inner voice of resistance. But in true Taha style he then subverts it all. He recites all the reasons why he would not be able to kill him, such as if the man had loved ones, or friends or even casual acquaintances who might miss him. But even that is not enough of a concession. He also argues that he would leave the man be even if he had no one who cared for or loved him. “Instead I’d be content / to ignore him when I passed him by / on the street – as I / convinced myself / that paying him no attention / in itself was a kind of revenge.” So here is the pessoptimist; a man who starts with grand talk of resistance, but in the end despite himself recognises a need to accommodate, to live with others, to refuse to bow to their level.

Do you think it’s as if there’s a sense of humanity – both in the sense of practical needs and sympathy for others – getting in the way of taking any kind of action?

Taha died a couple of years ago, but there are videos of him on YouTube. You see when he talks, there is a wonderful boylike mischief in his face, a kind of perpetual smile even as he talks about very sad things, the losses endured by himself and his family, and his community. There is an eternal optimism in tiny things: he says “the best drink is water and the best food is bread”. The tiny things in life can give you a great deal of pleasure, and maybe you have to focus on the small things because the big things are too depressing, too overwhelming.

But the day to day is so important because it keeps people going, and it’s also what keeps people accommodating, in a sense.

Taha had four years of formal education because his whole schooling was brought to an end by the Nakba. In 1948 the present absentees lose everything – it is year zero. Taha and his brothers start to rebuild their lives in Nazareth, selling bread from a street trolley. Eventually he opens a souvenir shop next to the Basilica, selling trinkets to tourists, and probably regales them with his stories too. But most of the time there is nothing to do. You can see shop owners like him today, sitting there or dozing or listening to the radio. But you can imagine Taha reading loads of poetry, teaching himself because he understands that only through poetry can he reclaim his voice and reach out to people with his stories.

As a self-taught poet, he finds his own language. Unlike Darwish, he does not use classical Arabic, the heavy, serious Arabic. Instead he uses the street language. He talks to the ordinary man and woman. He does not want poetry to be this big, weighty thing. The subject for him is not the grand Palestinian drama, but the small, inconsequential things that have been lost or destroyed, the efforts to rebuild on the personal scale, to take pleasure in the tiny things that survive. He seeks the reasons for optimism, love and compassion over the urge for hatred and revenge. There is a bitterness too but it must never be allowed to trump what really matters.

Your final book choice is Sleeping on a Wire, by David Grossman.

I felt we should have one work from an Israeli Jew, because they have done so much to shape Palestinian identity inside Israel. There are some great books on Palestinians in Israel, as well as some truly awful ones. I see David Grossman’s book as interesting because it is really the first attempt to grapple with the Palestinian identity issue in Israel from a Jewish perspective. I do not think it is entirely successful, and I have a problem with his politics, but it is clear he is trying to do it honestly, that he is seeking to understand.

The problem is that he is a liberal Zionist, and there is a constant tension between his liberalism and his Zionism. So the liberal in Grossman wants to understand the trauma that befell the Palestinians in Israel, wants to reach out to them, wants to understand them. But at the same time the Zionist in him fears what their narrative represents. So what happens in each chapter, like a nervous tic, which I find fascinating, is Grossman immersing himself in their stories deeply, allowing them to speak unmediated, but then afterwards he can’t stop himself from interpreting for them, or judging them.

So what’s the structure of this, what form does this take in the book?

It is a very common liberal Zionist position: the need to have the last word, and to create the framework of the narrative. His book is subversive because he is an Israeli Jew giving Palestinians the chance to tell their story, to explain their situation in great depth. He’s very good about letting Palestinians speak clearly and honestly and transparently, you sense that he’s not manipulating the conversations and he’s not editing out stuff, he just wants to hear, he gives you it all. But the context for this act of generosity is a Zionist one. He and his subjects are in a Jewish state, and it has to be one as far as Grossman is concerned. So however much he sympathises with the Palestinians, and however much he understands, however much he feels their pain: sorry, but at the end of the day the Jewish State is more important.

I found the book very frustrating, because he has this great ability to tell his subjects’ stories, but then the narrator, himself, comes in at the end to tell us what we should make of what we have just heard. He cannot leave it to us to make up our own mind; he has to create for us a prism to see through.

This is an important point when we talk about the tension faced by Palestinian Israelis: that profound tensions exist for Israeli Jews too. It’s a hard thing to face, with honesty, the problematic realities of a state that one supports and is a part of. Perhaps this is a different kind of struggle, of individuals coming to terms with the structures of their own privilege, and trying to accommodate difficult truths into a particular vision.

And I think this is a general problem for Israeli Jews: that the narrative of Palestinians, including or maybe especially those inside Israel, is too overwhelming, too threatening, too disconcerting, too guilt-inducing to cope with. Which is why most Israeli Jews won’t really listen. What is interesting about Grossman is he has enough emotional strength to hear it, but then needs to package it up in a way that he and his readers can cope with.

So do you think the book is valuable as a document of the Palestinian story in Israel, or as an example of attitudes towards that, of Jewish Israeli considerations of the issue?

I think it’s useful as both. Grossman’s motive was probably to write something that, because it was written by an Israeli Jew, would be accessible to people who find it difficult to hear the Palestinian narrative. He hoped to bridge a kind of social divide and help heal wounds.

The book is also a fascinating historical document. One chapter is dedicated to the Islamic movement in its early years, a subject little written about apart from in Arabic. It’s very interesting to see how the Islamic movement saw its role in the early 1990s, caught in a certain moment, at the end of of the first Intifada and just before Oslo. Or the unrecognised villages and their struggle at that time to live in a twilight world of being present and absent in a different sense: on the ground but off the map. Visible to the eye but invisible to Israeli bureaucrats, at least in terms of public services.

Grossman was writing at a moment when Israeli Jews were very pessimistic. Soldiers had been told by their prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to break the bones of Palestinians in the occupied territories to crush the first intifada. It was a time when Israeli Jews were realising that there was serious and organised opposition to the occupation, that their supposed benevolent rule was rejected by Palestinians.

The question of who the Palestinians inside Israel were, and how they were connected to these events, becomes important. Grossman is trying to reach out to the Palestinians in Israel to find some common ground, in the hope of defining an Israeliness. Possibly there’s an element of the security mentality – ‘let’s understand the enemy’. But he is too intelligent and sensitive just to be doing that. He is genuinely trying to find out whether some kind of accommodation can be reached, to ask: are they going to move closer to us, or further away? Because from a Jewish Israeli perspective, the Palestinians inside Israel are seen as the Achilles’ heel of the Jewish state.

At the beginning you alluded to a relatively recent sense of changing and developing Palestinian identity in Israel, through literature, media and so on. How are these books, which explore that, being received? And are things changing in terms of their relationship in wider Israeli society?

It’s an interesting question. Where’s Israeli Jewish society heading? If you look at the Israeli Jewish books about Palestinians in Israel they date from certain periods. In the late 1970s there is a rash of books written as a result of Land Day, when Palestinians in Israel engaged in a major confrontation with the state to stop confiscations of their land. Six demonstrators are killed during the protests. It’s a crisis for both sides: the Palestinians realise their citizenship is not real citizenship; and Israeli Jews appreciate that their rule over this group is contested. The lens through which this is seen is chiefly then a security one. How do we control them better? More books emerge during the 1990s, the Oslo period, because the question then is: what kind of citizenship can a Jewish state concede to the Palestinian minority after a peace agreement? How is the state’s security to be defined? Nowadays it seems to me Israeli Jewish society is much less interested in understanding Palestinians inside Israel.

Why?

I think now they are seen as more of a threat, and the chief interest is how to separate from them, not how to live with them. They are seen as a demographic problem, framed in the language of security. The issue is about “us”: how to protect the Jewish majority. This is the material of policy papers, not books.

Aside from that do you think the issues facing Palestinians within Israel are becoming more important in terms of wider questions about Israel and Palestine, and the possibility of a final settlement?

It is becoming clearer to Israel that Palestinians inside Israel are a key fault line in the peace process. Netanyahu has made the Palestinians’ recognition of Israel as a Jewish state a precondition for an agreement. So in terms of the peace process, Palestinians inside Israel are now a – if not, the – core issue.

During 1948 Israel created a demographic structure – through mass expulsions, and through laws to ensure that only Jews could immigrate – to guarantee that the state was and would remain incontestably Jewish. Now in the current peace talks, what Israel wants from the Palestinian leadership is for them to sign up to this, saying, we’re fine with it. And this is supposed to close the 1948 file, which is still an open file for the Palestinians. And this is why I think Palestinians inside Israel are seen increasingly less as a community in themselves and more as another one of the final status issues. The Palestinians’ fight inside Israel for equality and democracy ultimately risks creating a right of return – because real equality requires that Palestinians have the same rights of naturalisation as Jews enjoy under the Law of Return. And then you would have refugees returning and Israel’s Jewish majority being eroded.

And this puts another layer onto what you mentioned about accommodation: that’s a very big question resting on the shoulders of Palestinians in Israel. Yet as I mentioned earlier, I have the sense the reality of Palestinians living within Israel is not really recognised widely. When outsiders are introduced to the reality for the first time, they tend to find it puts everything in a very new perspective.

And it’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelming for everybody. The reason Grossman is reframing all the time is because it is overwhelming. The reason Sabri Jiryis and Mahmoud Darwish leave is because it’s overwhelming. The reason Taha Muhammad Ali and Sayed Kashua adopt the pessoptimist worldview is because it’s overwhelming. The reason Hatim Kanaaneh digs in his roots as deep as he can is because it’s overwhelming. And for outsiders it is overwhelming too; the reality is more complex and more paradoxical and more entrenched and more irreconcilable than anyone could have imagined.

It’s not just a case of drawing a better border. It’s much more complicated than that. It’s redressing decades and decades of injustice, and in doing so maybe creating new injustices. Because so many Jewish immigrants came and settled here and gave up lives elsewhere. What happens to them? You can’t just create a new set of injustices. How do you reconcile these problems? How do you square all these circles?

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Venezuelan Fascists Want Regime Change

Venezuelan Fascists Want Regime Change

by Stephen Lendman

Ongoing street violence isn’t happenstance. It didn’t erupt spontaneously. Dark forces planned it. On Friday it continued. More on this below. 

Washington's dirty hands are involved. Longstanding US plans call for regime change. 

Obama deplores democracy. He tolerates none at home or abroad. He wants Bolivarianism crushed. He wants social justice ended. 

He wants pro-Western puppet governance replacing sovereign Venezuelan independence. He wants control of Venezuela's vast oil reserves.

On Thursday, President Nicolas Maduro blamed fascists for stoking violence. "The violent events on Wednesday had only one political intention," he said.

Anti-Bolivarian extremists "want to defeat a legitimate government, protected by legitimacy and constitutionality."

"I will tell these fascist fugitives...you are responsible for violence." Masterminds and perpetrators will be arrested, he said. They'll be brought to justice.

Maduro highlighted security force efforts, adding:

"I have raised the path of tolerance, dialogue, peace, but from the ranks of the right has arisen violence...(It tested the) patience of the Bolivarian National Police, whom I congratulate for (their) work."

Maduro instructed National Guard forces to protect all Venezuelans. Beware of "Miami fascists," he warned. 

They're manipulating people. They're "pull(ing) the strings of those groups that are now in the streets."

Nuestra Tele Noticas 24 Horas (NYN24) is an international 24-hour news channel. It's available throughout Latin and Central America. Direct TV carries it in America. 

On Wednesday, Maduro ordered it off air in Venezuela. Its broadcasts were inflammatory. They misreported. They expressed anti-government sentiment.

Maduro "denounce(d) AFP for manipulating information." He accused them of "wanting to create a very similar climate to 2002. (He) asked the information minister to speak clearly with their correspondents."

He accused dominant Venezuelan corporate media of misrepresenting what's happening. He denied false claims about police suppressing peaceful protests.

Fascist elements stoked violence for days. "(W)e've had a lot of patience with them," said Maduro. 

Further violence won't be tolerated, he said. "Should I allow them to burn, to destroy this country," he asked? 

His top priority is restoring order. It's protecting all Venezuelans. It's preventing a 2002 coup repeat. It stopping elements inciting it.

Anti-government media promote violence. They did so in days before the April 2002 coup.

Venezuelan corporate controlled Venevision, Globovision, Televen and RCTV suspended regular programming.

They replaced it with anti-Chavez propaganda. They called on Venezuelans to take to the streets. They said do it "for freedom and democracy...No one will defeat us."

They urged Venezuelans to rebel. They knew in advance when the coup was planned. A day ahead, General Nestor Gonzales got nationwide air time. Major corporate broadcasters cooperated.

He demanded Chavez step down. He said he'd be forcibly removed otherwise. The day after the coup, the dominant corporate media revealed their involvement.

Venevision featured coup plotters on air. They thanked corporate media channels for support. Coup leader Pedro Carmona used Venevision facilities as a "bunker."

It was a staging area for what followed. It was initiated on April 11, 2002. Carmona was seen leaving Venevision for the Miraflores presidential palace.

He did so to replace Chavez as president. He signed the infamous Carmona Decree. It named him head of state. It crushed democracy. It dissolved the National Assembly and Supreme Court. 

It annulled Venezuela's Constitution. It ended Bolivarianism. It replaced it with fascist extremism. It did so in league with Washington.

Carmona's tenure was short-lived. It lasted 48 hours. Mass Chavista activism restored Chavez to office.

Is history repeating now? Are coup plans unfolding? Are dominant Venezuelan media involved? Did they have advance knowledge of what's happening?

Is something more sinister than street protests in play? They're violent. They're destabilizing. They continue. Participant numbers are too small to matter. So far at least.

The vast majority of Venezuelans oppose them. On April 13, 2002, hundreds of thousands of Chavez supporters rallied. They took to the streets.

They demanded his reinstatement. They did so while dominant TV channels aired old movies, cartoons and other distracting programming.

While ongoing, coup plotting got no coverage. Not on corporate TV. Not in dominant broadsheets. State television was suspended for 48 hours. 

Venezuelans were on their own to act. They did so until conditions normalized. It was an impressive moment in Venezuelan history. Will they respond again now if needed?

Bolivarianism is too important to lose. So is sovereign independent freedom. Fascists want democracy crushed. They want social justice ended. They want hardline rule restored.

Their ability to achieve a successful coup is hugely constrained. It's possible. It's unlikely. Maduro knows what happened earlier.

He's instituting all measures possible to prevent it. He announced a Peace and Coexistence Plan. He wants it serving all Venezuelans responsibly. He involved state governors and cabinet ministers to implement it.

He ordered the arrest of opposition fascist leader Leopoldo Lopez. A previous article discussed him. He stoked street violence. He barely stopped short of urging national insurrection.

A warrant was issued for his arrest. He's charged with murder, terrorism, conspiracy, incitement to crime, setting fire to a public building, damaging public property, public intimidation, and inflicting serious injuries.

He bears much responsibility for what's ongoing. He threatens Venezuelan freedom. So do other likeminded extremists.

Maduro accused Lopez of stoking violence. He compared him to 2002 coup plotters.

"There you have the face of fascism," he said. "I tell these fugitives from justice. Give yourselves up."

"They should go behind bars," Maduro added. Lopez remains at large. Colleagues said he spent Thursday with advisers. 

He challenged Maduro via Twitter. "Thanks for all your shows of solidarity," he said. "I'm fine. I'm still in Venezuela, and I'll stay in the streets. Strength!"

On Thursday, violent protests continued. Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez reported four deaths. Another 66 were wounded.

Dozens were arrested. Rodriquez accused them of "burn(ing) patrol (vehicles), attack(ing) police officers, and committing (extensive) vandalism."

"The human rights of all detainees are being respected," he said. "(W)hen they go to trial, they should explain the reasons for their actions...(They'll be) punished by the weight of the law."

Investigations are ongoing, he added. Efforts are being made to "determine as quickly as possible who is responsible" for instigating violence.

Late Thursday, things were calm. Perhaps before the next storm. Authorities are assessing damage. Rodriguez urged Venezuelans to be vigilant. "(B)e alert to destabilizing plans," he warned.

He expects fascist elements plan more violence. He said suspects arrested said so. Opposition leaders got funding and training from abroad, he added. 

He left little doubt where from. It bears repeating. Washington's dirty hands are involved. Maduro referenced "Miami fascists."

Strings are pulled in Washington. Obama wants hardline governance replacing Maduro. How far he's willing to go remains to be seen.

On Thursday, National Assembly (AN) Committee on Domestic Policy members urged lawmakers to investigate Lopez. He heads the hard-right Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) party.

They want AN member Maria Corina Machado's possible involvement in street violence examined. 

She's a right-wing extremist. She's a longtime anti-Chavista. She signed the infamous Carmona Decree. 

Evidence shows her involvement in other destabilizing schemes. Washington provides generous financial support.

She urged anti-government elements to stay in the streets. She called violent protesters peaceful. She blamed police for their crimes.

United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) lawmaker Jose Javier Morales said:

"While the government is promoting measures to ensure the welfare of all Venezuelans, (Lopez and Machado) generate chaos and crisis."

"Yesterday they inspired the people to embark on this wave of violence." He suggested it resembles what happened in 2002.

"It's time for the state to act against these acts of vandalism," he added.

What happens going forward bears close watching. Chavistas support Maduro. PSUV youth wing organzer Sonny Sanchez said activists will stay in the streets.

They'll do so in solidarity with Maduro. They oppose "fascists, Nazis (and) terrorists...(They're manipulated) to create chaos in the country," he said.

Opposition leader/former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles wrongfully accused security forces and Chavistas of stoking violence.

Anti-government fascist elements bear full responsibility. Maduro won't tolerate it, he said.

"I swear by my people that there will be justice for the blood shed in Venezuela today," he stressed.

"I swear that I will do justice in Venezuela. I want peace and justice. The Bolivarian Revolution will triumph by way of the Constitution."

He charged two other prominent opposition figures with involement. Fernando Gerbasi is a former ambassador to Colombia. Mario Ivan Carratu was a president Carlos Andres Perez military chief.

Cuba expressed solidarity with Maduro. An official statement condemned street violence. It blamed fascist plotters wanting him ousted.

"The government of Ecuador...express(ed) its full support to President Nicolas Maduro against these acts of violence organized by the opposition."

Bolivia's Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca expressed "total rejection of any attempt of destabilization in Venezuela." Argentina urged "an investigation to determine responsibilities."

Maduro said "(t)here will be no coup d'etat in Venezuela, you can rest assured. Democracy will continue, and the revolution will continue."

"I have given clear instructions to state security agencies to secure the country's main cities. Anyone who goes out to carry out violence will be arrested." Order will be restored, he added.

Bolivarianism is resilient. It survived numerous US destabilizing schemes. It's institutionalized. It's part of Venezuelan culture.

It has strong popular support. It won't wane and die. Venezuelans won't let it. They want no part of returning to their ugly past. 

They enjoy benefits too important to lose. Constitutional law mandates what Americans can't imagine.

Major problems remain. Maduro promised to address them. He represents all Venezuelans fairly. He won't tolerate disruptive fascist violence. 

He's committed to restoring calm and stability. It bears repeating. He has popular support to do so.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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

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Free Expression on Trial in Israel

Free Expression on Trial in Israel

by Stephen Lendman

Israel mocks democratic values. It has no borders. It's to steal Palestinian land.

It has no constitution. Basic laws substitute. They fall woefully short. Ones in place are ignored.

Universally recognized rights are compromised. They include life, liberty and security. They assure privacy. They prohibit cruel and unusual punishments.

They assure everyone equal protection under the law. No distinction can be made based on race, nationality, ethnicity, gender or religious preference.

They guarantee free expression, free assembly, free movement, and free thought. They assure adequate food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education and other vital services. 

They guarantee government of, by and for everyone equitably and fairly.

Israel is no democracy. It never was. For sure it's not now. It wants critics silenced. Legislation, policies and judicial rulings violate free speech, a free press, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.

Military censors have final say on published content. They can prohibit material called harmful to national security. True or false doesn't matter.

Israel's Supreme Court limits content suppression to "tangible (or) near certain" instances of public endangerment. Interpretations are crucial.

Israeli authorities are hardline. Rulings are twisted advantageously. Others are ignored. Fundamental rights are systematically violated. Police state justice prevails.

Anat Kamm is Israel's Bradley (Chelsea) Manning. In October 2011, she was prosecuted for whistleblowing. 

She exposed Israeli crimes against humanity. They involved targeted Palestinian assassinations. Ordering them violates international law. Nothing justifies murder.

Kamm was initially charged with espionage. Plea bargaining reduced charges. Prior to conviction, she spent two years under house arrest. 

Tel Aviv's District Court gave her 54 months imprisonment. It added another 18 months suspended sentence.

It did so on charges of collecting, holding and passing on classified material without authorization. She justifiably exposed wrongdoing. It didn't matter. 

She was imprisoned. On December 31, 2012, Israel's High Court shortened her sentence to three and a half years. Her 18 month suspended sentence remained.

On January 15, Israel's Prison Service parole board approved her early release. It did so for good behavior.

On January 26, she was freed. It's after serving two years. Her conviction violated press freedoms. 

Journalists are supposed to report government wrongdoing. It's their job to hold culpable officials responsible.

Not in America. Not in Israel. Potential prison time awaits those who try. Others are vulnerable for demonstrating publicly.

Daphni Leef is a video artist, editor and social activist. Neoliberal harshness is official Israeli policy. Social inequality is extreme. 

Recent data show nearly 40% of Israeli families can't cover monthly expenses. Poverty affects growing numbers. Children and seniors are most vulnerable. Activist Israelis want change.

In summer 2011 and 2012, they rallied across Israel. Leef was a Tel Aviv tent camp organizer.

Israelis want long denied social justice. America, Britain and Israel are the most unjust developed societies. Neoliberal harshness writ large is policy.

Wealth, power and privilege matter more than human need. For two consecutive summers, Israelis said no more. 

Grievances they demanded addressing still fester. Things are worse now than then. Issues include:

  • unaffordable housing;

  • high food and energy prices;

  • low wages and eroding social benefits;

  • onerous taxes;

  • education and healthcare increasingly dependent on the ability to pay;

  • weak labor rights;

  • construction funding disproportionately allocated for settlement development; and 

  • the high cost of raising children.

Instead of addressing vital issues responsibly, Israeli officials ignore them. Privilege alone matters. Most Israelis increasingly are on their own, sink or swim.

Israeli police violence resembles America's. Peaceful protesters are viciously targeted. They're brutalized. They're arrested. They're treated like criminals.

Daphni Leef is Exhibit A. On June 22, 2012, Israeli police targeted her. They beat her. They acted on government orders to do so.

They dragged her out of a group of peaceful demonstrators. They did it violently. They threw her to the ground. 

She tried protecting herself from repeated blows. She sustained multiple injuries doing so. They included a broken arm.

Police claimed peacefully protesting was illegal. They said authorization was needed to do so. 

They lied claiming Leef and other demonstrators "disturbed the peace in a way that could intimidate" public order.

They wrongfully accused her of leading "angry demonstrators and encourag(ing) their acts against inspectors and policemen."

She and 11 others were arrested. They joined hundreds of other protestors. They rallied under the banner "Emergency protest! Returning power to the people."

They headed for Rothschild Blvd. In summer 2011, rallies, marches and tent cities were prominent there for weeks.

Leef and others planned more tent city activism. They were brutally targeted to prevent it. Police states operate this way. Israel is one of the worst.

Arab citizens are treated like fifth column threats. Dissenting Jews are treated like criminals.

Leef was forcefully dragged to a police van. She was thrown inside. Witnesses won't forget what happened. Police violence leaves lasting memories. 

Last June, Leef refused plea bargain terms. They required false self-incrimination. In return, she'd perform 60 hours of community service. She declined to settle for anything less than all charges dropped.

They wrongfully accuse her of participating in a riot, using force and threats, resisting arrest, and obstructing police.

In January 2013, she was formally charged. Days passed before she knew. Summoning to a Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court hearing alerted her.

She requested a postponement. She needed time to study charges. The court acquiesced. She rejects all charges.

"I've been fighting to make (Israel) a better place for a year and a half now," she said. "There's something crazy about receiving an indictment that has no basis in reality."

She protested peacefully. She acted responsibly. Cops responded like thugs. They belong in the dock, not her.

Attorney Gabi Lasky represents her.  Days after the incident, police admitted "arrest(ing) (her) was a mistake," she said.

"We'll prove that this indictment is an even greater mistake," she added.

On February 3, Haaretz editors headlined "Leave Daphni Leef alone," saying:

Police conduct "should be seen as a scare tactic aimed at deterring future demonstrators." 

The evidentiary phase of Leef's trial began days earlier. They reflect Kafkaesque proceedings. They mock legitimacy.

"…Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino (began) to comprehend the injustice and the damage entailed in (Leef's) show trial," said Haaretz editors.

They'll reexamine criminal proceedings, they said. Evidence so far is woefully lacking. 

It shows "video footage in which Leef does not even appear and testimony from a police special forces officer who said he saw Leef shove another officer, the identity of whom he could not remember."

Magistrate Court Judge Shamai Becker wasn't pleased. He criticized poor quality evidence presented. Other video clips showed police using brutal force against Leef.

It proves their culpability. Leef was brutally victimized. "It raises questions about the officers’ credibility and the motivation of the police in this affair," said Haaretz editors.

TheMarker is an Israeli publication. It interviewed Leef. "On the one hand I sit in court and know what a gap there is between what really happened and what the witnesses said, and on the other hand I understand how much this is a matter of the system," she said. 

Weinstein and Danino "must put an end to the Leef affair," said Haaretz editors. They must "compel the police to retreat from the criminal proceedings against her."

They violate "fundamental democratic principles." Doing so is longstanding Israeli policy. Haaretz editors didn't explain.

Leef is one of many victims. Many face false charges. Some react their own way.

In July 2012, Moshe Silman died for justice. He self-immolated. 

He left a letter saying:

"The state of Israel stole from me and robbed me. It left me helpless."

"Two Housing and Construction Ministry committees rejected me, even though I had a stroke."

Disabled and disheartened, he couldn't survive on his monthly $582 allowance. "I can't even live month to month," he said. "I won't be homeless, and so I am protesting."

He blamed "the state of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz for the humiliation that the weakened citizens go through every day, taking from the poor and giving to the rich."

During a 2012 July 14 street protest, he poured gasoline on his body, self-immolated and died days later. He was too far gone to save.

Israel betrayed him like many others. Rights are systematically denied. Imagine dying for social justice. Rallies supported Silman after his death.

They did so under the slogan: "We're all Moshe Silman - The Blood is on the Government's Hands."

Targeting Leef represents Inquisition justice. She deserves widespread support. Doing the right thing demands it. 

Israel is one of the most socially unjust developed countries. Conditions go from bad to worse. Leef and likeminded activists demand change. It's more than ever needed.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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

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Western Manipulated Violence in Ukraine

Western Manipulated Violence in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Last November, protests erupted in Ukraine. Violence followed. Previous articles discussed it. Washington's dirty game was explained. Imperial lawlessness reflects it.

It has many forms. It includes trampling on fundamental rule of law principles. Toppling democratically elected governments is OK. 

So is assassinating foreign leaders. Replacing them by coup d'etats is longstanding US policy. Waging war to do it is standard practice. 

Anything goes defines America. Washington rules alone matter. Imposing them worldwide matters most. 

At issue is replacing sovereign independent governments with pro-Western stooge ones. It's denying democratic freedoms. 

It's a game as old as empire. It's imposing diktat authority. It's plundering nations for profit. 

It's impoverishing them. It's bankrupting them. It's trapping them in debt. It's turning workers into serfs. It's imposing police state rules. It's cracking down hard on resisters. 

It's justifying might over right. It's calling destructive practices liberating ones. It's proliferating state-sponsored propaganda claiming it.

It's letting monied interests run things. It's letting them benefit at the expense of all others. It's championing wrong over right. 

Rogue states operate this way. America is by far the worst. Ukraine is one of many US targets. The battle for its soul continues. It involves weakening and isolating Russia.

It's about exploiting Ukrainian resources. It's about denying worker rights. It's about wage slavery replacing freedom. 

It's about imposing one-sided Western trade deals from hell. It's about benefitting foreign investors. It's doing it at the expense of popular interests. It's colonizing Ukraine for profit.

Washington's dirty game is transparent. EU partners are complicit. Street thugs were recruited. They're militants. They're paid to commit violence. Radical nationalists joined them.

Protests quieted down for some weeks. Days earlier things changed. Last Sunday, thousands demonstrated in Kiev's Independence Square.

Violent clashes followed. They continued for five days. They can persist much longer. Western enlisted thugs initiated things. 

Washington wants democratically elected Viktor Yanukovyich ousted. It wants a convenient stooge replacing him.

It wants Orange Revolution 2.0. It wants 2004 repeated. It wants to take full advantage like earlier. It wants what most Ukrainians reject.

Protests erupted after Ukraine enacted new legislation. It criminalizes disruptive protests. It targets public disorder. It aims to prevent manipulated demonstrations from becoming a national rebellion.

It went too far. It risks press freedom. It criminalizes legitimate protests. Vaguely defined extremism carries a potential three year sentence.

Protesters face up to 15 years in prison. Wearing a helmet or mask while they're ongoing can mean 10 days in jail. So can pitching tents without police permission.

Criminalizing violent demonstrators is legitimate. Leaders promoting it bear most responsibility. Holding them accountable is vital. 

The alternative is out-of-control anarchy. No nation would tolerate letting things go this far. That's what revolutions are made of. 

Stopping violent ones protects everyone. Doing it responsibly is legal. 

Peaceful protests are legitimate. Legislation shouldn't deny them. Last year, police showed remarkable restraint. Not this week. On the one hand, they had good reason to change tactics.

Protesters are extremely violent. They crossed the line. They became rioters. They hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police. Fires erupted. Things escalated out-of-control. Over-the-top legislation followed.

Dozens of police were injured. They responded with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons. At least three protestors died. 

RT (formerly Russia Today) said "protestors climbed atop the main gate of the Dynamo football stadium..." They used it "as a strongpoint…" 

They bombarded police from that vantage point. At one point they  had to retreat. "Demonstrators delivered gasoline canisters and empty bottles to make more Molotov cocktails," said RT.

Police "suffered head injuries, fractures, burns, stab and slash wounds, as well as poisoning by 'unknown substances.' "  

A rubber bullet struck an RT cameraman. No injury was reported. A plastic shield on his back protected him.

A Ukraine ICTV channel cameraman was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet. Doctors expect him to lose partial sight.

Protesters "built a wooden catapult on European Square," said RT. A three-meter-tall ballistic device was used. It launched rocks and firecrackers at police. They destroyed it in response.

Protesters are nicknamed Euromaiden. Extremist elements lead them. They include Western enlisted militants. So-called Right Sector hardliners are involved.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry condemned the "commandants of Maiden." They're providing rioters with "dangerous cold steel arms," it said.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov called extremist protesters terrorists. They're provocateurs. They're criminals. They warrant punishment.

Opposition elements gave protesters two-meter-long wooden sticks. They're dangerous. They have sharp metal tips. They're improvised weapons. They're can injure or kill.

Hardliners pledged continued disruptive protests. They demand Yanukovych resign. They demand snap elections.

On Thursday, Yanukovych called a special session of parliament. It's scheduled for next week. Speaker Volodymyr Rybak said relevant issues will be discussed.

"The opposition and the parliamentary majority should come together and consider the questions which have arisen: the resignation of the government and those questions linked to laws passed by parliament," he said.

Earlier this week, Yanukovych called for dialogue. He suggested compromise. At the same time, he said all legal means will be used to maintain stability.

Washington reacted as expected. Sanctions involving freezing assets abroad and travel bans were threatened. Some US visas were revoked.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf issued a statement. In part, she said:

"The United States strongly condemns the increasing violence on the streets of Kiev, which has led to casualties and the shooting deaths of two protesters." 

"We urge all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation and refrain from violence." 

"Increased tensions in Ukraine are a direct consequence of the Ukrainian government's failure to engage in real dialogue and the passage of anti-democratic legislation on January 16." 

"We urge the Government of Ukraine to take steps that represent a better way forward for Ukraine, including repeal of the anti-democratic legislation and beginning a national dialogue with the political opposition." 

"The United States has already revoked visas of several people responsible for violence, and will continue to consider additional steps in response to the use of violence by any actors."

Washington bears full responsibility for manipulating street violence. Complicit EU partners share it. They want unchallenged control of Ukraine. They want it politically and economically. 

They want Russia shut out. It's mindful of what's ongoing. It's well aware of manipulative Western practices. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned about things "spinning out-of-control."

"We have information that much of this is being stimulated from abroad," he said. "(M)embers of several European governments rushed to the Maiden without any invitation and took part in anti-government demonstrations."

Fact check

In America, police routinely brutalize peaceful protesters. Occupy Wall Street ones were attacked nationwide. So are global justice advocates.

Patriot Act legislation created the crime of "domestic terrorism." Doing so potentially criminalizes dissent, anti-war protesters, civil and human rights defenders, environmental and animal rights activists, and all forms of legitimate civil disobedience.

On March 8, 2012, Obama signed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 into law. It passed both Houses near unanimously.

It "(a)mend(ed) the federal criminal code to revise the prohibition against entering restricted federal buildings or grounds to impose criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly enters any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority."

Protesters may be prosecuted for exercising their First Amendment rights. They can be imprisoned for doing so.

Vague language gives authorities wide latitude. They can interpret new provisions freely. Restraints aren't imposed. It's up for grabs how ruthlessly this law will be used.

Treating protesters violently in America isn't new. It's longstanding practice. Anything goes is officially sanctioned. 

Double standard hypocrisy defines US policy. If anything half-resembling Ukraine protests erupted, extreme state-sponsored violence would confront them. It would happen straightaway.

Federal, state and local authorities would go all out to stop them. Nothing too extreme would be avoided.

In spring 1969, then California Governor Ronald Reagan declared a state of emergency. He did so when none existed.

He deployed National Guard troops and state police. He unleashed them against peaceful People's Park protesters. "Bloody Thursday" followed. Dozens were injured, some seriously.

Months later, Reagan defended his action. "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with," he said. "No more appeasement." 

On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guard troops murdered four Kent State protesters. Nine others were seriously wounded.

US history is full of similar incidents. During unionism's formative years, workers were terrorized for organizing." 

In company-owned towns, they were evicted from homes, beaten, shot, and hanged. It was done to leave management empowered.

In May 1886, Chicago Haymarket Square demonstrators rallied peacefully. They did so for an eight-hour day.

Someone threw a bomb. Police violence followed. Eleven nonviolent protesters were killed. Dozens were injured.

Seven innocent defendants were sentenced to death. Another got 15 years in prison.

Justice was systematically denied. Things are much worse today. Unions are largely busted. Activism is treated harshly.

Police across America are brutal. They don't tolerate what Ukrainian cops did for weeks. It bears repeating. Until last Sunday, they showed remarkable restraint.

Where things go from here remains to be seen. On January 23, RT headlined "Ceasefire in Ukraine: Barricades doused out, violence an inch from reigniting."

Thursday was day five of violent confrontations. Opposition leaders and government officials are negotiating. It's doubtful whether "they will be able to stop the rioters," said RT.

Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko said both sides agreed on a "quiet period." Protesters promised to refrain from violence. For how long remains to be seen.

Discussions focused on revoking new draconian legislation. Klitschko wants much more besides. He wants what he won't get.

He wants Yanukovych to resign. He wants ministerial resignations. He wants snap elections.

Wednesday negotiations accomplished nothing. Opposition extremists threatened "to go on the offensive." They've been doing it for five days. They did so for weeks last year.

"Protesters remain in Grushevskogo Street," said RT. "Radical anti-government activists" are positioned near Ukraine's parliament building.

Wednesday night throughThursday afternoon, rioters "burn(ed) tires, smash(ed) up streets, and erect(ed) barricades..."

Central Ukraine resembles a war zone. It's filled with smoke, barricades and debris. None of this would be tolerated in America for five minutes. It's continued in Kiev intermittently for weeks.

Former Ukraine President Leonid Kravchuk thanked police. He did so for showing more restraint than rioters deserved.

"I am grateful to the guys and (Ministry of Internal Affairs) Berkut (special units), who are standing there now," he said. 

"I do not condone nor approve of the fact that they cleared out the students on November 30, although the right thing to do would be to criticize the person who gave out the order."

"Now they are going through an incredible challenge: being beaten up, having stones and burning mixtures thrown at them, and they stand there and endure." 

"Not a lot of countries have militaries that would tolerate such  treatment in a similar situation."

For sure not America, Britain, France or other major EU nations. State-sponsored viciousness would follow anything half-resembling Ukrainian violence.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces routinely bludgeon them. They target peaceful resisters. They shoot them in cold blood. 

They mass-arrest others. They charge them with terrorism. They attack Gazans by land, sea and air. They fire missiles at nonviolent civilians.

US-supported Egyptian security forces operate the same way. Police state harshness is official policy. So is cold-blooded murder.

Before late Thursday's "quiet period," violent clashes exceeded anything previously seen. Five days of protests left three dead. Hundreds of protesters were injured. So were nearly 200 police.

According to RT:

"Shocking footage showed rioters armed with sticks and flares attacking cordons of security forces surrounding government buildings." 

"Donned in orange helmets, the protesters threw stones, debris, and Molotovs directly at police."

"Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs published a video showing a group of officers being suddenly attacked from behind a fence on Monday."

"Petrol bombs are being thrown in the middle of the cordons, setting police uniforms on fire."

Prime Minister Azarov said police are told to use force only against violent protesters.

"Instructions given to law enforcement authorities were simple," he said. "Avoid the use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and prevent violent seizure of government buildings and institutions."

"The question of resignation is in the competence of Parliament," he added. It has sole authority. Yanukovych's coalition holds majority control. They're won't likely vote themselves out of office.

At the same time, added Azarov:

"It is absolutely unrealistic" to hold snap elections. New ones are scheduled "in less than a year."

"Do you think we can hold elections when the central part of Kiev has virtually been occupied by militants? What elections can we talk about when people are rioting?" Restoring stability matters most.

Ukrainian authorities aren't stupid. Nor Russian ones. Ararov called what's ongoing a coup d'etat attempt.

"The building of the Cabinet of Ministers is under siege and the building of the Lviv region's administration has been taken over." 

"The people who are fighting against us are militants, not the opposition. These are different things."

"It's a real coup attempt, and everyone who backs this coup should clearly say 'Yes, we support the overthrowing of the lawful administration in Ukraine,' instead of hiding behind peaceful protesters." 

"The line was crossed when so-called peaceful (ones) started using Molotov cocktails and taking over state buildings."

No government would tolerate what's ongoing. None should. What follows in Ukraine remains to be seen. 

Conflict resolution is nowhere in sight. Don't expect Washington's dirty hands to yield. Nor complicit EU partners. 

The battle for Ukraine's soul continues. At stake is preserving its sovereignty.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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

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Modern culture is an advocate of speed. From urban planning and transport systems, to the food industry and beyond, ‘fast living’ cuts deep and affects almost every aspect of life.

In terms of distances, things today are more spread out yet are more interconnected than in the past. This interconnectedness has had the effect of shrinking even the largest of distances and is ably assisted by digital communications technology and rapid transit systems. Airports and metro transport links are being extended or built, huge concrete flyovers cut through neighbourhoods and separate communities from one another and employment is being centralised in out of town business parks or city centre office blocks. Speed of communications and transport narrows the distances.


Encouraging further urban sprawl is of course highly profitable for the real estate, construction, automobile and various other industries (1). It is not that we need this type of urban planning and development, but powerful economic interests and their influence in/over governments dictate it’s the type we get.


Speed and high-energy living have become an essential fact of life. In the process, our communities have become disjointed and dispersed. We have sacrificed intimacy, friendship or neighbourliness for a more impersonal way of accelerated living. And the process continues as rural communities are uprooted and hundreds of millions are forced into cities of ever-increasing sizes to indulge in the fast life.   


In the virtual world, friends possibly half the world away are made and ‘defriended’ at the click of an icon. Likes and dislikes are but passing fads. Meaningful social activism has been trivialised and reduced to the almost meaningless clicking of an online petition. It’s more convenient and quicker than taking to the street. After the near destruction of working class movements in many countries, this is what ‘protest’ has too often become.


In the ‘real’ world, where ‘clicking’ just doesn’t cut it, how to physically move from A to B as quickly as possible dominates the modern mindset - how to get to work, the airport, to your kids’ schools, the hospital or the shopping mall, which are increasingly further away from home. Many now appear to spend half their lives in transit in order to do what was once achievable by foot or by bicycle.  


It’s all become a case of how to eat fast, live fast, consume fast, text message fast, Facebook fast and purchase fast. Speed is of the essence. And it seems that the faster we live, the greater our appetites have become. The mantra seems to be faster, quicker, better, more. In a quick-paced, use-and-throw world, speed is addictive.


But there is a heavy price to pay. We are using up the world’s resources at an ever greater pace: the materials to make the cell phone or flat screen TVs; the water to irrigate the massive amounts of grain and land required to feed the animals that end up on the dinner plate as the world increasingly turns towards diets that are more meat based; the oil that fuels the transport to get from here to there, to ship the food over huge distances, to fuel the type of petrochemical agriculture we have come to rely on, or the minerals which form a constituent part of the endless stream of consumer products on the shelves. Greed and the grab for resources not only fuels conflict, structural violence imposed on nations via Wall Street backed economic policies and death and war, but high energy, accelerated living takes a heavy toll on the environment and, if we are honest, on ourselves, in terms of our health and our relationships.


If the type of high energy living outlined above continues, we are heading for a crunching slowdown much sooner than we think. It will be catastrophic as current conflicts intensify and new ones emerge over diminishing resources, whether water, oil, minerals, fertile land or food.

  

The term ‘slow living’ was popularized when Carlo Petrini protested against the opening of a McDonald's restaurant in Piazza di Spagna inRome in 1986. This reaction against fast food sparked the creation of the Slow Food movement. Over time, this developed into other areas, such as Cittaslow (Slow Cities)Slow Living, Slow Travel, and Slow Design. 


What was Carlo Petrini actually originally arguing against? Fast food is food that is grown quickly, eaten quickly and prepared quickly. It is convenience food of dubious nutritional quality that fits in with the belief that the ‘good life’ equates with fast living. It is food that tends to rely on petrochemical pesticides, fertilizers and transport across huge distances. Food that is chemically processed and which relies on hormones, steroids and other similar inputs in order to ‘speed things up’ in terms of crop or animal growth and delivery to plates that may be half a world away from where it is produced by agricultural workers who themselves are undernourished or malnourished (2). It is nature speeded up, but also nature that has been contaminated and distorted and pressed into the service of big oil and agribusiness interests.


On the other hand, slow food tends to imply food that is grown or produced locally and with minimal bio-chemical inputs. It tends to rest on the sourcing of local foods and centuries’ old traditions and ideally sold by neighbourhood farms and stores, not by giant monopolistic retailers that are integral to the fast food industry. Slow food also implies more nourishing and healthy food and agriculture that places less strain on water resources and soil to produce better yields (3) and which does not pollute either body or environment as a result of chemical residues (4) or uproot communities or destroy biodiversity (5). 


Slow food is associated with lower energy inputs. It is less reliant on oil-based factory-processed fertilizers/pesticides and oil-based transportation across lengthy distances, not least because it is organically produced and locally sourced. In their ultimate forms, slow food and living slow can arguably best be achieved via decentralization and through communities that are more self-sustaining in terms of food production/consumption as well as in terms of other activities, including localized energy production via renewables or industrial outputs such as garment making or eco-friendly house building. In this respect, slow living extends to remaking the communities and relearning the crafts and artisan skills we have often lost or had stolen from us.


Ultimately, urban planning and the ‘local’ are key to living slow. No need for the automobile if work, school or healthcare facilities are close by. Less need for ugly flyovers or six lane highways that rip up communities in their path. Getting from A to B would not require a race against the clock on the highway that cuts through a series of localities that are never to be visited, never to be regarded as anything but an inconvenience to be passed through en route to big-mac nirvana, multiplex overload or shopping mall hedonism.
Instead, how about a leisurely, even enjoyable walk or cycle ride through an environment free from traffic pollution or noise, where the pedestrian is not regarded as an obstacle to be honked at with horn, where the cyclist is not a damned inconvenience to be driven off the road or where ‘neighbourhood’ has been stripped of its intimacy, of its local ‘mom and pop’ stores, of its local theatres?
Having jettisoned the slow life for a life of fast living, we are now encouraged to seek out the slow life, not least for example through tourism. The trouble is that with more and more people seeking out the slow life for two weeks of respite, destination slow suddenly became a complete mess. Instead of genteel locals, pristine forests and refreshing air, what you experience is sprawling hotel complexes, endless buses and taxis clogging up the place along with thousands of other tourists.

And the locals – they abandoned the slow life once mass tourism arrived and jumped on the bandwagon of fastness to rent out their rooms at inflated prices, to open restaurants serving fast food that caters to fast tourism. The slow mindset suddenly became abandoned in the quest to make a fast buck from the tourists, and before you knew it, six lane highways arrived, water was gobbled up by tourist complexes and urban sprawl sprawled even further across the once pristine hillsides or beaches.

But that’s what fast living or, to be precise, the system that creates it does. It corrupts and destroys most things that get in its way. It recasts everything in its own image. Even ‘slowness’ has become a bogus, debased commodity sold to the fast living, fast consuming masses.   
What can we do on a practical level that does not result in the debasement of the slow life? Is living slow nothing more than the dreamers mandate for taking us all back a century or two?

For some advocates of slow living, it is about trying to live better in a fast world, perhaps making space to enjoy ‘quality time’. For others, however, it comprises a wide ranging cultural and economic revolution that challenges many of the notions that underpin current consumption patterns and ‘globalization’.

Loosely defined, slow living is nothing new. From Buddha to the social philosopher Ivan Illich in the 1960s and 70s, the philosophy has always been around in different guises and has been accorded many labels. Whether it is anti-globalization, environmentalism, post-modernism, the organic movement, ‘green’ energy, localization or decentralization, these concepts and the movements that sprang up around them have embraced some notion of slowness in one form or another.

In India, the Navdanya organization is wholeheartedly against the destruction of biodiversity and traditional farming practices and communities and presents a radical critique of consumerism, petro-chemical farming and Western agribusiness (6). The views of Vandana Shiva, Navdanya’s founder, are well documented. Shiva advocates a radical shift of course from the one the world (and India) is currently on. Navdanya has even opened a Slow Food Café in Delhi.   

On a general level, again taken loosely, slow living might involve improving the quality of life by merely slowing down the pace of living. In urban planning, for example, it may mean pedestrianising urban spaces and restricting motorized traffic, especially car use. In many European cities cycling is encouraged by offering the public the free use of bicycles. Visit any Dutch city to see that cycling is a predominant mode of transport, which certainly makes a positive contribution to the easy going ambiance.

In the UK, in part as a response to traffic congestion and the negative impacts of motorized transport on communities, a movement emerged in the early nineties to ‘reclaim the streets’, to hand them back to local residents who felt a need to claim ownership of their communities and public spaces, which had essentially been hijacked by commuters or large corporations.   

Living slow may entail slowing down in order to develop some kind of spiritual connection with one’s inner self. It might also involve opting for more environmentally friendly products while shopping, living in more eco-sensitive housing, developing small cottage industries or just generally leading a ‘greener’ lifestyle as a consumer.

But it’s no good adopting a piecemeal, watered-down approach. The root of the problem needs to be addressed. The slow life, whether slow food or slow urban environments, is impossible if we fail to realize that decisions about urban planning, economic activity, investment, products and services, etc, are made through the capture of governments, regulatory agencies and courts by corporations adamant on expanding and perpetuating their dominance (8,9).

In order to achieve any semblance of genuine, lasting change towards a better, slower world, we must eradicate the material conditions that produce and perpetuate class-based exploitation and divisions on an increasingly global level. These conditions stem from patterns of capital ownership and the consequent flow of wealth from bottom to top that occurs by various means of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ (corruption, tax evasion/avoidance, bail outs, ‘austerity’,  ‘free trade’ agreements, corporate taxpayer subsidies, capital market liberalization, etc).

What we need is proper democracy achieved through, for example, common ownership of banks and key industries and a commitment to ‘green’ policies and renewable energy. This entails challenging the oligarchs and their corporations that have colonized almost every aspect of modern living, from healthcare, urban planning, food and agriculture to education and development, in order to effect change that is beneficial to their interests and thereby enslaving us all in the process.



Take action and be informed:

Notes
1)      Vidyadhar Date, 13 December, 2013, Politicians And Bureaucrats Need To Learn Basics About Urban Transport, Countercurrents: http://www.countercurrents.org/date141213.htm
2)      Vandana Shiva, 28 August, 2012, Our Hunger Games, Common Dreams: https://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/28-1

3)      Arun Shrivastava, 24 March, 2012, India: Genetically Modified Seeds, Agricultural Productivity and Political Fraud, Global Research: http://www.globalresearch.ca/india-genetically-modified-seeds-agricultural-productivity-and-political-fraud/5328227

4)      Gautam Dheer, 3 Febrary, 2013, Punjab: Transformation of a food bowl into a cancer epicenter, Deccan Herald: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/309654/punjab-transformation-food-bowl-cancer.html
5)      Krishan Kir Chaudhary, July, 2012, Seed Sector in India, Ki Kisan Awaaz: http://www.kisankiawaaz.org/magazine_data/magazine_data_pdf/JULY_2012.pdf

6)      Navdanya, Food Sovereignty , Navdanya.com: http://www.navdanya.org/earth-democracy/food-sovereignty

7)      Corporate Europe Observatory, 23 October, 2013, Unhappy Meal: The European Food Safety Agency’s independence problem, CEO: http://corporateeurope.org/efsa/2013/10/unhappy-meal-european-food-safety-authoritys-independence-problem

8)      Corporate Europe Observatory, 17 December, 2013, Civil society groups say no to investor-state dispute settlement in EU-US trade deal, CEO: http://corporateeurope.org/trade/2013/12/civil-society-groups-say-no-investor-state-dispute-settlement-eu-us-trade-deal



US Scholars Endorse Boycotting Israel

The American Studies Association (ASA) is the nation's oldest and largest organization involved in the interdisciplinary study of US culture and history. In 1951, it...

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US Scholars Endorse Boycotting Israel

US Scholars Endorse Boycotting Israel

by Stephen Lendman

The American Studies Association (ASA) is the nation's oldest and largest organization involved in the interdisciplinary study of US culture and history.

In 1951, it was chartered. It has 5,000 members. It's affiliated with 2,200 libraries and other institutional subscribers.

Members represent many academic disciplines. They include history, literature, religion, art, architecture, philosophy, music, science, ethnic studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, education, and gender studies among others.

Members include academics, researchers, librarians, and public officials and administrators.

On December 16, ASA headlined "ASA Members Vote to Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel." They did so decisively. Over 66% of members support doing so. Less than 31% opposed. Another 3.4% abstained.

The vote followed ASA's December 4 resolution, stating:

"Whereas the American Studies Association is committed to the pursuit of social justice, to the struggle against all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, discrimination, and xenophobia, and to solidarity with aggrieved peoples in the United States and in the world;

Whereas the United States plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which has had documented devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians;

Whereas there is no effective or substantive academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation, and Israeli institutions of higher learning are a party to Israeli state policies that violate human rights and negatively impact the working conditions of Palestinian scholars and students;

Whereas the American Studies Association is cognizant of Israeli scholars and students who are critical of Israeli state policies and who support the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement under conditions of isolation and threat of sanction;

Whereas the American Studies Association is dedicated to the right of students and scholars to pursue education and research without undue state interference, repression, and military violence, and in keeping with the spirit of its previous statements supports the right of students and scholars to intellectual freedom and to political dissent as citizens and scholars;

It is resolved that the American Studies Association (ASA) endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions."  

"It is also resolved that the ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement."

In 2012, ASA's Academic and Community Activism Caucus (ACAC) asked its Executive Committee (EC) to consider a resolution endorsing an academic boycott of Israel. 

It followed a call from Palestinian civil society to do so. ASA's EC forwarded the resolution to its National Council (NC).

Deliberative discussions followed. NC unanimously endorsed a revised version of the above resolution.

It did so "as an ethical stance, a form of material and symbolic action," said ASA. 

"It represents a principle of solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians."

ASA called its endorsement justified for the following reasons: 

  • US military and other support for Israel;

  • Israel's systematic violation of international laws and UN resolutions;

  • the harsh impact of its longstanding occupation;

  • "the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights," and

  • strong ASA member support.

It's symbolic. It's binding "until Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law," said ASA. It bars official collaboration with Israeli institutions. 

It doesn't apply to individual Israeli scholars engaged in "ordinary forms of academic exchange, including conference presentations, public lectures at campuses, or collaboration on research and publication."

Following Israel's 2006 war of aggression on Lebanon, ACA's International Committee (IC) discussed a possible boycott.

After Israel's Cast Lead aggression on Gaza, ASA again considered doing so. Study and discussions followed. In 2012, so did an academic boycott resolution. 

"In the last several decades," said ASA, it "welcomed scholarship that critically analyzes (America), its role domestically and abroad, and that reaches out beyond US borders."

ASA's National Council calls the above resolution "of particular significance" to American Studies scholars. "Together, we endorse it, and recommend" ASA members do so, it said.

Nineteen academics comprise ASA's National Council. Universities they represent include Stanford, Yale, Northwestern, University of Illinois, UC Berkeley, Bryn Mawr, and Rikko University, Tokyo among others.

ASA president Curtis Marez called the boycott "the best way to protect and expand academic freedom and access to education."

"Palestinian academics are frequently impeded by Israeli occupation authorities, schools and universities have been bombed by US-supported Israeli military forces, and the Wall blocks educational access for thousands of students," he stressed. 

"As an association of scholars and educators, the ASA has an ethical responsibility to act."

ASA's boycott followed Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) members unanimously approving their own resolution last April.

It was the first scholarly organization to do so. Inside Higher Education is a daily online publication. It focuses on academic topics.

It called ASA's resolution a big victory for the Israeli boycott movement. It has widespread European support. It's been absent in America until this year.

The Anti-Defamation League is one of 52 Zionist organizations. They disseminate pro-Israeli propaganda. They support Israel's worst crimes. They do so disgracefully.

ADL denounced ASA's decision. It called it "shameful, morally bankrupt and intellectually dishonest..."

Separately, ADL national director Abe Foxman called ASA's resolution "myopic...fundamentally distorted (and) manifestly unjust."

The New York Times one-sidedly supports Israel. It commented on ASA's resolution. It called it "a symbolic sting."

It's part of a "movement to isolate and pressure Israel. (It's) gaining ground in Europe." It's getting growing numbers of US supporters.

ASA's endorsement represents "a milestone" for global boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) supporters, said The Times.

Omar Barghouti is founder and director of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

He called ASA's resolution "perhaps the strongest indicator yet that the BDS movement is reaching a tipping point, even in the US, the last bastion of support for Israel's unjust system."

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is a longtime Israeli collaborator. He's coup d'etat leader. 

Israel rigged his election. He has no legitimacy whatever. He opposes boycotting Israel. He does so disgracefully. Barghouti commented harshly, saying:

"There is no Palestinian political party, trade union, NGO, network or mass organization that does not strongly support BDS." 

"Any Palestinian official who lacks a democratic mandate and any real public support, therefore, cannot claim to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people when it comes to deciding our strategies of resistance to Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid."

"Any Palestinian official who today explicitly speaks against boycotting Israel shows how aloof he is from his own people's aspirations for freedom, justice and equality, and how oblivious he is to our struggle for their inalienable rights."

Stanford University Professor/ASA member David Palumbo-Liu said:

"People who truly believe in academic freedom would realize protesting the blatant and systemic denial of academic freedom to Palestinians, which is coupled with material deprivation of a staggering scale, far outweighs concerns we in the West might have about our own rather privileged academic freedoms."

Cornell University Professor/ASA member Eric Cheyfitz said:

"I am a Jew with a daughter and three grandchildren who are citizens of Israel." 

"I am a scholar of American Indian and Indigenous studies, who has in published word and action opposed settler colonialism wherever it exists, including of course the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem." 

"It is worth noting in this respect that just as the myth of American exceptionalism seeks to erase the genocide and ongoing settler colonialism of Indigenous peoples here in the United States so the myth of Israeli exceptionalism seeks to erase Israeli colonialism in Palestine and claim original rights to Palestinian lands." 

"It is from these personal and professional positions that I applaud the decision of the NC to support the academic boycott of Israel, which I support, and urge ASA members to affirm that support with their votes."

UC Santa Cruz Professor Emerita/ASA member Angela Davis compared Israeli enforced segregation to Jim Crow in America.

She called endorsing ASA's resolution "an ethical imperative. (I)t should be clear that a mass movement in solidarity with Palestinian freedom is long overdue."

Many others feel the same way. ASA's resolution is important. Hopefully other initiatives will follow.

Longstanding Israeli lawlessness is abhorrent. Opposing it is a moral, ethical and legal imperative.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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


http://www.dailycensored.com/us-scholars-endorse-boycotting-israel/

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Israeli Persecution of Human Rights Lawyer Anas Barghouti


Israeli Persecution of Human Rights Lawyer Anas Barghouti

by Stephen Lendman

Barghouti is a prominent human rights lawyer/defender. Israel targeted him for his activism. More on him below.

In its 2013 World Report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said:

"Serious (Israeli) violations of international human rights and humanitarian law continued in 2012 in Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza."

Israel continues to impose "severe restrictions on Palestinians' right to freedom of movement, continued to build unlawful settlements in occupied territory, and arbitrarily detained Palestinians, including children and peaceful protesters."

Israel "impede(s) the rebuilding of Gaza's devastated economy by blocking virtually all exports from Gaza" as well as greatly restricting imports. 

"Israel has also barred Gaza residents from traveling to the West Bank. Israel's use of lethal force against Palestinians close to Israel’s border with Gaza deprived them of access to 35 percent of Gaza’s farmland and 85 percent of its fishing waters."

"Israeli authorities took inadequate action against Israeli settlers who injured Palestinians and destroyed or damaged Palestinian mosques, homes, olive trees, cars, and other property. As of September 31, the UN reported 247 such attacks in 2012."  

"Settlement building and discriminatory home demolitions" continue.

"Israel maintained onerous restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, including checkpoints, closure obstacles, and the separation barrier."

"Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in 'unrecognized' villages suffered discriminatory home demolitions on the basis that their homes were built illegally." 

"Israeli authorities continued to arrest children suspected of criminal offenses, usually stone-throwing, in their homes at night, at gunpoint, question them without a family member or a lawyer present, and coerce them to sign confessions in Hebrew, which they did not understand."

In its 2013 Annual Report, Amnesty International discussed similar Israeli crimes against humanity.

In its latest Annual Report covering 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) documented ongoing Israeli "systematic violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law."

Israel wouldn't have dared violate these rights so egregiously "had the international community not consistently" turned a blind eye to its worst crimes.

Failure to enforce accountability encourages Israel to commit more crimes with impunity. It does so against nonviolent Palestinian men, women, children, the elderly, disabled and ill.

It does it multiple ways. It's ongoing daily. It violates fundamental international laws including:

  • the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols;

  • the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;

  • the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles;

  • the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Additional Protocols

  • the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;

  • the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and

  • the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Israel's legal system denies Palestinians justice. Guilt by accusation is enforced. Israeli war criminals are shielded. They remain unaccountable.

Palestinians face daily violations of their right to life, security and fundamental freedoms. They face ongoing threats of arrest, detention, torture, and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Human rights defenders are targeted. Adalah promotes and defends the rights of Israeli Arab citizens. It does heroic work. 

European Jewish Congress head Moshe Kantor called it "an extremist organization on the margins of society." Its political agenda is "radical."

It aims "to change the nature of the state of Israel. (It) work(s) alongside some of the most radical elements in the region."

In 2012, Adalah founder Hassan Jabareen won the Herman Schwartz Award for Law and Social Justice as well as the Human Rights Defender Prize.

In October, PCHR director Raji Sourani won the Right Livelihood Award. It's called the Alternative Nobel Prize. It honored Sourani for "his determination to defend the principles of rule of law and human rights in extremely difficult circumstances."

Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders are vulnerable. Awards don't shield them from ruthless Israeli treatment.

Institutionalized racism defines daily life. Earlier articles discussed daily Kristallnacht in Palestine. It's mirrors some of the worst abuses Jews endured in Nazi Germany.

Life in Occupied Palestine is a daily struggle to survive. State terror is official Israeli policy. No one's safe from arrests, beatings, detention, torture and imprisonment. 

Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israel's gulag. It's one of the world's worse. Praying to the wrong God is considered terrorism. 

So is wanting to live free in their own land. Israel violates the letter and spirit of the 1948 Genocide Convention. Francis Boyle calls Palestinians victims under its provisions.

Article 2 states:

"In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or inpart; 
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Boyle calls "Israel's genocide policy against the Palestinians unremitting." It's especially "intens(e)" against 1.7 million Gazans.

Crimes consistent with the definition of genocide persisted since 1948. They remain ongoing. They target Palestinians for their faith, ethnicity and activism.

Israel goes all out to crush resistance. Human rights defenders are especially vulnerable.

On September 15, Israeli soldiers unjustly arrested Barghouti. They did so at a military checkpoint between Bethlehem and Ramallah. 

Local residents call it the "container." Palestinians detained end up imprisoned. Barghouti was initially held uncharged for nine days. He was isolated on his own out of touch. He underwent brutalizing interrogation.

Colleague Randa Wahbe said "(h)e really is a human rights defender. He is well loved, and he is constantly working" privately and pro bono for Addameer since 2009.

Its web site reported his arrest. He was one of the first lawyers to defend PA-held political prisoners. He's a prominent activist. He works on behalf of Israeli-held detainees.

Addameer's Legal Unit head Mahmoud Hassan said he endured deplorable conditions at Etzion settlement interrogation center.

He was mistreated. During his first 36 hours, he got two meals mostly unfit to eat. He wasn't allowed to shower, change clothes or have personal hygiene products.

Addameer denounced his arrest and appalling treatment. Israel criminalizes human rights defenders. They're held on trumped up charges.

They're pronounced guilty by accusation. They're imprisoned for doing the right thing. They're held administratively without charge or trial.

On March 8, 1999, UN Resolution 53/144 was adopted. It took 14 years of negotiations to approve its provisions. 

It's formally titled the "Declaration of the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms."

It's commonly called the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. It codifies standards protecting them. It recognizes the importance and legitimacy of their advocacy. 

Anyone promoting and/or working to protect human rights is considered a defender. Professionals and others are included.

Rights protected include free expression, association, assembly, movement, food and water, healthcare, education, adequate housing, a proper defense and to provide one, as well as many others.

Nations are legally bound to observe all Declaration provisions. They're required to protect human rights defenders from violence, retaliation, and intimidation resulting from their work.

UN Fact Sheet No. 29 is titled "Human Rights Defenders: Protecting the Right to Defend Human Rights."

It was prepared to support human rights defenders. It addresses state authorities, national and international NGOs, UN personnel, major private sector elements, the general public, as well as human rights defenders themselves.

It says "everyone has a responsibility to promote and protect human rights." It encourages more people to do so.

On October 24, Amnesty International UK (AI) headlined "Israel must drop charges against Palestinian lawyer Anas Barghouti."

He was detained on two charges:

  • belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; and

  • leading a committee to organize demonstrations. 

He denied both charges. He faces 18 months in prison if convicted. It's usually rubber-stamp. On October 23, an Ofer Military Court judge ordered him released on bail.

He called confessions obtained from other detainees no proof Barghouti was a security threat.

On October 8, National Lawyers Guild President-Elect Azadeh Shahshahani wrote Israel and the State Department. She did so calling for Barghouti's unconditional release.

Letters were sent ahead of his Ofer court hearing. Charges relate to his legitimate human rights advocacy.

AI's Middle East/North Africa Program director Philip Luther said:

"The release of Anas Barghouti is positive news, but he should have never been detained and charged in the first place."

"It is unacceptable for Israeli authorities to continue to prosecute activists because of their peaceful work in defense of human rights." 

"This release should be a first step towards the authorities ending their harassment of Palestinian human rights defenders."

If convicted, AI intends to name him a prisoner of conscience. It cites his advocacy on behalf of prisoners and the "peaceful expression of his political views."

On December 11, 2012, Israeli forces targeted Addameer and two other Palestinian NGOs. They stormed their offices. They ransacked them.

They seized laptops, desktops, hard drives, video cameras, legal files, photos and other personal property.

They did so hours after the conclusion of the 64th Human Rights Day anniversary. It's commemorated annually on December 10.

Addameer's been subjected to numerous previous raids. In October 2012, its researcher Ayman Nasser was targeted. He was violently arrested and detained. He was tortured during interrogation.

Abdullatif Ghaith is Addameer's chairman/co-founder. He's effectively imprisoned. Israel greatly restricts his movements. He's prohibited from entering the West Bank. In response he said:

"A military order from the head of Israeli forces in the West Bank said I constitute a threat to the safety of Israeli soldiers and security, therefore I'm forbidden from entering or being inside any of the areas they call 'Judea and Samaria.' "

He's denied permission to travel abroad. He's the only one he "ever heard of getting five bans in a row and for this long a period of time," he said.

These measures are "illegal under international law, and I think they're not particularly against me but against the entire Palestinian community and our human rights in general," he added.

Israel imprisoned Gaith 10 times. Its gulag "became a second home for me and all Palestinians," he explained.

Addameer is targeted for its activism. It supports the rights of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners. It works tirelessly on their behalf. It documents their abusive treatment.

Gaith is confined to East Jerusalem's Shuafat area. It's about 12 miles from Addameer's Ramallah office.

"Despite the circumstances that prevent me from leaving Jerusalem or Israel, I won't run out of thoughts or ideas, and this order will not keep me from working on" behalf of prisoners' issues," Ghaith stressed.

Amnesty International called Barghouti's arrest "part of a pattern of harassment by the Israeli authorities of Palestinian human rights organisations and activists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with individuals suffering arbitrary detentions, restrictions on movement, and raids of homes and offices."

Israel ruthlessly targets independent journalists, human rights activists and defenders. Gaith, Nasser and Barghouti are three among many others affected. 

Police states operate this way. Israel is one of the world's most ruthless.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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

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