Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Ukraine: Rogue State Deadbeat

by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine is Exhibit A for everything a nation shouldn't be. It's run by illegitimate, Nazi-infested putschists - lunatics risking war with Russia. It's a brutal dictatorship by any standard.

Its US-anointed president is an oligarch mega-crook war criminal. Its top officials look like an FBI most wanted list. 

Corruption is the national pastime. So is police state ruthlessness and naked aggression on its own people.

Poroshenko finds new ways to disgrace himself. Earlier he claimed 10,000 Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory.

Now he says, "on Putin's order, there are 200,000 men and an arsenal of armored vehicles, sophisticated missile systems and anti-air arms amassed in our territory."

Where are they? OSCE monitors near the Ukraine/Russian border and elsewhere in the southeast haven't seen any cross over or show up anywhere. Nobody can find them - not a single active duty Russian soldier.

The whole world knows none are there despite Poroshenko, other Ukrainian officials, its state controlled media, Washington and other rogue Western partners repeating similar Big Lies - irresponsible absurdities with no evidence whatever supporting them. None exists.

Worse still, Ukraine is a deadbeat state, refusing to pay its debts while spending millions of dollars daily waging war on Donbass. 

Five large international creditors hold about $10 billion in Ukrainian sovereign debt - besides $17 billion more in Eurobonds, $31 billion in domestic debt plus $3 billion owed Russia and billions more in arrears to Gazprom.

In late June, illegitimate prime minister Arseniy Yaysenyuk said "Ukraine is unable to service debts generated over past three years…" At the same time, it's borrowing more from the IMF, World Bank, EU and other sources it knows won't be repaid.

In June, Kiev's rubber-stamp parliament passed legislation letting the Finance Ministry technically default by halting debt service - either suspending it or largely refusing to pay altogether in the case of Russia. It falsely calls legitimate debt owed Moscow odious.

Kiev's failure to pay Gazprom for gas supplied finally got its CEO Aleksey Miller to act. His patience ran out.

He suspended further deliveries as of July 1 without prepayment, regardless of price. On Tuesday, Russia/EU/Ukraine talks in Vienna failed to resolve things.

They met to discuss price for deliveries through September. Russia offered Ukraine a $40 per thousand cubic meter discount - or $247.1, the same price Kiev paid in Q II 2015.

Ukraine wants over a 40% discount. Russia's Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said its demand is "groundless." He called Kiev's unwillingness to pay a fair price politicized.

Putin said lower oil prices affected natural gas. Ukraine should pay the same price as neighboring countries.

On April 1, Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz agreed on a so-called "summer package" similar to a winter deal last fall affording Kiev a $100 discount.

It not only wants cheap gas, it often doesn't pay for what it gets. Enough is enough. Now it's pre-pay or get nothing. 

No wonder Moscow/Kiev relations are at a historic low -  along with issues involving war, peace and regional stability.

Aggression in Donbass and repressive governance got over 900,000 Ukrainians to flee to neighboring countries, mostly to Russia, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. 

A new report by the Washington-based IntelCenter ranks Ukraine among the world's 10 most dangerous countries. Others include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Egypt.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

Trans-Pacific Partnership Guarantee

by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, Obama signed regressive Fast Track legislation into law - giving himself diktat power to ram through Congress anti-populist trade bills like TPP with minimal debate and no amendments.

Besides other provisions benefitting investors at the expense of public welfare, it's a jobs killer/environment destroyer.

Nothing Obama says is credible. "The Trans-Pacific Partnership includes strong protections for workers and the environment," he blustered in remarks before signing what demands rejection.

"This agreement will help us level the playing field," he added - like NAFTA and the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement among others.

On January 1, 1994, NAFTA's destructive life began. Like ALL US trade bills, it's anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-consumer, and and anti-government serving everyone fairly and equitably.

Its one-size-fits-all rules benefit corporate interests exclusively. They override domestic laws. NAFTA proponents promised tens of thousands of newly created US jobs in its early years.

Ordinary farmers would export their way to wealth. Mexican living standards would rise. Economic opportunities would reduce regional immigration to America.

NAFTA's promises never materialized. Reality exposed hype. A decade later, about a million US jobs were lost - many more annually, part of the process of shifting America's manufacturing base and numerous other jobs to low-wage countries.

TPP is NAFTA on steroids. Its destructive provisions are paradise for predatory investors but nightmarish for American consumers. It's modeled after the US-Korea FTA.

June 30 was the 8th anniversary of its signing - implemented by Obama in March 2012. Government data show double the rate of US jobs lost to Korea in the measure's first three years.

It's prologue for what's coming in steroids under TPP virtually sure to become US law and implemented overall if other partnered countries sign on to it - likely at this point, especially under intense Washington pressure.

Since 2011, America's trade deficit with Korea increased 90% ($13.6 billion). More than 90,000 US jobs were lost.

US exports declined 7% ($3 billion). Korean imports increased 18% ($10.6 billion). In all but one month since the TFA's implementation, America's trade deficit with Korea exceeded the average monthly US loss in trade between the two countries in the three years before the measure took effect.

America's manufacturing trade deficit with Korea grew 47% ($10.6 billion) since implementation. US agricultural exports to Korea fell 5% ($323 million) over the same period. Korean imports increased 29% ($103 million).

America has bilateral trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Israel, Jordan, Australia, Chile, Singapore, Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and South Korea.

Others are proposed besides TPP and TTIP. US bipartisan trade policy alone is transforming America into a banana republic under a police state apparatus.

Millions of lost jobs to low-wage countries are systematically thirdworldizing the nation destructively - especially plentiful earlier high pay/good benefits manufacturing jobs when Pittsburgh was steel-town and Detroit Motown.

Today's reality is rotten low-pay, poor or no-benefit often temp or part-time jobs workers decades ago would have shunned. Now it's grab what you can or starve. TPP and TTIP promise harder than ever hard times for Americans seeking work. 

It bears repeating what other articles stressed. The nation was never beautiful except for its privileged few. Today it's increasingly unfit to live in - and getting worse all the time.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

Tsipras Surrenders to Troika Demands

by Stephen Lendman

Since becoming Greek Prime Minister in January, Tsipras proved he's like all the rest - promising one thing, doing another.

Overnight Tuesday, his public posturing again proved hollow. After calling Troika demands "unacceptable" and urging Greeks reject them with a "resounding NO" in Sunday's plebiscite, he capitulated to most of what he previously opposed.

Things remain fast-moving. Hours earlier, the Financial Times obtained a letter he sent Troika officials. It called his new proposal "a significant climbdown from his previous position." It destroyed what little credibility he had left.

His letter said Athens accepts VAT reforms except for a 30% discount for Greek Islands - many remote in hard to supply areas.

He agreed to incrementally change the retirement age to 67 by 2022 beginning in October, not immediately. He requested a special "solidarity grant" for poor pensioners - agreeing to phase it out entirely by 2019, more slowly than Troika officials demand.

"The Hellenic Republic is prepared to accept this staff-level agreement subject to the following amendments, additions or clarifications, as part of an extension of the expiring (bailout) program and the new (third) loan agreement for which a request was submitted today, Tuesday June 30th 2015," Tsipras said.

"As you will note, our amendments are concrete and they fully respect the robustness and credibility of the design of the overall program."

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble rejected Tsipras' proposal straightaway - calling it "no basis" for serious talks.

An unnamed EU official said "the question now is not whether Greece agrees to certain measures. It’s the political will to reach a deal among the other eurozone partners. And this is very difficult to predict given all the bad will."

At the same time, Eurozone finance ministers said they're still open to a bailout deal provided Greece implements tough anti-populist measures no responsible government would accept.

SYRIZA officials haggled overnight on whether to cancel Sunday's referendum. Their behavior shows they're unfit to govern. 

What little chance Sunday's vote had to reject harsh Troika bailout terms appears lost. Polls show support for accepting them increasing.

Greeks know what Tsipras urged they oppose he largely supports - likely heading toward full capitulation given the largely negative response he's gotten so far and how easily he shifts from one position to another. He was elected on a pledge to end austerity. Instead he increased it harshly and supports tougher measures.

He wants to avoid snap elections in case Greeks vote yes on Sunday to accept Troika terms. Given his public betrayal, SYRIZA would likely lose and he'd be out of a job. He wants to remain prime minister no matter the cost to his own people.

An unnamed senior Greek official said no more concessions are planned. Given how often Tsipras bends, Troika officials know they just have to wait him out until he capitulates entirely.

Tsipras wants a new bailout - Greece's third in five years to pay $32.5 billion in debt service due between 2015 and 2017 - instead of renouncing its odious debt, exiting the Eurozone, regaining monetary and fiscal control, and beginning the process of restoring economic growth, impossible any other way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

Israel Violently Assaulted Ship to Gaza Activists

by Stephen Lendman

Israel lied saying interdicting Marianne Ship to Gaza's humanitarian mission was an "uneventful event." It was lawless and violent.  

Israeli Shayetet 13 elite Naval Special Forces were used. Their missions involve violence. They're brutal warriors, highly trained in clandestine sea operations, sea-to-land incursions, assassinations, counterterrorism, and sabotage with a reputation for ruthless efficiency.

Marianne activists weren't treated gently as Israel implied. Four or more were brutally tasered - stunned by enough high-voltage to cause cardiac arrhythmia or arrest in vulnerable subjects, risking death.

Tasering has harmful physical and cognitive effects. Brutal US police use them hundreds of times daily against targeted subjects nationwide. They should be banned altogether as too potentially dangerous to human health and well-being.

Freedom Flotilla III spokesperson Loukas Stamellos said "(a)t least four (Marianne activists) were tasered and one was slightly injured. We were questioning the military's narrative (about intervening nonviolently), but now we know at least some people were (assaulted and) hurt, and there was (likely pre-planned) violence during the interception."

Now released Marianne participant MK Basel Ghattas said Israeli commandos "violently" attacked the vessel about 2AM local time.

Some activists on board used "passive resistance tactics," he explained. Charlie Andreasson was injured from tasering.

"This is clearly pirate work," Ghassas stressed. "We were kidnapped for 24 hours." Some passengers were released. Others remain detained in Ramla prison, awaiting deportation.

A previous article discussed how earlier ship to Gaza activists were treated - assaulted by Israeli commandos, kidnapped, taken to Ashdod, held incommunicado for days at Ramla prison under horrific conditions.

It's one of Israel's harshest facilities, a stinking hellhole with inmates confined to tiny spaces in dark filth. Many had no beds. They were forced to sleep in overcrowded conditions with other prisoners on concrete floors.

They described the facility as cockroach-infested. Armed soldiers guarded them. Their personal possessions were confiscated. Days later, they were taken to Ashdod's central bus station.

They arrived with no money or belongings - left there on their own, treated like criminals for doing the right thing.

Expect Marianne activists experiencing the same harsh treatment - by an outlaw regime known for brutality.

Ghattas expects Israeli recrimination against him - including "attempt(ing) to take some privileges away from (him)…perhaps remov(ing) (him) from a committee."

He took a calculated risk, he explained. His aim was focusing on Israel's lawless blockade. He called its interdiction an "illegal action. Those responsible should be held accountable by international courts."

As this is written, at least nine of the 18 Marianne activists remain in Israeli custody, including two Canadians: Robert Lovelace and Kevin Neish. Flotilla spokesperson Zoe Blunt expressed concern about their welfare. They're likely being treated harshly.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry lodged an official complaint with Israel over the incident. Its spokeswoman Veronica Nordlund said:

From "the information we have been given, the Israeli navy intervention took place in international waters. According to law it’s only the flag State, in this case Sweden, (that) is allowed to act against another ship on international waters. Sweden has expressed (its) opinion on the event to Israel."

"We require consular access to contact (Marianne's) passengers…The situation is alarming, and Sweden considers the opening of the border checkpoints important."

Meanwhile, Israel's security agency Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen irresponsibly accused Hamas of gearing up for more conflict when he and other Israeli officials know it wants differences resolved peacefully to end blockade conditions.

Expect no softening in Israel's militantly hardline agenda. Expect no relief for beleaguered Gazans.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Russia Vows Continued Support for Embattled Syria

by Stephen Lendman

Obama's war is in its fourth year - using Islamic State and other takfiri terrorists as US proxies to replace Bashar al-Assad with a pro-Western puppet.

Continued conflict killed over 200,000, displaced millions more and created the world's greatest internal and external refugee crisis.  Nothing in prospect suggests ending things diplomatically.

Putin and Sergey Lavrov met with Syrian Foreign Minister Wali al-Moualem in Moscow. They pledged continued support in fighting terrorism.

"Our policy of supporting Syria, its leadership and its people remains unchanged," said Putin. "Syrian people will win in the final run."

Lavrov stressed Russia will continue "all possible assistance to increase (Syria's) ability to resist the evil" of terrorist forces battling to overthrow its government.

Al-Muallem condemned Washington for spending a billion dollars supporting terrorists operating in Syria.

"The Americans are making no secret of their support for terrorists," he said. They demand resolving things politically while waging dirty proxy war.

Putin promised support for establishing an anti-terrorism coalition - despite regional countries including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states allied against Damascus.

Al-Muallem said "Syria's main problem is the support offered to terrorists that are active in our country by neighboring nations. But we are ready - based on (help offered by Russia) - to work toward cooperation in the fight against terrorism."

They infest the region - recruited by Washington and rogue allies from scores of countries. Syria's survival depends on defeating them. Iraq and other countries are threatened.

Washington's aim to topple all independent governments is the greatest threat of all. Direct US intervention in Syria and elsewhere looms if proxy wars fail.

Putin confirmed Russia will keep helping Syria economically throughout its current crisis, as well as help strengthen its defense capability.

Saudi documents obtained by WikiLeaks revealed a secret Riyadh, Turkey, Qatar plot to topple Assad. Last month, AP News reported the same thing - citing Saudi Arabia and Turkey alone.

Saying both countries adopted "an aggressive new strategy to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad…their common enemy."

Their alliance reflects impatience with Obama's failure to act more aggressively, said AP. It omitted explaining Obama's war - launched in March 2011 to topple Assad, eliminate an Israeli rival, isolate Iran, and use takfiri death squads to do it.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are bit players except for their willingness to supply weapons, funding and training along with US CIA and special forces involved.

The battle for Syria's soul continues. No end of conflict looms - nor relief for millions of Syrians suffering hugely because of Washington's imperial ruthlessness.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

No Deal as June 30 Iranian Nuclear Talks Deadline Arrives

by Stephen Lendman

Washington remains the obstacle to successfully concluding Iranian nuclear talks - so-called P5+1 negotiations. Instead of sticking to preliminary April Lausanne parameters for final consummation of unresolved issues, new ones were raised contrary to what was agreed on earlier.

Longstanding US hostility toward Iran remains unchanged. Current talks haven't improved relations. Washington wants Tehran's government toppled. It wants its sovereignty destroyed. It wants a puppet regime installed like under the Shah.

Years of nuclear talks reflect red-herring cover for America's real objective. Whatever may or may not be agreed on in current talks, hardline US policy toward Iran remains unchanged.

Millions of Iranians signed a petition supporting principles listed below for a fair and equitable final nuclear deal. Over 17,000 lawyers endorsed them along with family members of Iranian nuclear scientists murdered by Israel's Mossad. Principles include:

  • lifting all sanctions concurrently with the consummation of a deal, if achieved;

  • preserving, protecting and strengthening all Iranian nuclear achievements;

  • permitting nuclear R & D to continue unimpeded as well as no limitations on scientific and technical progress;

  • monitoring nuclear sites should not exceed international laws, norms and standards;

  • no inspections of military sites and security facilities;

  • any agreement reached should be reversible if Washington or other P5+1 countries violate its principles or falsely accuse Iran of breaches. 

Post-Lausanne, Washington kept raising the bar - making demands not agreed to in the first place. Iran justifiably balks. It's made far more concessions than benefits received in return.

Much going on behind closed doors remains secret. Reports indicate Washington keeps making unacceptable demands, new ones not agreed to before - including:

  • wanting modifications in Iranian operating centrifuges and number permitted;

  • R&D restrictions;

  • drawn out sanctions relief instead of immediate with no assurance for follow-through; and

  • unrestricted IAEA access to Iranian military sites and all other facilities nationwide.

These and perhaps others coming prevent equitable resolution of talks satisfying all parties. Washington's idea of a deal is subjugation. Iran wants none of it justifiably.

Last weekend, its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said "(w)e have come to Vienna to reach an agreement which fully respects the Iranian nation's interests and rights and will be a good agreement for the entire world."  

"We are sure that if the other side accepts to recognize the Iranian people's rights and acts upon its undertakings, that is to say it removes the sanctions against Iran and fulfills its part of the undertakings concurrent with Iran's measures and avoid raising excessive demands, we will certainly reach an agreement which will be beneficial to everyone."

He stressed the importance of achieving "a lasting and fair deal" - an "honorable one (without) excessive demands."

Last week, Ayatollah Ali Kmanenei warned about Americans wanting Iran's nuclear industry destroyed. Instead of negotiating fairly, they balked on immediate sanctions relief, and "lengthened negotiations by making repeated excessive demands and even threats to boost sanctions and (suggest) militarism…"

"Contemplation and study (of) demands made by the Americans shows they aim to uproot Iran's nuclear industry and the country's nuclear essence and change it to a caricature and a window without content."

"(T)he Americans mean to destroy Iran's nuclear industry…and somehow keep the pressures and sanctions at the same time."

Washington wants Iran reduced to colony status. It makes promises it intends breaking. It's all take and no give. It's hard imagining a fair, equitable and sustainable deal from ongoing talks. Expect Iran to be unfairly blamed for US deceitfulness. 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

Greece May Become BRICS Member 

by Stephen Lendman

In May, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak invited Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to become the sixth BRICS member - joining Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

At the time, Tspiras said he was interested - giving Greece access to its $100 billion capitalized New Development Bank (NDB), aiming to break Western dominance and become one of the world's leading lending institutions.

It's headquartered in Shanghai - expected to begin operating in July, according to Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak. Indications are Russia and perhaps China are willing to help Greece financially. So far Greece hasn't requested it.

Athens is holding talks with other BRICS members on possible membership. They'll continue during a July 9 and 10 summit in Ufa, Russia.

Deputy Greek Defense Minister Costas Lsychos warned Greece would become a European "economy colony" if it accepts Troika demanded bailout terms.

He called them "unacceptable to our history, to our national pride and sovereignty." Tsipras urged Greeks to vote no in this Sunday's national referendum on Troika demanded bailout terms. 

He indicated possible snap elections if popular sentiment accepts them. "If the nation wants poverty…we will respect the choice, but will not execute it," he said Monday.

Troika strategy likely involves exacerbating crisis conditions, letting Greece default on its $1.8 billion IMF payment due June 30, reduce the euro's value to benefit Eurozone exports, force new elections, replace SYRIZA with new governance amenable to its predatory terms, and/or use default as a reason to ease Greece out of the Eurozone - a so-called Grexit.

Troika officials have no interest in restructuring Greek debt or helping its economy recover. They have every interest in continuing to strip-mine the country of its wealth, assets and enterprises.

They want Greece serving as model for what's intended for the rest of Europe - thirdworldizing the continent for profit, the same thing planned for America.

Meanwhile, posturing by both sides continues. Troika officials warned Greece of isolation and possible Grexit by rejecting their bailout terms.

Athens frames things as only deciding yes or no on accepting them - not on Eurozone membership. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis indicated a possible European Court of Justice injunction to prevent Grexit.

"The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it," he said. "Our membership is not negotiable."

On Monday, huge crowds demonstrated outside parliament in Athens supporting a no vote on Troika terms. It's hard imagining why long-suffering Greeks would vote yes for greater pain.

They'll have little choice either way. Supporting Tsipras (by voting no) means he'll negotiate for somewhat less increased austerity than Troika officials demand. 

Voting yes means accepting indentured servitude. Grexit assures harder than ever hard times before economic recovery is possible. Remaining trapped in the Eurozone straightjacket assures none at all.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

High-Seas Piracy: Israel's Latest Bandit Act

by Stephen Lendman

Previous articles discussed Israel's seizure of the Swedish vessel Marianne Ship to Gaza carrying humanitarian aid despite Israel's hollow denial. Rogue states lie to conceal their high crimes.

Israel wants Gazans trapped indefinitely in the world's largest open-air prison deprived of essentials for well-being - suffocated under a policy of slow-motion genocide.

Israeli commandos lawlessly seized the Marianne in international waters. Netanyahu saying it was done lawfully is one of a litany of Big Lies he claimed about the incident - a bandit act like so many others Israel commits endlessly.

A June 29 Ship to Gaza press release said "the 'Marianne' contacted Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) and informed us that three boats of the Israeli navy had surrounded her in international waters, while sailing approximately 100NM from Gaza coast." 

"After that we lost contact with the 'Marianne' and at 05:11AM (Gaza time) the IDF announced that they had visited and searched Marianne. They had captured the boat and detained all on board 'in international waters' as they admitted themselves." 

"The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite Netanyahu’s government recent denial that one exists."

"We have no reason to believe that Marianne’s capture was 'uneventful' (as Israel claims), because the last time the IDF said something like that, in 2012" activists on board the Estelle were savagely tasered and beaten with clubs. 

In 2010, nine Mavi Marmara participants were murdered in cold blood, another died later from injuries sustained. They were designated in advance for assassination.

Israel's so-called "no tolerance" policy assures collective punishment against 1.8 million Gazans - victimized by rogue state ruthlessness.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) "condemn(ed) in the strongest terms the Israeli Navy's interception and seizure of the first vessel of Freedom Flotilla III taking it to Ashdod seaport in Israel." 

"PCHR believes that this attack is aimed to impose the conspiracy of international silence towards crimes committed by Israel against the Gaza Strip's population, including the illegal closure that has been imposed for the ninth consecutive year."

"The act of piracy committed by Israeli occupation forces against solidarity activists who came to the Gaza Strip, unarmed but with their moral strength, is another attempt to silence the voices of the free people of the world who wished to send a message to the whole world that the total siege imposed the Gaza Strip is inhuman, illegal, a man-made disaster and a part of an ongoing war crime against Palestinian civilians."

Israel's summer 2014 aggression left much of Gaza in ruins - not rebuilt because Israel blocks most construction and other supplies from getting in. It holds the entire population hostage to its ruthlessness - high crimes demanding accountability not gotten.

Monday evening, Israel's Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority said it detained 16 foreign nationals for questioning. Deportation would follow.

Hamas condemned the "kidnapping" of activists on board, explaining Marianne "succeeded in showing the crime of blockade."

Flotilla organizers said "(w)e once again call on the government of Israel to finally lift the blockade of Gaza. Our destination remains the conscience of humanity."

They vowed to use "passive resistance," not violence when lawlessly boarded. Israel operates by different standards. Brutality is standard practice. 

Reports indicate its commandos tasered activists on board. It's not know so far if they were beaten or otherwise abused. We'll know more when they're able to speak freely.

So far, they're held incommunicado except for former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, Palestinian MK Basel Ghattas and European parliamentarian Ana Miranda - released in Ashdod.

RT International correspondent Nadya Kevorkova was on board the Marianne. Ghattas said she was OK and would be released Tuesday. He confirmed Israeli commandos attacked some activists. Slight injuries were sustained. Swedish participants were singled out for abuse.

Ghattas explained even though Marianne was seized, activists achieved their goal of "attract(ing) attention of the world toward the issue of the illegal siege and toward the illegal blockade over Gaza."

Crew members left video messages prior to seizure. Marianne's captain Joel Opperdoes said "(i)f you see this video, this means that we are under attack in international waters by Israeli Air Defense Forces." Other messages were similar.

After weeks of reports about Freedom Flotilla III' mission, The New York Times addressed it for the first time Monday - highlighting Israel regarding these "action(s) as highly provocative," failing to explain lawless collective punishment against 1.8 million largely defenseless people for political, not security reasons.

Gazans remain trapped in rubble - "ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished," as Franklin Roosevelt said about one-third of Americans during the 1930s Great Depression. 

His solution was expanded social services. Israel's is continued collective punishment and naked aggression at its discretion.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

Monday, June 29, 2015

Khader Adnan Ends Hunger Strike

by Stephen Lendman

Khader Adnan's lawyer Jawad Boulos said he "ended his (55-day) hunger strike (Sunday night) after an agreement was reached to release him on July 12."

At Israel's Assaf Harofeh Medical Center where he's held, he was moved to where he'll begin being fed - perhaps intravenously at first along with ingesting liquids. He took his first sip of milk on Sunday.

"Khader Adnan is sending his greeting to you all, every man and woman, every person who supported him, and those who gathered here," said Boulos.

"He was very moved when (supporters) chant(ed) for his release. He sends his regards to the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, and historic Palestine, and every person who supported his struggle. He wishes to see you all in his home in Arraba Jenin, once he is released."

His condition deteriorated greatly over the past week - leaving him close to death. He's in serious condition far from home free yet.

His road back to good health will be long and arduous. What he endured took a terrible toll on him physically.

His wife Randa said all guarantees he sought were gotten. "(H)e triumphed over the occupation state after 55" painful days.

"His steadfastness has led to this deal for his release…I saw his pain, all the suffering he has been going through during the strike."

She began hunger striking in solidarity with Khader outside the facility where he's held. At a Ramallah press conference, she said "(t)hank God that my husband is coming back to us victorious."

It felt like "eid (the holiday ending Ramadan) the moment we knew that Khader would eat, that Khader would live."

She thanked Palestinian and worldwide supporters, as well as fellow prisoners offering to hunger strike in solidarity with Khader.

She got permission to visit him for the first time on Sunday. His deteriorated condition made her fear it would be the last time. She was "horrified" by his near-death condition.

Israel confirmed he'd be freed after withdrawing his demand never again to be detained administratively uncharged and untried. Worldwide support made it possible. Israel didn't want him martyred. 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

ISIS: US Proxy Foot Soldiers

by Stephen Lendman

Washington recruits, arms, trains, funds and directs ISIS terrorists the same way they used Mujahideen fighters in the 1980s against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan as well as Al Qaeda and likeminded takfiri groups today.

They're US proxy foot soldiers against independent governments Washington wants replaced with pro-Western ones, or in the case of Iraq, weakened and balkanized like Yugoslavia for easier control.

Iraqis don't believe America wants ISIS defeated. On June 25, the Wall Street Journal reported Anbar province Sunni Iraqi "unanim(ity) about whom to blame for their misery."

Shiite lawmaker Alia Nusseif said "(w)e don't have any trust in Americans anymore…ISIS is being used as a tool by America to divide and weaken Iraq."

Former policeman Wassen Khaled said he "hold(s) Americans responsible for destroying Anbar."

"We all know that America is providing ISIS with weapons and food, and that it is because of American backing that they have become so strong," an Iraqi free from Ramadi added.

The Journal, of course, downplayed what it called "conspiracy theories" while admitting this view "represent(s) political reality with real-world consequences" - notably ISIS advances despite months of US bombing Iraqi infrastructure, not their fighters.

US officials lie about waging war on their elements. General Thomas Weidley is chief of staff of Washington's so-called task force against the Islamic State. Claiming America's "mission is to defeat Daesh (ISIS)" and bombing has had a "devastating" effect is polar opposite truth.

Washington created the Islamic State. A previous article explained Judicial Watch obtained a declassified 2012 Pentagon intelligence report anticipating ISIS (the Islamic State - IS) emerging from US support for Al Qaeda and other takfiri terrorists.

It predicted what happened, saying "(i)f the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern Syria…and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."

It anticipated "dire consequences" for Iraq - including the fall of Mosul and Ramadi, saying:

An "ideal atmosphere" was created "for AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi."

"ISI (Islamic State of Iraq) could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory." 

Supporting powers include Washington, Turkey, other rogue NATO partners, Gulf states and Israel. They created and supported takfiri terrorist groups to destabilize Syria, establish a Salafist Principality, isolate the Assad government and topple it.

Pentagon intelligence confirmed US support for ISIS and takfiri terrorists - not opposition as officially reported. 

Bassel Idriss, commander of a so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigade, admitted working jointly with takfiri terrorist groups, including ISIS - providing US-supplied weapons besides what Washington supplies them directly by airdrops and through Saudi channels.

London-based Conflict Armament Research reported "significant quantities" of US weapons used by takfiri terrorists marked "property of the US government."

America's phony war on ISIS uses its forces for its own imperial interests. On Sunday, Fars News listed 10 ways ISIS accumulates huge amounts of money.

1. Selling oil using Turkish firms for $1 million daily.

2. Selling ancient Syrian monuments through Turkish middlemen for billions of dollars.

3. Selling body organs.

4. Collecting ransoms for released hostages.

5. Trafficking non-Muslim women.

6. Selling antique Syrian and Iraqi manuscripts and artifacts.

7. Selling intelligence gained on their battlefields to Ankara spy agencies.

8. Turkish financial and logistical aid during the Kobani occupation.

9. Help from Turkish charities.

10. Over $1 billion annually trafficking heroin, according to Russia's Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov.

Plus enormous amounts of US aid, much channeled through Riyadh. Middle East wars rage endlessly. Stoking conflict and instability serve US interests. Expect no resolution any time soon.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

Greece Declares Bank Holiday, Capital Controls Imposed

by Stephen Lendman

Fast-moving weekend events included an impasse in bailout talks, Greek MPs approving a July 5 referendum on whether to accept or reject greater Troika austerity demands, its refusal to extend bailout aid, and the ECB capping Greece's Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) instead of cutting it off entirely as some media reported. 

Word is it'll decide day-to-day whether to lend insolvent Greek banks more funds to prevent their declaring bankruptcy and closing down altogether.

Earlier, Greek banks could borrow through private markets. No longer with access cut off - dependent wholly on ECB funding. On Sunday, it signaled additional steps would be taken as needed to prevent Eurozone contagion - likely greater QE than its current 60 billion euro monthly bond buying program.

Following these events, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras explained his action Sunday on national television, saying:

"Yesterday's decision by the Eurogroup to withhold approval of the request of the Greek government for a short extension of the program - which would allow the public to decide in a referendum on the demands of lenders - is an unprecedented act.

This decision…led the ECB to withhold an increase in liquidity to Greek banks and forced the Bank of Greece to recommend measures for a bank holiday and a limit on bank withdrawals. 

It is more than clear that this decision had no other aim but to blackmail the will of the Greek people and obstruct the smooth democratic process of the referendum.

They will not succeed. This will bring the precise opposite effect. The Greek people will be more resolute in its choice of rejecting the unacceptable bailout proposals and the ultimatum of lenders.

One thing is clear: The refusal of a short extension, and the attempt to nullify a democratic procedure, is an act deeply offensive and shameful for the democratic traditions of Europe."

Tsipras assured Greeks their deposits are safe. As are salaries and pensions. They won't be confiscated or suspended, he implied. It remains to be seen what happens if Athens exhausts funds to pay bureaucrats and run daily operations. 

Anything is possible under these circumstances, including haircuts on depositors - bail-ins to recapitalize bankrupt banks and perhaps fund essential government services, grand theft by any other name.

Earlier articles discussed the views of euro expert Bernard Connolly. Before its introduction, he called it a harebrained idea, doomed to fail.

He explained one or more of Europe's weakest countries would face rising budget deficits, troubled economies, and a "downward spiral from which there is no escape unaided." 

"When that happens, the country concerned will be faced with a risk of sovereign default."

In 1979, Europe's Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) was introduced. It's part of the European Monetary System (EMS). It was intended to propel the continent to one European currency unit (ECU).

ERM never worked. ECU failed. Connolly's views were prescient. His "central thesis is that the ERM and the EMU (European Monetary Union, the mechanism which ultimately brought the Euro into technical existence) are not only inefficient but also undemocratic: a danger not only to our wealth but to our freedom and ultimately, our peace."

A system doomed to fail was fraudulently reengineered to look workable. Europe is banker occupied territory. So is America.

Finance is a new form of warfare. Banking giants run things. Whatever they want they get. Economies like Greece are easy marks - strip-mined for profit.

Communities are laid waste. High-pay, good-benefit jobs disappear - offshored to low-wage countries. Rotten ones replace them for workers lucky to have any employment. 

Ordinary people are impoverished - increasingly left on their own to survive. Essential social services are eliminated.

Bankers hold nations hostage. They're more powerful than standing armies - turning crises into catastrophes for ordinary people. Greece is Exhibit A - raped and pillaged for profit at the expense of serving all its people equitably.

Greeks awakened Monday to capital controls and a bank holiday to stem mass depositor outflows - continuing at least through the July 5 referendum, but who knows what's coming under increasing crisis conditions.

For now, Greeks are limited to $66 daily ATM withdrawals - the only way they can get bank funds from their accounts. Internal transactions alone are allowed - no foreign transfers. 

Some German newspapers (Greece's largest creditor country) headlined "Game Over?" and the word "Exit" in ancient Greek.

Here's what Greeks are asked to vote on July 5 - obscurely worded to be incomprehensible and misleading to most anyone not familiar with Troika demands, stating:

"Greek people are hereby asked to decide whether they accept a draft agreement document submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, at the Eurogroup meeting held on on June 25 and which consists of two documents:

The first document is called Reforms for the Completion of the Current Program and Beyond and the second document is called Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis.

Those citizens who reject the institutions' proposal vote Not Approved/NO

Those citizens who accept the institutions' proposal vote Approved/YES."

How much sense this makes to ordinary Greeks may give many pause which way to go. Instead of itemizing Troika demands in simple, understandable terms, convoluted language substituted.

Most importantly, governments are instituted to serve all their citizens equitably. At least that's how democracies are supposed to work. They rarely do - virtually never in Western countries.

Previous articles explained what a responsible government should do. The euro straightjacket is destroying Greece's economy, relegating its citizens to indentured servitude to bankers wanting their interests alone served.

SYRIZA was elected on a mandate to end austerity.  Instead it increased it and agreed to most Troika demands for greater harm to its own people - instead of renouncing its odious debt, exiting the Eurozone, and reclaiming Greece's national sovereignty despite enormous transitional pain.

It's the only way Greece can survive economically - intermediate-term pain for longterm gain. Remaining subject to Troika diktats assures turning the nation in a greater dystopian wasteland than already. 

Previous governments and SYRIZA never should have let things get this catastrophic in the first place. They capitulated to bankers instead of serving their own people responsibly. 

Will things change for the better ahead? Given war on working people throughout Western and most other societies, don't bet on it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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

Netanyahu's Statement Following His Latest Bandit Act

by Stephen Lendman

A separate article discussed Israeli commandos lawlessly interdicting the Swedish Marianne Ship to Gaza humanitarian mission in international waters - a blatant act of high-seas piracy, never justifiable for any reason despite Israeli claims otherwise.

You have to be a moron or hate-mongering racist to believe anything Israeli officials say - an over-the-top fascist bunch belonging in prison, not high office.

Netanyahu disgraces the office he holds - an unindicted war criminal multiple times over. Anti-Muslim viciousness defines his agenda - intolerant and ruthless by any standard.

He issued a statement following Israel's high-seas piracy. It included a litany of Big Lies, saying:

"I would like to commend the sailors and commanders of the Israel Navy for their determined and efficient action in detaining the passengers on the ship that tried to reach the Gaza coast in contravention of the law. 

This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.

Preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.

Israel is a democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law. We are not prepared to accept the entry of war materiel to the terrorist organizations in Gaza as has been done by sea in the past. 

Just last year we foiled an attempt to smuggle by sea hundreds of weapons that were destined for use in attacks against Israel's citizens.

There is no siege on Gaza. Israel assists in transferring goods and humanitarian equipment to Gaza - approximately 800 trucks a day that have recently brought into Gaza more than 1.6 million tons of goods. 

Moreover, Israel assists in hundreds of humanitarian projects, through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals.
Israel is a state that seeks peace and acts in accordance with international law so that its people can live in safety and its children grow up in peace and quiet."

It bears repeating. Only morons or hate-mongering racists can believe this disgusting rubbish - a beginning-to-end pack of Big Lies.

Fact: Israeli commandos committed high-seas piracy - a blatant bandit act contravening international law.

Fact: Hamas is Palestine's legitimate government - not illegitimate PA enforcers collaborating with Israel against their own people.

Fact: Ship to Gaza Marianne acted according to international law bringing vital aid for people needing far more than any number of flotillas can provide - symbolically calling on the international community to end Gaza's blockade and free its 1.8 million people.

Fact: Israel violates international law multiple times daily - terrorizing West Bank and East Jerusalem communities, Gazan ones, its fishermen, farmers in their fields, young children for the crime of being Palestinian.

Fact: So-called Israeli democracy is pure fantasy. None whatever exists.

Fact: No evidence corroborates Netanyahu's claim about flotillas or other sea initiatives smuggling weapons to Gaza.

Fact: Claiming "no siege on Gaza" exists exceeds absurdity.

Fact: Saying Israel "assists in transferring goods and humanitarian equipment to Gaza" is polar opposite truth. 

Fact: A ruthless, lawless blockade prevents most goods getting in and the ability of Gazan businesses to export to the West Bank and foreign markets.

Fact: Israel systematically blocks reconstruction and vital humanitarian projects.

Fact: It seeks war, not peace. It prevents Gazan children from "grow(ing) up in peace and quiet." Neither exists.

Below is a copy of a letter Israel wrote for Marianne activists - something only a despotic regime could issue. Its willful misinformation and Big Lies speak for themselves, saying:

"You seem to have gotten lost. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here - Syria, where Assad’s army is slaughtering its people every day, and is supported by the murderous Iranian regime.

Here in Israel we face a reality in which terrorist organizations like Hamas try to kill innocent civilians. We defend our citizens against these attempts in accordance with international law.

Despite this, Israel transports goods and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip - up to 800 trucks a day. In the past year we enabled the entry of over 1.6 million tons of products, an average of one ton per person in the Gaza Strip. By the way, these supplies are equivalent to 500,000 boats like the one you came in on today.

Israel provides assistance to hundreds of humanitarian projects through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals.

However, we will not allow the terrorist organizations to transfer weapons into the Gaza Strip by sea. Only one year ago, we thwarted an attempt to smuggle hundreds of weapons into the Gaza Strip by ship. These weapons were meant to target innocent Israeli civilians.

There is no siege on the Gaza Strip, and you are welcome to transfer any humanitarian supplies for the Gaza Strip through Israel.

Barring the entrance of boats and ships into the Gaza Strip is in accordance with international law, and was even backed by a committee commissioned by the United Nations Secretary General.

If you were truly concerned about human rights, you would not be sailing in support of a terrorist regime which summarily executes citizens in the Gaza Strip, and uses children as human shields.

If you were to travel around in Israel, you would see for yourself that the only stable democracy in the Middle East guarantees equality for all its citizens and freedom of worship for members of all religions; it is a country that upholds international law so that its people can live in safety and its children grow up in peace and quiet."

Rogue regimes substitute propaganda for hard truths too disturbing to reveal. America and Israel are Exhibits A and B.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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


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