Wednesday, May 06, 2015

UK Elections: Business As Usual Triumphs

UK Elections: Business as Usual Triumphs

by Stephen Lendman

May 7 general elections approach. Britain is like America. It's all over before polls open. Monied interests win every time.

Ordinary people lose out more than ever in modern memory. It shows in opinion polls. 

Only 16% of voters trust politicians. Why anyone besides well-off Brits do they'll have to explain.  

It doesn't matter who wins on Thursday. Torries and New Labour are even in polls. They're like Republicans and Democrats in America - two sides of the same coin, not a dime's worth of difference between them.

Neither major party is expected to win a majority. Expect coalition government with smaller parties to follow. They largely support the same regressive policies.

All politicians lie. Nothing they say can be believed. New Labour leader Ed Miliband maintained the standard saying Britain's "clear choice on Thursday (is) between a Labour government that will put working people first or a Tory government that will only ever work for the privileged few."

Britain's "clear choice" is none at all. Monied interests run things. Bankers top the pecking order.

Politicians come and go. One major party or the other wins. Things stay the same.

Neoliberal harshness, financialization, weak unions, offshoring manufacturing, privatizing state enterprises, deregulation, and disappearing social justice characterize Britain's economy.

London's Guardian warned of a "hit list of (more) welfare cuts" coming.

Voltaire once explained British society saying its people "are like their own beer; froth on top, dregs at bottom, the middle excellent."

Today's froth never had it better. Poor Brits are enduring their hardest times since post-WW II recovery.

Middle class society is fast disappearing - like in America. Britain's weekly Spectator magazine says it's "shrinking and sinking."

"The lifestyle that the average earner had half a century ago -  reasonably sized house, dependable healthcare, a decent education for the children and a reliable pension - is becoming the preserve of the rich." 

"Middle-class pensioners look on amazed at how their children, now into adulthood, seem to have a far harder time."

Rich elites run things more than ever. They doubled their wealth since 2009. The average worker earns less when adjusted for inflation and wage cuts.

Former Bank of England governor Mervyn King said middle class society is enduring the longest squeeze in living memory. Rich folks never had it better.

London is unaffordable to live in. House prices average over $750,000. The average wage is less than $50,000.

In January, thousands participated in a March for Homes rally. They demanded solutions to unaffordable housing prices - worsening as they escalate.

They carried banners saying "People before profit." Build council homes (reasonably priced ones for working class people)." "Take the wealth of the 1%."

Rents surged an average 13% annually since 2010. So have repossessions and evictions. Britain increasingly is unfit to live in - just like America.

New Labour claiming "Britain can be better" rings hollow for millions enduring increasing hardships.

They're "all the same," growing numbers of voters say about a system increasingly ignoring their needs.

They promise one thing. They do another. Serving monied interests and allying with Washington's war machine matter most.

Respect Party Bradford West MP George Galloway is running for reelection. He calls himself "your traditional, much-loved black cab."

"You don't know what you've got until it's gone. There are not a lot of us black cabs around any more."

His constituency is one of Britain's poorest. It's struggling to reinvent itself. Despite his best  best efforts, he's up against a corrupted, uncaring system.

He's one of 650 House of Commons members. "Recovery, what recovery," he asks?

"We keep hearing that the economic recovery is better in Britain than in any other European country."

"Well it may be in London and the Home Counties, but it certainly isn't here" and most other places in Britain.

Millions are suffering. Food banks are proliferating, Galloway explained. "Can you imagine what the country will look like by 2020 if these barbarians are returned" to power, he stressed.

"We need investment in jobs and infrastructure…But it won't come under the Tories or this miserable local Labour administration." Or New Labour if it bests the Torries nationwide.

Social justice is fast disappearing. Force-fed austerity is official UK policy. 

So is growing wealth inequality. It's risen four times faster since 2008 compared to the seven preceding years.

It bears repeating. Britain is like America - governed of, by and for its privileged elites alone.

It's corrupt, fundamentally unfair and ruthlessly anti-democratic. Young people have no futures.

An entire generation is lost. Social welfare cuts hits Britain's most disadvantaged hardest.

Inequality is booming. Politicians able to make a difference don't care. Increasing amounts of public wealth in private hands is a slippery slope to third world status.

Margaret Thatcher escalated inequality. She oversaw one of the greatest ever transfers of wealth to British society's most well-off.

David Cameron is worse. New Labour's Ed Miliband is no better. Robbing poor Peter to pay rich Paul is official bipartisan policy.

It's endorsed by Liberal Democrats, Britain's third ranked party. It's neither liberal nor democratic. It's hard right like the rest.

On Thursday, voting options are death by hanging or firing squad. Ballot choices exclude government serving everyone equitably.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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: Serial Terror-Bomber

Israel: Serial Terror-Bomber

By Stephen Lendman

Israel operates like America, other rogue NATO members and Saudi Arabia. It claims a divine right to terror-bomb other nations, groups and individuals at its discretion.

It calls naked aggression "self-defense." It calls justifiable resistance "terrorism." It willfully targets civilians. It invents reasons to justify its lawlessness. They ring hollow every time.

Since Obama launched lawless aggression against Syria in March 2011, Israel terror-bombed the country numerous times - always claiming military or national security justification.

Aggression is a war crime at all times under all circumstances. Israel is a serial offender.

In late April, IDF warplanes killed four people it called "armed terrorists" allegedly trying to plant bombs near Golan's border between both countries.

The incident occurred in Israeli occupied Majdal Shams. An IDF spokesman claimed "terrorists" armed with explosives "were en route to imminent attack on our forces. Our air force neutralized the threat."

No evidence corroborated Israel's  account of the incident. It does what it pleases. It invents reasons why post-facto. Often it neither confirms or denies attacks.

Netanyahu praised the "vigilance" of Israeli forces. Saying "(e)very attempt to attack Israeli soldiers or civilians will be met with a decisive response like this operation which thwarted the attack."

Imagine if every country used warplanes, attack helicopters or heavy ground weapons to counter alleged homeland or border area threats - real or invented. Imagine communities being battlegrounds more than already.

Four deaths were reported this time - perhaps noncombatant civilians wrongfully accused. 

Israel covertly collaborates with anti-Assad takfiri terrorists - arming them and treating their wounded.

On April 22 and 25, its warplanes struck alleged Hezbollah and Syrian military sites.

Reports indicated Syrian army divisions in charge of strategic weapons were targeted. No official word from Hezbollah or Damascus confirmed what happened. 

In mid-January, Israeli helicopter gunship fire killed Hezbollah commander Abu Ali Tabatabai, Jihad Mughniyeh (the son of senior organization military leader Imad Mughniyeh killed in Damascus in 2008), military commander Mohammed Isa, several other Hezbollah fighters, Iranian General Mohammad Allahdaddi and five other Iranians in Syria's Quneitra province. 

Reports indicated two Syrian soldiers died in the attack. Hezbollah and Iran warned of retaliation at their discretion.

The IDF lied claiming targeted victims were setting up a missile base to launch strikes against Israel.

Air Force General Amir Eshel called residential houses struck "essentially military bases" - targets Israel claims a right to attack.

"Lebanese civilians who live in or close to those homes have to know one thing," he added. If conflict erupts, "they should get out as soon as they can."

He warned Hezbollah of "an experience whose dimensions it cannot imagine. I wouldn't trade places with a single Lebanese." He barely stopped short of declaring war.

In March 2009, Israeli airstrikes destroyed trucks claimed to be carrying Iran-made missiles intended for Hamas.

In October 2012, Israeli warplanes attacked Khartoum, Sudan. An arms factory was struck. Israel accused Sudanese authorities of smuggling weapons to Hamas. No corroborating evidence was presented.

At the time, Israeli officials refused comment. Sudan's Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman said:

"Four military planes attacked the Yarmouk plant...We believe that Israel is behind it. The planes appeared to approach the site from the east."

"Sudan reserves the right to strike back at Israel." Two civilians were killed. The facility was partially destroyed. Osman added:

"We are now certain that this flagrant attack was authorized by the same state of Israel." 

"The main purpose is to frustrate our military capabilities and stop any development there and ultimately weaken our national sovereignty."

He said analysis of rocket debris and other material implicated Israel.

In November and December 2011, Sudanese media accused Israel of attacking two alleged Gaza-bound arms convoys. Four deaths and two injuries were reported. 

Sudan's military said little. Israel refused comment. It's usually silent about these type aggressive acts.

In July 2014, its warplanes bombed a site allegedly storing weapons intended for Hamas.

At the time, Sudan's army spokesman A-Sawarmi Khaled Saad reported "a local fire" unrelated to "external hands or a domestic act of sabotage."

Unnamed Sudanese sources indicated otherwise - blaming Israel for what happened.

It's at it again. Overnight Tuesday, reports indicate Israeli warplanes struck a Sudanesse military installation near the city of Omdurman.

Witnesses reported hearing large explosions, according to the Al-Araby news outlet.

A Sudanese army spokesman denied any military site was struck. He only confirmed anti-aircraft fire against something overhead resembling an aircraft or missile.

Press TV cited Lebanon's al-Mayadeen TV indicating a Sudanese army source saying it downed an Israeli drone after its warplanes struck sites near Khartoum producing and/or storing long-range scud missiles.

Israel had no comment. It claims Sudan is a key Iranian smuggling route for weapons destined for Hamas - with no corroborating evidence.

At the same time, It wants nations and organizations it attacks denied the right of self-defense. It wants the right to terrorize them freely.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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, May 05, 2015

Press Freedom Banned in Ukraine

Press Freedom Banned in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine is a US-installed Nazi-infested fascist police state. Press freedom is banned. Criticizing government policy risks arrest, torture, imprisonment or death.

Last year, independent journalist/RT International stringer Graham Phillips received death threats. Right Sector thugs put a $10,000 bounty on his head.

He was maliciously called a Russian spy. He was arrested, held incommunicado. Later freed, he's lucky to be alive.

So are Russian journalists Oleg Sidyankin and Marat Saichenko. They were detained several days, brutally treated and threatened with death.

Ukraine equates truth-telling with terrorism. RT's Irina Galushko said her cameraman was threatened. At the time, she twittered:

"cam'man i'm working with just informed his addresses and contacts are in hands of Security Service, Right Sector and Nat'l Guard #Odessa."

Last September, Russian photojournalist Andrew Stenin was found dead in Donbass - murdered in cold blood.

He was kidnapped, remained missing for weeks. At first, Ukraine's interior minister advisor Anton Herashchenko said he was arrested for "helping terrorists." He then claimed he was misinterpreted.

Kiev stonewalled Russia's efforts to free him. At the time, the International Federation of Journalists expressed "serious concern" for his wellbeing. In mid-August, it issued a statement, saying:

"He's a journalist, not a soldier, and as such is entitled to move freely and report the truth without the threat of intimidation, violence or detention."

On September 3, Rossiya Segodnya director general Dmitry Kiselev said Stenin died weeks earlier when a car he was traveling in came under fire.

It "burnt on a highway in the vicinity of Donetsk," he explained. Autopsy results identified Stenin's body.

At the time, Russia's Foreign Minister issued a stinging statement, saying in part:

"An end must be put immediately to Kiev’s illegitimate efforts to prevent journalists from doing their duty, including by attacking, murdering, detaining and kidnapping (them) from 'undesirable' media outlets."

"How many more innocent lives must be sacrificed before Kiev stops its reckless and criminal policy towards millions of people in southeastern Ukraine?"

"Its (US-led) Western patrons must review their hypocritical and double-dealing approach to the human rights disaster in Ukraine…"

In 2014, Kiev murdered Russian journalists included correspondent Igor Kornelyuk, video engineer Anton Voloshin, cameraman Anatoly Klyan, and photojournalist Stenin.

In mid-April independent journalist/regime critic Oles Buzina was shot dead near his Kiev home. He was targeted for reporting hard truths.

Numerous other independent journalists were kidnapped and/or murdered in Ukraine. Some foreign journalists were deported. Others aren't allowed in the country.

In Ukraine, truth-telling verboten. No regime opposition is tolerated.

RT correspondent Paula Slier is the latest Russian journalist to be threatened. She left Ukraine after a local pro-regime journalist urged security services to arrest her.

Other regime supporters want her dead. State-controlled Ukraine Week journalist Ukrainsky Tizhden posted the following on Facebook:

"The worker of the Kremlin propaganda channel Russia Today Paula Slier, who laughingly reported on self-defense forces burning Ukrainian soldiers alive with ‘Grad’ missiles, moves freely about the country."

"Sirs from Ukraine’s Security Council, it’s your mistake. Maybe even Graham Philips could arrive? Those rascals shouldn’t be in our country."

His comments stirred a rage of anti-Russian anger. Calls for Slier's death followed.

On May 5, she thanked everyone for alerting her to the threats. "(A)fter being made aware of them I left Kiev and am now out of Ukraine," she said.

RT said it wasn't the first time she got death threats. Last September, she was threatened when reporting on Kiev's aggression on Donbass.

She's no stranger to dangerous places, she explained. "I am used to working in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq but it's a different kind of fear," she said.

"You risk for example being in the wrong place at the wrong time and facing kidnappings, bombings and the like; but here it’s being afraid that someone will recognize you amid a conscious effort to catch and hurt you."

RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan commented saying:

"The threats made against Paula have once again demonstrated that Ukraine does not have proper working conditions for journalists, even when they cover important stories such as the Chernobyl fire, and other issues entirely unrelated to politics."

"We are extremely alarmed by the fact that reporters have to fear for their lives, and we call upon the government of Ukraine to ensure a safe environment for the press."

Russia's Investigative Committee (RIC) began a criminal probe of pro-regime Ukrainian journalist Yury Romanenko following public comments he made, saying:

"The military forces of Ukraine must selectively and thoroughly exterminate Russian journalists who cover the situation in Donbass."

"They must issue an order to army snipers that people with ‘Press’ written on their helmets are priority targets."

RIC spokesman Vladimir Markin said "(i)n the investigators' opinion, (Romanenko's) material contains destructive calls that could incline Ukrainian officials and military servicemen towards committing mass murders of Russian citizens who work as journalists."

"In addition, Romanenko’s words incite hatred and hostility towards journalists of the Russian Federation as a social group."

Markin explained that Russian law permits prosecuting foreign citizens committing crimes abroad if they target its citizens in the interests of another nation.

Retired US army general Robert Scales is being investigated for wanting Russians killed to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions.

He said so live on Fox News in March. At the time, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich responded angrily, saying:

"Some US military and political leaders, who, like General Scales started killing during the Vietnam War, just can’t seem to let go."

"Blinded by their hatred of Russia, they are unable to see a constructive view of reality."

"This is how the mainstream US media are creating an atmosphere of Russophobia in the country."

"(T)he tune in this unbridled propaganda campaign is set in Washington where aggressive statements are made every day. We will draw adequate conclusions from this."

"Mr Scales should be informed that a case has been opened against him in Russia under Article 354 of the Criminal Code."

Scales is like many other lunatics infesting Washington influencing US policy.

Giving them air time on national TV ups the ante for direct confrontation with Russia - recklessly risking nuclear war.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

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

Visit his blog site at

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.

Israeli Soldiers Break the Silence on Gaza War

Israeli Soldiers Break the Silence on Gaza War

by Stephen Lendman

"Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories." 

They recount disturbing experiences Israel wants  suppressed - horrific crimes of war and against humanity including mass murdering civilians "excused as military necessities, or explained as extreme and unique cases."

Truth is polar opposite. Israel operates lawlessly. Killing, persecuting, ill-treating or otherwise harming Palestinians is longstanding practice. 

No Israeli commander or government official was ever prosecuted for horrific high crimes demanding accountability.

Make no mistake. Israel's 2014 Operation Protective Edge was well-planned premeditated naked aggression against 1.8 million largely defenseless Palestinians trapped under lawless siege.

For Israel's powerful military, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. It was cold-blooded mass murder and destruction - mostly harming noncombatant men, women, children, infants and the elderly.

Israel considers them legitimate targets. International law calls killing them a high crime against peace.

Dozens of Israeli soldiers involved in last summer's war broke the silence on war crimes they were ordered to commit. More on what they said below.

The Breaking the Silence web site said testimonies were collected from over 60 IDF officers and rank-and-file soldiers involved in aggressive war on Gaza.

They served in ground, naval and air operations. Their testimonies were carefully vetted for veracity.

Their comments based on direct involvement exposed government and IDF command Big Lies.

Rules of engagement made Gaza a free-fire zone. Commanders ordered troops "to fire at every person they identified in a combat zone" - meaning anyone, anywhere in Gaza, including civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, UN shelters, and other nonmilitary targets.

Everyone in sight was considered an enemy, including small children too young to understand what was happening.

A May 3 press release headlined "This is How We Fought in Gaza 2014. 

Saying released testimonies "paint a disturbing picture of the IDF’s policy of indiscriminate fire, which directly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians."

"The testimonies collected by Breaking the Silence paint a troubling picture of" official Israeli policy.

Soldiers were told to "shoot to kill" anyone in sight. They were deliberately lied to about areas supposedly cleared of civilians where entire families remained.

"Throughout the Operation, the IDF fired thousands of imprecise artillery shells into residential neighborhoods."

Soldiers were ordered to carry out "mass destruction of civilian infrastructure and homes."

"Many residential homes were shelled, from the ground and from the air, in order to 'demonstrate presence in the area,' or even as an act of punishment."

Breaking the Silence director Yuli Novak said the following:

"From the testimonies given by the officers and soldiers, a troubling picture arises of a policy of indiscriminate fire that led to the deaths of innocent civilians." 

"We learn from the testimonies that there is a broad ethical failure in the IDF’s rules of engagement, and that this failure comes from the top of the chain of command, and is not merely the result of 'rotten apples.' " 

"As officers and soldiers, we know that internal military investigations scapegoat simple soldiers rather than focusing on policy."

"The public must know what missions its sons are being sent to carry out, and according to which norms the IDF acts in its name." 

"We call for the establishment of an investigative committee external to the IDF, which will investigate the policy behind the rules of engagement given during 'Protective Edge,' and the norms and values that stand at the base of this policy."

Soldier testimonies best explain Israel's lawless contempt for Palestinian lives and welfare.

An armored corps first sergeant said in part:

"(B)efore entering Gaza, the commander…said '(w)e do not take risks. We do not spare ammo (including in civilian neighborhoods). We unload. We use as much as possible.' "

A Givati Brigade lieutenant said:

"The motto guiding lots of people was: 'Let’s show them.' It was evident that that was a starting point." 

"Lots of guys who did their reserve duty with me don’t have much pity towards (Arabs). The only thing that drives them is to look after their soldiers, and the mission. They are driven towards an IDF victory, at any price. And they sleep just fine at night."

"They are totally at peace with that. These aren’t people who spend their days looking for things to kill. By no means. But they aren’t afraid to kill, either."

"They don’t see it as something bad. The power-trip element is also at play, it’s all kinds of things." 

"I think that a lot can be learned from Operation Protective Edge about the issue of dealing with civilians, and how that works." 

"There were a lot of people there who really hate Arabs. Really, really hate Arabs. You could see the hate in their eyes."

A Gaza division lieutenant said in part:

"You could feel there was a radicalisation in the way the whole thing was conducted. The discourse was extremely right-wing."

"The military obviously has very clear enemies - the Arabs, Hamas."

"The discourse is racist. The discourse is nationalistic. The discourse is anti-leftist. It was an atmosphere that really, really scared me."

An infantry soldier said:

"The rules of engagement for soldiers advancing on the ground were: open fire, open fire everywhere, first thing when you go in." 

"The assumption being that the moment we went (into Gaza), anyone who dared poke his head out was a terrorist."

A mechanized infantry first sergeant said:

"The rules of engagement are pretty identical: anything inside (Gaza) is a threat. The area has to be ‘sterilised,’ empty of people…"

"Shooting to kill. This is combat in an urban area, we’re in a war zone. The saying was: ‘There’s no such thing there as a person who is uninvolved.’ In that situation, anyone there is involved."

An armored corps first sergeant said:

"During training (they told us) we only enter houses 'wet,' with grenades, and the more of them the better - and (grenade) launchers if you can use them." 

"You’re going to ‘open’ a house? Don’t take any chances, use your grenade launcher, utilise every effective tool you’ve got." 

"Aim, fire and only then go in. You don’t know if there is or isn’t someone in there. Go in ‘wet’ with grenades, with live fire. These were the orders for entering houses."

An infantry first sergeant said:

Orders were "(i)f you spot someone, shoot. Whether it posed a threat or not wasn't a question…If you shoot someone in Gaza it's cool, no big deal."

Commanders "made it clear that there were no uninvolved civilians."

Another first sergeant said "whoever you see (in Gaza), you kill." Asked who gave the order, he said the commander.

Soldiers spoke of "sterilizing" an area - killing everyone in sight. Just open fire, they were told.

Official Israeli policy was kill everyone. All Gazans are considered enemies. Law Professor Phillipe Sands called soldier testimonies "troubling insights into (Israeli) intention and method."

"(T)hey cannot be ignored or brushed aside, coming as they do from individuals with firsthand experience. The rule of law requires proper investigation and inquiry."

Top Israeli government and military officials claiming they took proper care to safeguard civilian lives were lying.

Official Israeli policy considers noncombatant civilians legitimate targets - including women and young children.

Everyone in Gaza is considered a terrorist. The Big Lie is drummed into the minds of recruits - brainwashing them to believe mass murder is the right thing to do.

According to Israeli human rights lawyer/Breaking the Silence advisor Michael Sfard:

"One of the main threads in the testimonies is the presumption that despite the fact that the battle was being waged in urban area - and one of most densely populated in the world - no civilians would be in the areas they entered."

Anyone there was considered fair game to kill. Rules of engagement allowed everything regardless of fundamental international law.

Official Spirit of the IDF code of ethics states "soldiers will not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property."

Dozens of soldier testimonies show it's duplicitous rhetoric - meaningless. 

In combat, anything goes is official Israeli policy - including indiscriminately mass murdering noncombatant civilians. Accountability remains nowhere in sight.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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. 

US/Saudi Illegal Blockade Compounds Naked Aggression on Yemen

US/Saudi Illegal Blockade Compounds Naked Aggression Against Yemen

by Stephen Lendman

No nation may attack another except in self-defense - only if authorized by Security Council members.

Obama's war on Yemen is naked aggression by any standard. No Security Council authorization exists. 

Nor will any be forthcoming post-facto - or any other justification for waging war on a country threatening no others using Saudi-led proxies to do Washington's dirty work.

So it can regain control of a former client state - no matter how many millions of lives potentially are at risk.

Blockading Yemen's borders and airspace compounds America's lawless aggression. Riyadh would never attack Yemen on its own, or any other Arab country without US involvement or permission.

Under international law, blockades are considered acts of war. They're defined as:

  • surrounding a nation or objective with hostile forces;

  • measures to isolate an enemy;

  • encirclement and besieging; 

  • preventing the passage in or out of supplies, military forces or aid in time of or as an act of war; and

  • an act of naval warfare to block access to an enemy's coastline and deny entry to all vessels and aircraft.

Law Professor Francis Boyle defines blockades as:

"belligerent measures taken by a nation (to) prevent passage of vessels or aircraft to and from another country." 

"Customary international law recognizes blockades as an act of war because of the belligerent use of force even against third party nations in enforcing the blockade." 

"Blockades as acts of war have been recognized as such in the Declaration of Paris of 1856 and the Declaration of London of 1909 that delineate the international rules of warfare." 

America approved these declarations. They're binding US law. Past presidents recognized blockades as acts of war. 

So did the US Supreme Court. It ruled blockades legal only if constitutionally authorized (the 1863 Prize Cases).

No constitutional, Security Council, or other authorization permits blockading Yemen. Doing so is blatantly illegal.

Millions of Yemenis have little or no access to essentials to life. Countless numbers may perish for lack of food, clean water and medical supplies.

Western leaders do nothing to condemn naked US/Saudi aggression. Nor have UN authorities acted responsibly.

On Monday, UN relief coordinator for Yemen Johannes van der Klaauw called for "safe and reliable" access to Sanaa's International Airport.

He asked Riyadh to stop bombing the facility, saying:

"Without access to the airports, aid agencies are unable to bring in staff, vital supplies of medicines and other critical life-saving assistance, or undertake medical evacuations of their personnel."

"I strongly urge the coalition to stop targeting Sanaa International Airport and to preserve this important lifeline -  and all other airports and seaports - so that humanitarians can reach all those affected by the armed conflict in Yemen."

Why is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon largely silent? Why have Western leaders able to make a difference done nothing?

It bears repeating. Yemen is Obama's war - naked aggression by any standard, compounded by blockading essentials to life from entering Yemen in amounts needed.

Most important is acting now to stop what otherwise will be genocide - by terror-bombing, ground fighting, war related violence, diseases, starvation and overall deprivation.

On Monday unindicted war criminal Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir lied saying Riyadh may "create specific areas inside Yemen to deliver humanitarian supplies, where all aerial operations will stop at specific times to allow these supplies in, as stipulated by UN Security Council resolution 2216."

Saudi terror-bombing targets food storage areas, hospitals, refugee camps and other civilian sites to intensify human suffering and deaths.

Washington and Riyadh want Yemenis starved to death or perishing from untreated wounds. They demand Houthis disarm and surrender unconditionally. Expect protracted war.

Expect greater human suffering than already. Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin correctly said Western and rogue Arab states pay lip service alone to vital humanitarian needs for Yemenis.

They don't give a damn how many die or suffer horrifically. Their interests alone matter.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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, May 04, 2015

US-Dominated NATO Readying for War on Russia?

US-Dominated NATO Readying for War on Russia?

by Stephen Lendman

Mounting evidence should scare everyone - especially with neocon lunatics in Washington driving policymaking. 

They deplore peace. They demand endless wars against all nations not subservient to America's will - puppet vassal states serving US interests, letting their resources be plundered for profit.

Russia and China are prime targets - the only nations able to challenge America militarily, economically, and/or politically.

Washington pressuring Japan and other Asian nations against China shows what Beijing faces. So does America's planned increased regional military presence.

Growing numbers of US combat troops close to Russia's borders reflect confrontation waiting to happen - between the world's preeminent nuclear states risks the unthinkable.

Provocative US-dominated NATO military exercises in Russia's backyard ups the ante for trouble. More on this below.

In late April, US-installed NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said dealing with Russia requires "a strong collective alliance" - code language for preparing for military confrontation?

He lied about what he called the "disturbing…behavior of Russia in Ukraine" - using "force to change borders."

"(W)e have to keep NATO strong"- especially in Eastern Europe, Stoltenberg said. 

"(W)e are making our forces more ready, more prepared (by more than) doubling" the Alliance's Readiness Action Plan strength - including a "High Readiness" force able to act within 48 hours.

Stoltenberg repeated NATO commander General Philip Breedlove's Big Lies claiming: 

  • nonexistent "Russian aggression;"

  • "substantial Russian buildup along the border with Ukraine, but also inside eastern Ukraine;"

  • arming Donbass freedom fighters with heavy weapons; and

  • violating other Minsk ceasefire terms.

False on all counts! Russia threatens no one. No evidence suggests menacing troop buildups along Ukraine's border, its forces operating inside its territory, or supplying Donbass freedom fighters with heavy or other weapons.

In contrast, hundreds of US combat troops operate in Ukraine - readying its Nazi-infested National Guard and likeminded extremist groups for war.

Washington supplied Kiev with heavy weapons since conflict erupted last spring. Planeloads more arrive regularly.

America threatens Russia and world peace. Its numerous provocations risk direct confrontation.

Military exercises begun on Monday involve thousands of US, UK, German, Belgian, Dutch, Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian and Polish combat troops readying for possible confrontation with Russia.

Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski signed a resolution establishing a Polish/Lithuanian/Ukrainian military brigade for the same purpose.

At full operational strength scheduled for 2017, it'll include 4,500 combat ready troops.

According to Komorowski, the joint force is "part of a wider plan…to support Ukraine, among others, in the area of modernization" for greater combat readiness against Moscow.

Washington and Brussels want NATO members spending more on "defense." They want homeland needs sacrificed for greater militarism at a time America and rogue Alliance allies pose the world's only threat.

Russia poses none. So-called "Russian aggression" is nonexistent. Moscow is the continent's leading peacemaker.

On Monday, US, German, Norwegian and Swedish submarines joined 13 surface ships from America, Britain, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Turkey for Exercise DYNAMIC MONGOOSE - despite no regional submarine or other threat affecting the participating nations.

Finland reservists are being enlisted in Washington's growing belligerence toward Russia.

Defense Minister Carl Haglund sent 900,000 reservists a letter explaining their role in a potential "crisis situation" - insinuating confrontation with Russia.

Both countries share a 1,340 km border with Russia - running mostly through uninhabited forests and sparsely populated rural areas.

It bears repeating. Mounting evidence suggests US-dominated NATO heading for direct confrontation with Russia. If initiated with nuclear weapons, all bets are off.

A Final Comment

No nation in world history along with its presstitute media proliferate more provocative propaganda than America - Big Lies by any standard.

None pose humanity a greater threat. None more leave world peace hanging by a thread.

US-pressured EU leaders intend developing new ways to counter Russian proliferated hard truths irresponsibly called propaganda.

Sputnik News called it a planned "new Iron Curtain" at a time US-dominated NATO alone threatens world peace enhanced by relentless Russia bashing - malicious disinformation substituting malicious Big Lies for hard truths.

According to the Brussels-based EUobserver, "Russian propaganda disseminated by outlets such as RT and Sputnik News is finding receptive audiences in various EU member states" - because it's some of the most reliable news and information found anywhere, polar opposite Western rubbish.

Washington and Brussels call truth-telling on vital issues "propaganda." They want nothing interfering with their mind-manipulating disinformation. No alternative views are tolerated - especially on major geopolitical issues.

Western free expression is just a figure of speech. State-sponsored lawlessness threatens to eliminate it altogether.

Perhaps it's just another 9/11-type major US and/or EU-instigated false flag away - followed by martial law and suspension of fundamental democratic rights.

Police states are born this way - especially when people are duped to believe sacrificing freedoms enhance their security. They end up losing both big time.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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. 

US Wars Kill Mostly Civilians

US Wars Kill Mostly Civilians

by Stephen Lendman

Post-9/11 alone, millions of civilians perished in US direct and proxy wars. They were either in harm's way, deliberately targeted, or perished from war related violence, preventable diseases or deprivation.

Washington, like Israel, considers noncombatant civilians legitimate targets. International law calls killing them a war crime.

Obama's Iraq war and Syria bombing aren't against IS terrorists. They're US recruited proxy foot soldiers, supported by American air power.

Washington's Friday's Aleppo area bombing murdered dozens of noncombatant civilians - not a single IS terrorist. None were targeted. 

Noncombatant civilians alone were in the Birmahle area struck - no IS terrorists. No clashes were reported.

US CENTCOM lied reporting "no indication that any civilians were killed in these strikes." It claimed "several ISIL fighting positions (were) destroy(ed)." It said "more than 50 ISIL fighters" were targeted. 

It bears repeating, ONLY civilians  were killed - no IS terrorists. None were present - nor any IS "fighting positions."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) issued a statement "condemn(ing) in the strongest terms this massacre committed by the US led coalition under the pretext of targeting the IS in the village, and we call the coalition countries to refer who committed this massacre to the courts, as we renew our calls to neutralize all civilians areas from military operations by all parties."

Since US warplanes began terror-bombing Syria last September, mostly noncombatant civilian men, women and children died.

Reuters said US attacks "had little impact on the hardline Islamic State group…(It) fail(ed) to weaken it in areas it controls."

Bombing supports its US proxy force mission to topple Bashar al-Assad. Obama wants a convenient US stooge replacing him.

Washington' strategy includes murdering civilians in all its wars. In the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Ukraine, endless so-called humanitarian wars murdered millions of noncombatants advancing America's imperium.

Horrific war crimes go unreported or are denied. When investigations are conducted they whitewashed. 

High-level government and Pentagon culpability doesn't matter. Millions of corpses attest to America's barbarity.

During US-led NATO's terror-bombing of Libya, British Civilians for Peace (BCP) spokesman Dale Roberts said he "witnessed the effects of bombing on civilians."

"This has included schools, hospitals, infrastructure and (other) civilian areas" unrelated to military sites.

So-called Pentagon "Kill Teams" murder with impunity. US death squads have been used since WW II.

In Korea, tens of thousands were murdered in cold blood. In Vietnam, Operation Phoenix was the most indiscriminate mass slaughter campaign since Hitler's death camps - exceeded in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

US terror-bombing since America entered WW II killed millions of noncombatants. Sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858 - 1917) once said "(t)he immorality of war depends entirely on the leaders who willed it."

If alive today, he'd have Bush and Obama in mind. Immanuel Wallerstein calls America "the most dangerous loose gun."

In his opening Nuremberg address, Justice Robert Jackson denounced the "men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberative and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched."

He called them "men of station and rank (who don't) soil (their) hands with blood." 

They use "lesser folk" to commit crimes of war and against humanity to enhance their status, privilege, wealth and power.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, Pentagon commanders ordered US forces to kill all military-aged men on sight.

During training, enemies are vilified, dehumanized to make killing easy. Recruits are programmed (brainwashed) to feel guiltless about cold-blooded murder - on the ground, from offshore or from 30,000 feet.

Yet international and US laws are clear. US Army Field Manual incorporates Nuremberg Principles as well as the 1956 Law of Land Warfare.

FM's paragraph 498 states any person, military or civilian, who commits a crime under international law is responsible for it and may be punished.

Paragraph 499 defines a war crime. Paragraph 500 refers to a conspiracy, attempts to commit it and complicity with respect to international crimes.

Paragraph 509 denies the defense of superior orders in the commission of a crime.

Paragraph 510 denies the defense of an "act of state" as absolution for war crimes.

These provisions apply to all US military and civilian personnel to the highest levels, including the president, defense secretary and joint chiefs chairman.

It doesn't matter. American forces commit horrific atrocities and other war crimes in all US wars.

Mass murdering noncombatant civilians is standard operating procedure.

Obama claims he has moral authority to attack any nation he wishes on the pretext of humanitarian intervention.

Commenting on US-led NATO's rape of Yugoslavia, the late Harold Pinter said:

"When they said '(w)e had to do something,' I said: Who is this 'we' exactly that you're talking about?"

"Under what heading do 'we' act, under what law? And also, the notion that this 'we' has the right to act,' I said, presupposes a moral authority of which this 'we' possesses not a jot! It doesn't exist!"

The same holds for all US wars - lawless imperial ones pursued for global conquest and dominance.

Lunatics in Washington make policy - waging endless wars on humanity, raping one country after another, murdering millions, claiming a divine right to rule. 

International laws, norms and standards don't matter - nor US constitutional and statute laws. 

No nation in world history threatens world peace more than America. None more risk ending life on earth.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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.