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2010 US State Department Human Rights Report on Bahrain - by Stephen Lendman
In April, 19 human rights organizations condemned Bahrain as one of the world's leading terror states, the Al Khalifa monarchy having lost all legitimacy.
In a joint press release, they said:
The undersigned "severely condemn the authorities' crackdown on prominent human rights defenders Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain. We are gravely concerned for the safety and well-being of both human rights defenders who are being targeted for their human rights work."
Both were lawlessly arrested, beaten, detained, and brutally tortured as were hundreds of others for supporting democracy, human rights and equal justice.
Remote Control Killing Like Sport - by Stephen Lendman
Defense contractor giants like Boeing, Lockeed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and others, as well as smaller rivals compete for growing demand for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They include remote control operated killer drones, also called unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs).
It's America's newest sport. From distant command centers, far from target sights, sounds, and smells, operators dismissively ignore human carnage showing up as computer screen blips little different from video game images. The difference, of course, is people die, mostly noncombatants. More on that below.
On March 10, 2010, Der Spiegel writer Marc Pitzke headlined, "How Drone Pilots Wage War," saying:
They "sit in air-conditioned rooms far away from (America's wars). They guide their weapons with joysticks and monitors. The remote warriors work with a high degree of precision - at a fraction of the cost of a fighter jet," but just as deadly.
Mountaintop Removal: Environmental and Human Destruction for Profit - by Stephen Lendman
Activists call it "strip mining on steroids." So did John Mitchell in his March 2006 National Geographic article titled, "Mining the Summits: When Mountains Move," saying:
Julia 'Judy' Bonds, "(a) coal miner's daughter....no longer (could) tolerate the blasting that rattled her windows, the coal soot that she suspected was clotting her grandson's lungs, and the blackwater spills that bellied-up fish in a nearby stream."
As a result, she moved downstream and joined Coal River Mountain Watch (CRMW), an activist group against mountaintop removal.
CRMW is an initiative "to stop the destruction of our communities and environment by mountaintop removal, to improve the quality of life in our area, and to help rebuild sustainable communities."
Access its web site through the following link:
Obama's Sinking Popularity - by Stephen Lendman
Except for bankers, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and America's super-rich, it's hard imagining why anyone supports a president backing policies harming so many at home and abroad.
The good news perhaps is that growing numbers are awakening, the latest June 7 - 9 Zogby International poll showing recent lows in Obama's popularity:
-- 56% disapprove of his job as president; 43% approve;
-- 39% say he deserves reelection; 52% want change;
-- congressional approval also dropped to 17%, a testimony to mass public disdain; and
-- given America's direction, waging multiple imperial wars at the expense of vital homeland needs, expect an angrier public reaction ahead as pain levels rise.
The Obama Doctrine: Lawless Imperial Aggression (Part II) - by Stephen Lendman
Previous articles discussed America's permanent war agenda, culture of violence, imperial lawlessness, daily atrocities, blood-drenched history, glorification of killing in the name of peace, and support for the world's worst despots, as well as contempt for democratic values, rule of law principles, and human and civil rights abroad and at home.
Obama continues the odious tradition, governing repressively while waging global imperial wars, brazenly claiming humanitarian intentions he doesn't give a damn about, never did, and won't tolerate.
Americans foot the bill and pay the price. Global millions suffer. Earlier articles addressed America's wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as proxy ones in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and at home against Muslims, Latino immigrants, and working households.
Palestinian Divisions on Statehood - by Stephen Lendman
On June 9, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined, "Palestinian leadership divided over plan to seek UN recognition," saying:
Senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are "sharply divided over the unilateral move to seek" UN General Assembly recognition in September. Abbas wants it. Others don't "because they believe (it) could do more harm than good to their cause," hurting Israel perhaps but not helping themselves.
Those opposed include Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (a former World Bank/IMF official closely tied to Israeli/Washington/Western interests), former Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, and former Palestinian UN envoy Nasser al-Qudwa.
Ravid said al-Qudwa's "opposition is particularly significant because he is considered the most experienced Palestinian official (in) dealing with the United Nations." He's also a possible presidential candidate.
The Obama Doctrine: Lawless Imperial Aggression - by Stephen Lendman
Wikipedia says US presidential doctrines state "key goals, attitudes, or stances for United States foreign affairs." Except for James Monroe in 1823 asserting a declaration of regional dominance, later ones reflected Cold War and imperial politics since Harry Truman.
On March 29, eight New York Times contributors asked "Is There an Obama Doctrine," preceded by an introduction saying his previous day America's role in Libya speech asserted unilateral authority to intervene abroad "when our interests and values are at stake," an illegal position under international and constitutional law, unmentioned in the debate.
On April 13, Times writer Peter Baker headlined, "Obama Puts His Own Mark on Foreign Policy Issues," saying:
Global Economic Crisis Deepening - by Stephen Lendman
In the 1960s, economist Arthur Okum began calculated America's Misery Index by adding the unemployment and inflation rates for a sense of public pain or lack of it in good times.
In May, it hit a record high exceeding 25, surpassing the earlier June 1980 21.98 top, based on how both measures were then calculated, not today's methodology, manipulated to hide painful truths.
At issue is:
-- over 22% unemployment, including discouraged workers and the so-called "birth-death model" estimate of net non-reported jobs from new businesses minus losses from ones no longer operating; during hard times, painful truths are hidden by creating non-existent jobs out of whole cloth instead of subtracting them to reflect fewer, not additional new businesses;
-- double digit inflation, including soaring food, energy, healthcare, college tuition, and other costs omitted or understated in core figures;
IMF Financial Terrorism - by Stephen Lendman
In July 1944, the IMF and Bank for Reconstruction and Development (now the World Bank) were established to integrate developing nations into the Global North-dominated world economy in ways other than initially mandated.
Under a new post-war monetary system, the IMF was created to stabilize exchange rates linked to the dollar and bridge temporary payment imbalances. The World Bank was to provide credit to war-torn developing countries. Both bodies, in fact, proved hugely exploitive, using debt entrapment to transfer public wealth to Western bankers and other corporate predators.
On a grander scale today, the scheme destructively obligates indebted nations to take new loans to service old ones, assuring rising indebtedness and structural adjustment harshness, including:
-- privatization of state enterprises, many sold for a fraction of their real worth;
-- mass layoffs;
-- deep social spending cuts;
Torturing Bahraini Doctors - by Stephen Lendman
For months, courageous Bahrainis protested peacefully against the Al Khalifa monarchy's repressive brutality, corruption, and discrimination, as well as unemployment, poverty, and other unaddressed social justice issues.
The response has been ruthless state terrorism against anyone challenging regime control, no matter how lawless, barbaric, and unresponsive to basic human rights and needs.
Since the mid-February uprising began, America's media largely ignored it, especially extreme repression Washington supports. Complicit in helping a key ally, Bahrain is home to the Navy's Fifth Fleet, strategically located in the heart of the Persian Gulf.
On June 6, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) highlighted the mistreatment of doctors and nurses, explaining their arrests, detentions, torture and upcoming military trials for doing their job.
Internet Censorship Bill Introduced - by Stephen Lendman
During his presidential campaign, Obama pledged to "(s)upport the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet."
In fact, he failed to deliver on every major promise made, including the last frontier of press freedom, protected from censorship and corporate control.
Post-9/11, both he and Bush expanded intrusive government surveillance, including Internet monitoring of personal communications. On April 1, 2009 the Senate introduced two bills, endangering a free and open Internet - S. 773: Cybersecurity Act of 2009 and S. 778 to establish a White House cybersecurity czar.
Both measures included provisions to give federal authorities unprecedented Internet control by:
-- federalizing critical infrastructure, shifting power away from providers and users to Washington; and
Humala Wins Peru's Presidential Runoff - by Stephen Lendman
On April 10, Ollanta Humala received most support among five presidential candidates, but not a majority. Eliminated were former neoliberal President Alejandro Toledo, his former economic minister and Lima mayor Luis Castaneda Lossio, and former Prime Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Discredited and now imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori's daughter Keiko proceeded to a runoff with him.
On June 6, New York Times writer Simon Romero headlined, "Ex-Officer Set to Win Narrow Victory in Peru," saying:
Incomplete returns show him heading for victory, rebuking Peru's "economic model that has driven (its) robust growth, (but left) millions of (its) citizens....mired in poverty...."
America's Imperial War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Obama's claimed humanitarian intervention, if fact, is lawless imperialism by any standard, America's latest target to be conquered, colonized, controlled and pillaged for greater power and profit.
As a result, daily NATO atrocities continue, a shocking display of imperial arrogance against another nonbelligerent state, targeted for other than declared reasons.
Begun on March 19, NATO announced June 1 that Operation Unified Protector (the renamed Operation Odyssey Dawn) will continue unabated through September to inflict mass casualties and turn Libya to rubble like Serbia/Kosovo in 1999, Iraq in 1991 and 2003, Afghanistan in 2001, and earlier campaigns since (and during) WW II by bombing, killing and destroying gratuitously. In fact, doing so violates international law and moral principles, ones Western powers long ago abandoned, especially Washington.
Naksa Day Commemorates Decades of Israeli State Terror - by Stephen Lendman
Supported, funded and armed by Washington, Israelis terrorize Palestinians daily. From late May to early June alone, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Palestine News Network, and others reported:
-- an Iraq Bourin village child wounded;
-- in Bil'in village, one resident wounded, another 15 arrested, including eight international human rights activists against Israel's illegal Separation Wall, stealing up to 12% of Palestinian land when completed;
-- on May 29 at 1AM, Israeli forces stormed Bil'in village, panicking residents with sound bombs while they slept;
-- on June 3, IDF troops attacked weekly Bil'in anti-Wall protesters with tear gas, sound bombs, rubber bullets, and sprayed sewage water, injuring six and many others from asphyxiating fumes;
Continuing Bahraini State Terror - by Stephen Lendman
For months, Bahraini and Saudi security forces targeted nonviolent protesters and activists wanting the repressive Al Khalifa monarchy replaced by constitutionally elected government, political freedom, and social justice, what Bahrainis never had and don't now.
Three previous articles discussed it, accessed through the following links:
Still functioning despite authorities terrorizing people brutally, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) provides regular updates on the ground, expressing great concern about King Hamad's ruthless:
Former Political Prisoner Geronimo Pratt Dies - by Stephen Lendman
Reporting his death, AP said:
"Former Black Panther Party leader Elmer 'Geronimo' Pratt" died at age 63 in a small (Tanzania village) "where he had lived for at least half a decade, a friend of Pratt's in Arusha, former Black Panther Pete O'Neal, said."
He lived a peaceful life in Tanzania, O'Neal explained, adding:
"He's my hero. He was and will continue to be. Geronimo was a symbol of steadfast resistance against all (he) considered wrong and improper. His whole life was dedicated to standing opposition to oppression and exploitation....He gave all that he had and his life, I believe, struggling, trying to help people lift themselves up."
His lawyer and longtime friend, Stuart Hanlon, who spent years working for his release, also announced his death, saying:
Doctors on Israel's Forty-Four Year Occupation - by Stephen Lendman
Under international law, Israel's 44 year occupation is oppressive and illegal for having:
-- attacked a nonbelligerent state;
-- annexed it forcefully;
-- exploited its resources and people;
-- stolen their land and property;
-- violated their human rights by collective punishment, war and numerous crimes against humanity; and
-- failed to recognize Palestinian self-determination under provisions of the December 1960 UN General Assembly Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and all UN resolutions before and thereafter affirming Palestinian self-determination, including:
-- the UN Partition Plan (GA Resolution 181, 1947) granting Jews (with one-third of the population) 56% of historic Palestine, the rest to Palestinians with Jerusalem designated an international city under a UN Trusteeship Council;
America's Addiction: Waging Illegal Wars - by Stephen Lendman
With regard to war, international and constitutional laws are clear. Under the Constitution's Article I, Section 8, only Congress may declare war, not the president. That, in fact, last happened on December 8, 1941 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. As a result, all subsequent US wars have been illegal, including Obama's against Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya.
Moreover, the UN Charter explains under what conditions violence and coercion (by one state against another) are justified.
Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes. Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use. And Article 51 allows the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member....until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security."
Forty-Four Years of Occupation - by Stephen Lendman
On March 7, Palestinian Prisoners Society head Qadura Fares presented a paper to the UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, addressing the plight of political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities, saying:
Palestine "has been under criminal occupation for 44 years. During that time, (Israel) committed the worst crimes against humanity, violating every international instrument. The occupier has killed tens of thousands of our struggling people, most of them defenseless civilians. There have been over 800,000 instances of imprisonment. Tens of thousands of people have been injured," 30% left with permanent disabilities.
Moreover, thousands of homes, crops, and other property have been destroyed. "All this has been done in full view of the world." Even Israeli rabbis "legitimized the slaughter of Palestinian babies (claiming they'll) grow up to become enemies."
States Harming People Most in Need - by Stephen Lendman
In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation ("welfare reform") Act (PRWORA) passed. Until then, needy households got welfare payments (since 1935) through Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a program protecting states by sharing costs of increased caseloads during hard times.
Thereafter, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) set five year time limits, allocating fixed block grants to states to administer at their own discretion, putting needy people at risk during economic downturns when little or no additional federal funding is forthcoming.
TANF also requires recipients to work or be trained to qualify, even during hard times like now when skilled workers can't find jobs, let alone single mothers with young children needing them as caregivers in their most formative years.
Escalating an Asian Arms Race - by Stephen Lendman
Together with South Korea, America's military plans expanding its Asian footprint on Jeju Island with a strategic naval base for Aegis class attack ships. They're equipped with sophisticated SM-3 interceptor missiles intended mainly for offense, as well as powerful computers and tracking radar for first-strike capability against enemy targets.
In 2002, Seoul announced construction plans to accommodate Pentagon planners despite strong local opposition. Located south of Korea proper, Jeju Island is its only special autonomous province, situated in the Korea Strait, Southwest of Jeollanam-do Province it separated from in 1946.
Japan lies Northeast, China due West. Jeju is in central Northeast Asia, important for reasons other than military.
Netanyahu's War on Gaza - by Stephen Lendman
Governing lawlessly by any standard, Netanyahu waged war on Gaza since becoming Israel's prime minister for the second time on March 31, 2009.
Under his leadership, May 31 marked the anniversary of Israel's barbaric slaughter of nine Freedom Flotilla activists in international waters, injuring dozens more trying to deliver thousands of tons of vital aid to besieged Gazans, suffocating illegally since June 2007.
At the time, Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed Flotilla organizers for inciting the attack, while his deputy, Danny Alalon, said they were connected to international terrorist organizations, trying to smuggle in arms. In fact, none were on board nor on other aid ships trying to breach Israel's lawless blockade.
Caught red-handed in a bald-faced lie, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy said:
Waging War at Home and Abroad While Pledging Peace - by Stephen Lendman
Promising peace on May 19, Obama wages war against Middle East/North African and Central Asian states, as well as Muslim Americans at home. Earlier articles explained they've:
-- been targeted;
-- hunted down;
-- bogusly entrapped by stings, false evidence or other means;
-- rounded up;
-- held in detention;
-- kept in isolation;
-- denied bail;
-- restricted in their right to counsel;
-- tried on secret evidence;
-- convicted on bogus charges;
-- given long sentences; and
-- incarcerated for extra harsh treatment as political prisoners in supermax confinement or segregated Communication Management Units (CMUs).
Public Banking: An Idea Whose Time Has Come - by Stephen Lendman
The 1913 Federal Reserve Act let powerful bankers usurp America's money system in violation of the Constitution's Article I, Section 8, giving only Congress the power to "coin Money (and) regulate the Value thereof...." Thereafter, powerful bankers victimized working Americans, using money, credit and debt for private self-enrichment by bankrolling and colluding with Congress and administrations to implement laws favoring them.
As a result, decades of deregulation, outsourcing, economic financialization, and casino capitalism followed, eroding purchasing power, producing asset bubbles, record budget and national debt levels, and depression-sized unemployment far higher than reported numbers, manipulated to look better.
Memorial and Veterans Day Hypocrisy - by Stephen Lendman
Annually America's warrior tradition is commemorated in major media editorials and op-eds, honoring fallen men and women for reasons not explained. More on that below.
On May 29, The New York Times headlined, "Among the Graves This Memorial Day," saying:
Besides families mourning soldiers "recently lost in Iraq or Afghanistan....(t)here is still a generation mourning friends, relatives and fellow servicemen lost in Vietnam, Korea and World War II...."
"Whatever you make of the wars in which those soldiers fought, whatever you make of war itself, their sacrifices are real and permanent," omitting what most needs explained about imperial arrogance responsibility for lost lives.
The Chicago Tribune headlined, "Hoist a glass for Red," saying:
Obama Plans Gutting Regulations for Corporate Favorites - by Stephen Lendman
Promising change after eight Republican dominated years, Obama betrayed the public trust by special favors given business at the expense of essential growing needs.
Spurning them, in fact, he shows contempt for the things he rhetorically supports, proving he's no different from the worst of the bipartisan criminal class, serving wealth and power interests only.
As a result, he backed Wall Street's financial coup d'etat, looted the nation's wealth for them, institutionalized speculation and corporate racketeering, wrecked the economy, and consigned millions to impoverishment without jobs, homes, savings, social services, or futures.
Now more is planned, first announced in a January 18, 2011 Executive Order, (EO) titled, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review" to benefit business, no matter the public cost.
Vermont Enacts Conditional Universal Healthcare Coverage - by Stephen Lendman
Numerous previous articles discussed Obamacare, described accurately as a rationing scheme to enrich insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains in lieu of universal single payer coverage.
Obama hailed its March 2010 passage as answering "the call of history." In fact, Ralph Nader was right calling it a "pay-or-die system that is the disgrace of the Western world," costing double what other Western countries spend and delivering less, rationing care to enrich corporate providers while making a dysfunctional system worse.
Under it, junk insurance policies leave millions underinsured. Costs remain out-of-control. Insurers can still deny care by delaying, contesting, preventing or over-charging people from accessing it. Yet everyone must be covered or penalized if opt out, a provision many states are contesting as a lawless unconstitutional infringement.
Encircling Russia with US Bases - by Stephen Lendman
In 1991, after the Soviet Union dissolved, everything changed but stayed the same. As a result, today's stakes are far greater, presenting much larger threats to world peace.
In America, neocons are still dominant. Obama is more belligerent than Bush, waging four wars and various proxy ones. The Israeli Lobby, Christian Right, and other extremist elements drive them. Conflict is preferred over diplomacy.
Congressional majorities support Washington's imperial agenda, including global militarization against potential challengers and America's main rivals - China and Russia, encircling them belligerently with bases and strategic weapons. It's a policy fraught with danger.
NATO has 28 member states, including 10 former Soviet Republics and Warsaw Pact countries. Prospective new candidates include Georgia, Ukraine, and potentially others later to more tightly encircle Russia and China.
Wisconsin Judge Strikes Down Anti-Union Law - by Stephen Lendman
Since taking office on January 3, Republican Governor Scott Walker waged war on public workers and their unions, aiming to restrict collective bargaining rights to wage negotiations before ending them altogether.
He also demanded draconian health insurance and pension contribution increases, doubling them for state employees during hard times when they're already strapped to make ends meet. Doing so called for pay cuts ranging from 8 - 20% ahead of more planned reductions coming.
On March 9, a protracted Senate battle ended when hard-line Republicans violated Wisconsin's open meetings law, requiring 24 hours notice prior for special sessions unless giving it is impossible or impractical.
More Myth than Massacre at Srebrenica - by Stephen Lendman
Headlines explaining former Serbian General Ratko Mladic's May 27 arrest allege his 1995 responsibility for massacring 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. True or false is at issue. More on that below.
Meanwhile, inflammatory accounts already convicted him by accusation, including New York Times writers Dan Bilefsky and Doreen Carvajal headlining, "Serbia Says Jailed Mladic Will Face War Crimes Trial," saying:
Arresting him "signal(ed) Serbia's intention of finally escaping the isolation it brought on itself during the Balkan wars," ones Western media, including The Times, consistently misreported on throughout the 1990s, culminating in NATO's 1999 war of aggression, falsely called humanitarian intervention.