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In Saakashvili's Georgia, the Bloom Is Off the Rose - by Stephen Lendman
Since May 21, anti-goverment protests rocked Georgia. Organized by an alliance of opposition parties, they erupted initially in September 2007 for early elections and democratic change, as well as ending corruption and police state terror. More on current protests below.
In 2003, Georgia's bloodless "Rose Revolution" replaced Edouard Shevardnadze with Mikhail Saakashvili, a totalitarian US-installed puppet with ties to other NATO countries and Israel.
Shevardnadze became a liability when he began dealing with Russia on energy pipelines and privatizations. Funded by the State Department, US intelligence, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), George Soros, and Freedom House, efforts to replace him played out as follows.
Spanish Voters Reject Austerity - by Stephen Lendman
Since mid-May, Spain's M-15 movement began protesting for "Real Democracy Now," drawing large numbers of students, activists, unemployed workers, and other "los indignados" (the outraged ones) on streets throughout the country, defying a ban ahead of May 22 municipal and regional elections.
Tens of thousands said "No nos moveran" (We shall not be moved), opposing government imposed austerity to repay bankers at their expense.
Experiencing its worse economic crisis in decades, official figures show around 45% of Spanish youths unemployed, a crisis affecting all workers facing worsening, not improving conditions, some of the worst in Europe.
Obama Genuflects to AIPAC - by Stephen Lendman
Edward Said once called AIPAC "the most powerful and feared lobby in Washington." For years, it's "drawn on a well-organized, well-connected, highly visible, successful, and wealthy Jewish population," subverting potential opposition.
As a result, fear and respect "for AIPAC (exists) all over the country, but especially in Washington, where in a matter of hours, almost the entire Senate can be marshaled into signing a letter to the president on Israel's behalf. Who is going to oppose AIPAC and continue to have a career in Congress, or" to represent the Palestinian cause "when nothing concrete can be offered by that cause to anyone who stands up to AIPAC?"
Deferentially, each year, US politicians, including presidents, flock to its annual conference, paying homage to Israel and its influence.
Alleged Obama - Netanyahu Rift - by Stephen Lendman
After Obama's May 18 speech called for establishing a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, world headlines suggested a rift with Netanyahu, misinterpreting what he meant. More on that below.
On May 17, in fact, New York Times writers Mark Landler and Helene Cooper headlined, "As Uprisings Transform Mideast, Obama Aims to Reshape the Peace Debate," saying:
Ahead of his speech, White House press secretary Jay Carney said he'd offer "some specific new ideas about US policy toward the region."
Unidentified officials also suggested he might endorse a Palestinian state within 1967 borders. Doing so, however, would represent "less of a policy shift than a signal" that Washington wants Israel to make concessions to restart peace talks - a gesture, whether or not substantive with teeth.
On May 17, after meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah, Obama said:
Extending Key Patriot Act Provisions - by Stephen Lendman
On October 13, 2001 New York Times writers Robin Toner and Neil Lewis headlined, "A NATION CHALLENGED: CONGRESS; House Passes Terrorism Bill Much Like Senate's, but With 5-Year Limit," saying:
The House gave "the government broad new powers for the wiretapping, surveillance and investigation of terrorism suspects. But in recognition of many lawmakers' fears of the potential for government overreaching and abuse, the House also included a five-year limit after which many of those powers would expire."
On October 26, George Bush signed it into law, prompting Center for Constitutional Rights senior litigation attorney Nancy Chang to ask, "What's So Patriotic About Trampling on the Bill of Rights?" saying:
Killings, Detentions and Torture in Egypt - by Stephen Lendman
On February 9, London Guardian writer Chris McGreal headlined, "Egypt's army 'involved in detentions and torture,' " saying:
Military forces "secretly detained hundreds and possibly thousands of suspected government opponents since mass (anti-Mubarak) protests began, (and) at least some of these detainees have been tortured, according to testimony gathered by the Guardian."
Moreover, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other human rights organizations cited years of army involvement in disappearances and torture. Former detainees confirmed "extensive beatings and other abuses at the hands of the military in what appears to be an organized campaign of intimidation." Electric shocks, Taser guns, threatened rapes, beatings, disappearances, and killings left families grieving for loved ones.
Mixed Reactions to Obama's Middle East Speech - by Stephen Lendman
Perhaps one way to view Obama's speech is saying you can please all the people some of the time, some of them all the time, but not all of them all the time. World reactions were indeed mixed, though policies, not posturing, are key.
Obama's, in fact, have no ambiguity, including imperial wars and rock-solid support for Israel. However, not everyone believes it, including the Zionist Organization of America, the oldest American one, founded in 1897.
On May 19, its press release headlined, "ZOA: AIPAC Should Rescind Invitation for Obama to Speak," saying:
On The Chopping Block: Federal Worker Pensions - by Stephen Lendman
Bipartisan support endorses ending vital social benefits incrementally, principally Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare for those who can't afford it, and public pensions.
Notably, deep Medicare cuts were made. Much more is planned, including slashing Medicaid. Now federal pensions are being targeted. Civilian federal employees receive benefits under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), consisting of three components:
-- a FERS annuity defined benefit plan;
-- mandatory Social Security participation; however most Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees aren't part of Social Security unless they qualify separately from additional private sector employment; and
-- the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a 401(k) type defined contribution plan.
Obama's Middle East Hypocrisy - by Stephen Lendman
Since taking office in January 2009, Obama broke every major campaign promise, including relevant ones to his May 19 Middle East speech; namely:
-- democratic values;
-- closing Guantanamo in one year;
-- ending torture, illegal spying, and detention without trial;
-- "a new era of openness;"
-- willingness to meet individually with Iranian, Syrian, Venezuelan, Cuban, and North Korean leaders;
-- supporting Israeli and Palestinian efforts to "fulfill their national goals: two states living side by side in peace and security;" and
-- on Afghanistan saying (October 27, 2007): "I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this (and the Iraq) war(s). You can take that to the bank," and by implication not begin new ones.
Stealing Palestinian Land Dunam by Dunam - by Stephen Lendman
One dunam is 1,000 square meters, four dunams to an acre. Israel is stealing them incrementally to control all valued Palestinian land, dispossessing indigenous people illegally in the process.
B'Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. In May, it published a comprehensive report titled, "Dispossession & Exploitation: Israel's policy in the Jordan Valley & northern Dead Sea," saying:
Both areas contain "the largest land reserves in the West Bank," covering 1.6 million dunams or 28.8% of the Territory. It's home to 65,000 Palestinians in 29 communities, as well as another 15,000 in dozens of small Bedouin ones. In addition, about 9,400 Israelis live in 37 settlements, including seven outposts.
America's Student Loan Racket: Soaring Default Rates - by Stephen Lendman
An earlier article discussed Permanent Debt Bondage from America's Student Loan Racket," accessed through the following link:
It explained government/corporate complicity to rip off students for profit, a racket continuing under Obama. His July 2010 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act perpetuated the scam. It enriches providers, entrapping millions of students permanently in debt, because rising tuition and fee amounts plus interest, service charges, and late payment or collection agency penalties are too onerous to repay.
It's part of the grand scheme, of course, to transfer maximum public wealth to America's super-rich already with too much. Ongoing for over three decades, it accelerated under Obama, a corrupted Wall Street/war profiteer tool, destroying America for power and profit.
America's Appalling Human Rights Record - by Stephen Lendman
Coincidental with high-level US - China May 9 and 10 talks, the Atlantic magazine quoted Hillary Clinton calling China's human rights record "deplorable." She also suggested possible unrest erupting like in the Middle East, then added:
"They're worried, and they are trying to stop history, which is a fool's errand. They cannot do it. But they're going to hold it off as long as possible," ignoring America's scandalous human rights record, by far the world's worse.
Each year, the State Department publishes human rights reports for over 190 countries. Its April 8-released 2010 China assessment can be accessed through the following link:
Unsparing in its harshness, it calls China "an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) constitutionally is the paramount authority," practicing:
-- "Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life;
The International Criminal Court: An Imperial Tool - by Stephen Lendman
Established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on July 1, 2002, it's mandated to prosecute individuals for genocide and aggression, as well as crimes or war and against humanity.
Much earlier, the UN Charter was created "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life time has brought untold sorrow to mankind." Its Chapter I states:
"To maintain international peace and security, (member states shall respect the) principle of the sovereign equality (of other members), settle their international disputes by peaceful means, (and) refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."
Killing Rachel Corrie Twice - by Stephen Lendman
On May 16, at 6:54AM Gaza time (3:54AM GMT), in international waters, an Israeli naval vessel attacked the Malaysian owned Spirit of Rachel Corrie ship (officially the MV Finch), carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. More details below.
Lawless Monday followed Nakba Day's bloody Sunday, Israeli security forces assaulting unprecedented numbers of nonviolent demonstrators in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and along the Lebanese/Syrian borders.
Egypt was complicit, blocking activists from reaching Rafah. So was Jordan, forcefully preventing Palestinian supporters from approaching the King Hussein Jordan River Crossing Point.
Nonetheless, the day was potentially historic. Activists hope it will inspire greater global support for Palestinian liberation and justice, what only hindsight will show.
Israeli Violence Marks Nakba Day - by Stephen Lendman
For Palestinians worldwide and millions supporting them, Nakba Day commemorates loss of their homeland, initially 78% in 1948, then the rest 19 years later in 1967.
Speaking for many, Audeh Rantisi recounted the horror, saying:
"I cannot forget three horror-filled days in July 1948," weeks after Israel's May 14 Yom Ha'atzmaut, its Declaration of Independence at the expense of displaced and slaughtered Palestinians.
"The pain sears my memory," he said, "and I cannot rid myself of it no matter how hard I try."
Many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians endured brutality, harassment, humiliation, and loss of their entire world, what Edward Said called "a slow death," shattered lives, and the incalculable horror of it all.
Explaining the horrific toll, Rantisi added:
Solidarity with Palestine - by Stephen Lendman
Ahead of May 15 Nakba commemorations, massive crowds assembled in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square in solidarity. They displayed banners, proclaiming, "The People want the Rafah Crossing opened," and "Palestine is a Arab state."
They also waved Palestinian flags, chanting "Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada" and "National Unity" ahead of a planned weekend march to Gaza. More on that below.
Domestic issues were also addressed, including ending recent sectarian violence and concerns about popular unaddressed issues under military junta rule. After Friday prayers, Sheikh Safwat Hegazy addressed the crowd, saying:
"(Appointed prime minister) Essam Sharaf: this is not your government. This is the revolution's government. You should kick out the six former (NDP ruling party) ministers from the cabinet. We won't accept (deputy prime minister) Yehia El-Gamal who's part of the former regime...."
Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown Confirmed - by Stephen Lendman
Visual evidence now confirms what earlier was known: namely, that Tokyo Electric's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station experienced at least one core nuclear meltdown, perhaps much worse than now admitted.
An earlier article explained, accessed through the following link:
Nuclear expert Karl Grossman calls it the ultimate nuclear nightmare, a real time China Syndrome, portrayed fictionally in the 1979 film by the same name.
On May 12, Hiroshima Peace Institute Professor Robert Jacobs told Russia Today TV that plant conditions "are much more serious than we were told earlier."
In fact, confirming a coverup, he explained:
Resurrecting the Bogus FARC-EP Files/Venezuela Connection - by Stephen Lendman
The story surfaced in March 2008 after Colombia's military, with US Special Forces help, attacked a FARC-EP rebel camp in Ecuador. Over 20 people were killed, including 16 or more FARC-EP members while they slept. Key among them was Paul Reyes, the FARC-EP's second-in-command, their peace negotiator, public voice, and lead figure in the Chavez-led hostage negotiations with Colombia at the time.
Tensions rose when Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos Calderon said three laptops and other materials were found at the FARC-EP camp. Containing provocative evidence, he said, it showed a Chavez/Ecuadorean President Raphael Correa link to FARC-EP rebels, including Venezuela providing them weapons, munitions, and about $300 million.
Bahraini State Terror Continues - by Stephen Lendman
Bahraini and Saudi security forces continue daily terror in Bahrain, human rights groups condemning the violence, including Amnesty International (AI), providing regular updates.
On May 11, AI reported more than 47 health professionals, including doctors and nurses, have been arrested, charged and may face trial before a military court for doing their job. All are Shias in a Sunni-run state.
Entirely bogus charges against them include:
-- refusing to help people in need;
-- embezzling public funds;
-- assaults causing deaths;
-- unauthorized possession of weapons and ammunition;
-- refusing to perform duties;
-- putting people's lives and health at risk;
-- illegal detention;
-- abusing authority;
-- attempting to forcefully occupy buildings;
-- incitement to forcibly overthrow the Khalifa monarchy;
-- incitement of regime hatred;
-- incitement of the hatred of a segment of society;
Human Trafficking in Israel - by Stephen Lendman
In February 2003, the Tel Aviv-based Hotline for Migrant Workers (HMW) published a report titled, "Modern Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings in Israel," saying:
"In September 2002, a new 'Deportation Police' (Immigration Administration) was set up (to) expel 50,000 migrant workers" by year end 2003. Unprecedented in scope at the time, it reflected Israel's longstanding "official policy towards migrant labor."
HMW's report showed a pattern of denying migrant workers basic rights "to such an extent as to result in modern slavery and trafficking in human beings."
Ever since Israel allowed non-Palestinian migrant workers entry in the early 1990s, their rights steadily eroded. More recently, HMW said:
"Its primary manifestations include debt bondage, restrictions and violations of basic human freedoms, and renting and selling of workers," policies ongoing today.
Libyan Rebels Killing Civilians in Benghazi - by Stephen Lendman
In London, at a June 1999 anti-Yugoslavia war rally, Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter scathed US and UK leaders, saying:
"Let us face the truth....(N)either Clinton nor Blair gives a damn about the Kosovar Albanians. This action has been another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile....to consolidate....American domination of Europe."
Today, Obama doesn't give a damn about Libyans, any more than about Iraqis, Afghans or working Americans. At issue only is Washington wanting unchallenged dominance everywhere, including over the Mediterranean Basin, using two missiles - NATO and so-called rebels, enlisted, funded, trained and armed well before bombing began on March 19.
East Jerusalem Residents: Lawlessly Revoking Their Status - by Stephen Lendman
On April 7, 2011, HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition, demanding that Israel's Interior Ministry stop revoking residency permits given East Jerusalem Palestinians.
After its June 1967 annexation, life for Palestinian residents became an ongoing cycle of neglect, discrimination, poverty, shortages, and persecution, compounded by the encircling Separation Wall and worsening daily hardships.
Commemorating Palestine's Nakba - by Stephen Lendman
What Ilan Pappe described as "the ethnic cleaning of Palestine," Edward Said called its "holocaust," saying:
"Every human calamity is different, but there is value in seeing analogies and perhaps hidden similarities." He called Nazi extermination "the lowest point of (Jewish) collective existence." Occupied Palestinians today "are as powerless as Jews were" under Hitler, devastated by "power used for evil purposes," not self-defense.
As a result, they hang onto life by a thread, while Israel's military juggernaut systematically reigns terror against them, no one intervening to help. "Is this the Zionist goal for which hundreds of thousands have died," Said asked? Isn't it time for justice advocates to demand for Palestinians what Jews spent decades to achieve.
In his book titled, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," Pappe documented Israel's master plan D (Dalet in Hebrew), a war without mercy:
Democracy, Haitian Style - by Stephen Lendman
Except for Aristide's tenure, what passes for Haitian democracy would make a despot blush, thanks to America's imperial grip on the hemisphere's poorest, long-suffering people.
As a result, last November's presidential and legislative elections might best be called a cruel joke. The entire process was rigged to exclude 15 parties, including by far the most popular, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas.
Moreover, the election was so tainted by brazen disenfranchisement and fraud, including ballot box stuffing and other irregularities, that legitimate independent observers would have demanded throwing out the results and starting over.
Most Haitians, however, weren't fooled. A scant 22%, in fact, voted, a hemispheric low since record keeping began over 60 years ago.
Troy Anthony Davis: Unjustly Sentenced to Death - by Stephen Lendman
Capital punishment is barbaric, unjust, and unacceptable for any reason in modern societies. No wonder Amnesty International (AI) calls it "the ultimate denial of human rights. It is premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice."
In fact, there's nothing just about state-sponsored murder, especially against falsely accused victims. In America, they're mostly poor Black or Latinos denied due process and judicial fairness by a corrupted prosecutorial system rigged to convict even known innocent defendants like Troy Anthony Davis.
New Bin Laden Tapes Appear Fake Like Earlier Ones - by Stephen Lendman
On May 2, AP writer Matt Apuzzo headlined, "US Official: New bin Laden tape, recorded shortly before death, expected to surface soon," saying:
"US intelligence officials believe (he) made a propaganda recording shortly before his death and expect that tape to surface soon....A new recording (would) provide a final word from beyond the grave...."
On May 7, New York Times writer Elisabeth Bumiller headlined, "Videos From Bin Laden's Hide-Out Released," saying:
On May 7, the administration "released five videos recovered from" his alleged hideout, showing him "threatening the United States, condemning capitalism and at some points flubbing his lines and missing a cue."
Phantom Jobs and Economic Recovery in America - by Stephen Lendman
On May 6, headlines cheered the new jobs report, New York Times writer Motoko Rich headlining, "Payrolls Show Strong Growth but Jobless Rate Rises," saying:
"For three straight months, the nation's employers have delivered solid job growth, easing some concerns that the economy could be slowing."
Bloomberg.com's Timothy Homan said:
At 244,000, "American employers in April added more jobs than forecast....indicating the world's largest economy is weathering the impact of higher fuel prices."
Wall Street Journal writer Sara Murray wrote:
"Job engine shifts to higher gear (as) companies cranked up hiring in April to the fastest pace in five years...."
False Flags: An American Tradition - by Stephen Lendman
Wikipedia defines false or black flags as "covert operations designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities."
They're "big lies," defined by Merriam-Webster as "deliberate gross distortion(s) of the truth used especially as a propaganda tactic."
America's decade from September 11, 2001 to May 1, 2011 was punctuated by the (big) lie of our time and (big) lie of the moment.
Put another way, the official stories are falsified, myths, widely believed fantasies contrary to reality.
In his exhaustive research and writings, David Ray Griffin provided convincing evidence that 9/11 was an inside job and that bin Laden died of natural causes in mid-December 2001.
Staged Bin Laden Killing Hokum - by Stephen Lendman
As reported, it sounded more like bad fiction than eliminating "Enemy Number One," especially with no visuals, corpse, independent proof, and shifting official accounts.
In Hollywood, it's called rewrite. In politics, it's lying, a Washington bipartisan specialty, notably on issues mattering most.
Also at issue is conducting lawless operations for any purpose. More on that below.
Two previous articles discussed the staged May Day hokum, accessed through the following links:
Palestinian Unity: Done Deal or Wobbly? - by Stephen Lendman
A previous article explained the announced deal, accessed through the following link:
In late April, Fatah and Hamas announced a reconciliation draft agreement, including a transitional government and planned presidential and legislative elections within a year.
It signaled hope for rapprochement between the two sides, as well as better prospects for Palestinian independence within 1967 borders, UN membership, achieving peace, and ending Israel's 44 year occupation. However, fulfillment faces long odds without strong Western backing, unlikely to surface given determined Israeli and Washington pressure to subvert it.
Despite unresolved issues between the two sides, AFP writer Nasser Abu Bakr headlined on May 3, "Palestinian factions sign unity deal in Cairo," saying: