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Extrajudicial Assassinations: Official Israeli Policy - by Stephen Lendman
Extrajudicial assassinations are willful, premeditated, cold-blooded murder. Nonetheless, they're official Israeli policy. Killers get impunity. Investigations rarely happen. Occasional ones absolve crimes, letting new ones repeat freely. Israel's Turkel commission sanctioned the Mavi Marmara massacre. A previous article discussed it, accessed through the following link:
Israel's internal 2008 - 2009 Cast Lead investigation absolved brazen Gaza crimes of war and against humanity, explained through the following link:
Israel's July 22, 2002 Al-Daraj massacre is discussed below. Belatedly, its Special Investigatory Commission (SIC) whitewash followed, exonerating 16 murders, including eight children. More details below.
Out-of-Control Human Rights Abuses in Iraq - by Stephen Lendman
On February 21, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) press release headlined, "Iraq: Vulnerable Citizens at Risk," announcing its new report titled, "At a Crossroads: Human Rights in Iraq Eight Years After the US-Led Invasion." Besides many others, two previous articles discuss more, accessed through the following links:
The top link explains that over the past two decades, America devastated Iraq by genocide, vast destruction, terror, occupation, and contamination - a monstrous combination of unspeakable ongoing crimes.
At issue is:
-- controlling the region's oil, gas and other strategic resources;
-- remaining permanently in the Middle East and Central Asia, besides all other parts of the world; and
America's War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Since WW II alone, America waged direct and proxy wars against Korea, Southeast Asia, Central and South American countries, African ones, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and now Egypt and Libya. One down, one to go, besides dozens of attempted and successful coups, as well as numerous other interventions to control world markets, resources and people. Imperial America doesn't sleep. It plots, deciding where next to strike.
Despite popular passion for democratic change, uprisings in Egypt and Libya were externally orchestrated, funded and armed by Washington to replace one despot with another. Democracy won't be tolerated. It's never been at home.
America's media go along, especially when Washington goes to war or plans one. In the lead: The New York Times, the nation's equivalent of an official information and propaganda ministry, posing as independent journalism.
Waging War on Working Americans - by Stephen Lendman
Outside the beltway, ground zero is Wisconsin, but worker rights are threatened across America, including by the Obama administration's spurning them since taking office in January 2009. While giving at least $12.4 trillion to Wall Street crooks and hundreds of billions more to other corporate favorites, he stiff-armed budget-strapped states and local governments, especially in the current fiscal year, leaving them on their own sink or swim.
He also did little for distressed households. Promising millions of new jobs, he created few, leaving real unemployment over 22% more than three years after economic crisis began.
Reactionary Extremism in Wisconsin and Ohio - by Stephen Lendman
It's spreading nationally under Republican and Democrat administrations, but Wisconsin and Ohio are key battleground states. Wisconsin especially - ground zero to save organized labor, on the chopping block to be weakened ahead of eliminating it altogether, returning America to 19th century harshness.
Already a shadow of its peak strength, it's been gravely harmed under corrupted union bosses, betraying rank and file members for power and self-enrichment. Short of real change, working Americans face stiff headwinds for their rights fast eroding.
Nonetheless, Wisconsin public employees show heroic stamina, 17 days after protests began, rallying in cold and snow, sleeping on Capitol floors, staying the course for rights too important to lose, facing off against extremist governance wanting them stripped of everything.
Our Man in Pakistan - by Stephen Lendman
Raymond A. Davis, CIA agent, is one of many working covertly with assets infesting virtually all countries worldwide, especially ones vital to America's imperial agenda.
On February 21, New York Times writers Mark Mazzetti, Ashley Parket, Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt headlined, "American Held in Pakistan Worked with CIA."
Correction - worked for the CIA, conducting intelligence covertly, spying on Pakistan for Washington, The Times saying:
On January 27, he was arrested and detained for shooting two men at a crowded Lahore traffic stop. Washington called it a botched robbery attempt. Pakistan charged him with murder and possession of a concealed, unlicensed gun. Davis said he acted in self-defense. Pakistani authorities knew otherwise when they learned he shot the men 10 times in the back, fled the scene, and was carrying a telescope, a GPS set, bolt cutters, a survival kit, and a long-range radio.
Seventh Annual Israeli Anti-Apartheid Week - by Stephen Lendman
The web site apartheidweek.com announced it in over 60 cities worldwide, including:
Adelaide, Al Quds, Amman, Amsterdam, Bard (NY), Basel, Beirut, Belfast, Berkeley, Bern, Bethlehem, Bilbao, Birzeit, Bordeaux, Boston, Brisbane, Brussels, Cape Town, Cleveland, Denver, Dublin, Dundee, Durban, Edmonton, Gainesville, Gaza, Geneva, Grahamstown, Haifa, Houston, Ireland, Johannesburg, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Mans, Lille, Lillehammer, London (Ontario), Lyon, Melbourne, Mexico City, Miami, Midwest, Montreal, Nablus, Naples, Nazereth, Neuchatel, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Perth, Peterborough, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, Providence, Regina, St. Louis, Stellenbosch, Sudbury, Toronto, Utrecht, Yaffa, and Zurich.
Other cities not officially part of IAW may also participate, including major ones involved before.
Major Media Promote War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
When imperial America wants war, peace advocates are shut out by official rhetoric and hawkish media reports supporting militarism, not diplomatic efforts to achieve peace. Those for it aren't heard. Hugo Chavez's government is one. On February 28, Venezuela's Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, warned against belligerence saying:
"We would be against any military intervention against the Arabic people of Libya, and I'm sure that all peoples of the world would support a struggle against any interventionism that some powerful countries would commit against it....Arabic people who are in a process of rebellion, seeking a better destiny, (can) find their way to peace. (Venezuelans understand) very difficult times, (but have) gone about finding our ways to independence, democracy, and freedom, which in our case" is Bolarivarianism.
Obstructing and Delaying Aristide's Return - by Stephen Lendman
He's lived in exile since US marines forcefully ousted him at gunpoint on February 29, 2004. Efforts to help him return followed, what he's wanted for eight years today, the anniversary of his abduction.
On February 25, San Francisco's Bay View and other publications ran attorney Walter Riley's article titled, "Prominent anti-apartheid movement veterans call on South African government to assist Aristide in returning to Haiti now," saying:
Noted figures wrote "South African President Jacob Zuma an open letter 'in hopes that (he'll) assist' former (President) Aristide and his family (return) to Haiti 'as soon as possible.' " Among them were:
-- Randall Robinson, Trans Africa Forum's founder;
-- Jesse Jackson;
-- Danny Glover;
-- British MP John McDonnell;
-- Dick Gregory;
-- Jack Healey, Human Rights Action Center's founder and director;
Unverified Misreporting on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
America's media, Britain's state-controlled BBC, other Western sources, and Al Jazeera are spreading unverified or false reports on Libya's uprising.
On February 25, writer Madhi Darius Nazemroaya, a Middle East/Central Asian specialist, based on reliable in-country contacts, headlined an important article, "Libya: Is Washington Pushing for Civil War to Justify a US-NATO Military Intervention?"
Access it through the following link:
For greater readership, this article covers key information in it. Its entirety explains much about what's ongoing - what major media accounts misreport or suppress, especially television reaching large audiences, presenting distorted managed news. It shouldn't surprise. Representing powerful interests, carefully filtered sanitized reporting substitutes for the real kind.
Spreading Activism for Change - by Stephen Lendman
Egyptians want it. So do Palestinians, Arabs throughout the region, protesting East and West Europeans, others across the world, and growing numbers in America, especially in Wisconsin - ground zero to save organized labor.
At issue is freedom v. tyranny, what Aaron Russo's 2006 film called "Freedom to Fascism," identifying America's money system as inimical to liberty and justice for all. Along with American-style corporatism, it lets banking giants control money, credit and debt for private self-enrichment, colluding with government for laws favoring them, as well as others destroying democratic principles, fast eroding and disappearing throughout the country.
-- pervasive public and private corruption;
-- concentrated wealth;
-- government serving America's aristocracy, not popular interests;
-- alliances with global despots, replaced when they forget who's boss;
Middle East Protests Continue for Unmet Demands - by Stephen Lendman
So far, weeks of regional protests achieved nothing. Despite ousting Egypt's Mubarak and Tunisia's Ben Ali, their regimes remain in place, offering nothing but unfulfilled promises.
On February 26, Egyptians again protested in Tahrir Square. This time, however, military forces confronted them, Reuters headlining, "Egypt military angers protesters with show of force," saying:
"Soldiers used force on Saturday to break up a protest demanding more political reform in Egypt, demonstrators said, in the toughest move yet against opposition activists who accused the country's military rulers of 'betraying the people.' "
New York Times writer Liam Stack headlined, "Egyptian Military Forces End to New Protest," saying:
"Tens of thousands of protesters returned Friday to Tahrir Square....to keep up the pressure on Egypt's military-led transitional government."
America's Total Surveillance Society - by Stephen Lendman
In 2003, an ACLU report warned that "Big Brother" no longer is fiction, America having advanced to where total surveillance is now possible. Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program said:
"Given the capabilities of today's technology, the only thing protecting us from a full-fledged surveillance society are the legal and political institutions we have inherited as Americans. Unfortunately, the September 11 attacks have led some to embrace the fallacy that weakening the Constitution will strengthen America."
As a result, civil liberties fast eroded. In 2007, another ACLU report warned about America being six minutes to midnight "as a surveillance society draws near...." Powerful new technologies potentially make total monitoring possible under a president, a compliant Congress and courts that believe national security takes precedence over constitutional freedoms.
Institutionalized Arab Inequality in Israel - by Stephen Lendman
In December 2010, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel published a study titled, "Inequality Report: The Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel," saying:
Affecting Jews as well, it takes many forms, including:
-- privileged v. deprived groups;
-- Western Jews (Ashkenzim) v. Eastern ones (Mizrakhim);
-- men v. women;
-- Israeli-born Jews (Sabar) v. immigrant ones (Olim);
-- Orthodox v. secular Jews;
-- urban v. rural ones;
-- progressive v. hardline extremists;
-- gay v. straight, and so forth.
Mostly, it represents majority Jews against minority (largely Muslim) Israeli Arabs, indigenous people living in their historic homeland, comprising 20% of the population or about 1.2 million people, excluding East Jerusalem and Golan.
Hidden Provisions in Wisconsin Bill - by Stephen Lendman
On February 25, AP said the Wisconsin Assembly, after days of debate, passed Walker's contentious bill, but the standoff is far from over. Senate Democrats remain absent in Illinois, vowing to resist ending collective bargaining rights for public workers. So far, Walker won't compromise, so resolution is on hold.
Much more, however, is at issue. On February 24, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman headlined, "Shock Doctrine, USA," saying:
"What's happening in Wisconsin is....a power grab - an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy." It involves much more than union busting, bad as that is.
Hidden in the bill's 144 pages are "extraordinary things," including a provision letting Walker appoint a health czar to make draconian healthcare cuts to Wisconsin's poor and low-income households unilaterally.
Wisconsin's Spirit: Courage for Other States to Emulate - by Stephen Lendman
The issue is simple and straightforward - organized big money v. organized people essential to beat it. Since February 15, Wisconsin public workers, students, and supporters have sustained heroic resistance against corrupted dark forces determined to crush unionism there and across America. A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:
The scheme is old, dirty and ongoing - a conspiracy involving corporate bosses, federal, state and local Democrat and Republican leaders, and corrupted union heads to bust unions, effectively depriving workers of collective bargaining and other hard-won gains, returning them to 19th century harshness when they had none.
Union Busting in America - by Stephen Lendman
It dates from America's 19th century industrial expansion when workers moved away from farms to factories, mines, and other urban environments, with harsh working conditions, low pay, and other exploitive abuses. As a result, labor movements emerged, organizing workers to lobby for better rights and safer conditions, pitting them against corporate bosses yielding nothing without a fight.
During unionism's formative years, workers were terrorized for organizing. In company-owned towns, they were thrown out of homes, beaten, shot, and hanged to leave management empowered.
Wisconsin: Ground Zero to Save Public Worker Rights - by Stephen Lendman
Ronald Reagan was right saying:
"Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."
His type governance, that is, and from administrations that followed, Democrats as ruthless as Republicans.
For decades, bipartisan consensus governed lawlessly, waging imperial wars, trashing human rights and civil liberty protections, unabashedly backing monied interests, letting them loot the federal treasury, fleecing working Americans, and targeting organized labor for destruction.
Washington is ground zero for government's assault. Outside the beltway, it's Wisconsin, but spreading fast to other states and cities. An unfair fight pits major media-supported federal, state and local governments allied with union bosses against American workers, largely on their own, relying on their grit and resourcefulness to survive in a very hostile environment.
Waging War on Chicago Workers - by Stephen Lendman
In Washington, Obama, Democrats and Republicans are doing it. In Wisconsin and other states, so are Governor Scott Walker, other governors, and mayors across America - planning major social benefits cuts and other ways to address budget shortfalls through layoffs, fewer services, and other draconian measures on the backs of working people, ones least able to afford them.
At the same time, America's aristocracy is thriving, benefitting largely from tax cuts, other benefits, and bipartisan complicity to reward them by exemption from planned austerity when stimulus, job creation, and other populist measures are needed, including for Chicagoans facing hard times. Instead, all major mayoral candidates promise worker sacrifices to benefit business and city elites.
On February 22, voters will choose a new mayor. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel holds a commanding lead, numerous polls confirming it against:
Continued Middle East Uprisings and Violence - by Stephen Lendman
What began in Tunisia spread to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, Bahrain, and now Libya, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The entire region is erupting in protests, mischaracterized as revolutions. They're not, falling far short convulsive, violent, unstoppable tsunamis for change, removing old orders for new ones. So far, they're absent in the region, not even close despite popular passion for change. More on that below.
Tea Party Stooges Join Wisconsin Protests - by Stephen Lendman
It was reminiscent of November 22, 2000 Florida, outside the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board offices when dozens of imported Bush-Cheney ruffians rampaged through Miami's County Hall, disrupting the recount of about 10,000 undervotes, ballots with no presidential choice registered.
They assaulted Democrat party representatives, near rioted, and succeeded in halting the process. As a result, hundreds of Gore-Lieberman votes weren't counted in largely Democrat Dade County.
Reactions to Aristide's Impending Return - by Stephen Lendman
After receiving his diplomatic passport to return, Haitians eagerly await his arrival. For them and millions of global supporters, it can't come a moment too soon. Reactions express varying views.
On February 18, AP headlined "Aristide backers march amid talk of Haiti return," saying:
In Port-au-Prince, thousands rallied in support "as people close to the former leader say he plans to return soon from (US-forced) exile in South Africa."
Marchers "seemed largely festive, with loudspeakers blaring music and young men drinking beer in the hot sun." Eugene Mirthil, an unemployed worker, spoke for others saying:
"We must have the return of Dr. President Aristide as a simple citizen to help us get better as a country as a people."
Washington calls his return disruptive ahead of March 20 runoff elections. Maryse Narcisse, Aristide's spokeswoman, said:
Obama on Palestinian Rights: "Nyet" - by Stephen Lendman
On February 18, as expected, Washington vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal under international law. The vote: 14 yes, America the sole no, isolating the US and Israel on this long festering issue. The measure had nearly 120 co-sponsors.
In a post-vote briefing, ambassador Susan Rice outrageously lied, saying:
"....as the United States has said on many, many occasions for many years, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued settlement activity."
Unsaid was that America, for many decades, funded Israel generously to build them, a process continuing grievously under Obama, besides outlandish amounts of military aid, support for Israel's occupation, and partnering in all its aggressive wars.
In a February 18 press release, Americans for Peace Now (APN) expressed "disappointment," APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee, saying:
US Workers: Resurgent or Waging a Rearguard Action? - by Stephen Lendman
For decades, organized labor has been hammered after painful years of organizing, taking to the streets, going on strike, holding boycotts, battling police and National Guard forces, and paying with their blood and lives before real gains were won.
Important ones included an eight hour day, a living wage, essential benefits including healthcare and pensions, and the pinnacle of labor's triumph with passage of the landmark 1935 Wagner Act, establishing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It guaranteed labor the right to bargain collectively with management on equal terms for the first time, what's now sadly lost.
After signing it on July 5, 1935, Franklin Roosevelt said:
Middle East Protests, Violence and Strikes Continue - by Stephen Lendman
Whatever set them off, the genie is out of the bottle and spreading from Tunisia to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and perhaps America, in Wisconsin over proposed wage, benefits, and union bargaining rights cuts. A forthcoming article covers outrage in the US heartland, inspiring others Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and perhaps wherever aggrieved workers reside, awaken, and react against intolerable outrageous policies.
On February 17, New York Times writers Michael Slackman and Nadim Audi headlined, "Bahrain's Military Takes Control of Key Areas in Capital," saying:
Egypt's Spirit Lands in Wisconsin - by Stephen Lendman
It landed, but it's too soon to know where it's going or how committed workers are to stay the course and spread it to other US states.
On February 16, however, former Senator Russ Feingold launched Progressives United.org (PU), an initiative he hopes will inspire "a new progressive movement" to hold elected officials accountable by challenging corporate influence in politics.
It also opposes the Supreme Court's January 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, sanctioning unlimited corporate spending in elections (the one dollar = one vote ruling by America's supremely pro-business court). Feingold called it:
Important New Information on Aafia Siddiqui's Case - by Stephen Lendman
Numerous previous articles discussed how Washington/Pakistani collusion victimized her. A brief recap explains.
In March 2003, after visiting her family in Karachi, Pakistan, government Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents, in collaboration with Washington, abducted her and her three children en route to the airport for a flight to Rawalpindi. Handed to US authorities, she was secretly incarcerated at one or more prisons, including Afghanistan's Bagram for more than five years of brutal torture and unspeakable abuse.
Bogusly charged and convicted, she was guilty only of being Muslim in America at the wrong time. A Pakistani national, she was deeply religious, very small, thoughtful, studious, quiet, polite, shy, soft-spoken, barely noticeable in a gathering, not extremist or fundamentalist, and, of course, no terrorist.
Middle East Protests Continue - by Stephen Lendman
They continue in Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, and most recently in Iran and Bahrain, Al Jazeera saying:
"At least one person has been killed and several others injured after (Bahrain) riot police opened fire at protesters holding a funeral service for a man killed (a) day earlier."
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands in Manama, Bahrain's capital, demanding the regime's removal. Majority Shias want redress, saying Sunni rulers unfairly discriminate. However, more than sectarian issues are involved. Others include political freedoms, ending media and Internet state controls, prohibiting police use of excessive force, and addressing the extreme wealth gap between Bahrain elites and majority citizens.
On February 15, Al Jazeera's unnamed correspondent for his safety said:
Obama's Anti-Populist Budget - by Stephen Lendman
Despite its flaws and failures during America's Great Depression, FDR's New Deal was remarkable for what it accomplished. It helped people, put millions back to work, reinvigorated the national spirit, built or renovated 700,000 miles of roads, 7,800 bridges, 45,000 schools, 2,500 hospitals, 13,000 parks and playgrounds, 1,000 airfields, and various other infrastructure, including much of Chicago's lakefront where this writer lives. It cut unemployment from 25% in May 1933 to 11% in 1937, before declaring victory too early and letting it spike before early war production revived economic growth and headed it lower.
Moreover, his key legislation included:
-- the landmark 1935 Social Security Act - to this day, the single most important federal program keeping millions of seniors from poverty or easing it for those already poor;
-- unemployment insurance in partnership with states;
Arab Street Celebrates Mubarak's Ouster - by Stephen Lendman
On February 12, AFP headlined, 'Euphoria sweeps Arab cities as Mubarak ousted," saying:
As news spread, jubilant crowds responded. "Across the Middle East and north Africa, loudspeakers on mosques called on citizens to rejoice in their own cities....In Lebanon, where the Cairo protests (were) reminiscent of mass anti-Syrian" 2005 demonstrations, "convoys bearing Egyptian flags blared their horns as fireworks went off across the country." Thousands came out to celebrate, a scene repeated in many Arab countries.
Hezbollah and Hamas observed Egypt's "historic victory." Crowds turned out in Beirut, across Lebanon, and "en masse (throughout) Gaza....joyfully shooting in the air and honking their car horns." Hamas' armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, also rallied in support.