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The Russell Tribunal on Palestine: London Session

The Russell Tribunal: London Session - by Stephen Lendman

Launched in March 2009, "The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the (way to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Its mandate focuses on "the enunciation of law by authoritative bodies," including International Court of Justice (ICJ) rulings and dozens of UN resolutions on Palestine with regard to binding international law.

RTP follows in the tradition of the BRussell Tribunal, named after noted philosopher, mathematician, and anti-war/anti-imperialism activist Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970). Established in 1967 to investigate Vietnam war crimes, RTP's mandate is similar, its Tribunals collecting and presenting indictable evidence against Israel, complicit states, and corporate war profiteers.

An earlier article on its Barcelona Session can be accessed through the following link:

Haiti's Sham Elections: Solidifying Imperial Control

Haiti's Sham Elections: Solidifying Imperial Control - by Stephen Lendman

On November 28, first round legislative and presidential elections will be held. As a previous article explained, democracy will be absent because the nation's most popular party, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas, and 14 others are excluded, the system rigged to install Washington's favorites.

In a September 8, Miami Herald op-ed, Ira Kurzban, an immigration and employment law expert as well as
Aristide's former legal counsel headlined, "Unfair and undemocratic," saying:

"Imagine if (America's) Federal Election Commission disqualified the Democratic and Republican parties from the 2012 presidential election and declared that only candidates of minor parties could run."

"Yet (Haiti's November 28 elections) are just that - unfair, unconstitutional and undemocratic."

Remembering Chalmers Ashby Johnson (8/6/31 - 11/20/10)

Remembering Chalmers Ashby Johnson (8/6/31 - 11/20/10) - by Stephen Lendman

A personal note.

It's no way to begin a Sunday or any day. An email explained. My first thought was: damn, we lost another good one when we urgently need him and many others, given the state of today's America - out-of-control militarism, imperial arrogance, and homeland repression at a time of economic crisis for millions. Johnson knew the threat, challenging it brilliantly in his important writings and outspokenness. Now he's gone.

A former cold warrior, Chal, as friends called him, turned activist critic of US foreign policy, an imperial agenda doomed to fail. When the Cold War ended, he saw no further logic to US global bases, continued heightened militarism, and occupation of Japan, South Korea, Germany and elsewhere.

Peace breaking out was glorious. "Give Peace A Chance," wrote John Lennon, his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame song predated it by a decade.

Destructive Neoliberal Austerity

Destructive Neoliberal Austerity - by Stephen Lendman

Instead of vitally needed stimulus, Washington and European governments dictate austerity. The pretext of deficit reduction is being used to transfer more wealth to those already with too much, plus the usual canard over the urgency to save national banking systems.

In other words, make ordinary people bear the burden of bailing out banking giants responsible for the severest economic crisis since the Great Depression. How? The usual IMF solution, involving preservation of capital at the expense of workers - a package including wage and benefit cuts, less social spending, privatization of state resources, mass layoffs, deregulation, lower "onerous" taxes, maintaining corporate debt service, and harsh crackdowns against resisters.

The Windy City Makes Waves for Peace, Equity and Justice in Palestine

The Windy City Makes Waves for Peace, Equity and Justice in Palestine - by Stephen Lendman

The suburban Chicago-based Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (CJPIP) "is a diverse, community-based group dedicated to organizing activities and educational events that advance the cause of peace and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis."

It supports:

-- "equal rights and access to resources (equitably) based on" social, economic, environmental, and political justice principles;

-- peace and equal justice;

-- an end to Israel's illegal occupation and continuing land theft;

-- "an end to US policies that sustain the occupation;

-- international support for an equitable and just negotiation process;"

-- granting Palestinian refugees their right of return, guaranteed under international law; and

-- ending all forms of individual, organizational, and state-sponsored terror.

Selling It to Chicago Commuters

Haiti's Cholera Epidemic: Mounting Illnesses and Deaths, Inadequate Aid

Haiti's Cholera Epidemic: Mounting Illnesses and Deaths, Inadequate Aid - by Stephen Lendman

Three previous articles on the crisis can be accessed through the following links:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/11/haitis-cholera-outbreak-disease-of...

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/11/cholera-outbreak-hits-por-au-princ...

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/11/haitis-cholera-epidemic-sparks-out...

More will follow as events dictate.

In America, especially on TV, Haiti's epidemic gets scant, if any, coverage. In contrast, daily independent news reports are alarming. Yet, despite raging cholera across Haiti, aid is woefully inadequate. A November 19 Doctors With Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres - MSF) press release headlined, "Cholera in Haiti: MSF Calling on All Actors to Step Up Response," saying:

Unrecognized Palestinians: Illegally Demolishing Their Homes and Villages

Unrecognized Palestinians: Illegally Demolishing Their Homes and Villages - by Stephen Lendman

In October, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, together with nine other human rights organizations, addressed a position paper on "The unconstitutionality of the state's policy of demolishing Arab Bedouin unrecognized villages in the Negev" to three Israeli officials:

-- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,

-- Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, and

-- Minister of Justice Yaakov Neeman.

Citing the illegality of home demolitions, in this case of Arab Israeli citizens, they urged halting them immediately and finding a durable solution for unrecognized village residents. In Salim Abu- Medeghem v. The Israel Land Administration (April 14, 2007), Israel's High Court proposed replacing demolitions with solutions based on dialogue, Justice Arbel ruling:

Ethnically Cleansing East Jerusalem

Ethnically Cleansing East Jerusalem - by Stephen Lendman

Jerusalem is the epicenter of a decades long struggle. For Jews, it's politically important as their capital, a national and religious center, as well as symbolic of Judaism's revival and prominence. For Christians, it's where Jesus lived and died, and for Muslims, it's their third holiest site (the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque) after Mecca's Sacred Mosque and the Mosque of the Prophet in Madina.

In June 1967, Israel occupied the city. On July 30, 1980, the Knesset introduced the Jerusalem Law, officially annexing it as Israel's unified capital. However, on March 1, 1980, UN Security Council Resolution 465 declared that:

Stonewalling Goldstone

Stonewalling Goldstone - by Stephen Lendman

On September 15, 2009, the UN Human Rights Council's (HRC) Goldstone Commission issued its findings on Cast Lead, Israel's war of aggression against Gaza, inflicting enormous loss of life, thousands of injuries, massive human suffering, and vast destruction, despite no provocation or threat to Israeli security.

The Commission concluded that "there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity."

Notably the Commission said:

America's Gulf: An Ongoing Catastrophic Disaster

America's Gulf: An Ongoing Catastrophic Disaster - by Stephen Lendman

On August 14, Obama did what he does best, deceiving and betraying the public. Again it was on the Gulf disaster, saying:

"Today, the well is capped, oil is no longer flowing into the Gulf, and it has not been flowing for a month....I also want to point out that as a result of the cleanup effort, beaches all along the Gulf Coast are clean and safe and open for business....But I won't be satisfied until the environment has been restored, no matter how long it takes."

False on all counts. The Macondo well was capped, but video and other evidence show continued leakage, an organization called Concerned Citizens of Florida (CCF), saying:

A Bribe Too Good to Refuse

A Bribe Too Good to Refuse - by Stephen Lendman

When all else fails, offer money, or in this case weapons for peace (a clear oxymoron) via for a three month settlement construction moratorium in name only. In fact, new building is unimpeded, Obama's offer a facade to hide reality on the ground. More on the deal below.

Last December, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the moratorium, saying he hoped it would launch meaningful peace talks. They're entirely fraudulent ones, a grand illusion even Netanyahu once called "a waste of time."

Two earlier articles on them can be accessed through the following links:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/03/peace-process-hypocrisy-stillborn-...

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/09/hypocrisy-defined-another-round-of...

Another covers Netanyahu's sham moratorium (never called a freeze):

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/08/israels-bogus-construction-morator...

Haiti's Cholera Epidemic Sparks Outrage

Haiti's Cholera Epidemic Sparks Outrage - by Stephen Lendman

In early November, thousands of Haitians rallied for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's return and presidential hopeful Jean-Henry Ceant in the November 28 elections, one rigged by banning 14 political parties, including Fanmi Lavalas, by far the most popular.

Ceant founded Aimer Haiti (Love Haiti), "a movement uniting and integrating human-centered (principles) and committed to the pursuit of the ideals of unity, solidarity and fraternity to build a new Haiti on the basis of shared responsibility, social justice, peace and economic progress for all."

Class Warfare Jeopardizing American Workers' Security

Class Warfare Jeopardizing American Workers' Security - by Stephen Lendman

Warren Buffett once said:

"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning," Obama's deficit-cutting agenda the latest battle.

On May 4, Hugo Radice, Life Fellow of the University of Leeds School of Politics and International Studies, headlined an article, "Cutting Public Debt: Economic Science or Class War?" asking:

"Is cutting the public debt really an objective economic necessity, or is it actually a deeply political stance, reflecting the interests of the business and financial elites?"

Washington Backing Indonesian State Terror

Washington Backing Indonesian State Terror - by Stephen Lendman

An earlier article said it was expected, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/03/expected-obama-administration-back...

It discussed Indonesia's National Armed Forces (TNI), especially its thuggish Kopassus Special Forces Command, its red beret unit responsible for political killings, torture, rape, and massacres of hundreds of thousands of civilians in East Timor, Aceh, Papua, and elsewhere in the country.

TNI aid was restricted following a November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz cemetery massacre of over 270 demonstrators in Dili, East Timor. In July, it was restored, a July 22 East Timor Action Network (ETAN) press release "condemn(ing) the Obama administration's decision to resume engagement with Indonesia's notorious Kopassus special forces," ETAN's National Coordinator, John Miller, saying:

American Style Free Trade

American Style Free Trade - by Stephen Lendman

Agreements like NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, and various bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) have proved hugely destructive, superseding national laws, sovereignty, labor rights, environmental concerns, and more.

"There's no free collective bargaining for workers," says Ralph Nader. "There's no rule of law (either, just) bribery, (worker exploitation and plunder). These companies (can) pollute at will. There's no judicial independence to make (them) accountable," to stop them from "abus(ing) workers and consumers and communities, as" they all do repeatedly.

In other words, "free trade" is a license to steal, plunder, exploit, pollute, and overall operate unrestrained, the sole consideration being maximum profits, no matter how gotten.

Torture in US Prisons

Torture in US Prisons - by Stephen Lendman

In March 2005, a UK Deborah Davis Channel 4 report titled, "Torture, Inc., America's Brutal Prisons" highlighted the horrors, including prisoners savaged by dogs, brutally shocked with cattle prods, burned by toxic chemicals, harmed by stun guns, beaten, stripped naked and abused in various other ways. Sound familiar? Welcome to mainland Guantanamo.

"It's terrible to watch some of the videos," witnessing torture, at times resulting in death. Routinely, guards yell at and abuse prisoners, "ordering them to lie on the ground and crawl." If they don't "drop to the ground fast enough, a guard kicks him or stomps on his back." Another man screams when a dog bit his lower leg.

Reinventing a War Criminal: Defending the Bush Legacy

Reinventing a War Criminal: Defending the Bush Legacy - by Stephen Lendman

The Bush legacy is based on lies, deceit, crimes of war and against humanity, and complicity in criminal fraud, a disgusting record deserving denunciation and prison, not shameless feting.

Yet his new book, "Decision Points," attempts the impossible, a brazen scheme to reinvent a war criminal, one of history's greatest, his legacy marked by:

-- neocon hellishness;

-- duplicity and public betrayal;

-- a disdain for human rights and civil liberties;

-- lawlessness;

-- racist hatemongering;

-- usurping unconstitutional "Unitary Executive" authority, what Chalmers Johnson called "a ball-faced assertion of presidential supremacy....dressed up in legalistic mumbo jumbo;"

-- imperial wars called liberating ones;

-- mass murder;

-- extrajudicially establishing coup d'etat "continuity of government" authority to abolish constitutional freedoms unilaterally;

Obama Team's Deficit Cutting Proposal: Benefit the Few, Harm the Many

Obama Team's Deficit Cutting Proposal: Benefit the Few, Harm the Many - by Stephen Lendman

Some background. In his January 27 State of the Union address, Obama announced plans to "freeze government spending for three years," starting in 2011, saying he'd establish a bipartisan fiscal commission by executive order to cut the deficit by imposed austerity. In other words, harm the many by social spending cuts, including Social Security and Medicare, not defense, banker handouts, other corporate favorite subsidies, or the rich.

Lurching Toward Gomorrah: Growing Israeli Fascism

Lurching Toward Gomorrah: Growing Israeli Fascism - by Stephen Lendman

Disturbing signs are ominous. On November 8, Israel demolished and ransacked a Negev Bedouin Arab mosque in Rahat, removing it for Jewish development. Professor Yousef Salamah called it "a criminal act," done on the pretext that it was unlicensed. "These are not new acts but were preceded by many incidents and attacks, when the Israeli authorities demolished dozens of mosques inside Israel, turning some into museums, barns, restaurants, synagogues and parking lots."

Five Bedouins, Israeli citizens, were arrested for protesting. Others were attacked. On November 8, Haaretz writers Jack Khoury and Yanir Yagnar headlined, "Defiant Bedouin(s) rebuild Rahat mosque razed by state," saying:

Cholera Outbreak Hits Port-au-Prince

Cholera Outbreak Hits Port-au-Prince - by Stephen Lendman

On November 9, Haiti Libre said city authorities examined at least 120 suspected cases, mostly in Cite Soleil, the extremely impoverished, densely populated community home to around 400,000. More vulnerable from Hurricane Tomas flooding, Partners in Health (PIH) called crowded camps "a potential flashpoint for a cholera outbreak. There is growing concern" about reported cases, thousands that may spread to many more.

In recent days, cases "continued to expand geographically. More (appeared) in Haiti's Central Plateau," PIH reporting 111 people hospitalized. Reported deaths also keep rising, likely much higher than Haiti's Health Ministry 544 figure on November 8. On November 9, Al Jazeera reported 583 deaths, the numbers increasing daily. The report also said:

Shin Bet Mistreatment of Palestinian Detainees

Shin Bet Mistreatment of Palestinian Detainees - by Stephen Lendman

An October B'Tselem/HaMoked, Center of the Defence of the Individual report, titled "Kept in the Dark: Treatment of Palestinian Detainees in the Petach-Tikva Interrogation Facility of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet)" is discussed below. Though, in some respects, treatment over the years has changed, it remains harsh, abusive, and in violation of international law, prohibiting all forms of torture and mistreatment at all times, under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions.

The report is based on testimonies from 121 Palestinian detainees during Q 1 and Q 4, 2009. Clear patterns of mistreatment were revealed - torture and abuse by any standard, what Israel practices as official policy.

An earlier article explained it in detail, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2008/08/torture-as-official-israeli-policy...

Obama's Fake Muslim Outreach

Obama's Fake Muslim Outreach - by Stephen Lendman

While slaughtering Muslims abroad, supporting Israeli's illegal occupation and genocidal Gaza siege, as well as waging domestic war on Islam, Reuters, on November 9, headlined, "Obama says US earnest, reaching out to Muslim world," saying:

From Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, "President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Washington's effort to reach out to the Muslim world was earnest and would help improve security, although he acknowledged that there was still more work to do."

At a news conference with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhovono, he said, "With respect to outreach to the Muslim world, I think that our efforts have been earnest and sustained. We don't expect that we are going to completely eliminate some of the misunderstandings and mistrust that have developed over a long period of time, but we do think that we're on the right path."

Israeli and American Rankings on Violence and Corruption

Israeli and American Rankings on Violence and Corruption - by Stephen Lendman

Launched in May 2007, the Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks nations according to peacefulness. Its 2010 report includes 149 countries, graded on the basis of "ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society and militarisation...."

An earlier article discussed GPI's 2008 survey, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2008/05/disturbing-2008-global-peace-index...

This year's index includes 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, "which combine internal and external factors ranging from a nation's level of military expenditure to its relations with neighboring countries and the level of respect for human rights."

According to GPI's founder, Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea, indicators were chosen by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists, and peace organization members.

They include:

Israeli Banks Profiteering from Occupation

Israeli Banks Profiteering from Occupation - by Stephen Lendman

Wall Street does it. Other Western banks do it. They all exploit markets, often ripping off customers illegally. Why not Israeli banks also in their own back yard, easily in expanding settlements.

The Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) includes 10 feminist organizations and non-affiliated activist women in Israel. Founded in 2000, it advocates "radical social and political change," and is "a leading voice against the occupation, committed to feminist principles of organizing and Jewish-Palestinian partnership in a relentless struggle for a just peace."

In October, it released a report titled, "Financing the Israeli Occupation, The Direct Involvement of Israeli Banks in Illegal Settlement Activity and Control over the Palestinian Banking Market."

Open Season on Muslims in America

Open Season on Muslims in America - by Stephen Lendman

More than ever today, Muslims are public enemy number one. Post-9/11, they've been ruthlessly vilified and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, prominence and activism. As a result, innocent men and women have been spuriously called terrorists, or charged with conspiracy to provide them material support.

No wonder as an earlier article explained. They've been unfairly portrayed as culturally inferior, dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy, religiously fanatical, violent, gun-toting terrorists. As a result, hundreds have been wrongfully arrested, charged, convicted and imprisoned, guilty only of being Muslims in America at the wrong time. Their treatment represents a clear indictment of US injustice, targeting innocent victims for political advantage.

Quantitative Easing: Elixir or Poison?

QuantItative Easing: Elixir or Poison? - by Stephen Lendman

Ahead of the November 11 - 12 G-20 meeting in Seoul, South Korea, the Fed announced QE II, another $600 billion between now and end of June 2011, a flexible figure to be raised or lowered freely, the Fed saying it will:

"....regularly review the pace of its securities purchases and the overall size of the asset-purchase program in light of incoming information and will adjust the program as needed to best foster maximum employment and price stability."

An additional $300 billion received from maturing securities will also be used. Easing, in fact, began around mid-year. Wall Street insiders knew it to take advantage, but not the public, QE being used to debauch the currency, harm the economy, and destroy, not create, jobs.

Israeli Settlers Threaten Sheikh Jarrah

Israeli Settlers Threaten Sheikh Jarrah - by Stephen Lendman

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, including Fourth Geneva's Article 49 stating:

"Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of the motive."

In addition, various UN resolutions (including 446, 452 and 465) condemned Israel's settlement building, declaring they have "no legal validity" to exist. However, they do and regularly expand, endangering all Palestinian communities, Sheikh Jarrah one of many and their longstanding residents.

Eroding Conditions for Israeli Arabs: Part II

Eroding Conditions for Israeli Arabs: Part II - by Stephen Lendman

An earlier article reviewed the April Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel report titled, "One Year for Israel's New Government and the Arab Minority in Israel," accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/07/deteriorating-conditions-for-israe...

This article discusses a new Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) report titled, "Project Democracy - Fighting for the Ground Rules" for Israeli Arabs.

Israel's bogus democratic credentials are shameless and transparent, for growing numbers of Israeli Jews, but mainly for denying equal rights to minority Arabs, comprising 20% of the population. ACRI explained, saying:

America: Land of Police State Persecution

America: Land of Police State Persecution - by Stephen Lendman

An earlier article discussed America's violent culture, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2007/09/culture-of-violence.html

Its opening comments are expanded below:

What do you call a country that glorifies wars and violence in the name of peace. One that's been at war every year in its history against one or more adversaries. One that believes pacifism is sissy and unpatriotic. One that feels militarism is a higher form of civilization. One that threatens planetary life.

One corrupted by malfeasance. One with the world's largest prison population, a domestic gulag besides others abroad. One placing no value on human rights and life. One exploiting the many for the few. One empowering money over people, championing concentrated wealth. One calling fake elections real.

US Elections: America's Right Turn

US Elections: America's Right Turn - by Stephen Lendman

Since the 1980s, neoliberalism dominated US politics under Democrats and Republicans. Bush I continued Reagan policies. Clinton hardened them. Bush II much more, and Obama so far matched Star Trek, going where no administration went before. Count the ways. They're manyfold, favoring business over popular interests, yet he's accused of being socialist.

On November 2, angry voters responded, shifting right despite favoring many left of center issues, a combination of outrage and angst overriding their best interests. Go figure because what they got will incense them more.

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